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.

 

 

Survival

She clenched her fists. There was no way she was going to let this beat her. She had already seen so many people slaughtered at the hands of these monsters, she wasn’t going to let them have her too.

She broke out of cover sprinting as hard as she could, her backpack thumping heavily against her back. She dodged trees and plowed through bushes, hearing their footsteps behind her. She pulled her shotgun off her shoulder and blasted a shot over her shoulder, hoping to slow them down a little.

Her breathing became ragged, she would need to find cover. A quick glance over her shoulder told her they were falling behind. Spotting a cave she darted inside, trying to get control of her breathing so they wouldn’t hear her. She ventured into the darkness, allowing her eyes to adjust, getting away from the entrance of the cave. She stopped listening for breathing, sometimes there were things lurking in the caves that were worse than zombies.

She pulled out the cellphone in her pocket and gave it a shake turning on the flashlight. The towers had been destroyed so there was no cell service. Light reflected off the cave walls, no markings to show anything lived there. With a sigh of relief she shook the flashlight off. She ventured further, she stumbled over something in the darkness. She pulled out her light again, she muffled a scream.

The body had been mostly eaten, its clothes shredded, its head was a bloody smear across the ground. She spotted the culprit, a shotgun and a broken trip wire. She scolded herself for not being more careful. She checked the pockets for anything valuable and came up empty. She shook the light off.

Back at the mouth of the cave she checked for her pursuers. Just the regular cricket and bird noises came back to her ears. She crept out of the cave, keeping low to the ground, after carefully observing her surroundings she stood up. Knowing she needed to get back to the settlement quickly before they caught her scent again she jogged along. A stick cracked behind her and she froze dropping into a crouch. She pulled the pistol out of her bag holding it ready to fire. A deer pranced out across the path and she lowered her weapon. A relief flooded through her and she continued on her way.

She was almost to the settlement, almost to safety when she heard it. The heavy breathing of something charging up to her. It sounded like a great beast, possibly a giant, maybe worse. She broke into a run charging through the remainder of the forest hoping to make it to the safety of the walls before it caught her. She slid through the gate, screaming for them to close it. There was panic, she stood up and brushed herself off looking under the gate she saw it. A huge hulking creature, at least twenty feet tall. It looked like it had been charred, blacked and smoking, she winced as it collided with the gate. The iron held. Its claw scrabbled through the hole in the wood, disemboweling a wayward gate keeper.

The creature roared in despair, she covered her ears against the tremendous noise. It lumbered off no match for the walls and gates. She slumped against the nearest house, trying to avoid the glares from people who blamed her for bringing the creatures so close. It had been her only choice.

Very few people braved the wilderness to bring back supplies, medicine collected from the wasteland settlements, food, everything the city had came from beyond its walls. She dropped of her collected items. She traded meat for supplies she needed, properly mixed medicines, bandages, and ammunition.

The medicine woman needed water from the river outside the walls for her patients. She took the task without question. She checked out the power plant, electricity was still running well. She plugged the phone she carried into one of the outlets and grabbed another fully charged one. Water wasn’t too far away but it was dangerous out there.

She pulled out her hand drawn map, notes about monsters lined the margins. She headed out the side door to the gate. She saw the child before she could fully process what she had seen the zombies appeared. Cursing she ran to the child scooping it up in her arms, it would slow her down greatly but she couldn’t leave it. With her bag and the child she stumbled over rocks and roots.

Panting heavily she fell to her knees. The zombies converged on them devouring everything.