The opening chapter to my current in progress novel.
Her pleas of desperation fell on Brugge’s death ears. It didn’t change what Brugge had to do to end this nightmare. Everyone was dead. They had killed each other. One by one they had fallen to their primal urges. She would too. It was something deeply rooted in all of them. There was no escaping it. It was a reminder that a beast lurked beneath their skin. And equally from his perspective it would be the humane method to end her misery once and for all.
“You promised,” she screamed between crying and tugging at the ends of his loose blood stained white shirt. He watched her plunge her head into his chest. “Please,” she whispered. “Brugge, for god’s sake. Please!”
“I’m sorry,” said Brugge cocking the pistol he held in his left hand.
“No, please, I love you.”
“Don’t make this any harder than it needs to be,” said Brugge crouching down to her level.
He reached out and using his index finger to raise her tear soaked chin up to meet his eye. More than ever he just wanted to hug her and cast aside the gun in his hand. But this had to be done. He had to see this through.
“Brugge, please,” she said grabbing his arms. “There has to be another way.”
Brugge shook his head and removed her hands off him. He returned to his feet and stared down at this human wreck.
“You know exactly what I am, Maria,” said Brugge.
She wildly shook her. “No, you’re not. You’re a kind and loving man. You kept me alive this long when they turned on us. Brugge what has come over you!”
“Nothing, I’m that same man who stands before you now.”
She stood up forcing him to step back a little in surprise. “Please, Brugge, don’t be what they made you.”
“If only I had that choice,” said Brugge raising the pistol once more.
Brugge’s head slamming off the side of the carriage awoke him from his slumber. As he rubbed his forehead and took in the bodies stacked and clustered around him he then remembered where he was. On a freight train, hurtling toward a gulag in Unity Territory.
In such a tight space all he could do was press himself close to the carriage wall. The wall’s narrow slits presented only the darkness of the moon and a dismal view of a near endless baron wasteland. Something heavy collided with the carriage from outside. The force alone knocked them all off balance. Putting the screaming and agonized voices to the back of his mind he pushed his face close to the gap and met its orange eyes. The hungry stare forced his step back as the creature began attacking the slit, desperately trying to claw its way in.
He lost balance again as another force collided with their carriage. Steadying himself once again, a wave of gunfire lit up the slits, the walls buckled inward and blood began dribbling through the ceiling.
“Hey, you, you saw it right? What the hell is attacking us!”
Brugge looked back to his fellow prisoner as a second scream pierced the air, likely coming from one of the guards.
“a Virulent pack, they’ve found us,” said Brugge.
“Will we be safe?” asked the prisoner
Brugge shrugged as a few of the prisoners around him regained their footing.
For every moment of cherished silence, it was broken with an inhuman howl and bursts of white light through the slits of their carriage. After a while the silence remained longer than normal. The door to their carriage slid open, inviting a cold howl of wind forcing some of them to huddle close. Brugge remained abrasive to the cold reaching his way to wrap around his body. A blood-stained guard appeared before them holding the grip of his rifle. In single motion he aimed it at them.
“I should kill you all for this. No man out there is worth a meal for the Virulent. So, which one of you little shits want to be bait?”
“B-Bait,” whispered the prisoner from before.
“You there, are you volunteering?”
The man’s pleading eyes met his but Brugge ignored him and returned his gaze to the slit all the while trying not to focus on the prisoners pushing this man to the exit.
Bait. He’s not going to be only one sacrificed to the roaming Virulent packs.
The train guard grabbed the man by the collar and pulled him out of the main carriage and onto the carriage’s steel outer walkway. The large door then slammed shut.
“Will there be many more of these attacks?” asked one of the other prisoners.
No one immediately answered too terrified to speak a word.
“We’re a meal on wheels. What do you think?” asked Brugge much to shrill crying of those around him.
Just a few more days, Brugge. The gulag can’t be that much worse, can it?