Episode 2 – Hidden in the Shadows

Episode 2 – Hidden in the Shadows

Mireya crouches in the corner of the dilapidated barn, her small hands gently cradling an injured kitten. The barn, once filled with the sounds of animals and farm life, is now a place of shadows and silence. Light filters through the gaps in the wooden walls, casting thin beams that dance with dust.

The kitten mews weakly, its leg bent at an unnatural angle. Mireya’s eyes, wide and dark, reflect the dim light. She murmurs soft, comforting words, her voice barely above a whisper. She knows the sound could attract the undead lurking outside, but she can’t help herself. The kitten’s pain tugs at her heart.

Her fingers move carefully, applying a makeshift splint she fashioned from a twig and a strip of cloth torn from her dress. It’s not much, but it’s something. The kitten quiets, seeming to understand that she means no harm.

As she looked outside, the stillness of the world sent a shiver down her spine. Mireya’s ears catch the faintest sound of shuffling feet and the low groans that signal danger. She freezes, her breath hitching. The zombies are close. Too close.

She tucks the kitten into a small box filled with straw, her hands trembling. The box is hidden behind a stack of old hay bales, a place she hopes is safe enough for now. She presses a quick kiss to the kitten’s head, a silent promise to return.

Mireya moves silently, her bare feet making no sound on the rough wooden floor. She knows every creak and groan of this old barn. It has been her refuge since she lost her family. She has learned to navigate its shadows, to make herself invisible.

The groans grow louder. She slips into her secret nook, a small space behind a pile of crates where the wood is warped just enough to hide her tiny frame. She curls up, hugging her knees to her chest, making herself as small as possible.

Her heart pounds in her ears, drowning out all other sounds. To calm herself, she bites her lip and focuses on controlling her breathing. She must remain hidden from them. She must ensure that the kitten remains undiscovered.

Through the gaps in the crates, she sees shadows moving outside the barn. The zombies are sluggish but relentless. Their figures cast long, distorted shapes on the dusty floor. One of them bumps against the barn door, causing it to creak open slightly. Mireya’s heart skips a beat.

The stench of decay wafts into the barn, making her gag. She presses a hand to her mouth, tears pricking her eyes. The fear is a constant companion, but she has learned to control it. She has to.

Minutes pass like hours. The shadows linger, the groans a constant reminder of the danger just beyond the thin walls. Mireya stays perfectly still, her muscles aching from the tension. She knows she has to wait them out. She knows she can’t make a sound.

The zombies eventually lose interest, shuffling away in search of easier prey. The groans fade into the distance, leaving a heavy silence in their wake. Mireya waits, counting the seconds in her head, until she is sure they are gone.

She uncurls slowly, her joints protesting. She peeks through the gaps in the crates, scanning the barn for any signs of movement. It’s clear. For now.

Mireya slips out of her hiding place and moves back to the box. The kitten looks up at her with bright, trusting eyes. She smiles, a small, sad smile. She knows the world is harsh, but at this moment, she has done something good. Something kind.

She reaches for a small jar of water she keeps hidden, taking a careful sip before offering some to the kitten. It drinks eagerly, its tiny body trembling. Mireya feels a warmth in her chest. She has given it a chance, just as she hopes someone will give her one.

The barn is quiet again; the danger passed. Mireya knows she can’t stay here forever. She needs to find food, water, a safer place. But for now, she is content to sit with the kitten, to offer it what comfort she can.

As the day turns to dusk, the light in the barn fades, replaced by long shadows. Mireya listens for any sounds, any sign of the undead returning. But all she hears is the soft rustle of the kitten’s fur and her own steady breathing.

She peeks out through a small crack in the wall, watching the sun set over the farm. The sky is a wash of reds and oranges, beautiful and eerie. She feels a pang of longing for her family, for the life she once knew.

A sound breaks the silence—a distant thud, followed by footsteps. Mireya tenses, her eyes darting to the barn door. The steps are too measured to be a zombie’s. Someone is out there.

She crouches lower, her heart racing again. She wants to believe it’s a savior, but she has learned to be cautious. The world is full of dangers, both living and dead.

The footsteps grow closer, more deliberate. She clutches the box with the kitten, ready to hide again if she must. But a part of her hopes. Hopes that this time, someone has come to help.

The door creaks open, and Mireya holds her breath. With a mixture of terror and anticipation, she cautiously looks out, her eyes wide open. The figure steps into the barn, silhouetted against the dying light.

Mireya waits, feeling her heart race with anticipation. In suspense, she waits to determine if this is when she will be rescued or if she will need to once again seek refuge in the shadows.