War Land

One and Done

She pulls back the string attached to the bow. It feels magical in her fingers, the twine rubs between her fingers, sending shivers down her spine. She breathes heavy, looks at her target and lets the arrow fly. Hitting her target in the head, she sighs and lets the bow fall to the snowy ground. Her breaths exposed in the air, she runs for the deer that lies dead, bleeding out. She whispers a bit of sorrow and pulls the arrow from it's head, cleaning it in the snow. Her boots drive deep into the frigid ground while she drags the deer back to her log cabin. Smoke seeps out of the chimney and into the lonely cold air. The pine trees tower over her head and the smell of them fill her nose. She smiles and leaves the deer at the door then walks inside. The heat blows into her face and she finally is able to feel her cheeks. She pulls off her gloves and jacket then plops down on the couch.
"Did you check the tower?" Her father asks.
"Yes, no messages and no sign of survivors" She replies, her british accent strong. She touches the back of her hand to his forehead. "You're still warm, father. Your fever has gone up. I need to go look for supplies"
"No, Athena" He pushes her back down.
"Dad, please. I need to get you medicine. There might be some in that abandoned town"
"I can't let you risk your life for me. Your mother would kill me if she was still alive"
"But she's not" Athena says. "The virus took her"
He grabs her hand and squeezes it, sweat dripping down his forehead. She know's he'll die if she doesn't get him the treatment he needs. "I won't go"

But she lied. That night, when her father drifted off to sleep. She bundled up in her warm coat with fur on the hood, her snow boots, her two red ice axes, her bow and a pistol her father had found. She pushed open the front door, looking at her father bundled in the blankets behind her. The snow was heavy as she treked through the forest. On top of the small mountain was a tower with a red flashing light. She knew something wasn't right. The tower only had power when someone was up there. She had to get to the tower, stay the night there and then head for the town. She hasn't killed anyone since the virus started, she hasn't even killed an infected or even seen one. Her father has sheltered her for three years. He's told her stories of the outside world. He said, "Three years of war and famine could do a lot to the world" And she knew that was right. She's been up to the tower and seen that small town that reminded her of her previous home, she missed the way things used to be. She digs her axe deep in the snow to anchor herself. If she takes a tumble now, she'd die. Climb, climb, climb. She climbed with her axes for at least 45 minutes. Finally, she makes it. She heaves herself over the edge and rolls onto her back, exhausted from the climb. Athena pushes herself to her feet then crumbles back down to the snowy ground. Her legs aren't nearly as strong as they should be. She get's back up, despite the terrible pain in her calves. Her eyes catch a shadow in the light and she quickly crouches down, pulling her pistol from the holster attached to her leg. She sucks in a deep breath and slowly makes her way up up the stairs, leading to the door. Something is definitely wrong, there's gunshot holes in the door. Scattershot, most likely a shotgun blast. But why didn't she hear it? There's no noise now and a gunshot would echo pretty far.

Her father needed this medicine and she needed to rest before she made the trip down to the town. It was now or never. She twists the doorknob and pushes open the white metal door just enough for her to slip in. The warmth surrounds her body like a blanket and she can hear faint voices.
"Did you get the samples?" A man asks, he's talking through the radio.
"Yes. I got the tissue samples from the infected and from the immune" The man talking now is pacing around the room.
Athena takes one step and alerts the man. He looks in her direction and aims his shotgun. Before she can get any words out, she's flying through the door and onto the ground. She can't believe he just shot her. Her hands rip off the coat to look for any gunshot wounds but to her surprise, there is none. The thick coat she was wearing saved her life. Pistol still in hand, she grasps it tight and aims at the guy's head has he peeks over the railing. She closes her eyes and pulls the trigger multiple times. She wanted him dead, but she didn't want to see him die. She stands up, her coat still lying on the ground, leaving her exposed to the elements. She shivers as the cold bites at her skin. She brushes her long brown hair behind her ears and examines the body, pistol still aimed. He was dead, his face mangled from the multiple shots. Her stomach couldn't take it. She leaned over the railing and puked what food and water she had stored for energy. She stepped around the body and walks into the radio room. She knew that if the flashing red light was on too long, the infected would be surrounding her. She shuts it off and then switches the radio to the line they call "Survivors help line" She piles tons of stuff in front of the damaged door then sits down in the room to check out the man's supplies. A few bottles of water, some food, a gun and ammo. Finally she stumbles upon the tissue samples. Infected A, B, C, and D. As she digs deeper, she finds the tissue samples of the immune survivors. Two girls and Two boys. She leaves on a dim light and listens to the survivor help line until she falls asleep. She knew her father would soon find out she's missing.

The next morning, she finds herself down the hill rather quickly. She has time to spare so she looks through some useless buildings first. She's never been over the hill since the virus hit and she had no clue what she'd find. She enters a clothing store and finds a bunch of stuff. She grabs a few shirts for her dad and some for herself too. Then she heads over to the hardware store and takes some nails along with a few bolts. Her bag was getting stuffed, she had to find medicine now. She makes her way out the door of the hardware store and looks to her left, seeing a pack of people. She stops dead in her tracks and realizes...those aren't people. She quietly walks backwards up the steps, not taking her eyes off the distorted infected people. She closes the door and takes in a deep breath. She shuts one of the blinds and peeks out just enough for her to see the infected walking by. She backs away from the window quickly and runs upstairs. There's a crash on the first floor and she instantly knows. They're inside. She aims her pistol at the stairs and prepares for battle. One jumps up, hitting the wall. It takes her a bit to react. She's never seen one before. Bam, headshot. She keeps her eyes open, she know's these aren't people anymore. They want to kill her. Another comes up and she fires, then another and she fires again. The last one jumps over the bodies and tackles her to the ground, she's out of ammo. Inches from her face, it screams. The tears slide down her cheek. She reaches for the ice axe attached to her belt loop and drives it into the monster's head. It instantly goes limp and dies. She pushes it off and runs for the door downstairs. She busts through it and takes a deep breath of fresh air. Her father had warned her about the infected but she had no idea they were this evil. She runs into the small pet store and raids the shelves. She finds everything she needs to at least get his fever down.

Outside, walking back up the hill, she hears screams behind her in the distance. Another pack of infected and there's more. She starts running, she knew if she ran, she'd get a headstart. But the infected are faster than she is. She runs and runs until she gets to the top of the hill. She grabs the guy's shotgun and aims it at an infected that leaps into the air. The butt of the gun smashes against her shoulder and sends her to the ground. She quickly jumps up and leaps off the other side of the hill. She knows the risks, she knows she might die but she does it anyway. She tumbles down the hill, hitting trees and gets smacked in the face by limbs. The snow is soft enough for her to not have too much of a painful fall. She hits a tall pine tree then rolls down the rest of the way. She finally reaches the bottom, blood pouring from her mouth, her arm and leg broken. The vial of medicine rolls out of her bag and stops when it hits a black boot. The boot looks so familiar...it's her dad's boot. She can barely look up but she manages to do it. His face bloody, his lips aren't even there anymore, it's just teeth. She lets her head fall into the snow. She can't take him or the other infected that are closing in behind her. She uses her one free arm and stabs her father in the leg. He falls to the ground and she starts to crawl away as quickly as she can. But she can't get away soon enough. An infected tosses itself on her back and takes a bite out of her neck. She screams and the crows fly from their perch on a branch high up in the trees. The infected are done with her, they've eaten all they want. But there's a little bit of life left in her. She crawls, leaving a blood trail behind her. The snow collects on her eyes and she takes her final breath before her father crawls onto her and takes a bite out of her neck. Her eyes flutter and then it's over, she's gone.