Monday, March 12, 2012

Character Sketches: Sean

I approach the ramshackle farmhouse carefully, watching for signs of movement, listening for anything that might be more than just the wind. I called out from the edge of the yard, but nobody answered: either the place is empty, or its inhabitants don't care to respond. With luck I can scavenge some supplies without finding any trouble, but that sort of luck is scarce these days.

My progress is steady, despite the limp. Beneath the worn cloth of my pants, my left leg is strangely deformed: longer and heavier than it once was, the skin black as coal. I wear a combat boot on my right foot, an old sneaker on my left. The difference is almost enough to compensate for this thing... this infection, this mutation... that's claimed my leg from just above the knee to just above the ankle. My left arm, tucked into a sling across my chest, is a match for the leg: the flesh is heavy and black from just below the elbow to the tips of my fingers. Another small piece of my humanity, traded away for a few more days of safety...

I reach the door, knock, and listen. Nothing stirs. I wait, knock again, wait longer. The others are somewhere behind me, waiting as I wait, ready to help if I need it. My family, and others... I guess I'd call them my tribe, these days.

Nothing. With my still-human right hand, I try the knob. It's unlocked, and the door swings open. I check the position of the weapons on my belt: wakizashi on the left hip, pistol on the right. The pistol is a last resort, because ammunition is a finite resource, but the guns are also the best defense we have against some of the things that share the world with us these days.

I leave the weapons in their places and pull out a flashlight instead. Batteries are even more scarce and valued than ammunition, but I switch it on and step inside...

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