The factory had been billowing out toxic fumes for decades. So much pollution had entered the atmosphere, survivors sought refuge in underground bunkers and caves. Life was hard, but not as hard as it was for those who choose, or were forced, to stay above.
Each bunker and cave had its own admission criteria. I remember when we tried to be admitted to the first one closest to our home. The smirk on the man’s face as he said our kind wasn’t welcome still haunts me. Grandma died on the way to the second bunker. Walking through the ash and acid rain was just too much for her. Grandpa chose to stay behind with her. All I can hope is that his death was quick and painless.
Mom broke down after the second one denied us entry. Dad did the best he could to keep her spirits up but it didn’t work. We lost her crossing the bridge over the river before he got here. Had she just waited another four days, she would have been here with us.
Life here is rough. There’s not enough to go around and fights break out all the time. Dad was a nice guy and tried to break one up our first night here. They burn the dead. All Sarah did for a week was look into the sky and cry for Dad. I won’t cry here. Not for them.
It’s been six months and I am tired of being hungry, thirsty, and always looking over my shoulder. Some of the men are giving me that look I used to see in Mom’s mushy movies. They won’t get that from me.
I told Sarah she could come with me, but she said no. Whatever. It’s her choice. Live or die, it’s our choice to make. Anyway, I’d rather be out there on my own. I have six layers of clothes, stole a microparticle mask and a gas mask from the miners, and crafted a knife in the workshop.
If you find this letter, know this–there are survivors out there and we’re going to stop the factory. We’re going to take back what is ours. We’re going to survive forever.