The effervescent waves of distress lurked among the pines, eerily clinging to their needles like a brisk morning’s dew. The cool autumn breeze circulated the soupy air throughout the wilderness. Ominous clouds blocked the moon and stars, which created a blanket of blackness on the small patch of earth. Nocturnal creatures scurried and shrieked about their habitat. Their sounds brought the darkness to life. The smell of rotting flesh sensually differentiated aroma from odor. Irrelevance of time coincided with the relevance of now. Who cared about a clock’s programmed number with death’s presence ever a formidable foe? The dead outnumbered the living. The sick outnumbered the healthy. And the scared outnumbered the brave.

The 21st century ended in mayhem. The United States of America devolved into a landmass of atrophy. For years, the Last War raged through the land, which left an aftermath of infrastructure deterioration and human carnage. All the modern amenities and luxuries previously afforded the planet’s preeminent civilized society were now but a distant memory. The guesstimated population of the U.S.A. numbered less than ten million, after peaking at 450 million. Only the strong and lucky had managed to survive. Racial animosity permeated the consciousness of those who lived.

The government’s failed social experiment, known as multiculturalism and diversity, produced an immense hatred that ran deeper than any oceanic abyss. A war not of Yankees and Rebels, but of Paleskins and Muds. Race was the permanent uniform of the Last War. Peace could only come with separation or eradication. The ugly stains of the Last War would never be washed away. Blood soaked the soil from sea to gloomy sea. Valor came with every breath in a world of starvation, disease, sodomy, cannibalism, and death.

The three families gathered under the tree, hidden from the elements as best they could. Nine people. Shaking. Scared. Hopeful. Bonded together as one. Nomadic life was the only constant. Roaming hordes of savage Muds had all but wiped out the Paleskin populace in the region the Paleskin nomads currently trekked. Food was scarce. All things living were endangered. Cannibalism only sufficed the hunger pains of the Muds; the Paleskins preferred starvation. The children’s stomachs swelled underneath the rags used to warm their bony bodies. Their faces were dirty. Their eyes were hallow. Their will unbroken. They must survive. They must!

The men huddled. Quivered. Feared. They all knew the risk that lay ahead. They knew the only way to survive was to make it Home. They had come so far. There was no turning back. Death was a constant rival, but one that must be fought. The three men knew Home was hundreds of miles away. With little food, children in tow, and a terrain littered with savage beasts, the obstacles seemed insurmountable. They must move.

It had been two years since they departed the devastation that had consumed the area once known as Arkansas. The family traveled with a mutual destination in common: Home.

White Americans officially became a minority in 2037. They had been oppressed, victimized, and ostracized because of their white skin and their ancestors’ supremacy. Not just physically, but politically, socially and psychologically.

The oppression started in the 1960’s, when a hostile group of globalists subverted power with a malicious plan for genocide. After decades of psychological warfare per the establishment’s institutions, Whites were concluded to be incurable racists, and ultimately declared public enemy number one.

The Last War erupted when war was declared on the White population. Massively outnumbered, their only option was to flee to what was once known as Boise, Idaho. Whites established a citadel in Boise. They named the commonwealth “Home.” Without armaments for protection against the predatory packs of Muds, migration was the only option. Millions of White Americans attempted the dangerous trek, and millions perished.

Gasoline had long ago been used up. Vehicles littered the highways, most burnt to blackened shells. They were looted and stripped of anything deemed useful. The interstates were junkyards and graveyards, patrolled by cannibalistic Mud militias. The highways were paths of destruction. Millions of Paleskins were killed while they followed the highways. The Roadways were the Muds’ favorite hunting grounds. They used the bones of Paleskins as weapons, jewelry and trophies. The Muds hunted in packs and killed anything they could. They not only survived in the primitive environment, they thrived.

The family shared a small meal of wild onions and tea made from pine needles. They appeared to be in or near Colorado territory. They must make it to Boise. Home. The family began its trek with twenty members. Only nine remained. Three of the nine were children. The children have witnessed so much. They had nightmares every time they fell asleep. They hated to sleep. They hated to be awake. But they must survive for the sake of the future. They must!

After the small meal, they hiked northwesterly. They moved, hovered as low to the ground as their frail bodies permitted. The men kept the women and children protected as best they could. The terrain provided for good cover, but any open space was dangerous. Sounds of death often lurked. The Mud’s howls represented another kill. The screams of terror never left one’s mind. Ever. They must continue to move. They must!

Darkness loomed. The family had moved a mile during the grueling day. The children were weak. They must rest. The women were scared. They knew the consequences of capture. Death would cure the agony, but sexual torture and possible enslavement preceded death. The screams of distress were a broken record. The horror that could create such a noise was an ever persistent thought, a virus that sickened the mind.

The family huddled in the cold. The cold was bitter. Fire, if possible to start, would only draw attention. They shivered through the night. The coughs spread. The noses sniffled. No tears left; the ducts were dry. Sleep was necessary, but painful. The night air was brisk. Screams were few, but heard. An occasional howl. The moon was full. The clouds crossed in front of the night light’s path frequently. Silence was mandatory, but words were pointless. They must make it Home. They must!

The dawn arrived. Cramped by the cold, the huddled family was mute. Their eyes widened. The youngest child was stiff. Her skin bluish. She was dead. Hungry, they pondered. They must eat. All eyes focused on the corpse. They must eat. They needed strength to continue. The child would be eaten by someone. Something. They needed food.

The family of eight hiked northwesterly. Stomachs empty. The mother devastated. She fell repeatedly as they slowly moved through the brush. She vomited. Her child, the second to pass, died in her arms. A life of misery for the poor child. Worthless. Pointless. The mother wept quietly. They must move.

Sounds in the near distance. The family hid in thick brush. The view was obscured by the dense forest. The sound of a woman’s screams echoed though the afternoon air. Several grunts and moans from the Muds, sounds all too familiar to the ears to the migrating Paleskins. Gang-rape. After an hour, the sound of her shrill screams ceased. Death. Howls.

The family was forced to hunker in the bush for the day. No progress was made. The night set in. Cold. Very Cold. Worry of another stiff body in the morning. Nobody slept. Stomachs growled. The smell of death permeated the air. The family must move tomorrow. They were severely malnourished. The Muds were near. Caution must be taken. The mother silently wept. Death was life.

Onions and pine needle tea were the morning meal. The sun shined brightly. The cold night shivered everyone. The water and onions were nearly gone. They must replenish the supplies or die. The men ventured into the woods. They came upon some small bones and bloody innards. The site of yesterday’s sodomy and murder. They walked by with little emotion, numbed by fate. They picked pine needles and filled the water bladders from a nearby stream. Trout were seen. No energy to catch the fish. They returned to the family with pine needles and water.

The family moved the entire day. No rest. Screams were heard. Fewer howls. Optimism filled their minds. Were they closer to Home? A smile, the first in weeks. Rotten teeth. Not happiness, just the first sign of hope to quell the insanity. Silence through the night. Sleep was had by all. The cold air was brutal, like being locked in a deep freezer. Song birds woke the family. Survival. Pine needles provided a bit of energy for the long day’s travel. They must continue to move. They must!

The evening sky was filled with swarming buzzards. Death. Hunkered, the family sat motionless. Every heart beat with fear. Howls filled the air. No screams this time. Just howls. Death. No emotion. Death was easy. Life was hard.

The morning began under a tree like most. Stiff. Pine needle tea. No onions. The family must find food. They moved. The highway was in sight. Maybe there would be food. Danger was imminent. The men searched. The highway was littered with blackened vehicle corpses. The cracks in the highway were filled with weeds. The growth in the median was measured in feet. They stayed hidden. Three family members had died on the highway. Danger. They ventured out in the open. Sticks for weapons. Vehicles every fifty feet. Silence. Nothing moved. The feeling of being watched. Fear. Survival. Death.

They searched. Obvious pilferage. Their risk must be rewarded. They searched. Eerie silence. In a burned semi, a piece of metal that could be sharpened and used as a weapon. A car with a can of baby formula. A tire iron. Wild onions on the road side. Lots of them. They returned to the family. The trip was successful. Onions and baby formula for dinner. One of the men sharpened the piece of metal after dinner. The sound of honing metal filled the night air. Darkness. Cold. The family huddled. A child’s teeth chattered. They tried to sleep.

The sounds of busy squirrels awakened the family. Cold. The mornings were getting colder by the day. Onions and water for breakfast. The water was cold. The family was weary. Weakened. They must move. They must make it Home.

Howls forced them to hide. The day passed. No progress. Terrifying screams were heard twice. The Muds were near. Out of sight, but near. The family rested for the day. Frightened, but calm. The day turned to night. The children slept. They were physically weak, but mentally strong. They exceeded their life expectancy. Only two children remained. Ten made the journey. Two remained. Survival of the fittest. They must move.

The morning was silent. Onions and water for the adults. Formula for the children. They moved. No screams. No howls. They walked all day. Night fell. Onions and formula, then sleep. Closer to Home. Silent prayers. God, help! The scream from a nightmare. The woman who lost two of her children. No comfort from the family. No comfort to give. Hope was slim. They must make it Home. They must!

Frost on the ground. The onions and formula were gone. Only pine needles. Pine needle tea for breakfast. Cold pine needle tea. The men went to search for food. The highway was nearby. They ventured onto it again. Danger. They must find clothing to keep warm. The further north, the colder it would get. Winter was coming. The nights were cold. The mornings were frosty. The women and children were getting weaker by the day. The men scanned the highway before they came out of hiding. One at a time they approached the road. No sign of the Muds. All three men were on the highway. One picked onions on the roadside. The other two searched vehicles. An old blanket, burned but usable. A cracker under a seat. Molded, but the man quickly devoured it. Plenty of wild onions. A sound. The men all paused. Footsteps. Muffled voices. The men stood still. The sounds moved closer. The man who picked onions panicked. He ran. The Muds spotted him. They gave chase. Grunts. Screams. Howls. Death. The other two men returned to the family. They must move.

The woman cried for her husband. Three deaths since the journey started. Two in one week. Sadness. Depression. Hopelessness. She remained strong for her family. Her husband and children were dead. She must stay strong. The family needed her. She made pine needle tea. Silence. Numbness. Hatred. They must make it Home.

The night was bitter cold. A howl went out in the night. The smell of fire. Another howl. Screams. Howls throughout the night. Death. The family huddled. Calm, but scared. They must stay strong. No sleep. Fear. The children shivered. The screams of death made sleep difficult. The grunts of rape filled the atmosphere. A woman stepped away and vomited. The smell of puke. The sound of death. Fear. The night lasted forever.

Pine needle tea for breakfast. The kids looked terrible. Their faces shrunken. Their eyes blackened. Teeth and gums decayed. They never spoke. Skinny, with fat bellies. Bones protruded. Rags for clothing. Sadness. Eyes of pain. Eyes of confusion. Yet, still they continued to live. To fight for life. No complaints. No crying. No whining. Strength.

The family continued to move. Slowly. Quietly. But moved nonetheless. A man in front of the family. The women and children. A man behind. Seven total. A family. They moved. They must. Home awaits. Howls. Screams. They trekked all day.

The Paleskin family found a small cave to camp for the night. It was dark. The cave was damp. The water bladders were almost empty. Only pine needles. The men must find food. They will search in the morning. One man had a lighter. The temptation of fire was unbearable. The night air was cold. So cold. Every tooth chattered. Warmth would be heavenly. A howl was heard. Death. Nobody reacted. Just shivered. Cold, but no fire. They had come too far to give up. They huddled, the children in the middle. No complaints. No talking. Just cold. The cave shielded the wind’s chill. The bodies provided warmth for the children. They breathed heavily. Each breath visible by the light of the moon. They slept. No peace. Just sleep. They dreamed of fire. Of warmth. Of food. Of Home.

Morning came. The women and children stayed in the cave. The men searched for food. The highway was an option. The only place to find food. Real food. They looked at each other as the highway neared. Their eyes gleamed with fear. Life is death. Pine needles and water? Or do they risk their lives to find a treasure on the dangerous interstate?

They decided to collect water and pine needles. The Paleskin duo found some wild onions in a meadow. They picked them all. On the way back, they found some berries. Close to the cave, they stopped. A noise. They laid down in some thick brush. Hidden. They saw the Muds approaching. Ten of them. A young Paleskin girl in tow. A collar around her neck. Chain attached. Skinny. Bruised. Pale. Abused. Naked. When she fell, they dragged her. They walked within yards of the hidden men. The Paleskin men were motionless. They held their breath. Still. Quiet.

The Muds communicated with one syllable grunts. They didn’t communicate in English.

Only moans, grunts and body language. The Muds drifted out of sight. The men exhaled. They returned to the cave. They ate onions and berries. The Muds were near. The family stayed in the cave. They rested. Midday, a howl. A scream. A howl. Death.

As night fell, the men ventured out of the cave to hunt for supplies. The family needed clothing. Food. Water. The smell of burning wood filled the air. The Muds always had fire. They were predators, not prey. The Muds didn’t hunt at night. They were diurnal. At night they slept. Ate. Howled. Danced. Fucked.

The sounds of the Muds and the smells of fire were near. The two Paleskins cautiously investigated. The glow of the fire seeped through the thick forest growth. The men were scared. Frightened. Hungry. Armed. The women and children were safe in the cave. The men crept upon the camp. They laid on their stomachs and inched closer. The camp was near. The smell of fire was strong. The tribal grunts could be heard clearly. From behind the brush, the camp was in view. The same pack from earlier. The Paleskin girl was nowhere in sight. One of the men had recognized the Paleskin slave from the old world. They were from the same town. Mudshark.

The Muds lounged around the fire. They feasted. Rested. Slept. Masturbated. Grunted. Howled. The aroma of meat. The scent of camp fire. Warmth. A closer look at the fire revealed an arm on a stick seared over the flames. A Mud approached the hidden men. He coughed. He grunted in his tribal tongue. The Paleskin men froze. The Mud came close. Stopped. Turned around and took a shit within feet of the men. The men were still. The stench was foul. The Mud grabbed a handful of leaves from the branch above the head of one of the Paleskin men and wiped his ass. The pile of shit was inches from the Paleskin’s head. His stomach turned. He gagged. No sound. He gagged again. Motionless. The Mud howled and returned to the fire. He grunted three times loudly and pointed towards his shit. Nobody paid attention.

The Paleskins slowly retreated. When they were safe, they headed toward the highway. It was late. Cold. Safer. They reached the road. The moon illuminated the landscape. Alert. They still smelled burning firewood. Burnt flesh. Shit.

One man pulled onions. Many onions. The other searched for clothing. Food. For anything of use. He found another tire tool. He now had two. He found a seat cover. In another truck he found some flares. The other man pulled onions. He found a large patch of wild onions. Not real big, but bigger than the ones they had been eating.


The Paleskin man found what he had been looking for. Behind the seat of a badly burned pickup truck there was a food survival stash. Cans that were not affected by the fire. Several cans. The man smiled. Gray teeth. They departed the road with food. They headed for the cave. Optimistic. Hope.

The women and children devoured the food. Beans. Corn. Onions. They were full. The first time in months. No hunger. They slept well. Cold, but nourished. They huddled in the cave. The children slept. Good sleep. Content.

The next morning, the family was awakened by howls. No screams. Just howls. The family ate onions and beans. They left the cave. The sky was spitting drops of water. The ground was muddy. They continued their movement on a northwesterly track. A man led the way. The other man trailed.

In the middle of the day, the family stopped under a tree. Wet. Cold. The family’s shoes were riddled with holes. Every foot was pruned. Their feet had to dry. The family sparingly ate some morsels of food. They discreetly thought of a warm fire.

Noise. Footsteps. The family armed themselves. Embraced. Ready to fight. Fear. Bravery.

Hidden under the tree, the family watched as four people crossed to the side of them. The group had followed the wet trail the family left through the forest. It was a group of four Paleskins. From under the tree, the family slightly stirred to catch the attention of the small group. The noise startled them. The man of the group raised a piece of metal in an aggressive manner. They saw the family under the tree. Paleskins. Their fear subsided. The two groups joined under the tree. A man, two women and a teenage boy. Strength in numbers. Unity. Family.

The family camped under the tree for the night. No shoes on. Cold feet. The family formed a human puzzle to lay on the feet of another. The feet could freeze. They all tried to sleep. No words. Words were futile. The same plight. The same goal. The same fear. The same hope. The same family. Howls. Death.

The family awoke. A woman whimpered like a dog. Her foot badly frostbitten. It was dead. Almost completely blackened. She knew the outcome. No hope. The end. The family must move. The woman can’t walk. The family must hike. The child cried. He won’t leave. Mom insisted. No words. She motioned for him to go. He cried. She cried. Goodbye. Love. Sadness. The boy was dragged away by a man. The woman was left to die. She would be raped, killed and eaten. Tears ran down her face as she watched her family disappear into the woods. She awaited her fate with a sharpened stick in hand.


For all installments of “They Must,” click here.