They’re almost here…

“You’ll need this, they’re almost here”

I felt something hard and roughly textured pushed into my hand. Looking down, still in vacant shock, I saw the pistol now in my hand. The screech of twisted metal and terrified screams pierce the walls of my home, carrying in from the mounting chaos on the street beyond. My heart pounded and my limbs seized in paralysed fear and confusion. I looked back up at the stranger beside me. Tall, white, he had a tightly cropped brown beard, flecked with hints of red. He held an assault rifle like he knew how to use it but otherwise his appearance was strangely mundane. All three of them were similarly armed. One, shorter and stockier with no beard, smashed my front window and knelt, positioning his rifle to aim out.

Something about how they carried themselves, the efficiency as they entrenched themselves, meant I didn’t even think to question who they were or what the man, who’s gun I now held, was talking about with his warning. Every survival instinct I’d inherited from my ancient ancestors told me that we were in danger, and that my only chance was with these strangers who had broken into my home in the dead of night. I took a deep breath, hoping in vain to still the frightened shaking in my hands and took cover as best I could.

Everything that came next is a blur.

***

I remember my hand shaking as I attempted to reload a pistol for the first time in my life. Twenty minutes earlier I had been sleeping. Laying peacefully alone, at home, safe in my bed. I still don’t know what time it is, just that it’s early morning. The first light of dawn could be minutes, or hours away. God, I don’t know if I’ll even see it, or if it’ll matter when it comes.

A moment of clarity in a storm of horror, my stomach heaved and I had to struggle to hold back the harsh bile rising in my throat. My ears rung painfully. Twenty minutes ago I’d been sleeping, without a care in the world, I remember gripping as tightly as I could to the memory of those last few moments of sanity.

***

The crack of splintering wood was what ripped me from my sleep. I was standing, pulling on pants before I knew what I was doing. Heavily booted footfalls thudded through the house, the banging of doors being slammed open accompanying them. There was nowhere for me to run or hide. Momentarily the door to my bedroom slammed open and I cried out, raising my hands defensively between myself and the armed stranger. The bright light mounted on his rifle blinded me.
“Move!” His voice bellowed from behind the gun before strong, calloused hands grabbed me and dragged me into the lounge room, shouting out a message, “Got one!’

Until he said it, I was scared, it was a home invasion. Terrifying, but at least it could have been possible, at least that explanation was sane.
Then he said those words and without a shred of mercy, shattered that illusion.

“You’ll need this, they’re almost here”

***

The next thing I remember was realising Marshall was dead. The man who’d dragged me from my room and given me his pistol, that was his name. I’d taken his rifle and run, following the others through the back door. I couldn’t even look back to face him, let alone try to save him, I was too scared. The cacophony that engulfed everything drowned out any possible trace of Marshall’s screams.

The streetlights flickered weakly, the light they shone barely reaching the ground, strangled by the darkness. I tripped as I ran blindly, only Marshall’s rifle light and those of my companions’ weapons to guide me. They ran as only men in fear of their lives can, through yards and back streets until finally it was quiet. The noise was left behind, but also dying down. My companions slowed and finally stopped. My breathing wheezed painfully in my chest as I stumbled to a stop, collapsing to my knees, black spots float through my vision.

I think they realised then that I was useless to them and together they approach the silent house we had stopped outside of. By the time I had caught my breath enough to fight my way to my feet, they had already opened the unlocked door and vanished into the pitch blackness within.

That was the last I saw them like that.

***

I’m alone now. Marshall’s rifle is empty and I can hear it shaking in my hands. There’s still no sign of the dawn and I’m so goddamn scared. I breath deeply, trying to still the clattering weapon in my shaking hands, but its pointless.

They’re almost here.

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

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