September 23, 2YYY.
A frustrated, leathered-heeled boot kicked aside a metal can, out of the path of the lone woman it was attached to. The skidding sound of the impact rang lightly around her, but it was not enough to attract any unwanted attention, thankfully. Yet she stopped in her path anyway, mystic blue orbs scanning around the area, heart racing, to find any signs of life. For the most part, there wasn’t any, not a sound besides the subtle wind that blew. After a moment for her sudden racing heart to settle, she carried on, eyes forward to follow an unmarked path. These days, roads and sidewalks meant little to nothing, only providing a taste of a destination that could provide either the tiniest amount of temporary solace, or miles and miles of wreckage, remnants of what the world once was.
It was the latter this time around for the wanderer and had been for quite some time. Desolate remains of buildings that once stood high, now crumbled and decayed, engulfing the woman in an atmosphere that felt thick and suffocating. The old, worn gas mask upon her face did nothing to help. The hose attached to it dangled freely, the end grazing her hip for every step she took. She had found it in a pile of junk weeks ago while scavenging for anything useful that would assist in her journey to God only knew where. It did, however, serve one purpose. During the early mornings, the sun still had means to burn its blinding rays upon the earth, which created a problem for the woman, physically. Her pale skin was delicate and had been for months now, possibly even longer. Any risk of being cursed with a sunburn
, as one would call it, was a risk she was not keen on taking for reasons she kept deeply buried.
Yet despite the amount of clothing and protection she wore upon her body, she still felt the heat, trapping itself within the small confines of which separated her clothing from her skin. Sweat matted ashy blonde hair that was hidden under a tattered, makeshift cowl that wrapped around her neck, with its ends flowing carelessly in the breeze down her back. Her hands, kept wrapped with leather gloves a size too big, felt damp, almost to where it would have been easy for them to slip out should she not be careful. Her limbs felt tight in the sleeves of her black shirt and pants, but she ignored the nagging feeling it gave her and did so quite often. The discomfort of sweat was the least of the woman’s problems.
Still, a gloved hand reached up to her neck, using the cowl to wipe some of it away. It was pointless, but it made the woman feel a tad bit better as the cool breeze swept across the exposed skin. Now, all that she needed was something to satisfy her parched, scratching throat. That was a problem in its own sense for the woman. Water had proven to be scarce, and what little there were, it was most likely contaminated. Although, that was not the major issue when it came to her thirst. The woman had no appetite for water, for she favored something thicker, darker, rich
, yet due to the unfathomable casualties, it was nearly impossible for the woman to be truly content.
That desperation lingered in the woman’s brain until a sound disrupted it. She paused, eyes wide and alert as the sound echoed in the distance. It was relatively close, she suspected, causing her nerves to bristle. Her head turned toward the sound, which she had assumed it to be some type of bell; a trap. It felt all too familiar that she simply could not ignore it. She understood the smartest thing to do was to carry on, leave whatever had made the noise behind for the sake of her own survival. Yet her throat thought otherwise. That very same desperation was enough to catch her interest. If it was some type of trap, then that bell meant something, or someone
, had been caught.
The wanderer kicked off her boot and made a steady pace toward where the bell came from. She was careful to keep light on her toes, for she was not too sure just what awaited her. It was very possible that the trap could have been made for her. Perhaps something had its eye on her and took the plunge and deemed her as potential bait. In this moment, however, she would not have gave it a second thought. She was quick to cautiously turn a corner, where she was met with an even sinister sound and quite a grim sight. Behind the mask, her eyes widened; a beast snapped hungrily at a man. For a brief second, she became fascinated at the very fact that she had come across a civilian, or what she hoped
was a civilian. She’d been isolated for so long, that she did not believe any were left and if they were, they hid quite well.
The wanderer’s mind screamed to take action, but she questioned as to what she could do. Beasts like the one that seemed to ignore another presence were fairly common nowadays, and they were shown to be deadlier than most savage animals. Besides, the only weapons she had on her person was a Bowie knife strapped on her leg, and a broken baton nestled through her belt. She pondered as to how the beast would take to seeing her wave the baton around, hoping to land a blow. She assumed not very much. Her brows furrowed, her features contorted into both panic and anger.
A plan needed to be devised, yet she had no time to calculate a proper one. Instead, her foot slightly inched forward on impulse, but that had turned to be a grave mistake. The heel of her boot skidded against a rock. The seemingly thundering sound of it pattering away sent an internal frenzy through the woman as she became paralyzed. Her eyes averted to where the rock had rolled to, cursing herself for not watching her step, but as she lifted them back to the trap - the beast met her gaze with a glare and a low grumble.
Her breath stilled as the creature seemed just as paralyzed as she was. She was certain that the beast could hear just how loud her heart pounded against her chest, as if to entice it in some way to come inspect her; or better yet, take a bite. She struggled to swallow as the two seemingly held up a game of glares, neither wanting to take the first initiative. She theorized that if perhaps she stood long enough, the beast would lost interest and return to its catch. That had only been wishful thinking, for the beast had become impatient with the wait. A roar emitted from its jaws, as if to inform the wanderer that it had enough. Powerful claws for feet kicked off the pavement into a full sprint toward her.
She cursed harshly as she was quick to move, dashing in the opposite direction at full speed. Her boots thumped against the ground in haste, her breath became heavy and rapid, all while the sounds of the beast echoed throughout the street. Rows of abandoned vehicles assisted the woman in some ways as she made her way through clear pathways of them, hoping to lose the beast or at least slow it down. It helped a bit as the beast collided into a few, screeching in protest but managed to get through each delaying obstacle. It’s claws sunk into the rusted metal of the hood of an old Chevelle, lifting itself onto the car, and began hurdling from one to the next. The wanderer kept running, every so often, shooting a glance over her shoulder at the beast.
Her legs whined as she continued to run, but she ignored their aches. However, she knew that she couldn’t keep running, lest her body would become fatigued. Even if she wasn’t of the norm, that did not mean she wasn’t invincible. As she came across a car, she latched onto the handle of the driver’s door and pulled it with as much strength as she could muster. It eventually gave in, and she was quick to slip inside of it, slamming the door closed. Within the car, the wanderer watched with panic as the beast suddenly hurled itself onto the windshield, shattering the surface, creating cracks that branched around it. She could hear the screams it gave as its claws bashed against the broken glass. Small shards of it spilled into her lap. The wanderer cursed once more as her hand fell to a latch on the side of the seat.
The headrest flew back and took her with it, so that she wouldn’t be confronted with the beast up close. Her eyes roamed every motion the beast made, her mind felt as if it sizzled on how to proceed. It would seem that the wanderer was now trapped, that her sudden burst of an idea had failed. She even believed such a thought as the beast continued to use the force it had to bash into the glass. With one final push, the glass shattered completely, allowing the beast’s head to thrust inside. Its jaws snapped at the woman as it snarled and fought to sink its teeth into her. It was unfortunate that the wanderer only had a few inches that separated herself from the beast, and the more it struggled to get inside, the more it inched towards her.
Yet the wanderer kept back upon the seat, her mind kept scattering for what to do. Her eyes were glued to the beast, its own black, soulless orbs, peering into hers. Surely there had to be something that could be done - anything. She tore her gaze away to gaze around the car, albeit a bit with difficulty given the beast’s efforts. There was nothing that would be useful, much to her severe frustration. It wasn’t until the reflecting light of her blade caught her eye did she have an idea. It was reckless, it was completely ignorant, and it was possible that it would be the last thing she ever did. It was worth the risk. One gloved hand shot to the beast’s neck, using her strength to force the beast’s mouth away from her as the other gloved hand shot to her leg. The beast writhed against her, roaring, growling, continuing to snap its jaws.
However, the roaring increased, and a painful cry erupted through the car. A blade had been punctured through its neck, blood began to spill from the deep wound. Attached to the hilt of the blade was a gloved hand, which was held in a tight, forceful grip. The wanderer’s eyes pierced through the beast’s own as another stab came. More painful cries, more violent writhing. So much so, she had quite a time keeping her hand steady and composed. She grunted as she gave the beast one final stab, twisting the blade into the flesh, ignoring the amount of blood that slithered down the beast’s skin and onto her pants. The roars of the creature ceased as the body suddenly fell limp. That hadn’t satisfied the wanderer enough, however, as she pulled the knife from its neck and tossed it into the passenger seat. Using both of her hands, she grabbed a hold of the beast’s head and gave it a hard, firm twist. All that she heard was the cracking of bones.
With the beast now no more, the wanderer released it, only to bring her hands to her temples. She released a heavy, long, exasperated sigh. She merely sat to gather herself for a moment, her eyes kept upon the limp beast. Some part of the woman awaited for the blasted thing to rise but when it did not seem to, she retrieved the knife, slowly, and placed it back into its latch. The stench of its blood assaulted her nostrils, producing a euphoric scent that caused her mouth to water. Behind the mask, her tongue slid across her chapped bottom lip. If she had no sense of morale, she would have taken the plunge when it came to her thirst. Yet she remembered that the beast had caught a man, and he still hung on the trap.
That was enough motivation for the woman to exit the car, leaving the beast where it lay dead and secured. She picked up her feet as she made her way back to the strung up man, dodging edges of cars, until she eventually fled the sea of them. As she neared him, her eyes caught the sight of a pistol that lay just a few feet away from where she stood. Her first instinct was to loot it, but she refrained. Instead, she lifted her gaze up to the man who dangled above her. Now came the question as to how to get him down. Scanning around the area, she searched for anything that would give her some type of clue. The base of the trap would be the easiest bet, but it was hidden quite well. She even pondered how one managed to create it considering this type of trap was best handled in woodland areas.
She took her time in her search, not wanting to miss a single thing Incase it was vital. She even managed to inspect the rifle that she completely missed before. However, she refrained a second time from thieveing and managed to find where the base of the trap nestled. She bent down on one knee and pulled out the knife from its latch. With one quick swipe, she cut the wire and lifted her eyes, already wincing as she couldn’t imagine a fall from that high would be pleasant. No matter - as long as he survived it.