Fear. That's the only word I could use to describe it. Hearing the scraping against the metal gates, the growling heard through the gaps under the fence, the howls that escaped their bodies after a successful kill. That's how we lived our lives. Scared, alone, and frightened, just waiting for the day all of this would stop, but we know it never will.
It all happened so fast, on day one, they took over all the major cities, on day two, the highways, and by day three, they were making their way to the smaller areas of the world, slowly taking over the place that humans called home, the place where we always thought we were on the top of the food chain.
Man, we were wrong.
I can remember the day they took over, perfectly, as if it was only a few days ago. I was getting ready for school, finishing my math homework at the kitchen table as my little brother was eating his cereal happily, smile on his face as he used a spoon too big for his four-year-old mouth to shovel spoonfuls of the sugary, fruity circles into his mouth, he cheeks were puffing out when he would turn to me and smile before chewing and eventually swallowing the food. My mom was preparing a coffee for my dad as he hurriedly walked down the stairs to not be late for work. I remember, as soon as my dad took his first sip of his coffee as my mom fixed his tie and Addie was giggling joyfully as our dog jumped up to eat from his bowl of cereal, we heard the distant sounds of screaming.
Addie stopping giggling, my mother stopped fretting over my father's uniform, and my father and I walked over to the windows, carefully, and moved back the curtains.
It was chaos, people were running back and forth across the streets, people were getting attacked by these giant beasts and their throats were being ripped out before the animals on top of them ran off to find another victim. It was hard to see, the city lights keeping the streets bright. I stared in horror, as a woman was knocked down in front of our house, the black wolf on top of her taking one slash across her chest and one bite, her whole face fitting into its mouth before it bit down, holding onto her until she stopped squirming. It released her, and then looked up, letting out a deep howl before it stopped, standing still and then it turned, looking me straight into the eyes and growling.
The curtain in front of me was jerked shut and I turned to see my father was staring at me, a pistol in one hand as he handed the other one to me, Addie in my mother's arms as he wailed and cried, terrified of the noises that were coming from outside.
"Look, Stiles." My father said, drawing my attention to him. "Safety on," He said, flipping a switch up. "And safety off." This time he flipped the switch down before flipping it back up. "All you have to do is aim, and squeeze." He said, demonstrating holding the weapon. "And only put your finger on the trigger when you're about to shoot, not before, got it?" He asked, handing me the pistol back before he looked at my mother. "Cheryll, take the kids down to the basement." My father said as he walked to the front door and locked it before he walked over to the windows and made sure they were locked as well.
"But dad," I started, I looked at my mother as her hand gripped my arm before I turned to look at my father. "You're going to come down there, too, right?" I asked, not even bothering to mask the fear that I know was showing in my eyes and clouding my voice in a deep velvet. He looked back at me and gave me a smile.
"Of course, honey." He whispered, and I let my mother drag me away to the basement. Addie had let out a small whine and called our dogs name, worried until the Golden Retriever popped up and followed us down the steps and into the basement. We sat in silence, my mother holding Addie while I aimed the gun at the basement door, hoping and praying that my father would walk through.
There was a crash that came from upstairs, glass shattering and falling on the floor followed by a rapid succession of steps before a shot rang out and a thud. My mother and Addie jumped in fright, Chance has sat up and growled lightly at the door, my mother had to put her hand over my brother's mouth as small sobs started to escape his lips. I craned my head closer to the door as I hoped to catch any movement, any sound, anything behind the door that would signal my father was still alive.
The doorknob began to rattle, rapid and forceful until the door flung open, which caused a small yelp to escape my mother's mouth as she covered my brother in fright.
"Dad," I whispered once I was able to make out the figure in the dark. He was limping, staggering down the stairs as he held a gaping wound on his side. I ran up to him and quickly put his arm over my shoulder. I whipped my arm around behind me wildly hoping to catch the lock on the door, and once I did I locked it swiftly before I helped my father down the stairs.
I laid him down beside my mother and went to find something to clean the gash on his side, and I found rubbing alcohol and an old shirt before I ran back over to him. I lifted his shirt and looked at his injured side, deep and red and angry as the blood pooled from it. I got the alcohol and poured it over the wound, I winced as my dad hissed and cried out into my mother's lap.
"Mom, does dad still have his old fishing supplies down here?" I asked her, voice wavering as I look up into her tear-filled eyes, She nodded her head and pointed with shaking fingers to the corner of the basement. I ran over there and found the fishing kit before I grabbed it and ran back over to my father. I grabbed the old shirt and held it up to my dads face. "I need you to bite down on this dad," I whispered, and he nodded before he grabbed the shirt and stuffed it in his mouth.
I grabbed a large hook out of the kit and grabbed thick fishing line before I doused my hands in the rubbing alcohol and ran it over the hook and the line. I cut off some of the line and quickly threaded it through the hook before I turned around to my dad.
"Are you ready?' I asked as I look at my dad in the eyes and watched him give me a nod. I took a deep breath and stuck the needle through his side as I tried to cut out the sound of the scream that came out muffled behind his lips. Over and over, I drove the needle through his side until his wound was fully sealed, knotting the end of the line and taking a deep breath. I looked over at my father to watch as he whimpered and my mother held a crying boy in her arms as she carded her fingers through my father's hair as she held back tears of her own.
For four days, we heard the creatures rummaging around upstairs and outside as we desperately tried to stay calm and quiet every time we heard one close. We ate the food my mother canned and stored in the basement and drank from the faucet that was built into the basement before we bought the house.
When my had father had deemed it safe enough for us to leave, he had each of us pack a bag while he gathered the ammo he had for his two guns.
"Why are we having to leave?" Addie asked, playing with his Superman toy as I put his shoes on for him.
"Because there are bad things out there, Addie, and we can't stay," I said as I tied the strings on his shoes before I looked back up at him and made sure his coat was secure.
"Like the thing that hurt daddy?" He whispered, lowering his Superman as he looked at me with sad eyes.
"Yes, just like the thing that hurt daddy," I whispered as I stood up and threw my bag on my shoulder. Addie already had his on so I held out my hand and looked down at him. "It's time to go, bubby." Addie grabbed my hand and we walked down the hallway together, once again calling out to chance to have him follow, meeting my mom and dad in the living room.
"This is yours, Stiles." My father said, handing me a wooden baseball bat. It was covered in barbed wire and had nails sticking out from it with electrical tape at the bottom to act as a grip on the handle. "Only use the pistol if you have to, understand?" He asked, and I nodded my head in return. "Alright, the car will draw too much noise, so we're going on foot. We're going to my parent's cabin in South Lake, so it's going to be about a weeks journey. Your mother and I got everything prepared, are you guys ready to go?" He asked as he looked around as we all nodded our heads. "Alright, let's go."
When we left the house the streets were covered in dead bodies and blood, and I had to pick Addie up and put his hood over his eyes so his view would be blocked from seeing the gruesome mess that littered the streets.
Three days into the journey, my mother and father were sat by the fire while I laid with Addie in a sleeping bag with Chance at our feet. I ran my fingers through his hair as I heard the soft whisps coming out from between his lips, showing me that he was asleep.
My parents were talking quietly between themselves, the sound of their voices drifting over to where I was, but their words indistinguishable. I looked up at the stars as I watched them flicker and blink overhead as I drew in a deep breath, I could taste the dirt and the trees that surrounded me on the tip of my tongue, relaxing at the feeling of the cool air that surrounded me.
I noticed my parents had stopped talking, and before I could look up, there was a hand covering my mouth and I instantly panicked.
"It's okay honey." My mother whispered, calming me down. "There's something in the woods. So I need you to do what we talked about, okay?" She asked, releasing her hand from my mouth when I gave her a nod. She walked back over to the campfire and I gently woke Addie up, telling him what was going on and tried to not let the panic that I was feeling slowly suffocate me show. I picked him up and slowly put him on the branch above us. I pushed his feet when he got high enough so he was a few branches above me before I started to climb the tree behind him, repeating the process of pushing him up and then following after him until we were several feet up in the tree.
"What about Chance?" Addie whined as he looked around frantically for the canine and wiggled in my arms.
"He'll be okay, he's a smart dog, bub," I replied, thankful that Addie had stopped moving. I looked around and I couldn't see my parents, but I heard a shot ring out within the distance, and the fear within me perked up as I covered Addie's ears and sheltered his eyes as I gently rocked him back and forth as whimpers started coming out of his mouth.
A few seconds later, another shot rang out and a scream followed, and I could feel my eyes glisten with tears threatening to fall, worried for my parents and what was happening.
Not long after, I heard footsteps and I prayed that it's one, if not both, of my parents. The hope quickly died when I saw one of those creatures walking up to the sleeping bag Addie and I were previously lying in just moments before. I tried to muffle the sounds that came out of Addie so the thing wouldn't hear. I watched as it lifted its nose in the air and sniffed around before its eyes locked onto mine. I could see the blood covering its mouth and flowing all the way down to its chest and front paws, and instantly, I knew my parents were dead.
Addie and I stayed in the tree all night, just to make sure that whatever killed our parents wasn't still there. When morning came, we both climbed out of the tree and packed up our bags before we continued towards our grandparent's cabin, where our parents wanted us to go.
"Where's mommy and daddy?" Addie asked as he tugged at my hand when we started to walk.
"We'll see them again, I promise, but they're not with us right now," I said. My voice wavered as I tightened my hold on his hand.
"Where did they go?" He asked as he moved his Superman toy around in the air and making soft swooshing sounds and he pretended Superman was flying around.
"They went out," I said, glad Addie didn't continue to question me on the disappearance of our parents as we continued on our journey.
Every night, Addie and I slept in a tree, hanging our backpacks on branches close to us before I tied a rope around each of us to prevent us from falling out of the trees. Most nights, however, I didn't sleep, worried that whatever attacked our parents was still out there.
"Chance!" Addie screamed, after the fifth night, as he ran towards a flash of golden fur.
"Addie!" I had called after him as I cursed to myself at how he ran off. A few seconds later, Addie returned with a tired look Chance beside him.
"I knew you were a smart dog," I whispered as I ruffled the fur on top of his head. I grabbed Addie's hand and we continued on our way.
After five days, Addie and I were walking through a clearing when three armed men walked up to us with their guns out.
"Don't move!" They shouted as they surrounded us and aimed their weapons at us. Fear had overtaken my body as I pulled Addie closer to me and looked up at the man in front of us.
"Who are you?" He asked, aim never wavering and a hardness behind his blue eyes.
"My name's Stiles, and this is Addie," I replied, my voice wavered and my hands shook as they held onto my baby brother as he held onto Chance. "We're headed to our grandparent's house, in Lake view."
The man lowered his gun slightly and gave me a once over.
"You're not one of those things, are you?" He questioned, looking at the other two men who were behind me and Addie before running a hand through his dark brown hair.
"No, God no, we're... we're just trying to get to our grandparent's house. One of those things... they... they... our parents." I stated. I lowered my voice to a whisper as my voice quivered. I looked back at the man in front of me and I saw the sympathy in his eyes and a small smile graced his face. He motioned to the men around us before lowering his gun.
"Well, you're not too far from Beacon Hills, son, around 50 miles from there. We have a place though, fully enclosed and full of people, even kids for the lil' one to play with." He said as he a step closer. "Why don't you come with us, and we'll show you around the place. If you don't want to stay, we won't force you to."
"Okay," I said as I took a step closer and followed him as he walked down the path. I decided that if it's a good place, a good place to make a home, we'll stay. I have to do what's best for Addie, and I know that a community of good people is what our parents would have wanted for us.
When we reached the place, the first thing that stood out to me was its walls, concrete of about eight feet and the rest about four or five feet of wood with platforms that people could walk on, men and women with guns stationed about every ten feet stretched all along the walls.
"Hey Tony, got a couple of strangers?" A man shouted at a post right beside the gates to enter the community. The gate had metal bars, the original gate, and had metal secured behind it so you couldn't see through. Above the fence, it read ‘Beacon Hills'.
"Yeah, found them in the woods. Poor things lost their parents. Do you know where Edith is?" He asked back, as the gates in front of us started to open.
"Yeah, she's in the field with some of the kids." The man shouted back and Tony, the man who found us in the woods nodded back before we walked through the gate.
On the other side, it looked completely different than the outside. There were mansions scattered across the place, with trees and colorful flowers that blotted your gaze with hues of red, yellow, and purple. You could hear the faint noise of a hammer against a nail, but most importantly, you could hear the sound of people. Women were chattering over a glass of water, children laughed in glee as they ran around an open section of grass off to the right. Men and women with guns holstered on their bodies laughed while talking in a circle. Hope filled my chest as I looked around at the place, imagined Addie making friends with the other kids here and being happy as I helped out around the place, hopefully being a nurse or something that helps the people here that come to me sick and injured.
"Edith, darlin'," Tony said as he walked up to a woman that looks close to his age, maybe late thirties or early forties, with dark blonde hair and a gentle face with blue eyes to match.
"Hey, honey." Edith greeted as she stepped up to Tony and gave him a kiss before she turned around to me and Addie.
"I found these two walking in the woods just a few miles from here, mind showing them where they can stay?" He asked as he motioned over to us and gave Edith a small smile.
"Of course, follow me." She said, motioning for us to follow before she walked away from Tony.
"I can see you've already met Tony," she started as she glanced back at us and gave us a smile.
"He's my husband, been married to that fool for almost 25 years." She let out a small laugh before she continued. "We had a daughter, but she passed when she was six from cancer, haven't been able to have another since, but we consider the kids of the neighborhood ours, everyone here is basically one big family." She took a deep exhale before she continued again. "What's y'all's name's, if you don't mind me asking?"
"I'm Stiles, and this is Addie," I repeated what I told her husband earlier. I could feel myself calm slightly in the presence of Edith, for the first time in what felt like forever. She made a thoughtful noise before she started talking again.
"How old are y'all?" She questioned. She gave us a warm smile as we come upon a house.
"I'm sixteen, and Addie is four," I answered as I looked up at the house that we've come to.
"Isobel would be sixteen, now." She stated softly before she looked up at the house and gave us a smile. "This is mine and Tony's place. I hope that okay." She said, her eyes showed the worry that lied behind them. When I nodded my head, her smile brightened and she motioned for us to follow her. The outside was beautiful, dark red brick with the front door and shingles painted black, along with the flowerpots that sat on their windowsills. We walked up the front steps and she led us into the house. The inside was just as beautiful as the outside. The walls were cream with various paintings and pictures hung up, a glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling and double winding staircases that led upstairs on each side of the entry hall. She led us up the stairs and took a right down a hallway and led us to a door.
"This will your guys' room, unless you wish to have separate rooms?" She asked, and I shook my head in response before she continued. "There's a connected bathroom with running water, and the electricity is fully running. Dogs are kept in a desperate area, so if you'll let me, I'll show your dog where to go." I shook my head and stepped in front of Chance as she went to grab his collar. "Chance stays with us," I answered as I glared at her before she took a few steps back. Chance was the last reminder of our parents. "Alrighty, uh, I'll let you guys take showers and settle in, and once you do, find me or Tony, and we'll show you around." She said warmly before she walked out of the room. There was a king size bed in the middle with an end table in each side, a dresser was on the right beside a door that led to a closet and a door on the left that led to the bathroom.
With a heavy sigh, I sat down on the bed and Addie sat beside me. He leaned against my side as I wrapped one arm around him. Chance laid down and curled around our feet, he rested his head on his paws as he looked up at us. I realized then that had a good feeling about this place, and I hope that Addie and I can make it our home.