“Oh my God… Why the fuck is this shit happening to us?! First the robbery, now even the hospital we were sent to gets attacked?!” Matthew was complaining, but never stopped moving. The two of them had to try at least three different stairwells, before they could find one that wasn’t engulfed in flames.
[There are three possibilities. First, the System, Moderators or Administrators have decided to target you specifically, because you are a Player and also a Modder. Second, these masked men have some relation to the two men that Michael killed. Perhaps they have come for vengeance, but only knew that Michael was a Caucasian man. Thirdly, this might simply be a prelude to the upcoming civil war. Regardless, overcoming trials in Old Earth Online is an excellent way to earn achievements and new cards. Try to stay alive.]
Matt wanted to talk to the System, but when he remembered that his mother was right beside him, he could only stay silent and keep going forward. After getting the oxygen masks and tanks, the two of them had gone back to their rooms and gathered up some basic clothing. Anaishe also had her cell phone and purse. Otherwise, the two of them would’ve frozen to death, even if they made it out of the burning building.
His mother was wearing blue jeans, a tank top and a thick black winter coat, while Matt only had a grey hoodie and black sweatpants. The two of them also wore sneakers, or they would have cut their feet open form all the broken glass everywhere.
“Come on, we’re almost there!” Matt had to carry both of the oxygen tanks, while his mother was just struggling to walk around on her own. The hospital was like a maze even under normal conditions, but with black smoke filling the air and flames spewing out of every other door they passed by, it took them a while before they were able to find an exit that wasn’t blocked.
“Matty, stop, we need to warn them!” They had made it outside, but the fire trucks and firefighters were at least a few hundred meters away. There were cars and vans everywhere in the parking lot, so no one even noticed that the two of them had escaped from the building.
He hesitated for a while, but eventually told her “We need to get away from here, now! We don’t have time to worry about anyone else but ourselves!”
They left the oxygen tanks behind in the parking lot and kept moving. There were dozens of individual buildings in the area, all belonging to the hospital. It was more like a separate district of the city, rather than just being an individual structure. Fortunately, they weren’t close enough for the fire spread to the other buildings as well. Otherwise, the disaster would have been far more severe. After all, nearly all of the medical facilities in the whole city were located within that area.
“Matty, stop… I can’t walk anymore…” Anaishe casually sat down on the step of some random person’s townhouse. They had traveled at least five blocks away from the hospital district, to the southeast.
“Sorry Mom.” Matthew sighed and sat down next to her, rubbing his hands together and then breathing into them for warmth. He muttered “We’re on East Baltimore Street… Almost right next to the park. Hmmm, should we call a cab? I don’t have any money on me though.”
“It’s fine, we can walk the rest of the way in a bit.” His mother coughed a few times, then looked up at the smokey winter night sky. The Moon and stars were obscured by the smog. Sounds of helicopters, gunshots and explosions rang out, along with the neverending sirens.
“Mom, this is only gonna get worse.” Matt sighed, grumbling “The world is ending and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Oh don’t be so melodramatic. Matthew, people have been saying that the world was ending for my entire life. And guess what? It’s still here. Earth hasn’t changed one bit. People sense the changing of the seasons and don’t realize that it’s only temporary. It’ll be summer again before you know it, just as sure as this chaos will pass. God gives us trials and tribulations to make us stronger. So that we’ll be worthy of serving Him in Heaven. Even if Rapture comes, nothing will really change. We’ll go to His kingdom and live again, for eternity.”
“Must be amazing to have so much faith.” Matt shook his head, murmuring “Then again… I guess I’m just as bad.”
[Achievement Earned: “Escaping Disaster 1”. You managed to survive a terrorist attack on Jacobs Memorial Hospital in “Old Earth Online”. You have earned a new card! You have gained 5 experience points!]
There was a deafening explosion and the ground even shook, while a huge fireball lit up the northwestern sky. Anaishe screamed in shock, while Matt yelped unconsciously.
[Summoner: Matthew Leblanc
ID Code: Trashmob-707
Description: A lucky momma’s boy who can’t even survive a little hospital fire without relying on Mods.]
Receiving the new card didn’t force him to shuffle his deck, otherwise every time he gained an achievement, it would be a life-threatening situation. His cards would all Unsummon abruptly and whatever he had in his hand, would be gone.
When he recovered from the shock, he looked at the holographic card that appeared in front of his face. Meanwhile, his mother stood up and told him “Matty, let’s go home. If the National Guard get called in to deal with this, they might order a curfew or worse… We don’t want to get involved in any of that. If anyone asks, we were released from the hospital early and were lucky enough to not be there when those terrorists attacked. Otherwise we’ll be hounded by all sorts of annoying problems later on…”
“I know Mom. I’m not dumb enough to go on Facenovel and talk about what happened. Hell, those terrorists might come after us if they find out that we escaped or whatever. Not only that, but I mean, technically… We still haven’t paid our hospital or surgery bills. You should keep the donations you got so far, but end the crowdfunding campaign.”
Matt smirked, then his mother suddenly asked “Wait, Matty… Your face! What happened?! There isn’t even a scar!”
He snickered, casually explaining “Must’ve been all that praying you did Mom, hehehe~, look at us. We were shot a few days ago and had major surgeries, but now we’re totally fine. We even survived almost dying of smoke inhalation.”
“Speak for yourself!” Anaishe coughed, muttering “I definitely don’t feel ‘fine’. But I’m glad that we have some angels looking out for us.”
The walk to their house took nearly thirty minutes, but they eventually made it home. The investigation had already finished, so it wasn’t a crime scene anymore. However, it still hadn’t been very long since then… Thus, the house was still in shambles. The carpet in the living room was stained with blood, though it was clear that some cleaning had already been performed. The bullets had been removed from the walls, along with the skull-fragments and brain-matter, but they didn’t seem to try very hard to repair anything. More important, the house had been clearly looted afterwards.
All of the nicknacks and other decorative items that his mother collected over the years had either been destroyed or stolen. Old televisions were smashed, while new flat-screens had been taken. Both of their computers were missing, all the jewelry was gone, someone had actually urinated all over the floor in the basement. Mattresses and sheets were ripped to shreds, along with most of the clothing being destroyed or taken.
“At least the fridge and freezer are still intact… And most of the other appliances. I guess it could be worse. They could’ve smashed apart our support beams and totally ruined the whole house. Actually if they would’ve burned it all to the ground, it would’ve made things easier.”
Matthew and his mother were sitting in his bedroom, which was on the second floor, towards the front of the building. The master bedroom that had windows facing the alley and backyard was in a lot worse condition than his own room. Still, there were no beds in the whole house that were still functional. The two of them had to unfold some simple metal chairs just to have a place to sit.
“Matty, I think you’re right. We should just sell the house. This place… “ Anaishe started crying as she said “This isn’t my home anymore.”