This is another part to the story of our main character, George Leeds, and his survival in the apocalyptic world. This story is released in pieces, not necessarily in order because it's more fun that way, and will be posted at least once a week. Enjoy! Thanks for reading!
At this point, George has already met Benji and George's wife Randy has already died.
I woke up to the string of cans rattling. I wonder what we could have caught this time. I sat up and grabbed my knife. I rose and walked through both barbed wire gates and past the row of makeshift spears we had set around camp. I reached the exterior barbed wire and saw a walker stuck to the fence. There was a dead hare laying a few feet away from it. I got up close to the walker and observed its teeth and the skin around its’ eyes. This one hadn’t been like this for long. I said a quick prayer and stuck my knife through its thick skull. I wiped the blood off with a huge green leaf on one of the nearby bushes. I searched its pants for a wallet. When I found it I could smell the leather that was still new. I opened it and found what I usually find. A picture of a young woman standing next to a man in a wheelchair, holding a framed certificate. It was very obvious that they were a couple, most likely newlywed at the time the picture was taken. The young man in the wheelchair looked very happy and seemed to be very satisfied. The woman standing next to him was smiling, but there was a sad look in her eyes. As if she was broken. I had found two different IDs in the wallet. Alyssa Boyle, the broken newlywed who went mad when the world went to shit. Brandon Boyle, the ironic disabled man who probably fell to his death from the chair that was keeping him alive.
I grabbed my shovel and Alyssa’s arm and buried her. Carving her name into the wooden cross I felt my cheeks drop and my eyes began to burn. I tell myself that maybe it was better this way; that Alyssa died. I placed the two IDs in the metal box and continued on with my day. I grabbed my water bucket that was only a fourth of the way full and I whistled for Sebastian. Sebastian seemed so content with the world that was going on around him. He didn’t have to worry about cars or being taken back to the shelter. And there was always something around for him to chase. Sebastian always guarded our surroundings as if I were his puppy. I found him when the world became Hell.
It was raining very heavily that night and I heard whimpering coming from the door of the cabin. I rose and made my way to the door with my shovel in hand. I opened the door and there he was. A small soaking wet black Great Dane. He had to have been only two weeks old when I found him. I brought him into the cabin and found a towel to dry him off. He was shivering and to be honest, I did not think he was going to live. I could light a fire at night and not attract any walkers. The burning embers comforted the small mutt. His breathing got significantly better and he wasn’t as feverish as he was when I found him. I fed him some cooked spam and set out a bowl of water for him. I locked the door to the bedroom and I set down my big pillow next to the bed and placed a small blanket next to it. The puppy fell asleep much faster than I had been able to since I lost Randy.
There was a bad thunder storm that night. I knew that with the storm over our area there would be plenty of walkers wandering around our place. I knew that Sebastian would whine and possibly even bark, so I grabbed the belt from my night stand and placed the belt around the mutt’s mouth and fastened it gently. I stayed awake with him the entire night. The storm began moving east and the consistent bumping from walkers running into the house eventually ceased and Sebastian and I both relaxed a little bit more. The sun finally rose from behind the clouds and warmed my face. The little rays of light danced through the window, and painted themselves on the wall.
Sebastian ran ahead of me, as always. Excited for whatever we would find this trip. We reached the edge of the woods and crossed the asphalt road. We reached the small creek and Sebastian annoyingly jumped in the water. We moved farther up stream and I dipped my bucket in the water. I took off my water bag and filled that as well. Then I reached my cupped hands down and had a drink. The water was crisp and tasted better than usual. I whistled for Sebastian and we were then on our way home. We got to the road and found a walker dragging itself along. It must have spotted Sebastian when he got ahead of me and decided it would go for him. I kneeled down to gaze at the corpse. Its inner chest had been eaten out and its spine was near the point of separation. I reached for my knife and then stabbed the rotting skull of this once living breathing person. Stale blood oozed out slowly from the cracks, forming a small puddle. I reached in the pockets of the beaten slacks and found nothing. I scavenged the roadside for some flowers. The closest thing I could find was a patch of dandelions. I dragged the body to a nearby ditch and placed the dandelions on its chest. I said a prayer quietly, got up, and continued my journey home. Sebastian had stuck close during the incident in the road. Now he raced ahead of me and we reached the camp just past noon. Benji had left to hunt for food. Typical. I poured half of what I had in the bucket into the boiling pot and lit a fire. I opened the barbed gate post to see what had grown in the small garden we had placed a few feet from the camp. All I got from it today was a few tomatoes, two carrots, two potatoes, and about five small grapes. I closed the gate behind me and took a seat by the fire. I placed some dry grass in the embers to keep the fire going. I reached for the wooden chopping block. Attached to it was a large knife we use for chopping and peeling. The knife makes peeling difficult but is always convenient for strange encounters. Sebastian whined as he watched me slice the carrots. I threw him a few pieces and he licked his chops with satisfaction. I threw everything except the grapes and tomatoes into a smaller pot. That will be dinner along with whatever Benji picks up on his trip. I sliced the tomatoes and somewhat stacked them in a plastic bowl, then sprinkled some pepper and salt on them. Then I topped them with some olive oil I found at one of the stores we came across on a scavenge trip a few weeks back. I ate five slices and opened a can of Vienna sausages. I ate about three and gave the rest to Sebastian.
I whistled for Sebastian and left the camp to find some firewood. I carried my larger empty sack with me. I picked up several small twigs and I picked up some moss. I knew I would need to bring a legitimate log back with me so I started chopping down a small oak tree. Although it was very cold this time of year in Kentucky, sweat poured down my face. The salt tasted very good in my mouth and dinner crossed my mind. I really am excited for dinner tonight. I watched the small oak crack and splinter then fall to the ground. Leaving a sheet of dirt and dust in the air around Sebastian and I. I wrapped the thick shipping strap around the trunk and began pulling it through the woods. I was just thinking about the hole I need to patch in the extra pair of jeans I have when I heard a person yell in the distance. I instantly dropped the trunk of the tree and ran with Sebastian. I heard the yelling again as I got closer. I ran past a fallen tree and reached the person whom the yelling was coming from. Benji was wrestling on the ground with a large wolf. The wolf was on top of him and barring its teeth at me. “Sick em” I ordered Sebastian and he sprung towards the beast and knocked him clear off of Benji. I grabbed for my knife and raced towards the huge beast and grabbed around him while Sebastian ripped his throat out. I lay there for a moment, catching my breath. Sebastian, wagging his tail, licked my face and then went to Benji, who was covered in mud. Benji patted the dog’s head and scratched behind his ears. Benji helped me get up and I brushed off the dirt and leaves from my jacket and jeans. Benji threw the wolf over his shoulder and said “Well this is dinner I suppose. Thanks for having my back man.”
I replied, “No problem dude.”
Sebastian and I headed back to camp with our tree. I chopped the tree into blocks of three and decided to break up the branches for easier fire starter. I hung the moss on the inner barbed fence and added the clean water to the smaller pot with the veggies in it. Benji had returned to camp with clean cut meat and fur he had removed from the wolf. Sebastian, who was cleaning himself from the incident in the woods, rose and happily greeted Benji.
“I brought back some fur, we will need it sooner or later”
“yes, I suppose so” I said with a smile. “Thanks for the meat dude”
“Thanks for my life” Benji replied.
Benji took the empty bucket and told me he was going to clean up in the creek. I went to the other fire pit and placed the skillet on the iron pedestal. I sliced up slivers of meat and placed them on the skillet. Everything else I covered in salt, wrapped, and placed in the plastic cooler we had found months ago. The smell of cooking meat made my mouth water. After the veggies were boiling, I slid the meat into the boiling pot and then added dry teriyaki seasoning. I stirred everything with a large wooden spoon I had carved during the car ride here. The sun was beginning to set behind the trees and Benji hadn’t returned home yet. The stew was done so poured some into Sebastian’s food dish. I heard the outer gate open and Benji came towards me. He reeked of Irish Spring. His jacket, from what I could see in the dim light, was almost stainless.
“Damn, did you use enough soap Benji?”
“Not enough. Supper smells swell.”
“Aw man, sorry I took so long. I was redressing by the river and heard some wrens singing. I listened and tried to think how their world was so easy. They don’t have to live on the ground like we do. And they can fly wherever they want to. They aren’t restricted by any land mass. And that wolf. If fear and beauty was an animal, then that wolf was what they would be. He was really fighting for his life. He probably thought I was one of ‘them’. Haha! I wasn’t going to be his dinner.”
“Well a walker would have finished you off before he would have anyway. But I’m glad you’re here. Here, eat up.”
I poured some soup into two bowls and gave one to Benji. I opened the container with the tomatoes and we both finished them off. The heat from the fire was dying along with the light as we finished our meals.
I interrupted the silence, “I suppose we will need to move tomorrow…now that its getting close to deep winter.”
“I’ll pack up everything and help you carry it to the car tomorrow.”
I threw dirt over what was left of the fire and headed to my tent to try and get some shut-eye tonight. Which is a rarity. Sebastian stayed in my tent tonight. I zipped up my sleeping bag and he lay next to me, buried under a thick winter blanket. I listened to the wind blow through the tops of the trees. I could hear critters crawl through the fallen leaves lying on the ground. I heard little drops of rain fall along the outside of the tent. I know first thing in the morning we are going to leave. Full of excitement and also fear, I find it very hard to fall asleep. I listen to the rhythm of the rain and I gradually close my eyes.
I open my eyes and my surroundings have changed drastically…to my right I see a mile of desert. The same to my left. I walk closer to the figure standing on the horizon…the sun is almost gone and the sky is stuck between night and day. I reach the figure and can now see that it is a woman. She turns and what I was yearning for revealed itself to me. Randy was smiling at me, her half smile making my heart ache. She kneels down and lays in the dirt. I lay down with her and we look up at the sky as we used to do before. I hold her hand and she lays her head on my chest. The stars light her face up brighter each time I look down at her. We gaze at the stars and then one begins to fall from the sky. Followed by another, then another, until they all begin to fall slowly down to the earth. Great balls of fire fall from the sky. I reach for Randy’s hand ready to run…ready to do anything…anything to keep her safe. I look down at her face and it is no longer her. Not Randy. Her fair complexion is now gray, her perfect lips are now brown and cracked, her eyes are completely gray and lifeless. She opens her mouth to speak and instead of speaking she lets out a pool of slimy blood. Blood runs over her yellow teeth onto my sleeve…..
I wake up shaking. Shuddering. I look over to see Sebastian sitting upright, staring at me. I can see my breath in the cold air. I lay back down and re-cover Sebastian with the thick blanket. There is no way I will be going back to sleep now. I sit and watch Sebastian until the sun rises, behind dark clouds it seems. I gather as much as I can into my back sack and take my tent down. I roll it up and attach it to my pack. I also gather the pots and pans along with both water buckets. Benji carries the water bag, the cooler and the fire starter bag which I put the dried moss in last night, thank God. We crossed the asphalt road and traveled down stream to where we hid the station wagon. Benji uncovered the vehicle and we threw everything into the back. As usual. I reached in the canned foods bag and got two cans of Vienna sausages. Benji ate one and I halved mine with Sebastian. Benji started the car and out of the woods, a walker stumbled towards the car. We sat there watching it walk slowly towards us. I had to quiet Sebastian to try and isolate the situation. Of course it was on my side. It slammed itself against the window and stared at me through the glass. Opening and closing its jaw.
Benji spoke, “It’s quite pathetic, isn’t it?”
“How long do you think it has been dead?”
“I’m not sure”
“Where to navigator?”
“Where we planned. Rough River Lake.”
Benji slid in his Alice and I CD and we listened to the indie band. I gazed out the window and watched the walker fall to the ground. I watched it desperately reaching for its meal driving away. Only grasping the dirt we left behind.
Hope you enjoyed! There will be more soon! Please leave comments/suggestions!