Monday, July 2, 2018

Microstory 876: Deer to My Heart

When the first of the monsters started cropping up in the public, a lot of people thought they knew what they were dealing with. They had pale skin, sharp fangs, and drank human blood, presumably to survive. They only came out at night, and they seemed to be multiplying. People reported that their loved ones, who were once perfectly normal, suddenly acted different, and went after them like all the other attackers. Vampires. That was the word people were using to classify these new beings, because that was the one that made the most sense. Naturally, we assumed we understood what that meant, and how to fight them off. We were so wrong. What we discovered the hard way was that they would not be killed by the sun, or by ultraviolet light. They came out at night because their bodies preferred cooler weather, but that didn’t mean heat was deadly to them. They could be killed with fire, or decapitation, but that goes for just about any living creature on the planet. We also thought a vampire could be killed with a wooden stake to the heart, but a great many humans were either killed, or turned, failing to make that work. Though not impossible to kill, vampires were tough, and strong. It took more military prowess than the average civilian could demonstrate, unlike in the movies, where average joes band together, and save the day. It was I who discovered their unusual weakness, and I did it accidentally. Like any good doomsday prepper, I had a plan to escape the city, and just wait this out somewhere remote. Like a good doomsday prepper with no money, my plan was limited to a few ready-to-eat meals saved up, and some camping gear. I couldn’t afford a bunker, or a road tank, so my best bet was to just hope to find some small sliver of land away from the struggle.

I made my way out of town when the first legitimate reports came in, and monitored the situation via crank radio. I drove up to the nearest significant wooded area, which was Aldenroda National Park. Then I just started living off the land, finding food using the knowledge I gained from video tutorials online before this all happened, and supplementing what I never learned with instinct and improvisation. After a couple of weeks, things were getting worse in civilization, but I had still not encountered a single vampire myself. By then, anyone still around knew that wooden stakes and daylight wouldn’t help them, including me. I felt fairly safe where I was, but winter was literally coming, and I would die from good ol’ fashioned hypothermia if I didn’t travel south, or find some better shelter. Fortunately, I happened upon an abandoned cabin that was perfect. It was pretty well insulated, had a nice fireplace, and a good bed. I was doing even better than before when a vampire showed up out of nowhere, looking for some dinner. There weren’t any samurai swords around, and I didn’t think I was clever enough to set the guy on fire, so my options were death, or switching sides. Desperate for door number three, I grabbed the nearest weapon I could find, which was a set of deer antlers the cabin’s real owner evidently never got around to hanging up. They had just left them on the floor, and so had I. The vampire thought he had me cornered, but I got lucky when he accidentally fell onto the antlers, and straight up died. I was shocked and relieved. I had stumbled upon perhaps the easiest way to kill these things, and no one else knew about it. I now had a new pair of choices; continue to use this revelation to my advantage, or go back to the outside world, and spread the word. The choice was obvious. The world had never done anything for me, so screw ‘em. They can all die, for all I care. I’m the only person who matters now, I thought. Yet fifty years later, I’ll be dying soon anyway, and humanity is still here. I impart the secret of the antlers to you, stranger. Use it wisel—what are you doing with that machete?

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