Quinn Vs The Monsters


The story is set in a post apocalyptic world, that has become over run with mysterious deadly creatures. Quinn is a survivor who much use all of her strength to battle the dark forces that have enveloped the world she once knew.

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1. The Return

 

‘RULE one: Do everything I say, exactly as I say! Rule two: Do everything I say, exactly as I say!’ I screamed the words as the dust of the dead swirled into my mouth. I spat their ashes out with an oath. The kid, scrawny and terrified, nodded his head in dutiful agreement; if he kept that up then he had a good chance of surviving. We were not safe, though these days the word ‘safe’ applied to nothing. It was a word kept for fairy stories told to today’s children to help them sleep though the screaming. We were too exposed; we were going to have to run – fast. I whipped around to the boy – he couldn’t be more than fourteen – and I screamed: ‘Run FAST! That way!’ He immediately did as I ordered and he kept pace with me as I ran, fuelled by a strength that I stored for these situations. Adrenalin only gets you so far, I’ve discovered. Adrenalin can be overridden by the desire to give up. So when it’s ‘Run or Die’ time I remind myself that I want to live and sometimes, at times like this when I’m tearing through the Dead Land, death a loud echo behind me, I remind myself of all the ugly things I have done to live. And I run. The kid was fast. As we matched speed I wondered for just one moment what he had done to live, to want to. Then it was time to duck and roll… ‘DOWN!’ I screamed, grabbing at the boy’s hood. As I dropped to the ground, the ‘beast’ swooped and missed us both. It let out a screech of disappointed anger… ‘UP!’ He obeyed. Lying on our tummies in the dirt was as good as lying in a grave. Running while the angered beast flew above us was dangerous but our only choice, we had to reach cover. Thankfully I was close to home – very close… I grabbed the boy by his hood again. We only had seconds. Pulling him towards me I held his shocked gaze and spoke fiercely. ‘Remember rule number 1?’ ‘Yes, ’ he nodded, frantically finally using his voice. ‘Okay, well, jump up and down and make that thing want to eat you!’ Shock covered his frightened face, tinged heavily with confusion. ‘I…I.’ The creature was circling again. ‘DO IT!’ I dropped to my knees and dug past several small rocks. ‘NOW!’ The kid furrowed his brow as he surveyed my actions,  then dutifully opened his mouth and yelled. ‘Hey ugly, eat me!’ He had lungs… I was close, so close: three black rocks and then the small hollow. Where was the hollow? I searched with fast fingers as the kid distracted the beast. He was yelling about how good he tasted. I tore a glance upwards, the beast’s large black eyes fixed and flapping it‘s large skin stretched wings while it hovered above him… Crouched behind him I could work. There! The hollow finally met my digging fingers. The beast let out a shriek of defiance, and as I looked up I saw it had become tired of the game. I grabbed the small metal latch hidden beneath the sand and pulled as the beast swooped. At that moment the kid turned to me, terror etching his every feature. I heard the whoosh of the descending creature, and I pointed to the black hole that now lay before us. The kid just stared dumbfounded. ‘JUMP!’ The beast let out a hungry cry. ‘Rule 1 kid, do it!” Without another glance at me he jumped into the darkness. Talons reached me, inches from my face. I jumped. I reached out into the darkness as I dropped, and thankfully the rope met my fingers. I clung to it and reached up grabbing for the string that hung from the latch. My groping fingers found it and I pulled, closing out the light and the furious screeching creature. With a sigh I slid down the rope. In the dim light of the tunnel I saw the kid sprawled out on his stomach. I landed smoothly on my feet beside him, and at the sound of my boots hitting the ground he looked up from his painful looking position. ‘There was a rope?’ His voice was aghast. I chuckled quietly. ‘You’ll learn, kid.’ I leant down to help him up. ‘You did good out there, kid.’ ‘Thanks,’ he said, brushing himself off. ‘And it’s Aaron. That’s my name.’   I started toward the dimly lit tunnel that lay before us. ‘Not “kid”,’ he said. ‘I’m not a kid anymore’. I really saw him then. I really looked. He was young but he was right. The half ruined clothes, the scars new and healing on almost every exposed inch of his skin – it was clear that his childhood was over. ‘Alright, kid. Aaron, huh? I can try it out.’ He seemed pleased enough with that and when I carried on into the tunnel he followed. At the tunnel’s mouth I pulled the bell chain hard and its loud chime clanged out through the still silence and reverberated against the walls. That done, I carried on. The Kid- Aaron, caught up with me and asked, ‘What was that?’   And I said, ‘I’ve been gone a while so we need a guide to get back to camp.’   ‘Camp?’ He sounded shocked. ‘Kid, did you think I was just sitting around alone underground waiting for normal to come back?’ ‘It’s Aaron, and I, ah, didn’t know. You’re the first person I’ve seen in –’ He paused, clearly trying to figure out a way to discern between days… ‘…in, ah, a while.’ ‘There’s more people at your camp?’ His voice was tainted with something that barely existed in this new world: hope. ‘You’ll see,’ I said simply. We carried on in silence until the tunnel broke into dividing paths. I stopped. ‘Now we wait for our guide.’ I leant against the stone wall. That was when I closed my eyes, often a mistake. Darkness drew me in and then expanded into images: the days gone by, the death, the fear, the blood, everything I’d seen since I’d last been in these tunnels. Suddenly a voice pulled me out of the darkness – a familiar voice who had achieved such a task before. ‘Quinn!’ My eyes snapped open and Ethan stood before us. His shoulder length brown hair was pulled back into a loose pony tail and his chocolate brown eyes warmed as he spoke my name. ‘I’m alive,’ I announced dryly. He seemed to compose himself. The relief that I had heard in his voice turned to humour.   “Damn” He smiled, “You’re back and you brought a stray..” He said motioning towards the Kid. “He prefers Aaron” I gave the kid a smile. “Aaron” Ethan held his hand out for the Kid as he said his name, “I’m Ethan, you hurt kid?” Aaron’s face turned its way into a scowl, I tried to stifle a laugh, “I’m fine” Aaron grumbled. “Really he prefers Aaron” Ethan’s eyes sparked as he looked me up and down, slowly, carefully.. “Are you hurt?” He questioned me then. “Ethan is our resident Doc” I spoke to Aaron, avoiding Ethan’s question, there was too much worry, too compassion in his voice, it was dangerous. “ In training” Ethan corrected. “ I was a Med student… before every thing ah happened” For a moment there seemed to a collective silence by all of us in memory of the world we’d lost. “Do you want to lead on Guide?” I asked as I pushed myself from the wall. “Sure thing” Ethan smiled and led us down the tunnel on our left. “ So Aaron” Ethan started.. “You made it out alive with Quinn around, I’m surprised she didn’t use you as bait to escape..” “Actually she did” “Hey” I interrupted them as they shared a smirk. “You’re alive aren’t you?” “Quinn is unorthodox in her survival methods..” “Shut it” Ethan smiled even more broadly for me. We walked on in silence .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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