Bren pulled herself up and over the side of the remains of a stone bridge, her muscles trembling from hunger and lack of sleep. Her wheezing breath whistled through the small opening from her smashed nose and blood soaked the bandages that covered her arms and legs. She fell over the side of the bridge, her body crashing onto the stone below her. Her arms stung from the acid droplets that pooled on her skin and the caked mud that coated her legs. Her fall from the cliff should have killed her, instead she'd been swept away by the raging river that she'd nearly drowned in.
It's funny I hardly feel the pain, she thought as she laid sprawled on the stone, her wheezing breath the only sign of life still in her body. She winced at the screech of the Eagle that had attacked her, it circled overhead anticipating her final breath. Unknowingly she'd stepped too close to its nest and now it eagerly awaited feasting on her warm flesh.
Go ahead and try to eat me.
She closed her eyes waiting for the bird to dive and close in on her. The sun above her turned cold as it dove and she felt the rush of wind as it swooped low to the ground. The eagle's screech turned into a cry of fear as an animalistic scream pierced the air around her sent her heart into a beating frenzy. Bren gasped as dread filled her. Somehow she pulled her battered body up and with one agonizing step at a time she made her way to the end of the bridge. The screams grew louder and Bren could feel the vibrations on the ground from the Tracker’s beating wings. They were monstrous man-made creatures, half metal half animal.
Trackers were the result of mankind’s attempt to fight against the monsters they had created and awoken from deep within the earth. A research experiment that had once held hope for reclaiming civilization now hunted human beings to extinction. Bren shifted through the twisted metal rubble, all that was once left of the once green earth that she’d only heard about from her Ma’s fairy tales.
As far as her eyes could see the entire world was made up of the same twisted metal, metallic, brown, and even deep red colors stared back at her almost taunting her. Her Ma had told her that once the world had been covered by a deep green grass, soft to the touch, unlike the twisted shapes that now protruded from the earth threatening to impale her with a single wrong step. Massive trees, even forests filled with wildlife that she had never seen. She’d filled Bren’s head with her tales of a blue sky, white ice, and plants bearing fruit filled with sweet water.
Bren curled her lip with distaste, no matter how many stories of a better world her mother told it couldn’t change the current one. It couldn’t change her mother’s death or the broken slave band that she wore around her neck. It couldn’t change that eighty percent of Bren’s body was metal or that the food supplies had run out long ago forcing her to barter her Ma's cherished possessions to survive. Her village's survival depended upon the greedy merchants that brought food grown underground in the capital. And with Croft's stingy pay it was a wonder that they hadn't starved to death.
The piercing scream of the Tracker snapped Bren out of her thoughts of the village she’d left behind. She needed to find a place to hide before the Tracker flew over her. She crawled across the rubble her metallic body clinking against the brown metal ground. The few patches of skin that she still had left, bled freely against the bandages, she felt no pain, though. A lifetime of constantly being surrounded by the metal had conditioned her body not to feel anything. That didn’t count for emotions, though, she had wounds within her that would never heal any no matter how many times she pierced herself.
The metal curved in almost into the shape of human ribs, Bern sat at the very heart of its body listening as the Tracker’s screams drew closer. She could see the eagle, a small retreating speck in the sky as it fled.
She was tired of running. She was tired of the death and despair. She was tired of the lies that there was a better world out beyond the sea of metal. She was tired of searching, of a place where she could belong. She was tired of being cast out for her metallic body. I’m so damn tired. As the Tracker’s screams drew closer Bren made up her mind. She wouldn’t run anymore. She would die. Here, now, on her own terms. This life was not meant for a girl half made of metal and human flesh. She was a monster. An abomination.
She felt the Trackers wings above her, its blind eyes and keen nose searching for the scent of human flesh. Eat me! Her mind screamed out as she sat awaiting her fate. I have no reason to live anymore. Her mind was made up, but her heart was not. It still clung to the good she’d seen her mother before her death. It clung to the fairy tales, the hope of a better world. Her mind had decided to die, but her heart wanted to live.
The metal curled up her body almost like a second skin. It wound its way up her toes and ankles across her knees and spread from her chest to head. Bren plunged her hands into the metal trying to rip it from her body as it sealed away her vulnerable skin.
No, no I want to die! Please let me die! Still, the metal grew twisting across her face and over her wet tears. It slid gently across her broken nose, she cried out in pain as it twisted back into its proper position. Her shrieks of fury died as it spread across her lips sealing away any attempt at attracting the Tracker. Her amber eyes gazed up at the cloudy red sky just as the beast came into view overhead, a twisted ancestor of a mythical creature once known as a dragon with scales of a fish and the head of a tiger. It screeched in fury as the scent of its prey disappeared, for Bren was now covered entirely in the metal she despised so much.
© Copyright 2017 K. M. . All rights reserved.
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