Her cigarette landed with a hiss in the snow, right next to the tender green shoots of the first
signs of spring. She didn’t even look down to use the heel of her boots to grind out the bud, taking out the plants in the process.
Better to put such things out of their misery. Hadn’t they heard that winter wasn’t going anywhere?
The warnings had been airing for years. Newspapers. Conferences. Screaming scientists. No one cared. No one listened. And so things changed. The weather, to start with. The predictability of the past was just that—the past. Spring marked on the calendar no longer meant anything.
Of course there were plenty of other things tied to the weather. Including billions of human lives, not to mention trillions of other occupants on the planet.
Better to spare those poor old bulbs the torture of a slow death.
The same couldn’t be said for the man she watched through her eyepiece. She’d enjoy the plans she had for him. Until he begged. Cried, too, with any luck.
And then? She’d kill him.
It was a small price to pay for his role in mucking up the planet. For sending so many people to watery, or scorching graves. And if no one else was going to take a stand, she had to do it.
Movement. The curtains, fourth window from the left. His room.
The compound was guarded well. It had to be, what with the milling Hungry, eager to take down anyone or anything they might fill their bellies with.
Once, she’d had a roommate with a penchant for old films from before. They used to watch them, casting them onto their ceiling. The water stains made for an interesting backdrop, but it worked. The films she remembered best were the zombie ones. There were so damn many of them. Drooling, shuffling, damaged people, milling around like mindless fools.
A little like the Hungry hoard. A comparison that struck a little too close.
Again, another movement. This time she was certain. Ducking low, she slid down the embankment to the electric fence. Taking a tool from her belt, she located the repeater that she’d spotted before. A quick shot, and the fence was nothing more than something to hop over.
It took exactly three minutes to get inside. Another two to reach the second floor. Laughter filtered through the posh interior from hidden recesses of the house, where people who didn’t worry about filling their bellies lived.
They’d have more than enough concerns by nightfall.
Her boots didn’t make a sound with the deep carpet. Carpet. Who had that kind of thing anymore? They must have salvaged it from somewhere—no one made the stuff any more.
Counting doors with crown molding and ornate knobs, she found the fourth room down. The one with the lace curtains.
At the door, she forced herself to stop. Listen. To get her heart rate low enough that she’d hear anything amiss. And more importantly, so she’d remember what was coming.
She’d pinned a small camera to her shirt to capture it all, but nothing would compare to her memories. To the smell and feel and sound of it all.
A deep breath out through her mouth and she knew she was ready.
There was no lock on the door. Who would need one in such a well-armed estate? The only locks were on the outside gates and on the evacuation rooms.
The heavy door opened without a sound. She stepped inside, the glare of the electric lights taking an extra heartbeat to adjust to.
“So, you’ve finally decided to come for me.”