June 26, 2019

The Turn of the Prey

posted on: Thursday January 24, 2019

Wolf with yellow eyes staring down its prey

Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

by Sarah Kirchner ’21

The wind whistled through my ears as I sprinted down the empty street. I was running faster than I had ever run before. My improvement wasn’t from practice, though. I was running from something, and that gave me a motive. It was something my dad never really taught me about, but when he died, he told me I had to run and that I could never stop.

It had been four days of consistent running and few breaks. Before my dad died, we stayed hidden. We were constantly moving from place to place so that we were never anywhere for too long, but it didn’t feel like a constant run. Things were different now, though. The country’s population had dwindled down to almost nonexistent. It was only me, running from something I had never really encountered.

Every now and then, my dad and I would run into another family. Everyone was on the same mission: keep away from main streets and cities, and never leave tracks. The less people traveling together, the better. My dad said we were being hunted, and that it was like this ever since he was a teenager. I tried to ask him what life was like before the hunters, but he didn’t like talking about it.

My first night sleeping alone in the woods, I heard something. In the distance, there was a horrible growl that vibrated the ground and reached under my skin. I held on to the knife I kept at my side, but I had absolutely no idea what to do if the growling creature reached me. Dad always talked about hunters. That night I realized the hunters weren’t human. My world suddenly felt like an alternative universe. For my entire life, my dad and I had hunted squirrels and the occasional deer if we were lucky. However, things were clearly different. The hunted turned into the hunters, and for that reason I was never safe. My dad was smart enough to realize that, so when he left this world I was thrown into reality.

I was not safe. I was all alone. I had no one to help me. I had to survive.

Somewhere in the country, Dad said there were government camps that would help us. Together, my dad and I had been searching for them. Other groups told us to stop looking and that we were better off finding some bunker to die in, but Dad was determined, and so was I. The thought of being with people and not alone was really what drove me to keep looking. I needed help if I was going to survive the apocalyptic world I was raised in. Dad said the camps were designed to save us from the hunters and as a way to rebuild the country. I didn’t believe that second part. If the country had been in shambles for 30 years, I wasn’t sure it could ever be saved. Dad believed in our country though, so for that I was going to fight for it and find a way to survive and improve life.

The wind whistled through my ears as I continued to sprint, and it wasn’t going to stop whistling until I found something out there in the world that would help me live. I wasn’t going to stop until I made Dad proud.

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Short Fiction