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Country Roads (Take Me Home)

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Down along I-79, or what's left of it, there's a town. They call it Fairmont. It sits below Morgantown and above Clarksburg. Grafton is to the southeast. Farmington lies to the west.

 

Before the bombs fell, most of the residents called it a shit hole. There's nothing there, well that's a lie. The connector is still there. The courthouse survived the destruction. There's the old Glendenning house on Grant Street that's still standing; those cats are still screaming in the dead of night.

 

There are a couple more places that remain intact, won't do to list 'em all. They've all been picked clean, might be some bits and bobs to gather but all the good stuff; the useful stuff, is gone. Ya might find yourself a can or two of Bubba Cola or that Nuka stuff they peddled around under the shelves at the old Save-A-Lot in Belleview before...

 

Ugh.

 

Before. It's always before. Before the war... Before the bombs... Before the vaults... Before the radiation... Before I became a monster.

 

Call us ghouls, or sometimes the word zombie gets thrown around. Ain’t no living dead, still alive as ever. Might look a tad uglier but wasn’t winning any beauty contests before.

 

I swear to Jesus that word. Such a word fills me with anger and ire as ever.

 

The normal ones who came out of the vaults, they call us the lucky ones. The ones that didn’t die during the initial bombing. Lucky, can you imagine? We ain’t lucky. Somehow being in that damn courthouse that day was enough to save us.

 

That and Jesus.

 

I don’t much believe in the Holy Spirits anymore. It’s just that the world changed and is pretty much godless now. It’s funny how stuff happens like that.

 

Sometimes I wander through the ruins of this town, remembering. Don’t know why memories don’t do anything but hurt. I can't think of any reason why anyone would bomb West Virginia. We didn’t have poo-diddly-squat here. We were blind to circumstances. Yeah, there were some National Guard armories but nothing that would make this state a target for nukes.

 

In those early years, we had no clue. How wrong we were about those assumptions.

 

West Virginia is home to a dozen or more hidden missile silos; several of those were known to be nuclear. Could be more; the documents I found in the city building weren’t really all that detailed or precise. Most of the papers in the mayor’s safe just documented one nuclear missile silo outside of town by the Armory. There might be one by the NASA complex.

 

The state also holds a number of military caches surrounded by barbed wire and double fencing, but there’s nothing that would make someone nuke the state.

 

Some of the cognitive ghouls around the city say only one bomb got dropped on West Virginia. Some of them say we got bombed because of the NASA complex and their arrays. Others say it’s because of the FBI center down at the Middletown Mall.

 

The seal in the fallout shelter wasn’t good enough. Radiation seeped in. A couple of the people lost their minds. There was this one kid who sat by the door. We watched his skin turn sickly green, fall off in chunks. He looked like cooked liver. He eventually died, but I think that’s because the bad stuff fried him completely.

 

There was an old military guy who was in the courthouse that day. He got turned into a ghoul-like the rest of us. He said West Virginia was supposed to be the perfect place. It was a safe zone. Nothin’ bad was supposed to happen to us. Old Burl noted Fairmont was the ideal location for the space outfit and the Feds. Close to West Virginia University; far enough away from the Capitol that we wouldn’t be harmed. Rent was probably cheap.

 

Didn’t those idiots see that one movie, what was it called, Red Dawn ? Okay, yeah it was fictional. Ain’t the same circumstances, but still, we were targeted.

 

They should have known better.

 

It’s been about six months since that vault opened. Those smooth-skinned humans think they got a grasp on how the world works. The thing is, they ain’t got a clue.