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Amber Skies: Part 4

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Mackenzie Pence, Assistant Editor

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She collapses to the ground, and the beast charges towards me. I fire a bullet into its head, and the Morpher in the alley runs at me. I shoot it straight through the eye.

I kneel down at Molly’s head just as Carter stumbles outside. The giant spike protrudes from her tiny little chest. Her big green eyes fill with tears as Carter kneels down across from me and holds her hand. His face is whiter than snow.

She looks up at Carter and speaks for the first time since we met. “I was just trying to save the puppy.”

He puts his forehead against hers and a tear rolls down from his eye onto her face. “I love you,” he says, choking back his emotions. She just nods, unable to speak. Carter sits back up, gripping her hand tightly. I find it hard to keep back my tears. Her skin turns from a healthy pale glow to a deep purple, her head pulsing with new growth. Her eyes that were once the most beautiful green now change to dark amber. She cries out in pain, and I quickly pull out my pistol and press it against her forehead, and fire away. Blood spatters up and covers my gray undershirt in a deep red shade. The cries of agony stop, and her hand falls out of the grip of his. I stand and place the gun back into my belt loop, and he wraps his arms around her tiny dead body, breathing heavy sobs into her dark brown hair.

“Well, there’s not much left here to do,” I say, head hanging low. I didn’t think the day would come when I would have to shoot a little girl. “We should head inside.” He nods and stands up from the body. Sniffling, he follows me inside the condo.

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

A couple days and a couple nights pass. We eat, we sleep, talk about our old lives. He speaks of the many memories he and Molly shared. He watched her grow up, since he found her when she was only three. He found her in an old building way back when it all started. A few days after the Morphers attacked, he went out looking for food. He opened up a cabinet and there she was, all tucked in a blanket, sleeping. He opened her eyes with his thumb, and he remembers standing there thinking how amazingly green they were, just like I had. He scooped her up and took her in, raising her like a little sister. They were inseparable.

I wish I had found a fellow human earlier. It’s nice having someone around to talk to. You don’t get as bored, and he talked in a way that was so captivating; the way he moved his head made his blonde locks flow back and forth so effortlessly. I find myself often gazing into his blue eyes and daydreaming about nothing at all.

On the third night since Molly’s death, I read a little bit from my book. Carter sits in his same chair, eating a can of vegetable soup. The outside world keeps growing darker and darker. Many minutes pass when I hear a sound at the door. It sounds like a bunch of tiny Chihuahuas clawing at it. I get up slowly to investigate.

“Where are you-“

“Shhhhhh,” I say, holding my finger to my mouth. I grab the matches from the kitchen and pull one out, ready to strike. I look through the peep hole, only to see about ten yellow-eyed rats clawing at it. They suddenly stop, and sniff the air. They can smell me. They start to form into purple monsters.

I feel Carter come up behind me where I stand, ready to light the beasts on fire. They keep growing, and soon enough, their claws are coming through the door.

“Get the gun,” I order, trying to hide my nervousness. He slowly backs away and grabs my pistol. He tries to hand it to me, but I can’t do two things at once. “No, you use it,” I say. He nods and holds it up, hands shaking. They start to break the door down more and more. Any minute, they will rush in and attack. “Ready?” I ask, and he just stands there. We only have one shot at this.

I light my match just as the first one bursts through with its head. There is a whole line of Morphers behind it. It breaks through, and I throw the match at it. It stops right at my feet and flops around on the floor. I back up, and the others charge in, only to catch themselves on fire.

We run through the house, reaching the other door with the chairs piled in front of it. All the Morphers start to catch the house on fire. “Get the chair! Move it!” I yell as we push the chair out of the way of the door. It feels like it weighs one-thousand pounds at this point, even with both of us pushing it. We get it out of the way just as the kitchen catches of fire. All that food, gone, set ablaze by a humongous fire. We get out of the back door and run into the street. My safe house, gone. My condo, gone. My home. Gone.

I stand in the empty street, watching my house of five years burn to the ground. The heat is so intense that Carter has to back away about ten feet. I can’t move away. I’m paralyzed in the orange glow of the immense flame. I feel the tears start to come when he grabs my hand and pulls me back.

“There’s not much left here to do,” he says, mimicking my attitude from Molly’s death. He takes the matches from my hand and replaces them with my gun. “I feel better with these,” he says. I smile, and look at my almost empty gun. He never used it, so I still have two bullets. I hug him, and with tears in my eyes, I ask, “What do we do now?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we could head up to my camp.” I think about his proposal. We really don’t have any more options. I pull away from his hug, and stare at my feet.

“It’s not safe to head there now,” I say as I look up at the dark sky. “How far away is it?”

“Oh, about an hour on foot,” he says. “We could head out in the morning.”

I think about anything else we could do, and then notice some Morphers at the end of the street running away from the fire. We have no other options. “What do we do until then?”

“Well, we could do what I do best,” he says with a smile.

“And what would that be?”

He turns from the fire and looks at a building across the street. He points to it, and looks at me with those blue eyes. “We can hide.”

I laugh and take his hand as he offers it to me. We walk away from the burning down condo and enter into a small apartment building. He leads me to a tiny janitor’s closet, and closes the door. He lies down in the corner next to an old mop, and motions me over. I lay my head down against his chest and listen to his heart beating. And for once since this whole mess started, I feel a sensation in my heart that I can’t mistake. Love.

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