Chapter 1

AIR: Mila Chronicles

Mila stared at the crack of blue light, streaming through the space between the moldy wooden door, and blackened floor boards. Her breathing hitched, and she held it in, fearing that they would be able to hear it. The light stretched towards her on the floor, as though it was trying to reach out for her legs and pull her out. She kept her eyes trained on it, waiting for a shadow to break its stationary pattern. A shadow that would ultimately determine if she would live to see another day.

The old house creaked in the silence, causing the nerves in her body to fray slowly, one by one. The dust irritated her nose, and she fought not to sneeze. She wanted to cry, but that was not an option. She did not survive this long in this dying world to break down sobbing as soon as the threat came close to what she called her home. Although she came into it knowing that it was only temporary.

How many places had she lived in; possibly thirty counting this year alone? The time had arrived for her to seek out another sanctum. Not the best time of the year to go house hunting, but shelter offered the best protection. They had never liked the shade. They preferred to be out in the open under the sun. Enclosed places were quite restricting to them, since they all seemed to have a case of claustrophobia. They couldn't stay inside for too long; because they found it difficult to breathe indoors after a certain period of time.

Why? No one knew. It was yet to be discovered. Mila's lungs screamed at her for oxygen, but she couldn't give in just yet. She had to listen for them. Everything was unnaturally quiet, and she had yet to hear their footsteps traipsing through the room, looking for any signs of life. Nothing, only screeching wood. No steps, no sounds met her ears.

She took the chance and slowly inhaled through her nostrils. Her lungs trembled as they scrambled for the tiny amounts air that she allowed in to ease their starvation. Suddenly, a blood curdling scream filled the air, and she ducked her head in her arms, stifling the sobs that threatened to escape her lips. She knew that voice. Sharon. The screams continued for a while; probably a minute or two, but it felt like an eternity to her.

When will it stop? She shuddered violently and felt sick to her stomach. A loud thump and crack made her jump, which also made the shrieking halt. The menacing silence returned to torment her soul inside of the dark damp closet. Her neighbor and friend Sharon was gone now. No doubt about that. She was another refugee who ran and came to this place. A community of houses that they thought was already 'flushed out'; as those creatures had put it. Mankind called it 'purging'.

Sharon lived in a large derelict house with eight children whom she rescued over the course of the years. She was a tall dark woman with handsome features; nearing her mid-forties. Her dirty brown hair was always worn quite low, and settled on her head as a mass of soft curls. Mila had only known Sharon for three months now, and always refused her invitation to come live with them. She preferred to stay on her own. Her reason was never the fact that the house was crowded, but that there was no way she was going to stay with that many humans in one place.

It was too dangerous. Clusters of humans meant that it was easier for them to be found. One person was hard enough to track down, but ten, ten was like hanging a magnifying glass over your head. Mila tilted her head as she listened for other sounds. Where are the others? Why was Sharon over here alone, why don't I hear the kids? She sucked in her breath and reached for the door handle to open it. She had no choice but to take the chance and go out for the children. If any of them were still alive, that is, she thought ruefully. I warned her. Why didn't she listen to me? Eight persons in one location was a bad idea. A freakin' honing beacon.

Her hand shook as she turned the rusted doorknob slowly to minimize any noise it would make. The coldness of it shot through her hand, sending her nerves in a frenzy. It was as if she was opening the door into a world unknown. A world that could mean death. She clutched the nine-millimeter caliber in her left hand; while her heart furiously pumped adrenaline through her veins.

Written by: K. Murray. (K.M.M)