He laid in the ditch for the night his knuckles whitened as he put the rifle between him and the world. He was shaking, low blood sugar and abject terror combined with the chill fall evening. He didn’t remember sleeping or dreaming but he obviously did. The sun was high in the sky and it hadn’t gotten a little colder. He couldn’t think of a worse time for this to happen. Outside was still fine but it was getting cold rapidly in just a few weeks it will be impossible to sleep un sheltered. He sat up and found himself staring into the action end of a semi auto rifle. He whimpered.
“Put your hands down.” The rifle moved and he could see its owner, a scrawny middle aged whit guy wearing full camo sporting military dog tags and a miniature arsenal. Grenades clips knives and pistols strapped onto every extremity. It looked almost comical. “Just tryign ta see if you were one of em.” He offered a hand.
Hector took the hand and rose nervously to his feet, the soldier wasn’t alone a rag tag group surrounded him all armed and hollow eyed.
“You should come with us, we’re meeting a larger group of survivors out west of here. See we got ta team up and stop being individuals. Being individuals is getting people into a early grave.” The man had a point, hector brushed the dust off him and picked his rifle up off the ground before following the group west.
They walked through deserted towns with no signs of struggle, cars pulled to the side of the road with their emergency lights still flashing. Nobody was sure how many were linked to the ritual, but it was too many. At least four thousand people disappeared yesterday. Just poof, and they were gone.
“Couldn’t we just hole up in one of these towns, they got supplies on supplies we could live like kings for a few months then just move to the next?” The red headed woman kicked a rock sending it skittering down the road.
“You would really just let that thing go on living? Did you even see it Kara, I mean, fuck you know if needs to die.”
“Don’t talk to me that way, I watched it eat my family. There wasn’t anything I could do! I just thought starting anew would be better, I’m tired of seeing people die Eric”
“Just shut up and keep walking we got to be there before night fall. Who knows what the monsters agenda is anyways. The giant plume of smoke that was their city could still be seen on the horizon. Like a thick line drawn to connect it with the heavens.
Hector didn’t like any of them. He already knew he wouldn’t, his mom always said that he just like his books. She didn’t know how badly he was bullied as a child. He kept to himself because thats how he learned to be safe in his formative years at Quincy Elementary. The Educational reform had him in classes of 100 or more. It was chaos, the fresh teachers couldn’t do anything to control the classes. On the day they shut the school down he was in the library. He remembers crying when the librarian told him to go home.