Rayne stood at the entrance of the cave, feeling the wind across his face. He had not seen the surface since he was a young boy, but even the distance of fifteen years could not soften the impact of the changes in the world above. Despite the fact that he had spent two weeks preparing his eyes for this foray, the sunlight still burned and blinded him. Even this, however, could not distract him from the horrors that met his gaze.
Where once had stood the towns and cities of New York state, three was nothing but dots of rubble scattered about, like toys the gods had grown tired of, and broken in their petulance. The great forests which had once made the drive through upstate New York so scenic had been utterly leveled. Scorched, shattered trees, many now covered in moss, dot the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, and stretch as far as Rayne can see.
Loping down the hills with the speed and grace of a cougar, he came to a town that was still mostly intact. Perhaps, he thought, some supplies might be found there. As he made his way across the broken streets, he came across a young woman. She had clearly seen him first, and he didn't really have time to sort together his jumbled thoughts.