Authors: Erica Stevens
I turned the rifle over in my hands, rotating it slowly back and forth as I stared o
the darkened field. It was eerily quiet, not even the crickets were chirping
it had been strangely
quiet ever since
reezing had occurred. I tried to convince myself that I would become used to it one day, but it hadn’t happened yet
and I k
new I was just lying to myself.
There was no way to become used to this.
To become accustomed to the lack of noise in a world that had once been alive
To do so would mean that I was ok with the reason
the quiet. And I was not, nor would I ever be
ok with the death and mayhem that the aliens had unleashed upon us.
Never be ok with the horror
, terror, and loss
that had unfolded
because of them
I had lost my mother to them, and I had lost Cade
My mind shied away from the
memory of our
, when he had cut the rope
that had been
joining us. When he had sacrificed himself for me. He loved me
d told me that just
s before he
taken, but I still didn’t understand
why he had done it
. My life wasn’t worth his.
It never would be. It certainly wasn’t worth much since he had been taken from me.
I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath as I tried to ease the pain tightening my chest
I wanted to be more without him, wanted to be better, but I was choked by my grief, drowning within it and I didn’t know how to swim. Not anymore. I’d kept afloat through my father’s death, I’d had no choice but to continue on after my mother’s, and though I was still breathing, still moving, I was acutely aware of the fact that I was no longer able to
without Cade. Acutely aware of the fact I was a hollow shell of the person I had once been, and that person hadn’t been that great to
I simply couldn’t recoup myself after this loss, simply couldn’t put myself back together it was more fight than I had left in me anymore, unless of course I was killing something. I had plenty of fight and anger for that now.
My mother and Cade
lost to the monsters
we were guarding against
now. Monsters I was sitting in wait for
Monsters that had been strangely scarce for the past couple of days.
I didn’t know what that meant, but I did know that I wasn’t going to quit
fighting them, killing them. N
ot until I knew for certain if Cade was alive or not.
If there was any chance he was still alive, I was going to do
I could to get him back.
I leaned forward, my hand tightening on the gun as I stopped switching it back and forth.
“Do you see something?”
beside me, his broad shoulders brushing against mine.
I didn’t have to look at him to know the
warmth of his soft green eyes, or the gentle
of his dark blond hair. His handsome face was beloved to me, and until Cade had
in my life
and shown me what it was to
very well have married Bret and built a
life with him. But then
I had come to know
, and everything had changed. I loved Bret, I truly did, but Cade owned my
heart, he owned my
, he owned every bit of me
. He always would.
It saddened me that Bret
had been hurt by what had happened between Cade and I. Saddened me that Bret
still held out hope that
we would one day be together again
, no matter how hard I tried to make him understand that
wouldn’t. Bret wanted to believe
my feelings for
had saved my life, and
I had been traumatized by the loss of my mother.
He wanted to believe that one day I would become as convinced as the rest of them that Cade was dead, and that I would turn to him again.
But even if Cade
a fact I refused to believe,
I wouldn’t turn to Bret again. I couldn’t. The mere thought of
gone for good
was nearly enough to crush me, but if it were ever confirmed I d
n’t know how I would react, how I would handle it.
I didn’t know if I would be much good as a human being anymore
, not that I was all that great right now, but I was terrified I’d become even worse
by turning to Bret
There never could be anyone else, and
I would never do that to
deserved far better than the cold
I had become
. Far better than the
shattered being I would be if Cade was lost
. Bret deserved to be loved;
he deserved the kin
d of intense wonder and
I had found with Cade
, even if it had only
for a brief time
I just wished
would finally see that.
“No,” I said softly.
“It’s almost time to head back anyway
My fingers tightened on the gun. I leaned slightly back
I didn’t want
to go back. It was a parole
just like this
that had been unable to save Cade’s life, but had saved mine
Though I m
not feel like my life was worth much
there were others out there that may need our help.
They could appear at any moment, just as
the seven of us
had appeared on the beach out of nowhere.
I rose slowly, stretching the taut muscles in my back and legs. Swinging the rifle over my shoulder, I bent to grab the flashlight by my feet
My entire body ached from being immobile for so long, I needed to move around a bit.
Bret grabbed hold of my arm; I froze as he placed a finger against my mouth. Still half bent over, my eyes
slowly back to the field we had been sitting near. We were on the outskirts, surrounded by trees, but I felt incredibly vulnerable all of a sudden.
Incredibly exposed, even though I knew that we were hidden.
My eyes narrowed as I searched for whatever it was that had caught Bret’s attention. And then, across the field
I saw a flicker of movement. I
retreated back to the ground, trying to make myself as invisible as possible
as all of my senses went into high alert. It had been days since we had last seen any
hint of the aliens
, but now there was
something out there
, just on the edge of the high grass.
I sensed motion to my right, but it was not the aliens over there
Instead, it was the
others from our group.
I caught a brief glimpse of Darnell creeping through the
brush to get a closer look
, his dark skin and dark fatigues nearly blended in with the night surrounding him
held the highest rank
was in charge of the
One had been killed, and the other had split off toward Rhode Island in search of his sister and his nieces. I hoped he had made it, but we would never know for sure.
had taken charge of training the
, or at least the ones who wanted to
, and defend ourselves
. And the thing I wanted most right now was to fight, to kill, and
destroy every single one of the things that had
ruined all of our
lives. My heart thumped with eager anticipation of what was to come
I was anxious for blood