You can take a man's possessions, you can take his friends, you can even take his life. But when you take his family, that, is when you've truly killed him. Spoiler: Zero. I was sitting in a garden, a trowel and some dirt in my hands, I was knee deep in dirt, in front was a blushful garden planted with Roses, Daisies, Hepatica, and Dandelions. I climb to my feet and give my knees a beating, clawing the dirt off. After a good stretch, my left ear perks to a child’s laughter, I turn. My wife, her sweet brown locks, gorgeous green eyes, radiant, contagious smile, giving me a polite wave from the other side of a paned window of a wooden one-story house, no, cabin. She’s holding our youngest child, the most beautiful thing you could ever lie your eyes on, holding his favorite stuffed animal, a bear he named, “Bubba”. Next to my wife was our oldest, my daughter, her hair was golden, eyes blue, the light of my world. Nothing has been more pure than her innocent gaze, seemingly striking through you with no resistance. I perk a smile, raising my right hand to give a wave, when my wife’s expression turns sour, her gaze lifts to the sky, my children’s faces grow in shock, in horror, I turn around just as the shadow overtakes me.. I wake up. Spoiler: One. All around me is rubble, remains from a building I once called home, now intended to be my own tomb. My body tenses as I struggle to pull my arms out of some rebar, though I stopped once my side started shoving razor blades into my ribcage. Through the pain and struggle, I finally pry my arm from underneath the concrete, I push against a support beam that had been dislodged during, during what? Nevertheless, I push against the wood log, placing it onto the rebar above my head. Not wanting to waste time, I pick myself up, holding my chest as I do so. The room that once held state-of-the-art equipment had been reduced to scraps in merely a few seconds, just one call was made before things went south. Dust polluted the air, infiltrating my lungs, my reflexes beckon me to push the dust out, I suppress my instincts though, inspecting the rest of the building. We had lived in a single story shack, it blended in well with the surroundings, light shun through the small holes we called windows, the dust combo produced a ray of light that illuminated the rock and dirt that had replaced our table. I turn around, the roof above me had collapsed during the explosion, it’s a wonder I wasn’t killed from the weight. I had recalled just then that I was speaking to someone before the event. Instincts overwhelm me as realization plagues my face, I begin coughing a fit as I run back over to the rubble, pulling rubble and rebar off of the ground. In the dirt, dust, and concrete, I saw her face. Just thinking about it haunts me to this day, Tessie had been her name, her hair was red as a chilli pepper, but her eyes as green as a neon light. She was taller than average, tall as me. We grew close in the years we spent together, looking at her under the destruction that was home, looking at her expression, pain, horror, loneliness. It didn't’ take long for this war to affect me. I spun around, pulling more and more rubble off of the ground in search of my friends, in that moment a laptop that lied on the only intact table left flickered on. After carefully considering my options, I paced over, opening the message service. <: ATTENTION ALL OPERATIVES; THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA HAS REACHED DEFCON 1, RETURN TO YOUR CLOSEST UNITED STATES EMBASSY ASAP AND WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS :> -Sent two hours ago. It’s easy to say that, that message sent chills down my spine. I close the laptop, my face pale, I continue my search for the others, ten unaccounted for, but I decide that if I hadn’t found them, they’re either dead, or have gotten out. The empty armory locker had backed that theory. My rib was still giving me hell, but it was remotely bearable, I grab a Glock from the armory, as well as a single magazine. I sling a coat around me off the ground as I walk through the hole that the wooden door once sat in, I guess that’s what the wood behind me was. The light is blinding, and after taking my first step in the desert, I began to see just how fucked I was.