Our Lady Crow

Our Lady Crow

A Story by OhDeer!

F**k this wretched city.
Her walls taunt me. No matter how high I climb, her walls seem endless, rising higher still than infinity itself. There must be an end. My legs ache as I hang from the side of another decrepit building. Hopefully this one is actually abandoned. Funny how territorial people can get over such s**t. A mindless guttural groan sounds from underneath me, down on the streets ruined by gore and sewage. I bite back the urge to scream 'shut up', it would do no good, only invite more of the b******s.
You think that five years of living in an infected city would cause some sort of immunity to their f*****g noises, it doesn't. Every groan or grunt out of their destroyed mouths gives me the violent urge to put a bullet through their plagued brains. Can't though. Too many infected, not enough bullets. I have to save the ammo in case I really need it.
I can feel my fingers on the verge of bleeding. How long have I been climbing this particular building? Fifteen hours, from my guess. Hand and foot in every sturdy crevice I can find. I look up; the sky is only lightly filmed in smoke, just now in view from the heavy smog that consumes the city. Soon I'll be able to breathe fresh air. My lungs physically tighten at the idea. I begin to move again, hand over hand, foot over foot. I test every spot, hauling my body weight toward the roof of this tower. I can rest there tonight; perhaps I can even see the stars.
She's a big city and in five years I've explored most of her. I've climbed most of her buildings, tested most of her walls, all looking for a way out. This is my last block, if there is no crack in the walls here, if there's no way out... I can't even bare to think it. After the quarantine, almost everyone here has either become food for the infected, or just accepted that they are stuck here. Not me though, not for a second. I won't die in this place; I won't let the air choke me. I won't let those b******s take a chunk out of me. I'm getting out of here.

I manage to pull myself over the ledge of the roof, my legs are weak and I tumble over the side. My chest heaves with my back to the sturdy ground. Opening my eyes, I can see the clearest sky I've seen in years. This must be the tallest building in the city. The walls that encase the city reach higher still. I close my eyes again, tomorrow morning I will test her walls for even the slightest weakness.
I expend the energy to release my face from the prison of my gas mask. I can breathe again. I make a mental note to change the filters tomorrow as well. This city has required breathing masks long before it was quarantined, long before the infection. Yet, it's still nothing you ever really get used to. I revel in the joy of being able to fully inhale and exhale without the heavy contraption closing in on me.
A strange noise alerts my attention; I roll swiftly to a crouching position, my gun aimed and ready. A doe looks back at me with interest. Moonlight rolls off of her tawny fur, her black eyes glint in the darkness. I'm not sure that I can believe my eyes. Surrounding this deer, are many more of her kin, all encased together by a wooden fence within a grassy area. I holster my weapon, not too concerned with the less than threatening creatures before me. Their presence is astonishing, but I'm more concerned that this means indefinitely that the building is occupied. A dangerous position for me to be in, especially if they're as territorial as the last batch of people I ran into.
I stroke the stubble of my newly freed face and wonder what to do with my current predicament, when a sharp pain blinds me. I manage to turn my face to see my attacker before another blow to the head sends me to the land of the unconscious. A small girl stands before me, hands swinging a wooden staff, face furrowed in concentration and determination. I spent all day free climbing over a pit of hungry zombies just to get beaten to death by a little girl. Just f*****g great.

There is no light, no tunnel. Just pain. I awake to a plain room and realize to a mix of joy and subtle sadness that I am, in fact, not dead. My hands explore my face and the back of my head, my face is only barely scratched up but that's nothing new. The back of my head has been inflicted with a rather painful knot at the base of my skull. Applying pressure causes a whole array of white light to flash before my eyes. My own groan startles me. It's been too long since I used my voice. I manage to roll myself into a clumsy sitting position that nearly ends with me on the floor due to a powerful bout of nausea. I hold my head in my hands and struggle to keep my breath even and easy. I can't afford to vomit; I only have so many rations.
“I'd really appreciate it if you didn't throw up in my room,” a small voice sounded from the corner. I reached blindly for my gun before realizing that I was both unarmed and completely incapable of shooting damned near anything. I let the nausea subside, deciding whoever inhabited this room would have likely killed me when I was asleep rather than waiting for me to wake up.
When I could finally survey my surroundings, I nearly missed her. The same girl on the roof now sat in the corner of this dark room, with her knees to her chest and her delicate face staring at me without blinking. A white dress covered her fragile body, flowing over her knees and nearly hiding her bare feet. Mousy brown hair engulfed her frame, layering over her dress like a blanket, while her bright eyes watched me like a predator. She was young, no older than thirteen, but she watched me like she would gut me given the chance. Living in this city did that to people, especially the young ones.
“Where am I?” My voice sounded hoarse and odd to my own ears, too much time away from other people. The girl cocked her head to the side, and her round face suddenly looked very feline.
“I'm in trouble because of you. Our Lady Crow is angry with me and it's your fault. I just didn't want you to hurt the deer. They aren't yours, they're mine.” She spoke with an angry tone in such a small voice. I suddenly feel so old in the presence of something so new. “Our Lady Crow will see you. I am supposed to take you to her when you wake up.” The small girl rose to her feet with a single movement, with grace and dignity not normally seen in those of her age. She gestured toward the door. Moving was painful, it incited a dozen little trails of pain to race from my body to my head with every step, but I did as told. In this condition, even a twig posed a threat to my life.
The building was dank, dark, and filled with the slight smell of musk. The windows were boarded and sealed in, likely to keep the city smog out. The girl walked in front of me in a confident stride, as if even with me at her defenseless back, I posed no threat. I felt staggered by the tiny creature, she was correct in her assumption though; the only thing I was currently focused on was keeping my feet underneath me. Dozens of eyes stared at me as we made it from the hallways of closed doors to what I assumed was the common area. I noticed with interest that most of the buildings inhabitants were female, and children.
“There’s a lot of women here…” I made the comment aloud, uncomfortable in the silence, in their unyielding stares. The girl spared a glance in my direction, her pace faltering silently before she looked out at her companions.
“This is the only place we don’t have to worry about being sold for food or weapons. It’s the only place where we won’t be abused for entertainment, or be thrown away if food gets scarce,” her voice didn’t quiver nor show any sign of distress, but it was obvious that she had experienced enough to know that this was her haven. I felt uncomfortable, confronted by her obvious youth and painful past. The eyes continued to follow us; the occasional male would glare at me, hands on their holsters. They all would have eaten me alive given the chance, that much was apparent.

The girl finally stopped in front of a large wooden door after climbing up some steps. She regarded me silently, before knocking. A gentle voice answered.
“Come in Little One, I have been expecting you.”
The girl pushed the door open with her whole body, to reveal a dimly lit room. Most of the furniture was draped with heavy white cloth; a rather large piece was stashed in the back left corner and seemed to have gathered the most dust. In the center, resided a large chair in which a thin, elegant woman sat. She was dressed in all black, a frame of ebony feathers cascaded down around her from a headdress that she wore proudly. I followed Little One to stand just before her. Her face was all angles, yet her upper face was concealed by a mask of feathers. Her black eyes stared down at me as she lounged in her chair, a slit in her black dress revealed an ivory leg. She reached her long slender arm, encased in a black glove, to prop up her head as she observed me.
“Welcome newcomer,” she spoke softly, the slightest hint of a rasp was heard in her voice. Possibly from being exposed to the city population for just a little too long. “I do hope that you have been treated fairly since your first encounter with our Little One.” The girl at my side shied away slightly, ducking her head at the mention of her attack.
“Our Lady, I didn’t mean it, I was just protecting�",“ a hiss erupted from the woman before me. Little One backed away, hands pulling at her sleeves in some attempt to make herself look even smaller.
“What if we had met your arrival with such a welcome? What if we had taken a cane to you? You should be glad he survived, otherwise that would be your final strike.” The woman’s gaze burned into the little girl beside me, I felt something akin to pity or perhaps guilt. Tears poured down Little One’s face, she was mumbling apologies as she backed toward the door.
“I will spare you from the fate of being cast out, but make no mistake, should you kill again I will not hesitate to throw you out to the infected. However, punishment will still be carried out. Leave us now.” I watched the tiny creature dart out of the room, wondering what kind of punishment awaited her, before I turned my attention back to the woman before me.
“Well Traveler, I am curious what it is that brought you to my domain,” her eyes shined in inhuman light as she watched me, I met her gaze without hesitation, unaffected by her misplaced sense of grandeur. So many people seemed to see the quarantine as an excuse to don costumes and act as if they were suddenly kings. Absolute rubbish, this is why I had not dared to settle into one of the new ‘colonies’. Just a bunch of mad men parading around as saviors.
“I’m looking for a weakness in the wall,” it was the simple utter truth. I offered no other explanation, no other information about myself. Her laugh rang out in the mostly empty room.
“Oh Traveler, I can assure you, there is no weakness. There never will be, not until everyone inside has turned to dust and decay and the buildings around us have become a distant memory, not until the infected have successfully starved and the air has found a way to cleanse itself.” It wasn’t the first time someone had been critical of my pursuit, however it was perhaps the most poetic. “I once wanted that same thing, but I settled, I made this run down ruin into a sanctuary. I have climbed every inch of this section of wall. There are no cracks, no weaknesses. You are trapped here and it’s time that you accept that.”
I shrugged feebly at her remarks. I wouldn’t accept it. I couldn’t. She seemed dissatisfied with my response, as her mouth twisted slightly into an ugly grimace.
“Fine, find it out for yourself, Traveler. You are welcome to stay here in my domain, I will assign Little One to you, to ensure that you are fed and taken care of. She is my property, I expect you to treat her as such, if I find out that you have taken any indecent liberties with her I will have you strung up, your skin flayed and dried and I will add you to my collection.” She pointed up as she spoke, guiding my eyes to the previously ignored ceiling. Above us was a canopy of human skin, stitched together and stretched into a collage of horror. My own skin crawled, yet my eyes would not look away, staring into the oblivion of countless human hides with their mouths stretched into endless screams and their eyeless holes staring into my soul. I have witnessed my fair share of human brutality now that law and order has fallen into chaos and anarchy, but this was perhaps the most grotesque.
Bile had risen in my throat and I just nodded to the monster that sat on the throne before me, backing slowly from the room, willing myself not to think of the men hung above me. She watched me like a vulture, waiting for me to slowly die, waiting for the moment when she could pluck my eyes from their sockets, my skin from its bones. No, not a vulture, but a crow.

Out of the room I felt that I could finally breathe. The knot at the base of my skull pounded and I found myself sweating profusely. I fought my heart rate as it raced throughout me, causing dizziness to swarm my sight again. A scream sounded not far from me, it was shrill and feminine in nature. I compelled myself down the stairs toward the source of the scream. Little One was growling, a string of new bruises adorned her small face. She pulled at the older boy that was currently attempting to lead a terrified doe down a long dark hallway. He physically pushed her off, aided by several other boys. The others in the room watched, their faces cast in shadow.
“NO,” she screamed, rushing from the floor and attaching herself to the boy that held the deer by a string around its neck. She pulled his long sleeve out and drove her small sharp teeth into his arm. The boy screamed, dropped the rope and began to pound a fist into Little One’s head. Tears streamed down her face, but she would not let go. The doe, now freed, bucked and ran on the lightest feet. The other boys abandoned their companion, who still struggled against Little One, and chased after the runaway deer. The creature found itself cornered just as the boy managed to dislodge the girl from his arm, blood run heavily down his forearm. She looked at the older, larger boy with anger, his blood dripping from her chin, mixing with her own.
I couldn’t move fast enough, the boy raised his heavy boot above her face, I was shouting now, running on clumsy, disorientated feet just as the doe ran head first into the boy, knocking him away. The sickening sound of the doe’s neck breaking sounded throughout the room before the boy hit a nearby window. The next noise was the window cracking, the boy fell to the streets below, a thud and screaming followed. We were high enough that the city smog didn’t attempt to lazily glide through the window and choke us all, but low enough to where the fall hadn’t fully killed him. The next three minutes were filled with the sounds of the boy being eaten alive.
No one in the room seemed willing to move, myself included, other than the girl. Little One dragged her beaten body to touch the dead doe. She buried her face into the doe’s hide, petting it feebly. The door behind me slammed open, I felt the force behind me, and I moved without thinking. I scooped up the little girl into my arms and I ran. She didn’t fight; she didn’t seem to have it in her anymore. The Crow shouted behind me, her children minions drew their weapons and the chase began. I ran with no direction, praying to some dead god out there to find some magical way out. Little One looked up at me, her right eye was completely swollen shut, but she was sharp, alert. She watched the hallway pass us as I ran, the sounds of her kin closing in on us kept my feet from faltering.

“Left,” she whispered softly, I looked down at her, so small and cradled in my arms. I did as I was told. “Up the stairs,” she spoke again, her tiny hand tangled into my clothing. Up the stairs we went, out the door and suddenly I was face to face with the rest of her deer herd. She leapt from my arms and stumbled only slightly. “Barricade the door,” she didn’t look back to me as she limped toward the deer, they regarded her with sharp black eyes. I tore apart wooden structures, moved whatever I could toward the door although I could already hear them coming up the stairs. Panic rose to my throat, adrenaline pumped in my veins.
Little One climbed over the fence, touching each doe between the eyes as she walked to the center. The creatures began in a chorus, their odd noises soon overcame the sound of the infected down below as well as the sound of the Crow’s minions banging against my hastily made barricade. I stopped in my work to stare at the child, at the deer. They were changing. Their fur grew black, silver antlers spouted from their skulls; they formed themselves around Little One. She watched me now, standing in the center of the strange creatures. Radiation does strange things to people, most exposed just become one of the infected…not all though, some very select few are gifted with strange abilities. Little One beckoned me and I wasted no time in jumping the fence and joining her. She leaned down and with a large click opened a secret vault. The army of children burst through the door and were impaled by the otherworldly deer.
We were on the other side of the wall by the time the deer had finished their work.

© 2012 OhDeer!


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Added on May 17, 2012
Last Updated on May 17, 2012
Tags: deer, gore, crow, undead, zombies, short story

Author

OhDeer!
OhDeer!

Charlotte, NC



About
I'm never really good with the whole about me thing. I'm young, in school for Game Development. Writing just makes sense when the rest of the world is in chaos. I like working with my hands, baking, c.. more..

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