I was ready to march early in the morning. I took another look around the house. I closed all the windows and doors and locked the front door. I put the key in a place that all our family members knew.
I looked around once more, from the sea came a fresh wind that smelled of salt water. Some seagulls were circling above me and shrieking.
The sunlight changed from orange to yellowish and so I made my way to Saltholmen. I drew my pistol. This became a habitual movement by now. I walked to the left of the road to take cover immediately if something attacked me. Up to the intersection with the crashed cars there was nothing to see. It remained calm. Then the forest on my left became a bit denser and the trees stood up to the road. To the right the terrain opened up and not far from me the steeple of Saltholmen Church rose. There I would find either survivors or more clues about their whereabouts.
I walked through the forest behind the third, fourth row of trees, so as not to be seen. Slowly I approached the church. I took my binoculars and kept looking over to the church grounds. I saw three of the dog-like robots running around on the back meadow of the church - one was in the front, where the main portal was, and another was patrolling the cemetery on the side of the church. I went on to have a look at the church forecourt. I didn’t see a soul and I didn’t see any movement anywhere except the robots.
Another Runner was in the forecourt, so there were two Runners.
I counted a total of six runners. That’s a lot to handle on your own. I thought about which ones to shoot down first. I decided to use the robots of the main portal first. Then the ones from the cemetery and finally the rest.
I looked around because I wanted an escape route if my plan didn’t work out. A little further into the forest was a big boulder, behind which I could stand. I prepared my weapons and aimed at the first robot at the main entrance. Since the Meusser only had five cartridges in the magazine, I had to reload in between. Therefore I had taken some cartridges in my left hand.
The two robots at the main entrance exploded shortly after each other. Both shots were perfect. The one at the graveyard got nervous and ran around between the gravestones. I was missing the first time but when he turned in my direction I hit the target and he exploded as well. The three remaining robots had already come closer and galloped across the meadow. It was more difficult to aim, but I quickly had the front one in my sights and destroyed it. The other two were aiming at me - probably they had seen the muzzle flash of my last shots. I reloaded quickly. Some ricochets whistled away howling as the first shots hit the stone. Then I had the Meusser ready to shoot again and aimed at the next opponent. I had to aim quickly because the robots were still shooting at my position. Then I remembered a saying of my trainer. “Do the unexpected” so I went left around the boulder and actually the robot still shot at my old position I aimed and shot the first of the two attackers.
The second one then came closer and I pulled the pistol and shot at him several times and he exploded as well.
I quickly examined the robots and recovered the ammunition.
When I reached the meadow I heard a bloodcurdling scream. I looked up and saw that one of the big, human-like robots came running towards me. I immediately jumped up and ran towards the cemetery. The first large calibres crashed into the wall of the church behind me, splinters and pieces of plaster splashed around.
I ran in a zigzag across the cemetery, looking for cover behind the gravestones. The shots came closer and I had to reach the main portal, otherwise I was lost. I pulled one of the emergency torches out of my pocket, grabbed it and threw it in the direction I suspected the robot would go. I hoped he was blinded by it. I kept running, poking through a gap in the hedge surrounding the cemetery, on my right was the main portal, but I still had to bridge the passage between the hedge and the church and in it the big robot seemed to be lurking for me. I heard shots. I loooked carefully around the hedge and indeed the big robot was standing in the passage around him some runners were running and shooting at the emergency signal torch. I tore another firecracker out of my pocket, pulled the igniter and threw it at the big robot. The firecracker exploded and created a glaring shower of sparks. I ran for it. None of the robots shot at me. I reached the main portal, which fortunately was not locked, opened the door prying into it, because I had seen a movement out of the corner of my eye. I rolled over to my right side and immediately shots hissed through the central aisle of the church. With my feet I kicked the gate shut. It flew crashing into its lock and stayed there. I heard some more blows into the heavy oak planks of the portal but none of the shots went through.
I had made it into the church, but now I was stuck. I slowly walked through the vestibule of the church and to my right there was a whiteboard. On it was written in my father’s writing. "Have proceeded to Stenhaga Farm, where there are more survivors. "From there we are to evacuate to Salthamm. On the table below was a letter that was also written by my father. I read it
"I hid Old Bethan here in the church. She "s in a place where you “ve been many times. She’s loaded, so be careful.”
I thought for a moment, and suddenly I knew what my father meant. Old Bethan was a shotgun that had been in the family for a long time. My Uncle Jonny used to take her hunting and he used to put her away.
Papa must have stolen it. I immediately went up the stairs to the bell tower in joyful anticipation and there, where I had always hidden as a child, stood on a chair leaning against the wall our old shotgun. It was a 12G pump action in short a pumpgun.
It was a real beast with buckshot ammunition. It could be dangerous for a bear or a big moose. In a box next to the chair I found about 20 shots of shotgun ammo, 10 pieces of bird shot and 10 pieces of buckshot ammo. The buckshot ammunition had thicker bullets than the bird shot and could cause more damage. I liked that. I examined the gun and found that it was loaded with buckshot ammunition. With it, I could take down the big robot. Maybe it gave me a chance.
There was a letter on the chair, again written by my father.
“I knew you would find the weapon. We went to Stenhaga to meet the Anderssons. Take care of yourself, my boy, and be careful,” Papa.
I looked down from the church tower and saw the presents. Below, six runners were cavorting around and the big robot who hissed and clacked his sword out and in again. He was still making that bloodcurdling predator cry. I slowly went down again, because I wanted to examine the church. I walked through the central corridor to the sacristy. No sooner had I stuck my nose in the door than it cracked, splinters of glass and plaster flew around and ricochets flew through the room howling. I let myself fall straight to the floor. As soon as I was downstairs, there were already bullet shells chasing over me. Damn it, I thought he saw you through the window. I slipped backwards on the floor from the range of fire and withdrew into the church room.
I didn’t even have a chance to shoot back. I thought it was no use, because I couldn’t even hit the robot properly.
I went back to the main portal and peeked carefully through a crack in the door. Immediately the big robot came running and aimed at the door. No sooner was he there than I was dipped into a red light beam and immediately fired at. I slammed the portal again. Fortunately the oak planks were thick enough to withstand the fire. I went back into the sanctuary and examined the church. People had probably camped here, because I saw some air mattresses lying around,
but there was nothing else. I thought about what I should do now. And the more I thought, the more desperate I got. The robot could follow my every move in the church. It always knew where I was. I looked carefully around the corner into the sacristy, he was already standing at the window and waited to get me in front of his shotguns.
I kept quiet and the hours crept by. I had hoped that he would lose interest. However, my hopes were always dashed because I kept hearing the djiieep, djiieep, djiieep, djiieep and the metallic clinking of his foot plates. Every now and then he let out the scream of predators again. He wanted to soften me up.
What could I do. It was getting dark outside and I was still stuck in the church. This could go on for days until I starved or died of thirst or ran out the door in a delirium. I slowly thought of a plan. Desperate as I was I knelt down in one of the pews.
I saw the image of the crucified one at the altar and prayed. I prayed for protection and help in this hopeless situation. In my head the music “The End” sounded from “The Doors.”
“This is the End beautiful friend the End, this is the End, my only friend the End
Of our elaborate plans the End, of everything that stands the end
No safety or surprise the end, I’ ll never look into your eyes again.
That’s how the dreamy voice of Jim Morisson sounded in my head.
I was preparing for the fight. I went over my plan several times in my head,
while I looked at the altarpiece. How did a delinquent feel before his execution? The morning came up and announced itself through the stained-glass windows of the church. I felt as if I was going to my own execution, but I was a Swede, a Viking I would die an honourable death with a weapon in my hand.
I was ready to die.
„The Killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on”
I laced up my boots again
"He took a face from the ancient gallery
This is what Jim Morisson sounded like when I looked around the altar again and bowed and crossed myself.
“And he walked on down the hall”
I went through the nave of the church towards the main portal.
I knew the robot would follow me.
“He went into the room where his sister lived, and then he”
I turned sideways into the stairwell to the organ
"Paid a visit to his brother, and then he”
I checked my weapons, loaded the pistols, pulled out the magazines and made sure the magazines were full.
“He walked on down the hall, and”
I checked that I had the ammunition in the right pocket and ready to hand. I checked the hand grenades to make sure they were easily accessible.
“And he came to a door”
I checked if the gas cartridges were ready to hand because I wanted to use them against the big robot.
“And he looked inside”
I load the pump through
"Father? ", "Yes, son "“I want to kill you”
I took a deep breath, my nerves stretched to breaking point.
I went to the portal and put the pump on
“Mother?” "I want to …
I screamed and kicked the door open with a tremendous kick. The big robot was standing right opposite me, big, powerful, superior, terrifying…
His red light beam was already waving in my direction, but I fired immediately, Old Bethan roared and I saw the first load of buckshot ammunition smash into the left air shaft above his weapon arm. Sparks were flying. The robot swayed. I loaded and fired again, sparks came up again and something exploded on the robot.
He also swayed with this shot, I loaded again and shot again, this time something exploded again in the air shaft.
I loaded through, saw a movement out of the corner of my eye and fired again and hit the arm. There was a small explosion again and the robot swayed again.
The music of “The Doors” rose to a crescendo in my head and a strange emptiness spread inside me. I retreated into the passage and gave way to the stairs leading up to the organ.
Shots hissed into the building again, ricochets and pieces of plaster flew around. I loaded the pump in a flying hurry, loaded through, looted around the corner and took the runner under fire who fired sideways into the church hallway. I hit him and he exploded.
Then I bounced back and reloaded again. I took a gas cartridge in my hand, waited for a cease-fire, jumped into the middle aisle and threw a gas cartridge against the big robot, which stood in front of the portal, big and threatening like the devil.
I immediately jumped back into the staircase and immediately a volley came from a heavy machine gun. The bullets crashed into the church pews. Pieces of wood splattered in the air. Then I took the second cartridge and threw it also against the robot and immediately pulled myself back. With a KLONK it crashed into him.
Then I waited.
I ran lightning fast to the other side into the opposite staircase. I could see another runner from an angle and immediately took him under fire. The second shot also made him explode. Another heavy machine gun salvo from the big robot followed.
The crescendo of “The End” calmed down in my head and I ducked down and looked carefully around the corner. I saw the gas cartridges lying in front of the robot. I put the pump back on, took aim and fired. I hit the foot of the robot, which twitched to the side. I cursed because I hadn’t expected Old Bethan to recoil.
After the MG salvo I looked carefully around the corner again and had a clear view of one of the gas cartridges. I took aim, held it a little lower and hit it.
In a glaring fireball the cartridge exploded and a more violent explosion followed, I saw how the big robot was torn apart in the air, debris was thrown into the church. I pulled back and held my arms above my head.
When the smoke cleared, I reloaded the pump, charged through. I went to the church portal, the music from “The Doors swelled in my head to a crescendo again, then I jumped out of the church and rang the hell bells for the rest of the robots. I shot at anything that moved in any way. I ran around, hiding behind walls and stones, shooting the pump until it was empty, then I dropped it and pulled the Klaucke. It spat out its bullets and destroyed the runners.
I had come upon them like a hellish storm and had destroyed them all, in the light of the rising sun I stood amidst smoking debris, the still smoking guns in my hands and shouted out my triumph loudly. I tasted bitter adrenalin on my tongue, breathed heavily, sweated and trembled all over my body.
I screamed once more and fired at the big robot, which was actually complete nonsense. But I was so excited, I was in kill mode.
I counted six runners and the big one. I called him Hunter because he chased me like a deer. The showdown was over, I picked up old Bethan again, retrieved the ammunition from the Runners and from the big Hunter. He even had some buckshot ammunition, which I put in my pockets in a hurry.
Then I went back into the church. I knelt down before the altar and said a prayer of thanksgiving. I prayed for the poor souls of the killed and asked for protection for my further way.
Then I took my weapons, loaded the backpack, shouldered the Meusser, loaded old Bethan and walked out of the church.
From now on I was no longer Ulf Kellerson, but I called myself “Helldiver”
I was the apocalypse for robots. I am the apocalypse… now.