Thursday, September 22, 2016

Children On the Run

They spent most of their lives running from horrid place to skeevy place and hiding when they got there. Sooner or later something would find them. It could be the stalking trees or the widdershins or maybe even the gutter spiders. The latest crash place was absolutely posh, though.

"I hope we get to stay here for more than a day." Grampers took in the space around them. "Used to be a grand place I reckon. That stained glass was whole and there weren't no trees grown up the walls."

"Shut your gobber." Sleen made a cutting motion across his throat and pointed at the hole in the floor. "Could be night riders down there."

Grampers shuddered at the thought of the spindly legged things. They bit your neck and make you carry them around. "I'l be quiet, Sleen." His tone was, in fact, quieter than it had been. He ran a shaky hand through his unruly mop of dun hair.

"Don't be cruel." Jangler tutted at Sleen. "He don't mean no harm." She pulled the long blade from its hanger and cast her peepers down into the dark.

"Ain't no night riders this far north." Lizbean shook her head and pointed to the sheaf of papers she carried. "The 'Moire tells the truth. We'll be good here for a bit. Long as nothing hears us running our gobs too much." The oldest of their crew, Lizbean was the only one who could read proper. Haunted blue eyes scanned every word they came across, always looking for something she couldn't put her finger on.

The four of them made their way down the broad staircase to the ground floor. 

Sleen pointed his bow in every possible direction. 

Grampers had a hunk of wood with a nail through it. 

Jangler's long blade was something she'd found in a dumper yard. It was a keen thing. 

Lizbean carried no weapon but her wits, sharper than arrow, nail, or knife.

The wood floor was nearly rotten on top, but stronger supports underneath kept it from giving way. Sleen spat into the hole and listed. It pattered on something. "I make four legs deep."

"Not like we're climbing into the blasted thing." Lizbean shook her head. "We should get some rack time. Grampers, you take first watch."

Grampers gripped his club tighter and nodded grimly. As the youngest, it often fell to him to take that shift. Lizbean said it was so he could rack out uninterrupted. He thought he loved her for that. "Aye."

The other three shook out their many times patched blankets and were soon curled up on beds made of parchment thin leaves and the gathered dust of too many years. Sleen was soon snoring. The girls chatted for a bit, but it wasn't long before their breathing grew steady.

Grampers, finally used to his joke of a nickname after two years with the crew, took a long draw from his water skin. It cut through the dust in his throat, but did nothing for the fear. He wanted a proper weapon like the other two. He wasn't as smart as Lizbean. He'd never be the wit. His muscles had started to grow big, so maybe he'd be like Jangler. She was stronger than Sleen, though it didn't pay to say so.

He walked around this level, careful where he stepped. It wouldn't do to fall into the darkness below, night riders or not. You could fall on a shard of rock or a jumble of sharp wood.

"Take care, my boy." A voice echoed in his brain pan. He thought it might be his da, though he didn't remember what the man looked like.

"Aye, da." He whispered to himself. Sooner or later they would find some adults. They would be able to stop the long walking. They would have a home. Until then, they would run and hide and run again. The moon shone through the huge broken window, and showed the shine of tears on Grampers' face.

#PostApocalypse #Fear #HardKids #AbandonedPlaces

Art Source: Abandoned Church
Story and Characters (c)/by Scott Roche


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