Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Part 37

"We could have stayed.  They said we could."  Sunny's whining was getting on my nerves.

Jace sighed.  "Sunny we've been over this.  I promised DeeDee I'd get her where she was going.  I owe her."

She turned to me and while pouting she asked, "Why do you want to go to some old camp away from other people anyway?  Who will you talk to?  Who will you live with?"

I sneezed into my hanky and then looked at Jace but didn't say anything.

She wouldn't let me leave it alone.  "Well?"

Sighing I told her, "I'm going where I want to go.  If I had stayed in the refugee camp someone else would have always been telling me where to go and when to go and what to do when I got there."

She tossed her head impatiently.  "Well that's just stupid.  First of all, you're just a kid and kids always have to have people telling them what to do.  Gran always said so.  Second, there was food there ... no tying knots or digging pits or anything like that; just open a can or box and there you go or better yet stand in a cafeteria line and get waited on.  And there were police and real soldiers to keep away the infecteds and the bad people.  So what if you had to work or listen to someone tell you what to do?  It wouldn't kill you."

I sighed again and just looked out the window.  "Sunny, you could have stayed.  I told Jace he could stay if he wanted to.  Whatever is between you two is none of my business.  And whatever Jace thinks he owes me is done and over with."

She tried to turn to Jace but he popped some kind of techno music CD into the truck's stereo and turned it up just loud enough to make talking difficult.  Jace is getting a little annoyed with Sunny I think because every time she turned back to start on him again he'd get a little crankier.  Or maybe it is the driving that is making him that way.  Military types wouldn't let us go any further north, said the road was completely out and that we had to turn west.  Well it was west we wanted to go to begin with but the intel on the road we were using could have been a little better.  They didn't say they hadn't really gotten around to cleaning it up yet.

It took us all day ... literally all of the daylight hours we had ... to go one hundred miles.  The reason why it took so long is obvious when I consider how many times we had to get out and push cars out of our way and all the grossness and depression-inducing stuff we saw while we were at it.  We off roaded when we could but it wasn't always possible.  The other problem though was that Hwy 58 should have been called Puss Brain Alley.  I'm really glad my nose it stuffed up.  I've kinda gotten used to not smelly their dirty rotting waste smell.  Everyone of them could likely have used several days in a rain storm to get some of the mess off of them and clean their clothes and coverings up.

It took a couple of times to get the kinks worked out of how we did things.  "Jace, you are the one that has been going on about having a plan before we need one.  Well, this is as good a time as any to see if I can make a plan that works so here it is ... when we hit a road block I'll hop out, pop the lock on the car, put it in gear while you cover me.  Then I'll stand back and cover you while you push the car out of the way.  Sunny stays in the truck, keeps it running and then moves it forward as we make a space."

Jace shook his head.  "I don't like you being so exposed.  That's isn't the way that I had meant for this to work."

I shrugged a little impatiently.  "Jace, you want to babysit me or make sure that I have the experience necessary to stand on my own two feet?"  He gave me his patented Jace-is-getting-PO'd look but his growl didn't scare me.  "This is the way I lived for a whole year.  At least we aren't boxed in like I've been when we were salvaging inside a building.  I can do this.  I've got your back."

He sadly shook his head.  "This is supposed to be the other way around.  I'm supposed to have your back."

"You do.  I don't see the problem.  We're a team.  When you are a team you work together and cover for each other ... not only one person carrying all the burden alone."

He wasn't happy about it but he turned practical, I'll give him that.  But it seemed that it became doubly important to him that Sunny be taken care of.  Fine.  Whatever.  So long as we kept moving forward.

We are in some place called Bloomer of all things.  Puss brains all over the place but kinda different puss brains from the ones I'm used to and even though I'm dying for some sleep I had to get this day off my chest.  The puss brains around here still seem to think.  Oh not real deep thoughts or anything like that as far as I can tell but they aren't all crazy and violent like the ones I'm used to.  Their hunger is driving them just like the others but these infecteds around here ... they're scared of us.  Most of them are anyway.

I think they've learned to stay away from trucks and guns.  Taught them to stay away from bats today too.  And no, I'm not trying to be funny or boastful.  I had to put several down and unfortunately I made the mistake of looking one or two of them in the eyes.  Somebody was home ... probably not the same somebody they were before they got infected but there was an animal intelligence in a couple of them.

For instance the cold slows them down.  Doc thought it was because their metabolism slowed down, sorta the same way that reptiles slow down in the cold.  But the puss brains around here, they are putting clothes on.  And when they can't find more clothes to wear they'll throw something else on them.  I saw one that was wearing a table cloth like a poncho.  I'm telling you I'm not sure what to make of it and it bothers me.

Maybe they are stuck betwixt and between ... kinda infected, kinda not.  Enough of them did try to chomp on us that I'm not going to change the way I handle puss brains but it does make my feelings hurt over having to destroy them.  Makes me wonder if all puss brains are alike or if there is hope for some.  Probably wouldn't be many and I don't know how to tell them apart from your run of the mill puss brain.

Maybe it is just too late and I need to stop worrying about it.  But it is hard not to.  Could there be a cure?  Have I been murdering people that could be helped?  Am I gonna have to answer to someone at some point?  What about Judgment Day?

I just don't want to dream tonight.  Please God, just one night without dreams.

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