This is after the end. We though we had been through the worst, but my family, friends and I are finding out the hard way that the struggle is far from over. These mutated animals do not quit, and the one that we were sure was done for, is back.
And it’s got my Uncle Otto.
In seconds, my mom, dad, Pieter, Lauryn and I grab the weapons around, remove everything from the door and rush outside where the Scrounger and Uncle Otto now are. The towering beast is holding Uncle Otto up in front of it with its right hand, making it hard to aim at. My dad takes a huge risk and charges at it with the ax. He brings it down on the beast, avoiding uncle Otto, but it shields itself with its left shoulder, and though the ax sinks in, it seems to have little effect on the monster. It swings its left hand back at my now defenseless dad and sends him flying to the house. He hits a wall and lands heavily, struggling to get back to his feet.
I start to question whether we made the correct judgment when rating the intelligence of these creatures. They are clearly smarter than we had previously made them out to be. It looks at us with nothing but fury and vengeance in its honey orange eyes as it lifts Uncle Otto by his neck with its right hand. It holds him up for about three seconds as if to make a statement, then snaps his neck with not so much as a flinch, and drops him to the ground.
“Noooooooo!!!!!!” My mom screams, and I have to run and grab her to stop her from going at the brute senselessly in a fit of rage. It looks at us for three more seconds while my mom is kicking and screaming, and then it turns around and walks away. When it’s gone far enough, we rush over to attend to Uncle Otto, but there is really no use. At least he died with a smile on his face.
One would mistake us for occultists, the way we are standing in a circle around a heap of earth, deep in the night underneath a full, indifferent moon that is in the middle of the star littered sky. We are all gathered around the makeshift burial ground, Roxanne with some help, of course, paying our last respects to uncle Otto. He wasn’t the most decorous, but in the end, he certainly showed he was honorable. My dad says a few words for him before we head back into the basement. Our defenses have once again been breached, leaving us with no option but to find another refuge. My mom sobs quietly while everyone else sits without saying a word, save my Gran, who keeps mumbling words in Hebrew. I ignore it for quite some time while wind and cold come in through the opening Uncle Otto was pulled through. Sometimes I think she has a few screws loose, but I bear with her because she wasn’t like this before the trouble started.
“What is she saying?” I finally whisper to my mom. She’s the only person who would understand.
“The horsemen have come, yes; the horsemen have come.” Very ominous. Very dark. I hope she really does only have a few screws loose. I would hate for what she is saying to be true.
“Mr. Reynolds, I feel like this is all my fault. I must apologize for not saying this before, for if we had left earlier, all of this could have been avoided,” Carrie Lynne’s mom says, after another extended period of silence.
“Left for where? Don’t you remember the videos you showed us? There is nowhere to go. We’re all just going to…..we’re all just going to die here like Uncle Otto,” my sister Michelle says. It hurts me to see her like this, but it hurts me even more to think of just how right she may be.
“There may still be hope,” Carrie Lynne’s mom says. “One of the serums I was working on showed a little promise, but everything was destroyed when the Scrounger broke into my home. I still have the research on my notebook, but I haven’t the resources to proceed. Some of my colleagues are in Antarctica though; they say the region still remains largely unaffected. They should have the facilities I need to finish my research, and the plus side is we will all be safe there.”
I look at my mom as the expression on her face gradually changes, with furrows forming on her brow. “You’re damn right this is your fault!” She shouts as she goes at Carrie Lynne’s mom. I have to go into mother contain mode again and hold her back. “He-they all left to save you in the first place! If it wasn’t for you, my brother would still be alive!”
“Mom! Get a hold of yourself!” I shout. With her always being the one trying to shove sense into me, I never thought it would ever be the other way around. She’s a little more pacified now, but still an emotional wreck. All I can do is hold her as tight as I can as she lets it all out.
“Why wouldn’t you say this sooner?” She asks, with a more distraught tone.
“I am really sorry; I just didn’t think it would work. We don’t even have a way to get there,” Carrie Lynne’s mom replies.
“Well now we have no other option but to try,” my dad says, as he comes to my mother and me and comfortingly holds her in his arms. “Everyone, get a little rest and just pray that we make it to the morning. We’re heading south at the crack of dawn.”
Carrie Lynne’s mom has a bakkie at her place and a sizable reserve of fuel as well. It’s almost like she was prepared to just wing it anyways before we came along. We fit all the supplies we can into our luggage trailer and all of us squeeze into the Wrangler until we get to her place, where we load her bakkie with more supplies. My dad, Michelle, Carrie Lynne, Roxanne, Franklin and I get back on the Wrangler while everyone else goes with the bakkie. No turning back now. Only figuratively speaking of course, because I am in the back, facing the little town I call home as it keeps getting smaller, until it vanishes forever.