The Harbinger

January 20, 2009
By Anonymous

Had her world been what she once knew it to be, she would have been celebrating her twenty first birthday. But as Katie stood at the crossroads of destiny, she had a choice to make.

The world, once a place filled with the chirping of birds, was now filled with the chaos of destruction and mayhem, a barren waste of nothingness. Standing alone at the entrance to the city that once belong to the human race, she set off into the dark abyss.
A stranger in a once familiar land, she gathered her bow, the “Harbinger”, as it was nicknamed for the hundreds of lives cast down before it, and unsheathed an arrow.
Her eyes turned inward as she recalled the legacy of the Harbinger.

Passed down upon near certain death, the wielder of the Harbinger sought to destroy the archaic and plagued evil. Imbued with flame and light, a simple arrow could penetrate concrete, or so the legends say.

As her father breathed his last breath, he cried out, “Katie. Do not let us die in vain. The fate of mankind rests upon your shoulders.”

“Oh daddy!” cried Katie. Weeping upon the now rotting corpse, she held the bow with a death grip, swearing not to let him down.
The land belonged to the vile beasts. It was the first time she had returned to her home city since the plague spread. Its luminous orbs of toxin released every few seconds from the smoke stacks that penetrated the skyline. She smelled the putrid nuero-chemicals that by now would be slaughtering her nasal cavity.

She peered around, searching for any sign of the altered beasts. Her mission was crucial to the survival of the human race and she could not dim the last remaining spark of human hope.

Suddenly, a shadow caught the corner of her eye. She slung the arrow onto the silvery perch of the bow and nudged it into place. Galloping, the dark and shadowy centaur like beast slammed its hoof into the Katie’s rib. Her breath leaving her, she stumbled on all fours, searching for the bow that seemed to be miles away.

The centaur charged again. Without hesitation, she plunged the arrow into the heart of the beast, slaying it there. Quickly lighting fire onto the corpse, she sprinted to the nearby sewer and plunged herself into the muck. Her trail was gone, and the scent quickly disappeared.

Traversing the underground sewer system proved to be a dangerous task. On the one hand, she might discover a lost group of rebel survivors. But if fate had taught Katie anything, luck was not on her side. She would more than likely meet a herd of the ferocious beasts, and with their agility and size she would be overwhelmed.

Withdrawing the map from her supply pouch, it was a two-mile trek in the murky waters to her destination, Necropolis. For within Necropolis reigned the master of shadows, the conniving and cunning Dragosh.

Slowly, she made the journey. Nearly suffocating from the smell of animal feces, she climbed over the soulless corpses. Suddenly, the light flickered ahead. Feeling the life drain from her, as if a void had been cast around her, she slowly succumbed to the pain of nothingness.

Two days had passed before Katie woke up, stripped of everything except several rags. A few bites traveled up her arm, undoubtedly by beasts trying to gnaw at her innards. Trying to speak, her throat became a barren desert; no sound could be made. Pounding with fists of fury, she banged on the gate currently barring her into her cell. This is how her life would end. There would be rumors of her legacy and her grand finale, but no one would be there to hear her last screams of agony.

In a desperate attempt to escape, she pried open the wall panel as if her veins were filled with adrenaline. She darted for the nearest exit. Inches before the door, she halted.

Breathing heavily, her mind began to race, pressured for time. “But where would I go? I have no armor, no weapon, not even water to get me through the day. I cannot come back having failed again. No, not this time. I must finish what I came here to do.”

With that, she rapidly made her way to where the main chamber should be. Two hundred feet later, having dodged the cloaked guards, she slipped into the chamber. As she opened the door, the shadowy aroma encompassed her body. Forced to fight through darkness, she heard a high pitched laugh. “So, you have come after all,” Dragosh roared with laughter as if part Hyena.

“I shall kill you and avenge my father you Bastard. You have taken all we have known and now your head shall rest atop one of my arrows.”

“Try if you wish, but your attempt is futile,” mocked Dragosh, provoking her to fight.

Glancing around the room for a potential weapon, she spotted her bow and quiver resting atop the far table. Throwing herself across the room, Katie grasped the bow and fired a string of arrows, each one stopping an inch from his face.

“Damn it, die!” Reaching deep within her quiver, she pulled out a dagger. She jabbed and thrust the dagger into Dragosh’s rib cage.

“You ‘re done,” she yelled as she twisted the dagger into his heart. As Dragosh’s corpse lay on the ground, she collapsed. She began to tremble as she looked down at her hand clutching the dagger. Her skin, once glowing with life, had begun to fade. The bite marks had begun to spread. She shrieked. Her body felt aflame. Laying their gasping for breath, she succumbed to the void once more.
Several weeks passed before anyone saw Katie again. When she returned to her village she was hailed as a saint. Statues were erected in her honor. But if you ever got close enough, you would see the small glimmer in her eye, where the cackling hyena was waiting to pounce once more.

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