• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 09


She stared at its misshapen horns. Its face looked like the water buffalos of her home. The thought made her wonder if they still existed—her home and the water buffalos, that is. Instead of pondering more on the matter, she shook her head and focused on what was in front of her.

Many assumed that the only animals left were the ones that looked like her. Some were nice, a lot were not. They mostly scavenged now for survival. Foraging was done at one's own risk. After The Incident, it took a while before they realized everything that remained was irrevocably changed, regardless of whether their appearance was altered or not.

She gazed at the creature in front of her again. Was it on its way to the nearby abandoned city? Last she checked, it was deserted. What if someone was already there in the time between then and now? No, maybe she shouldn’t worry about that. First and foremost: how did this survive? Were there others like it? Did this herald news of other beings existing other than humans?

Its head turned towards her in a swift motion, the action appearing clunky due to the strangely-shaped horns, not to mention its near-skeletal form. She puzzled at how she was detected, only to realize it after a deep inhale; right, her breath perpetually rasped within her lungs now.

Well, this wouldn't do. She was here to search for food, relying on past experiences to see if she could recognize anything edible in this overgrown forest. She wished she could recall if she had been here before but all of the sceneries seemed to meld into one in her head at this point. All she knew was that this was her first time encountering something like the buffalo lookalike peering directly at her.

Ah, yes. The animal.



She reached for the machete strapped to her waist. She hadn’t had the chance to use it nor did she have any prior knowledge on how to wield it. Maybe if she swung it around hard enough, she could subdue her meal for the next few days. The worst case scenario was death, although that was almost like threatening her with a good time. In this day and age, it would be a welcome reprieve from the harsh reality.

As she examined the animal, she locked onto those dark, beady eyes. It barely blinked ever since acknowledging her presence, as if waiting for her to do something before reacting. It stood there with a patience that was half-familiar to her. It was almost similar to those brown and white specks against green that she liked to watch as she zoomed down the expressway.

She slowly exhaled, feeling the vibration in her ribcage. When she stepped away, she fought the urge to glance over her shoulder and check if the buffalo lookalike was still there. Better not know. She’d rather not be tempted to assault another being trying their best to live, just like her.