Fire At Will

The hunter examined the wreckage of the half-ton supply truck. It lay several meters from the road, warped from the fire. The stench of burning rubber still hung in the air like the gallows.

Again, the hunter glanced at the sky. An unnecessary action dictated by a necessary habit. She would have heard the beast long before seeing it out here in the silent prairies. In the city, skywatching was essential–you didn’t always hear an attack coming in the bustle of the crowds of survivors. The sky was clear.

She climbed onto the side of the turned-over truck. The flatbed was gashed open, and, peering inside, the hunter saw only ash and melted steel where the harpoon guns once were. Nothing salvageable. She climbed off the truck and landed amidst the rest of the spilled cargo, also burnt to uselessness. She thought about looking into the driver’s seat, but she knew what she’d find. She’d seen enough of them.

Too bad. The city folks could have used more weapons, no doubt. Weapons were more precious than gold these days. And these truckers, they were the new champions now that the roads were so unsafe. She’d seen them leaning out of windows, firing bolts at hungry dragons, driving with their knees to keep their cargo safe, like chariot drivers in an arena. She liked them much better than the living zombies working in the cities, hopeless, like they were waiting to die and simply looking for something to do in the mean time. The truckers were fierce. They believed in the fight.

The huntress didn’t believe in the fight. She believed in the hunt.

There it was. That feeling she always felt before she could hear–yes, the flapping. She didn’t know what it was that warned her even before there were any sensory signals. A guardian angel maybe. But the swoops, the hard rushes of wind, grew louder, closer.

She put herself between the truck and the noise. It was the closest thing to cover in these prairies, especially with the lands so scorched around her. To run for tall grass would give away her position.

A moment later, she saw the massive silhouette, blue like distant mountains, approaching. Good God, it was massive. The radio mentioned a class 7 in the area, but the huntress didn’t believe it. If there were a class 7 around, no one would be alive to report about it.

But there it was, its wide wings spanning the length of a football stadium–and then some. Gradually it came into focus, and the huntress hid herself behind the scope of her .50 cal. There weren’t very many of such weapons left in the world, but she lucked upon one during her months of salvaging (or looting, depending on your outlook). The only downside was, she was short on ammunition.

It wasn’t worth the attempt. A dragon of this size wasn’t prey. It was far above the top of the food chain. Literally. It had the high ground in every situation.

But she aimed the rifle anyway, hoping to God the dragon wouldn’t spray another blast of flame at its previous quarry. One way or the other, though, it was getting closer. Filling the sky. Screeching a deafening cry, a light of flame within its jaws. Jesus. Oh, Jesus.

She fired. And it fired back.

Day 190 and 191’s six random prompt categories were, “DRAGONS,” “Gold,” “A hunter,” “Living zombies,” “The chariot,” and, “The hanging tree.”

More dragons. Of course. And another double-prompt, for no great excuse this time, though I will say I’m fed up with WordPress saying it’s uploaded a prompt when it really hasn’t. Oy.

– H.

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