Amber Skies: Part 3

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Mackenzie Pence, Assistant Editor

In the next few hours, we ransack some more houses, only to find soup and moldy cheese in the refrigerators. The last house we visited had some matches in the living room, which might come in handy. I handed them to Carter, and his eyes lit up. I didn’t find more ammo, let alone another gun. I’m down to about five bullets, and I have a feeling that if I’m in trouble with no ammo, Mr. and Mrs. Kitchen Knives won’t be coming to my rescue.

The walk back to my condo is long, and it starts to get dark around five o’clock when the sun is setting. Molly is carrying stacks of soup in her tiny little arms, and she seems to have lost her knife already. I mean, what did I expect? That a seven year old girl would be able to kill a Morpher? And Carter, his knife is stuffed in the front of his pocket, while holding the matches and some boxes of cereal. He hasn’t talked since I yelled at them.

I’m leading our little pack, carrying barely anything with my low ammo pistol in one hand, my knife in the other. I notice while we are about twenty blocks away from my front door, a tiny little creature scurrying in front of me. It’s a mouse. I grab my knife and chuck it straight at the little guy, piercing right into his head. I walk up to retrieve my knife, and look into its eyes, and breathe a sigh of relief that I didn’t waste bullets on an actual harmless creature. I pick the mouse up by the tail, face my new friends and say, “Anybody want some rat for dinner?” No answer. I throw the mouse aside and keep walking.

“How many have you killed?” Carter says finally. I stop in my tracks, kind of surprised by his question. “You know, like how many Morphers?”

“Yeah I know what you mean,” I say, and start walking again. “I don’t even know, somewhere past fifty. How about you?”

His answer comes slowly. I look back at him twice before he finally answers. “Three.”

I stop once again, this time turning on my heel and facing him. “Three? THREE? That’s it?” He shakes his head yes and looks down at his shoes shamefully. Molly puts her cans of soup on the ground and shakes her arms. They must be getting tired. “How have you survived this long?”

He just shrugs his shoulders and looks at Molly. Her big green eyes look back at him. “I don’t know, we just hide a lot.”

“What did you use to kill those three?”

He drops his cereal and holds up the box of matches. “These things right here.” He just stands there, expecting me to know what he means.

“All right, so you held one up, and literally scared them to death?” I say sarcastically. I can’t comprehend how one tiny match could kill a giant Morpher.

“No,” he says annoyed, “We catch them on fire.”

“So Morphers are flammable?” I joke.

“Exactly!” he says with full confidence. I laugh and keep walking. He scoops up his cereal and matches and scurries to keep up. Molly sighs and unwillingly picks up her soup, following along slowly.

“You’re joking, right?” I say, laughing as I speak.

“Not one bit!” he says as he walks beside me. “You ever notice how they never come out in the sunlight? It’s because if they get too much of any type of light that hits them, they catch on fire. I threw a match at all three of those Morphers, and they were burnt to a crisp.”

I take in what he just said, which actually makes sense. “So even if it’s not a flame, they still catch on fire?”

“That’s my theory. It takes about five minutes in pure daylight, but if they are hit with fire, they don’t stand a chance.”

“Interesting.” I say. The rest of the walk is silent. We get to my house and I open the door. They file inside with beaming faces. All the doors except for the front one are barricaded with tables, couches and chairs. A few months ago, I decided to board up the windows with wood, just for extra safety. It’s not a professional looking set up, with cracks that let in streams of light, but it works. I close the door and lock it, and lead them to the kitchen. Molly sets down her massive collection of cans and sits on the floor. She hasn’t talked yet. I put my cans and trail mix in the cabinets, and lay down on the couch. Carter just paces around the kitchen, kicking at the floor. Molly sits there and twiddles her thumbs. The sun is completely hidden outside.

I pull the book that I took from the second house out of my jacket and open to the first page. I don’t even pay attention to the title. Not even three sentences in, Carter says, “I never did get your name.”

I look up from the book, and retort my answer. “Melody. Melody Jay.”

“Nice to meet you, Melody,” he says quietly. He still continues to pace.

“You know you can sit down somewhere. It’s kind of awkward of you to just mill around.”

He acts upon my offer, and sits at a seat that is in front of a door. Molly follows and crawls into the crook of his arm. She falls asleep by the time I close my book and shut my eyes. I doze off to the sound of Morphers wandering in the streets.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

My eyes open when I hear the front door closing. I slowly rise up. No sunlight is peeking through the cracks of the boarded up windows. I look outside into the darkness, only to see a creature walking around. I can’t really make it out, but it doesn’t look like an unchanged Morpher. It looks like a dog, a German shepherd with amber eyes. It’s limping around, careful not to use its front right paw. In the alley across from the dog’s position is a giant purple beast ready to attack its prey. Walking towards the dog is a little girl holding out her hand, saying “Come here puppy, it’s okay.”

My gun fell out of my pocket when I fell asleep, so I grabbed it off of the couch and sprinted out the door. “Molly, no!” I say as I step outside, and the dog spots me. I pull my gun up with one hand and grab Molly’s arm with the other as the dog turns back to normal, and shoots a spike, right into her heart.