*Note: There is an interactive Twine version of this story here

 

Since the Authority took over the area Lucan and Clondalkin has been decimated. The Authority look after themselves over near Dun Laoghaire where the sea air is good and the rich make sure they have what they want. Fresh food, power and most important of all. Safety.

 

No such joy for you. You are fending for yourself in lawless lands near Liffey Valley. Call the authority for help and you’ll be laughed at. If anything goes wrong the only person you can turn to is big Eddie.

 

Big Eddie is a drug lord and his justice is swift. Eddie says there is one rule. Everyone around here knows the rule.

 

Do as I say or die.

 

Your name is Leanne and despite all good advice you are out by yourself trying to get to the hospital where your friend Maggie is struggling to keep the hospital going. She has sent a message saying the hospital will close without help.

 

Your mother begged you not to go. You went anyway. You are tired of sitting around and doing nothing. The time has come to act.

 

You know Maggie is close to a breakdown, overwhelmed with casualties from the rebellion and exhausted by the flood of addicts overdosing on Spice. If you do nothing who else will?

 

Spice is being sold by the authority through dealers. It is the most addictive drug ever invented and take the right amount and it’s the perfect high, take too much and turns people into violent infectious zombies.

 

When someone dabbles with spice that’s called getting salty. When someone is fully addicted they’re called a spice bag. Everybody runs from spice-bags.

 

Big Eddie controls the drug trade for all of South Dublin. His base is at what used to be Liffey Valley.

 

You are walking through Quarryvale. You see an old man being attacked by Eddies soldiers. He is on his knees, his forehead cut, his nose bloodied. Drugged up salties circle on fire-breathing scramblers, kicking out and terrorising him.

 

You run to the man and stand with him. You scream at the salties to leave the old man alone. They grow bored and move off. Before they leave their leader wolf whistles and snaps a picture of you on his phone. Wheels spinning they cover you with mud and dust as they race off to torment someone else.

 

The old man is near senile. You find out his name is Seamie. He says he is going to his son Martin. He asks you to take him there.

 

You know who he is talking about. Martin is an old friend. He left to join the army years ago. Becoming a decorated pilot during the Doctrine wars. He left the army as it morphed into the Authority. He saw what was coming and now trying to live peacefully in control of the aerodrome.

 

You help the old man up and tell him you can’t go back to Lucan, you offer to take him to the hospital and get in touch with Martin from there.

 

You get to Maggie in the hospital. It is so overcrowded there are patients laid out on any available floor space, even out into the car park. The multistory is a morgue.

 

You find Maggie being forced to rest by her colleagues – drinking coffee from a tin cup beside a burnt out ambulance. She jumps up and gives Seamie her seat, puts a blanket over him and calls a nurse over to tend to his wounds.

 

She tells you that it was worse than she first said. Tonight is the last night the hospital has what it needs.

 

There is talk of Resistance out west. Rebels taking over Clare and Galway. Moving into the midlands. Because of this Eddie has made a deal with the Authority to stop all trade with South Dublin. No supplies can get through. No meds, no food, nothing.

 

The old and weak will starve and the fit will become refugees or be forced to join up with Eddie’s forces. Eddies army will provide a blockade against any movement of rebels coming for Dublin.

 

You are angry, raging.

 

The talk of resistance sets your heart alight. For the first time in years, you sense the possibility of a different life.

 

You speak frantically, telling Maggie that you think it would be a good idea to join with the Rebels.

 

She shakes her head. Suicide, she says.

 

She says she has to stay with the sick and wounded.

 

Seamie, with his wounds bandaged tells you he is getting taken by Jeep to Martin. He asks if you would like to come.

 

You decline and ask Maggie to help you attack Eddies base. If you attack together, with all the fit and able people near the hospital there might be a chance.

 

Seamie leaves. He says he wishes he could help. You ask him to ask Martin to help. He shakes his head. I dunno, he says. He lost any fight in him years ago.

 

****

You are at the fortress walls of Eddie’s base with a rag tag group of nurses and doctors armed with weapons salvaged from crashed cars and casualties.

 

You are looking through binoculars, searching for a weak spot when you hear grunting from the rearguard and then a muffled shout. Not sure what you heard, you listen intently.

 

You hear the wind moving through the leaves, inside the fortress walls a baby crying. A shout again.

 

RUN!

 

You’ve been flanked. Salties dressed in black, move through your troops like ninjas cutting throats as they go. Gunfire lights up the night. You run.

 

Straight into Eddie, who grabs you by the throat. You grab his arm, it’s thick as a tree. He lifts you into the air, checks the photo on his phone and grins. Yep, he says to himself. She’s perfect. He makes a kissing sound at you while he squeezes your neck. You pass out.

 

You wake in a cage. Maggie is beside you, unconscious. You shake her awake.

 

You are inside the fortress hanging from a chain over a pit full of spice-bags, they leap and snap at the cage like wild and hungry dogs. Salties roar and cheer from seats arranged around the pit. There are thousands watching you as you shake the bars of the cage.

 

You see nurses and others from the hospital in the crowd. They are being forced to join Eddie’s army and take spice. Some take too much and turn infectious, some refuse and are instantly executed.

 

Eddie has a megaphone in one hand, a rusty and bloodstained scimitar in the other. He roars at the crowd for silence. They obey.

 

Today is the beginning of our future, he says. The hospital is destroyed. Everything these idiots worked for is now in flames and will soon be ashes.

 

You look at Maggie. Her eyes tell you it’s true.

 

“These two fine specimens should be dead. But you all know I get lonely at the top of my shitheap. And thanks to you all taking pics for me. I’ve found just what I wanted. He reaches into the cage and grabs the two women. These two fine things will get to be my queens, if they agree to my one rule. What is the rule?”

 

Do as You say or Die!

 

Eddie turns to you. He snorts some spice.

 

Will you do as I say?

 

You spit in Eddie’s face.

 

“Fuck you. You’re just the Authority’s bitch.”

 

Wrong move woman. He says.

 

Snorting spice first, Eddie swings his scimitar at the rope that keeps you above the spice-bags. It almost breaks but holds by a thread, he gets ready for another swipe.

 

There is a huge explosion. A jeep  bursts through the gate, you recognise Martin, and his father Seamie riding shotgun, blowing the heads off Spice-bags as the jeep circles. Hundreds of troops rush in the gate.

 

He’s going to save us, says Maggie.

 

Eddie has a rocket launcher on his back. He loads it, snorts some spice, and takes aim at the Jeep.

 

Martin! You scream.

 

Martin sees the rocket launched, tries to jump from the jeep as it explodes. Seamie is thrown from the car and lands coughing at Eddie’s Feet.

 

Eddie takes a pistol out. This is what we do to the old he says, snorting some spice. Pointing the gun at Seamie.

 

Martin is still alive. He grabs Eddie’s scimitar from him, and chops off Eddie’s head.

 

Martin releases you. He then unties Maggie.

 

Martin climbs to the top of the tower and waves Eddies zombie head at the crowd. I am you new leader. Bow down to me.

 

The crowd bows.

 

What the hell? Maggie says. I thought he was one of us! Are we just on for more of the same?

 

Martin roars at the crowd. Waving the head. The head comes alive and bites Martin.

 

****

 

Two weeks since the women overthrew Eddie. The rebels have taken over the midlands and are moving towards Dublin. You destroyed the spice and turned Eddie’s fortress into a new hospital.

 

Martin is the only surviving spice-bag. Kept in Eddie’s old cage as a reminder of what can happen when men go wild with power.

 

The cage opens one night, and Martin wanders out in to the town.