[DS] campfire story
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[GH Scary Story entry] for my little unhinged post-apocalypse scavenging fellow.
When the world ended, it hadn’t been a quick event. Sure, the mass extinction of most things on the surface of the planet had been quick, with the follow up deaths of the rest occurring soon after - but the world itself had ended long before then. Peace treaties crumbled faster than they could be signed into law. Governing bodies spoke for the masses but lied straight through their teeth to those that were just as volatile and just as unfaithful.
When the world ended, the possibility to thrive died with it.
A light grey beak scuffed and picked through dusty, rusted cans, feet long since calloused against the sharp rubble stepped carefully around more obvious bits of broken glass as the small raptor slowly picked for any sort of useful scrap. Its long, light blue, speckled body was dusted in snow, the night air filled with a cold breeze and large, white snow flurries. With a huff, it blew one of the small tin cans away and poked its head up, blue eyes peering as far ahead as possible through the dark.
Though the moon was mostly covered by clouds, small bits of moonlight poked through, just enough to illuminate the toppled building in front of the stryx. Shaking its head slightly to knock off the bits of snow, it steadily walked up and through what little remained of the building’s doorway. Inside was darker, large piles of indecipherable rubble littered the scene. Old paintings had fallen to the floor and shattered, while bookcases had long since toppled over, their contents scattered to the four winds. The stryx lowered its head again, prodding an open, rotted book with its beak as if wondering if the thing was edible - when a sudden clang nearby caused it to jump in surprise.
Now frozen in shock, the stryx listened as closely as it possibly could, straining to hear any further sounds that might indicate whatever the noise was as a threat. Seconds passed, a minute passed, and Floe slowly started to relax, feathers falling flat. The exploration could continue; the noise had probably just been something old falling off its rusting hinges like usual.
Taking careful steps again, it started towards a nearby doorway, one that had long since had its door destroyed. Thanks to its small size, it could fit through many of the strange ruins the humans had before, not even having to squeeze into what had probably once been a kitchen. Though the appliances had long since become hollowed out rusted shells, it had found it was a good idea to check anyways. Many of the other creatures out here had taken to using these shells as temporary storage.
Prying the fridge’s door open with its claws, it sniffed around, hoping to smell anything that could vaguely resemble food. Unfortunately, nothing caught its attention, a small brightly colored box proving to be empty upon Floe tearing the trash apart. Furthermore, the sound of rustling seemed to attract something else, the stryx freezing up suddenly upon hearing something chuff and breathe heavily outside.
Here, Floe knew it was a sitting duck, ears trained towards the sound as a wave of anxiety rushed over it. It knew that sound, heavy feet sinking into frozen mud, glass and ice crunching under its heavy weight. It knew this thing would be quadruple its size and just as strong, easily able to tear the rubble apart if it knew the stryx was inside.
Floe knew it could get away if it timed its escape correctly, but it also knew a blind rush through the night would’ve been very dangerous, especially with something like that on its tail. Of course, it also knew the Thing outside was slow and dumb, easily distracted by anything so long as it was shiny enough. It also knew the Thing couldn’t smell, only see. Painstakingly slowly, the stryx picked a long discarded bottle up with its beak, peering around for anything small that might fit in inside it. Small bits of unknown metal all over the floor would have to do, each flake picked up and carefully swept into the bottle before Floe listened again.
The Thing was somewhere towards the south end, just shy of where the entrance to the house was. Floe cautiously moved towards the exit, bottle in beak. Thankful for its light coloration, the stryx would blend into the snow if worse came to worse, but it also knew how these Things operated. Distract them well enough and they wouldn’t bother chasing you. Wasting no time once it saw where the Thing was lumbering, its towering form silhouetted in the night light, Floe reared back and hucked the bottle as far south as it could.
The stryx was running before the bottle even hit the ground, cresting a hill and disappearing into the newborn pine trees like a ghost.
“And then what happened?” Said a raspy tone.
“Oh nothing-” the same raspy tone spoke, “I just barely made it out with my life!”
Floe sat alone, prodding small bits of wood into a fire as light danced across the cave’s walls. It continued, talking fondly to itself like its slightly altered voices were great friends. “I thought I was a goner for sure! Haha!”
Yet the same voice didn’t continue, the sound of only a crackling fire remaining.
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