Chapter Seven: Death and Ash

The sound of panting breath pushes against the plastic of the gas mask, Hunter clicked in the filter for Sebastian, making sure he remembers how to do it himself next time, Sebastian felt the cold metal of the pistol send shivers through his bones, his knees becoming too weak with fear.

Suddenly, he feels a heavy hand placed on his head messing up his hair, Hunter smiled beneath his own mask; "Don't worry kid, nothing dangerous out there, expect us…..and maybe nuclear poisoning."

Click Click

Hunter loads his gun and looks behind him to see Buddy, who gives the thumbs up for them to exit, after a series of mechanical screeching the two heavy metal doors opens to the barren wastes with a mix of grey and dirty brown. Hunter casually walked out like it was just another day while Sebastian stares a hole into the ground unwilling to take his first step into the hell that waited for him. His foot stomped on the dulled dead grass which crunched underneath his shoe, he glances up at the sun that burnt brighter than ever before showering the two in heat.

Hunter notices Sebastian's gaze that lead to the sky; "After the bombs drop the atmosphere was damaged severely, we're lucky we took global warming seriously in the past three decades or else we might have died."

"Doesn't feel like luck," spits Sebastian with sadness drenching his words.

"Never does kiddo. But you'll get use to having the simple things in life," says Hunter rushing ahead of Sebastian with him falling in line behind him, Hunter pulls out a small notebook with a rough map sketched out, Hunter points forty five degrees to the right; "This is a small town block that we need to scavenge before we move further out."

"But doesn't going further out bring us closer to ground zero?" Sebastian questions with a raised eyebrow hidden by his gas mask.

"True but if we don't scavenge we kinda die, crops won't grow before our food runs out. Be happy though, once we get fully self-sufficient our names will be one of the few that help us get there," says Hunter with what seems like a grin under the mask.

The two walk across the dead land before finding a long black road which sizzled in the heat, Hunter walks by it using it to lead his way to the predetermined place. Eventually they arrive and Hunter signals to Sebastian to split up to search each house separately, Sebastian nods in response.

Hunter went into the first house while Sebastian went next door. He began stuffing his bag with any canned food that he could find, he zips his bag up and nods to himself thinking he cleared out the house but then a sudden sharp squeak of the floorboards above him, Sebastian pulls out his pistol, the gunmetal froze his skin, his stiff hands only moved as shivers run through his hands.

Slowly, he placed a heavy step on the stairs before reluctantly taking another and then another. Soon enough he made it to the top of the stairs seeing all the doors shut except for one, a small cracked open door facing the back of the house.

His finger tightened around the triggers, he places a shaking hand on the cracked open door to push it slightly.

Instantly, the smell of death hits his nose forcing his head to turn away before looking back and the pile of mass which was the the insides of a human body spread out like a buffet, large red eyes rats with their bones almost exploding from their shivered bodies tore and ravaged the body for all it's goods before looking up at Sebastian who stopped their meal delightful meal of human flesh.

Sebastian took a gulp of spit counting the rat; 'Five, my pistol only has seventeen rounds and I've never even shot a gun before never mind hit something.' His mind was a racing track as thoughts swelled around his head with no clear answers.

However, the rats weren't waiting, the largest was as big as a basketball and it rushed into action lunging at Sebastian before any other could react.

BANG

Dread swallowed Sebastian whole, his face was pale, his hands shaking like a leaf and his eyes stared through the hole he made through the large rat's body which let light come through the other side.

With a disgusting THUD the rat's body landed on the ground with a small pool of blood leaking from the clean gunshot wound, the others glanced at their leader and with it dead lost all confidence, with an eye ringing HISSSsssss~ the rat's scuttled off seeking shelter from the monstrous being that loomed over.

Sebastian holds his mouth in horror forcing his rising stomach to settle, him throwing up wouldn't help anything, he glanced at the corpse and judging from the height the person wasn't any older then himself maybe even younger and the look on the face permanently frozen in pain but that's a rough guess since there was no skin on their face.

After leaving the room, and shutting the door tight, he sighed, placing his back onto the door and sliding down with shaking hands, he grasped the warm metal of the gun that his sweat had been left to fester on in the warmth.

CLUNK

Sebastian's eyes looked up to the ceiling in pure fear, he placed one 9mm bullet into his magazine, the CLUNKING rippled throughout the house. Sebastian discovered that there was an attic and something was up there, stealing his wit, Sebastian stood on his wobbly legs using the wall to help him stay up before trying his best to walk without collapsing on himself.

He pulled down the ladders.

Slowly ascending.

His eyes locked onto the horrific sight, dropping his gun and instantly buckling to reject his stomach's content, his eyes stared into the nightmare fuel from hell.

The bodies bones pierced his skin and curled out of his body, the skin tight over his slim muscle remains but the face, the thing's face had no jaw, a snake like tongue roaming in the open eye, it's black emotionless eyes turned to Sebastian, it's razor teeth wobbled but kept their terrifying edge, in front of the attic window with a gleaming beam of setting sun the monster stood and screamed it's horrifying call, so high pitched it forced Sebastian's ear to burst.

It dropped to all fours and moved it's weight back about to pounce, until rushing steps descend the ladder and full auto fire blazed into the creature forcing it back and thrown out the window like a wet rag and splashed into the concrete, there was no crack, no thud just…

Splat