The One from the Haven
The One from the Haven
Her ears throbbed from the pounding of her heart as she ran moving her battered ten year old feet as fast as she could along the rain slick, abandoned roads. The beasts had been pursuing her for a while now, chasing after her while steadily getting closer. The electrical whine of their mechanical bodies was easy to hear but that didn’t make it any easier to escape.
She paused to take a moment to breathe, her chest expanding and deflating at rapid speed as she hid from sight into a hole beneath the side of the decrepit bleachers of what must have once been a school a long time ago. She curled up hiding herself as best she could, her toes digging into the mud at her feet. The only thing she wore was a white gown from The Haven. It was the place she had lived most of her life since the world had been first attacked. It was the place the beast had finally broken into and started killing every living thing they could find.
She clamped her hands over her mouth quickly as she heard heavy steps of the beast after her. A metal leg appeared for her vision as mud sink in around the heavy foot. She could hear the rain bouncing off of the metal hide too strong for even their human technology to penetrate. Not even their equipment of war could harm the beasts, bullets and shrapnel easily bouncing off the unique casing.
These beasts were not from this world. They didn’t appear to be living being except for the fact that you could see the beating, blue hearts through their transparent upper body. The adults had thought it to be the weak spot…and maybe it would have been if the midsection had not been as hard as the rest of the body. No one knew where the beast came from, only that so many had emerged at one time spreading across the world and destroying it in a matter of days.
The humans hadn’t stood a chance against them even with all their advanced technology. At the time she had been about three or four so she didn’t remember much of the quick war, only that she along with many other children had been handed off to other adults and taken to the place known as The Haven.
The Haven was one of the three safety areas located across the world where the humans could hide. At the time they were considered to be the only places the beasts would avoid. And for her, she had stayed there for the six or seven years of her life, learning with other children their new way of life. Then they were attacked a few days ago. No one had expected it, no one knew how it happened or why suddenly now the beasts were breaking in.
The Haven was in shambles now. Only a few had escaped. She was one of the lucky ones to still be alive…or at least she thought she was before the beast standing outside the bleachers lowered his large wolf-like metal head, red glowing eyes peering right at her.
The gasps escaped her lips before she could try and stop it, her body trembling not just from the chill of wet clothes but from the fear running down her spine. She tried to push herself back further, the mud slipping under her making it hard for her to get a grip. The beast gave out an intricate growl from its bared muzzle before a bark that sounded more like a bird whistling came from his snapping jaws as he dug his metallic claws into the dirt trying to get to her. She screamed before she could stop herself, tears running down her cheeks as she scooted away as far back as she could seeing he had squeezed underneath the bleachers to get to her. She took the chance crawling around him as she started heading for the other end of the bleachers towards the light she saw there. There must have been another hole there. She moved quickly, mud squish beneath her slowing down her progress. But she didn’t let it stop her, her pants coming faster the more she realized she was running out of time. She hole was smaller than the last one but she didn’t have much choice she pushed her arms and head through grunting as she tried to get her feet to grip the ground and help her squeeze through the tight hole.
Metallic feet started splashing in the mud behind her and she did all she could to push herself all the way through. She barely made it through squeeze the rest of the way out before she was on her feet moving away just as the beast crashed through the wooden side, the bleachers creaking at the sudden weight change.
She turned facing him, swallowing hard and shivering as she stepped back holding her arms up as defense. He lowered down on his haunches, his appearance predatory as he started to stalk closer to her, the lower growl appearing from his muzzle again. She slipped in the mud falling on her backside, a whimper of her own escaping from her throat as her bottom lip trembled. She was going to die. Even with all her efforts to escape, to hopefully find one of the other Havens, she was going to die here.
She backed up still crying out, her eyes closing as he started to run towards her. The sounds of his movements stopped suddenly. She was scared to open her eyes but cracked them open slowly before she blinked staring straight ahead at the back of another metallic beast. It stood in front of her, its pose defensive as it faced off against the other of its kind. The two beasts growled at each other, the one that pursued her starting to walk a circle around them. Yet each time he moved, the beast in front of her followed keeping itself between the two of them.
She found herself staring, shocked, confused, and just a little bit anxious. She’d never seen two of the beasts fight each other but this might be a chance for her to escape. Until then though, she waited watching them, watching the one that chased her move closer to the other beast. She took notice that the collar around the beast that chased her glowed red whereas the one standing in front of her didn’t have one on at all. She remembered seeing all the beasts before having the glowing red collars around their necks. So…why didn’t this one have one?
The collarless one knocked the collared beast into the bleachers, the already weak frame collapsing as the whole mechanism rained down on him covering him in wooden bleachers and metal beams. And just like that, the battle was over. The girl slowly stood to her feet, shivering still as she stepped back when the new beast turned around to face her.
The first thing she noticed about him aside from his collarless neck was the fact that his eyes shined a pretty blue versus the red the other beasts had. It felt…different looking at him. He took a step towards her and she stepped back he stopped. He stared at her, his body shifting as the heart in his chest that was once beating fast during the short fight was now beating much slower. One of his mechanical ears was missing leaving only the wiring hanging out from where it used to be. He’d been in fights…and for him to be injured it must have been against the other beasts. Nothing their world had could so much as put a scratch on these things.
He lowered his head slightly staring into her brown eyes as he took another step. This time she didn’t run away. She cursed her curiosity for wanting to know more about this unique creature that moved as easily as any living beast on their own world. Steadily he made his way towards her moving slow as if afraid of making her run. When he stopped right in front of her she reached out hesitantly before resting her hand on top of his head surprised at the warmth she felt there. She expected him to feel cold but it was like petting a dog without fur. Though it looked and sounded like normal metal, she could feel that it was similar to skin yet as smooth as plastic. How was something like this impenetrable to the humans? It felt no different than human skin to her.
The rubble from the bleachers started to move startling her. Her new friend looked back at the rubble as well growling low before he looked up at her. He turned his back to her before he looked back staring back into her eyes as if he was telling her something. Whatever the silent words were, she didn’t hesitate to climb up onto his back as the rubble fell from around the other beast, red eyes scoping around before they landed on her. She swallowed wrapping her arms around her beast’s neck before he took off running with the red eyed beast pursuing them. She could feel the warmth in his body fighting off the chills of her own. He was a living beast…there was no way a machine could be this warm.
She looked down through his chest at the heart starting to beat faster before he sped up running faster. A glance back showed the other beast getting further and further back until she couldn’t see him anymore. So her friend was faster than the others. She felt like she was flying through the forest. Others tried to pursue them but even they were too slow to keep up. He seemed as quick as the bullets from the guns the humans at The Haven had been trained to use. Like a bullet.
“Bullet…” She said before she looked down at him. “Can I call you Bullet?” A low hum was her response but it made her smile as she closed her eyes resting her head against his as he kept steadily running. For the first time in a long time, she felt safe. And it was with the most unlikely of companions too. “Bullet, can you take me to The Sanctuary?” It was the next place she could think of to go being one of the three havens she knew off. Hopefully if they were still standing, she could warn them and maybe find safety there. But she’d never make it there alone. She was going to need help.
The beast hummed again, the sound a little happy in its tune before she smiled again nuzzling into the skin on his neck. He was warm… just so warm. It was only a matter of time before she found herself falling asleep not realizing when Bullet had moved into a casual walk once they were no longer being pursued to keep her from falling off. Maybe it was just the way his body seemed to rock as she fell into a well-deserved slumber leaving her to dream about the days to come. She would be traveling, but she would not be alone. Not while she had Bullet by her side.