Trapper

She decided to search the ruins of the house. Sometimes there were still good things inside, medicine, bandages, clothes. It was dangerous, but the outpost needed supplies, one of the settlements had recently moved into the walls. There were more people and more chances of an attack.

She could hear the ghouls shuffling through the dead leaves outside, so she would need to be quiet. She slipped though the broken window and crept across the dusty floor. She was on the look out for traps, The Trapper having been spotted in the area a few days ago. She had never seen him, but the stories about the bodies found in his wake would make even the most hardened soldier tremble.

She searched the kitchen, nothing useful, just ancient food from before the bombs. She found some clothes in decent shape in one of the bedrooms. The house yielded nothing else of value. She slipped past the hoard, they were getting distracted by their own footsteps in the leaves.

Once they were out of ear shot she broke into a jog, keeping out of the leaves. The walls of the city rose up to greet her and she sprinted the last leg of her journey. She was greeted warmly by the guards as they locked the gate behind her.

“No trouble with the hoard today?” One asked as she caught her breath.

“They are noisy enough to hear coming a mile away.” She swigged metallic water from her bottle. She pulled the clothes out of her bag and tossed them to the guard. “Nothing else good out there today.”

“Too bad. At least someone will be a little warmer.” The guard looked at the clothes.

“We’re going to need all the help we can get this winter, its coming up fast.” She walked up the street and went to her bunk in the small house she shared with the other scavengers.

She crashed onto her bed, exhausted. Her stomach growled at her forcefully. She poked though her bag lazily, trying to find her food voucher. She was falling asleep and gave up quickly, opting to go to bed instead.

The morning came streaming in the window, warming her cold face. She rolled out of bed and took care of the morning necessities in the bucket at the end of the hall. Grabbing her bag she kicked her housemates awake.

“We got work to do today.” She shouted, they grumbled and got up slowly.

She went down to The Kitchen, handing over a voucher and was issued a plate. The plate of food was cold, like always, but it filled her grumbling stomach.

She headed out the gate, refilling her water bottle at the river that ran just outside of town. In the forest the air was musty with dead things. The hoard passed though recently, but they were long gone now. She listened carefully for any other things that might be lurking in the brush. Deeming it safe she continued thorough the forest. A twig snapped and she dropped to the ground. There were no more sounds, that didn’t mean it was safe. She laid prone in the dirt hoping that whatever it was didn’t see her.

Her mind raced as she heard a tapping, in code. She recognized it and stood up. She held her hands up as the other person approached with their gun raised.

“Who are you?” They asked.

“A Scavenger from Hope.” She sized him up. He was either a hunter or a settler. She didn’t recognized him so he must not have been from Hope. “You are?”

“The Trapper.” He grinned, the gun went off with a bang.

Daily Prompt: Fragile

via Daily Prompt: Fragile

Human life in the wastelands was fragile, delicate beings trying to scrape enough to survive and avoid the terrible dangers that now roamed freely. Tiny settlements of humans staked out small patches of land trying not to attract the attention of the large predator that were now the top of the food chain.

Humans had become an endangered species on the brink of extinction. The world was pushing them there making them the favorite prey. Humans had little in the way of natural defenses, being caught alone in the wilderness meant death.

There were few to be trusted, everyone out to save their own skin. Large scale fighting only brought more death, but with resources scarce it was hard to resist the urge.

Children died of decease, or were eaten by the monsters that roamed the land, not fast enough to escape the hoards. Parents taught them not to scream, just to run, screaming brought more nightmares, bigger nightmares.

The small settlements did everything they could to save them and still survive. Everything about the world was dangerous now. The event was worse than they had anticipated and even seven generations later humanity still stood on the edge of the knife.

Every attempt to take their world back ended in disaster, massive loss of life and supplies. The world they had once ruled had turned on them. Great cities left in ruin, overrun by the un-dead and wilderness. Humanity knew it had once been great, it hadn’t always been this way, they had read it. The books and stories passed down from generation to generation telling the tale of the rise and fall of humanity.

Many wished they could go back to that time, when the world was connected, not scattered to settlements of five or six struggling to survive. Where food was readily available, when the oceans were able to be crossed and not full of hell beasts. When children could sleep safely at night and play outside. They knew there had been warnings about the outcome. Those that had come before ignored them, leaving their world in ruin.

 

 

Finding

They went out hunting¬†and didn’t come back. They left a note, “Went hunting, be home soon. Love Mom, Dad, Buck, and Ronnie.” I waited for them, it was really too dangerous to go out alone. I waited three days for them to come back, with five of us to feed there was not much worry about me running out of food.

I waited a week, still nothing, hunting trips should only take a day or two. Nights are too dangerous to do much. Everything is dangerous now, with raiders, mutants, wild animals, and non-humans.

I headed out to look for them, obviously something bad happened and they won’t be coming back soon. I packed my riffle, ammunition, jerky, some of our home canned food. I also grabbed my canteen and filled it with water.

I planned on returning home that night to restock, today’s mission was to find which direction they went.

Their trail was not hard to find since our giant, semi domesticated, mutant dog had gone with them and knocked down every bit of vegetation in his path. Since it was still early I followed their trail. Out of the abandoned city where we live and through the former farmlands, that looked more like forests with food crops growing in them. It was a good opportunity to restock my supplies. Being a solo meant I was fast and silent, not triggering any alarms or lookouts. It also meant I was vulnerable, no backup.

I kind of wished I had our dog with me, at least he would be something. I made it to another abandoned city. This one more populated than ours. This city was where I found the second note from my family after six months of following and searching for them. They had left it with the lookout who spotted me easily.

“You Gabrielle?” He asked when I approached.

“Yeah,” More curious how he had known it was me.

“This is for you I guess.” He handed me a wrinkled and beaten up envelope still sealed with my name written on it.

“How do you know this is for me?” Really I knew, there weren’t many female survivors of the catastrophe, and the female birthrate was low. A loner was odd, a girl loaner extraordinary.

He shrugged, “They kind of look like you.”

“Did they have a dog?”

He nodded and I tore the envelope open. “Chased by raiders, didn’t want to compromise the home base. Love Mom, Dad, Buck, and Ronnie.”

“You just missed them actually.” He said and pointed in the direction they went. Still farther away from home. I followed hoping I would catch up with them. I lost their trail a few times, finding our dogs kills along the way.

The way they took took me two years to follow them back home. There was a new note on the kitchen table. “Went hunting be home soon!”

With a sigh I went back into my room in the basement to wait for them.