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The Hours #14

September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Samantha and I made our way along the edge of the woods in a subtle panic. Throughout the day, we could hear the snapping of limbs as some creature made its way in parallel to our own. With every crack, I expected another demonic monstrosity to leap out of the forest. With every step, I did my best to keep myself between Samantha and our stalker.

Neither of us released the other’s hand for more than a moment.

“Stop,” she hissed.

I froze, my club lifted to the ready, and I held my breath. In a second, I could hear what the dear girl’s ears had picked up on. There was running water near by.

“It’s in the woods,” she said. “I don’t think it is very far, but we will have to go in.”

I shrugged. “We have to have water.”

At the same time, our unseen companions began making a great deal more noise. As the noise grew softer, I turned a questioning eye on the woman beside and she smiled. “I think our fellow travelers are hurrying after a drink as well.”

I smiled and relaxed. “Good,” I said. “Then maybe they will have cleaned out a path through the god forsaken trees for us.”

Within no more than a hundred paces, I was proven right. The thing on the ground was the size of a large bull, but it had green and gold feathers in place of fur. The cow-bird was pinned down, struggling under three hairless rats the size of large dogs that were tearing at its throat and belly. Samantha gasped when the poor things abdomen gave way, spilling its guts on the dirt where the creatures fell upon it in a snapping frenzy. We ducked behind a bush, shared a frightened look, and hurried away.

I could hear Samantha praying as we went.

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The Hours #13

September 14, 2016 Leave a comment

When I opened my eyes, I was looking at the back of Samantha’s head, and despite the horrors of these last few days, I could not help but smile. We lay side by side, pressed together like spoons in a sideboard, and I found my mind wandering down paths that I had been taught were not for a gentleman.

I could feel her moving with each breath. My arm was wrapped around her and she held my hand in hers regardless of being lost in slumber.I had to protect her. That meant that we needed to find more food.The bird had tasted heavenly, no doubt due to our hunger, but one of the feathered murders was not enough to leave us satisfied.

It also meant that we needed water. I was parched and for the first time that I could remember, I did not wake with a need to relieve myself. We would die of thirst in another day or two and I could not allow any harm to come to Samantha. She was now all that I had. She was all that mattered. Her body kept me warm, as mine did hers. We were lost, but together and now I looked at her as more than a simple acquaintance.  She was mine in many ways and I tightened my grip around her.

I must have squeezed too hard, for she stirred. I gave a silent prayer that she might be allowed a few more minutes of peace, though in truth my prayer was as selfish as it was altruistic. I did not want to let her go yet.

I heard a cracking sound. Something in the woods ahead of me had stepped on a limb. We were not alone and in this nightmare world, that meant we were in immediate danger.

The club I used to secure our dinner should have been right behind my leg. I pulled my hand away from the girl and reached back.

Nothing.

I shifted my arm back and forth, keeping my palm just above the ground as I searched for my weapon. I could hear my pulse thundering in my ears to the point that I wondered if I would be able to hear another limb breaking. My breath was shallow and as I searched, I felt my stomach clench with panic.

Samantha shifted so that he back was on the ground and she smiled up at me. Her lips parted in what I assume was to be a greeting, but she stopped as she studied my face. I did not look at her, but kept my eyes focused on the trees ahead.

Samantha began to sit up. Looking all around as she did so. She reached forward and picked up her own stick as she gathered her feet beneath her.

I rolled over, letting my eyes locate my bloody weapon since it seemed to have rolled beyond my reach. I snatched up the length of wood and spun back as another stick broke near by.

“What is it?” Her voice was so soft that I had to run over her words three times before I was sure of what she had asked.

“No idea.”

We waited and the sticks continued to break. Whatever was making its way by us, it did not come closer. Samantha jumped and almost whirled around to strike me when I put my hand on her shoulder. “We should leave.”

Samantha rested her hand on her breast for a moment, relaxing from the scare I had given her, before nodding and taking my offered hand in an iron grip and cracked one of my knuckles.

 

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