So Bloody Poetic

Sunrise

The sun rises and I begin to cry.

Of course, my life was always so bloody poetic. How the gods love their irony; the morning of my last day on earth begins with the most stunning sunrise I’ve ever witnessed. Oh,  yeah, sure! Humanity is lost! Everyone will die alone, shit-scared and without dignity; but gosh darn it, isn’t the sky just sweet today? The subtle blend of hues one hundred years ago would’ve inspired Monet to paint! Today’s sunset is predicted to be equally lovely… but luckily for me, I won’t be sat here in this truck weeping over the fucking colour of it.

I thought I was gonna die last night. When the city walls fell, I was so sure of it. But as Zack got closer to the apartment, flocking to the screams like hyenas to carrion, I went primal. Guess it was the ‘fight or flight’, but I don’t remember any of it – just disjointed snapshots, as distant from me as someone else’s holiday photos.

A broken-down door, muddy with footprints. Staircase – too many floors to count. A coiled bullet belt, empty. Glass-stained streets. Rotting carcasses; a dead baby, stomach bloated. A water bottle, empty. The most beautiful rusty old truck.  AK47, empty.

I do remember clambering into the truck. I drove through the night, didn’t stop once. The people by the side of the road were exhausted, desperate, dying. They plead, beg for the lives of their children, pray out in a foreign tongue. But how do you know that they’re people? Don’t trust anyone. Let them in the truck, they could start coughing and before you know it you’ve got Zack riding shotgun. Don’t trust. Humanity died the day they got out the grave.

The stupid fucking sunset blurs before my eyes. What good did it do? Running away bought me extra time, but ultimately I’m just as screwed. By the time the sun sets, I will be dead; whether by dehydration, human hands or Zack bite, it doesn’t matter. None of us matter. I squeeze my eyes shut, feel hot tears on my cheeks. When I look again, the rainbowed sky is so gossamer-clear I can see the morning stars.

A sunset like that is a good final memory.

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Division

“When they ask, your gun jammed.”

Michael’s words are so softly spoken that my ears struggle to hear; and even when the words do register, I think I’ve misunderstood him. “What?” I hiss, confused.

His eyes flicker from the guard and back to mine. “They’ll want to know why you didn’t make the kill,” he says silently. “You have to be ready with an explanation.”

I’m aghast, and lean in towards Michael. “But – I can’t lie to Division!” I tell him, my voice a terrified whisper. “They’ll know!”

He shakes his head slightly, a tiny movement. His expression is sober, his gaze staring off into the distance, fixed on a point I can’t recognise. “And if they discover you couldn’t kill the target, what then?”

I swallow, the full weight of what I’ve done slamming home. I couldn’t pull the trigger. My target was at my mercy, knelt before me, begging for his life… and I couldn’t do it. Michael’s right, of course – if Division finds out, they’ll have no use for me. According to the government, I don’t exist – so they’ll be no problem in getting rid of me.

Heavy footsteps break me from my horrified thoughts. They crash down the corridor and the cell door flies open. The burly man standing there completely fills the doorway, scowling down at me from the ceiling.

“Bring the girl,” he grunts. The guard who’s been watching us grabs me. His hand is a vice around my arm, yanking me off my feet and out of the cell.

My last thought is to look back for Michael, for an answer, for some kind of reassurance. His dark eyes bore into mine, as serious as I’ve ever seen him. His chin dips in a nod just as the cell door slams shut, and I am left alone with the guard – and a decision to make.

Do I lie or do I confess? Exactly how far can I trust Division?

Raw Red Devil

“Charlie Bradbury is dead. She died a year ago – you killed her. My name is Carrie Heinlein. Oh, and guess what. Now I’m going to kill you, too.” Her eyes narrowed, and she carefully knelt before her prey. Dean’s posture was slumped, defeated, broken; his horror at her transformation so beautifully clear in the lines of his face. He’d given up, and the woman felt a perverse rush of joy, of righteousness. This is my revenge.
The hunter’s mouth flapped open, as though he was trying to speak, and anger seized her. With a snarl, she dug her dagger into the soft skin of his throat, and a slick of blood ran down his collar. “No, I buried myself,” she spat in his face. “When Dick Roman went down, his company belly-up, I figured that for once everything would turn out fine. I got my life back. Now you’re here, come to destroy my world all over again. Do you enjoy taking everything I have? Do you enjoy watching me be torn me to shreds?”
Dean opened his mouth to answer, and her hand closed around his windpipe, flawlessly painted nails gouging into his flesh. “Don’t answer that,” she hissed. “I don’t care.” She straightened up, throwing her dagger to the side with a clatter. She slowly pulled her gun from the waistband of her jeans, the delicious fear flaring in Dean’s eyes making her heart glow.
“Are you proud of me, Dean?” she asked softly. A lifetime ago he’d confessed to her that she was like a sister to him, and that made this whole thing so much sweeter. “Haven’t I come a long, long way from that cute IT girl who liked to play dress-up?” One corner of her mouth curved up into a sneer. “Remember, it was you who set me down this path. It was you who abandoned me to the darkness.”
“No, I never –” Dean croaked desperately, and her nostrils flared. She slapped him full across the face, her long nails raking lines across his cheek. “Don’t say a word,” she breathed, eyes wild.
“You abandoned me. I was drowning in the darkness until I realised the secret – don’t resist. Don’t push out the dark, breathe it in. Take it deep inside your heart and let it fester, let it rot, until you are reborn.” She spread out her hands. “I am the perfect version of Charlie Bradbury.”
Pressing the barrel against his forehead, one beautifully manicured finger held the trigger. A smile pulled her lips apart, a smile that had no trace of humanity. “Brother,” she scoffed, disgust rising like vomit in her voice. “As if.” Dean’s eyes widened, mouth falling open and urgent words forming on his lips –
Charlie Bradbury pulled the trigger… and Dean’s last words remained unspoken.