Contaminated

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 30, 2017

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Submitted: November 30, 2017

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Contaminated

By Stella Mackenzie

 

It had been three weeks since the bombing. Three weeks since the evacuation. Three weeks since she had been left behind. “It is the year 2049,” she muttered. “My name is Ana Schwarznacht. There is still hope.” The eerie mantra faded into the walls, into the floor littered with old books and gas masks, into the dark abyss ahead.

 

She checked the rooms, cupboards, hiding spaces almost by muscle memory, and only by muscle memory was she able to survive. Her mind was long gone, taken by fatigue, grief, fear, and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness she had been carrying with her. When her mind left, her muscles took over.

 

“Find food,” she had told herself. “Get shelter. Sleep. Flee.” Sometimes she had to stop and ask herself why she must carry out the last step. It is when that happens that she would attempt to remind herself what, exactly, had happened to her three weeks ago. She would struggle to recall her normal life, then it would all come back. The blackness and ringing that briefly overwhelmed her senses after the deafening impact. She would remember coming to, remember the panic and the fear, remember gaining some form of clear thought.

She had run. Oh, she had run like her life depended on it. The chopping of the aircraft grew closer. Isn’t that her family reluctantly walking up the deck? Freedom and safety was so close, yet, she remembered, so far away.

She had spent too long in the wastes, they said. There is a risk of disease spread, they said.

 

You have to stay here.

 

She attempted to go back to the city, to salvage some means of equipment and food, but the bomb was non-discriminant. Everything she had known had gone to ashes. Nevermind that. Ana was a survivor, and she would find another way. She still thought with logic and told herself to go to the forest. It offered shelter and food, if she remembered how to look for it.

 

After a week, she had found water, berries, baerlauch and other native edibles. She managed a shelter, and kept surviving. It was not the best situation, she thought, but she had done well.

 

Half way through the second week, her situation was doomed to deteriorate drastically. It was dusk- Ana was attempting to improve the structural integrity of her shelter when she heard them. Howls, unnatural and guttural, from the direction of the city. Ana’s instincts told her to run, but she’ll be damned if she left her shelter and water supply so easily. They’re just scavenger wolves, she told herself. They’ll stick to the ruins.

 

When the unearthly cries grew closer, Ana knew she had to get out. For three days, she was hunted. For four days she hadn’t even had a glimpse of these creatures, and by god Ana wished the fifth day had never happened. She was up a tree, praying that these things couldn’t climb, or better yet, that they wouldn’t be smart enough to find her. As her pursuers passed under her tree, she had to all she could to not fall from her hiding spot from shock. They were not of one species, though they did have something in common. They looked like a child’s zoo play set, the animals pulled apart and haphazardly put back together again, limbs often not their own.

Then there were the gaping wounds- it looked like there was a sort of toxic chemical seeping out of every opening. Later, Ana had realised that these things must be the product of the ‘contamination’ the people on the ship spoke of. This would be her, if she let them hunt her down.

Now, Ana’s survival depended on much more than hunter-gathering.

 

Ana hadn’t slept in the week since then, nor had she eaten much either. She had hidden, raided abandoned buildings she had come across, and had run. Now, though, she knew she was at her wit’s end. She could not carry on like this for much longer. Death was nigh.

 

Ana understood this as she stumbled through the school. Her wish was that if she were to die, it would not be at the jaws of those creatures. “It is the year 2049. My name is Ana Schwarznacht. There is still hope.”

 

Meandering through the building, Ana remembered a time she might have cried for joy at the supplies she found here, but things had changed, and now she barely blinked an eye at the treasures she passed. The only time she stopped was in a room previously used as a chemistry lab. She heard howls in the distance.

 

“It is the year 2049.”

 

Ana sat down in a corner.

 

“My name is Ana Schwarznacht.”

 

The cries grew closer. She pulled out a scalpel she had found in a drawer.

 

“There is still hope.”

 


© Copyright 2018 Stella Mackenzie. All rights reserved.

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