It was a day like any other with the early morning sun streaming into the tent. Joan liked to call it our 'shack', even though it was only this water-resistant cloth we had found and decided to carry around with us. I never did understand some of her jokes and wording for things. I suppose it was just one of those things I was beyond understanding because of what I was, what I am. On that day, when I left the tent and didn't see Joan sitting at our small fire, I felt a pin of panic in my heart. She had this habit of wandering off on her own, so I was used to it. But why today, of all days, would I be so worried?
Sparse dead trees surrounded me. Dead grass and dry dirt rested under my boots. Not too far off I could see a city; ruined buildings covered with various plant life, dead or otherwise. But no Joan. The world had become too dangerous for either of us to wander off on our own. I had told her this plenty of times. I went back inside quickly to grab my large knife and throwing cards: four aces I had been gifted with along with an actual deck of playing cards. If someone had decided to take her or bite her or...who knew what else, I swore that I would kill them slowly. Running back outside, I looked around again to decide where to start looking.
And there was Joan, sitting innocently near our dead fire, fixing her bow.
"Joan!," I shouted, marching over to her. She looked up to me, smiling even though my face was likely stormy. Strange how only some months ago my face never would have been anywhere near stormy nor would I have ever felt so concerned over...anyone. I also never would have wanted to hit someone...let alone kiss.
"Aw, come on. I was just looking for some breakfast, wanted to surprise you." She set her bow down and stood, crossing the last few steps to me. I'm about three inches shorter than her and very much her opposite. Where her build was athletic, I am simply thin. Her voice held so much more emotion than I could possibly fathom, while mine has only the bare minimum; close to being monotone. I am paler than most humans, with only some tint to what used to be paper white skin. Joan...she had dark, colored skin nearly as smooth as mine. And that was surprising, since she was human and most humans did not have smooth skin. Her medium length black hair was tied back in a ponytail that day and my long, red hair was loosely hanging down my back. Her eyes were what I loved the most about her physical aspects. They were like emeralds in her dark face. Her eyes put my pale gray ones to shame.
The deep green of her eyes had enraptured me once more, so much so I hardly noticed her arms wrapping around me. "I didn't mean to worry you, Lena," she said, her voice comforting. The name of 'Lena' still sounded strange when applied to me. I used to be simply a number, and now I am always Lena.
And Joan loved me even knowing the shell I used to be.
I lifted myself up the few inches to kiss her lovingly, having dropped my knife and cards to the ground next to my feet. Time seemed to belong to only us and it seemed as if the world had not been destroyed by those I used to belong with. I do not belong with humans or those I was made with, but I did and do belong with Joan and she with me.
After much too short a time, she pulled away and went back to fixing her bow. "I was thinking we should see about finding something not mutated today," she said once she was sitting.
"Since when are there non-mutated creatures? The closest we may find is...I am not sure," I shrugged a shoulder and took my weapons back up, sliding the cards and knife into their sheaths on my belt, before sitting next to her.
"I saw a squirrel. Small, no spikes."
"I do not believe you."
"Honest! I saw one," she insisted, setting her fixed bow aside as a competitive look came to her eyes. "Tell you what, let's have a little bet. If one of us finds a non-mutated animal, I win. We don't, you do."
I grinned at her and poked her arm. "What do I receive when I win?"
"Hm...well, I know what I want when I win." She gave me a quick kiss, grabbed her bow, then dashed off. At least this time I knew which direction she went and that she had left, so I was not as worried. I went the opposite way of her and climbed up into one of the trees that had a few more leaves than the others. And waited.
It didn't take long before I heard a familiar choking and gargling sound, every now and again interrupted with groans or moans. With knife in had, my gaze flicked around near the base of 'my' tree. I knew this was not one of those that spoke. it was one of those that was fast once it caught sight or scent of its prey. Joan and I had found one, after we bludgeoned it to near death, that spoke. It died, but I cannot say I am sorry. It was probably just part of the experiment those that used to be my people had managed to do better on. That is how this whole world came to be; They decided every single person should be like Them.
The Walking came into my field of vision, limping along on his lonesome. I would have used one of my throwing cards, but that likely would not have gotten through to the brain. So I threw my knife inside. It stuck right into the back of his head, blackened blood seeping out around the knife as he thudded tot he ground.
I jumped from the tree, landing lightly on my feet, and quickly went to pull my knife from his head. They never travel alone. There is always at least two, if not a whole pack. I had to go warn Joan so we could pack up and move on. If we did not...there was no telling what would come next.
But that was when I heard a shrill cry that made my blood run cold.
That had my heart stop for a moment.
That announced the end of what I cared of.
I took of as quickly as my feet would carry me, heading right towards where I heard Joan's scream. Did more of the Dead find her? Did They find her? I did not know, but I was going to find out and make whoever it was pay for hurting her, for making her scream like that.
When I made it to our camp, the first thing I saw was a normal gray squirrel near the now lighted fire. Then I saw Joan, being held firmly by two of Them. One was male, the other female. Other than their gender, they were completely alike: pure white hair, paper white skin, and emotionless pale, gray eyes. I looked nothing like them except for my eyes and shape. Everything had been changed since my Execution.
"Mother was right. We found her," the male said in his voice that was entirely devoid of any emotion.
The female nodded. "Yes. Now," she looked to me, "Come with us to home. We will not harm this one."
I did not believe them. For some reason they had swords, not needles filled with sedative or poison. We...They never used weapons like swords. While they waited for my reply, Joan managed to struggle from their grasp, moving over to me quickly.
The look on my face must have been complete fear, for she put her hands gently on my cheeks only for a second before turning to the two.
Then there was a sword protruding form her back, nearly skewering me with her.
I am not sure what happened after that. I remember red blood. I remember black blood. I remember nearly black blood, which must have been mine. There was no pain, but that was only because I could not feel pain. I was not fully human nor fully Them. When things came back into focus for me, I was holding Joan to me. Her skin seemed paler somehow. But her skin was a living color....how could it be paler? She was colder, too. Her once beautiful eyes marred by an emptiness.
I felt...something in my heart. Something I had not been taught to mirror with facial expressions or tone of voice or simply how it felt and what to call it. I felt as if someone had stabbed my heart instead of Joan. I felt as if my heart had been tossed onto the fire when I realized what I had to do next. I was not sure how it managed some people changed after death and not others, but I did not want that to happen to her. I took one of their swords from their cold hands, though their coldness was not different from how they normally were. I used the sword to stab through her head, with tears welling up inside of me. I had never felt this way before; another first emotion Joan had given me. Except I did not want this feeling of complete and utter loneliness. I did not want to feel as if I lost the only thing that mattered to me, that gave me reason to keep trying to better myself. I did not want to feel...so heartbroken. Yes, that was what this emotion was called: heartbroken.
I left the sword next to her and turned towards where I knew They were. I could not bury her as we had no shovel. I could not lay down beside her to die. I had to stop Them from what they were doing. Or warn people. That was what we were working on. We wanted to warn others that these...monsters were taking people to try and make more of Them. That they were making the dead walk. That all of this was Their fault.
I promised I would do that. I would keep that promise. For Joan I would keep my promise and make sure to ruin those I was once part of.
My heart was broken. I didn't care about being careful anymore.
Writer's Block Chapter Four, click the link to read more about the challenge and other prompts and entire. My own entry this time is taken rather much form a story I'm working on, at least it's set int eh same world. I know, I know, post-apocalyptic is...not so new anymore, but meh! I'm really just too happy that all that stuff in pic, minus my hair and skin and the background which I had to edit in were all from one place! See, this is why doing random things because they seem interesting is good. I just couldn't believe how it all worked out and fit perfectly. Too ecstatic about that. But where it is from is MadPea's hunt for September; Lennon Park Massacre. I mostly went because I stumbled upon their blog, saw something about a camping massacre-thing and...well, I mostly went for pics only, sine the sim is nicely done. But you see how my original plan worked out, don't you?
Anyway, I'll save you form more rambling and just say this: I hope you enjoyed the little short story. :)