The Last Days
Nicholas was my dear prince.
Only 8 years old and ready to take on this depraved world all alone. That made
it more difficult as we went upstairs to get my gun. Walking up, each of the
bruised wooden steps seemed like a personal invitation from the heavens.
Another opportunity to turn away from it, all I had to do was take the boy
upstairs and hide. Lock up inside the attic and pray to make it to
sunrise. But as we made it to the top, I
returned the letter back to its sender the second I grabbed the pistol.
Ignoring the invitation to heaven, I instead punched my ticket to hell.
I led the way as Nic followed
behind. We went back down in a flash. As
we turned the corner of the staircase, I peeked outside to see them. They began
to bang on the fortifications and rip the wood off the barricades. Blood, foam,
and pus leaking out of their bodies as they gnawed through my defenses. It all
truly made me sick. Not the monsters
outside, but of the creature inside of me that was born from this epidemic.
I looked back at Nic and gave
him a thumbs up. Reaching my fingers over to his face I forced a gentle smile
on it as a tear drop ran down. In unison, we both sprinted inside the
bathroom. Locking the door behind me, I
bolted us up.
Taking my last look at him, I
grabbed his small feeble hand and led him into the tub. While he stretched out
on top of the plastic tarp, I grabbed his curly black hair and planted a sweet
kiss atop his head. Trying so hard to reassure him, I begged him to be strong.
I had to do this. Now inside my arms I
held him close with my finger firm on the trigger. His warm lively demeanor
now replaced with a
cold stale presence as the barrel pressed up against his skull.
And just like that, it was all
over. Twenty seconds had passed and Nic had not changed. No blood foaming from
his mouth, or yellow eyes shrieking. His wound wasn’t a bite, just a cut. The
wound was a nasty slash but nowhere near
the gash I felt having to take these measures. I tugged him close and wrapped
my arms around
him. After I patched him up, we unloaded the potatoes and squash from our
I made my way back upstairs to
the attic where I squatted down to hug her. Rose sat inside bawling, distraught
with so much fear, so much pain. I held her tight as I comforted her, letting
her know that Nic was safe. He wasn’t going to turn into one of the monsters
outside and harm them. Not like mommy did. Unable to keep it together she
sobbed with no control. She knew what I had to do to be safe. She knew how
close she was to becoming the next leader of this tattered fort, and makeshift
Now for the first time in an hour the grunts and
shrieks outside stopped. They made it past the first barriers, but two more
stood between them and us. It will only be a matter of time before they return.
I could never stop any of this, but merely kick the can down the road. I kept
shushing Rose as she twisted and squirmed within my arms. Working all my power
and will to convince her and myself that we'll be fine; that we will make it
through the winter. Nic is still here but we’ll soon need to scour for food
again. I pray that it rains soon, or else our water reserves are gone. I wonder
sometimes if it would just be better to take them both in the bathroom and put
them both to rest. Rid them of this degenerate world and send them to their
mother. Most often, I’d snap back to
reality and pass by those thoughts quickly. I used to tell myself that I’d
never stoop so low, but there’s no telling in these last days.
Aaron Hicks is an up and
coming writer from Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Western
Carolina University with a Major in Entrepreneurship and a minor in
English. Aaron has been published in Call + Response Journal, The NewVerse
News, BlazeVox Journal, and Dream Noir Magazine.