Happy New Year 2018!
This issue we have a post-apocalyptic story by Jay Tinsiano called Aryn, as well as the next batch of chapters from Red Horse, the upcoming thriller in the Dark Paradigm series.
Ayrn: In the shattered dust-covered ruins of the old city Hunters are moving across the wasteland. As Aryan watches she knows they are here for her and her alone.
Here’s a snippet:
Through the binoculars Aryn moved her sight from one figure to the next, four of them spaced out in a line across the section of wasteland like bad guys in a western. They walked slowly, checking inside the burned-out vehicles that had long ago rusted into husks, dead forms on the moonscape-like vista. The man Aryn guessed was the leader, was bald, tall and powerful looking with a worn leather trenchcoat that flapped in the wind. He wielded some kind of handgun, and Aryn spotted the glint of a blade in his belt. It was the gun that made her sure he led the posse.
He glanced over in her direction.
She moved her line of sight to check the others, one with a baseball cap and seemingly without a weapon. The third male was a skinny black guy in a blue tracksuit wielding a large metal bar and the last figure a woman, with messy brown hair sticking out of a bandana around her forehead. Aryn couldn’t make it out exactly but there was a handle for something, jutting up from behind her shoulder.
Aryn packed away the nocs into her backpack, threw it on her back and jumped down from her hiding spot onto the concrete below. The ground floor of the multi-storey car park housed a few small groups of people who huddled around makeshift fires in old oil drums, belongings spread out around them. A few looked up as Aryn ran towards them.
“Someone coming, girl?” a woman asked as she sped by.
“Hunters,” Aryn answered, barely turning her head and she heard them immediately move into action, packing up their most valued possessions. No need for clarification.
On the far side, through the gap of the building frontage, she could see the derelict warehouse and the huge dark gaps like mouths where the doors used to be.
Aryn ran out into the deserted street, once a busy vein into the throbbing heart of the city, now clogged with dust covered rubble that formed jagged obstacles like a low mountain range. Her dark hair blew behind her in a gust of wind like a cloak and she hunched herself against the force.
Snippets of memories sometimes flashed into her mind, taunting with the promise of what might have been. Playing with her brother in the park, riding her bike when the sun used to shine. But they were fleeting, just taunting wisps on the wind that she quickly cast out of his mind.
So long ago.
She scurried across the fallen concrete, twisted metal and debris to the warehouse entrance to put distance between herself and the hunters.
Like everyone had to hunt.
For food. For water. For survival.
And sometimes they hunted for victims.
Except she knew they were looking for her.
And her alone.
Aryn felt her heart racing as she ran. She wondered what they would do if they caught her? Kill her and cut her up for meat? It wasn’t uncommon. Sell her as a slave?
These gangs had raked the towns and cities ever since the blasts, praying on the weak and vulnerable survivors. They cared not for mercy and gave not one ounce of compassion for life.
Aryn ducked under a line of electricity poles that had fallen on top of the abandoned cars, uprooted by the winds. The scarred buildings either side, loomed tall, their blackened windows seemed to her to be watching her every move. In the distance, the chimneys of the old factories, now temporary shelter for some of the survivors. The clouds above had turned to reddish skeins, the monster storm long dissipated. But for how long? Those storms never really went away. Only dying down to simmer before blowing back up again. The rolling clouds spiked lightning strikes, the streams of angry sky and falling ash would be back.
A shout came one of the men. Some kind of order. They were closing in.
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