Mad City: Book One of the Sean Walsh Post Apocalyptic Series

By Patrick O'Donnell

Sci-Fi, Action & adventure

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3 mins


The branches mercilessly pelted my face and body. I was lost in a dark forest that had absolutely no vegetation. Nothing green here, just black unforgiving branches. I was running towards two voices that I faintly recognized, but couldn’t quite make out. They were younger male voices that were in distress and I had to find them. They were in danger and I was their only hope for survival. I hated running, was never good at it. I had to run when I was in the academy and basic training. It was my least favorite thing to do. My mouth was so dry like when I woke up with a king-sized hangover on a regular basis when I was going through my divorce. I knew I had to find these boys from whatever was chasing them or it was lights out for them. My ankle that I had broken years ago was starting to fail and my lungs were heaving in misery. Come on Sean, you can make it! I kept telling myself. You need to find these kids and get them the fuck out of here. I sprang up from my mattress and grabbed my M&P .40 caliber pistol that was on my nightstand on instinct. This was all some shitty dream. I fell back down and on my back and felt the pool of sweat my body had left in my bed. “For God’s sake!” These nightmares had to end soon. I instinctively checked my pistol to make sure there was brass in the chamber and the magazine was properly seated. I gently put it back on its perch next to my head. A couple of pictures of my boys and I that were taken in my parents’ backyard were also on the nightstand. I looked at those pictures about a hundred times a day.

I realized being lost in the dark forest was symbolic of the fucked-up life I had been living for some time now. I felt stuck and there was no way out. The voices crying out for help were my two sons, Sean and Collin, whom I hadn’t seen since before the war. My only purpose now was to find my kids and make sure they were okay. My bed was in the basement of my modest three-bedroom ranch house in a nice quiet neighborhood.

A couple of months ago the government deemed it safe enough to go outside for more than eight hours at a time. Power was restored about two months ago and the plumbing was working as of about 3 months ago. Nothing would ever be “normal,” but these were all steps in the right direction. I still slept in the basement. The government said air quality outside was improving exponentially, but I felt safer here. Besides, I didn’t trust the government all that much. My food and weapons were mostly in the basement. I didn’t consider myself somebody who was ready for the end of the world. But I did do some preparation when war broke out in the Middle East and China. My basement had lots of bottled water and filtration devices for water purification. I had a couple of portable toilets and plenty of toilet paper. I did stock up on canned goods and portable heating devices for cooking and warmth. When I was in the army I “acquired” a good supply of MREs (Meal Ready to Eat). I especially enjoyed the corned beef hash. My ex-wife thought I was crazy for hoarding these little pouched dinners, but I told her they might come in handy for the apocalypse. I was joking about the Armageddon, but things in the world were getting crazy and I didn’t want to get caught unprepared.

I also had a well-supplied medical kit. I had learned advanced combat medicine when I was in the service. I had a good supply of pain killers, antibiotics, bandages, quick-clot, tourniquets and IVs. These were all the things a good medic needed in the field. I was glad I had them and was trained in how to use them. There was also a stash of Irish whiskey that I considered medicinal. I didn’t consider myself a gun nut, but I did collect a good number of firearms through the years. I also had ample ammunition to go along with them. I had two AR-15s (Assault rifles), a Ruger 10-22 (a great rifle to hunt for small game and ammo was cheap), an old double barreled 12 gage coach shotgun (for up close and personal events), a Walther PP-K .380 cal (if it was 2 MAD CITY good enough for James Bond), my brother’s Colt Python .357 cal (always have a good wheel gun, they never jam), my old Glock .40 cal (I kept it for sentimental reasons; it was my first pistol issued to me when I was a cop), a Beretta model 92F 9mm (this was my sidearm in the service and it was a 9mm—always good to have a few different calibers around), and my Smith and Wesson M&P .40 cal (this was my duty sidearm when I was a cop, very accurate and reliable). Most of these weapons and ammo were in my basement. Any self-respecting survival dude should also have some bladed weapons in the house and I was no different. I had picked up a variety of “Rambo” type knives through the years.

My favorite was old faithful, my trusty Ka-Bar. It spent most of its time on my hip or boot. There were also some katanas placed in strategic parts of the house. I was not a trained Samurai by any means, but could handle myself with a sword. When I was a teenager a good friend of mine who was trained in Kendo helped me with my sword fighting skills. I think I was more comic relief for him, but he was a good guy for showing me a thing or two. I had plenty of welts on my body where he “showed” me how to be a good sword fighter. I had spent a lot of time down in my basement when the nukes started to go off. It was during this time I thought of my kids and my family. Wondering if they were okay. I started to second-guess my divorce. If I hadn’t split from my wife, they would be with me when the fireworks kicked off. I could have taken care of them. Shit like that will drive you nuts. I was down in the basement for what felt like an eternity. It still smells like sweat and must. I guess you get used to it. I did have some candles that smelled like the beach. They also crackled like having a bonfire on a beach. You must use your imagination when you’re locked up in a confined room for an extended period. I knew my parents were gone. They lived in Chicago and that was hit hard. I could picture them on their front steps looking to the sky as it turned color and the temperature shot up to an unbearable inferno. They were the type of folks that would want to go watch when tornado sirens were blaring. “To hell with the basement, I want to see what’s going to kill me. I’m not afraid to die!” I heard that coming from my 4’10” mom with a thick Irish accent more than one time in my life. I could picture them watching as the inevitable hit.  



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