“Take the bag and run, little red, run until your feet can’t carry you and then keep running!” My mother’s voice carried through the burning house as my too skinny legs ran me out of the home I’ve had for the last eight years.
I didn’t look back once I was over the threshold and I didn’t stop until the soft body of my only family member left jumped in front of me. I looked into the eyes of my best friend and quickly jumped on their back before they took off through the trees.
I hid my face in the soft fur as my hands cinched around their throat, I didn’t want to fall off and land in the hot dirt. I didn’t know how far the fire had spread but with our neighborhood going up first I knew it was only the beginning.
We hit a clearing and I knew we needed to find shelter quickly but the direction we were running in wouldn’t give us much cover. Burnt grass fields and dead trees littered the scene before us. We were sitting ducks.
“Go the other way! Death will be waiting for us if you keep on this path!” I shouted over the wind whipping around me but it didn’t deter our destination.
My arms were like jelly and when we finally came to a stop I looked around to see nothing but open fields and the possibility of death lingering in the air.
“Why did you stop? We need to find shelter!” I shouted as quietly as possible knowing I would be heard but my answer was cut short by the squeak of a door hinge.
My attention snapped up and then down to the ground when I noticed a small figure coming through a secret door in the ground.
Once the reflected glow of the moon hit her face I knew we were safe for the moment.
“Raven! How did you find us?” I jumped off my straddled position and quickly made my way over to my favorite person in the world. My surrogate grandma; Raven.
“I followed your mother’s directions, we need to get you two in the tunnels and to the safe house. Hurry along.” I did as I was told but as we followed her a question entered my mind.
“If you spoke with my mother then they’re safe! Are they in the tunnels too?” I asked with a hint more of excitement than necessary. When I looked up at Raven I wanted to eat my words. Her face told me everything.
“I’m sorry, child, but everyone in the house was trapped. Only a few of them got to the first tunnel door in the back bedroom in time. The rest of us were waiting down there and when I was given the note from your mother I knew she had given herself over to the flames.”
I wanted to cry but something inside me knew she had died. It didn’t stop a tear from escaping, the only two members of my family were walking next to me in these dark and dank tunnels.
“She was brave to the very end. That’s how she wanted to go, she would rather greet death than be his queen.” I repeated the words my mother would tell me every night. This was for the best.
“You are just like her, you know. Strong will and a fire lit attitude that no one can put out. You’ll do great leading us when you’re ready.” I nodded my head and took Raven’s hand in mine for some sort of comfort. She led us down miles of tunnels until we got to the door we needed.
“The numbers are smaller since you last came to us, don’t be shocked when you see the group.” She warned me and I only nodded my head. I knew there would be fewer people than last year. My mother and I escaped the first fire with our lives. That night I had seen my father burned alive on the front lawn. It was an image and smell I would never forget.
“Have you gotten word about the other hideouts?” I asked as we approached the last stretch of the three-mile walk to the main hideout. Once we were at the door Raven turned to me one last time with her bright LED blue light shining in my face from the position on her wrist.
“There were only three others like us left. They will be sending the last of the humans to us under cover of the sun. Through tunnels and other means. It’s only maybe five hundred, added onto out existing five hundred that give us a thousand humans left. Including you and me.” I think all of the air left my lungs at that moment. I may not be very old yet but even I knew that our numbers were nearing extinction. “Come along, we have a lot to catch you up on. You’re the last of your family now, we can’t have you running off and dying as well.” A smile tugged at my lips when she attempted to make a joke for my benefit.
Only a thousand humans left on Earth, all because of those stupid blood-sucking vampires. If I have my way, they’ll be extinct first.