Expansion

Safe returned from scavenging in the field to find Zone up to his eyes in debris. The tomato-red Guardian was clawing at the stone of their makeshift lair, tearing out hunks of rock and piles of dirt. Depositing the items she had found during her hunt, the blood-red Mirror approached him warily.

“Zone?”

“Yeah?” the Guardian huffed, still clawing at stone.

“What are you doing?”

Zone pulled back, coughing dirt and snorting a pebble from his nostril. He looked at her, baffled, and then gestured to all the destruction.

“What does it look like?”

“I’m…not sure,” Safe admitted, tilting her head in hopes of understanding the strange scene better.

Zone sighed, shaking his great head. “I’m making more room. I doubt the hatchings will want a tiny space to grow up in, not if we don’t want them wandering out into the wilderness where some monster could kill them.”

Safe made a soft “oh” sound. Now it made sense. Zone was trying to widen the meager space of their lair, which wasn’t very much to begin with. With hatchlings on the way, it made sense. More room meant less of a chance for curious newborns to slip out of the lair and into the dangerous territory of the Wandering Contagion around them.

Zone returned to digging, claws scraping sharply on stone. Safe was suddenly by his side, pawing away dirt and loose stones with her nimble, long-fingered paws. Zone grunted but continued, working around the smaller Mirror.

By nightfall, the lair had been widened. Not by a large margin but it certainly looked bigger. Safe was pretty sure the hatchlings would like it.

Zone plodded over to the lone nest, the green goo bubbling around the slimy eggs that floated in it. The Guardian swore he could see the faint shadows within, the growing forms of their children. He couldn’t help but smile. Even in this wasteland of corpses and disease, life could be brought forth.

If only it could stay that way. Just life. No more death. If only it could be that simplistic, that sweet, that easy. Zone would never complain again if he could just have that…

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