Camp Charlie: 23:04
Issac Smith and Jayson Rodriguez stand watching for signs of enemy movement from Tower 6. From their position, they keep a lonely vigil on the southernmost point of the camp. Through the thermal optic, Smith can see that two hundred yards of open terrain that runs into a sheer rock face of a cliff.
“Man, this is a load of crap,” Smith mutters under his breath. Rodriguez nods in silent agreement. Smith leans into the butt of the machine gun and pulls it tight into his shoulder. Nothing ever comes this far south. There’s nothing out here.
Behind him, Rodriguez snores. Smith stands upright and stretches. It’s just another night in post-apocalyptic America.
At 0300, Smith notices movement along the rock face. He taps Rodriguez’s foot and whispers, “Rod…hey, Rod.”
“Do you see what I’m seeing?”
Rodriguez leans forward and squints toward the cliff. He shakes his head and says, “I don’t know, man. Is it a Lurker?”
“I don’t know,” Smith responds, looking through the thermals but not picking up much heat signature. “I think it’s moving, but I can’t be sure. I think there’s more than one of them though.”
Rodriguez moves to the machine gun and looks through the scope. He whistles softly and whispers, “Holy crap, bro. That’s a freaking Lurker.”
“Blast it, then!”
“Nah man, it’s tiny. We’ll let it go and report it in the morning.”
Smith yawns and sits down on the overturned five gallon bucket Rodriguez had sat on previously. He leaned back against the dilapidated wall and closed his eyes. Rodriguez turned and looked back at Smith, then turned his attention back to the Lurker.
It was gone. When suddenly, the ground began breaking up in front of the tower. “What the..” Rodriguez mutters as the Lurker leaps from underneath the ground. Rodriguez spins the weapon toward the monster and fires a ten-round burst into the chest of the Lurker. Blood and chunks of rotten flesh fly skyward as the bullets slam into the mutant human.
Smith lets out a yelp at the sound of the gunfire. In his hurry to stand, he trips and falls backwards over the knee high wall. “Oh crap,” Smith yells as he falls toward the ground. Below him the ground erupts, and Lurkers race into the sleeping camp. Holes erupt all through camp as the Lurkers swarm into buildings and hooches.
Rodriguez squeezes the trigger as the 240-Bravo slings led into the swarming horde. Smith tries to fight off the Lurkers, pawing for his sidearm, but it is futile. The Lurkers rip Smith in half, his neck squirting a torrent of blood skyward, his limbs in various mouths of hungry monsters.
Rodriguez screams his defiance as he runs out of ammunition, and behind him he hears a guttural growl. He turns, his complexion a sickly white grey as a lone monster licks the blood from his lips. “Oh God,” Rodriguez cries softly. “Help m…” The monster grabs Rodriguez by the face and leans toward him, and in a guttural voice says, “Prey.”
Dear God, someone do something, Rodriguez thought as the blood stained teeth of the Lurker tear into his jugular. Inside the communication hooch a message repeats: Camp Charlie, this is Headhunter Element. How do you copy? The only response is the guttural roar of predators.
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