• “Hurry! Shut the steel gate!!” Tyson’s head began to swim under the tranqs. –Not now.- He begged himself to push through the pain and the sleepiness that seeped its way into him. The guards from vault 142 swarmed him with tranqs, machine guns, and heavy metal chains. Tyson reached down to the depths of himself to get the strength and adrenalin he needed to finally set himself free. Slowly the steel gate of vault 142 was shutting in front of him, he could feel his chance at freedom slowly slipping away. He screamed with fury as he lifted the guard trying to chain him down and tossed him effortlessly across the room. As the guard’s body slammed into the wall with a ear-splitting crack Tyson’s body lurched forward toward the light of the outside. The metal chains that the guards had managed to get around him whined and screeched beneath his power. The machine guns started up and they began to try and tear him down but as the chains finally gave away Tyson reached for them. His massive size came down upon the guards and with almost no effort he squished them to a bloody pulp, leaving useless scraps of the guns and guards that tried to hurt him. With his last chance staring him down he pushed past the pain and went for the vault door. Slipping slowly shut the vault doors stopped as he began to rip them open with his bare hands. He pulled and yanked. –COME ON- he screamed with fury at the resistant doors. The steel doors whimpered and moaned as they were forced open. He only needed to pull them a bit farther and freedom was his. Everything to him was just a yank away as the guards regrouped and blasted away at his back. Anger and hopelessness began to fuel him. Focusing his energy he shredded the vault door off its hinges and wires and flung it behind him at the guards and with the rest of his energy he ran into the wastes hoping he could make it far enough away that he’d have his freedom.
    Amber sat on a dusty rock as she watched her older brother and father scour the land for anything of use. She sighed. Amber and her family had come from a city in the wastes called Aurora, where her family had raised Brahmin. Aurora was a humble city full of friendly people who lived to make a little community for themselves, protecting each other. It was a sad little city now. Slave drivers had come in to Aurora and over powered it. They raided every shack, home, and store Aurora had. Her friends, family, neighbors had all been scattered, they were either captured and forced to be slaves, murdered, or like her own family tens of thousands of miles from where they knew anything or anyone. Amber sighed as unwanted memories filled her mind, images of her mother trying to hide her from the drivers unnerved her. It was all too fresh for her to handle. Her mother had run in the house panic stricken. “Mama? What’s wrong?” she had assumed her brother or father got hurt farming, but her mother didn’t reply, “Get under the bed Amber! Get under the bed now!” Her mother had shoved her under. “Mom!?” “Don’t make a sound!” Her mother’s eyes looked horrified and scared. Amber did was she was told. Holding her breath she stared out from under the bed. A loud crack sounded and someone burst through the door of Amber’s home. She heard heavy footsteps searching the rooms of the house. They broke into the room and her mother screamed. They assaulted her. Demanding her mother give them everything she had, they pointed their heavy weaponry at her. She had cried and told them where their money, food, water and guns were then begged them to leave her home. They laughed and humiliated her. Then they slaughtered her. Then they left, leaving nothing but a fatal wound in her mother’s heart and a broken family behind. Amber shook the memories out of her mind, -Stop- She begged her memories, -Just stop-. Her brother Max came up the hill to where she sat. “Well.” He started, “Its not much. But it’s more then we had before.” He gave her a broken pistol, a few bottle caps, and a pack of cigarettes. Amber opened up the pack and lit a cigarette. She took a long drag, “Not bad Maxi.” She smiled as she took the pistol from him and opened up her backpack. She began to inspect and fix the pistol. Her specialty, fixing weaponry, she had done it as a job back in Aurora. She was loading a clip into the now working pistol as her father came up the hill towards them. “Whad’ya find daddy?” Jack Atkins wiped the sweat of his brow as he chuckled. “Well I found a store we can try and find supplies in, and if my ol’ eyes didn’t deceive me I think there’s a settlement out west on the other side of the river.” Max and Amber scanned the other side of the radiated river for the settlement. Max punched Jack in the arm. “Ha! Old eyes my a** dad. I see it.” Amber tossed the loaded pistol to her brother. “Well lets get what we can from the store and make our way out there.” Max nodded his head as he inspected the pistol. “Now, Amber, I think you should try and take it easy, if there is anything worth taking you can bet your bottom bottle cap that someone’s already had that idea and are probably in there taking it for all its worth, and without a second guess they’ll take you for all your worth, as well as your life. I just don’t feel comfortable letting you charge in there with your brother and me.” Amber stood up to father, “Don’t gimme this dad! You know I can keep up. How the hell did I end up getting you and Max out of the driver’s hands if I couldn’t?!” Amber’s temper was flushing her face as she yelled. “Amber. That was a dire situation and I was kicking myself seeing you risk your life for mine, even then. Believe me I’m still kicking myself knowing how bad that could have gone…and after your mother gave her life to hide you…” The three sat in silence for a moment. “I just couldn’t take it if you tossed what your mom gave you away right now. Not after we came so far and so close to restarting what we had.” “B-but!” “No buts Amber. You stay here with the supplies and wait.” “What if someone finds me here alone?! Then what??” Her father held still for a moment. “You have a better chance out here then trying to fight your way in there. My mind’s made up.” He turned at began to walk. “Besides if your so sure you could make it in there why couldn’t you handle it out here by yourself?” Amber held her breath. Her father called for Max as he got further. Max lifted Amber’s chin to get her to look him in the eyes. “Hey little sis. You’ll get your chance. Just let dad feel better by staying here this time. Ok?” Amber merely nodded, though satisfied with that Max trotted off after their dad.
    After a mere hour Amber was already bored. She had organized the supplies three times already. Amber sighed heavily as she took out an old BB gun she had found a few days ago and began picking off the rad roaches in her sight. She began to explore the land herself carrying three loads of supplies in the direction of the store. She wasn’t going to go in, she told her self time and time again, I’ll just go closer and be ready for Maxi and dad. A rumble began beneath her feet. She only began to ask herself what it was when a huge mass toppled to the ground in the distance. “Holy s**t.” She looked for a good hiding place to keep the supplies, one she’d remember later. She ran to the where she saw it fall in the seconds she’d taken to hide her family’s supplies she had lost sight of it. She was still prepared, she had her old high firepower dual pistols at her thighs, Hope and Despair. She had almost reached where she thought she had seen it fall when she spotted a young man, he was lying face down in the sandy dirt of the wastes. Amber sprinted to him, shirtless he looked well developed to say the least, she saw blood, and bullet holes in his back. Panicked, she knelt down and shook him, “Are you ok?! Wake up! We’ve got to fix your wounds.” He didn’t move as she shook his body. Suddenly her eyes widened, the wounds were healing themselves. Within seconds, it looked as if he hadn’t been touched. “s**t… Hello?” She gave him one last nudge before rolling him onto his back. He looked to be a few years older then herself, maybe 22 or 23. With short dark hair and short stubble from side burn to side burn he was dreamy, she admitted to herself. She chuckled as she heaved his body over her own and began to haul him back towards the store.
    Tyson wearily remembered the doctor’s appointment, the drugs and the tranqs, the guards and the stinging pain in his back. He even recalled the sound of steel ripping apart and…tentacles? He wasn’t sure what was real, what he had dreamed, and what was. He began to get feelings in his limps again, heavy but…suspended in air? No, being dragged lightly? NO! He began to struggle for consciousness; they had captured him again, and he wasn’t going back, his arms began to twitch, he was regaining control. He chuckled to himself he could feel the small frame carrying his weight, this guard would be easy to over power, too easy, they truly believed he was out cold or they would have had restraints. He imagined grabbing hold of this guard lifting him up and breaking his back with his strength, he imagined his arm and hand growing big enough to consume this guard. He laughed again, this guard was toast and he’d be once again free. Suddenly his train of thought was stopped as her heard faint voices, “Da..” “Am…hat ar…ho is” “We ma…I got eve…” “…ber wh..” “I fou…im…e needs..lp” They were off guard. He struck. Tyson grabbed ahold of the guard with one hand and willed it big enough to hold him in. He lifted the guard in the air as his arm busted out with tentacles, his muscles growing to his needs he began to squeeze the life from this guard. A high pitched scream alerted him to clear his mind. He stopped abruptly. In front of him were two men, both holding massive guns. He looked at the guard in his hand but didn’t find a guard, instead he found a girl, around the age of 19. Her face was twisted into a grim face of pain, a blue hint tinged her face as she almost passed out. Rightfully so, he had broken a rib or two until her scream stopped him. “Put her down!” One of the men boomed at him, “I’ll kill you!” Tyson looked at the men again, confused, he still wasn’t sure what was really happening, maybe the guards were making him hallucinate this. Maybe this wasn’t a girl in his hand but a guard ready to cage him. “Daddy!” The girl coughed, “Please, don’t hurt him! He was hurt, I think he needs help.” “Well he’s asking for it real nice!” The man put the scope of the gun to his eye. “No!” She coughed again, maybe he was jabbing a broken rib into her lung. “Please, put the guns down dad, Max, please put the guns down, let him go.” The other man lowered his weapon and turned to his partner, “Dad. Put it down, he’ll let Amber go.” Slowly and painfully the man put his gun down as well. Tyson looked at the girl, she looked into his eyes, “Please, please put me down. I’m begging you. Please don’t squeeze.” Tyson’s mind raged. Was it real, is this real? He fought to bring her slowly down to the ground. The two men rushed to the girl as she coughed and struggled to get a breath. She pushed the fretting men away and slowly stood to face him, as she got closer she continued to look him in the eye. Her green eyes captivated him and seemed to actually snap him back to reality. His arm slunk back to normal size. “Hello,” she said cautiously, “My name is Amber Atkins, this is my father and,” she coughed to slowly catch her breath again, “my brother Max. We’ve come from a settlement called Aurora running from Slave Drivers, I found you out in the wastes.” She coughed painfully, “You looked hurt…it looked like you were shot, but the wounds healed themselves…I didn’t want to leave you alone if you needed help..is there anything we can do?” She stood, trying to give him a warm smile. “Amber! Don’t-“ the younger man Max silenced him. He looked curious. Suddenly he heard shouts in the distance, his hearing was impeccable now, he could hear the guards shouts, calling to find him. He panicked. Amber saw the look in his eyes. “Is someone after you? Did you think I was the person chasing you?” He quickly nodded. “Come with me.” Max stepped forward, “I know where to hide you if they’re coming.” “They are. They’re coming, quickly, with a group.” His voice was rough manly and Amber couldn’t tell if she was about to faint from just the sound of his dark velvety voice or the pain in her side. He followed Max across the field toward a building. Amber and her father followed slowly behind.