“This him eh?”
I could not see out of my left eye nor talk. Generalis made sure of that. Blood was everywhere, even in my goddamn mouth. Lost some teeth as well and gained a bruised eye in action.
“Yeah, I know he’s not much to look at, but he’s the one whose been causing you so much trouble,” Generalis stated. From what I could see, he was talking to a group of the Hunters inside the courtyard. It was a terrifying sight.
“Why should we buy him and not just take him from you?” One of the Hunters said, his deep voice a combination of grunts followed by a snarl.
Muttering could be heard all around, with agreeance being the frequent sound.
“Better friends than enemies I do dare say. Would it not be better to be trade partners rather than enemies? Imagine the benefit that could be had. I could supply you with stock—”
“But we could just take your “stock” if we so wanted to,” another of the Hunters said, interrupting Generalis. From what I could see, he was pale as the snow surrounding us and wore dark wolf pelts as clothing. He held a spear.
“As I said, allies are better than enemies. Our true value lies in loyalty.”
I scoffed without meaning it. Beautiful lie I thought. I received a backhand by the nearest guard, my ears began ringing in response.
I knew my humour would land me in trouble one day.
“And why here did your little pet have a chuckle? Did he catch you in a lie?” The leader of the Hunters spoke in a sarcastic tone. It was intimidating.
“No, this “pet” is just mentally deranged.” He emphasised the word pet and spat on the floor as he said it.
“We knocked him around too much, and now he’s gone loony. Our bad,” Generalis continued.
All I could taste was the strong flavour of iron mixed with bile within my mouth. It was freezing, and I felt myself shivering, perhaps from a fever or from fears, I was unsure.
With the limited vision I had, I could see individuals facing each other in deathly stances, trying to intimidate the other, a sad image. Before the Change, we were ordinary folk, and now we have become things we were not. Perhaps these beasts were always inside of us, but societies rules kept us in check.
It was a sad sight. Even writers would have a hard time romanticising this scene, I thought.
Now we are abominations, fighting the very last humans for no reason other than want and desires. We could have cooperated with the others and helped one another to rebuild the world, but instead, we chose destruction and death. I know the world will never be the same, it will never heal. Even if the sun slowly becomes stronger again, it will be no use. Our fates are sealed.
I often wondered if it would be a better choice for the world to just die. Maybe it’d save humanity, leaving us a legacy that we could not dampen anymore than we already have.
As I watched these folk continue to argue, with weapons brandished and curses flying sharp at one another, I hoped for an end to the suffering I endured.
I am tired of this all.
Gunfire woke me. My ears were pierced by the echo of the bullets ricocheting off nearby steel. The suffering will not end, but maybe I can outrun it I wishfully thought. Without a second glance, I heaved myself forward between the nearby buildings as my stomach shuttered from losing blood, leaving the conflict in the courtyard behind.
Barking followed me as I dived through the window closest to me, shattering the glass and slicing my arm. I looked up and gasped, my eyes in shock.
A girl sat in the corner.
That girl was Martha.
To read part 3 of Winters Breath, click here!