I’ve always been scared to leave the island. It is our home; our safe haven. Why would I want to leave?
Of course, people leave all the time. We need supplies and food to survive but, as a child, I couldn’t wrap my head around the necessity of leaving the place where the monsters couldn’t get to us. My naive brain just wanted everyone to stay and live happily ever after.
As I grew up, I learned our happily ever after was long gone.
Today is my 18th birthday which means only one thing. It’s time to work. I have to go on my first run to the mainland; a supply run. It’s a mandatory requirement for living in our colony. Everyone must do their part. Plus, my father is in charge and there is no special treatment for his little girl. Trust me, I tried.
It’s early in the morning but I’m beginning to hear the noises of our awakening settlement. I couldn’t sleep a wink last night. Every time I closed my eyes, my imagination ran away with everything that could possibly go wrong on our trip. I’m not even the tiniest bit tired though. My body seems to already be on high alert, awaiting possible threats. There is a gun slung over my shoulder but it brings me no comfort. It feels heavy and foreign though I’ve been shooting for years. Granted, I shoot cans and targets; not animals or monsters hiding in the shadows across the water.
I gaze across the short waterway that separates our home from the shores of what used to be our capital city. At least that’s what I was taught growing up. In the distance, decaying buildings loom over the forest. That’s where we’re heading. It will take at least two days to reach the outskirts of the city and, if we’re lucky, a couple more to find what we need. It’s taken weeks before but we can’t come back empty handed. We’ll stay out there as long as we have to.
I hear footsteps behind me and turn to see the other twelve members of my team walking down the beach. They are veterans of runs like this. I should feel safe but all I feel are the knots in my stomach threatening to tear me apart. My brother leads the pack and I can tell by the look in his eyes that he’s not too happy about me tagging along today. I join them and walk along toward the small boat that will take me over to the other side for the first time in my life. My brother gives me a small smile but I can tell it’s forced. At least he’s trying. I squeeze his hand and nod, taking it away before he can feel it shaking. I know he’s just scared of what could happen to me. Hell, so am I. It makes me happy to know he cares so much but he acts like I chose this path all on my own. He knows better. He went through the same thing I did. It wasn’t my decision.
You can’t go against the elders. They saw that this was my duty for our colony. I’m meant to be here.
For what exactly, only time will tell…
One last character sketch before NaNoWriMo begins!