Today is a Saturday. Metaphorically anyway, I have no damn clue what actual day of the week it is. We all just thought it was time to give our legs a break.
Jim and I are on watch in a huge eucalyptus tree. It smells nice and I am compulsively peeling away the gray bark to show the red underneath; probably not the best thing for it. I watch the long valley for danger and she sharpens her claws for a better grip when riding on my shoulder. The lazy ass.
Earlier, Bob and I went out to pick greens from an overgrown farming field and he decided it was the perfect time for a little get-to-know you. He kept on with the questions until I finally excused myself to relieve Tim for the watch.
He began with, “Where you from?” I replied, “Nevada”.
Then, “Why are you all on your own and how long have you been alone?” It made me feel like I was being interrogated when he asked so frankly, but I answered out of respect. “I’ve been alone since the beginning of the outbreak. Not many trustworthy people out there anymore. I’m safer on my own.” His eyes looked away for a second and I realized that I’d slighted him.
“Until you, of course.” I smiled to show my affection and he returned it, “Ah that is a beautiful smile you’ve got. You know.. Tim is a good man also, just not as knowledgeable or handsome as me.” I laughed an honest laugh, the first in months.
Bob squeezed my shoulder gently. “Don’t hold his naivety against him. He’s new to the hardship life is going to bring, the ugliness. We were sheltered from the worst on the coast, so the hardness of most people’s souls is going to shock him.”
I had winced when I saw the shade of purple and green his face was this morning, “I would think he learned a lesson on trusting strangers yesterday. I also get the feeling he thinks I’m some sort of serial killer. I didn’t have a choice…you saw it, right. There was no choice. It was you guys or them.” Bob stopped picking to look into my eyes, “I know that and I can’t thank you enough for saving our lives. He’s just adjusting to a whole new way of life, but he’ll come around. I think he’s more amazed by you than anything else.” I smirked at the audacity of that. It’s not a descriptor I would ever use for myself. Although, I guess just being a live human nowadays made you pretty amazing.
He started his line of questioning again after a short silence. “So, where did you learn to shoot? and Why do you talk so much in your sleep? Also, when did you get a cat?” I answered as quickly as possible and ran up to this lovely, quiet tree.
Siting here has given me time to think on my present situation. Being with the men, I mean. They are both kind people, who at this point really do need a bit of looking after. But fucking hell! I don’t want to be responsible for anyone. I should go. But the guilt would be so bad. Especially when it came to poor Bob. I’ll just stay until Tim learns how to function in the world. But that means I have to teach him shit, and actually talk to him. Ugh!
This afternoon I took Tim with me on a hunting hike for small game. Birds and such, things I could easily kill with my slingshot. Bob suggested Tim come with me because he had a slingshot also, he’d just never learned to hunt with it. I grudgingly agreed because I had just told myself I would start teaching him. Anyway we were walking as silently as possible through the valley edge, where most of the trees have grown, when Tim sees a rabbit.
Now I’ve seen tons of rabbits while on watch, but I know that you can’t quietly kill the fluffy buggers. If you miss anything vital, they have a tendency to scream like a baby who just got pinched. Obviously Tim didn’t realize or know this fact. I was concentrating on a wild turkey’s call when he pulled back and thumped a rabbit in the spine. This kept it from running, but not from screaming its bloody head off.
I immediately sprinted for the rabbit to stop the piercing call, he stood dumb founded while I snaped the rabbit’s neck. I’d only put it out of it’s misery but he stared at me with a strange expression again. I glared back at him, “What the fuck man! Don’t look at me that way, I’m not the one who shot the thing.” I tossed the limp rabbit at his chest and headed for the house. I was thoroughly pissed and we needed to warn Bob there might be some undead company soon. It was possible that there wasn’t a plaguer in earshot, but like I’ve said before, I don’t leave things to chance if I can help it.
On the walk back he caught up to me and apologized, “I didn’t know they did that..I… I’ve never killed an animal before. I mean, I fished before but never something that showed pain. It’s so.. final and horrible. How do you not feel guilty killing things?” If there had been even a hint of accusation in his question I probably would have done my best to deck him, but there was only sad curiosity.
I shrugged, “If your talking about animals, I don’t feel bad because we’re all animals and I need them to live just like a coyote needs animals to live. I just try to make sure they die cleanly and as pain free as I can manage. But if your talking about that trash I killed yesterday…well they had it coming. They were feeding off weaker people when there is absolutely no reason to. They were nothing but greedy assholes. My gut feeling is that doing nothing to stop the greedy assholes of the world is what got us into this shit situation in the first place. Anyway, we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to live. End of story.” He nodded, and quietly followed me back to the house.
When we returned I had to teach him how to skin a rabbit and then explain the do’s and don’t for different animal hunts. When did I sign up for that?
At least no horde of plaguers showed to investigate the rabbit scream. So I guess lesson learned, no harm done. Tomorrow I’ll have my hands full with Tim, not the way I’d originally hoped for either. Figures.
I’m turning in early with the hope of getting up at dawn and bagging the turkey I heard this afternoon. Wish me luck!
More to come….
A great blogging writer, Paul E. Bailey has created a sister story to this Apocalypse Diary. It’s written in a different style and in a different place but these stories share time and Zombie population. Please give this awesome story a read and continue to follow the characters adventures! Thank you.😊 This link is for the first chapter, he provides easy links to the other chapters from there…he’s more computer savvy than I, obviously. lol!