Karen finished buttoning her hazsuit and stood up. She pulled her mask into place, stifling her natural aversion to having anything touching the skin on her face. The sound she was hearing outside was becoming weaker, and she knew that she didn't have much time. She pulled her keycard through the maglock and stepped outside.
Instantly the brightness blinded her, the screaming winds whipping at her with skeletal fingers full of debris. Karen wondered how she had been able to hear the infant's cry with the winds such a banshee. But there it was, a tiny cry, barely discernible. Karen tracked the sound with her head, her eyes scanning the blasted horizon.
She saw the feet first, sticking out from a nearby pile of boulders left from the last underground construction project. The boulders promised protection from the wind, but they also tended to trap the poisonous gases in the atmosphere in concentrated form. Those born on the surface tended to eschew protection of any kind, and this one had paid for it. Sighing, Karen approached the feet, gripped the legs and pulled.
The woman's face was a rictus of pain, her skin a mottled purple, her eyes white with death. Clutched to her chest, a wiggling bundle wrapped in a pink blanket cried weakly. Karen had a little difficulty pulling the child from the rigor of the mother's dead arms, but with a snap, the child was free. Karen tucked the baby into her pack and headed back to her shelter.
She prayed this one would live.
The prompt is the third definition of the word MASK.