The Long Winter

It had been twenty-two years since the end of civilization. Humanity’s own arrogance turned against it as nuclear bombs were dropped everywhere in an attempt to exterminate the Blood-Letter Virus for seven days. It was an event forever known as the Seven Days of Fire. Depending on where in the world you lived, it depended on the resulting climate change and effects on the living beings of the area. For Vincent Cosgrove who lived in what was once Canada it created long winters, and with the winters came the creatures who live and feed in the dark. Vincent stood alone on the wall surrounding Old Toronto his jacket tightly wrapped around his body to protect him from the biting cold. ‘Damn the winter weather. ‘ He thought to himself, as he blew warm breath into his hands.

Vincent looked out over the wall to the waste beyond. Watching. Waiting. Waiting for what, he didn’t know, but he couldn’t let his guard down. It was the duty of the City Watch to keep the city safe not spending time in the inner city spending time with a meat puppet or some prostitute. Vincent couldn’t understand the idea of being with some woman or a man when the city needed protection, “Cold enough for you?” asked a familiar voice.

Vincent turned around and saw the familiar face of his old friend Benjamin Mutton, “Cold as a witch’s t*t,” Vincent said in a sarcastic tone, “How’s the inner city?”

“Filled with whores, meat puppets, and drunken a******s,” Mutton replied with a sense of frustration.

“What’s wrong now?” Vincent asked with a sense of curiosity. This wasn’t exactly the first time, Benjamin Mutton was frustrated with the goings on of the inner city.

Benjamin said nothing. He handed Vincent a warm cup filled with mashed potatoes and small pieces of fried chicken, covered in melted chesse. Vincent could almost taste the herbs and spices as he inhaled the deliciously fried smell coming off of the chicken. He took the small plastic fork and scooped some into his mouth. It tasted just as good as it smelled, “Let me guess, I’ll find out?” Vincent asked, as he tried his hardest to hide the food in his mouth. Mutton simply nodded trying his hardest not to laugh.

It was always around this time where Vincent and Benjamin would switch patrol routes. Benjamin would take the wall, while Vincent would take the inner city. The pair bid each other fairwell and went on their separate ways. The inner city was bustling with civilians on their way home from their daily lives and last minute shoppers trying to buy dinner for the evening. It was like trying to weave your way through a sea of people going in the opposite direction of you. Worse of all were the guards of the Butterfly Corporation, and the gun runners working for the Crimson Spade, an extremely dangerous crime syndicate who were nearly just as bad. Butterfly Corp was an average company until the Seven Days of Fire and the company became the overseers of Old Toronto.

Vincent took another scoop into his mouth and watched as several Butterfly Corp guards bustled in and out of the local ‘meat houses’ with some poor meat puppet under their arms, “Disgusting.” Vincent muttered as he saw a meat puppet being ordered to go down on a guard. It was basically necrophilia, and not worth 230 bottle caps an hour in Vincent’s opinion. Vincent tried to ignore the sight and continued eating, but he soon heard the familiar sound of gun fire in the distance. He quickly scooped the food into his mouth and tossed the container away, rushing to the sound of the gun fire.

He ran all the way back to the wall, as fast as a bunny trying to steal some carrots from a farmer. Vincent acted out instinct as he drew his DNAnalyzer. A specially made gun that fired bullets filled with a chemical both deadly to humans and to the mutant creatures that ravage the night, “Ben?!” Vincent yelled in a fearful manner. Benjamin Mutton was firing his DNAnalyzer on something in the darkness beyond the wall. Vincent flipped a switch sounding the city alarm, but what was Mutton shooting at? Was it bandits? Looters? Ferals? No, Vincent could tell  that do to the disturbing soft growls and roars that it was worse. Vincent ran to join his friend and was able to confirm his suspicions on the culprit. It was Shadow Runners.

The Shadow Runners could move fast, making them appear as shadows on the run. They were large hairless cat like creatures without a tail but had small nub looking appendages. They also lacked eyes but had special sensors giving then the ability to see their prey’s heat. Vincent aimed his gun causing his specialized visor, given specifically to Peace Keepers in the City Watch to come down. This visor gave him the ability to see the fast creatures and he was able to shoot them.

He fired his special bullets onto a few of the Runners causing the deadly chemical reaction to begin. The chemical reacted to the skin causing deadly burns that ate through to the organs. Several more Peace Keepers soon arrived and aided the men in their fight. Unfortunately, a few Runners got over the wall and ran towards the inner city.

Vincent and Mutton began to chase the Runners down. Mutton fired on one, easily crippling it’s two back legs. Vincent fired on another hitting its lower back which caused it to stop. The creature turned and Vincent fired on its head killing it. The third just kept firing, but soon colapsed dead. Standing there was an elderly gentleman with a body like stretched out rubber, a shiny top on his head and long white snow hair along his head. His odd appearance was complete with a sharply pointed nose, a crooked looking smile, that matched his crooked face. This was the head of the Peace Keepers, Igor Bellakov, “Good shot, sir!” Mutton gasped panting, his now white beard even now appearing like sheep’s wool.

Igor smiled more and nodded putting his weapon away, “Of course, I’m a bit rusty,” said Igor who had a soft grandfatherly voice. Mutton aimed the gun at the downed creature and fired on its head. The creature as limp as a still pile of snow. Igor sent Mutton back to his post and had Vincent return home.

Vincent began to head home but decided to stop by a small stall to buy another cup of chicken potatoes, for 26 bottle caps. It had been an exhausting day.

As Vincent began walking home, he took in the sight of the blinding neon lights of the city waking up for the evening entertainment. Vincent smiled seeing citizens going off to have fun in the neon lit buildings, from the House of Cards casino, which bore a red spade on a black background  (owned by the Crimson Spade), a night club, that bore the symbol of a neon blue butterfly called the Velvet Room (owned by Butterfly Corp), another casino called Poseidon’s Cove owned by the Checkerz Club who were rivals to the Crimson Spade, a meat house called the Puppet Theater owned by Butterfly Corp’s rival Cogsworth Enterprises, and a brothel colored in pink with occasional touches of red which had a large pink neon heart with red flashing letters. This was Cupid’s Harem, owned by Jocelyn Cross. However, it was who was coming out of the brothel that mad Vincent question things. It was Anton Cheswick, CEO of of Butterfly Corp and high chancellor of Old Toronto.

He was accompanied by his wife Elizabeth whom was rumored to be his own sister. And some woman dressed in a red lace skirt, a white fur coat, red leather heel boots, and a cute pink leather collar around her neck, ‘What is he doing?’ Vincent asked himself in his head. Anton sent his wife and the woman on ahead once he noticed Vincent and approached him.

“Good evening, Cosgrove.” Anton said in a thick German accent.

“Good evening.” Vincent replied.

Vincent stared at the chancellor, looking at his cybernetic right arm with syringes for fingers. Vincent knew that this gave Anton the ability to drain people of their blood so he could live, it was the price Anton had to pay along with the hole in his left cheek and bad burns, “How are you?” Anton asked.

Vincent shrugged unsure of how to respond. Anton seemed to understand and nodded, “I get it. Have a girl on me,” he said with a smile, “she can help you relax.” Vincent looked at the chancellor and than at the girls.

Anton knew thay Vincent had spent an evening or two with a prostitute named Katherine ‘Kitty’ Starr, “Kitty. I’ll take Kitty.” Vincent said. Anton smiled and paid for her. Vincent bid the chancellor farewell and left with Kitty. The next morning started peacefully as Vincent awoke and saw Kitty laying by his side, naked as a new born babe. Kitty’s name wasn’t exactly coincidence either. Kitty had a genetically attached cat tail and cat ears. Body modification is considered the sexiest thing for prostitutes to have in Old Toronto.

After a warm breakfast between himself and his lover he left for his post on the wall, giving Kitty a kiss goodbye before he left. Today, would prove an emotional one. Mutton ran up to meet Vincent and took him to the side, “Vincent, I have to talk to you.” he said exasperated.

Vincent looked at Mutton, who seemed pale as a sheet, “What’s wrong?”  Vincent asked.

Mutton paused before speaking and took a deep breath, the winter air chilled his warm breath creating a puff of smoke, “On my way home I overheard a message coming in through my communicator, it was from a girl,” Mutton stated, “Vincent, do you know a girl named Samantha?”

Vincent’s eyes widened, “She’s a childhood friend.” He revealed.

Mutton sighed, “She sounded like she was in trouble.”

Vincent in a fit of anger rushed to the office of the chancellor, to ask for permission to go find his friend. Anton sat in a black leather chair staring at the computer screen in front of him, “Chancellor?” Vincent asked.

The chancellor looked up at him and nodded giving him permission to speak, “I received word from an old friend of mine is outside the wall and may be in danger. With your permission I’d like to go get her.”

Anton Cheswick starred up at Vincent with concern in his eyes, “I’m sorry about your plight but I must say no,” Anton replied.

Vincent’s anger only grew, “Now before to say anything I want you to know I’m thinking of the benefits of the people of Old Toronto. What if you leave and the ferals or the Shadow Runners attack?” Anton asked. Vincent nodded, he had to admit that the chancellor had a point.

Vincent bowed out of respect and left. Mutton and Vincent sat down together talking it over, “What do you think I should do buddy?” Vincent asked. Mutton shrugged. He didn’t know what to do.

Mutton smiled, “You must really care for this girl, if you wish to go save her.” Mutton said.

“Yeah. She was there for me when I needed help and I wish to return the favor.” Vincent said.

Mutton understood and put a a hand on his shoulder, “Than go to her.” He said before leaving.

Vincent thought about it all day as he continued his duties. That night he continued thinking even while on his date with Kitty. When asked what was wrong, he asked her what to do, “Go save her. She needs you.” She responded. Vincent knew what he needed to do.

The next day Vincent began walking towards the gate. He needed to save Samantha. However, standing there was Anton Cheswick, Igor Bellakov, Benjamin Mutton, and Anton’s son Brandon. Brandon held a gun in his hand and standing on the wall with a guard on either side of her was Kitty. She was badly cut, her clothes were torn, her tail was missing and she had a rope tied around her neck. She was in tears, “I’m sorry baby, they tortured me!” She cried.

“I knew you’d be planning something so I merely pressed her for info.” Anton said. He looked furious.

Vincent had to be extremely careful here. If he made one wrong step it would be his end, “Chancellor, I have to do this.”

“No you don’t!” Anton yelled. Anton’s anger was on the rise, “I didn’t work this hard just so you could ruin it by bringing an outsider into my perfect city!”

Vincent smiled, “So that’s what this is about. You’re just racist.” Vincent said. Benjamin Mutton soon drew his gun and walked to Vincent smiling as he aimed his gun at Anton and the group,   “Now I’m leaving. You’re gonna let my girlfriend go, and your product of i****t is gonna put his gun away.” He said as he stepped forward. Soon the sound of a gunshot rung throughout the air and a splash of blood past over Vincent’s gaze. The last thing he saw was Kitty being pushed from the wall, and than his world was swallowed in darkness.

The last thing he heard and felt was the presence of a distant voice, “Imagine a tree, in a dark cave as you are swallowed by the winter.” The voice said.

Vincent would see this ‘tree’ but it looked more human in appearance but at the same time it looked monstrous. Furthermore it was covered in faces and the latest face was Vincent’s.

  • Jed

    3/5 Rushed, but interesting.

  • Lukrasta

    I loved it.

    • Skyler Maves

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked it.

    • Jed

      I really liked it, I just think it would work better if it was a bit longer.

      • Skyler Maves

        I did want to make it longer but I couldn’t think of some things to do

        • Jed

          It’s hard to keep a story going after you’ve used a lot of your creative juices on a story.

          • Skyler Maves


  • Jacqueline Williams

    That Was Deep. Very Good Story Telling. I really liked it. I HOPE YOU MAKE A PART 2.
    Also, It Sounds Like It Would make a great movie.

    • Skyler Maves

      Thank you dear. I don’t know if I’ll ever make a part two but I do have more ideas for possible stories that take place in the same world, just follow different characters.

  • Brittanya Willis

    I loved this, but I was a bit bummed that Vincent had to die. I really liked him. He seemed like a noble kind of guy

    • Skyler Maves

      I agree.