A Christmas Finny (Part 3 of 8)
A Christmas Finny (Part 3 of 8) postapocalyptic stories

ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
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A small detour to the worst of times for Finny.

A Christmas Finny (Part 3 of 8)

Joe followed Finny's gaze. Darkness was covering over the scene like rolling fog. The ghost held out its hand.

Joe took it and stood up and immediately the pair of them again ascended into the pitch-black sky. Below, New Flagstaff and all its lights faded out and now Joe could feel wind on his face.

They were moving, fast.

"Where are we going?"

The light of the ghost was intense, almost obliterating, but Joe saw that she was grinning with excitement.

"I don't know! The past. Your past."

Joe wasn't too sure that seeing his past was going to be worth all the excitement on the childish face. But it appeared it was happening anyway.

They flew on over invisible landscape until lights started to appear ahead of them. Joe strained to make them out.

Just twinkles on the horizon until they started to get closer and then Joe, even from this unfamiliar vantage point, recognised the squat silhouette of Barret Manor.

They were heading towards Hope Springs. Joe couldn't think of anything in his chequered history that warranted a visit to Hope. Something to do with Tuki maybe?

Now there were more lights, not as bright by any means, but closer. Campfires? It took a second or two for it to dawn on Joe. This was a camp.

If they were coming from Flag then between them was the northern-most Devil's Own camp, and not only were he and the ghost coming up on it fast, they were also losing altitude.

Joe had a sudden bad feeling. He looked up, beyond the camp. Sure enough, coming from Hope was a long line of car headlights.

"Oh shit." He whispered. Joe tried to pull back on Finny's hand but, of course, being airborne there was nothing to pull back against and they continued their inexorable descent.

"Finny! No! Don't do this."

Finny, the ghost, or whatever she was meant to be looked back at Joe with a puzzled frown on her shimmering face.

Then it was too late because their feet touched down on the thankfully snowless ground. Joe again reached for his shotty before remembering that it wasn't there.

He tried to pull the little ghost away, back into the darkness but whatever spell had joined them in the air was now broken and Joe's fingers slipped through the small hand like it was smoke.

Then the firing began... and, shortly after, the screaming too.

The entire ridge above the Devil's Own camp was lit up with headlights and every other car had opened up on the sleeping camp below with machinegun fire.

What few guards patrolled the perimeter tried to return fire but they were very soon silenced.

Now Joe saw figures, passengers from the vehicles running down the slope into the camp itself and the shooting and the screaming became much, much worse.

Joe looked at the Finny ghost. The little spectre stared at the horror unfolding fifty metres away.

They may be invisible and untouchable by the flying bullets all around them but they were not unaffected. In fact, it was worse.

Instead of running around them, fleeing Devil's Own would have run straight through Joe and the ghost if they had not, from habit, dodged out of their way.

Joe turned to the paralysed figure by his side.

"Finny! This isn't my past. Finny, it's yours."

But it was like she couldn't hear him. Joe saw Finny's eyes lock onto a small group running towards them. Three or four adults and maybe half a dozen kids.

One woman, ugly as sin ran carrying a toddler and dragging a slightly older child by the hand.

Behind them, another woman, this one with blue hair and a fearsome expression ran while firing behind her at the yelling men pursuing them.

Joe had to stop this. And he realised that he actually knew how, he had read it many years ago.

Confidently, Joe reached out and took firm hold of the ghost's ridiculous cap and then began to push it down.

The ugly woman carrying the child ran past Joe and he turned to look back at them.

Which is when he saw the face of the toddler she carried staring back past him, its little arms outstretched towards the blue-haired woman, its mouth a screaming 'O'. The same wild red hair.

The same mask of freckles. Joe felt sick. It was too late.

In slow motion, he turned back to the blue-haired woman just in time to see her head explode in a spray of blood, brains and spinning bone fragments.

With all his strength, Joe forced the cap down all the way to the ground until the ghostly light was extinguished and all was black.

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