Dying Hope

On that fateful night, aliens from the Andromeda galaxy, called Andromedians, came to invade our planet because their planet was dying. The andromedians want to wipe the Earth off with the leading species, so they can rule over the Earth without inteference. Very little things remains. The military is missing, the government has fallen, and the population of the world decreased greatly. Andromedians want us to lose everything, so we'll crumble like the Roman empire.

Chapter 3

Ruby Landers ~Sounds Like Fun

I walked along the perimeter of the camp, holding my crossbow at the ready as I peered out into the darkness around me.

I could have sworn I had heard something.

I waited another long minute, but then I heard the another pop! meaning that someone had opened another bottle of champagne that we had scavenged from the nearby city of San Antonio, Texas, where I and most of the people in camp had been when the damn Martians cut off the power.

"Ruby, why are you always so paranoid?" Matt yelled over from the large bonfire everyone was crowded around, some dancing and singing loudly. "There's nothing out there tonight, and it's time to celebrate, come on!"

I lingered on the edge of camp for another moment, but after another round of raucous laughter, I gave in to the temptation and left the edge of camp, putting the arrow back into my quiver and shrugging the quiver and the bow off, leaning them against a small picket fence that was still up from before the attacks.

We were celebrating the birth of Regina's baby, a little boy who she had named Thomas, after his father who had died at the hands of the Martians.

Or the teeth, I suppose.

I had been in this camp for all of the five months since the attack occurred, and everyone who was in this camp was like family to me.

I could see Tanner and his little granddaughter Maddy dancing by the side of the fire, Maddy giggling as her grandfather twirled her around.

Regina was in her tent resting with her newborn son in her arms, her older brother James standing watch outside of the tent protectively.

It was a miracle she survived. She was so small and we had no drugs to help, no equipment.

She's a fighter.

Sasha and Dean, the older couple in their late seventies, were slow-dancing by the edge of the fire, Sasha leaning with her head against Dean's chest, Dean holding her close and whispering in her ear.

And then there were the little triplets, Jay, Ray, and Shay, the three little devils who were only six years old. They ran past me, each poking me in the side and pulling at a lock of my hair before dashing away, giggling madly.

"You three had better stay over here!" I called after them, laughing loudly. The triplets always kept us on our toes, and I mainly felt responsible for their antics because they had been my oldest brother Jerry's children.


My family.

Gone forever.

Because of-

"Hey, Rubes. What's with the down-in-the-dumps face?"

Whirling around, I grinned up at Matt, whose bright blue eyes were full of love and mischief. And I mean look up, because he was six foot three, whereas I was a short five foot two. "Dow-in-the-dumps face? Pfft...as if."

He knew the weight that I carried on my shoulders, even after five months, and he knew better than to push it.

Matt grinned in return and kissed me lightly on the lips, wrapping his arms around my waist in a loving embrace.

Will this ever seem real?

I wrapped my arms around his neck, kissing him in return.

I sure hope not.

The moment had been so perfect, so unreal, so wonderful, that I should have seen the signs and known that it wouldn't last.


Six-year-old screams filled the air, making all of us around the fire jolt out of our own little worlds, fear and worry immediately spiking in our systems.


I met Matt's eyes for a second. "The triplets!"

I launched myself away from Matt's arms, grabbing my crossbow and sprinting in the direction of the screams, which began to get louder and more high-pitched.

"RUBY, IT'S TOO LATE!" Matt yelled after me, his hands cupped around his mouth. "YOU KNOW THAT JUST AS WELL AS I DO!"

"NO! IT CAN'T BE!" I yelled back, refusing to stop running.

"RUBY!" I heard Tanner yell behind me. "WE HAVE TO GO!"

"YOU GUYS GO, I'LL BUY YOU SOME TIME!" I shouted in return.

My heart pounding in my chest, I made it to the edge of the camp, which I had just left not even five minutes previously, and which was now flooded with Martians.

Some of which were feasting on the remains of my nephews.

Oh God, no, please, no.

I notched an arrow in my bow and aimed it at the nearest Martian, which was just realizing that there was someone else here.

Without a second thought, I let the arrow fly from my bow, feeling a sense of satisfaction when it pierced the Martian through the neck up to the feathers on the end.

It dropped to the ground, dead, but all of its friends seemed to realize that I was there at the same time.

And there were at least twenty or thirty of them.


I loosed arrow after arrow, but then the Martians were beginning to try and circle me, corral me in.


I turned tail and sprinted away, away from the Martians and the half-eaten remains of my nephews, in the direction of camp, where I could see and hear that my friends were already under heavy attack.

No! This is not supposed to be happening! I thought angrily as I passed Sasha and Dean's corpses, the two of them lying in each others' arms even after death.

But it already is. A snide voice said from the back of my mind.


"Ruby, we've been walking for days with no food or water." Tanner croaked, his voice scratchy with unuse.

I looked back at him and his granddaughter, Maddy, and realized that both of them were barely going to make it another mile.

The three of us had been the only survivors from our entire camp.

And we had only gotten out because Matt shoved us out of the edge of camp, throwing himself into a pack of Martians in the process.

His screams still haunted me in my head.

My lower lip trembled as I realized something- I had failed my camp, and I had failed Tanner and Maddy by not finding enough food and water.

But I wouldn't fall apart. They didn't need that, and I wouldn't allow it to happen.

"Don't worry, Tanner, we'll be fine." I said confidently, smiling back at him. "Here," I took Maddy from his back and carried her piggy-back, "I'll carry her for a bit."

Tanner sighed and nodded slightly before we continued plodding onwards on the dusty road ahead of us.

"That's Dallas over there." I commented after a bit, jerking my head in the direction of the city, above which rose the Dallas Cowboys football stadium.

"Ruby, what's that?" Maddy asked inquisitively.

I followed her finger that pointed over to the other side of the road from Dallas about three hundred feet down the road.

There was what looked like a small wooden hut with a rusty metal sheet nailed to it as a door. It looked like an old house.

"Hey, maybe there's food there." I grinned and felt energy beginning to stream through my veins. I began to sprint for the hut, still carrying Maddy as Tanner hurried to keep up.

As I neared the door, I heard a loud scuffle emanate from inside.

Shit. Of course it's not empty.

"Maddy," I breathed while sliding her off of my back, "Go over to Grampa and keep quiet, okay?"

Maddy seemed to understand that something was wrong, so she nodded and ran over to Tanner, who had stopped about a foot or two behind me, his eyes flicking from me to the small shack and back again.

"Ruby." He said in a low, warning voice as Maddy wrapped herself his leg. "Let's just move on. We'll find food someplace else, I don't think we should risk this."

"What's life without a little risk, Tanner?" I strung my bow quickly and stepped in front of Tanner and Maddy.

I would die before anything happened to them.

And I didn't plan on dying today.

I inched closer now, hearing dead silence from inside the hut.

Careful, Ruby. I reached out and opened the metal door with the tip of my right foot, immediately bringing my bow up to eye level for whatever was in there.

But all that faced me was a thick-looking wooden door, behind which, I had no idea what there could be.

All right. I'm going to do it. I thought determinedly.

Tanner seemed to know exactly what I was going to do and shook his head immediately. "Ruby, stop it!" he whisper-yelled fiercely, "Ruby, don't you dar-"

It was too late, however; I had already kicked the handle on the heavy door with my right boot.

There was a resounding crack! and then a fluent stream of curses before the door was wrenched open from the other side.

An African American man with broad shoulders and graying hair was revealed and he held two cutlasses out, aimed directly at me, one about an inch from my side and one an inch from my neck while my arrow brushed against the skin of his collarbone.


He was the one who had been swearing, and he was continuing now. "-why the hell would you try to break down the damn door for shit's sake?"

My eyes hardened even as my face remained fixed in a smirk. "Got a problem, Gramps?"

"Yeah, get your asses off of this private property!" He growled grumpily, glaring at me with steely blue eyes.

Miscalculation. This guy means business.

"No, please, we have no food and no water, you can't make us go." Tanner pleaded from behind, where I could Maddy whimpering slightly.

Tanner. Stop talking please.

"He actually can, Tanner." I said through gritted teeth. "He's gonna kill me if I move either way, so I think you should you two go on before the bastard kills you, too."

"Ruby, we're not leaving you." I heard Tanner say firmly.

Damn the old fool.

"The girl's right, I'll kill the lot of you rather than try and feed all of you." The man said warningly, turning his glare on Tanner and Maddy over my shoulder.


Dropping my bow to the ground, I bashed my head against the man's forehead enough to make myself see stars. As the man swore in surprise, I grabbed his right wrist and twisted it while knocking the sword in his left hand to the ground with my boot.

In a matter of second, the man was on his knees in front of me with me holding his own sword against his throat.

After a moment, all you could hear was both of us breathing heavily.

Then the man threw his head back and burst out laughing.

Great. I have a senile old man at swordpoint. Good job, Ruby.

Then a young woman with short blonde hair came out of the door and shushed the old man. "Jarvis, shut up! We don't need to attract any of the Nightcrawlers."

She looked up at me then, grinning slightly. "I'm surprised you had the guts to do that. Envious, too. Usually when Jarvis pulls his whole "I'm a scary old man who'll kill you" routine, the people turn tail and run away. Koodos to you, Ruby."

Wait, is she pregnant? And she knows my name!

"Wait, you heard us talking the whole time and didn't let us know that?" I asked incredulously, completely forgetting that I still had Jarvis at swordpoint.

The woman's blue eyes twinkled as she continued to grin. "I had to let the old man have his fun. Right, Jarvis?"

Jarvis rolled his eyes. "Shut up, Selema. And can you call her off now that you've had your little fun?"

Selema chuckled quietly and then nodded to me.

It was then I realized that I was still holding Jarvis and immediately dropped his sword and let him go.

"Sorry about that, Jarvis." I grinned and held out a hand to help him up. "Got a bit carried away there."

Jarvis took my hand and stood up, picking up his swords and putting them in his belt as I picked up my bow and arrow. "Yeah, well, I guess I had it coming for me."

Then he turned on his heel and walked back into the shack, which I was beginning to realize couldn't be a shack if it held two people as well as other voices inside.

"You all can come in." Selema said kindly. "Jarvis won't bite, he's just a crabby old man. Sometimes he's even worse than me." She giggled and that was when I realized she had to be a few months pregnant, her stomach swollen slightly like Regina's had been. "We have food and water, enough for all of you."

I smiled in return and turned around to give Tanner a hand with Maddy. "Well thank you very much, Selema. This should be a blast."


"What do you mean, we're not going to let them in?" I asked Jarvis incredulously, crossing my arms over my chest as Selema flicked her eyes between the two of us warily.

"We already have enough mouths to feed as it is." Jarvis said stubbornly, crossing his arms over his chest as well.

I swore softly under my breath, throwing my hands in the air and whirling away from Jarvis so I didn't hit him.

It had been about a week and a half since Tanner, Maddy and I had reached Jarvis's and Selema's camp.

Since being here, I had met Levina, Ponyboy Christopher and his brothers, and Selema's husband, who had all been in this camp.

Yeah, I said camp not shack. Apparently the shack had a sort of a basement that led underground and had many different caverns and tunnels, providing plenty of room for all of the people that were here, as well as others.

Already, Jarvis and I had butted head a few times, but I respected him, he was my elder after all.

But now there was a large group of people out there, and they had young children with them.

Jarvis didn't want to help them, but I couldn't help remembering how Selema had stuck up for Tanner, Maddy, and I.

"We don't know anything about those people," Jarvis continued, jabbing a crooked finger at the thick, heavy door that we had re-fortified since I broke the handle about a week ago. "They may be here with ill intentions, we don't know what they're doing here!"

God, this guy's paranoid.

"You let us in didn't you?" I protested, tossing my hands in the air again. "Jarvis, come on. Just let them come in!" I said exasperatedly. "The more people we have, the better chances we have in surviving a fight with the damn Martians!"

Jarvis seemed to think that over for a minute and then scowled at me. "Fine. I'll let them in. But if something goes wrong, don't say I didn't warn you."

"Everything'll be fine, Jarvis, you'll see," I said as he began to pull open the heavy door.

I glanced at Selema, who nodded encouragingly, and then we waited to see what the reactions of the people on the other side of the door would be.

(here: http://www.polyvore.com/ruby_landers/set?id=81706495)

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