Short Story 12

The Reapers

I like watching the water go in and out, it makes me feel like the Earth is alive and breathing. I feel like there is something special about the ocean, like it has so much incredible unspoken power. One second it is calm, the next rough, and then sometimes, it only seems calm but can pull you under and hold you there in a blink of an eye.

The sun is setting, and although these are strange times, I feel like I’ve earned a little peace, quiet and beauty in my life. I smile, because I made the right decision; the kaleidoscope of colours that are streaked across the sky only occurs on a rare occasion, and today apparently is that day.

I can hear the electromagnetic fences begin to hum. For a second there, I had a moment where I forgot the dangers that lurk in the night. I should probably get back home, I don’t want to test my luck. Curfew is there for a reason, and I have just blatantly ignored it.

Maybe not the best decision on my part, but on the grand scheme of how many sunsets I’ll be able to see before I die, I think it was necessary.

There’s barely any light left, and as soon as that light is gone, my chances of getting back to the hold in time diminishes significant, and even so, I still haven’t moved from my perch on the rocks overlooking the ocean.

I keep expecting the old street lights to start flickering on, or see the glow of televisions being watched, but I know better now. I stand, deciding no more time should be wasted and start running towards the park walkway.

The park was a manmade botanical garden, enclosed in fifty foot high walls that are impossible to climb. It went too far for me to guess the length, and on a list of ways to get home, this isn’t exactly the safest considering it’s the equivalent of entering a tube full of enemies…but it is, on the other hand, the fastest way back.

Public areas like these aren’t protected by electromagnetic fields; there just aren’t enough generators to warrant making the whole city Reaper free. Hell, most homes housed five families, trying to reduce energy consumption.

I come to the gates that lead into the walkway, and I know the sound the opulent gothic entrance will make is going to draw their attention. I slow my breathing and prepare myself to get as far down the walkway as I can before finding cover.

I lift and pull the right side of the gate free, and cringe at the sound of rusted metal screeching. I’ve maybe, got five minutes and that’s pushing it. The gate is hard to move but I manage to open it just enough to squeeze through, but a sharp piece of metal cuts across my stomach and I wince.

Blood, great, that cuts my time down significantly.

I sprint about half way down, and I’m surprised at the speed my body can handle considering I’m injured…adrenaline I guess. But then I see an area further ahead shimmer, it’s like looking at a road on a hot summer day, and duck behind a large stone sculpture.

It’s silent; I can’t even hear the distant sound of generators. So when they start manifesting into physical form, I can hear them as they begin to systematically move down the walkway.

I look back towards the gate, and curse at myself, because the same thing is happening behind me. There must be ten in total, three ahead and seven behind…definitely not going back.

Okayokayokayokay, I’ve prepared for this. Probably not the best sign if I have to convince myself of my abilities.

I unzip my bag, and pull out a smoke bomb. I peer ahead to find another hiding place. If I hug the fence line I should be fine to get behind that large tree, but only if I move silently…and only if they fall for my rouse.

I arm the bomb and then throw the ball into some bushes across the way. When it hits the ground, the canister makes a hissing sound and the smoke erupts, and as it does I make my way to an oak tree, keeping low of course.

It seems to work, the Reapers move in that direction but they actually kind of look like they’re gliding because they’re moving so quickly. I can’t lose this momentum, so I keep on the move to the next area of cover while mustering all my strength to throw another canister past the one I just threw. I’m trying to make them think I am moving back the way I came.

I’m nearly at the other end but there isn’t any more cover and holding my stomach to stop it bleeding too much, doesn’t really seem to be working very well. I search my bag for some type of cloth, and end up bunching together a cardigan and holding that against my body to catch most of the blood.

I hug the fence line to try and stay out of sight, but as I do a crow caws above me and within seconds all of the Reapers are surrounding me. Damn crow!

It was like the Reapers were night personified…they were physically in front of me, but they looked like pure dark energy.

One of them reaches out and puts their arm straight through me. I feel like I’m being electrocuted, and am ice cold, but as soon as the Reaper removes their arm, I feel warm, and calm, and as if the world was a bigger, unfathomable place.

I stare at the Reapers, who are turning a golden hue, wondering why I’m still standing, and then I see my body crumpled on the floor underneath my feet.

By Naomi Eleanor

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