He decided on the shotgun; bigger spread. In an enclosed space such as the house, he had a better chance of hitting his target. Digging among the boxes in the garbage bag, he found a box of shells and loaded the weapon.
With it in his hands along with the bag, he headed for the stairs. They creaked as he climbed, making him more sensitive to any noises outside. Once on the landing, he flattened himself on his stomach and crawled under on of two windows in the hall. A mixture of light from the street light and the moon made the corridor a lot lighter than he would have liked. He slowly raised his head above the sill to peer onto the street. Two long feelered bugs resembling silverfish chased each other in rapid circles on the footpath. They suddenly broke off and veered beneath a hedge, out of sight.
He turned for his room, still closed from the day he entered the bunker. Pushing it open he crawled inside, then closed the door, allowing him to stand. As in the days before the missile strike, clothes lay strewn across the floor. He restrained himself from picking them up. Disarray now made his room a shrine, a sanctuary, hidden away and untouched by the war.
A distant shriek compelled him to look through the only window in his room. With shotgun in hand, he crawled to the sill and scanned the length of the street. Ebon limbs shifted in the branches of a tree across the street as he heard the shriek again, but not as loudly. Brad tapped the side of his goggles, operating the night lens. His view of the tree became vivid as if he looked during daylight hours. Something hunched in the branches, plucking fruit he hadn’t seen before the war. Peering harder, made the zoom option function, bringing him closer.
He could make out the shaggy matted black fur of a creature vaguely similar to a monkey. It looked undernourished with kinked back and folded bat like wings. It suddenly turned, fixing its red eyes on Brad. He dropped beneath the sill and held his breath, fearing to alert any unholy creature lurking outside. When he eventually raised his head, he yelped, dropping the shotgun. The creature from the trees stared inquisitively through the window.
He instinctively rolled aside, then cursed under his breath for putting himself out of reach of the firearm. This time he waited a long while, before crawling as quietly as he dared and taking hold of the shotgun. Looking through the window, he realised the thing had gone. He dropped the blinds and closed the slats. With an adjustment of his goggles, the room lightened as if it was morning.
Lying back on his bed, he tried to unsuccessfully will himself to sleep. It proved a fruitless effort. Too many thoughts went through his mind at once, the loss of Ben, his parents, meeting Teyata, and now a new thought; his future. A least he could sleep in his room; an untouched pocket of the past.