A young man in his early 20s ran towards the room occupied with Salbrador. The young man had ruffled black hair and bright brown eyes, he had tanned skin and the body of a fighter. As he entered the room, he saluted, "General Salbrador! Sergeant Melado reporting for duty!" The general looked towards the man with his piercing black eyes, his matted black hair stuck to his forehead with sweat, "Is the tanks ready?" "Yes general, with 200 men to accompany each tank," said Melado. Crooked yellow teeth flashed beneath the lips of Salbrador, "Perfect! Get the engines started and rolling, get the guns and flame throwers out," he ordered as he looked out the window, "I have a world waiting for me to dominate."
Major Tolind sat against the tank, lighting a cigarette while opening his laptop. "Tolind, are you really a cold-hearted man everyone says you are," said Commander Xavier. Tolind looked up at the man, "What do you mean?" Xavier pointed to the laptop, "You are on a website full of kiddy games," he said. "I only come here for the shooting games, and by the way adults waste their lives just frying their brains with these websites," grunted Tolind. "Like you?" The major glared at Xavier, "You little bas-," started Tolind. "Major Tolind and Commander Xavier, orders from General Salbrador to launch the tanks and men!" said Sergeant Melado, interrupting Tolind and giving a quick salute and holding the forms out. Xavier took them and skimmed over the papers, "Hey! Get the tanks moving, men start your march! It's time to succeed in the mission! Orders from the general!" he yelled. Tolind sighed and put away his laptop, hooking the rifle and flame thrower against him, "The fight begins, the world will end," Tolind muttered as everyone started marching forward.
The 15 year old boy stretched as he woke from his sleep. He yawned happily and brought himself up, looking to his brother Cole. "Hey Cole, time to wake up!" called out the boy. The younger boy wined, "No..." he cried. The older boy moved towards Cole and he picked him up in his arms and swung him around. "Nikki!" whined Cole, thrashing his arms around. "Little brother, the sun's up, Mom's eggs are ready as you can smell, and anyway I don't want to hear you snore," Nikki said, smiling. Cole whined a little more and grudgingly went downstairs. Nikki checked himself in the mirror, his short light brown hair messy from bed-head, his bangs over his chocolate brown eyes, and his body athletic and thin but his height shorter than most for his age. Nikki shrugged and then ran downstairs; he spun from the railing and took his seat in the dining room. "Good morning Mom," greeted Nikki, looking over to his mother. "Morning," she said. Nikki observed his mother, her blonde hair seemed wilder, her brown eyes tired and under bruised, and her voice alarmed and shaky. Nikki rose up and held his mother by the shoulders, "Mom, what's wrong? Is there a problem?" he asked. Nikki's mom then broke down crying in front of her two kids. Cole dropped his fork and stared at his mother. "Cole, keep on eating your eggs, Mom's just caught something in her eye," lied Nikki, bringing his mother to the living room. The boy looked to his mother with an anxious and sad look. Ever since Nikki turned 10, he's been doing chores usually a teenager or an adult would do: cook, take care of the family, and doing the bills and tax. Nikki's mother's boyfriend left her when he heard she was pregnant. So she has been alone and taking care of one kid she didn't mean to have. Soon another man entered the mother's life and they married and had Cole when Nikki was 9. The husband had died 2 months later in a drunk car accident and Nikki became the man of the house. Now at 14, he could do a lot more while doing school, like a real paying job. Recently though the schools around the town has been closed a week earlier with no warning. "Monica," started Nikki, he only called his mother by her first name if he's being serious, "What's going on? You look awful." "Oh Nikki, I've been waiting too long to say this, but I just don't want to let you and Cole go," cried his mother. "Monica, what are you talking about! You aren't making sense!" said Nikki, worried if his mother had lost it. "Listen, you need to runaway! Get away from here, you need to leave and try to survive! Get you're brother and take care of him, Nikki, I love you and I have to do what's best for you," said Monica. Nikki gaped at his mother, "Is it life threatening?" he asked, knowing his mother was serious. She nodded, "You have to survive, both of you," she whispered. Nikki stood up straight with confidence, his height looking tall and bold, "Monica, I will try my best to protect Cole and myself, but may you tell me what is it we're going to run away from?" Monica crashed herself in a chair, "From death." Nikki held in his surprise, he nodded numbly and left to see Cole. "Almost done with your eggs Cole?" asked Nikki. The little boy nodded, "Yep, they're the best," he said, his mouth full of the eggs. "Why not you finish mine then?" Cole's face lit up, "Really Nikki?" "Yea little man, really," said the boy. Cole grinned as he started digging into Nikki's eggs. Nikki smiled sadly and quickly walked downstairs to the basement with all the camp gear and survival and emergency equipment. He grabbed the tent that fit two people and the backpack full of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Nikki than grabbed the connecting backpack full of clothes for Cole and himself. He then grabbed the first aid kit and the bag full of water bottles. "I almost have everything now that we should need..." muttered Nikki, he then remembered to grab the wallet with money and a debit card. Nikki then grabbed the pistol and two daggers, he then nodded with satisfaction. The boy then grabbed the luggage and ran upstairs. Nikki went up another flight of stairs to his room and stripped off his white undershirt and short pants, placing on jeans pants and a T-shirt. He then grabbed his black leather jacket and swung it on. Nikki then dug in his closet and snatched his black boots and placed them on, sticking one dagger in the left boot slot and the pistol in the right. He then took his last dagger in the small holder and placed it around his neck and tucked under his shirt; the leather holder with the dagger against his bare chest and the metal chain holding it against his neck. Nikki nodded and ran downstairs with Cole staring at the backpacks and bags. "Are we going camping?" asked Cole. Nikki forced a smile, "Yea little man, we're going camping, but just the men," he said. "Yay! But how about mom?" "I told you, only us men meaning you and me." Cole pounded his chest, "Us men!" he roared, then froze, "For how long?" "Well... For a while," Nikki said. "Forever?" Cole guessed. "Nah, not forever, just for a long time," he replied lamely, picking up the backpack full of the food and strapping it tight to his back. Monica came into the room and watched her first-born strap all the bags to himself. "Now Cole, go upstairs and change to some long jeans, long sleeved shirt, your jacket, and your hiking boots," ordered Nikki, strapping the first aid kit to the bag of clothes and connecting it to the bag of food. The tent bag was held in the boy's hand. Monica hugged her son, "You are a strong man, you know that. More mature than any adult I know. Nikki, I love you," she said. Nikki grunted, "I love you too Mom... Can you loosen your weight on me, holding weight for a two man job is harder than it looks," he said. Monica gave a calm chuckle and moved back, but she looked at her son with serious eyes, "Promise me you'll stay safe?" Nikki smiled and kissed his mother on the cheek, "Of course Monica, of course," he breathed, moving away to the stair way where Cole was walking cheerfully down. The younger boy said his good-byes, not even aware what's really happening. Nikki held his brother by the shoulder and moved to the door, as he opened it he looked at his mother and gave a nod that meant good bye. Monica nodded back and blew him a kiss. The two boys quickly left out the door and closed it behind them. It was the start of their run. Nikki and Cole were out of the town boundaries. As Nikki calmly walked, his brother danced around full of energy. "Cole, you should slow down and walk. We need all the energy we can get," said Nikki, eyeing his brother. Cole pouted, "Are we going on a hike? You know I don't like the hikes," he said. "I know little man, but we may need to... Who knows Cole, think of this as an adventure." The little boy smiled, "You are the oldest prince and I'm your younger brother. All we need is a fair maiden," he said, walking around with posture and grace. Nikki shuffled Cole's hair, "Alright little prince," he said, grinning. The younger boy grinned back, skipping around. Nikki sighed and his grip on the tent bag tightened, his eyes following the 5 year old boy. Suddenly from a distance, Nikki heard some metal clanking and the ground shaking. Suddenly he saw a girl running towards them in panic. Suddenly the girl was screaming at them to run. Nikki froze and stared at her and wondered if she was mental. "You dip-head! Run! They're coming this way!" screamed the girl. "She's not a fair maiden, but she is a damsel in distress," muttered Nikki to himself as he ran right; away from the town path and away from the loud noise and crazy girl path. Cole tried to keep up but couldn't as he tripped. Nikki ran back and picked his brother up in his arms and started running again. Sweat escaping his brow from all the weight he held as he ran as fast as he could manage. Nikki ran non-stop until his muscles were shooting pains up his body and his breath panting, his body finally too tired to keep on going. The girl caught up to them in seconds, "Dang macho man, you run awfully fast with all the luggage weighing you down. 2 miles to be precise," she said, panting herself. Nikki placed Cole down and collapsed to the ground with a loud thump. "Dude, you're short," said the girl with surprise. Cole giggled, "His name is Nikki, not Dude," he said. She snorted, "Nikki? What kind of name is that for a dude?" "My kind of name," gasped Nikki, taking off the bags. "Sorry dude, but it just doesn't suit you," the girl said. Nikki grunted as he picked himself up, "Sorry, but that's just me. I never caught your name, 'dude'," he said. The girl smirked, "My name's Erica and I just saved your butt," she said. Cole grinned, "But my butt wasn't in any danger," he said, pointing to his bottom. "That is one dumb dude," mumbled Erica. "Cole's only 5, ok!" objected Nikki. "Alright, don't need to get all pissed." "Excuse me ma'am, but I don't like the word pissed, especially in front of Cole." Erica raised her arms, "Ok, ok. Just don't lose your cool." Nikki clenched his fists and turned away, picking up the bags again and placing them on. "Dude, you're leaving?" she said. "No, we're running," Nikki said.