October 28, 2012

"Night 1,043"

Dear Reader,
Here's a story I wrote a long time ago. Enjoy!

Night 1,043

I move silently across the rooftop. After the walls went up, I quickly realized that high places were safe places.The moon is full and provides dim light as I dart between A/C units and vents. I hear laughter below and my blood runs cold. They’re here.
I press my body against a cold metal vent, but there isn’t any use in hiding. They can hear you. My eyes dart wildly as I try to pinpoint its location. Gravel shifts on my left, and I instinctively jump backwards. I only just avoided the dark figure that blended so well into the darkness. “I’m not dying tonight.” I mutter as I move forward cautiously. I hear a soft giggle from behind. I duck, narrowly dodging its razor sharp teeth. I roll and run, getting as far away as fast as possible. I crouch behind an air conditioning unit in another pointless attempt to remain safe. A wild cackle rips through the silence of the night. For a second, fear paralyzes me, but my need to survive brings control back. “Not tonight.” I repeat as I gather myself and pull my knife.
Walking out into the open, I welcome it. Glimmering beads of icy sweat roll down my forehead. Slowly, it steps out from the shadows. I stare, sickened, as the moonlight illuminates its many rows of small teeth. Death sprints towards me, and chuckles in delight, hoping to claim another victim. Before it has the chance to sink its teeth into me, I sink my knife deep into its body.  I heave the carcass off my knife and onto the ground with a grunt.
I don’t remember where they came from, but I remember just exactly when. 1,042 nights ago, it all began. They tore across the country, from home-to-home, from city-to-city, killing everyone. To stop them from going further, the government put up walls. No one can get in. No one can get out. Most of the people that used to live here are dead, but there are others like me. Survivors. We spend the day looking for supplies, and we spend the night fighting for our lives. Fighting them.
I examine the monster at my feet. The things look vaguely human, but they’re jet-black, with a gaping mouth where a person’s face should be. I shake my head, disturbed by the memories of a thousand encounters with these awful beings. At night, the only way I can tell when they’re nearby is by their heavy breathing, or the laughter. I can’t stand the laughter.
After rolling the body of off the side of the building, I keep moving. In the street below me, I see an overturned police car. “I need a gun.” I whisper. I leap from the roof and onto a light pole. After surveying the scene and readying my knife, I slide down to the ground. I approach the car cautiously and listen carefully for signs of trouble. The driver’s window is still intact, but after a few kicks it smashes inward. I scan the area again before I get onto my stomach and start to crawl into the car.
A shotgun is hooked to the dashboard. Once I’m further into the vehicle, I attempt to free the weapon. The first latch opens easily, but the second is stuck. After messing with it a little more, it begins to come loose. I pause for a second to catch my breath, surprised at the effort needed to undo such a little latch. It’s strangely quiet. I’m about to begin again when something cold grips my ankle. Heavy breathing.
Slowly, it starts pulling me out of the window. I grab the still-stuck shotgun and hold fast. “Not tonight.” I spit through my clenched teeth. The thing won’t let go, and despite my struggling, it continues to pull. The shotgun comes loose and I’m pulled onto the street. Time seems to slow down. I flip onto my back and squeeze the trigger.
The recoil sends the gun flying out of my hands, but the job is done. I stand up and walk over to the monster. “Who’s laughing now?” I ask. I stand there in silence for a minute. I stumble over and pick up the warm gun. As I begin to walk down the road and into the darkness, I decide to answer my own question. “No one is.” I mumble, “Not tonight.”

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