Last night was awful. Bob woke up every couple of hours to hack uncontrollably. I finally thought to boil a big pot of water on my propane stove in another room, then carry the boiling pot into the closet we’re sleeping in, to create a steam room. I repeated this every hour but I fear its gone to pneumonia anyway. The color of what he’s coughing up is not pretty and the bubbling I hear in his chest is disheartening. When I got the cold meds yesterday, I wasn’t thinking it would get this bad. Especially this quickly. I’m going to have to get some antibiotics and the steroid, prednisone. I remember that before my gran died of pneumonia they gave her both to combat the bacteria.
I just have the problem of leaving him here. I originally planed to have Bob sitting in the hot spring all day, but he can barely get up to piss in a bottle.
I told him in my strictest substitute teacher voice, “You need to stay in the closet today, its warm and humid. Please promise me you won’t come out.”
“Okay, I won’t. Please be safe Gabe. You don’t know how much I appreciate you caring for me, but don’t take any chances with your life for an old man. I’ve lived a long life,” He paused to hack a few times and I waited for him to finish, “I would just ask one favor of you. I know I owe you too much already but could you check on Tim? You know, if I don’t make it. Just to make sure he’s not in trouble in that place, because I have a bad feeling. You should always trust your gut.”
I nodded, “Sure thing Bob, right after we get you well, we’ll hike over and scout their camp. Now no more of that kind of talk because you’re going to get better. I love you Gramps, I’ll be back as soon as I can. Drink your water and stay warm.” He blew me a kiss and I headed out.
Right now I’m waiting for a large group of plaguers to shuffle past a promising ranch home so I can sneak in. Looks like older people lived here. There’s a wheelchair folded on the porch and a Cadillac in the driveway. Fingers crossed.
This afternoon was a surprise, but I’ll just tell it to you in order.
I got the meds for Bob. It wasn’t easy but it didn’t take as long as last night; two hours at most. It was midday. When I came up the hall stairs, I immediately saw that the propane stove was on, boiling a pot of water. I knew for a fact that a sick old guy wasn’t going to lift a filled five gallon stock pot. Someone else was here. Tim, maybe?
I proceeded with caution. Creeping along the wall I peeked in the bedroom. There was no one. Then I heard Bob speaking with someone inside the closet. A male someone. Still maybe Tim, I thought.
Gun at the ready, I knocked at the closet door. There was a confused, “Yes?” from the other side. “Is that you Gabe?” I heard Bob ask. I silently waited for the person to open the door, so I could assess the situation. Finally, the door creaked on its hinges and Bob poked his head out.
“Why you knocking? Come in.” I shook my head, I pointed to him and used my own version of sign language to ask if he was okay. He smiled and laughed a little, which sparked a harsh coughing fit. Bob began to collapse and through the crack of the doorway I saw movement behind him. Whomever was in there, thankfully caught him before he hit the floor. I rushed forward to see if he was alright and saw a stranger lowering my friend into his bedding and covering him up.
I held my gun in front of me but pointed at the floor. His actions in caring for Bob said that he was probably not a looter or murderer, but you never knew people’s level of crazy these days. Bob spoke up, “Gabe, this is Ian. Put that gun away and shut the door, your letting in the cold.”
I closed the door but kept my weapon ready. Bob looked happy when he told me, “Ian was in Big Sur with us. I’ve known his family for years. His father was our town physician” I relaxed a little, figuring that if Bob vouched for him, I would take his word for it.
“Nice to meet you Ian. How did you find us?”
“I saw you both hiking two days ago and recognized Bob, but I wasn’t sure about you. I followed you around a while last night,”
“Wait, you were following me.” I didn’t know if I was upset or impressed.
He flashed a charming, crooked smile. “That’s right. I wanted to see what you were up to. I got worried when I realized you were looking for medication, so I decided to check in on Bob when you left this morning.”
“He’s not in the best shape, but I’m hoping this will help.” I held up the orange prescription bottles. He held out a hand, “Do you mind if I see what kind?” I got a good look at his startling, ice blue eyes. I stared a second to long, so he added, “It’s alright, I helped my Dad a lot with his practice.”
I quickly tossed them over and he studied each bottle for a second before telling Bob what doses he should take. I was glad he had a clue because I was just going to go off the directions on the original label.
He came out with me to help carry the steam pot and question me further. In full daylight away from the shadowy, lantern lit closet, I could see just how sinfully handsome the man was. I flushed red at the thoughts he provoked.
“So, Gabe. How did you get grouped with Bob?”
I noticed Jim rubbing against my leg, welcoming me home. So I picked her up and she took her place on my shoulder, then I explained our meeting and Tim’s running off with Bimbo Brittany.
“I’d like to say it surprises that me Tim would up and leave, but it really doesn’t. It’s always been that way with him, he puts his lady before anything else. Trouble is, he has horrible taste in women.”
“You can say that again.” I said while putting one oven glove on and handing him the other. Together we got Bob steamed, medicated and sleeping.
“Thank you for stopping by to check on us. I appreciate the help with the dosages.”
He smiled that sexy way again and this time I spied a tiny dimple on his left cheek. Oh man. “No problem. I actually was going to ask if you minded if I crashed in one of the bedrooms? I’d like to stay close and help Bob pull through this. He was like a Grandpa to all the kids in town and I wouldn’t feel right leaving him. Do you mind?”
I played it calm and flippantly lifted a shoulder, “Sure, it’s not like it’s my house anyway. It would be nice to have someone to watch him when I have to go out scavenging.”
He smiled and picked up his bag. “Thanks a million, oh uh…by the way… your uh..uhem, mustache has peeled up from the steam.”
I smacked a hand over my mouth and about died of embarrassment. The ass hadn’t said a word the whole time. “Oh my gosh…” I said and peeled it the rest of the way off.
“I doubt my opinion means much but I think you’d be much cuter without it.” And he winked! Oh man. I am in serious lust with this man already.
He left after that to do something and I haven’t seen him since. I did hear noises in the room opposite ours, which I assume was him setting up camp. Bob’s been quieter and I think tonight might be easier on him. I’m still going to get up to bring the steam though. Another long night, but it’s worth it.
More to come…..
Paul E. Bailey, a great blogging writer, 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 his awesome story a read and continue to follow the character’s adventures! Thank you.😊 Click me!!!
Picture was found at www.dailypainting.typepad.com
Artist is Margaret Owen Daily painting #214