Moonlight shone on the recently fallen snow, giving it a glittery appearance. A few dead trees stood scattered along the flat wasteland. Their blackened, skeleton-like limbs that once held life looked both beautiful and eerie as they stretched their arms to the heavens.
The whole image, which looked so pure and peaceful, was destroyed by languid footprints, which left the hint of a slight limp. There were bloodstains following closely behind the staggered footprints, tainting the snow. The steps lead to a tree where a small body was propped up against the trunk, shivering in the cold despite the many layers of clothing she wore.
She wore heavy-duty army pants—much too big for her, but good for warmth—which were stuffed into her laced-up boots. On her torso, she wore several large sweaters, hanging loosely past her hips, and an oversized greatcoat. Her close-to-frostbitten hands were clad with a pair of heavily knitted gloves that were visibly tattered from being used so much.
The only part of her body to be seen were her stunning green eyes—filled with both determination and tears—that peered past two brightly colored scarves. Her gaze was fixated intently on something.
Her shaky hands gripped a shotgun.
She pulled the trigger. Bang!
A bullet went through the head of the body that was once stumbling towards her. The thing dropped to the ground, dead.
The girl limped toward her target, cringing with each step. Living through the nightmarish zombie apocalypse for three years now, she had gained a much stronger stomach—not to mention a more watchful eye—but even so, she couldn’t help but feel nauseous at the sight of the lifeless, mangled body.
All the while, her own life was seeping from her wounded leg, staining the snow red.
Sheldon cursed loudly. One bullet left and six—no, nine zombies. He sighed.
“Not today. Please, not today,” he grumbled through his teeth.
He had been sitting in an abandoned coffee shop, enjoying a nice cup of mocha when the bothersome creatures decided to attack. He would have happily given the monsters a nice Christmas present of cold metal had his ammo-filled satchel not been knocked three stories out a window.
And one more problem: he was blind.
Not that it was really a problem, though. He had been blind for six years now, so he knew how to use his hearing and smelling senses to “see” better than an average person could see things with their eyes. In some ways he believed he had more of an advantage over most people because he didn’t have to rely on sight in situations where darkness might have otherwise obstructed his abilities. Like this situation for instance, where only a hint of light in the room came from the moon.
He used his senses to determine the exact location of the zombies, and then moving out of the way of a fallen table, fired his last bullet.
He heard the shot hit the wall and muttered another curse word.
“I knew that was too high.”
Standing up, he then pulled a combat knife from his trench coat and began cutting the rest down one by one, following their moaning as means for finding their miserable heads, meanwhile ignoring the burning pain of his tired limbs. He felt a sharp pain in his left arm and whipped around, taking a stab at his enemy before it could puncture his skin with its bloodied teeth.
Sheldon jerked around just as he heard three more near him. He felt his skull connect with the cold cement as he was shoved to the floor. He began yelling madly while firmly slashing his knife at the creatures, accurately hacking two zombie heads off.
Anger surged through him. “I’m not going to die by you guys! And especially not on Christmas.”
He sharply kicked hitting one in the stomach, knocking down a pair of others. By then he only sensed one near him. He skillfully stabbed the monster then got to his feet. Two left. One to my right and one—ah-ha, no you don’t! He sliced in front of him before the cursed thing could touch him, and then smoothly swung his blade into the creature to his right.
“All done?” He paused and listened. “Good.”
Feeling rather drained, Sheldon slumped to the ground, his head spinning. “Let’s not do that again, eh? Yes, good idea,” he agreed with himself.
A maniacal laughter echoed through the streets of the grey, deserted town.
“You will die today!” a man shouted as he calmly brought up his sights and fired through the darkness lit only by the moon yet hit his target quite expertly—once again.
“Poor bunny,” he said facetiously.
He whistled and a black creature swooped down from the sky, gathered the animal in its talons and then dropped it at the feet of her master.
While perched on his shoulder, the hawk responded happily by rubbing her head against his cheek.
For the past two years, the only company he had was his bird. Before that, he had a beautiful wife. He remembered proposing to her only a few months before the apocalypse began. Once it started though, he informed her that marrying him wouldn’t be safe anymore.
“Drake, as long as you promise to stand with me, I couldn’t care less how ‘safe’ our life will be,” she answered him, placing her hand gently on his shoulder.
He had always admired that spirit in her. But, he never should have listened to her. The image of his wife turning into a zombie only a year later and the heart wrenching horror of having to kill her for the sake of his own life, the nightmares he would have for years to come and the guilt that would forever float in his mind; it was too much for him to bear on his own.
He eventually had to force himself to put the thought aside and move on. It was an impossibly hard thing to do, but he had to lest he drove himself mad with regret.
The bird had been a wedding present to him and his wife. It was now his most treasured possession. She was his battling companion and an excellent zombie hunter.
The young girl let out a pain-filled cry. The condition of her leg had worsened. She would need to find shelter before the moon could hide its face from her.
Trying to put as little weight on her leg as possible, she turned searching the horizon.
“Ah, that’s where I was going.” She spotted the outline of a small town in the distance and began to walk in its direction.
She pulled in a deep, pained breath as her leg once again reminded her of the state it was in. She had already dressed her wound as best she could with the things she had; she didn’t have any other choice now but to keep walking.
Before leaving the coffee shop, Sheldon searched around and was able to find a few packets of instant coffee. Then going down stairs, went to search for his bag.
“Let’s see, the window would be directly up from here—”
His foot bumped into something. He smiled to himself, picked up his satchel and then began walking back home.
His home was located in the neighboring town, though it wasn’t a problem getting there. He knew the two towns like the back of his hand.
Or at least how he pictured his hand.
A slight wind stung him as a fair amount of snow fell from the sky. The whole way home he stayed alert, not letting to stillness of the night deceive him.
Sheldon walked in through the back door of his home—a deserted movie theatre; one of the few buildings that was still actually livable—and immediately sensed something was wrong.
He ducked just as a bullet flew past his head.
“Hey!” he called out.
“Sorry,” a small voice replied sheepishly.
An actual person? His mind began racing.
“Who’s out there?” another voice asked.
It couldn’t be. Sheldon judged from their voices that one of them was a young girl and the other a man, in his thirties perhaps.
He hadn’t seen—or rather, been near an actual human in so long.
“My name’s Sheldon. I—I live here.”
“Well, Sheldon, are you completely blind? I found this girl in the snow half dead, so if you wouldn’t mind getting some sort of binding, that would be awful helpful of you,” the man replied bluntly.
The remark stung slightly, but sensing the urgency, Sheldon blew it off and handed him an emergency kit from inside his satchel.
“All right Jay, looks like you’ll live after all,” Drake said as he finished bandaging her leg. His bird squawked in agreement.
“Thank you, sir,” she responded, touched his hand, and then recoiled. “You’re so cold! Here take this.”
She took the scarf from around her neck—revealing her dirty blonde hair, which seemed to be unevenly cut short with a blade of some sort—and pushed it into his hands.
“Ignorant child,” he scoffed. “I couldn’t take that from you.”
“Ignorant child? Well, you’re just a stupid old man. Now take it! It’s Christmas after all, and I can give away what I want.” Jay glared at him with persistent eyes.
Half a smirk finally broke on the man’s face. “Fine.” He took the red scarf from her hands.
Sheldon smiled and after a silence, spoke. “Why don’t we celebrate the last of the day while it’s still Christmas? I can get some hot drinks ready.”
“And, I have an animal we could eat,” Drake said, and his hawk protested.
“Not you, you cool dude. The rabbit.”
Sheldon grinned. “Ah, food. Thank God.”
“Yes. Shouldn’t that be—if anything—what Christmas is about?” Jay asked, her eyes shining.
Drake smiled to himself. He hadn’t celebrated Christmas with real people since his wife had passed. It was the first time he had felt this at peace in a long time.
The three sat in silence after a few words were exchanged and their dinner was eaten, Jay and Drake examining the stars through the broken sections in the ceiling.
A joy had swelled in them at the end of that Christmas day, something none of them had felt in a long time, since the apocalypse. It didn’t matter to any of them that they were celebrating Christmas with complete strangers, people whose background they knew nothing about.
After all, it was Christmas.
Edited by Ezorov, Nov 30 2012 - 07:38 PM.