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The Last Time
There was a time when things were different.
A time when I could call my girlfriends to plan a shopping trip into the city, where we would complain about our jobs, our families, and our love lives.
A time when life was easier and unappreciated.
Now, I hide in the dark where once familiar bright colours are now leeched from my life. My hair is prematurely grey, my clothing is mourning black, and my skin is deathly pale.
A bone chilling screech breaks the silence, and it grates on my every nerve, bringing forth memories I’d much rather forget.
Wings that spanned an entire house, translucent in the light of day. Jaws that housed teeth larger than my head, snapping with a ferocious speed as they circled over head. Blood dripping from missing limbs, and bone peeking out of broken skin.
I shake my head before their faces resurface.
The women sob as children cling onto their skirts, whimpering.
I neither sob nor whimper. I don’t even move. I have no one to move to. Not any more.
There is only one way in and out of this vault, and as much as they tell us it is impervious, I don’t believe them.
I’ve seen those claws rip cars apart, hell I’ve seen them rip tanks apart. Nothing is impervious to those beasts.
The only reason we are still alive is because they haven’t found us yet. But, that screech was too close for comfort, and I fidget in my bunk as I wish there was another way out of this prison.
The boy soldier makes his way round the room to reassure everyone with his monster gun that he has never had the chance to use, gesturing for them to stay silent.
His gaze frequently darts to the ceiling, as if he can see the beast through the layers of steel. The curios anxiety in his eyes has me wondering if he has ever seen one of them up close. Few have done so and lived. I was just lucky, if you could really call me lucky.
We wait with bated breath until we’re deafened by the grinding of metal, and I know we have been discovered as the door buckles.
Silence forgotten, screams erupt, and chaos ensues, as everyone runs in maddening circles looking for another way out that doesn’t exist.
I sigh, tired of always being right, and sit up.
The round metal door shakes with the weight of the beast throwing itself against it. The thunderous noise assaults my ears, as the boy soldier takes up position in the middle of the room, his gun trained on the shivering door, his trousers dripping from the hem at his ankles.
The door explodes from its frame and slams straight into him, sending his gun spinning across the floor to lie at my feet.
I stare at it, fighting the urge to just lay back and let it all end here. I’m so tired of the endless onslaught, the running, the hiding, the waiting. But, the screams of children force my hand, and I pick up the gun reluctantly, before looking up at the doorway.
The beast struggles to fit through the small entrance way, it’s wings pressed tight against it’s body in an attempt to wriggle through.
I rise from my bunk and throw the gun strap over my head. I had never shot a gun in my life, but there was a first time for everything.
I aimed at the beast and let a few bullets fly in rapid succession. One clipped it’s leg, but the others hit the wall where they ricocheted. I ducked and covered my head as the beast screamed and the bullets pinged around the metal room.
There was a good chance I had just shot a person instead of the beast, but it wasn’t to be helped now.
I stood back up and moved closer to take aim again.
The beast stretched out towards me, snapping its jaws. I waited until it opened it’s jaws to shriek again. The noise had others cupping their ears and cowering in corners. Instead, I pulled the trigger, screaming, and didn’t let go.
The shriek died in a rain of bullets, and the beast fell limp, still wedged in the door, blocking any escape.
There would be more.
There were always more.