James R

ATLAS

The door, broken and moss-covered, opened slowly with a slight creak. It hadn’t been used in a while. This wasn’t my house. The house smelled of rotten meat, or flesh. I rummaged through the old cupboards, that carried a fine, thin layer of dust on it. Nothing. It had been four months. I still had to wait eight months for them to get me. I walked into the living room, with my gun leveled with my baby toe. A man. Face down. A bullet embedded in the back of his head, put there oh so long ago. The pearl colored maggots squirmed through what was left of the man’s decaying hair. A fly landed on my neck. I swatted it away. I decided not to go upstairs, to find what horrors may await me. I stepped back into the kitchen and out the front door. I didn’t bother to close it back. No one would loot it. No one would steal from it. The air outside was tight and gripping with tension. It began to choke me. 5 months ago, I was a star athlete. My grades were okay, they could have better. Now, I carried a loaded gun in my left hand and an empty sachel in my right. This is life now.


I jogged down the dull, fading road, making sure to keep a steady pace in the beating sun. A few feet down the road, I saw a female Blaze. The once-human figure was covered in burns and blisters. Even from a great distance, you could see the blood red in her eyes and smell her deteriorating flesh. Very few people were immune to the radiation in the beginning of the war. Most of the population was killed, within days, of the radiation. Some people were able to withstand the effects of the radiation. Those are the Blaze, a crazed species of humans, covered in blood, blisters, and burns. She hadn't seen me yet. I weighed my options. I could run into the woods, risking her follow. Or, I could take her head on and run into more Blaze. I turned to run. She wailed in agony and pain, shielding her disfigured face with her crippled hands. I ran as fast as I could. My athletic ability kicked in. I sprinted through the leafed branches and dead logs, deeper into the forest. A log, I didn't see, tripped me. I fell on the soft, lush moss and the world went black and lifeless.


Post


No one saw it coming. The disease. The spread. The infected. None of it was foretold in a way like this....

I stepped through the busted glass door of the abandoned grocery store. The shelves were empty. All the stores were wiped out in the Wake. I walked through the isles in the store, with my old, rusted flashlight. A groan from the other side of the shelf quickened my heartbeat. I raised my gun, slowly. I whipped around the corner with speed. Everything in this new world was done with speed. If it wasn’t, you died. It turned to glare at me with its soulless, black eyes. Its once navy-blue uniform, was covered in grime and dried blood. Its head bald and a pasty white. It snapped its yellow, blood covered teeth at me. A male. The female Feeders were usually more aggressive. He lunged at me. I couldn’t move out the way. He tackled me to the hard, moss-covered floor. My gun slid away. He couldn’t bite me. A piece of decaying wood was just in my reach. I grabbed it and swung at him. It made contact, splintering into pieces. As expected, he fell off of me and tried to regain his senses. I dove for my gun. I jumped up and aimed my gun. He was coming at me. I had done this a few times before. I pulled the trigger. His body went limp. He dropped to the floor. I had to move. The sound of the gunshot would bring more Feeders. I rushed out of the store, without a glance back. I heard the call of the Feeders. The high pitch, angry call of the females. A horde of Feeders poured into the run-down, abandoned grocery store from every angle. From every window and door. From every hole in the decaying wood. This was life. The new life.


The Falcon

The feathers of the falcon spread across my body. My fingers began to shrink out of existence. Then, I began to shrink. I felt my lungs and organs squirm and shrink, to be replaced and erased. Even worse, I could hear it. All of it. My under belly gained a layer of soft fur or small feathers. I didn't know then. It was all so new then. My mouth and nose blended together and extended, from my bird head, into a yellow beak. The talons erupted from my claws unexpectedly. I forgot about those. My eyes picked up more and more during the transformation. Every stitch of fabric on my bed sheet was made obvious. The tiny particles of dust in the air. I saw everything. I extended my wings slowly, afraid I might break them. The air caught me and lifted me up. My window was open. I sat perched on the windowsill and observed everything through my new eyes. The crisp night breeze felt lighter. The grass, 30 feet down, seemed more, I don't know, vibrant, even in the night. I had to go. My team needed me. I thrusted myself out the window. The air my wings. I was flying. I flapped my wings and glided. I figured the speeds I could reach were unbelievable, until I found the Pronghorn Antelope.


The Hybrid

The creature came at me fast. I rolled to my left. I dodged it but it was quick. The stench of the creature came in a wave over me as it shot past me. It landed on its feet, ready to pounce. I didn't dodge this time. I ran at it. It jumped up on an arch. It fell on me like a dumbbell. The yellow of it's teeth. The craze in its cat-like eyes. The smell of rotten flesh on its breath. All of these things made me fear it even more. It beared its yellow teeth and lashed out. It caught my face. A small stream of blood came from the wound, just above my eye. I threw the wolf-like creature back onto the hard, marble floor. I jumped up and made a mad dash for the door. The gusts of air, as I ran, nipped at the cut above my eye. The blood was beginning to turn my vision to a dark crimson. I grasped the rusted handle as the hybrid came down on my back. I was finished and the creature knew it.