"This has been one crazy day," mused Taylor after being shouted out of Alice's house and met Tessa on their way to Harru's house. He rubbed his hands together, the cold was getting into his wounds and scratches. "At this rate, I think I won't make it till the end."
"Don't be stupid," said Harru. "Thank you for that, you know, back there when Bruth was about to smash his fist into my face. I... well, thank you. And I apologize for what happened at Alice's, I never knew she had that temper."
"Don't mention it," replied Taylor. "Though I'd advice you. You should seriously start growing some muscles, Bruth would want revenge anytime and he might charge at you. Who'd protect you then?"
"Don't talk to me like I am still a kid," protested Harru. "You sound like my father when he says that. He might sound concern but really, he's disappointed in me. I never grew up to meet his expectations; and I think I never will."
"Hey kid, don't go jumping off icebergs after this conversation." Taylor was trying to lightened up the somber mood that had fallen between the two. "I didn't mean it the same way as your father. That man is crazy, no offense."
"Yeah well, I have bigger plans than suicide," said Harru. "For instance, discovering how to take that collar off your neck, and to see the sun."
"Yeah please, this thing is really uncomfortable." Taylor tried prying it away, to no avail.
Both men arrived to Harru's home. Taylor brought wood to light up the fire while Harru gathered his tools. The tools were rudimentary, most of them were hand-made, improvised, and rusted. However, they worked. Taylor laid on the bed and waited for Harru, at the same time cleaning his wounds.
Harru came back with his tool box. He took out a light bulb attached with wires to a battery with a solar cell embedded into it. The wattage was strong. When Harru turned the bulb on, it was so bright that Taylor thought he might go blind.
"Hey, can you stop aiming that light at my face?" Taylor blinked in pain.
"Sorry," said Harru and shone the unidentified object on Taylor's neck. It was black and round. There weren't any fissures or apparent joinery; it was flushed and smooth. There was one light at the back of the device, it blinked red intermittently. "I think this is a tracking device," concluded Harru after much thought. "Every minute it's sending some sort of signal. There's a light at the back. I think your collar is responding to whatever signal the device is being fed of."
"Can you take it off?"
"I can try. Hold on." Harru leaned over his tool box. He re-emerged with a rusted chainsaw that had a bucket of animal fat in place of the motor. "I haven't used this in ages. This was my first reconstruction and I'm proud of it. This should do the work, now hold still..." Harru pulled the chain of the saw and it roared and sputtered to life. The heavy chainsaw made Harru shake all over because of the weight and the strength.
"Woah, woah, you're not using that on me!" Taylor tried to stand, but Harru was holding him down with his foot.
"I am practiced at this!" Harru said, pushing him back. "If I can take it off, we could determine the origin of it and you can confirm your abduction story."
"I'd rather keep my head!" shouted Taylor, pushing Harru's foot away. "You cannot be trusted with those kinds of tools, you might kill someone!"
Harru was about to protest, but stopped short when he noticed tiny flames, like candles dying in the night, coming towards the settlement. The warning alarm rang loudly, alerting the citizens of Toronto of danger. He stopped the chainsaw and dropped it to the floor. He heard the shouts of fear...and of death. He quickly closed the straw blinds shut and bolted the door. He pressed his back on the door.
"Harru, what's going on?" Taylor asked.
Harru couldn't speak. This wasn't the first time he'd seen those torches at the bay of the settlement. The last time he saw them, he lost his mother. He was breathing hard, thinking what to do. Taylor kept asking him questions he didn't have the answer to.
"Harru, answer me!" Taylor could read fear in Harru's eyes.
"Toronto is under attack," he whispered. "I was too defenseless the last time it happened. But this time, it won't be the same." He scrambled to his drawer and pulled out the crossbow his mother had used that dark night to protect him. He strapped it onto his arm. He hadn't realized the weight of it until now.
"Under attack, of what?"
"We don't know," answered Harru. "My father says they might be from other settlements trying to conquer us, but sometimes he also says they're degenerated humans who eat others because of the shortage of food. Either way, I have to defend and protect this community. I'm part of it."
The screams and shouts were nearer. Heavy footfalls echoed everywhere as the warriors ran to fight off the unwelcome monsters.
"They like children the best." Harru could hardly control himself when he said this, the bitter tears were at bay. "Didn't they had enough the last time they were here?"
"There's no time to explain." Harru pushed Taylor away from the door and yanked it opened. "We won't lose any other settler, not to those monsters." He got outside, ready to protect his people even though he was extremely scared.
"Harru!" Taylor shouted, but Harru was gone, running in the direction of the shouts and screams. He cursed and rummaged the house, seeking something useful among all the rudimentary tools. He finally came across a well-kept box Harru had under his bed. He opened it and inside, a sword was gleaming back at him. The hilt was smooth and hard, and the blade was sharp and untouched. He took it and ran out of the house.
"I knew I wasn't wrong about not making it till the end of the day," muttered Taylor as he joined the chaos.