Warning: Mature Content. Read at your own discretion.
"Sitzt," he commanded, his stern voice breaking the bitterly cold air of early January, "wait here," he finished in cool German, airily rolling off his tongue. The black and brown dog whined quietly as his tall owner stepped over the broken glass of the petrol station's front window and lifted his rifle to his shoulder, gazing over the top of the sight. There was a gentle breeze and a light snowfall drifting lazily down from an overcast sky. A perfect winter day with the sun weakly glaring through from behind a cotton shield. The glass crunched under his feet, a crackle that seemed amplified by the surrounding silence. He had never truly grown accustomed to the silence of the situation. It was too quiet for him. One never appreciated the echo of a jet overhead, or the sound of a car's engine in the background noise until they were gone completely. He gave a quiet whistle and the dog climbed inside and began to avidly sniff its way around. Daniel crouched and turned his gaze back to the empty highway outside, using his rifle's barrel as an extension of his arm to slowly sweep over the bleak Massachusetts countryside.
A resounding bark, however, drew him back to his feet and he stood once more, swinging the rifle over his shoulder and letting his blue-gray school bag fall into his hands by a strap and opened it quickly. Beginning to move up and down the aisles of the slightly bare shelves, he tossed what he could find that hadn't expired into his bag as well as three of the left over bottles of water in the broken cooler. Turning back to the counter he smiled greedily. Strolling to the front of the station he climbed over the counter and began to look through the untouched tobacco products. Three bottles of zippo-fluid and five cartons of mentholated cigarettes and rolling papers fell into the bag before it was closed and Daniel returned to the broken glass. Clicking his tongue, the dog returned to his side and the two stepped foot out into the bitter cold once more. Giving a grateful ear-scratch to the happy German Shepherd, he spoke quietly, reassuringly, "Gut, Karl.. Sehr gut."
A moment of quiet admiration went by before they set off, Daniel's feet crunching in an old layer of snow, leaving prints in the fresh powdery covering; Karl's paws barely sinking as he pattered along, head up, tongue out, and tail wagging. Sliding the rifle back into his hands, the man held onto it leisurely, more of a comfort than a weapon. Trekking into the woods on the side of the highway, they soon turned north again, continuing on their way toward the Canadian border after hearing from a passing caravan of survivors the week before of a rumor of safe-haven in the northern Canadian wilderness. Though it was probably false, Daniel knew that the level of infected individuals in the Boston area had grown substantially in the past year since he had escaped in the beginning of the outbreak. Now the city was almost completely inaccessible and was only risked by those crazy enough to try and scavenge the old Hospitals. Not something Daniel would dare travel alone, but he was south of Boston, and he knew he had to either risk the suburbs or add nearly a week to his journey and swing west, avoiding it completely.
With the way the weather had been getting, however, a week in the cold was not something he believed he could survive. The night before had been nearly cold enough to freeze the water near his fire and he'd woken up to a dousing of twelve centimeters of snow. Shivering at the thought, he lifted his eyes back to the trail, and not a moment to soon. What he saw caused him to dive to the side and into a thicket of trees, Karl following instinctively. Looking through the tangle of branches, he watched as a group of infected, two women, one missing an arm with blackened, coagulated blood dripping coolly into the snow, and the other with a missing piece of her neck, her front completely soaked with blood. He slowly drew a tomahawk-like hatchet from a holder on his belt and leaped from the trees, swinging a brutal burst into the armless woman's skull. She fell with a thud as the other started to turn around with a growl. His hatchet was swift, splitting the bone with a sickening crack, and she crumpled to the snow in silence. Sighing, he wiped the blade off and holstered it before turning back to the path. The world that he lived in, was indeed an alien one...