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We are the Monsters Chapter Two Part two The people of Carrol

Carrol was comprised of several buildings stretching across five city blocks, three that held the old high school and sports fields turned farm land, and two that held multiple apartment buildings. The original survivors built their home in the high school, but as more people showed up, they eventually expanded out into the surrounding area. Erecting walls around the compound took years with many losing their lives in the process. Their names now adorned banners strung beneath guard towers and between the five story apartment buildings. A reminder of what was lost for their security.

The sisters shared a home in building 2A. Their apartment was on the smaller side, with only one bedroom and an open floor plan between the kitchen and living room. With Cleo being on the road, they didn’t need much. Hand drawn maps, unmatching furniture, a broken coffee table with a baseball bat for a leg, and an entire wall of polaroid pictures made it a home.

The whole place was dark, despite the warm morning sun now blazing in the sky. Evin must be gone already. The lime green chair by the door caught Cleo’s duster while she kicked her worn boots underneath. Flopping down onto the dark brown couch, dragging a blanket over her face, Cleo sighed releasing some of the tension between her shoulder blades.

“That was melodramatic.” Evin’s voice floated towards her, slightly rounded like she was speaking with her mouth full.

The blanket inched down till one eye peaked out. Taking a seat at the counter, Evin tore off another bite of her bagel and smiled.

“You like it?” She asked, glancing down at the shirt hanging loosely across her shoulders. The design was a remnant of 90s era music and one of Cleo’s favorites, though now it was cut high across the midriff, exposing a portion of Evin’s bellybutton. The collar had been cut at an odd angle, draping across her slender frame. Black denim jeans and a pair of black combat boots completed the outfit. Even in the dim light, Cleo could make out the turquoise color of her hair and wondered how, even in the apocalypse, Evin managed to dye it every shade of the rainbow.

“Aren’t you supposed to be at school?” Ignoring the state of her favorite shirt, Cleo covered her eyes to block the sun peeking through their third story window.

“Since I took that job with the Professor, he’s kind of became my teacher.” Crossing the room, Evin shoved Cleo’s legs out of the way to join her on the couch. “He gives me all sorts of books to read from philosophy, ancient history retellings of great conquerors, and even a book about the regional foods of the north pacific islanders. I still haven’t figured out what that one was about.”

Professor Thorm was an odd duck. Having originated at Carrol, back when it was still a high school, the small English man found himself in the right place at the right time when everything fell apart. If there was one thing everyone at Carrol could agree on, it was the Professor was a few screws short of a full set.

He wanted every tiny detail about the dead and what everyone experienced in the wastes, often ambushing returning teams seconds after they walk through the door. Shay suggested team leaders keep a journal, but most refused and the dwindling resource of pens made keeping logs a challenge.

“How has it been working for Professor crazy pants?”

“You shouldn’t call him that.” Evin shoved Cleos knees so hard her feet slipped from the cushions. “It’s… He’s… Different. I guess. I’m just glad I have martial adept and survival to break up all the sorting and cataloging and note taking and…” She finished in a heavy sigh.

“You still want to become a scav, huh?” Cleo didn’t like the idea of Evin adventuring out in the wastes without her.  

“For now, I guess. Benji mentioned he wanted to start a counseling course when he gets back. You know, to help those who go out there? That could be interesting. Of course, Professor wants me to take over tending the library, but it’s so boring.”


“Yea, the survival teacher? He’s pretty cool. I’m kind of bummed though. I guess he’s going to be gone for a few weeks, so our classes have to be put on hold, but his cousin Amya, she teaches the martial adept class, said that one of the other guards is going to take over her training. I guess she taught him and says we won’t miss out on much.” She popped the last bite of her bagel in her mouth.

“What do you think of them?” Cleo asked, aiming for casual. It didn’t seem common knowledge that Benji and Amya would be travelling with her for their two-week excursion. Though it wouldn’t be a secret for long.

“I like them alright, I guess. Amya is… Well, she reminds me of you. And Benji, he’s a little soft, but it’s nice. Oh!” Checking her watch, Evin jumped to her feet. “I’m going to be late. But you should come with me! Amya is a great teacher. You might actually learn something.”

Hesitating, Cleo slowly rose to her feet. The gore on her arms gave her an excuse to refuse. Feigning the desire to get cleaned up, she sent Evin on her way with the promise to catch up to her later. Shoulders slumping, Evin reluctantly agreed.

“Yea, you do look pretty nasty.” Evin said, a forced smile on her face. “Fine, I’ll be at the library till dark. You’re in charge of dinner tonight. I’m running low on credits.”

 Cleo couldn’t decide what she hated more. The tightness in her chest whenever she came home, or the ache in her heart every time she left. She should have told Evin her time here was shorter than usual. Begged her to ditch classes and hang out with her all day. But that would only make leaving harder. Besides, they had a rule whenever Cleo had to go. Saying goodbye was too permanent. And since they both felt bad about Cleo’s absence, why prolong it? No sense in nailing the coffin shut before it was necessary.


Published by Lady Storm

I am a spiritual practitioner that has walked many different paths. Some could call me a jack of all trades when it comes to belief systems. While I don't hold all the answers, I hold many tools that will help unearth answers to questions anyone may have.

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