I waited, in the brush, invisible, silent. The forest was quiet, I heard nothing. Not the wolves, bears, or owls, although I knew they were around. I also knew they’d wait, and watch until I acted. They’d act when their selected leader acts.
I didn’t smile, although you might have said I did. My lips separated in a quiet snarl. The men were coming. I closed my eyes, and listened. I could hear them in the distance, getting closer.
Men. On their way to my home. My town. The town Jessica, Hannah, and Valerie started. The town we’d made from nothing. All of us were survivors. Wounded by what happened in the word. What happened when the veneer of civilization fell away. When the world went insane.
Men murdered my father. Raped my mother and sister, then murdered them. But what happened to me was nothing compared to what happened to Valerie, my love. To Kelly, and so many others.
I remembered when I found Kelly, what men had done to her. I remembered when Kelly and I rescued Jenny, Beth and the others from the stables. It was the first time I’d struck back against the chaos. I’d found more stables since then, with the wolves. We’d shut them down, freed the women trapped in them.
I learned to speak with the wolves, bears, owls, hawks, eagles, foxes. Jessica had them teach me their languages, their ways. Eventually, a bear told me, “You have found yourself.”
Now, I waited for the men. Quiet. Hidden. No guns, a bow and arrows instead. Something they wouldn’t hear coming. The wolves and foxes had taught me to move through the brush almost silently, like a predator stalking prey.
I waited for the men, noisy as they were, arrogant as they were. Them, and their guns. Not afraid of anything. Intent on sending a message to everyone, “You can’t stand against us!” My snarl said otherwise. The men were in for a surprise.
The noise they made grew louder, I knew they were nearby. We’d planned well, we’d watched them approach for days. We knew the path they followed, where they were going, how they would get there and when they would get there. They wouldn’t know we surrounded them.
I raised my bow, drew an arrow, and quietly waited for the first man to appear. I didn’t have to wait long. He stepped between the trees, breaking branches, kicking brush out of his way, acting like he ruled the forest. Right until the moment my arrow sank into the center of his chest. I quietly drew a second arrow and let it fly. Then a third. Three men down.
I had no need for noise. I quietly moved through the brush, patiently stalking the men, hunting them. I could smell the chaos and fear consuming them. I let three more arrows fly. Three more men fell.
They panicked, started shooting their guns at nothing, at shadows. The time for quiet had ended. I screamed the battle cry of the owls, causing them to take flight, followed by the wolves and the bears.
It was a short fight. Men screamed. Men shot at shadows, and anything that moved, at each other. Soon, there were no more men.
And the forest was quiet again.