A/N: My first fic based on The Hills Have Eyes 2006 film. D It's based on a challenge at LJ community thhefanfic. I'm working on Section 2. I actually like what I've written and hope to expand on some of the other characters throughout the challenge.

Anyway, here it is. This was for prompt #1: Forbidden Zone.

Radioactive Fallout

Between 1945 and 1962 the United States conducted 331 atmospheric nuclear tests. Today, the government still denies the genetic effects caused by the radioactive fallout…

Doug Bukowski frowned at what he was reading in Cleveland's local newspaper. Somebody had written in to the editorial section and brought up an issue that had suddenly made his blood run cold and his spine tingle. He read on, his eyebrows furrowing even more upon every sentence.

In April of this year a group of scientists testing the soil with Geiger counters in the deserts of New Mexico vanished without a trace. Who is to blame for their disappearance? Are they still alive? If not, what caused their deaths? Radioactive poisoning takes years to occur. That's right – years. 331 atmospheric nuclear tests. 1945 to 1962. You've got the statistics, now consider this; is it possible for people to still be alive down there? You know what Agent Orange did to following generations in Asia after the Vietnam War. What if the same thing has happened in America? Mutation is a serious issue that –

Doug had read enough. He folded the newspaper gently and placed it on the kitchen counter that stood inside the trailer. He glanced over at his wife, Lynn, who had fallen asleep on the foldout bed. He grinned and shook his head. He went over and checked on Catherine, who was also sleeping peacefully. Doug smiled at his baby girl and leant down to kiss her on the forehead gently. He didn't want to wake her up.

Suddenly the trailer slowed down to a stop, and before Doug knew it the trailer door was being swung open. He looked anxiously at Catherine, who had stirred, but didn't wake up. Sighing, Doug looked impatiently into the eyes of Bobby, his rather young brother in-law.

"What is it? Why have we stopped?" Doug asked. His voice was slightly panicked - he couldn't get the editorial letter out of his mind.

"Sorry. We only stopped so Dad could check the map, but I'm dying for a pee. Thought you might be, too," Bobby replied, shrugging. Doug grinned.

"Nah, I'm alright." Doug looked at his watch. It was going to be daybreak soon. Big Bob had been driving all night and had refused Doug's attempts to offer to take over. Doug didn't know whether this was because Bob didn't trust him with his 4WD or because he enjoyed driving at night. Perhaps a bit of both.

Bobby nodded and walked away, leaving Doug standing alone. He stepped out of the trailer and found Bob and Ethel studying the map.

"Hey, we still on Interstate 40?" Doug called, although he had a feeling they weren't. The last place he remembered stopping was at Amarillo in Texas before he had fallen asleep. Big Bob looked up from the map and chuckled heartily.

"We're not far off from Alamogordo! You've been sleepin' for a mighty long time."

Doug's heart started hammering fast all of a sudden. He nodded at Bob and said, "Thanks, I guess…" and returned to the trailer, shutting the door behind him.

"We're not far off from Alamogordo!"

"… far off from Alamogordo!"

"… Alamogordo!"

Doug closed his eyes and tried to calm down. Alamogordo was the closest town to where the first nuclear test bomb was detonated, named the 'Trinity Test'. Many other atmospheric nuclear tests had also been conducted around the area, and Doug thought back to the editorial letter that had shaken him.

a group of scientists testing the soil with Geiger counters in the deserts of New Mexico vanished without a trace…

Doug opened his eyes and ran a hand through his hair, trying to calm himself by breathing in and out deeply and slowly.

"It's just a silly coincidence," he said out loud to himself. Unfortunately Lynn had woken up and heard what he had said.

"What's a silly coincidence, honey?" she said quietly, yawning and sitting up.

"Oh, nothing. Just… nothing," Doug replied a little too quickly. He went over to her and leant down, kissing her gently on the mouth. "We're going to be driving through Las Cruces soon." He sat down beside her.

That is if we even make it past Alamogordo, he couldn't help but think warily.

"Great." Lynn stroked her husband's cheek. "Are you sure nothing's wrong? You seem a little jumpy."

Doug sighed, but managed to smile. "Positive."

"Alright then." Lynn pulled his head in for another kiss but they were interrupted by Bobby sliding open the trailer door for a second time.

"Uh, we're leaving now. Dad reckons we'll reach Las Cruces just in time for breakfast."

"Let's hope there isn't anything in the desert that'll eat us for breakfast," Doug said, trying to sound casual.

"What brought that on?" Bobby asked, raising an eyebrow. Doug sighed.

"Hang on, you've been reading that newspaper again, haven't you?" Lynn suddenly proclaimed.

"So what if I have?"

"I read that earlier on. You do not seriously believe what that man wrote in the editorial section?" She looked at him with a grave expression.

Bobby looked confused. "What did someone write in?"

Lynn resignedly got up from her seat on the bed and picked up the newspaper Doug had chucked onto the counter. She flicked to the right page and showed the letter to Bobby. The boy read over it quickly, his eyes narrowing at every sentence.

"What a load of rubbish," he stated when he had finished. "Honestly Doug, this guy is just trying to stir up a whole bunch of lies and you know it!" Bobby gave the paper back to Lynn. Doug looked sceptical and frowned.

Suddenly they heard Big Bob's voice. "Are you guys just gonna stand there and chat about trivial things when we're all ready to go here, so let's go!" He sounded really impatient and Doug knew he meant business.

"Doug, don't worry about it man. What the heck is 'radioactive fallout', anyhow? I'll see you guys later." Bobby left the trailer and shut the door behind him. They began to move shortly afterwards and Doug felt queasy all of a sudden. Lynn sensed this and placed a hand on his forehead.

"Are you sure you're okay?" She looked at him concernedly. "Physically?" she added, grinning.

Doug rolled his eyes. "It's probably just the heat, that's all," he lied. Keep telling yourself it's just the heat…

Lynn didn't look completely reassured, but settled the matter by finishing what they had begun before Bobby had interrupted them a few minutes ago…


+ I hope you enjoyed this! I actually did a bit of research to make sure I was right about the Interstate 40 stuff. And there is actually a road that will take them directly to San Diego if they go through Las Cruces and stuff, so all my geography should be up to scratch.
+ Oh, and you should know that the film implies lots of nuclear testing was done in New Mexico; incorrect! Only the 'Trinity Test' (which I mentioned in the fic) was detonated in that state. All other testing was conducted at the Nevada Test Site.