February 5, 0100

The Parish

It’s sunny out. 
The light filters through the canopy of leaves, casting green shadows. Enoch slips through the foliage, his machete gripped tightly in his hands.

He looks disgusting.
We all do. 

After we’d escaped the horde Oscar slashed down a wandering Skin Eater. 
“Cover yourself in the blood, but don’t get it in your mouth or any open wounds.” he said grimly. 
I threw up as he shredded the corpse. Enoch blanched.

Oscar vomited too as he smeared the half-congealed blood across his chest. Enoch gagged, the pulpy flesh oozing between his clenched fists. 
The straggling Skin Eaters ignored us after we reeked like them.

We stumble, famished and exhausted, through the forest.
“If we keep going we can reach the Boarder Cities before nightfall.” Enoch pants. 

The Boarder Cities?
“What are-“

Oscar interrupts me. “We should rest.”

“That, my friend, would be incredibly stupid.” 
“I agree with Enoch.” I muse in a hushed tone. Enoch narrows his eyes poisonously at me, a look of pure hatred. Anger flares beneath my breastbone.

I try to remain silent, I really do. 
“You’ve killed more of your “divine beings” than I have, you hypocrite.” I growl. 
“That I was different. I didn’t have a choice.” His jaw clenches.
“And you believe that I did? That when I killed my mother I did it because I wanted to?” I demand, a fierce wrath consumes me. I can see a desperate need for authority gleam in his eyes.

He hits me. My head whips back, drops of viscous blood fanning from my hair. “Hit me! Because that’s going to solve everything! In case you haven’t noticed we’re not in The Parish anymore. Those laws don’t apply. We’re on the same level out here, and if you want to survive this we have to work together.” Tears smolder in my eyes.
He raises his hand, this time fisted, to batter my face.

“Stop!” Oscar shouts as Enoch’s blow sends me spiraling to the mud and roots. Stars dance in my bleary vision. Enoch towers over me, his chest hitching. When he dives for me Oscar grabs him around the chest and hurls him against a tree.

Oscar offers me his hand and I take it.


The dark, shadow ruins scrape the sky. 
Roots and weeds heave through the pavement. Motor vehicles sit abandoned, vines coiled around the metal bodies. Glass and gravel crunch under our boots. 
Debris and rubble and half eaten bodies litter the road.

“Welcome to Sithegin, one of the Boarder Cities.” Enoch announces proudly, his voice booming and echoing. “What is this place?” I murmur in awe, craning my neck, but the monstrous structures are swallowed by the smog. My voice trembles and my swollen face aches.

Enoch pretends not to hear me. But Oscar says; “This is how we used to live. But Cities were dangerous places. Thousands of people stacked on top of each other. When the infection hit it was mass hysteria, everyone was transitioning rapidly and trapping the survivors. It was a massacre of the grandest scales. This history in places like these are incredible.”

Oscar drags his hand across the scarred, bullet riddled walls. “Quite chattering. I want to sleep.” Enoch grunts. “Hurry up.” He disappears around the block.

“Why is he so awful?” I urge in a whisper. 
“We were best friends, he was … a lot different than he is now. One day he was himself, and then next day he’d just shut off.” He mumbles, staring after Enoch, a sad, nostalgic expression contorting his face. “He won`t tell me what happened.”

“Run!” The scream is distant, but distinctly Enoch. My thrumming muscles coiling. 
“Run!” He comes flying around the corner of the street. “What are you doing? GO!” He waves his machete in the air.

Thousands of screaming Skin Eaters thunder after him.


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