Fire raining down as the city burns down; smoke covering the sky as everyone cries. Planes screaming, missiles keening as everyone runs to find shelter. The smell of burning flesh and chard bone as children are cut down to early. Then a flash brighter than the sun and everything goes quiet.
Mardea jerked awake her rifle falling from her lap with a clang. Sweat poured down her face as she looked around panting. She was in the cave she had found late the night before. Picking up the rifle she got up and stretched the nightmare pushed back down into her memories. Running her fingers through her short cropped hair she sighed thankful for the nightmare being the only danger of the night. She retied her boots, picked up her pack securing it on her back and checked to make sure her pistol and knife were still in their place on her hip. Time to move once again. Slowly and carefully she walked to the mouth of the cave and peeked outside. She looked over the grey wasteland and saw nothing but the dead trees that once made up a forest.
She walked out into the early morning sunlight and started toward the runes on the horizon. The runes were once a large city but the name was forgotten over the years as was the names of states and countries. None of it mattered anymore. What use where names if you had no one to talk to? As she walked she watched the shadows that the trees made for any movement but saw none. She glanced up at the gray and amber sky looking for movement and again she saw none. Relaxing a little she took out a piece of jerky and began to chew on it taking into account that she was alone. Not many things lived this close to runes. They mainly lived inside. She wished that she could dodge the runes but she needed a new sword. She lost her last one in the last fight she was in against a Behemoth.
When she came to the entrance of the runes she pulled out her pistol. The runes were of a large city with crumbling skyscrapers in the middle. The streets congested with the rusted skeletons of cars from those too stupid to try to leave on foot. Buildings half gone and rotted lines the street she looked down. She needed to get to what was once a store. Those were normally found in the middle of the city and she had to navigate the runes pasted the crippled homes and cars without being seen or heard if she didn’t want to get into a fight. The creatures here were not always friendly to trespassers. Luckily she had years of practice. Quick and silently as a cat she flitted down the street eyes flicking back and forth looking for signs of movement. She listened passed her breathing and pounding heart for anything that could mean harm. No matter how man y times she does this it always set her teeth on edge. She turned down a street heading to where she knew was a mall. She had been to these runes before and knew that within it was a weapons store with just what she was looking for. So far so good she thought as she turned around another corner, but stopped and quickly hid behind a building’s half crumbled wall. She cursed to herself for having jinxed it.
A Mathan was lying on a car’s roof in front of the mall’s entrance. She peaked at it from behind were she hid to assess what she was up against. The Mathan had a bone white exoskeleton that was just as hard as bone. Luckily it also had red flesh peeking through where its internal organs were on it under belly. It had a crest were flesh connected its spinal cord to its back. The spinal cord was incased in a tube of its hard exoskeleton so it was nearly impossible to damage. The only way to kill it was to damage its internal organs. It had long legs with sharp claws and had two horns growing out of its forehead and two longer ones where its nostrils were supposed to be. It had holes were its eyes were and sharp dagger like teeth. It mainly hunted by sound she guessed for how could it see or hear? Its body was shaped much like a dog’s making it quick. The one she was looking at was about the size of a Great Dane making it a young one. At full size it was as big as the car it lay on. She wished it was standing so she could just shoot it with her rifle without confronting it to keep from making too much noise. Luckily she had an idea. Picking up a rock, she through it at the car a couple of yards away.
It pinged off the metal and the Mathan lifted its head turning toward the sound. Picking up one more she again hit the same car. The sound of bone scraping metal as the Mathan stood and started toward the car. Raising her rifle she took aim. The Mathan stopped in front of the car listening, its legs held just right for a shot to the heart between the veins of exoskeleton through the underbelly. Firing Mardea watched as the bullet pierced the flesh blood splattering the cars near it. Squealing it collapsed the sound of bone hitting concrete echoing through the street.
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