Why does there always seem to be a full moon when the world’s going to hell? Hanging high and yellow as thin ribbons of dark clouds passed by, it gave off as much light as the dim lamp posts that lined the empty streets of town. We could have made it to the old stone church if there had been more light, but the darkness overpowered the light and they lived in the darkness. My name is Piper and before the world went to hell, I was planning on going to nursing school after high school. My three companions; Josh; a small boy of just ten, Angel; a girl I went to school with, and the cute neighbor guy, Christopher. I think he was about twenty-three or so.
The creatures were always here, scientists said. They had been here for thousands of years, waiting until the Earth was ripe for the picking. Waiting until we, humans beings, were at our most critical point. Racial conflicts, low morality and God? Oh yeah, we just conveniently cut Him right out of the picture. After all, weren’t we like little gods now? Talk about visions of grandeur. They were called the Seth, after the demon of Chaos. They came up from the ground, huge hideous beasts, with armor like scales that blended them with the shadows. I don’t mean just a few, we could have handled that, no problem. On a global scale, there were millions of them. Crawling up from the bowels of the earth ravenously hungry, they hunted us like small game, cutting us down as we went about our daily business. The culling was so swift we barely had time to think about it.
“Hey, Piper! Heads up!” Christopher pointed to my left.
I spun, raising my 9 millimeter and took aim for the beast’s chest or head. Those were the only places these things were vulnerable. Anywhere else and the bullet would bounce off their thick, scaly hides. Oh, it slowed them down a bit, but they shook it off fast, running on all fours with frightening speed. My bullet caught square in the middle of the throat, flipping him in a complete somersault to land on his belly, face down in the dirt. Josh took out the next one, and yes, we gave the kid a gun and haven’t regretted it yet. Chris took out three more an Angel, as usual, froze at the sight of them. I couldn’t blame her. After all, she did witness the complete murder and evisceration of her parents. She hid in the closet, peeping through the slats of the louver doors as they tore her mother and father to shreds.
Today was a supply run. Out of water, food, gas, and medicine, we needed to re-up. Leaving the safety of our eight floor building wasn’t something we liked doing. The Seth had a strange aversion to stairs so we always headed for the tallest buildings we could find, which in our case, was the Comfort Hotel on Main Street. I was always first, Josh followed, Angel just sort of disappeared in between and Chris took up the rear. It’s why we were still alive; by following a strict routine. Surprisingly, eight-year-old Josh saved our assses more than once since we gave him a gun. A natural, he never missed his target. Angel, on the other hand, was worthless as far as being asset to our small group. Her fear was almost palatable as she froze each time we ran into The Seth, almost giving our positions away with her whimpers of terror.
The oldest building in the town of Fishhouse, the old stone church had an impenetrable basement that we used for escape emergencies. The Seth, for some odd reason, were loath to be around holy ground. This made me think that they were true demons. Legion, for they were many. God gave up on what was left of humankind and gave rule to these demons to clean up the mess.
“Chris,” Josh said, “I just saw something by the gas station over there.”
We looked and my heart sunk, for in between us and the church, there must have been at least fifty Seth.
“My God, Chris!” I exclaimed in a panic, “What now?”
“Run,” he said simply, “back to the car, hurry!”
We ran, but Angel slowed us down by freezing in her panic.
“Move, Angel! Now!” I screamed, “I’m not dying because…”
A gunshot rang out and the front of Angel head exploded in a spray of bone, brain and blood. She dropped like a stone to the ground revealing Josh and his smoking pistol.
“Josh, what the fuck?” I screamed, “Are you freaking crazy?”
“No, Piper, I’m not!” he shot back, “She is worthless and she was going to get us killed!”
I couldn’t argue. He was right. She ate our food, drank our water, used up our supplies and did nothing to contribute. We ran, minus one.
Since the way to the church was blocked by the approaching Seth, we veered off to the old mill, another stone building still standing. They ran just behind and to the side of us and I wondered why it felt like we were being herded. We found out when we reached the mill and saw a hoard of Seth swarming out from behind it on both sides. They had cut off all means of escape, cornering us against the door of the mill, which was also locked from within. The three of us looked at each other with hopeless eyes, our stomachs clenched with a final foreboding. Back to back, we held them off for as long as we could until the victory in their eyes led to us believe this was the end. This was planned; the herding, the ambush. These creatures were more intelligent than we thought. As usual, humans thinking they’re superior. I could swear they were smiling.
“It’s time, you guys,” Christopher said, sadly. He put the gun to his head and we followed suite. This was our last resort plan so we didn’t feel the pain of being torn to shreds. I heard Josh sob once, then place the muzzle of his weapon just under his chin. Crying, I placed my gun to my temple, waiting for Chris to give the order.
Suddenly flood lights blinded us as the whole area lit up like small sun.
“Hey!” a man’s voice called out, “Over here! Hurry!”
Stunned, we didn’t ask questions at this new chance of survival as the Seth shrank back, hiding their eyes. We ran towards the light, shocked to see an army tank and a rough looking man holding a large flood light. Leaping up onto the huge vehicle, Chris held out his hand, pulling me up onto the tank as my sneakers scrambled to find purchase. Once I was safely up, he grabbed Josh’s outstretched hand as the boy jumped, easily pulling him up with us.
“Come on, inside!” the man ordered. He waited for us to disappear inside the turret basket before shutting off the light and climbing down with us. Locking the door, he slid down and looked through the gyroscope sight, aimed the 105 mm gun and let loose. The noise was deafening, the heat almost unbearable. I covered my ears and prayed it would all stop soon. The man put the tank in motion and it was the most uncomfortable ride I’d ever taken. For over twenty bone jarring minutes we rode until finally the tank stopped. Using the scope, the man looked around the perimeter, nodded with satisfaction and climbed up the ladder to unlock the hatch. Popping his head out and double checking, he finally motioned for us to follow him.
© 2016, RissRyker518. All rights reserved.
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