He’d managed to create a safe haven within an old mansion estate that spread out across numerous acres of land. The entire property was surrounded by twelve-foot brick walls, a security gate, and the house had at least twenty-five bedrooms that he counted.
The moment the virus was released, he’d set out to make himself a safe place. The world quickly deteriorated to survival of the fittest. He planned to come out on top. This property had been ideal to start his safe haven. It was complete with a wine cellar, storage facility, and fields to grow food, not to mention the surrounding land under his guard.
The house was almost full, and some of the game rooms had been converted into bedrooms.
Most of the people who came to the house were alone. He was shocked when he saw his first woman and child.
He’d vowed to protect them, to keep mankind alive in a world full of death and destruction. Draven had come from a military family. As soon as he was of age, he’d joined. Before the world went to shit, he’d been an active Marine, and he’d seen his friends die. His tours had been in some of the worst war-torn countries, but they didn’t compare with life after the virus.
Draven was particular about who he let in his walls. Trust wasn’t something he gave easily. When he agreed to offer a man protection, they had to agree to look out for every person in their community.
He stood at the gate, staring down at the man whom he’d already injured. He was a traveler, just passing through, and Draven had been foolish enough to let him in.
Draven had been awoken in the middle of the night as this man had wandered into a woman’s room and she’d been screaming for help.
His place was supposed to be safe. He’d promised the women they would be taken care of.
This man had nearly made him break his vow, had put his reputation at stake.
Death was the natural order of life. And he wasn’t afraid to get blood on his hands to support his cause.
For a long time, he had fought for freedom and the chance for people to grow up in a safe place. He’d worn his uniform with pride. That had all changed when the first virus was released. He’d seen the land he loved so much torn apart. People changed, turned wicked in their desperation. The love he had, it was gone. He’d become hard, cruel, determined not to be a victim.
The land was a battleground for the strongest.
Those that couldn’t survive would either die or become slaves to the men and women who captured them. But it didn’t take long for him to realize not every human had turned evil. There were still good people out there, and his focus shifted from blind battle mode to the need to preserve the good left in the world.
Slashing the knife across the man’s throat, he watched him bleed out, waiting until the life completely drained from his body.
“Let it be known now, if any of you think to take what is not freely given, you will face the same punishment. Women are not here for your fucking pleasure. They have a right to survive just like everyone else.” He wiped the blade on the man’s shirt and entered the gates.
He waited as the men who had assisted him stood over the man’s body. Draven’s following was loyal, but he’d never put one hundred percent faith in any man. His strength was only relying on himself.
Slowly, one by one, they entered the gates.
“What are you going to do about repopulation?” Luke asked.
Luke once had a wife and child, whom he’d lost on the same day. They all had a story to tell, and one day Draven intended to hear them all.
“You know the drill. No repopulation without women who are fertile,” Draven said.
“But we know some are,” Benjamin said. “That broadcast. It told us what to do if we find a female wearing a distinctive band.”
Draven laughed. “You think they’re going to allow those women out to anyone? They’re going to be for the rich, the wealthy. The men in high places. They’ll probably be auctioned off to the highest bidder.”
“Money doesn’t buy anything.”
“For us right now, it doesn’t. We don’t know what kind of currency there is. Just be happy that right now you’ve got a safe place to sleep, warm food, and someone to keep you company, which is a damn sight more than I can say for a lot of people.”
With that, he entered the mansion. He didn’t stop to make small talk with any of the women who had been vying for his attention. Everyone was looking for power in one form or another.
He wasn’t interested in sex, or in anything but surviving. Death would come for them all. But he didn’t intend to go easily.