Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Part 10



"Damn it Lee!  I told you to stay with her!"

"Dad!  She was changing her clothes!"  There was a squeak of embarrassed outrage in Lee's voice but there was anger too.  I kinda remember him having fun pounding on Toby after he pulled him off me but I went unconscious before I got to see who won.

I heard the sheriff growl and wanted to say it wasn't Lee's fault, that it was partly mine for hurting Toby's pride.  And that I'd been beat on harder and lived to tell the tale.  But mostly all I wanted to do was tell them to go away or be quiet because they were making my head hurt again.

As I lay there I realized there were other people in the room too.  "Why is she taking so long to wake up?"  That was Sarge.

Blondie long-legs answered, "She's extremely malnourished, traumatized, sleep-deprived, and as verbally combative as she was I didn't even dare do a sex kit on her to see if she's been sexually abused.  She's talks a good line however she all but admits that the men in the group she was part of before they abandoned her were attempting to molest her."

The sheriff growled, "She said that?"

"Not in those exact words.  But she appears to have some emotional stunting.  She is both extremely mature, yet extremely immature for a fifteen year old girl."

Lee muttered, "That's just DeeDee being DeeDee."

"Excuse me?" she asked.

The sheriff explained, "Witt ... her father ... was very protective.  As a cop you see both the worst and the best of people ... but mostly the worst.  He ... sheltered ... his daughter.  Ask the daughter of any cop and you'll probably find the same thing.  But with Witt it could be pretty heavy handed.  Deandra Dawn didn't seem to be bothered by it, she never rebelled that I was aware of.  Witt was always saying how proud he was of her and how she gave him and Carla so much less trouble than her brother ever did."

I could hear papers flipping and then someone else said, "Todd Phillips.  Nineteen.  Was at university on Z-Day."  I think it was the guy that had been giving me all these stupid word association and ink blob tests.

"That'd be him.  Todd was a good kid but he could be a peckerwood too.  Too smart for his own good.  He didn't have to work hard enough for what he wanted.  He was the kind of kid that thrived on pranks and partying and could get away with it because he never had to study to pass the test.  Drove Witt crazy because he knew Todd was meant for better things than what he seemed to be satisfied with achieving."

I'd never heard Toddie described better but at the same time it bothered me to hear people criticizing my brother even if he could be a jerk most of the time.  It didn't seem fair since he can't be here to defend himself.  They were still talking but moved out into what I knew was the hallway.  Not everyone had left the room.  I heard a chair pull up next to where I was laying.  "Did you get an ear full?"

I cracked an eye open and said, "Just tell me you pounded Toby righteously."

"Me and about three other guys.  The NGs have him now.  God help him when the Major is done with him."

"NGs?"

"National Guard.  Major Jeffries ..."

"That's Sgt. Watson's boss."

"Er ... yeah ... I guess in a way.  Not his immediate boss but close enough."  After a minute he asked, "How stupid would it be if I asked you if you hurt?"

"Kinda stupid but not too bad."  I checked under the covers to make sure I still had clothes on and then sat up with a little help from Lee.  "Am I in trouble?"

"No. Why?"

I shrugged.  "Because people are weird and don't make a lot of sense these days."

"Oh."

"And I'm sorry your dad growled at you.  It isn't your fault Toby is a jerk."

"You're right about that.  But not about it not being my fault you got hurt.  I should have made sure the room was secure before you stepped inside.  I underestimated Toby and I shouldn't have.  Or it could have been something or someone else.  I made a mistake and you paid for it.  Dad was right about that part."

"Yeah, like I was gonna let you follow me when there wasn't a back on that stupid gown."

Lee wouldn't look straight at me but he did try not to grin.  Then he got serious again.  "I'm glad you're back DeeDee."

"Were you serious about helping me go home Lee?"

"Yeah.  But Dad will want to talk to you first.  Uh ... see ..."

Slowly I asked, "What?  Is ... is it bad?"

"It wasn't supposed to be.  And we can fix some of it maybe but ..."

"But what?"

He sighed.  "The town turned into an evacuation point.  There wasn't room for everyone.  Empty buildings and houses and the stuff in them were ... er ... commandeered."

I sat there trying to take in what he was saying and understand it.  "You mean ... you mean there's someone living in my house now?  That it isn't my house anymore?"

"Yeah."

I drew my knees up to my chin and hid my eyes.  "All I wanted was a picture.  I'm forgetting what they look like."

"Oh hey.  Dad is going to kill me if I make you cry."

"I'm not crying."

"The sheets are wet."

"Shut up."

"DeeDee ... the furniture and stuff got used ... and the food ... and clothes ... but personal items were boxed up and put in storage.  It's supposed to be anyway.  There ... there's been a few problems.  But we can probably find some of your stuff.  No one is going to want pictures."

I laid down, turned towards the wall and pulled the covers over my head.  He tried to get me to talk again but I wasn't in the mood.  A few other people tried to too.  Eventually I went to sleep and they left me alone.

I woke up in the night needing to go to the bathroom.  I swung my legs off the bed but instead of floor my feet landed on something live and squishy that grunted.

"Geez, what the heck Lee?" I hissed pulling my feet back in the bed really fast when I realized what ... who ... it was.

"Hmph."

"I said ..."

"I heard you.  I ... look ... there's been a few people nosing around.  They don't like the idea that someone from the city ..."

When he stopped I filled it in.  "You mean I'm like unclean or something."

I heard him shrug.  "Or something.  Dad has someone stationed outside your room but I figured you might not like that so I ... look, you got a problem with me crashing here?"

I looked over the edge of the bed and told him, "Move.  And don't peek.  I'm in jammies."

"You're wearing scrubs not ... er ... pajamas."

"I'm sleeping in them so they're jammies.  Now move."

"Oh," he said as I made a beeline for the door on the other side of the room.

I came out and asked, "How come the water still works?"

"Huh?"

"The toilet flushed."

"Oh.  The town engineers hooked the old dam back up to the city power supply.  It only runs part of each day but it works ... kinda ... most of the time anyway.  The power hook up for the clinic and the school are more reliable and stay on all the time."

Thinking it over I said, "I guess that's cool."

"Yeah though people still complain because it isn't on all the time or because certain things are on the forbidden list ... like TVs, freezers, heaters and other things that pull a lot of juice.  You get caught running a forbidden item and you get your power connection dismantled."

"Bet some people are mad about their Xbox."

He snorted.  "They've got rooms set up at the school you can earn credits to use if you've got it that bad.  Same for computers and stuff like that."

"I guess there's a lot of things that are different."

"Yeah," he said quietly.

Trying to sound nonchalant I told him, "It's not like I really expected things to be the same you know."

"DeeDee, it's OK to be mad ... about your house and stuff.  Even if no one else understands I do.  They took Laura's things and ... and ... and Mom's too."

I felt like a jerk.  "I ... I didn't even ask about Laura."

"She and Glenn ... I found them ... I didn't say anything to Dad but I think they were out behind the bleachers making out and they got caught by some infecteds.  I told him that it looked like Glenn had put up a fight trying to protect her ... not that ... you know ... she didn't have all her clothes on."

"Oh Lee."

"Yeah, so anyway I just thought ... if you knew about that you'd know that ... that if you wanted to talk to me but didn't want me to say anything you'd know I could ... not tell anyone I mean.  That I wouldn't rat on you."

I sighed.  "I was telling the truth.  Those guys didn't mess with me Lee.  I don't care what Dr. Ponytail thinks.  I'm not talking about it with her and that's it.  Sure they wanted to but I turned 'em down and it never got to where they could force me.  It might have.  That's why I was thinking about leaving but they left me first.  So there.  Either believe me or not.  I don't care."

A second passed before he said, "After seeing what you did to Toby out in the parking lot I think I'll choose to believe you.  Too bad you couldn't swing like that during games."

"Geez thanks."

"No problem."  I heard his jaw crack from a yawn.  "You mind if I catch some z's?  I'm beat."

"Go ahead."

"You should sleep too.  Dr. Riccardo says you are sleep-deprived."

"Dr. Riccardo can mind her own business."

When Lee didn't answer I realized he was asleep.  I scooted out of the end of the bed and got this notebook after making sure no one had been reading it.  I've written down what I wanted to write down, the stuff I think is important right now.  Now I just have to wait for the sun to come up.

And I'm not sleep-deprived.  I'll sleep when I'm good and ready to sleep.  That blonde pony-tail is not going to tell me what to do.  She might be able to lead Sgt. Watson around with her you know whats but not me.

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