Up a Mountain

Kylie Rae
5 min readFeb 7, 2023

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I had been carrying the body of my friend for days. When I began, Olivia was still breathing. Now, I wasn’t so sure. But I kept on walking, and I didn’t want to put her down.

We’d left the wreckage eleven days ago. We were among a large group of survivors then. At least fifty of us banded together to share food and resources. There was a very nice old man who’d helped me tape my glasses back together. I wouldn’t have been able to go on for too much longer without them.

Behind us, Boston was up in smoke. At night, you could still see the fires burning. And there were rumors more bombs were coming. We had to keep moving. We had to get as far away from the city as we could and find somewhere underground to take shelter until…

Well, until it was safe. Whenever that would be.

On the third day of walking, a girl with a metal helmet and a baseball bat asked to walk with me. I’d seen her among the group, but she was alone. I wondered where she’d gotten the helmet. And I also wondered how heavy it was on her neck. But I didn’t ask those questions. I just agreed to let her join us. Someone with a bat seemed like a good choice to have on your side if shit started to go south with the larger group. She said her name was Nora.

On the fourth day, Max said we should hide in this hotel we were approaching. It had three tall towers shaped like Arabian temples or something. Like straight out of Alladin. I’d known the hotel was there my whole life, but I never thought of it as a place to hide. But now the world was ending, and you had to look at things in a new light.

But I had a bad feeling about hiding in something so flashy. It would be the first place raiders looked for survivors. I couldn’t say that to Max, though. He was a huge man. Plus, he had a gun. What did I have? A girl with a baseball bat and broken glasses.

The others agreed on the hotel after some discussion and I told Nora and Oliva we should stay somewhere far from the main hall. I told them I had a bad feeling. And they actually listened to me. So we found the fitness room and surrounded ourselves with heavy exercise equipment so no one could get to us without trying really friggin’ hard.

It didn’t matter, though.

It wasn’t the raiders. It was the military.

We heard the bombs first. And felt the reverberations in the ground after they detonated. And they were so close.

Next, we heard the tanks and giant trucks.

And then I heard the smashing of glass and sheet rock and felt the building collapsing around us.

Don’t ask me how, but the treadmills and bikes we’d put in a circle around us kept us from being crushed. When the dust settled from the first attack, we were in a little cave of plaster and metal. We found our way to the wall and out the emergency exit before there was enough damage to keep us trapped. But Oliva had a terrible cut on her head and Nora lost her helmet.

Outside, it was much worse.

Everyone was screaming. The uniformed men shot blindly into the debris, shooting anything that moved. But we were away from the rest of the group and weren’t spotted at first. I pulled Oliva to the ground, and we hid in the shadows of the collapsed building. Nora ran right at them though, bat swinging.

They shot her, of course. And watching her body get riddled with bullets will haunt me for the rest of my life. Even though that won’t be long now.

I pulled Olivia with me under a larger chunk of brick and we stayed hidden until morning. The military left way before dawn, but I wanted to be sure before we got back on the road. I wished I could have seen Max’s face when he realized how bad of an idea it had been to stay in that hotel.

We walked on, keeping off the street and hiding every so often to make sure we weren’t being followed. The cut in Olivia’s head was still bleeding. I tied a piece of my sweater around it and told her it was because it was a head wound. Head wounds always do that.

We pointed ourselves towards the mountains. I figured it would be the best place to hide out in the wilderness. We could probably find a cabin or something left unattended and try to watch the drama unfold from there.

But the next morning, Olivia wouldn’t wake up. She was breathing, but her face was so pale and blood soaked the makeshift bandage.

The only logical thing I could think to do was pick her up and carry her. She was smaller than me and fit easily into my arms like a child. And I kept walking.

On the edge of town, I found a map in a gas station and traced a trail into the mountains to a small lake I’d visited before. I thought it would be the perfect spot. As long as I could get there.

I filled my bag with anything I could find in the gas station and picked up Olivia. The silence outside was so eerie. A bird flew from the gas station awning when I emerged and it was so loud I nearly dropped Olivia. I didn’t know which way the military had gone or if there were any other survivors left. I just had to keep moving. The only thing I found to be grateful for was the weather. It was early fall, with a weaker sun, but it hadn’t rained. I needed to find shelter before that changed.

But now I’ve been carrying the body of my friend for several days. And I don’t think we’re going to make it.

I’m pretty sure she stopped breathing.

She’s so heavy in my arms.

But the mountain is so close…

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Kylie Rae

Independant author | Book lover | Whiskey Drinker | Mother of two crazy boys | www.kylieraewriter.com