Destination Unknown - CH.1 (Louis)
Larry Stylinson/? AU
Word Count: 2,793
Deen: Here’s my first chapter! It’s full of action and excitement and sets the mood for the whole fic, I think. Please do let me know what you all think of this. I think I might be the most excited for this fic out of all of them. CH.1 (Harry) will be written by Ashley (words-never-fail), and the two characters’ stories will be separate for a while. But never fear, they will indeed meet. ;) Enjoy!
“It said over a week, Louis!”
“Mum, it said a week. I’ll be okay, I promise. I’ve taken the meds, I’ll be fine.”
“There’s nothing out there for you. It’s all gone.”
“No. There’s a whole world out there, Mum. It’s still there.”
Louis confidently climbed up the ladder of the fallout shelter he and his mother, Jay and his four sisters were sharing. It had been seven days since they’d heard and felt the last distant rumble, seven days since they’d heard a bird sing in the morning, seven days since they’d seen the sun, seven days since the war had come to an apocalyptic climax. Reaching the top of the short ladder, Louis turned to his family and blew them all a loving kiss, all of them enacting it’s capture and pressing their hearts.
“I’ll be back in an hour, okay?”
“Okay, LouLou.” One of his youngest twin sisters, Daisy spoke, “love you.”
“I love you too.” Louis pushed the now unbolted hatch upward and held his breath as a light breeze rushed into the shelter. He grabbed a facemask that was hanging next to him in preparation for this moment as he peered out the small opening he’d created.
The road was visible a few metres before him, though he couldn’t see past the hatch top to the other side of it. He turned his head slowly, assessing what he could see. The grass of his front yard, where the shelter had been buried, was brown and dead, but otherwise intact. For almost 360 degrees, everything seemed eerily normal, just neglected. The sky was overcast, obvious from the ominous darkness despite it being midday.
Louis closed his eyes, clamping them shut tight as he pushed the hatch top with all his might, sending it back on it’s hinges and landing with a thud behind him. Eyes still shut, he took a tentative breath through his mask, sounding like a famous space villain as he did so. Opening his eyes slowly, his pupils constricted against the bright light - he hadn’t seen natural light for a week, and the world remained bright and unseeable for a few momentd as his eyes adjusted.
A gasp escaped him as he finally saw the world around him. He was facing the road, beyond it, his street had been flattened. Every house on the other side of the road had collapsed, though many weren’t obliterated. Chimneys, small sections of walls and parts of houses that had fallen onto cars or one another remained tall. The world was dark, though that wasn’t uncommon for Doncaster, England - this darkness was different. This was man-made, and it seemed permanent. There was no break in the clouds - they went forever in every direction. Miserable.
Louis lifted himself from the shelter and closed it back down, sealing his family into safety from the devastation once more. Standing tall on his yard for the first time in a long time, Louis surveyed his house - what was left of it. His chimney hadn’t survived like some of his neighbours and that seemed to hurt him a little more than it should. His house had completely collapsed and his mothers car was flipped on it’s side, burnt out. Clearly his house had bore a greater brunt of destruction than the other side of the street. Why, Louis couldn’t be sure. The destruction on his street didn’t seem to resemble that of a wave of obliteration, more like some massive wind had come through and slapped the houses flat.
Unable to look at his entire life destroyed before him, tears welling in his eyes, Louis turned away from his ruined home and surveyed the rest of the street. There was nobody. There was no sound, not even a breeze. The world had completely been stripped of all life.
He turned on his heels and made for the city centre, which was a ten minute walk South. The town’s devastation was almost immediately evident as he rounded the top of the small hill at the end of his street. The city centre had been victim of something other than the ‘wind’ that seemed to affect his street. There were burnt, deep craters littering the ground, small fires still burning and most ominously to Louis, a tank lay on it’s side at the end of his street - a gaping black hole in the side that faced the sky. A charred Union Jack on the back of the once mighty vehicle brought a tear to his eye. Pressing his hand against the symbol of his country, Louis let the tear fall in his mask.
“Thank you.” he whispered to the tank and those who once operated it.
He reached the centre of Doncaster not long after and stood before his old college that was completely flattened, much worse than much of the rest of town. There had obviously been some kind of struggle for the centre of the city, as there was almost nowhere left unscarred by a crater, burn scorch or, most worrying to Louis, bullet holes.
Wandering around what used to be his old stomping ground, Louis’ head was playing tricks on him. When he walked over the Markets Roundabout just by the college he could swear he heard the sounds of children playing over the road. Every Wednesday there would be dozens of the little hell-raisers. His head whipped around, soon followed by his body, desperate to see any people. Anything.
With nobody there, Louis trudged slowly toward what was once a beautiful field where he played football, a few minutes further into Doncaster. It used to be a massive park in the centre of the city, but now, with the rest of the urban area flattened - it was all looking the same. Covered in rubble. He could tell the sight of destruction was going to be a common one in this new, post-war world.
Reaching the field he surveyed the site he spent countless Saturday’s playing and enjoying football. How could he have been so naive? How could anyone have been so naive? Peace time was one of stupidity and Louis soon found himself sitting hard to the ground and slamming his fists to the dirt that now replaced once beautiful grass. He cursed the government for letting the war start, he cursed everyone for being so stupid and letting the government handle it alone, he cursed the enemy for fighting it, he cursed the army for losing - he cursed them hard before quickly turning that anger on himself for being so irrational. The men and women of the military were probably all dead now, all of which died to protect him. Tears welled over once more and he flipped his mask off to wipe his eyes, quickly panicking when he realised that he’d taken two unprotected breaths. Though it wasn’t guaranteed there was radiation on the air, it was possible. He clamped the straps back down and sealed the air flow once more, taking a few protected breaths. The damage would have been done if there was toxic fumes in the air. His worry was distracted by the sound of wind - the first sound he’d heard, besides some he had made, since he left the shelter.
The blow of the breeze was a new, constant sound which grew louder and louder, without any breeze pushing against Louis. He held his hand up, wondering if the breeze was above him because it sounded like a gale now. His eyes soon widened as a glint in the sky attracted his attention, far off in the distance.
That wasn’t a gale, it was a roar.
Two jets flew at lightning speed across the skies of Doncaster but were too far away for Louis to make out any discerning details. He stood from the seat he’d taken on the dirt and shielded his eyes from the glare pushing through the overcast skies. The two planes were racing to the west and seemed to be in a hurry, though jets always seem in a hurry.
Louis fell to the floor as a deafening clap of thunder and a following whoosh erupted from behind him. As he hit the deck and lay on his back two glowing hot lights streaked through the sky and raced toward the two jets, smoke streaming from behind their red hot glow.
The two glowing streaks hit the two planes which noticed them all too late, diving and pitching in a vain attempt to avoid them. The streaks simply adjusted their course and made contact anyway. A few moments later the sound from the two explosions reached Louis’ ears and he covered them desperately as the claps of thunder rang through his head. Two fiery balls fell to the ground a few kilometres in the distance, landing in the countryside out of Louis’ sight.
At that moment, Louis jolted on the ground as two more jets, much lower and much closer raced a few hundred metres over his head. He could see these ones much clearer and easily recognized the Union Jack proudly painted on their tails. They were British!
Louis stood quickly and clapped and hooted loudly as they raced further in the direction of their once airborne enemies. His celebration died down quickly as the realisation set in - what exactly that meant. The war was still on.
His sadness was seemingly answered by a low rumble from within the dark clouds, thunder moving in. Fooled once more, Louis screamed in fear as a formation of dozens more jets descended from the clouds and destroyed the two British jets that had just flown by him. Louis felt a deep seeded anger take root as he watched the brave airmen attempt to eject, failing to do so on time. Once more, his emotions were answered as the world erupted into chaos around him. The formation of jets were breaking apart and scrambling in all directions as another set of British jets raced over Louis’ head and joined the fray, avenging their fallen comrades. The sky was soon filled with streaks of smoke, bright flashes and fireballs hurtling to Earth. But that was the least of Louis’ worries. Across the field, large looming shapes were emerging from the other side of town with hundreds of smaller figures flanking them - people. Louis’ instincts demanded he ignore his brain, which said he should run to the first person he saw. His instincts spotted the danger before they fired the first shots. Three close wizzes past his head alerted him to the fact they were not British soldiers. He scrambled back down the dirt and ran toward the city centre once more, breaths immediately becoming troubled in the mask. It didn’t let him get enough oxygen. He couldn’t breathe in hard enough. As he approached town he heard the first words since his sisters said goodbye,
“Get that kid out’ve here!” A thick Scottish accent commanded.
Louis suddenly found himself surrounded by a group of men dragging him behind a treaded vehicle that rolled to his position and swallowed him in it’s back, armoured compartment.
“No! Let me go! I can’t leave my family!”
“Relax kid! You can’t go anywhere now! They’re right on top of us!”
The thunderous battle raging in the sky was soon joined by crackles and snaps of machine gun fire outside the vehicle Louis now presided in. He jumped to the other side of the compartment to look out the small slit windows. There were men running up the hill he’d just run down, guns blazing. Amongst them, tanks like the one he’d seen burnt out on his search through Doncaster were themselves charging up the hill, taking position atop it and unleashing their hellish payloads in the direction of the enemies that had tried to kill Louis.
The enemy responded and the whole world was engulfed in a cacophony of noise unlike anything Louis had ever heard. No matter how hard he clamped his hands down on his ears, the explosions, smashes, rumbles and crackles around him invaded his thoughts, every part of him rattled with every sound that rang through the vehicle. Before he lost his nerve, he looked once more out the window while their driver weaved aggressively through the battlefield. Louis caught glimpse of a jet crashing heavily into the field, on top of three men - from which side anyone was from, he couldn’t be sure anymore. The two sides had melded together and people and vehicles were firing in every direction. It was madness. A sound much louder than he thought possible distrupted everything and the vehicle flashed white before lurching over and sending Louis crashing into the metal behind him, knocking him out cold.
Louis awoke, head immediately throbbing where it lay, still connected to the cold metal on the side of the vehicle that had kidnapped him for his own safety. His equilibrium felt off, like he was upside down and spinning. He soon worked out he was indeed upside down, the vehicle was on it’s side, it’s door ajar. Louis groaned as his body pained him, resisting his muscles efforts to haul him out of the back, tumbling to the hard gravel as he did so. He felt the stones dig into his arm as he landed, but he couldn’t care, he had to be on the look out for danger.
The world was eerily silent once more - the battle over.
Bodies lay strewn across the field, which was now completely ruined - even the dead grass and dirt had been obliterated into ash and mud. Vehicle tracks, bodies and burnt out metal frames littered as far as Louis could see. There was a crashed jet, a British one, that had landed only metres from the vehicle Louis was in. Had it landed slightly closer, he wouldn’t be alive right now.
It seemed safe enough, but Louis made a mad dash for the nearest rubble on the way home. He had no idea how long he’d been out, but the world was a bit darker now. Whether that was a result of his head bump, the battle smoke or because it was late, he couldn’t be sure.
He weaved in and out of the remnants of houses, jumping at every movement, saying goodbye to his life at every snap of a branch or crumple of a piece of rubble as he touched it. He was on the brink of death at all times and the adrenalin pumping through his veins only pushed him on faster, back up the hill, back through his street and back to the open hatch of his shel- wait- open?
Louis dived down the hatch, it’s door buckled from it’s hinges. Obviously tampered with. Dread filled him, desperation overcame him and an empty shelter laid before him. His family was gone. His beautiful family was nowhere to be seen. The air smelled cold and empty, thick with grief as Louis sobbed quietly, now gripping desperately at his face, realising his mask was gone. He slid down the wall behind him, fear gripping his desperation in a battle of emotions that was just as fierce as the real one he’d just been a part of. He felt the blood drain from his face, his limbs tingled and his stomach wretched. Louis leaned over expectantly and was quietly sick in the now echoing shelter.
The sound of trucks starting their engines made Louis immediately forget all woes. He scrambled up the ladder, slipping half way up and smacking his chin against the next rung, biting his tongue with an exacerbated gasp of pain. Rushing out of the opening Louis saw in the distance a convoy of trucks, decorated with flags that were not British or even English, Scottish, Welsh - they were enemies and they were heading South - London.
Determination now quelled all other emotions. His family was on those trucks, he just knew it. He could feel it. They were heading toward the old capital, and that’s where he was going to go. He slid back down the ladder, well aware he wouldn’t catch a machine with just his legs. No, this had to be planned. He wasn’t about to let the fact his country may have lost the war mean he loses his family too. No, he wouldn’t fail to lead them to safety like his leaders failed Britain. He wouldn’t fail to protect them like the military failed him, like the so called unbreakable alliance failed him. No, he would be a pillar of hope in a time of darkness - he was Louis Tomlinson, and nothing was more important to him than his flesh and blood - other Tomlinsons that needed him now. He was going to London.