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Running For Dawn (Chapter Two)

by Conlan Nielsen 3 months ago in monster
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By Conlan Nielsen

Running For Dawn (Chapter Two)
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Chapter 2: Things That Bite

I made my way nonchalantly over the rooftops and buildings above the Gnawers in the streets, quietly imagining in my head the kinds of music I used to listen to before the outbreak since carrying a radio was a death wish, especially at night. As I was doing so, I observed the things in the streets below. Kinds of zombies I hadn’t had the chance to see before, some with massive spikes hanging from their back like a spider's legs, some glowed blue, some had a mix and multitude of features. One I saw sent shivers down my spine and actually stopped me in my tracks for a moment. It was significantly larger than your average Gnawer, much more mutant-like and built-looking. It had several extra digits, split feet with claws, rows of fangs that covered its face when its mouth was shut, and its ribcage seemed like a second mouth. The ribs moved back and forth from its chest like mandibles. In my trance of this awestruck feeling, it looked at me with a vileness in its piercing blue eyes. Once I had noticed I was doing nothing but standing there, I quickly ducked behind the AC attached to the roof of the building I stood on. I hyperventilated for a few seconds before barely regaining myself. Then, just as I had thought it would have moved on, I heard the vicious and quick clanging of metal coming from over the edge, I got up and sprinted. The first thing that came to mind was the worst, which was good because it was right: That thing with its rib mandibles had climbed up the side of the building and began running at me on all fours. I thought to myself this is only my first night out, I have no clue how to parkour like a Stalker would! My only option of escape was to outrun the soon-to-ensue horde that would be on me in seconds and as I ran from each rooftop, I could hear blood curdling inhuman howls in the distance and before I knew it- I was in the middle of a fabled chase Daniel always talked about.

Daniel had never taught me how to parkour like he could. That’s how stalkers stayed alive at night, always on the move, always on the rooftops, and so skilled at parkour- some could be an instructor. There was an upcoming drop or jump to a fire escape ladder, I had to choose. I thought: this is the make or break of my life, and without a second thought, I imagined myself jumping and climbing up the taller building with ease. But I only realized we’re each the author of our own grand story in our minds and when reality hit me, I was face up on top of a dumpster. In pretty bad pain from what was only about a 12 foot drop, I rolled off of it and onto the concrete. Quickly using nothing but the willpower to keep living to get me up and running through the streets, rolling over abandoned cars, and dashing through the masses of bodies. Finally, in a sense of safety, as if I was actually outrunning them, I looked over my shoulder and it felt like time slowed down when I was shocked in utter horror at what I saw. This massive horde sprinting after me. Which, unsurprisingly, motivated me to run faster than I ever had in my life. I chose to dash through some darker and narrower alleys until I hopped a fence and quickly scrambled to pull a pile of garbage bags over me. For a few seconds it was quiet, but the horde had plowed over the fence and bags and I thought it was gonna be over. But by the grace of fate, the bags were still covering me and I had escaped that hellish pursuit.

After taking several minutes to take in everything that just happened, I carefully and quietly lifted the bags off of me. Getting up, and climbing up the fire escape stairs on the side of the buildings in the alley to a roof. Once I reached the top, I laid on my back looking up at the vast night sky. There wasn't a cloud in sight as I took a deep breath, smelling the fresh air, then letting out a deep sigh.

To my only bit of luck, I leaned my head back and saw that there was a small abandoned make-shift living space up here. So I got up and walked over before plopping down on the sleeping bag under a pitched up tarp, falling asleep almost immediately. I woke up before dawn, the sky had started to turn a lighter deep blue. I estimated that it was probably around four or five in the morning with the cool crisp air of dew. With that, I sat up and dusted myself off from the dust covered sleeping arrangement. I loomed over the edge of the roof to only see a few Gnawers roaming the sidewalks. I stepped back and quietly celebrated to myself since the rest of the trip to the warehouse would be pretty easy, but my elation quickly turned to annoyance once I observed the part of the city I was in from the roof. As it turns out, I had been chased toward the southeast part of town and needed to be all the way on the west edge. I then made sure I had everything I needed on me while I quietly let out my anger. Jesus Christ..I quietly whispered, before climbing down the building. With how far I was, I decided to save myself the trouble and just go through the streets since the Gnawers had slowed and turned essentially incompitent during the daytime. Briskly jogging through the small groups, shoving any out of the way if I needed to, and occasionally practicing my horde-escape skills. I would climb on top of a car and knock zombies down, jumping onto their shoulders, run down the streets and jump up onto one's head to make a large enough leap over roadblocks or bigger groups of them. Finally, before I knew it, I was about three or four blocks away from the now Butcher controlled territory.

monster

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Conlan Nielsen

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