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Amber Skies: Part 1

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Mackenzie Pence, Assistant Editor

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There is no one. For five years, there hasn’t been, and never will be. At least, that’s what Melody Jay thought ever since the Morphers have terrorized the world. Until she finds him. Together they will either stop the beasts or die trying. And to her, dying isn’t an option.

This apocalyptic short story will keep you guessing for weeks to come. If you like The Walking Dead, you’ll love Amber Skies! Each week there will be a part of this story added until we get to the very end. Stick around to see what happens, and happy reading!

Amber Skies: Part 1

We run fast. Faster than I have ever ran in my life. His hand is clutched tightly in mine. As we run through the woods, my gray undershirt and khaki pants are soaked in blood. We have to get out. The surrounding forest burns to the ground. The blisters on my arms burst as we run through thick brush. Sparks of burning wood glow in the nighttime sky. We run into a clearing, and he trips on his own two feet. I quickly collapse on top of him, and roll onto my back, watching the world around us quickly crumple into nothing. We breathe hard. We are safe-for now.

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

Five years. It’s been five years since the world changed. I used to live in a world like yours. This little thirteen year old, going to school, writing Melody Jay on all her papers, coming home, starving for food, and playing games on her iPhone. But, that Melody is gone, along with the world she loved.

The new Melody Jay, the eighteen year old with no parents, no friends, nothing, now lives alone in the empty streets of New York, wandering around looking for her next meal. My midnight snacks usually consist of canned meats and soups I find in abandoned houses. My “house”, as I like to call it, is a small condo on the corner of a no-name street. I don’t really live there, since there’s nothing to do. I just sleep there on rare occasions, since it’s not safe at night. The small family room is warm and inviting, and makes me feel at home.

So, am I the only one left? Are there more humans out there? That’s the thing, I’m not completely sure. I haven’t seen any humans since it first happened. The closest thing to a human that I’ve seen was a Morpher.

Morphers are what plagued this earth. It started out as a simple science experiment that spiraled out of control. Some crazy guys from Germany decided that they would team up with some nutty Americans, and create a “super potion,” whatever that was supposed to mean. It enabled anybody who dared to drink it with the power to turn, or “morph”, into anything they wanted. They could change into any animal, person, thing that they wanted. Their brain would just tell them to, and they would. It was like your brain telling you to move a finger, it just happens. Sounds crazy right? That’s because it is.

They tested on different animals, like rats and things, but quickly realized that rats didn’t have the power to think of another creature and turn into it. Determined to prove that their insane liquid worked, they tried it on themselves. Within minutes, the idiot that drank it turned from a human into a purple beast with amber eyes. They look like a mixture between a wolf and a lizard on steroids. With spines that shoot out of their tails on command, they are unstoppable if you’re not prepared. If you’re hit by these spines, you change into a Morpher. The transformation is not pleasant. The man who drank it quickly changed, and went out of control. He shot all his scientist friends with his infecting spikes, and the plague was started. This plague is like a typical zombie apocalypse movie times ten.

They flooded the streets. When it first hit New York, I was at a friend’s house. My parents were one of the first to change. My friend and I went and hid in our “secret place”. Try to remember we were only thirteen. It was an abandoned tree house in her neighbor’s backyard. We survived in there until we thought they left our town. One night my friend tried to be brave and find some food at night without telling me. That’s when I figured out they only appear in darkness. I never saw her again.

Morphers are smarter than any human I’ve ever known. They can smell you. They’ll turn into a human crying for help, and just as you reach a hand out to save them, they turn back into a purple beast and kill you. They are super-fast, and the only way to tell a fake, morphed human from a real one is their amber colored eyes. The reason they don’t come out in the light? Well, I haven’t really figured that out yet.

So I walk up and down these streets, staring at the remains of eaten humans. I need a new house to raid. I’m running out of clam chowder from the house down the street. I walk the sidewalks with a combat knife in one hand and a pistol in the other. I’m limited on ammo, too. I need supplies in general.

I learned to read the sun’s positions in order to tell what time it is. Beaming from straight above me, I can tell it is noon. I approach an old white house with green shutters. I know who used to live here. It was Mr. Johnson, my old English teacher. He’s probably a Morpher now, but he was the one that really got me into reading. I bet there are a lot of great books in his house I could take. If he knew that I was taking his books to entertain myself during this awful time, he would probably be very happy.

I pry open the sealed door with my knife, and enter the house. It was a small house, with a bedroom straight to the left and a living room to the right. The kitchen is what I am after, and it is straight ahead. Dusty beams of light fill the rooms as I walk towards my target. I know I’m safe to roam around at this time of day, but I still hold my gun up in front of my face, just in case. Plus, it makes me feel cool. Sometimes for entertainment, I slide against walls with my gun tight against my chest, barrel in the air. Playing “secret agent” is one of my favorite things to do to keep me sane.

I enter the doorway into the kitchen, only to find nothing. No open cabinets with boxes of cereal, the fridge has no sign of moldy cheese or five year-expired milk, nothing. Not even a sign that this kitchen was once occupied by a school teacher. The only thing in this place that has an ounce of usefulness is an open cookbook on the floor. At least later on I’ll be able to read some recipes I could make if the world ever turns back to normal.

I bend down to pick up the book, and as my fingers touch the glossy hard cover, a sound creeps out of the cellar door ten feet away from me. I jerk my head up and lift my gun. It could be dark in there. That door could lead to a basement. The electricity doesn’t work anymore. All these thoughts rush through my head as I imagine a Morpher on the other side of the door. I lost count of how many I’ve killed after I got to fifty, but the most effective way is right through their skull.

I creep closer to the door and put my ear to it. Nothing. If something is on the other side, and it is a Morpher, it wouldn’t sound like nothing. Either I am just hearing things, or there is a human on the other side of this door.

“Hello? “ I offer. Nothing. “Come out or I’ll bust down this door!” I say forcefully. The doorknob turns. I grip my gun tighter and tighter, my finger on the trigger.

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