Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Part 38

We turned north this morning and the road is better but not by much.  We stopped outside the town of Spooner.  I remember the place because Dad always stopped here as it was the last stop before we entered the backcountry.  We'd pick up any last minute groceries we needed at this little cash-only grocery store.  We'd gas up one last time.  Take one last look at "civilization" and then start on the last leg of our trip to the national forest.

Dad said that Main Street in Spooner hadn't really changed since he was a boy.  Bet he wouldn't say that now.  Every window was either blown out or boarded over.  The marquis over what used to be a tiny theater read "The end of the world is here" ... or it would have except for all of the missing letters.  The brick buildings were chipped and cracked by what looked like bullets.  There was even a truck buried cab-first into the florist shop.

We got into town earlier than expected.  We really didn't go far on the road today but we needed a little time to go over the entire truck and trailer and to make sure that we were ready to get about as away from civilization as I've ever been.  There are a few more stops we can make the towns aren't much but dots on the map the few that had business districts of any kind were dying even before the world fell apart.

All in all it could be worse to be spending the night here but Sunny just cannot give up her quest to make herself and us just as miserable as she can.  "I hate it here.  Let's go back."

"Sunny ..."

"Jace, I'm scared."

"Shhhhh.  It's all right.  I'm here."

Ugh.  But to be honest I think Sunny really is scared.  She's always lived in the city.  She doesn't understand and doesn't like the areas we have been travelling through; these areas aren't like an organized and manicured park.  She sure doesn't like the proximity of the puss brains we've seen.  In general she is freaking out.

I thought she had just gotten so tired from being freaked out that she went to bed early ... until I saw Jace slide something that looked like a pill bottle into his pocket.  He jumped when he saw that I had seen.  "She's ... she's ..."

"About to wig out.  Yeah, I was pretty much sensing that," I told him and then blew my nose for the eleventy-dozenth time.

Jace looked like he was all prepared to defend himself but then shook his head.  "I made a mistake.  I thought she ... I thought she was like Clarey."

"Clarey a lightweight in the academic area?"

Rather than a fight about how I phrased it he shrugged.  "Depended on the subject.  She wasn't like Sunny.  Clarey was just ... sweet ... defenseless ... very innocent."

"Which isn't what Sunny is.  I mean I'm not saying she isn't nice but ..."

He looked at me from the corner of his eye and nodded.  "Yeah.  Yeah that pretty much covers it."  He sighed.  "I couldn't have left her but ... damn ... I've got myself in a real mess now.  And dragged you and Sunny along for the ride."

"Whoa Jace.  No one dragged me any place.  I'm heading the direction I want to go.  Whatever you decide to do about Sunny ... well that's your business and between you and her.  Don't take this the wrong way but I'm not being pulled into something like that."

"No, that's not what I mean."

"Well, then just ... just get me close to where I mean to go, leave me a few supplies to get me started, and then head on out and ... I don't know ... take her back to that refugee camp she seems to want to stay at so bad."

"That's what she wants me to do.  But I promised you ..."

"You've already delivered.  To be honest I've been wondering if we'd get this far together.  I kinda got the feeling you weren't exactly expecting to hang out over the winter."

He turned troubled eyes to me.  "I'm not sure what I was thinking.  I'm starting to think now, maybe clearer than I have in a while, and I'm thinking I must be nuts or something.  Geez, you're just a kid really.  I keep forgetting how young you are because of the stuff that comes out of your mouth."  He shook his head.  "You can't stay up in the wilderness by yourself no matter how many lessons I give you.  You're not just a kid, you're a girl."

I sighed.  "Let's not start that again.  I don't need a babysitter Jace.  It was nice to get a ride.  It was great how you've been teaching me stuff and I appreciate it.  But I never figured this was going to be a permanent arrangement."

Surprised he asked, "You didn't?  Aren't you scared?"

"Kinda.  I guess.  I'm not sure.  I might get that way.  Depends on what I find when I finally get to Singing Waters.  It's not like I haven't been scared before.  As long as you don't let it take over, fear isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Dad used to say that fear was a powerful motivator."

Jace nodded.  "Let me ... let me think about this.  I can't just leave you here alone ... but I can't take being shut up all winter with Sunny either.  She'll drive us both crazy."

"Maybe.  Or maybe she just needs time to get used to things.  Some people don't do well with sudden or fast change.  Give her some time and she might come around."

He shook his head.  "There isn't much time to give her.  Can't you smell it?  Feel it?  There's snow coming down someplace close by.  We'll see it on the ground pretty soon.  Wish I had tire chains."

"If wishes were horses ... I forget the rest of that."

Jace shook his head.  "Let's check over the truck one more time.  If we finish with that maybe we can see what is left in these buildings."

"Probably not much but it's worth a shot."  And it was.  Two to be exact.  Jace put down one puss brain and Sunny another one.  I didn't tell them so but I put down three in back of the old theater with my bat.  Sunny was already hyperventilating, there was no need for me to make it worse.  Jace noticed the fresh blood on the bat but didn't say anything then or later.

Now we are all tucked up and relatively safe.  I'm eager for tomorrow.  Soon.  Sooner than soon.  I'll finally know if my dream is still there or not.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the new chapter Kathy, looks like sunny is going to be trouble in the near future Wayne