Chapter Five

A snarl from the shrubs. I had been walking for a day since leaving the tunnelled hillside. Without a fight, access to those tunnels would have taken months of old-fashioned political maneuvering. I chose a different route to the mountains, a more direct route. And it was snarling at me.

There are stories about ancient future holocausts that study the possibilities left open to the survivers. I had read many of these in my youth, long before this life. I remember a story about hope, a postman figure bringing life's values to a lost civilization. Taking survival beyond the everyday and back to the dream state of reachable utopian ideals. I felt little like that fellow. My journey for hope like his begins as private. His though inspired others. Mine will remain private.

A small furred body stalked out from under the covering plants. Teeth bared, fur bristling, paws lingering carefully in placement. I started to back away from grey fur hunger. Slowly. And the I ran.

Despair pursued me. Searching for a taller tree, a river, any obstacle to the teeth behind me. Snapping jaw cracking filled my ears, closer. Despairing of a plan, I kept stumbling forward. I carried no weapons.

Pushing aside branches and needles, jumping the fallen logs and softer sand, I went down. A shot rang out.

NIGIRO _ s e a r c h i n g

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