Welcome to your new world

“Why the hell won’t they just go away?”

I hit the release, dropping the empty clip before slapping another into the modified AR-15. A quick rack of the bolt, and I pop above the concrete rim of my improvised fighting position to shoot into the crowd trying to force the gate. I see two people drop, but I had to fire two three-shot bursts to accomplish that. They’ve gotten smarter I think to myself

Where they found it, I don’t know, but the people are crowded around an old Mercedes. Working behind the now-open doors and open trunk lid, they alternate between pulling it back and pushing it forward, using it as an improvised battering ram. With every impact, I see the gate to my home sway a little more. I’d built the posts they hung from myself, but the heavily reinforced cast concrete posts weren’t designed for this sort of punishment. The hinge is already flopping loosely at the top of the right gate, and I can see a gap between the second hinge on that side and the post.

I fire at the space where the front windshield once was, but it has no effect. Twenty minutes ago, when the most recent assault had started, a young man had been behind the wheel, making sure the car hit its mark. I’d killed him without any problem, and the next three people who’d taken his place. Now, a child sat in the seat, their head only occasionally visible as they rose up enough to correct their aim. I rise up, hoping to stop the oncoming rush, and missiles of every sort rain down on me. Rocks, pieces of brick, hunks of concrete, bottles, even the occasional bullet comes whizzing past me.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

I’d made my money, done my work, prepared for the possibility that the lazy moochers might one day rise up. It wasn’t my fault that the government had collapsed. I’d warned them. Told everyone I knew that it would happen, that they should be like me and refuse to pay taxes. When it had happened, I’d locked the gate on my compound and brought out the weapons I’d stockpiled to defend what was mine.

They should know better, those stupid idiots outside the walls. They’d tried going over it, and died on the electrical wires atop it. They’d thought I was getting power from the collapsed power grid and wasted time taking down all the wires in the area. Now, they were concentrating on the gate, and I killed them by the dozens. But still they keep coming.

“You’re not getting in! It’s my food, my medicine! Go somewhere else, you bastards!”

My shout does nothing but make the people pushing the Mercedes push harder. The middle hinge squeals as it pulls from the post, and the right gate begins to topple. More people rush towards the car, and I spray the growing crowd with death. I don’t know how many fall, but more come running to take their place. Now, there are people all around the beat-up vehicle, and it moves forward as fast as the people pushing it can run. The impact rips the last hinge on the right gate free, and the crowd surges through the gap. I grab the remote that has been in my pocket since the first person arrived and press the button on it as I dive for cover.

In front of me, my last line of defense, four improvised Claymore mines, explode. I hear the shriek of the metal fragments I’d loaded them with, then the screams of the injured, the dying. I jump up, ready to fire, just as another shower of missiles pours down on my on my location. Something hits the side of my head, and my world goes black.

I awake because someone is tugging at me….no, tugging at the strap to my weapon. I manage to roll over, and find myself facing a boy, one so small and skinny he could have passed for a grade school student if not for the hardness in his eyes. He has my AR-15 tucked under one arm, and his finger is around the trigger.

“Why’d you try to hoard so much?”

I’d expected him to shoot me, not to ask me a question.

“It was mine, it is mine. Why did you come to take it? Why didn’t you leave me alone, go find someone else to rob?”

“Why? Because no one else has anything! Are you stupid, or what?”

“But why charge in when I made it clear I’d fight to keep what was mine, that I’d kill to keep what was mine?”

Someone walking past, walking away from my house, stopped and sat a package down next to the boy. I recognize it, one of the MRE’s I’d stocked up on. He doesn’t even turn to look at them, his eyes are fixed on me.

“You’ve never been hungry in your life, have you? I watched my mom starve herself to death so she could feed me and my little sister. I knew if I didn’t find some food somewhere, we’d die too. Everyone knew you had food. Hell, you practically bragged about it. So I came with everyone else, all of us starving to death, and you know why? Because all of us would rather risk dying getting some food then wait, knowing we’ll die of starvation eventually.” The boy hikes himself up on the edge of where I’d been fighting, keeping the gun aimed at me, and scooped up the MRE. “This, this will be enough to keep my sister and me going for a couple of days, easy.” He looks down at me, and I know he’s going to shoot me. Then he steps back, slinging the rifle over his scrawny shoulder, and turns away.

“They told me to kill you, to get rid of you for killing so many desperate, starving people. I won’t, because you aren’t worth the bullet. I’ll give you the same choice you gave us: starve to death, or help us find food to feed everyone.” He turns his back on me and starts walking away as he pronounces my final sentence. “Welcome to the world you made. Now, live in it.”

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