The wind whistled outside as it whipped against the side of the destroyed house. It was chilly outside and the cold air seeped through the cracks along the trim of the window.
Claire shivered, pulling the thick coarse blanket up to her neck. The room was silent, everything deathly silent. She loathed silence, it always put her off.
Everything scared her and she hated to admit it. When she was seven she forced Castiel to change the beads that used to be their door for an actual door.
“Papa you have to get us a real door.” She was standing in front of Cas with her arms crossed. Cas chuckled, ruffling her hair. “Don’t worry love bug, I’ll get cha’ a door.” He stumbled around the room, not going in any particular direction.
Claire frowned, her dad wasn’t going to do shit about a door. So she had to get one herself. She stalked out of the house and down the steps rushing through the small village to find somewhere she could take a door from. It took forever but she finally found an old abandoned shed that had a few shelving units no one was using. She grabbed the biggest rock she could find and hit the door hinge nail as hard as she could.
She successfully got the first two but the. She was met with the third and final one. She was too short to reach up to get it so she grabbed onto the bottom of the door and pushed it up with all her might. She felt it slowly give, following her lead of getting it to release its hold on the hinge.
She heard a creaking and then felt it tilt and then start to fall. She twisted her body to avoid being crushed and let out a breath of air. She pushed the door off of where she dropped the nails and picked them up. She’d need them to connect to the hinges where the door used to be at her home.
It took awhile, but eventually all the dragging of the door through town was worthwhile when she reached her house.
Now came another challenge, setting the door up.
She connected the first two fine, just like before. But then came the damn top one. She looked around the furniture that was in the small room and smiled at the singular chair next to the bookcase. She dragged the fragile chair into the doorway and got up onto it. She put the nail through the slot and jumped back down when she was done.
She put the chair back in its original place and hesitantly grabbed the door knob. She pulled it inward, slowly watching as it creaked and clicked shut.
She let herself smile, she’d done it. All by herself.
The stove was left on from dinner, the heat of the wood still giving warmth to the small room.
Claire turned over, her back to the rest of the room so she was staring at the wood wall. That lasted for about a minute before she became self conscious and turned back.
She looked around the small house, she did this often. Looking at furniture and the people that were asleep in the other beds. She looked at the kitchenette, it was in the back of the house. A small window above the sink, a slab of cement as a counter and a stove that was turned into a fireplace.
She heard a shifting noise and looked over at her brothers bed. He groaned in his sleep and turned, his back down facing her. She rolled her eyes, still trusting.
Not like her, she wouldn’t ever trust again.
Another noise startled her, a quiet cry. She sighed, knowing exactly who it was. The cry got louder and she could see her dad shifting and groaning. Quickly she pulled off the cover and tiptoed across the room and over to the small beaten up cradle. She reached inside and pulled the squirming infant out.
Jack whined, twisting and turning, trying to get somewhere he couldn’t go.
Claire shivered and headed back to her bed, sitting back in her warm spot and drawing the covers back over her. She laid down and put her brother next to her, letting her arm wrap around him in what she hoped would calm him. He whimpered a bit, but soon grew quite and fell back asleep.
Claire sighed out of relief, snuggling herself next to Jack and breathing a gust of warm air onto his cheek, causing him to shift closer to her as best as he could.
Claire woke up a few hours later, the sun shining in through the rips in the curtains. She carefully stretched her arms and legs, avoiding Jack who was still asleep next to her.
She heard some clattering and her eyes scanned the room before finding Emma at the stove, grabbing different leaves and berries. She was making breakfast for the family, like she always did. Even if she was only five she still would find ways to help out as best as she could.
Claire never liked her much, it wasn’t really based on the girls personality. She just despised how she came to be.
She had learned from her only friend Alex how normal families worked. How before 2014 the world worked completely differently. She didn’t even know what year it was now.
Alex told her stories about her life before 2014, Claire wasn’t even alive then. Which meant that it was many years after. It had to be. If she was eleven.
Alex explained her family, how she had a mom and a dad. That their life was full of happiness and laughter. She got to go to “school” where she learned. Everything seemed so magical. They even had something called electricity!
But then she talked about the dreaded year of 2014. It took only a year for the world to get completely fucked.
The earth died that year.
She remembered tears falling down Alex’s cheeks as she explained how she ended up in Jody’s care. How both of her parents were murdered by Croats.
Alex had smiled for a second, “I remember when your dad was pregnant with you. I was seven then…I still didn’t know anything about how really fucked up the world was.” She explained. Her head shaking in sorrow. “I used to ask about you, there weren’t many kids at camp. I of course didn’t get why. Everywhere I had been before had kids.”
Claire had bitten her lip and looked down, it was hard seeing her friend so upset.
“I’d ask him about you. Jody’d yell at me. Tell me it wasn’t my business.” She weeped. “I was so innocent I didn’t get why. So many dead children.” She shuttered and whipped her eyes of tears. “Sometimes I look back and I feel so stupid. But at seven I didn’t get that having children wasn’t something you did in the apocalypse.” She shrugged. “I do now…” she had looked far away, like a sad movie where the main character realizes how screwed over their life was.
Claire snapped out of it. She couldn’t dwell on what she never had. It’s not like she lost anything. She wasn’t alive during a time with normal things. She wouldn’t have even been alive if it wasn’t for this whole disaster.
Claire sighed, looking over at where her dad slept. He was sprawled out on the bed, light snores leaving him.
Claire felt for the knife that was tucked into her pants. She refused to do anything with it not there. The breakfast Emma was making wouldn’t do. It was unsustaining. They needed meat. So she was going to go and get them some.
She gathered Jack into her arms and walked over to Emma. “I need you to watch him.” The younger girl gave her a look.
“Don’t do that, just watch him for like ten minutes. I’m not eating your shitty breakfast. I can’t eat leaves and berries and survive the day.”
Emma grumbled something under her breath but held out her arms to take Jack. The baby squirmed a bit before settling into his sisters arms.
Claire grabbed her bow and headed out. Dean wouldn’t let her have a gun. Said it wasn’t safe enough. Like he knew what she was capable of wielding. She scowled at the memory, she resented most memories involving Dean.
She closed the door behind her and took in the scenery. The wind howled and screeched. The world was dead around her. Usually people would be out and about in the town but today it was as if a universal message was sent out saying to stay indoors.
She huffed and headed down the steps, jumping on the last one, satisfied with the crunch of gravel under her feet. A light layer of snow covered the ground. She was freezing but didn’t have another outfit she could put on.
She wouldn’t be out that long. She headed across the gravel street and into the woods. Everything was calm, the occasional sound of a bird flapping its wings above her. She heard a noise and she swerved to see a brown bunny nibbling on some grass poking through the snow layer.
Claire slowly and carefully raised her bow, loading the arrow in and drawing the strings back. She was just about to fire when she heard another cracking noise. The bunny looked up from its food and scampered away.
Claire was about to curse at the noise when she turned around and saw a human. The person looked different though, it looked silky and battered up. Her eyes widened and she gulped, she’d never seen one in person before.
“Croat.” She whispered out.