I’ve been fighting my whole life. Everybody has.
It’s the world we live in since the Hammerfall Protocol. Colcannon proposed the idea back in the early nineties and they actually built it.
God damn Julian Colcannon. It turned into one of the ugliest words around after they actually commenced Hammerfall. You can say what you like about somebody’s mother or their sexual preferences, but if you call someone a Colcannon you’d best be prepared for a punch to the throat.
The bombardment only lasted thirteen minutes, that’s what we’re told. It levelled everything. Everything became rubble and dust. The fields and lakes were poisoned, the land itself was pummelled into a new shape. Everything my family had every known, taken away in thirteen minutes.
As you can imagine, food and resources became scarce. Everything is a fight for survival. That’s the world I was born into.
Mum never talks about how she survived Hammerfall.
I was eight years old when I was out scavenging. I’d gotten away from everything else at this point by running. A lot of running. But this time I was feeling cocky. Mum had let me go out scavenging into the New Forest. I’d never been so far from Lakeside, but she’d told me that I was growing up now and had to learn to fend for myself. I was thin and wiry and in no way prepared for a fight.
Especially when I found the plane. It had split into three sections, two of which had been ransacked and only the barest skeleton remained. But the tail was still waiting in the deeper in the woods. It must have been.
It was. I found it after a couple of hours searching and there it was in all it’s glory. Pretty much intact, all the panelling. Mum told me we needed more metal and there it was. I’d marked its location on the map mum had given me and was about to start heading home when I heard them. Three of them, cutting through the woods towards me all yelling to each other.
‘Look, what’s that?’ One of them shouted. They’d found my plane. They started talking to each other about it, how they were gonna be rich when they traded in all the sheeting.
That’s when I made my move. I had a branch in my hands, bark rough against the soft skin. It was a really satisfying thud as it connected with the first guys head.
The other two rushed me as he went down. The first guy sent me to the floor with a shoulder to my chest, knocking all the air from my lungs. The second guy started kicking me while I was down, his boots thudding into my ribs, my arms, my legs as I curled into a foetal ball. The first guy joined in quite quickly.
Hey, you asked for my first fight. Not my most successful one.
I’ve got no idea how long that lasted. It could have been seconds, it could have been hours. All I know is that eventually they dragged me away to the edge of the woodland and stole my map. I was bruised and broken, but managed to make it back to town, hobbled and lame.
Mum screamed when she saw me. She wouldn’t let me leave the ramshackle hut that we called home for six weeks.
She sure as hell didn’t let me scavenge again for a long time.
The Idiot in Tin Foil