Dweller: A Short Story Introduction

Dweller: A Short Story Introduction

Kaylen Koscielicki

  The young man’s leg is gashed and bleeding from the ankle, and there’s a row of thorns sticking down his forearm. I might’ve left him, or shot him dead, if it wasn’t my traps that got him.  I try to make my hesitation evident as I pull the thorns from his arm and unstrap the bear trap, but his expression is almost the opposite. Despite the fact that I’m the reason he’s sitting here, almost bleeding out, but he watches me as if I’m some sort of angel that has come down from heaven to pull him out of hell.

  We don’t speak as I help him back to my cabin. It’s about a quarter of a mile up the hill, away from the stream, so we drink as much water as we can before we start the hike. I’m also carrying his backpack over my shoulders but it’s surprising light compared to what I carry around. He probably has everything he owns in here, and yet it feels like nothing. Maybe it is nothing, and this was more of a suicidal hike than a survival one.

  When we finally reach the deck of the cabin, after what feels like hours, I set him down onto the floor and check the area around us. He opens his mouth to say something, but I shake my head and shush him, which he does with annoyance. He’s had all this time to say something, and decides to pick the moment that I need absolute silence to ensure our survival for the rest of the night.

  After a couple minutes with no sign of life and no sound to make me nervous, I drag the young man inside and lock all four latches on the door. I run to the bathroom and grab a towel so his blood doesn’t leak all over the wooden, splintering floors. I wipe it down every week or so and I’ve just done it this morning. The last thing I need is blood stains on this floor, because it has everything else.

  “Boone,” he says as I wrap his leg. “My name is Boone.”

  “I never asked.”

  He grins at me, and it actually makes me delay my movement.

  “When was the last time you’ve seen one? Another human being?”

  I pause, slapping another wet towel just above his elbow. The bleeding is starting to stop, but not quite. Almost, though. The sooner I can get it to stop the sooner he can leave. After exchanging a serious look with Boone, I drop the towel onto the floor beside him and disappear into the kitchen, sliding the door shut.

  He’s barely said a few words and I already want to kill him. Okay…maybe not kill, but I want him gone. Besides my family, I’ve seen half a dozen other humans in my life and all of them either got killed or got the rest of my family killed. By those facts and the circumstances I’ll be dead by the end of the night, or he will. When it comes between the two of us, and if I have a choice, Boone’s gone. Not me. He’s the idiot that walked into my traps. Who goes walking through swamps unless you’re looking for trouble, anyways?