©2022 Michael Raven
It was the whisper of boots crunching in the wind-hardened snow that drew Winter’s attention first, made her groan that it was on her turn at the wall that the ghouls would decide to make a visit to their encampment.
Why not on Ben’s shift, for fuck’s sake?
Winter lowered her rifle in the direction of the sound washing over the winterscape, her finger hovering between the trigger & guard, & looked through the scope — ready to gently squeeze when the interloping ghoul came out of the shadows. That’s when she saw the red scarf, whipsnapping in a wind that was far too calm to make a small flag, let alone a heavy scarf, move as that scarf moved as it trailed behind the small figure walking towards her in the snowdrifts. The shape stumbled, then fell, face-first in the snow, scarf ends dancing above.
Winter acted without thought.
“Open the goddamn gate!”
She jumped down from the makeshift palisade circling the camp, running through it before it was barely open enough and crouched by the small body in the snow. It was only then that she considered it might be a ghoul.
“Fuck it,” she muttered aloud, ignoring the warnings shouted behind her.
She trained her gun on the red hood, ready to pull the trigger, & flipped it over — frantic, seeking signs around the eyes and mouth…
The scarf ends dropped to the snow.
A young, ash-haired girl.