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Chapter Zero “It is the year 2075 AD_ and the world is about to .rtf

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					                                            K. W. Kemp


                                      Chapter Zero

“It is the year 2075 AD, and the world is about to die. It is the beginning of a final catastrophic
all out hate war. Wins and defeats, there are none. There is no winner; no nation can claim the
victory title. All is lost, even the hope of a brighter future to come. Even the skies have been
dimmed gray by bombs and radiation. There will be kids born, who will never have felt the
warm comforting rays of the sun. Body counts are no longer valid. Instead nations annihilated
must be calculated. Withered cracked land, parched from the lack of rain, the only thing to
quench its thirst has been the ever present and always unwelcome acrid taste of acid rain. This
is the land, this is the time, that, our kids our progeny, have inherited. In the end I must wonder,
how long will this go on? Did I do enough to stop it? I have failed you my love!
  Most of all I have failed my men, my country, and the people of this earth. The end is at hand,
I may not have dropped my payload but the others surely have. If America caught word of the
nuclear assault then they too would surely retaliate. Allies enemies - All would be lost. All
would be for not. All would be as the beginning, nothing. Plague, death, and radiation all
scourge the land. Rather than die out there, in that horrible land scape, my men and I have
chosen to pick our own deaths. Much more assured, much cleaner. What I fear to face is the
unknown, that scary wilderness, a world torn asunder. What will remain after the apocalypse? I
do not know, nor do I plan on living long enough to find out! I am coming my Love. Daddy is
coming home my son. I am coming home! I am coming home. I am coming home…
  A young Russian general sat in the captain’s chamber of a nuclear class submarine. With tears
in his eyes he stared at the entry in his journal, think how pitiful the words look on paper. Ink
smudged by tears, tears shed for the lack of hope for the future. Tears shed for the kid he could
not go home to, tears shed for the wife he had lost. With a smile the Russian cocked the hammer
on his Single Action Army Revolver and put to the side of his head. A single shot rang out and
echoed throughout the hull of the submarine. The sound of a gunshot went unnoticed, for all the
soldiers on board were dead.
  Whe- Where am I? The Russian general fluttered his eyes open and tasted blood. Searing pain
laced his head, setting his teeth on edge. Staggering he got to his feet, placing one hand on his
the desk in his cabin. A figure in a dark hood caring a scythe stood over him, looming his
presences sucking any joy, any light out of anything and everything in the room. “VLADIMIR
BRASHKENOKOFF!” The figure said to him. Yet the hood never moved, lips never parted, as
the Russian looked into the interior of the hood he could see no eyes, no head just ethereal
substance. Not an angel, not a shade, it lacked form, a mist. It simply had a purpose, it took no
sides, it had a job and it existed only for that job. He was the messenger of death, the bearer of
bad news, an enemy to all a friend to some.
  “Ye-” his voice squeaked and broke. Clearing his throat he continued, “Yes Thanatos? Vat
vould you have me do?”


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  “COME!” It was not a question, it was not a request, and it was not even a command. He
simply followed. There was no way he could resist. The voice was not shouting he realized, it
spoke in his head. No, not his head, it spoke to his very soul.
  The hooded figure of death walked through the hull door, the young general was helpless to
follow. With a sigh he staggered to the door and winced at the ear splitting creak that resonated
from unoiled hinges. Thanatos hovered about six inches off of the ground, gliding to where he
needed to go. The Grim Reaper occasionally stopped so his victim could catch up to him. The
air round the black figure of death was subzero, the cold sunk to Vladimir’s bones and beyond,
chilling him to the core. White vaporous fumes escaped his mouth as he breathed heavy, trying
to keep up with the swift pace of death. Here and there the bodies of his dead comrades littered
the ground. Some had eyes rolled in the back of their head, others had yellowy dried foam at the
corners of their mouths. Picking his path carefully, so as not to be tripped by the scattered limbs
of his fallen companions, he made his way up a flight of stairs. Opening up a hatch door he
found, death beckoning to him, a sliver tendril, akin to a finger, pointed upwards.
  Hand over hand, Vladimir ascended the ladder. Unscrewing the hatch he pushed it up and
stood on the deck of the conning tower of the submarine. Death was there waiting for him.
Even though Vladimir had taken the stairs first, Death was there. Always. It just goes to show,
there is no escaping death, the young Russian man thought to himself. One final cautious step
set him side by side with death. Waiting for his sentence, waiting for his condemnation,
Vladimir let out a heavy sigh and closed his eyes. The chill of death only increased, Thanatos
only seemed to loom over him more, intimidate him more, terrorize him more, plaguing him
more, driving him more mad, more crazed, more more more more more more MORE MORE
MORE, his mind said in a near shriek.
  “VAT DO YOU VANT FROM ME?” His eyes wide in panic, spittle ejecting from his mouth,
Vladimir surrendered to his fate. The Grim Reaper simply said nothing and pointed a knobby
translucent finger towards the horizon, towards the never attainable edge of sight. Cupping one
hand over his eyes to shield himself from the sun’s glare, he felt something soft on his skin.
Bringing his hand to his face he rubbed the black flake between his thumb and fore finger. It
was ash. Then he saw it, on the horizon was a giant cloud. A mushroom shaped cloud. Then
one more, then another, and yet another harbinger of ill news. Spinning fast in a circular motion
he scrutinized every single compass point.
  The nukes, they have fallen!
  Dizzy from spinning he fell to the ground. Death had disappeared and he was all alone.
Alone. The last man on earth. No one could withstand that barrage of nuclear warfare. His
wife, his son, his friends, his family, his country, his way of life… All gone, forever. Throwing
his hands to his face he covered his eyes, willing himself not to see it, not to feel it, not to
remember but to forget it all.

                                                



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                                            K. W. Kemp


“YEEEGA!” With a start Vladimir woke up from unconsciousness. He rubbed the pain out of
his face as he picked himself off of the floor. Grabbing the edge of his desk for support he
managed a standing position. Drip… drip… drip… Vladimir stared at his desk and noticed that a
small pool of blood was forming, drops of this iron laden crimson fluid cascaded from his nose.
Stretching one inquisitive hand to his face he felt around for the source of the gore. Cautious at
first, then with fearful zeal he followed the blood trail. It was his eye, it was gone. Then he
remembered. He had put the gun to his face and pulled the trigger. “By god, I can’t even do zat
right!” With a groan he sat in his chair and put his face in his hands, mindless of the blood that
soon slicked his hand.
   Mother Russia… His country, his people. He had disobeyed a direct order. They had told him
to take his submarine, and its payload of nuclear warheads, and strike a number of heavily
populated civilian cities along the west coast of the United States. Other submarines were sent to
the east coast. The penalty is death! For any crimes against the state, the penalty was always
death. He had refused to kill millions, no billions of innocent women and children. He had not
wanted to kill the world in a slow roasting inferno, the hell of nuclear fallout. His men could
have over thrown him, but they agreed. Knowing the end of the world was close they choose to
pick their own deaths instead of having it sprung on them. Some overdosed. Some took rat
poison. Some bit the bullet. Writing his last plea to those who may one day find it, he followed
the path of his men. Death, like life, had evaded him.
   Taking a swig of water from a flagon on his desk, he stood up. Picking up his knife from the
desk, he took the lighter from his desk and ran it under his knife till it burned red. Waving it
cool he walked to the sink. Holding the remains of his eye lid in his hands he stared at his face
in the mirror. He lifted the knife to his eye, but his hand shook so bad that he dropped his knife.
Vladimir winced at the clatter of steel on porcelain. Pulling the mirror away he reached inside
the medicine cabinet and pulled out a few pain pills and dry swallowed them. He also took out a
pair of tweezers some gauze and bandages. Using the tweezers he pulled out the bullet from his
socket cavity. Then he used the tweezers to pull the remains of his eyes and used his knife to cut
it out. Scraping out the goo he winced and tears began to wash away the blood. Looking at
himself in the mirror he took the rubbing alcohol and rinsed his eye out. He screamed out in
pain, silver flecks dotted his vision and he blacked out. As he sat writhing in pain, his knees
tucked to his chest, he cried in the fetal position.
   That is what hit him, the after image of death, Thanatos in his black hood and scythe. He
remembered the image of all the mushroom clouds. Panicking he rushed up and rammed his
shoulder into the doorway. Wincing in pain he staggered through the doorway and tripped over
a fallen comrade. Taking a knee, he looked in his comrade’s dead eyes. One eye, the other was
covered by an eye patch. Removing the eye patch he put it on his own face to cover the gaping
bloody wound. With a smile he whispered a prayer and closed the man's eyes. Retracing the
steps he made in the dream, he followed the path that the grim reaper had shown him. Up the
hatch and onto the deck he went. This time he knew what to expect, what to look for. The
mushroom clouds were out there like he had seen. Dropping to his knees he clasped his hands


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together and offered a prayer to the man in the sky, “Dear God, if you are out zere an listen to ze
prayers of a killer vike me, I beg you! Don’t kill zem all, save ze best! Ze brightest, ze most
talented. To recreate a vorld, as you vould have us. A vorld bereft of pain, misery, war and
bloodshed. Please god! Please, I vill devote my life to you if I must! I know vat needs to be
done, and I will see it done. Thank you lord, Amen.”




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                                           K. W. Kemp


                                      Chapter One

There was a scuffle of feet and the scraping of metal on linoleum as the children entered the
classroom. There were groans and pleas as the teacher stood at the front of the classroom. As
always students were reluctant to stop talking with their friends, and begin class. The tardy bell
rang. Any student caught walking the halls after this bell would be sent to detention for the
remainder of the period. “Can I have your attention please?” The teacher crossed his arms and
stared out at the class full of young fresh minds. Young fresh minds which refused to pay
attention to him. “CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?” The teacher adjusted his
glasses and looked down at the now quite classroom. “Now kids how long have we been
together? A few years now! And you still cannot seem to act with even a little decorum in my
classroom.” With a sigh he shook his head and turned his back, picking up a piece of chalk he
began to write on the board. As soon as his back was turned, one lad the class clown and bully
decided to throw a wad of paper at the teachers back. Immediately without looking or turning
the teacher caught the wad of paper. “Mr. Harris “Thug” Jones, up to your usual tricks I see!
You owe me 500 sentences by the end of the period.”
  “BUT TEACH!”
  “There are no buts here Mr. Jones, only students trying to get a decent education!” On the
board was written a page number and chapter title. “Now students open your text books to page-
” That is when the class room door swung open and a young vixen entered the door. “Ah yes,
Miss Vulpes. The President’s daughter! How kind of you to drop on in, and as par usual you
took your dainty little time to get here didn’t you? No regard for the other students, only
yourself. Well I will tell you now, as I have always told you. You may be The President’s
daughter out there, but in here you are just another student. As such you will be treated in the
same regard as all the other students under my care. You are late, and should be sent to
detention. Yet, despite my better judgment I have found it within my good graces to let you
stay! I know, how generous of me.”
  Vulpes vulpes, or Pez, as her dad and close friends called her, was a young twelve year old red
tailed fox- human hybrid. An anthropomorphic beast girl, as most of the civilized world saw
them. She did not fit in with the animals, how could she? Pez did not speak their language, she
was after all mostly human. She was a human born from an animal’s egg, which had left its
lasting impressions. One was the fox ears and tail she possessed, along with an uncanny taste for
undercooked meat. Her mother she had never known, she was simply a fox who had provided a
fertile egg. Her father barely had any time for her, he had a country to run. Pez did not know
her father’s real name. She doubted that anyone did, everyone simply referred to him as “The
President”. There were three kinds of people in the world as Pez saw it, the humans, the anthros,
and the anthro haters. The anthros were her people, the humans were those humans that had
sided with HUMP in the creation of the anthros, and last the anthro haters. The scum of the
world, as Pez saw it. Anthro haters were people who could not get over their own bigoted


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opinions and love people, anthro or human, for simply being people. It was people like the
anthro haters who had caused the apocalypse.
  “Now, Miss Vulpes if you could begin reading at the top of page five in your history book we
can get on with the class!” The young vixen made her way down a row of desk, most kids
snubbed her. They wanted nothing to do with “The President’s daughter.” Pez did not know if
they did not friend her because they thought her dangerous or if they thought her as anomaly.
She sat down at the first empty desk she could find, the boy behind her kick her desk and jarring
her back. She screamed an oath and turned around and slugged him in the arm. With a huff of
breath she shrugged off her book back and got her History text book and slammed it on her desk.
Flipping through the pages of her text book she finally came to the designated page. Pez let out a
sigh and hit her head against the desk; someone had hit her perky fox ear with spitballs. “Miss
Vulpes what is keeping you waiting? HURRY UP!”
  To the right of her a girl leaned over and whispered to her. It was her near and dear friend
Suzie, a black panther-human hybrid. “Hey it’s okay Pez! Don’t let your ears hang so low! It
gets better! My pops always said, 'you gotta know the darkness to bask in the warmth of the
light', whatever that means!” Pez proffered a smile and then took a deep breath and began to
read the text book loud enough for all the students to here.
  The text read:
                                        Chapter One
                            Section One: The Beginning of the End

  In all the texts in all the languages it is never certain when the Great Gas War began, nor
which side started it. If there were even “sides,” at the end there was only mine. One thing that
is certain is that it did start and why it started. The Great Gas War got its start in oil. The world
was using up more oil than could be found and processed. Oil was needed to run almost all
functions of life. Cars were powered by gas, a product of petroleum. Paint, photos, lanterns,
and power plants all used oil. When oil reserves begun to run low and new oil wells were
increasingly harder to come by, tension grew. Countries that had low oil reserves looked with
hungry eyes at those countries that had more. It was a game of “you have what I want.” Soon
battles were fought and guns shot.
  Some of these wars were fought in the name of freedom. Others were fought in the name of
ending oppression. These were the lies given to the public, the real reason behind the lines, the
reason everyone new in their heart of hearts, was oil. Propaganda was spread, these lies were
swallowed like vitamins. Man still had value of his life, he kept his greed in check and knew it to
be wrong. Eventually greed and avarice took the hearts of man. They wanted more and more
material wealth. It did not stop at oil. Gold, rare gems, fossil fuel, and many other minerals
were sought after.
  Alliances and plans were made, treaties signed. The USSR was reformed and expanded
further then its previous dominion. The communist nations combined to form a giant super
power. The United States teamed up with the other English speaking nations. The third world

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                                            K. W. Kemp


nations were the playing fields. These third world nations did not have the technology to harvest
their valuable resources to there fullest possible extent, even if they tried. The two big alliances,
the Communist and the US Alliance fought for these resources. Bomber planes were kept
stocked and ready. Nuclear submarines were stocked with warheads.
  Humanity grew tired of the constant third world country squabbles. Each alliance forgot what
they were fighting for, what to expect when they won. Man did not know victory held. Kids born
into this war torn world did not know anything else. A war based economy, a war based
government, a war based people, it all came to a head when both Alliances no longer really held
different ideals. Martial law reigned supreme. The East and the West were of one mind, and
that mind told them to kill and humiliate their enemies. Thus, the East and the West, the United
States Alliance and the Communist Alliance continued to fight.
  Yet, both sides craved an end to this bloody onslaught. This mindless unceasing slaughter,
they believed, was being fought all wrong! If immediate results were warranted, the great
political minds of that area decided that more drastic measures were needed.
  Albert Einstein once said, “I know not what World War III will be fought with, but I know that
World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Einstein was the very man whose sciences
helped to create the atom bomb, a nation killing weapon, a civilization ending weapon, the very
weapon of the apocalypse. With a heat greater than of that of our sun, with a force greater than
all the TNT in the world, with enough radiation to sicken the children and impregnate the earth
with volatile chemicals for years to come, with these deadly characteristics was the atom bomb
created.
  On New Year’s Day, in the year 2075 the bombs fell and the world was changed for an eternity
to come. Whether by some act of magic, pure chance, or an act of god (an act to get rid of the
hate laden and blood hungry creatures he created), both Alliances launched their nuclear silos
on the same day. The nuclear warheads came by land and by sea. Some were even launched
from space down to the earth. A few good leaders, a few good men out of a billion, refused to
drop their payloads and saved a few million lives. Lives that would eventually die in the
harshness of a war ravaged world. The nuclear warheads fell, some were destroyed by missile
defense, some exploded as they launched causing their own masters a crippling injury but the
fast majority met their targets.
  Sparsely populated areas were not targeted, they had no military value. A nuke on a town with
the population of 200 would not draw attention. It was in these sparsely populated areas of the
globe that VIPs were hid up. VIPs were not limited to politicians however. A few clear heads,
and their fewer persuasive arguments, persisted and infiltrated even the most stubborn hard
headed of politicians. These great minds saw the tragedy that would come, nuclear fallout, the
apocalypse. It was no longer a question of “if” it was going to happen but what to do “when” it
happened. The great minds prevailed, and spoke logic into the ears of those in power. When the
world ended, when the world died, when humanity was lost man needed a contingency plan and
so the great minds, the minds not set on killing and destruction, began to collect all of the
knowledge man had possessed. Everything from the dawn of time was written down and


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transcribed onto hard disks and printed words. Scientists were trained and historians made.
Teachers found a new job, to rebuild the world of tomorrow. Capsules were buried miles
underground, their locations secret. They were sent to space and in radio messages, everything
encrypted. Man may die but his memory, his discovers, his drive to make a mark in the world,
would not extinguish as the flame of life died. The great minds persisted in this effort.
  When the bombs fell men hid away. Hid away, protected in these underground hideouts, life
went on. Men and women, scholars and engineers, all resided in these bunkers. All these people
were safe keeping the history and memory of mankind. Waiting for the day when their monitors
and devices related the tragic news to them, humanity was lost and it was time to rebuild.
Rebuild ethics, rebuild morality, and rebuild nature. Rebuild culture, rebuild religion, and
rebuild the arts. Rebuild the cities, rebuild the civilization, and rebuild the world. A world
entrenched in freedom, life rebounding. These great minds hoped to build a world where they
had the right to live and the right to grow. These great scholars hopped to learn from the past
and never repeat events that would lead to global extinction of all life. Which they thought, in
their fortified bunkers, could not and would not happen to them. For they had planned ahead,
cheating death.
  The atomic bombs were not the only weapon of mass destruction used that day. Biological and
chemical warfare became a grim reality. Bombs were dropped that spread super flus, plagues,
and many different shades of violent agonizing death. Symptoms of these dangerous weapons
were varied. Just to name a few: inflamed lymph nodes, swollen abdomens, shriveled genitalia
and infertility. “Nukes” as they were colloquially called killed you instantly. If the extreme heat
did not kill you, then the pressure of the explosion did. Unless you were an unlikely survivor
suffering from radiation poisoning, then your death was slow and agonizing. On the other hand,
these chemicals and these diseases ranged from fast to torturously slow. Either way, these
diseases or chemical deteriorates were agonizingly painful. An observer of the dying commented
on this subject, “I was a young doctor at the time when I saw these grim faces, saw the malign of
these diseases… I know that the suffering patient last thoughts, last wishes, was not about
friends, family, or the fate of the world. No, I could see in their eyes, hear it whispered under
their breath, there last thoughts were a plea to the great god above to take the burden from them
and let the pain stop.”
  With of all the radiation latent in the soil and contaminating the air, it was only a matter of
time before it seeped into these hidden underground bunkers and infected the water and food
supplies. Even the vary air they breathed. Soon radiation poisoning caused rampant infertility
among many other harmful manifestations. The worlds populations was doomed to die for all
the women of the world had become infertile from radiation or from disease. Man had gone
extinct unless by some act of divine act of ingenuity, the greatest epiphany of all time, they could
bring could bring children into being. Pass on not only their genetic information but their
history, their culture and mannerisms, their vary way of life. But some sort of living offspring.
Not only into some machine hoping beyond a hope that some sentient humanoid intelligence
would find this hidden cache of information and bring a world gone dead back to life. Yet man


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                                            K. W. Kemp


did not want to take that risk, man wanted something assured they could put their faith in.
Something tangible they could touch and feel that would carry them away from this evil
predicament. Thus man deliberated, the scholars thought, the historians looked through the
annals of history, and the engineers devised schematics. Yet nothing they did seemed to work,
nothing they devised seemed like a feasible plan.
  The teacher raised his hand and motioned for Pez to stop her oration. With a sigh he ran his
fingers through his hair and Pez realized for the first time how very old the teacher looked. He
may have been a boy or a young man when the bombs fell. That was around thirty seven years
ago. Gray and white laced his hair and crow’s feet danced wickedly under his eyes. “Now Pez
you can take a little break there. There are a few things we need to discuss.” Putting his glasses
back on his face he stood up from his seat and stood up at the front of the class.
  “Teach, you really expect us to remember all of this crap?” Harris sat jauntily in his chair, his
feet and legs splayed out while he bit the end of his pen. The typical nonchalant bad boy stance
and the teacher had seen its incarnations a million times before. With a smile the teacher walked
down the aisle and stood next to Harris’s desk.
  The Teacher placed his knuckles softly on the desk of this rebel, the class clown he nodded to
him. “Yes I expect you to remember all this ‘crap’… You may not know it now Mister Jones,
but one day you will find that you have an interest in girls. This attraction to the opposite gender
may one day lead to procreation. Procreation leads to the passing on of genes. Genes are not the
only thing your parents wish to pass on to you, mister jones! No, they wish the best for you. As
a parent, in my own right, I know that there is so many expectations I have for my child, but
ultimately I realize that my son must make the decisions for himself.” Looking Harris in the
eyes the Teacher became quite somber. “BUT! But, I can give my son the skills he needs to
make those life choices. That is what having a child is all about, helping them progress. Making
sure they don’t relive the mistakes we did, or I did. If they don’t have to learn from my mistakes
my son can focus on his mistakes. Eventually they run out of mistakes and can progress,
furthering society. That is what having kids is about, progressing society and making things
better for our kids and our kids own kids. Making sure history doesn’t repeat itself.”
  Getting up from a kneeling position the teacher walked back up to the chalk board with his
hands clasped behind his back. Pacing back and forth he began to gather his thoughts. The
Teacher knew what needed to be said, that was not the problem. What he was concerned with
now, was saying what was in his heads with the greatest impact. Saying these jumbled helter
skelter thoughts in a way that would stick with these anthro kids for many, many years to come.
  “Now imagine having that ability ripped away from you by the hate of others.”
  In an act of finality, with a moan that made him seem old beyond his ears, the Teacher sat in
his chair propping his feet up on his desk. Pez raised her hands, her ears perked up and her tail
swayed a little. The boy behind Pez groaned rolling his eyes and letting his neck go limp his
head lolling back. “What is it Miss Vulpes? What do you need?” The Teacher folded his hands
in his lap and smiled slyly at her.



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  With delicate deliberation she sounded out her words, as they rolled off of her tongue the
teacher listened. “If… If these great minds knew that the world was going to end, if they for saw
this distant and horrible future, why didn’t they stop it? Instead of wasting their energy in
rebuilding a fallen world, why not instead use that same energy to forward the notion of ending
the Great Gas War? Surely they could have found an alternative to oil, an alternative to
fighting… All that bloodshed and violence… It scares me… Won’t we just repeat it? Someone
will get angry at someone else and another one will start! Why not just focus on ending war
rather than rebuilding life? It’s, it’s… stupid! I may be a little girl, only twelve years old, but
even I can see that!” Pez’s mind whirled with ideas and those thoughts scared her.
  The Teacher took off his glasses and whipped them with a rag. Setting them back on his nose
he stared out at her. “Miss Vulpes have you ever put pen to paper? Done a doodle in art class?”
Pez nodded her little foxy head. “Then you can understand why it was necessary to let the war
run its own course.” She was about to interrupt but he held up his hand and gave Pez a look that
silenced her, much to her chagrin. A couple students tittered in their seats making jeering noises
at her. The Teacher gave all the mocking students the same look he had given Pez. “Now, when
you draw with pen and paper, ink is permanent. When you make a mistake you have to use
white out to cover it, but that looks gaudy. An artist who values their workmanship will start
over from scratch, ripping his failed inking to shreds. The same rule applies to pencil and paper.
Sure, pencil can be erased but what if, when you are almost done creating your work of art an
artist fudges up? Some may erase the pencil and start again; others will grab another piece of
paper. Yet some artist loved that previous drawing up to that awful moment where in the artist
screwed up. The artist will use their previous sketch as a guide line.” He paused and let the
analogy stick in.
  “Now when the bombs fell I was about 10 years old, my mother was a scientist, a bioengineer
to be exact. She and her family, which I was obviously a part of, were sent to one of the
underground bunkers. About 20 years later we began to notice the effects of the radiation. There
had been several miscarriages and a number of people mysteriously died after they became
dehydrated from bouts of vomiting! Not pretty, not pretty at all! The doctors and scientists
began to conduct investigations and experiments to ascertain the extent of the illness that killed
these people. Of course they wanted to find out whether it would spread and kill more people in
the bunker. A quarantine was soon placed but the problem still persisted outside of the
quarantined area. Further investigations happened and the higher powers soon realized that it
was radiation poisoning… and we were all doomed! Or so we thought at the time.”
  Standing up again he rolled up his sleeves and revealed blue veins sticking out of gray tinged
skin. “I only suffered a minor case of “Rad Rage” as we called it. My skin became gray and bits
of it dried up and flaked off. The patriarch of our bunker had no idea what to do, or how to calm
his now panicking people. As the days progressed, more and more people died. At first it was
the older men and women, along with some of the newborns. Surely enough others began to
suffer the symptoms of Rad Rage. We prayed to god to end the pain… Then on the radio we
heard a voice, a broadcast. The Voice on the Winds was what the broadcast was called, the voice


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                                           K. W. Kemp


of god, or so we, the people of the bunker, thought. It may not have been the voice of god but it
was the voice of his messenger. God had answered our prayer and sent salvation to us! He
heard our pleas and gave us an escape from the radiation infested landscape we called home.
  “This Voice on the Winds, spoke of a utopia. A civilization conceived in liberty with the
ideals of the original Constitutional Convention. A place where man could thrive, could pursue
the things he so desired, for themselves and their families. A utopia where evil would not, could
not survive. Evil would be squished beneath the foot of democracy. As long as man did not
repeat the same mistakes and greed he had followed in the past. These Founders of this utopia
were using the constitution as the basis of their sketch. It was the original pencil and paper
drawing from which a new drawing, a perfect drawing would be based. This new design would
fix all the problems the other constitution had. It could be built up faster, knowing that it had
worked for nearly 300 years, and now would live on in this new form of government, the only
exception from the old Constitution being more power to the people, this being possible because
of the sheer lack of people after the end of the world.
  “Hearing this, hearing these promises, the people of the bunker decided to go investigate. We
sent a team of soldiers, in radiation resistant suits, to this utopia. We sent them with our hopes
and our dreams riding on their shoulders. For if these promises were not true then everyone
would die. The bunker would not be our coffin.
  “Days, weeks, months, years, or maybe eons later one single soldier returned. Out of a team of
six highly trained professionals, one returned. The stories he told were both awe inspiring and
bone chilling. The utopia was true, a civilization called the Human Union for Mankind’s
Preservation, or HUMP for short, was really out there. Not only was it a reality it was seeking
more people to join its ranks. In the mountains of Montana no nukes had fallen. The land was
safe to live on, farm on, and grow up on. It was a Garden of Eden. The horror was not HUMP,
but the horror lay in the landscape traveling there. The world had changed, and not for the
better. Many of the well-traveled roads were guarded and booby trapped by gangs and rabble
rousers seeking to suck innocents dry. Some raped women, yet others ate the flesh of their
fellow man. Others brainwashed scared travelers and initiated them into their clans. The horrors
of the human mind, and human action were endless.
  “The mean men of the outside world were not the only horrors to beset the troop of soldiers on
the quest to find HUMP.” The Teacher took a deep breath and sat down on the lip of his desk
and looked out at the class. The boys with a bit of fight in them loved to her the action of the
story, the girls seemed a little sick, while others (the more contemplative) had a lost looks on
their faces, whether lost in thought or in the story the Teacher could not tell. It was the same
every year. Pez was lost in thought. Her thoughts ranged from the truth of the teacher’s story, to
how to make the outside world, the world outside HUMP, more hospitable and habitable. “There
were Plagues, crazed animals, packs of wild dogs, enormous insects, crumbling buildings, the list
was endless. The soldiers had fallen prey to many of these things, a few stayed behind in the
HUMP capital city, the city you students are now in, while one soul soldier came back to alert us
of the good news. The City officials had clean water and food, the kind that was not irradiated


                                                                                               11
                                           Chapter Zero


like the streams of the world outside. HUMP had schools, police, and places to work and make
money. Places to find fun and build camaraderie.
  “To make a long story short, so as not to bore you death, or put you to sleep like Mister Jones,
our now sparsely populated bunker uprooted and moved to HUMP Capital City, much like many
people from many wakes of life have, and still do come her, seeking a better way of life. That is
my story, maybe it will help you understand our later text, and maybe it will help Mister Jones to
understand why it is important to memorize all this “crap”. Maybe, just maybe it will help the
Presidents own daughter understand the importance of coming to class on TIME!” The Teacher
smirked delightedly to himself.
  Pez bit her tongue as her cheeks turned a bright red. She had been zeroed out and it was rather
quiet embarrassing. Hiding her face in her paws she tried to zone out the rest of the classroom.
She listened to only the sound of the blood pumping in her ears. It always served to calm her in
times of distress, the steady rhythm of the heart.
  “About a hundred years ago the Teachers union would have chastised me for being too hard on
my students. Well it’s a different world now. You kids really don’t get to stay kids for long.
There is a lot to do to restore this country, and this world, to its former glory. No to a brighter
future more glorified then our fore fathers could have imagined. I as a teacher have to give you
the knowledge to prepare my students for the reality of the real world. The real world will not
baby you, I’m afraid, so neither will I.” Shifting his posterior on his desk the Teacher looked
back down at Pez. “Now if you could start reading the beginning of section two it would be
much appreciated.” Again he held up his hand before Pez could protest. “I know, I know, I’m
picking on you! But let me explain something to you, one your father has been the President
since HUMP was founded, and has been consistently voted in time and time again. The second
reason is whether you like it or not, because you are his daughter you are expected to act like
royalty and to know all the ins and outs of this society which includes our history. So read on.”
  Turning his back he began to make notes on the board for the students to copy down as Pez
read. Again he interrupted her, “Notice class section one was about the end of the world. This
was caused by two things, the threat of a depleting oil supply, not the actual lack of oil but the
threat, and human greed. Section two is the beginning of HUMP not just the actual first days of
the government but what lead up to the founding of this utopian society. Now read on Pez, I
won’t interrupt you anymore.”
                             Section Two: The Beginnings of HUMP

The acronym HUMP stands for the Human Union for Mankind’s Preservation. A union of
people, a union of minds solely devoted to helping their fellow man and the rebirth of a fallen
world. A union concerned with the passing down of the human genome along with the entire
history and cumulated knowledge of making to their offspring their creations, the
anthropomorphic sentient beings, or anthros as they are colloquially called. HUMP is for the
people, built by the people supported by the people, to help other people. A man gives time and
friendship to another man, for that same courtesy at a later date. Above all else: Honesty,


                                                                                                12
                                            K. W. Kemp


perseverance selflessness, passion, patriotism, , anonymity, integrity faith, and honor. These
were the core beliefs that the union called HUMP was formed.
  It was the year 2075 A.D and a lone man called Vladimir Brashkenkoff…

                                                

Vlad sat in the lotus position on the top of the com tour in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The
submarine had surfaced when his crew was still alive. Now that they were all dead there was no
one to man the ship, he was stranded in the middle of the biggest ocean in the world. With no
one or nowhere to run to he sat, sat contemplating the vastness of the universe and the
complexity of the human mind. Deep in introspection the sound of the waves crashing against
the metal hub of the submersible ship beating a hypnotic tattoo, Vlad wondered what the land
would look like when he washed up on some distant shore. Focusing his vision on the vanishing
point on the distant horizon, his mind went to sleep. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and
he bit his lip lightly.
  Vlad no longer sat on the submarine. Instead he sat on a cloud in the sky, looking down at the
world from his high perch. The one eyed man could see where the bombs had fallen. He saw
where disease and chemicals had not only scarred the people but the land. Grass that was once
luscious green was now a withered gray-yellow, even then that grass was stained the crimson of
blood. Letting out a sigh of frustration, Vlad stood up from the lotus position and looked up at
the heavens from his perch on the clouds.
  “Vhy, vhy do you show me zese zings? Zere is nozing I can do! Lord, you show me zese
zings just to zrow zem in my face! You know as vell as I zat zere vas nozing I could do to
prevent zese zings from happening! It vould be far easier to cradle ze sun in my arms zan to turn
ze hearts of blood zirsty men from var!” Balling his hands into fists Vlad struck the cloud in
anger. Again and again he struck the vapor mist that was the cloud, but stopped when he
realized that the texture of his platform would give him no physical release from the pains of his
heart. His fists simply slipped on through the cloud substance.
  Flopping down on his buttocks, Vlad clasped his hands round his knees. Looking up at the sky
again he waited for an answer. Waiting, waiting for the voice of god, he failed to notice that his
clouded platform had begun to move in the sky. The cloud finally came to a halting stop,
causing the Russian to fall flat on his face. Groaning and pushing himself up, he looked over the
lip of the cloud again. The air was much colder in this location. The land was covered in snow
and pine trees. In the distance he thought he might see glaciers, like those he saw in the arctic.
Somehow he just knew, as if God or Mother Nature, had implanted the idea in his head, he knew
that this was Montana. No bombs had struck here, but the people were still hiding in
underground bunkers as if the land had been laid to waste.
  Wondering why he was being shown these things, Vlad scratched his chin. Two polar opposite
images overlapped in his line of vision. One chilled him to the bone; the other provided him
with a feeling of hope and new determination. In one image he saw a god fearing people, a


                                                                                                13
                                          Chapter Zero


freedom loving people, a people united in a common goal, bringing hope and light into an
irradiated landscape. A light to banish the darkness of fear and uncertainty, a light where for
once the world would no longer spend ages fighting. There would be world peace, famine would
disappear, almost all injuries and accidental deaths, would vanish for a millennia to come. It was
the image of a heaven on earth, where god walked among his creations, recreating life. New
blossoms would bloom, and new foliage would decorate the landscape. Baby birds would fly
from their nests and sing songs of adventure once again. It seemed too perfect to be true.
   Yet, the horrible reality of the other image distorted the perfect light filled image into a
grotesque five headed monster of doom and despair. Try as hard as he could, Vlad could not get
the image of darkness out of his vision to focus on the beauty of the utopia. This dark image was
filled with inky blurry ash. The trees were not in bloom, they were on fire. Ash littered the
mountains rather than snow. When it rained, it was acid. This acid could eat away at the tissue
of any living thing. Death, defeat, blood, hate, war, and secret packs made in the dark of the
night in cold damp places, were the emotions Vlad could fell swirling from this image. As a boy
he had once studied ocean fish that lived where no light could be found. Where it was so cold
and the water pressure so fierce that almost nothing could live down there, to Vlad though, he
knew the true reason why these places existed. Mother Nature had to put her most hideous and
malicious monsters somewhere, so she hid them away in the ocean where no beauty loving
human mind could ever see them. These pale carnivorous fish with pointy teeth and deceptive
traps, these were the things of nightmares. In this dark image that filled his vision, and sucked
the joy from his marrow, these were the monsters that now lived on the land that humans once
called home. These creatures of the deep, they preyed on the weak and those who were easily
deceived. It was a cruel biting world that few could fathom let alone live in, a world that the
young Russian General never hoped to see.
   These two images were both aligned at this one spot. This spot in the wilderness of Montana
was where these two realities merged. Then it all clicked, he realized that he, Vladimir
Brashkenokoff, was going to have to make a choice or a series of actions at this place or starting
from this place that would change the future of mankind. Depending on which choices he made,
either picture, either reality could become true. His knees buckled and he collapsed in a heap on
the cloudy platform. My choice, mine alone… It struck him like being hit by a semi-truck. He
closed his eyes and shut out the world.
   When he opened up his eyes again he was still sitting in the lotus position on top of the com
tower. The sun had changed position in the sky and the shore was no longer in the distance, his
submarine had washed up on the shore. Damn near dry docked zis zing, he thought as he stood
up looking at the unfamiliar shore. Vlad had no way to tell what day or week it was, but he
knew that a vast amount of time had passed while he was in meditation.
   Speeding down the ladder thoughts ran through his brain. He needed to find that place, he
needed supplies he needed a plan. With these thoughts running rampant through his mind, he
began to gather supplies. He grabbed a back pack and a Y-harness. Putting on traveling clothes
he put on the Y-harness, rigging it with ammunition a few knifes and canteens filled with water.


                                                                                               14
                                            K. W. Kemp


Strapped to the side of each thigh he had a SAA Revolver, it did not drag down his pants but the
holsters were just in reach for his hands. They had been gifts from his father, who had known
his love for vintage weapons. Vlad liked rifles and pistols that had been made out of real wood
and metal not some plastic gun that locks up and breaks the first time it is dropped. Stuffing his
back pack he filled it with a change of clothes, some dried food, toilet paper, and a first aid kit.
It was going to be a long journey, filled with who knows what dangers. It might take two days to
align the world down the wrong path, it might take 200 years. Either way he had to prepare for
all adventures, all outcomes, and all the dangers that may come. Slinging his back pack on he
pick up his M1 Garand and scaled the ladder.
   Jumping off the submarine Vlad’s boots sunk into the wet sand of the sea shore. He took a few
steps to get out of the wet spray and took out a Cuban Cigar from his breast pocket and lit it.
Taking a drag he knew that a fresh wind was coming, change was coming. He just hoped that
change was for the better.
   Blowing a smoke ring he followed it as it floated up into the air, where it continued to expand
forever and ever, up in the clouds the ring made a home. “I don’t know vhere you are sending
me or vhat vork you have for me, but Lord, by GOD! I promise zat I’ll do my best, an if zat isn’t
enough I’ll do more. God Almighty, thy vork be done.” Taking a step, a step into infinity, the
step to start them all he knew it was the beginning of a new adventure the beginning of his new
life. “Time to step off, I’ve been vaisting day light as it is.”




                                                                                                 15
                                           Chapter Zero


                                       Chapter Two

BZZZffft! Another high speed bullet whizzed past Vlad as he ducked safely behind a waist high
stone wall. He heard another burst of gun fire ricochet off of the hard stones in the wall. With
adrenaline running through his veins everything seemed to slow down. Practice and years of
experience had taught him to keep a level head in a gun fight. As soon as a man lets anger or
fear course through his veins, he becomes a blind man, a dead man. Blinded by rage, blinded by
anger, a man no longer listens to his instincts, his gut feelings, or the insights of god! All these
are the things that keep man from getting his head blown off or his guts shot out. Pa-TING,
another bullet hit the wall spraying him with little shards of concrete, followed by the sounds of
empty clips.
   Digging his nails into the top of the wall, Vlad vaulted over the fence sighted down the barrel
and let loose a whole clip of bullets in less than two seconds, his finger a blur of motion on the
trigger. The spent box mag of his M1 flew out on to the ground, where it hissed in a pile of snow
as the hot metal turned the ice to steam. Drawing one of his revolvers he laid his rifle against the
wall as he peeked around for moving bodies. Three bodies, three corpses littered the forest floor
with blood. Each bullet had found some home in a vital organ. The men were dead before they
had hit the ground. One man, however, was missing.
   CRACK!
   A bullet tore through a tree and went into Vlad’s shoulder tearing through the other side. The
bullet was a nice clean shot, through-and-through. Diving swiftly behind a thick oak he pulled
back the hammer on the revolver and poked the barrel of his gun out of hiding, a spray of bullet
met this movement. Good, I got him scared, Vladimir grinned as he formulated a plan of action.
Picking up a stone he tossed it fifty feet into a neighboring bush. Bullets sprayed the push as he
sprinted out of cover his feet kicking up dirt as he did so. Jumping, both legs pushing up with all
the strengths his leg muscles could muster, he twisted in air and fired a single bullet at his
assailant. A red dot appeared in the middle of the gunslingers head. Collapsing in a jumble of
arms and legs Vlad could only watch the vapor of his breath rise from his mouth.
   Pushing himself up from the cold wet ground, his muscles screaming out from over use, Vlad
crept over to the body of his final victim. It was a female, from a distance it had looked like a
man. Squatting on his hams, he closed her eyes. He prayed silently to god, to forgive him for
his transgressions and to make sure that the girl went to heaven. Vlad sighed; the radiation had
robbed the poor girl of all her hair, completely bald. No hair on her eyebrow, or her eyelids,
nothing. Vlad searched the girl’s clothes for anything useful that he could use on his little
adventure. A few bullets and a bag of deer jerky were all the four bodies had for him to loot, still
a better find then he had had in this whole last week of searching.
   Sitting on the fence he had used for cover not more than ten minutes ago Vlad began to chew
on the savory meat. It had been a while since he had eaten any meat. The world had changed,
was still changing. Humanity was collapsing, and common courtesy was a thing of the past, not


                                                                                                 16
                                            K. W. Kemp


that there was much of that before the bombs fell anyway! Vlad chuckled to himself as he pulled
on his back pack again. With his rifle swung over his shoulder he whistled a tune out loud,
listening to it echo amongst the trees. He had not seen any animals, heard any birds or bees, nor
seen any fishes in any of the streams or rivers he had passed by.
   It was not easy traveling alone in this wilderness the world had turned into. His first major
brush with death had occurred what seemed like moments after he made his first glorious step on
the beach. He had been meandering down the street his heals thumping on the blacktop as he
wondered where he should go, and which direction he should head out towards, and then a wave
of sickness rolled over him. He ran off the road and hurled in the bushes, when he wiped his
mouth and looked up he saw fishes floating dead on the water, along with a few dead foxes.
They had drunk this water and it had killed them. Vlad had drunk that water and now he was
sick… He threw up again this time little bloody chunks came up. He spewed chunks over and
over till there was nothing left, and then he had the dry heaves. Falling on the ground, his face
purple he sat there waiting to die. Vlad’s face was in the dirt, he could see all the little ants and
beetles crawling about. Then a little frog jumped out of the water and sucked down a
grasshopper. The frog jumped past his face and he saw something strange, he weakly rubbed his
eyes to make sure he was not seeing things. The frog had a third eye and it had to sets of hind
legs.
  The radiation, his mind gasped out in wonder. Radiation had poisoned the water, and those
who could not adapt to the irradiated stream died. The frog’s genes were changing, trying to find
a way to protect it from the evil corrosive substance that a split atom had induced. Vlad
wondered what he looked like, if a third eye was forming in his forehead, if he was growing
another leg or a tail. His mind was active even as it appeared his body was failing. “God don’t
let me die! Your vill be done…” He blacked out.
  Biting his lower lip he hated his own weakness. The memory of the act still made him feel
weak. Walking along the game trail he spotted an old cabin, probably a couples summer home.
Opening up the door he waived the muzzle of his rifle around ready to kill anything that opposed
him. Nothing, silence was the only thing that greeted his entrance. Raiding all the cabinets he
looked for food, finding only a few cans of Alpo and a propane stove. Finding an old pot he
heated the dog food and sat down to a nice dinner. This was his life, he was a scavenger seeking
God, he himself would have called his adventure folly in his youth, but he had matured in the last
month. You had to be tough to survive, the weak died.
  When he was a boy, he had dreamed of adventure and intrigue, he wanted to be a hero that men
respect and women wanted. To do this Vlad knew that he had to join the armed service, to fight
for his country and make a name for himself! However, his dad in infinite wisdom forced him to
get a degree first. “Nyet! No Vladimir my boy I vould not have you die as a grunt! Get some
learning in your head before you fly the coop!” Having respect for his father he listened. He got
a degree in history, not only his country’s history but the whole world’s history. While at
college he found the love of his life and soon got married. Now he wanted to join the military
for a whole new reason. He wanted, needed, to support a family. Life on the barracks may not


                                                                                                  17
                                          Chapter Zero


be the best but it offered home, food, and health care. Vlad wanted to provide for his family, his
wife had changed him. She had made him more mature, helped him become a man. Now he no
longer wanted to impress but serve and help others, and in the military he learned to do that. He
helped shape boys and turn them into men. He taught them respect and patriotism. Made them
feel part of the bigger whole, made them feel needed and wanted, that there job was necessary.
Made them feel like the future, not history. Made them feel that they were more than cannon
fodder.
  The higher ups noticed his success, his ability to lead and inspire his fellow men. With his
success came his promotion, till at a very young age he became a general. He had joined the
military at the age of 22 and became a general at the age of 25. Not soon after his birthday the
political war that had been raging became a physical war, a bloody war. He was soon following
his men onto foreign lands conquering wherever area mother Russia deemed necessary to take.
Then problems began to escalate, more people began to die, more drastic measures ordered.
Bombs fell, civilian casualties increased, the blood just kept on coming and it made Vlad sick.
He had not joined the military to kill millions of people, he had joined to bring honor to his
country and to put a roof over his wife’s head. This war was ridiculous, but it had been going on
far longer then he remembered. It needed to end, and fast with as many lives spared as possible.
  As Vlad ate his Alpo he pulled a picture out of his wallet. It was his wife holding his baby
boy, his son. His son, his heir, his only child… With a sigh he put the picture away again, it was
no use they were both dead now. The dog food had got cold, like his heart, as he remembered
happy memories, memories of joys he could never again could have. DAMN ZOSE
POLITICIANS! Vlad scowled into the recess of the pot as he drained the last bit of gravy and
wiped his face with the back of his hand. A cold pit formed in his belly, the food was food, not
to enjoy but for the caloric necessity.
  There were not many things he enjoyed nowadays. He used to love to go camping, hiking and
hunting which was essentially what he was doing. The thing Vlad had love most about all of
that, was being in nature, and just taking in all of the awe inspiring sights, listening watching
waiting, for things that man’s hand could not make. Man May not be able to create these things
but that did not stop him from destroying them. Just like man had destroyed his life, buy killing
his wife and son, by destroying the world he knew and love. Now it was his job, his duty, to
help rebuild the world with the help of god and any other humans left around after the nuclear
apocalypse. GOD, vhy can’t get I get zat zrough my head? It just hasn’t sunk in yet… The
thoughts just kept wrestling around in the thick skull he called his brain. If you took a marble
and rolled it around it in a can, that is what Vlad imagined his own mind to sound like.
  Breaking a few chairs and shelves he started to make a teepee out of the wood and lit a fire.
Warming his hands next to the fire place he smiled and his mind wandered back to his past
again. His wife, she had such a pretty face. When Vlad had been married there were many jokes
and friendly jeers about how Vlad had got “the better end of the deal.” They laughed at an ugly
scraggly Russian youth, still waiting to fill out his dress suit, marrying a goddess. Next to the
beauty of his wife in her wedding dress he looked like a dud, a dull rock. Taking her arm that


                                                                                               18
                                            K. W. Kemp


day, watching her father walk her down the aisle… he felt more comfortable dodging bullets
then he had that day. Nervous as all hell, his heart pounding in his chest, his hands shaking, he
had uttered those fateful words “I do,” and never regretted it.
  Vlad found an old cot in a long forgotten corner of the house and set it up next to the fire to
keep him warm through the night. His rifle at his side and his hand gun in his hand under his
pillow, he felt secure enough to sleep. Vlad had to sleep like this, because these were all tried
and true precautions in the perilous times he lived in. A man without a gun was dead, a man
without a will to live was dead, a man who did not want to fight for his food his sleep and the air
he breathed, was also dead. It was a dog eat dog world, as time went on food become scarcer
and resources increasingly hard to come by. Vlad fought tooth and nail forever mile of land he
walked through, or so it seemed. He had not got a full night sleep in a long time. He went to bed
after the sun went down and was up before the dawn glow touched the sky. Always moving,
always ever eager to go to that unknown wilderness wherein man’s hope lied.
  Slipping into a disturbed and frustrated sleep, the hours of the night ever so slowly speed by.
Cold sweat soaked the moth eaten pillow as Vlad twisted and turned trying to find some
modicum of serenity in his slumber. Images flashed rapidly beneath his eyelids, dreams within
dreams within another twisted mosaic of a dream. Were his dreams relived episodes of the past,
revelations of the future, or disturbing nightmares so grotesque and alien that his mind could not
even handle it? Whether it was his dreams or his predisposition to light slumber, he tossed and
turned half the night away before calm appeared on his face and he slept like a log.
  The night ended and the day began. The sky turned into a violent display of multihued shades
of purple, blue, and orange. As soon as one of the mornings rays touched Vlad he snapped
awake and felt a disconcerting weight on his chest. Clicking the hammer of his revolver back he
looked down at his belly and found to his utter astonishment a dog. Not just any dog, but a
beautiful female Siberian Husky. Letting his hammer down carefully Vlad pet the dog behind
the ears as it tilted its head at him.
  It was then that Vlad had an internal struggle. His mind told him that a dog was just another
mouth to feed, another body to take care of. It would only bring him suffering and hardship. He
should just kill the dog and gut it for food. Then the dog licked his hand gently causing him to
have second thoughts. Vlad’s heart told him he needed a friend, an ally. Someone or something
to keep him safe and sane, he knew of the loyalty of dogs and how ferociously they fought for
their masters. This dog could be an invaluable companion and ally, no matter the cost to feed
and protect it. Vlad needed a friend something fierce, and he could not bring himself to kill
something so beautiful. Indeed it could even be a gift from god, a message of his favor. This
dog could be a guide, a marker on the right path.
  Vlad kept the dog.

                                                




                                                                                                19
                                          Chapter Zero


“Who gives a crap about the stupid dog?” Mister Jones, ever the class clown, shouted out to a
few chortles of laughter. The teacher folded his glasses and rubbed the bridge of her nose with
two fingers. It was a different year, a different teacher. This teacher was an elderly English
professor, her white hair hung loosely over her blouse as she smiled and paced in front of her
students at the head of the classroom.
  Pez was now a young woman of fifteen smack dab in the middle of puberty and with that came
an overwhelming amount of hormones coursing through her veins and to match that she had an
overwhelming emerging beauty and cutting whit. No longer was she the class scapegoat, kids no
longer incessantly picked on her. She had a course tongue that could cauterize any smart remark
down to the stump. Her pretty eyes, a dark purple laced with blue and green, hid intelligence far
superior to any of the kids her age along with a fiery spirit that would one day lead HUMP into
worldwide renaissance of knowledge and peace, or so all the teachers and diplomats hoped.
With all these came all the wiles of wonton emotions, it was the work and worry of all her
mentors and nursemaids that she did not become a power hungry, manipulative, controlling
young woman. How can nurses maids and tutors raise a girl? When what she really needed was
the caring guiding hand of her parents, but she had no mother and her father was always too busy
running the country.
  “Mister Jones, you do realize that I am your teacher and I have asked you countless times to be
couth and maintain a certain level of decorum. This is Vladimir Brashkenokoff’s autobiography.
He deemed it necessary to write about this dog, it must play more than a passing role in his life.
If you continue reading, which you have no choice but to do, you will come to understand the
significance of the dog. Now if you have a real question you can raise your hand and ask and I’ll
try to answer it to the best of my ability, but if you waste my time with your “witty’’ remarks I
will make sure you get detention.” The teacher gave a congenial smile and sat back down on her
chair behind her podium. Hanging her glasses in her breast pocket she smiled looking out at her
class.
  “I’m sure you all have learned in history class how HUMP was formed and some of the key
players. Vladimir was the key player. Without him, Pez’s father,’’ at this she paused to nod at
the adolescent anthro girl, “would have perished and never have created the anothros. If the
anthros had never been created our civilization our very way of life would have dwindled, fading
into the sands of time never to be heard from again.” She cracked her knuckles and open the
novel whose pages comprised the entirety of Vlad’s life story. Putting her glasses on, one ear at
a time she cleared her throat, “On page 351 Vlad has an excerpt from his personal diary in
regards to what he thought of anthros which I shall read for you:
 January 15th, 2090
  He’s at it again, that youth is too smart for his own good. The Scientist Kid, he’s good with
people, he’s charming self-assured and knows how to move a crowd. He certainly won me over
and I wasn’t about to let my guard down either. Funny God let me know that my decision would
affect the rest of humanity but it seems like he will have a bigger hand in it then I. Yet, I am
nothing but a soldier so how could I ever make a difference?

                                                                                               20
                                            K. W. Kemp


   But, but my voice will be heard.
   The people, for some odd reason, listen to me and what I have to say. I may have been only a
soldier, I may have been their greatest enemy at one point in time, but they listen to me. The ask
me questions and seek after my advice. It’s crazy but true!
   Anyways I’m straying from the subject, the thing that really puts my panties in a twist (I think
that’s the right American saying, it’s weird writing in this tongue but again The Scientist Kid
insists that it will help me with my English and get rid of my accent – I doubt THAT! Though
‘panties’ sounds feminine… Americans are funny.)
   At this more than a few teenagers broke out in laughter, especially the boys. Here was
Vladimir Brashkenokoff, whom in every class they were taught that he was the manliest man.
This was the guy that all boys were supposed to look up to and one day hope to become.
However for the HUMP youth he was little more than an icon much like Uncle Sam was for the
US military. Some kids even thought that he had never existed, he was a myth a fairy tale told to
the kids to keep them in line to inspire and motivate them, a factitious tale of outstanding
proportions. This was “The Man.” And his panties were in a twist
  There were days when Pez could believe this, that the President and his council had just created
an elaborate ploy to keep the civilian under a guise of hope, to cow them into a false sense of
security. If Vladimir could romp around the irradiated wilderness, so could YOU! Be brave and
be an outstanding citizen, were the morals taught by this soldiers story, and everyone swallowed
it daily like a vitamin they would die without.
   Yet… There was a part of her that screamed the truth. Vague images danced behind her closed
eyelids, dreams of memories so hazed over that the people moving in them were no more than
smears of colors. She remember a black eye patch remembered pulling the on it and laughing as
she let go and the elastic band caused it to snap on the poor man’s face. She remembered fuzzy
fur on his cheeks, long mutton chops was what they looked like to her now. Pez remembered a
warm deep voice always ready to laugh always ready to smile. She also remembered the one
time she did something to displease this voice, this man. Pez had stolen from a store getting a
severe scolding, the lecture of her life. This jovial older man had sat her down and explained the
facts of life to her, good and bad, right and wrong, morality and ethics. Though she may not
have understood that talk then, it had stuck with her till now. It was embedded in her mind, in
her very soul and controlled her actions. This man had given her something to be, a goal system,
hurdles to jump in her life.
   Was that Vlad? Was he that kind fatherly figure in my early years? Whoever he was he seems
to be the only person who cared 2 shakes of a tail for me, everyone else (my father included) just
treats me as delicate china to be put on a pedestal for later use.
   “Miss Vulpes if you will please pay attention! This is important material we are discussing,
unless you feel that your day dream is more important? Perhaps it is! Would you like to share?”
That old biddy! The teacher had drug Pez out of her own contemplations and into this decidedly
boorish book.



                                                                                                21
                                           Chapter Zero


  “I was only… Seems like I once met this Vlad, but it couldn’t be they say he died a long time
ago.” Pez began to twirl her pen in her fingers as she looked at the teacher for an answer.
  The teacher sighed, “We don’t know whether or not he is dead or alive. The Union, and the
President both simply suggest he is no longer reachable or amongst our ranks. We the common
people believe him to be dead.” The teacher tapped the end of her fingers on the table top of her
podium waiting to get on her lesson. “Yet, that does not mean we cannot learn from his
example!”
  “What example, to leave his people and leave behind a figment of a forgotten dream? If that is
an example, then I’m a fool if there ever was one!”
  “Well Miss Vulpes when you have actually worked a day in your life, as pampered as you are,
when you have done that then you can tell me how Vladimir has abandoned his people. When
you were born he was already fifty years old and had lived through enough life experience for
someone twice his age. Him and a few others wrought an entirely new government, constructed
a new world order, and protected said order from all onslaughts. It is hard work. Hard work
indeed. But I can’t simply explain that to you, when you have lived with responsibility, having
other’s lives in your hand, their expectations their hopes their dreams… When you can say
you’ve done even one of those things then you get a glimpse of the pressure Vladimir and the
other Establishers went through. Vlad simply decided to live out the rest of his days in the peace
and quiet of retirement is my guess. Something he well deserved.”
  “Say what you want to defend him, but I think he ran away from his fears.”
  “And so would you if you had the fears he did!”
  Pez harrumphed in the back of her throat and decided to end the argument there. A student
could never possible hope to win against a teacher. It was their domain, and they might as well
be king or God as far as they are concerned. This was their kingdom, they reigned supreme and
their word was law.
  “In ways I am done arguing with you Miss Vulpes. If you have real questions I’d be more than
happy to answer them. But until them would you continue on with the reading please.”
  If looks could kill Pez would have just killed the Teacher with her glare. With an over worked
sigh, she flipped open her book flitting to the page where she had left off. Pez scanned the lines
with her eyes and found where she had left off.
  The thing that really gets my panties in a twist is assumption, and man’s lack of charity. It was
the overbidding assumptions and complete lack of charity that had led to the end of the world, or
the end of man (Mother Earth I fear will live on no matter how hard we try to kill her). I know
this, and the rest of the men here know this, but they can’t get it past there thick skull to stop
arguing and to start working! We are running out of time! We don’t have much time, and they
are wasting it with action. Politicians killed the world with their “talks.” What the world needs
now is love and action! Love, coming from a soldier may sound odd but that is what charity is,
love and compassion for someone other than yourself. I find the more I take care of other people
the more they take care of me. And if we get a government and a people to do this, then war will
end like I have foresaw!


                                                                                                22
                                             K. W. Kemp


  Again I am getting side tracked.
  We have a feasible solution to the problem of sterility but people are busy arguing and not
willing to understand. There is racism, bigots, and superiority complexes raging at every
corner. Maybe I will speak to the council. Let them have a peace of my mind, then -maybe then
they will start this bioengineering wonder. Taking the DNA of two humans and putting it in the
fertile cell of another organism to create life sounds far-fetched, but if they can do it life will be
saved, life will be created, life bring about the change the world needed. A clean slate for the,
what is that word The Scientist Kid taught me? Oh yeah sentient! A clean slate for the sentient
beings on Earth. Maybe this time they can do it right and learn from history. But dammit all if
they keep on arguing the ethics of it, they will bog the works down and production will never
take off long enough to even cease!
  But when man plays God, God humbles man.
  That rang a chord in the little vixen’s head. Pez had heard that growled in a low rumble before.
She had remembered putting her ears next to the vent in the floor, her room being directly over
here father’s study she could eavesdrop on the conversations below. She had heard whom she
now supposed were Vlad and her father arguing till late in the night. Pez remembered that as
Vlad got angrier his accent got thicker, his English worse, and the amount of Russian expletives
increased. The shadows of her memory called out to her.
  “Damn you Vladimir you hard headed son of a bitch! The anthros have been created, I have
made the perfect human being with the tools I was given, Vulpes Vulpes is living proof of that!”
The President bellowed at Vlad.
  “You mean your daughter don’t you?” Vlad’s voice questioned.
  “Yes, yes… my daughter. Sure.”
  “Zere in lies your problem. Zere in lies my indignation. Zere in lies my wrath. Yes, you have
created vhat you call “ze perfect human beings,” but you yourself still treat them as if zey vere
nozing more zan pets. Pets to use and abuse as you see fit. Ze truth is zat zey are not pets for
you to carry on a leash. Zey are people viz souls just like you and I. Living, breathing, learning,
human beings. Sure zey have animal ears or tails, or maybe some are hairy… Proof zat zey
aren’t as perfect as you zink! Anyvays ze are still human and zat is zat.”
  “Okay Martin Luther King Jr. no need to go all preacher on me! So, some people treat them
better than others, what do you want me to do about it?” A solid thud reverberated up the wall
and the then young Pez could feel the floor shake. “Hey Vlad there is no need to put holes in my
wall, Mr. Angry Pants!”
  “You know I love you like a brother, but sometimes… Sometimes I could just strangle you!
It’s not ze people who treat zem good you need to worry about! It’s the people who treat zem
bad! Vhen I train my men, I feel for zem, I grow vith zem, and I respect zem. But zat is just me
training zem. You, you and your team created zese anthros. For all intents and purposes you are
zere creator and you don’t even seem to show the slightest concern for zem… Vhat is zat?”
  “How dare you say that I don’t care for them! If I didn’t care for them I wouldn’t have created
them to begin with. Why make something you care nothing about?”


                                                                                                    23
                                           Chapter Zero


  “Because. Because you vanted fame. Maybe fortune? Maybe glory? I don’t know vhy you
vould do somezing, it is not my job to know vhat is going on inside your head. Vhat is my job is
to protect these people. The humans, the anthros and everyzing in between.”
  “Again I ask you Vlad what do you want me to do? I am a busy man, and I have a lot of things
on my plate. My time doesn’t need to be wasted bickering semantics and philosophy with a one
eyed communist Russian!” There was a huff as a chair was knocked down and a door swung
open.
  “I vant you to speak to the people, brainvash zem like you politicians do, into behaving like
caring human beings whose purpose is indeed the preservation and furthering of society.”
  “Sure, sure, sure I’ll have my speech writers make something up. Your concerned is well
noted.”
  “Remember Kid, vhen man plays God, God humbles man.”
  Pez had always loved her father, to this day she still did, still tried to impress him. Father
always does seem a bit stand offish, she bit her lip sucking in air, but he is a good man. He’s just
really busy, he’s The President everyone wants a piece of him. So many people couldn’t be
possibly be wrong about the honesty, sincerity, and charity of one man. The people love him and
he loves the people. After that speech Pez remembered her father pacing around and swearing
down stairs for a long time blowing out hot air. She fell asleep to that sound. When she woke
up she was tucked in her sheets, and she knew that her father cared. Obviously he had come up
in the middle of the night, found her sleeping on the floor, and had tucked her in. She could still
feel his warm kiss on her forehead when she woke up. Her father had given a wonderful speech
the next day. One of the best he had ever given. It seemed he had spent all night being kept up
by the wakeup call of this ambiguous “hero” that was Vladimir Brashkenokoff. She had just
read about it in her history class a few days ago, and then watched in on tape to boot! It was all
about equality, peace of mind, and charity. Serving others over yourself, making people feel
welcome in a new setting. He stressed that humans and anthros were not different but two sides
of the same whole. Labels should not exist, just the label of God’s children. And in that
everyone is the same. It was racism and hate that bred the end of the world, he had pointed out.
Do not repeat history or the failures of our brothers, we are moving into a new age an age of
understanding. The President was… is a good man. Isn’t he?
  It was that day that old ties, and grievances led to the splitting up of mankind. On one side
were the people who had agreed and voted in The President and his plan to create the
anthropomorphic humanoid sentient beings. They were the majority. On the other hand was the
people who wanted to search out another answer, did not want the humans being degraded to
base animals. It was that day, that speech, that movement that broke the collective back of the
opposing proponents of the anthro plan. HUAA was formed. The Human Union Against
Anthros, a small terrorist group that upheld human value and wanted to preserve the moral purity
of God’s creation, the humans, over man’s creation, the anthros. The two sides have been
trading blows, and trading souls since then.



                                                                                                 24
                                           K. W. Kemp


  “…You guys must remember however that it was not just Mr. Brashkenokoff that created this
great nation that we now live. He simply got the ball the ball rolling; he offered the protection,
the sincerity, and praise need for people to feel comfortable about themselves to be part of
something bigger themselves.” The English teacher drawled on as Pez had drifted off in here
thoughts, thoughts which had eaten up the time like the Cookie Monster gobbles up his favorite
treat.
  The bell rang. The kids cheered whooping like a tribe of hunters when they had got the kill.
With a smile, Pez grabbed her books shooting out of the room with the crowd of livid pubescent
fur bags. The teacher frantically ran behind them shouting over there head, “Remember to read
to Chapter 5 in your books and answer the questions on the hand out I gave you!”
  “Yeah right teach! Its break time for us! See you next fall!” A rude kid blew her a raspberry
on the way out and smiled. Pez was also looking forward to a Spring break, despite the what the
kid said he would see the teacher in only a few short weeks not “next fall.” Boys you can’t live
with them, you can’t… you just can’t live with them. Pez scampered out of the class room and
out of the school and made her way home. Finally I can read a few good books and spend some
time with my dad!

                                                

Vlad watched as his new found friend brought him a feast. She had a big Jack Rabbit in her
mouth, and the dog dropped it in Vlad’s lap. Smiling he pet the dog’s head and neck, “Zat’s a
good girl. Vary good girl, I did not zink zere vas anyzing left in zis barren waste land but you
seemed to have found it!”
  Taking the rabbit he smiled as he gut, cleaned, and slipped it onto a spit over the open fire.
“What am I going to name you? You are pretty. And smart. And a blessing. You are a lot of
zings to me, but you seem to be sign of hope of a brighter future. A future brought forth from ze
ashes of ze old vorld. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Zat is vhat I vill name you.
Phoenix. My vittle Nixy.” The dog wagged its tail fast and furiously hard. Vlad scratched her
behind the ear repeating Nixy’s name to her, letting her get the sound and depth of it.
  The fats and oils from the meat of the rabbit hissed and spit as the greedy flames licked them
up. Throwing the entrails to the dog, Vlad got to work eating the roasted rabbit. He enjoyed his
meal, looking up to the stars for an answer to his unanswerable cosmic question, how vill I
change ze vorld? He listened to the silence, nothing for nothing. “Vell Nixy, God is ze creator
and He is ze destroyer. He gives an’ He takes. But one zing is for sure, he wants us to learn an’
live vith our mistakes. I guess the best lesson is ze one learned ze hard vay.”
  Vlad grabbed up a hand full of cool sand. Hefting it in his hand, he watched as it slowly sifted
through the cracks between his fingers. Dusting the last strands of dirt from his hand he smiled
at the dog. “Ve, ze people of zis Earth, maybe be like zat sand. Ve vere once clumped together
but ze sands of fate have now drifted us apart. It is my job, I supposed, to find zose sands and
give zem purpose. And I’m taking you vith me!” He jumped on the dog hugging her neck


                                                                                                25
                                          Chapter Zero


wrestling her to the ground. He hugged her tight burying his face in Nixy’s warm fur. He cried
softly into Nixy his tears being absorbed by her fur. “Vhy! Vhy did ve have to go an’ screw
zings up? Not only for us, but ve took ze rest of God’s creations into our hands and decided vhat
to do vith zem! Vhen man plays God, God humbles man!
  “Ve vere just too stupid to see zat.”




                                                                                               26

				
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