Amber Skies: Part 2

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Mackenzie Pence, Assistant Editor

It cracks open, and a tall, teenage boy creeps from behind. He spots my gun, and cries out not to shoot. I keep it pointed at his head as I check his eyes, which are just a pale blue color.

“Please, don’t shoot.” He pleads.

I lower my gun and forcefully ask. “What’s your name?”

“Carter. Carter Stevens.”

I stare him up and down, taking in his long, shaggy blonde hair and his once white t-shirt. He looks to be about sixteen or seventeen, but I still ask, “How old are you?”

“Seventeen. Please, what do you want?” He puts his arms down and lays them at his sides. As he does this, a tiny arm wraps around his thigh. I raise my gun up quickly, but he just looks down at the hand and pulls it in front of him. The hand leads to a little girl, maybe seven or eight. Her eyes are a deep green, some of the most beautiful and breathtaking eyes I’ve ever seen. I lower my gun, once again, as he speaks.

“This is Molly. I found her the first day they took over New York.” She waves her tiny hand at me and looks away, a terrified look on her face.

“So do you guys live here or something?” I ask, putting my gun in my belt loop.

“No, we just came here for supplies.”

“So where do you live?”

He hesitates, but goes on. “We don’t really live anywhere. We ran out of food from my family’s camp near Finger Lakes Forest. We sleep there, but come here almost every day for food since we ran out. There are no other camps up there to raid, trust me.” Molly looks up at me with those green eyes, and I feel my heart melt. But I can’t show any sign of weakness. I have to be stern. “And as you can see,” he holds out the palms of his hands and waves them towards the cabinets, “There’s nothing left. We heard the door open and thought it was a Morpher, so we hid in the cellar.”

I take in his story for a few moments. I don’t know what to do with these people. I kind of just want to leave and go find food in another house, but I can’t leave them here. Especially Molly. I’d always had a soft spot for kids.

I decide to just leave. If they have survived this far by themselves, then they can make it without me. And then it dawned on me- this is the first sign of human life I have seen in five years. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to pair up. I sure wouldn’t be as lonely every day.

Either way, it’s too late to turn back. I am already half way out the door of Mr. Johnson’s old house. I have to keep walking.

“Wait!” he yells from the kitchen. The only thing I can think is thank goodness. But of course I can’t show how excited I am. “We need help.” I turn on my heels and walk back to the kitchen. I stand in the doorway with my arms crossed, and a bored look plastered on my face.

“And you expect me to help you how, exactly?” I question. He just stares at his feet and stands in front of me. Molly stays put at the door of the cellar.

“I don’t know. You seem like you got it all together. Can we just hang out with you until we get some food, or something?”

I hesitate. I know what my answer is. Of course they can, but more people to drag along means a need for more food. They have no weapons, so I’ll have to find some of those, too. And they don’t seem like the fighting type. I mean, they hid when they heard a sound at the door, in pure daylight.

“I guess,” is all I say. I turn and head towards the door. He grabs Molly and places her on his hip, walking fast to keep up with my speedy pace as we walk into the street. I stop and scan the houses, looking for one I haven’t yet raided. I start walking towards an unfamiliar two-story apartment house. I get up to the porch, and Carter sets Molly down beside him. I pull out my knife and go to open the door, but he quickly stops me.

“Here, I’ll bust it down. You might break your knife,” he says. I stumble with my words to try to stop him, but I can’t. He backs up, and rams into the door, leading with his right shoulder. He falls to the ground, unable to push it down. He rolls around in pain while Molly and I share a laugh. As he gets up, I turn the knob and push the door inward. Unlocked.

“I wasn’t going to pry it open. I was just getting ready.” I say as he staggers inside clutching his shoulder. Molly grabs onto his shirt and follows him in, still giggling. It’s been forever since I heard a laugh, and even longer since I’ve laughed.

I pull out my gun and step in front of the two. The door shuts behind us, and makes the house dark. This isn’t good. Even though it’s daylight outside, Morphers can still hide in the shadows of buildings to stay safe until dusk. I turn and check the rooms on the bottom floor. The bedroom, dining room, and living room are all clear. The living room has some books lying on the coffee table, and I sneak one into my jacket. I turn around and head towards the kitchen now, gun pointed cop style, and my knife on stand-by. All the cabinets are closed, which is a good sign that no one has been here.

“I’m going to check the top floor,” I say as I start up the steps. There is a door at the top that separates the two apartments. I open it, and on the other side of a long hallway is a thing, a being that I can’t make out. It paces back and forth, a long tail swooshing in the air, a faint “meow” escaping it lips. It’s a cat.

I walk towards it, and put my gun away. I slip my knife into my hand instead. Just in case it’s a Morpher, I don’t want to approach it empty handed, yet I don’t want to waste any bullets. Its head turns towards me and lets out another loud “meow”. Its eyes glow in the darkness. They are the color of the sun.

Just when I realize what the beast is, I grip my knife hard, and it turns back into itself. I jump forward and sink my knife into the “cat’s” skull. It drops at my feet, and I take a deep breath. That was close.

I hear footsteps coming up behind me in a hurried fashion. “Are you okay?” Carter asks. Molly is still holding onto his shirt. I shake my head yes and walk onto the steps, closing the door behind me with the dead beast inside. I walk right past them, not saying a word, and I head towards the kitchen.

They made a pile of canned soups on the island of the kitchen while I was upstairs. I find a few unopened bags of trail mix and stuff them in my jacket pocket. When they meet me back in the kitchen, I’m searching the drawers for any types of weapons. I find a few kitchen knives, and take them in my hands. These will have to do.

“Here,” I say as I turn and hold out the knives. They both stand there, staring at the knives like they have eyes and arms. “Take these.” Still, they don’t move a muscle. What, am I speaking Chinese? “Take them!” I shout. They both jump at my harshness, and grab the knives. I roll my eyes, grab the cans of soup, and head out the door.

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