Howls echoed in the night, everything was on fire, and the scent of death rose from the village. Beasts had torn through the village like a hook in a river trout. It was all I could do to keep my wife and son safe. Quickly I led them through the horror around us, trying to reach the woods, I could keep us safe there. These beasts, once men, were relentless and violent. They killed for the sake of killing, they didn’t eat what they killed, they didn’t use the bones for tools, they simply murdered. I cursed. If only the ancestors had learned peace, if only they had come to terms instead of blowing us all half to Hell with their ridiculous bombs, filling the air with dangerous chemicals. It had turned a third of the population into these mindless killing machines. I had to get my family out. I had to find a place to raise my son without the fear of this massacre constantly haunting his mind.
Darting in and out of the burning houses, avoiding looking at my friend’s and neighbor’s bodies strewn across the hard earth. I looked back at Myra, she clutched our son tightly to her, shielding his eyes as much as she could as tears leaked from her tired, fearful eyes. She nodded at me to tell me she was alright, but I knew she wasn’t. How could she be. She’s strong. We’ll make it through this. I trudged forward, sticking to the shadows, treading lightly, pausing when the creatures ran past, praying they didn’t see us. The forest was so close now, we could make it. I started quickening my pace, turning to make sure Myra was keeping up, but right as I turned I saw a creature just behind her. “Myra!” I yelled, charging the creature, but I was too late. Blood gushed from her throat, panic still on her face as Peter fell from her arms landing softly in the grass. I stopped in shock as she fell to the ground, the beast running off with a howl to signify a kill as if it were a sport. Rage and sadness ripped through me as I knelt in defeat between Myra and Peter who wailed loudly in the grass next to his Mother. Tears slipped from my eyes as I screamed in anger at the sky. Other creatures nearby heard me and started towards me. I scooped up Peter and ran blindly for the woods, it wasn’t long before I could no longer hear the screams of the village or the howls of the creatures. I had lost them in the woods, I kept running. I couldn’t stop for a long time, I ran and ran deeper into the dark woods until finally I sank to my knees, laying Peter on the ground asleep I cried for what felt like hours. We were so close… this wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was going to keep us safe. Why….?
The next morning, I was awoken by the sound of Peter crying in the grass next to me, the forest dew has soaked his thin blanket and he was hungry. It all hit me at once, Myra was gone, slaughtered by those… those things! Damn it all! How could this happen! Tears came again all too quickly but Peter’s cries shook me out of it. I had to stop. She was gone, but Peter wasn’t. I had to at least ensure that he survived. I had to.
I stood, lifting Peter from the grass and began walking. As I walked I removed Peter’s blanket relieved to find that it was only wet on the outside and that none of Peter’s clothes were wet. I tied his blanked to my belt so it could dry and held onto my son as I journeyed with no destination in mind. What would I tell him in a few years when he was old enough to know? How could I tell him that his mom had been murdered by such vicious creatures? I wouldn’t. I would come up with something. Peter would never know of the events of last night and he would never know of the existence of the beasts until it became necessary.
After what felt like hours of walking I found a small cave near a stream, it would work for now. Along the way I had found some berries, I had eaten some and mashed some of them as best as I could for Peter. Fortunately, he could eat them since I doubted I could find milk anytime soon… I gathered some grass in a pile near the entrance to the cave where I could see and laid Peter down in it, hoping he would sleep, and set to work forming this cave into a home.