Insatiable Monster, pt. 2

Hunter

“I’m tired, Aubrey.”

“I know, Olivia, but we have to keep moving. We have to make it somewhere safe before daybreak.”

“How much longer do we have?”

Aubrey glanced back at Ryder before she answered him, “I don’t know. I don’t see any signs of light but I also don’t see anywhere safe we can hide.”

“Do you think we’ll make it out of the city before sunrise?”

“That’s my hope.”

But Aubrey wasn’t sure it was going to happen. They’d been walking for a few hours already but had yet to make it to the bridge over the river. She’d hoped they’d make it by now but they kept running into victims of the monster.

At first, she couldn’t understand it. It was dark, everywhere should be nothing but shadows since the power has been out two days into this disaster.

But in hiding from a sudden crowd of people in the city square, blocking her little sister from view, she realized the key, her blood turning to ice. This dark virus was no longer simply dangerous in the light. She and Ryder watched, Olivia hiding her face from them, as the people leapt upon each other. Lit by flashlights held by the fighting mob, they could see flashes of silver and a red river covered the asphalt. Ryder pulled on her shirt, pointing out a small shadow across square.

Aubrey wished she could call out to them as it appeared they were oblivious to the large fighting crowd. Sudden silence fell across the crowd as a random flashlight lit up the guy that was attempting to bypass them. He froze in the flashlight’s beam, eyes wide like a deer in headlights. Before he could turn and run, a figure peeled off from the crowd and leapt on him.

Aubrey winced, thinking that guy was certain dead meat but couldn’t stop watching. But instead of killing him, the young woman jumped, teeth bared, latching onto his shoulder. He screamed, falling backwards, the young woman on top of him. She got off and ran back to the mob that had returned to fighting, people continuously falling and not getting back up.

He didn’t move and they were certain he was dead. But just before Aubrey and Ryder decided to move on before they were spotted, the young man climbed to his feet. She and Ryder glanced at each other before looking back. The guy ran into the crowd, eyes now red and Aubrey realized that the dark monster could now transition through bites, not just the light.

They managed to escape the city square without being spotted and now they were here. Aubrey was hopeful to reach the bridge that led out of town before dawn. This part of town was dilapidated before the apocalypse, it was even worse now; leaving nowhere to hide.

“Oh no.”

Aubrey turned at the sound of Ryder’s voice. Her heart stopped as red and orange had begun appearing on the horizon.

“The sun.”

Olivia hugged her leg, whimpering, “The light, Aubrey.”

Aubrey looked around, frantically looking for somewhere to hide. in the distance, she spotted the bridge, bushes and trees just beyond it. She knew she couldn’t carry Olivia, 6 to 14, she was too big for her.

“Ryder, can you carry Olivia?”

Ryder spotted what she’d seen and nodded.

“Come on, Oliva, piggy back time.”

“Kay.”

Aubrey took Ryder’s backpack in return and the two took off running to the bridge.

“We don’t have long!”

Indeed, just as Aubrey’s foot hit the bridge, the sun was nearly fully risen, light rapidly growing across the sky.

“Just a little further!”

Halfway across the bridge, they heard footsteps that weren’t theirs.

But Aubrey and Ryder didn’t dare turn for fear of falling. Olivia didn’t have the same problem and turned her head.

She saw the gleaming red eyes and even at 6, knew enough of what was happening, knew the signs.

“Infected!”

Aubrey’s lungs strained, legs threatened to buckle and her hip was beginning to pain her. But she pushed past it, they just had to get into the woods. They could lose the infected in the darkness.

But the growling of the infected was getting louder and she knew it was getting closer and closer. There were still too many feet and the sun was getting higher and higher. She had to protect her little sister. She stopped, Rider shooting by, Olivia crying “Aubrey!”

Ryder’s feet skidded as he tried to stop and Aubrey shooed him, “Go! Go! I’ll catch up!”

Ryder hesitated but ultimately started running again as Aubrey turned to the infected woman as she reached them.

Olivia was crying but Ryder knew Aubrey would want her to be safe. He had to get her out of the light, then he could go back for Aubrey.

Aubrey turned to the other young woman, waiting for her to get closer before swinging Ryder’s backpack with all of her might. It connected with the other woman’s head. She fell, growls silenced and Aubrey didn’t stick around. She took off after her sister and friend, meeting Ryder as he came out of the woods to find her. She pushed him back, Ryder taking his backpack back as he did so. They made it to the woods just as the light reached them.

Olivia crashed into Aubrey, still sobbing.

“I’m okay. I’m okay.”

Ryder slid to the ground, secure in their safety for the moment.

“What were you thinking?”

“We weren’t going to make it. She was going to catch up to us before all three of us got here. Someone had to stop. You had Olivia and I had the possible weapon.”

Seeing the stubborn set to her jaw, he knew it was useless to continue even as frustrated as he was. And so, he dropped the subject.

“Now what?”

“Now we find that sanctuary.”

Hunter

©Paula Crofoot

Let me know what you think below! Will they make it to sanctuary or does it not exist?

See ya’ll Wednesday!

 

 

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