Afterlife

By: DEA

Feb 12th, 2020

1st Update – 3,193 words

The sun has just risen. A young boy, around the age of 10, is running through the forest. Scared. In tears.

He has no clothes on except for a pair of dirty underwear. 

Running almost hysterically through the evergreen, he screams and he cries as he dodges downed trees and limbs. His agility for a ten-year-old is uncanny for his age. He doesn’t know where to go. For all he knows his entire family was just killed in the explosion that destroyed his childhood home. He thought if only his dad would have let him help this wouldn’t have happened.

Cut to: Exploded Farm House – Dawn

Private Cooper is still in complete shock. It takes him some time to realize what has happened and where he is at. As he walks through the rubble of the still burning country home, he begins to look for any signs of life amongst his former squadmates. None seem to be alive. He notices a shimmering object that seems to stick out of the pile. He gets closer and realizes it is the sword that Spoon had used in the prior kitchen space. Checking to see if the handle is hot, he touches it with his fingers. The leather grip is cool enough for him to grab. He pulls the sword out and uses it almost like a cane.

Walking around the house, he begins to notice that the werewolves that were killed have now recently transformed back into their dead human carcasses. He worries that they may still be able to heal and wonders if he should try to look for survivors or finish them off with his sword. He does not want another battle like what just happened, as he is still wounded with a limp and a deep cut had that had to be bandaged with a tourniquet. As far as he can tell he is the only one alive from his platoon’s battle with the family of werewolves. 

Although he is wounded and believes he is alone, he worries that some of the enemies are still alive or can heal themselves, thus he begins to move with a bit more speed collecting whatever supplies that he can quickly. He finds a backpack that is half burnt but still useable. He begins picking up random items that he finds around and outside the house. After collecting enough, he darts off into the forest going for the higher ground, hopefully with some view of the house. He reaches this point just to have a safe place to think for some time. 

He looks around for a semi-hidden area. Amongst a group of trees, he builds a small area to rest. From here he begins removing his bandage and notices that the wound is worse than previously thought. At first, he was in shock with adrenaline, but now as he removes the first bandage there is quite a bit of blood loss and the pain kicks in. He bandages himself once again, but finally succumbs to the blood loss by passing out.

Cut to: Later in the day. 

The boy finds himself at a crossroads literally and figuratively. He approaches a stream of water and begins to drink and wash the dirt from his body. Should he return to the house and look for survivors or attempt to continue on and survive alone? He can hunt during the full moon, but can he hunt in human form? His mind went back to his youth.

He remembered his first memory of being with his family on the hunt. He knew that they were hunting elk and he could hear their commands even if they did not speak in a human’s language while changed. As they caught the pack of elk, he remembers the rush of excitement that came from closing in. He remembers his father jumping from the hillside on top of the huge buck. Its antlers must have been at least three foot across. The boy could hear everything, but dare not open his eyes when he saw his father munching down on the throat of the elk for the first time.

He was a few years older when he remembered his first kill. He was roaming around the north side of the big mountain when he spotted a pack of wolves chasing a rabbit. The wolves turned their attention onto him, as he was in human form at the time. They came closer and closer to him until they had him surrounded. He acted like he was going to fight them and then one of the leaders of the pack approached and sniffed for a while. The boy growled and began to leash and arrow. The boy thought they were about to trounce when all of a sudden the head wolf let out a small howl, then turned around and walked away. His entire pack soon followed after. The boy then proceeded to hunt the rabbit with his bow, as he was not hunting in the wolf form at that moment. He pulled back the sinew and let one fly. A perfect shot for his first solo kill. 

His first kill as a werewolf came against a bear that was fighting against his family. He remembered approaching from behind and biting the bear on the ankle, snapping her Achilles tendon. The mother bear quickly fell. Since it was he that made the blow, it was considered his duty to make the full kill. Coming in from the side, he leapt off the ground and went straight for the neck. Grabbing a hold, he pulled away ripping a chunk out of the jugular. The bear moaned and breathed its last breath. The meat was the best he ever tasted while he was a wolf and even later on when he was a human once again. He remembered the pelt he made from the fur and wished he had it with him now.

He would need to take the skills that he learned during this time and put them to use. To save his own life, he would have to find something to eat. He thought about trying to make a weapon out of a stick and some stones from the creekbed. He looked around until he found one that looked sharp enough and plucked it from the water. He knew that he could sharpen it a bit further from granite stone. He noticed one down the creek. Combining the sharp rock with the granite he was able to make it sharp enough to pierce the skin. After this, he looked for any downed pines nearby. He knew by combing the rock with a pine and some tree bark to wrap he would have a weapon in case he came upon an animal or needed to defend himself. Eventually, the staff was complete and he began to walk the creek again.

Heading back in the direction of his home, he reached an area that he recognized. He knew that if he took it all the way north he would not be far from where the home had been. He just so happened to see a small school of fish and thought he would give his spear a shot at catching one. He took his time and remembered to aim above them as aiming directly would miss when shooting into the water. On his first try, he missed. After a small adjustment he hit one of the larger ones straight in the belly. He brought the fish up and began to eat it raw like his dad used to either in werewolf or human form. 

Going a bit further he noticed a nut tree up ahead and gathered what he could find. The fish and nuts were enough for him at the moment. By nightfall, he would reach their house. What would he find? Who might still be alive? If the soldiers were still there, would they try to attack him? He wasn’t for sure. 

Cut to: Cooper’s make-shift forest bunker.

Cooper awoke with a gasp. It was approaching nightfall. There were many bugs around, and he noticed the pain in his wound. He removed the bandages slowly and thankfully he thought the cut had started to scab over. He knew if he didn’t find some antibiotics or some help soon he wouldn’t make it much longer. 

He looked through the small opening down at the house and from what it looked like nothing had changed. He could not hear any movement or sounds except the smoldering and crackling of the fire. He thought about his next move carefully. If he returned and someone was there waiting on him, he probably wouldn’t make it as his wound was getting worse. He knew however it was a chance he had to take. 

He looked at the small amount of supplies he had gathered and began repacking them into the backpack he found earlier. He had one more bandage he wanted to save for later. He found a lighter to use to create a fire and a small apple that had gone uneaten. He thought about eating it but wanted to save it until he was sure he could find more food. Lastly, he had his sword. Using this sword as a prop he gathered his strength and began to walk slowly through the forest back to the house.

He didn’t notice any movement and came around the bend to where the garage used to be. He thought maybe there might be some old medicine cabinets that would have survived the explosion. This might be his only hope if no one was coming to save him.

As Cooper circled the former garage, he was a bit out of breath from the hike down. He was as quiet as possible and knew he would have the element of surprise if anyone was hiding for an ambush. All of a sudden a crack was heard down the near ravine. It had to have been made by a human or animal. He crouched down and waited for what would come.

Cut to: A ravine 

The boy made his way up from the creek-bed towards the house. He tried to stay as silent as possible and approached downwind to block his smell. As he went up the hill and saw the smoke for the first time, he thought about his family again. Images of his childhood flashed through his memory. He hoped that he could find someone alive. At this moment he accidentally stepped on a twig that let out a crash. Hopefully, no one heard him. He kept on going until he reached the first clearing.

He looked around to see if anyone was there, but couldn’t see anyone. He noticed the body of his mother laying between the forest and the former house. He wanted to stay crouched and hidden, but the emotions overcame him and he began to run towards her. He knelt down, put his head onto her chest and began to cry. 

Cut to: Cooper next to the garage. 

Cooper saw the boy rush out towards one of the bodies of the former werewolf. He was a bit confused as the boy was nearly naked with a large staff. “Was this one of the children that lived here? Would he attack me if I were to approach?” Cooper thought. He reckoned that it was better to keep his distance, just in case there were any more hiding and this was some sort of trap.

Cut to: The boy and his mom

The boy started to holler. He didn’t care anymore if someone saw him or tried to kill him. He had been very close with his whole family as they were all that he had. Although he was scared of the soldiers, he knew that if he saw one alive he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from trying to kill him. He could feel that feeling of fury, of bloodlust. Even as a child it was deep within him.

The boy’s idea of heaven was living in the forest with his family forever. He could not believe that his family had just been taken away from him. He thought maybe he was dreaming and tried to wake up but could not. It had just been the past week that his mother told him that if anything ever happened to them he was to run away as far as he could and survive like they taught him. And now how could this be? Crying over his mother’s dead body, he was overcome with anguish. If he found the men who did this, they would not survive, he felt.

Cut to: Cooper

Cooper knew that he had to make contact. If he didn’t, he was probably going to die. Thus, he took a chance with the boy. Steadying himself upon the sword, he moved closer to the boy’s position. The boy was still crouched on his mother. He said in a loud voice, “Boy, I am not here to hurt you.”

The boy immediately jumped up and grabbed his staff, aiming it in every direction. He wasn’t for sure where the voice had originated immediately.

Cooper lifted from his hiding position. “I am sorry for what happened here. It was not my choice…”

At this same moment, the boy began running at full speed towards Cooper. He drew up the spear and threw it as hard as he could at Cooper’s chest. At the right time, Cooper spun out of the direction of the spear and it whizzed on by. Cooper drew his sword as the boy approached in haste. The boy noticed the sword and slowed down until he stopped at the last possible second. The blade was nearly touching the boy’s throat and Cooper, although injured, could have killed him there if he wanted.

“Listen, boy,” he shouted, “I’ve had enough death for one day. I know that you must be angry, but if you want to die then keep right on with it.”

The boy began to calm down a bit and fell to his knees. 

“You killed my whole family. Why should I believe anything you say?”, the boy said in a deep Scottish accent.

“I cannot undo what has happened,” Cooper said. “What do you expect from me?” The boy got up slowly and started to back away. Cooper drew down his sword, reached into his pack and threw the boy the apple. He caught it in his hand, but the boy threw it back. “I don’t need your help,” said the boy. 

Surprised with the boy’s maturity and dexterity, Cooper caught the apple with his open hand. ”What if I may need yours?”, he slowly responded.

The boy thought about it for a second. “Why should I give it to you?”, he asked. He told Cooper that his whole family was dead it seemed. Cooper felt bad but told the boy that even if his platoon had come to this area, he never knew what for.

He was told initially it was a training mission. After finding his former special operations commander ripped to shreds, he was merely defending himself and his platoon from the werewolves who were on the attack.

“What were we supposed to do? Run away? Play dead?”, asked Cooper.

The boy started to cry again. “They wouldn’t have attacked you if you wouldn’t have come here. Don’t you know that?”, the boy whimpered.

They both thought about what had happened. Whose fault was it? It was obviously not the young boy’s fault. It was not really Cooper’s fault that he was in this position either. He was now merely a survivor, trying to find a way out.

“Do you know where any medicine might be?” Cooper asked.

“I know we had some in the house, but it wasn’t for us. We never had to use medicine. When we were cut, we would heal. Do you not heal when you are cut?”, said the boy.

”Yes,” laughed Cooper, “We do heal, just maybe not as fast as you.”

Cooper began to realize the boy knew very little of non-werewolf humans or how they lived. Was it because his family had not taught him or had he not spent much time with “real” people?

“What’s your name kid?” asked Cooper. “My family called my Tenny, short for Tennyson.” responded the boy. “Tenny eh? Well, you can call me Coop.” 

When Cooper realized that the boy was a werewolf an idea came to him. If he could not find medicine or communicate with someone for emergency help, could the boy bite him to turn him? Would it heal him as well? Would he be a werewolf for the rest of his life after he thought? Would it be worth it? Surviving, but deformed? He considered it a last resort but didn’t mention it to the boy yet.

They had to work together, so they would need to overlook what had happened the previous night between his family and the man’s platoon. The boy thought about how many men had come in the past to try and kill his family. How many times had they been victorious, protecting their home and way of life from the outsiders who only wanted to capture his family members to torture and test in their labs? Why was this man successful where others had failed? What was special about him?

Cooper looked at the boy and couldn’t but help feeling a little sadness for his situation. He thought that the boy would probably die out here alone, but maybe he was wrong. Maybe it would be him that would die out here without the help of the boy. He didn’t know these woods, nor where the closest neighbors or villages might be. Perhaps by joining together, this is the only way they would both make it out of there alive. 

Cooper began to ask the boy some questions. “Do you have any other vehicles around this area? Perhaps some that are hidden? A bike maybe?” The boy shook his head that they didn’t have anything like that. He knew they used to have an old 4-wheeler, but that it had been broken down for some time. Maybe if Cooper was a good mechanic he might be able to get it to start. Did they have any gas left from the barn that exploded? Or the house? Neither could be for sure until they looked closer.

Eventually, they decide that they would need to work together to survive and make it out of the forest together.

Cut to: Later on in story

It was not long after this that a helicopter was heard in the distance. Could it be that someone knew they were there? How could they know the area? Could someone have seen the explosion and sent for help? Should he and the boy try to get their attention or let them pass on? Neither could be for sure if they would be their enemy or a friend.

https://link.medium.com/jwRmMW2Q44

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