By: Steven KnauerArthur looked back at his companions, wearily hefting his bag over his shoulder. Putting his hand over his tanned brow, he spots a giant, dead tree good enough for a rest stop. He toyed with his crucifix, thanking God for a safe haven.“We’ll make camp here.” He calls out to his caravan.Crossing the Brazilian wastes was usually called a fool’s errand, but when well-armed men march into town claiming to actually have a way out of this hell, exceptions can be made. It was day three of this not-so-great and wondrous adventure, but Arthur tried not to falter. The truth was however, that he had never encountered such a daunting task since the Fall itself ten years ago, but that’s what kept him going. Ten years, he thought. Ten years of reflection on mankind’s mistakes.After an hour’s time and the sun setting quickly, the company had fully set up their camp. Arthur and the rest of the expedition leaders huddled around their fire.“It’s Crazy how dis weatha flip-flops on us so much,” Chimed Avi, followed by a pause in the group. He didn’t know the boy very well as he had been found wandering the desert a few months ago outside of Arthur’s village, but he assumed by his accent that he was Cajun. To be fair, Louisiana didn’t really exist anymore so his nationality couldn’t properly be addressed, but Arthur tried to put that thought out of his head. The poor kid, just a mere 16 years old had nobody wishing to respond to him, so Arthur cleared his throat.“It’s one of the many punishments for our sins,” He told him. “Man was never meant to play God.”“God,” scoffed a familiar voice, “What kind of God let’s his creation turn into a shithole like this?” Looking across the fire, Arthur found it belonged to Marissa. Now she was someone he never wanted to argue with. Arthur’s faith is what kept him going, while Marissa lost hers long ago after seeing her father being brutally killed by raiders over a land grab while just trying to protect his family. Rather, she saw the moment leading up to his death before her brother covered her eyes. While they disagreed on philosophies, Arthur couldn’t find it within himself to argue with her. Feeling a wave of disappointment, he decided he was turning in for the night. As he walked away from the group, he could hear her response, a big hawk of spit in the fire. He lay in his tent, removing his necklace to weave it in between his fingers as he stared at it. In the middle of the night, Arthur was woken by screams and gunshots. He rushed out of his tent, wood axe in hand, trying to assess the situation. His eyes were still full of sleep, but his senses were quickly adjusting as he saw what seemed to be a vague outline of a four-legged creature with sharp tendrils squirming around on its underbelly attacking people in the large camp. Shamus, a cocky 30-something-year-old and one of the men that came to save Arthur’s town, shot half clip of ammo from his rifle into the creature who only responded with anger. What seemed like black smoke and tar spewed from the beast, catching the ground alight where it fell. It ran toward Shamus as he continued to assault the figure.It seemed unphased.
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