10/02/2022:writing assignment, where we had to focus on a compelling, hooking beginning. this actually ended up being a series, with only the second one being submitted as the assingment. evacuation part 1 was my first attempt, but i didn't like it, so i went back too the drawing board and ended up with evacuation 2, a direct follow-up to the first one with some revisions (AKA more in line with OC canon, aka myukeu did not make it out RIP.) i ended up being inspired enough to write a 3rd part, and it'll just keep going from there LMFAO.
this is part of my lobotomy corporation OCs' story, aka the 50th day and the hell that resulted from it and the questionable peace following it
The building shot upside-down through layers upon layers of thick, jagged earth, rising ever closer to the surface with each pulse of its internal alarms. Yet, with each second it spent grinding against the rough stone around it, it slowly fell and withered into itself.
After all this time, my cage was finally falling. It was rising to resurface, sure, but turned on its head, to me the day had finally come where it was finally falling.
Walls crumbled and staggered around us like a towering, trembling creature succumbing to its old wounds. The friction had worn them down, and as our workplace building burst out of the ground like a great metal stalagmite, the walls had crumbled and fallen, leaving only the metal skeleton of the structure behind.
Pipes burst. The alarms deafening me only grew louder. The great building shed its outer skin and exposed all of its organs to the outside world for the first time in ten years. I was in the middle of running from one department to another when we made the final eruption out into the air, the sudden halt sending me and everyone else in the same room up a few feet in the air and then crashing back down.
I had squeezed my eyes shut and cowered into a position to keep my head covered from anything that may fall upon us after that large jolt. I heard the facility’s agents scream around me–it almost reminded me of a rollercoaster’s peak in a way— but soon those screams tapered into something softer: near silence. I only opened my eyes when I felt cold, moving wind lapping at my crumpled body.
I hadn’t felt wind in a while. It startled me—I jolted out of my hunched over position and quickly opened my eyes to see the wall beside me crumbled and ruined, revealing a large expanse of…sky.
Sky. Pure, unfiltered night sky.
I felt almost a child-like sense of wonder, totally forgetting why I had been running in the first place to simply stand up and stand amongst a seemingly endless night sky. The stars were so much brighter and prettier than any of the stars down here. I felt something swell in my throat and my face begin to burn with an overwhelming emotion I couldn’t put my finger on. I felt amazed, relieved, excited, but I also felt cheated, enraged, so used to mourning the above ground that upon finally getting it back in my grasp I felt every inch of yearning I had felt throughout these very long 10 years rise up in a new, hate-touched form.
I didn’t have time to mourn it all. I didn’t even have time to finish my first deep breath of the City’s air before my arm was tugged on by a fellow employee.
“I know it’s hard to look away.” Their voice fought against the overwhelming sirens of the facility and the new sounds of the City below us. “But we have to make sure everyone makes it out here alive. You were going to gather the rest of your department into an evac team, right?”
Myukeu, my old coworker, somehow never failed to keep their head on straight in the worst of situations, and this was no exception. Their gloved hand shrouded in a fur coat extended out to me and I had no choice but to take it. My eyes inevitably pulled away from the city skyline before me. They led me back to where I was originally headed: the Department of Information, the team of employees I was responsible for during my time here. After seeing I got there safely, they split off to care for their own group.
It didn’t take much time to gather them into an evacuation group. A good half of them wanted to stay behind and help fight off the growing list of creatures escaping into the halls and panicking amidst the new open-aired facility they found themselves in. I didn’t stop them. I wanted more than anything to drag them out with me, but I knew we needed someone to fend them off.
“Hey, don’t worry about a thing, boss,” Louis’s perpetually calm voice had reassured me as he wrapped a layer of chain debris left over from the facility’s husk around his metal gauntlet. His warm smile contrasted with the hopelessness piercing my chest at the thought of leaving him behind. “I’ll take care of ‘em so the rest can get out. Go help the others.”
I managed to gather a grand total of two employees from my department who weren’t willing to go down fighting. Jeong-Hui, one of our more timid employees under Information, and Maki, one of the eager transfer employees from a department lower than ours to make up for the drop in employee numbers in our department. The two followed close behind me as I approached my office.
“I’m going to grab some things from my office before we head out,” I said as authoritatively as possible. “Make sure you have everything.” I immediately regret those final words as their faces dropped—as a department Captain, I was given a small office and therefore the ability to store any belongings on the premises. Everyone else was only given their dorms, which were now totally inaccessible.
“...Sorry,” I quickly added before disappearing behind my office door.
It was strange being in here on work hours. Usually I only really dwelled here during lunch or after work to catch up on reports. But now, coming in here and drowning out the sound of destruction, monster cries, and yelling from behind me…it felt alien.
Something in me desperately wanted to scoop up every last report in here, salvage every single last file in the hoard amassed both here and in my dorm. Something in me wildly scratched and tore away at me, preventing me from moving an inch if it wasn’t towards that file cabinet.
“Hey, Jules?” A familiar voice crackled over my two-way radio, hooked to my belt. It was the voice of the captain of the Control department: my closest friend, Eva. “We need to move fast. Where’s your group? Over.” I pulled the radio over to my face.
“Eva,” I began, my voice surprising me with its slight tremble. “...Yes, we’re all good, by my office. Three of us counting me. I’m going to grab something and head right over. Where are we meeting? Over.”
“Meet up near the stairwell to the manager’s hall.” Eva didn’t seem to hear my voice falter. He was set on the goal, as usual. “Door’s been kicked open. Out.”
His voice grounded me. I headed straight towards my desk and pulled it open. I grabbed handfuls of the small purple hard candies stashed inside and stored them in my pants pockets. I flung another drawer open and immediately reached for old notes and paper scraps from friends that accumulated through the years–those went in my jacket pockets. The birthday cards and other larger documents would have to die with the facility. Finally, I stood before my closed laptop on the desktop and heaved a sigh. I’d worked hard to be able to earn this from the company points store, and I wouldn’t be able to take it with me. I didn’t have any bag to store it in. Knowing this, I placed my palm on its cold exterior for the last time as a final ‘thank you’ before turning and bursting out the door.
It wasn’t an easy path from here to the manager’s hall. We dodged a few close encounters with the breaching beasts as our coworkers held them off, making room for the evacuees as best as they could. I passed by plenty old friends— Valcez, a tough silent type who gave me a salute as we ran past, Narae, a hotblooded man who still felt the warmth in his heart to give me a great big smile as I thanked him for shooting down a monster close to attacking us, and Devona, a usually enthusiastic employee who now stared me down with big, empty eyes the moment she saw the evacuation team disappear without them.
I didn’t have the ability to grab them all. They belonged to other departments and their fate would lie within the hands of their respective Captains. I kept my eyes facing forward and my head bowed after having to see Devona’s emotionless gaze of betrayal.
Upon reaching the entrance of the hall I immediately saw a crowd. Eva and Myukeu were among them, trying to maintain order. Once they caught sight of me they took the lead of their groups and started bolting down the halls with them. Eva’s hand motioned us over, and we followed.
I had never been down this hall. It was usually out of employee reach. We ran down the emergency exit’s untouched stairways and shook off cobwebs and grime buildup on the rails. Our footsteps echoed loud as day, and the commotion from above faded with each level we descended.
We heard a loud crack and a devastating rumble, and the ground began to shake beneath us. I clung onto the handrail and instinctively reached over for Eva’s arm before me. He held on just as tightly. Our coworkers stifled yelps of fear and gasps. We kept moving as soon as the tremor quelled. Nothing would stop us.
It seemed like forever until we reached the final level. The building had been turned upside down– this was technically the roof exit, but now as the building lay tilted on its head, this was our way out to the streets below. Myukeu struggled against the trapdoor below.
“I can’t–they won’t budge—” They grunted in struggle against them.
“Move.” Eva shoved his way towards the front, large scythe in hand. He held it tight in his hands and shoved it down into the crack of the door. It didn’t budge. He thrust it harder with a frustrated grunt and still it didn’t give away. His group slowly began to fall into panic. Hearing them rise into weeps and anxious blabbering only fueled his next ram, and with a louder yell the scythe flew straight into the door and popped it right open with a bang.. Myukeu stood by it and ushered their group out first into the dark streets of the City.
Eva soon followed, my group came last. We had to crawl out and find our way through a tunnel of debris, disturbed earth and City concrete, but eventually after weaving our way through the nerve-wracking dark maze, Myukeu found a patch of weak debris and managed to make a small opening into the outside world. Their team crawled out first. Eva ushered my team after them, and finally popped out the Control team.
We stood and stretched our backs, breathing in the fresh air. Eva gazed up at the ruined building behind us.
“We’re not done yet. Get moving. The thing’s going to crumble any moment.” Eva stepped away from the base.
We ran for a long time. The City around us was nothing like how we left it all those years ago, and being surrounded with so many new faces was almost dizzying. I locked arms with Eva and Myukeu, my old teammates, who locked arms with the members of their own evac team. We ran until we were nearly knocked over by another tremor.
A great white beam of light shot from the top of the building behind us. It was blinding, lighting up the City so brilliantly it almost felt like we were underneath a morning sky. Civilians around me screamed and cowered. Little specks of light shed from the pillar and began raining down onto everyone below.
I wanted to turn back and face the commotion, but Eva pulled us forwards and towards cover. We dove into a small building which ended up being a bakery run by an equally terrified owner. The jingly door shutting behind us barely shielded us from the catastrophically loud sound of the building finally collapsing in on itself with a great boom.
And as we cowered amongst strangers in the silence that followed, we realized we were finally free. The building’s fall practically ensured the entrapment of any creatures left fighting as we left it. The employees who stayed behind–they were all gone, too.
Myukeu stood first, brushing dirt and dust off their work coat, looking bizarre amongst the stiff attire of the usual city goers. We all did— Eva with his large scythe and thin patterned blindfold, me with my long coat donned with the strange patterns and glowing blue heart bestowed upon me by the corporation I slaved under for so long.
We all stood and stared wordlessly at one another before crashing into each other in a great, big group hug.
We were free. We were freakish and out of place in our old home, but we were free.