Friday, August 29, 2014
Yeah, by being alone there is a lot of carp you don't have to deal with. Like if you are PMSing you don't have to try and pretend you aren't. If someone else is PMSing you don't have to deal with it because they aren't around.
But when you are alone there are other things you do have to deal with. Like when there is a bump in the night there is no one else to share the burden of fear with. And when there are a bunch of bumps in the night - during a snow storm no less - you have to freak the heck out all by yourself. And when the door to your cabin bursts open and there is only one set of hands to deal with the situation.
It is the most terrified I have ever been. I've been scared plenty of times. Being scared isn't bad so long as you manage the fear. But being scared is not the same thing as being terrified. I was terrified right after Z-Day. It lasted a couple of days and then Sherry helped me get my feet under me. I was scared yes, but more disgusted and disturbed when I figured out what Sammy and John-John had been doing. I was nearly wet my pants scared during the attack that lead to Sunny's death and then nearly empty of all feeling at Jace's. Not even the stupid bear had terrified me because it was part of the natural order of things. But terrified? That night I was the same fourteen year old girl stuck in that dressing room while the monsters were outside eating her mom.
The storm had been raging for two days. This was a late January storm and a bad one at that. I think it is called a Nor'easter but I'm still not sure if that is what that storm was. The wind was so strong the first day of the storm that it blew ice through the chinking of the cabin, literally pushing some of the chinking into the cabin to make it happen. I hung sheets and blankets on all of the walls and they shivered and moved during the storm letting me know that a lot of the chinking - that stuff that is stuffed between the logs to fill the gaps - was missing or damaged. I put it on my to do list and dealt with it the best I could.
The wind didn't just blow from one direction but from this way then that, almost like a hurricane of snow and ice. I huddled by the stove or in my bed all the time trying to keep frostbite at bay. I was wearing most of my clothes, including the fur snuggie that I had fashioned.
My supper - a thick soup - was nearly boiling when I took it off the burner but ice cold before I could finish it. I had tried to light both the stove and the fireplace for more warmth but the wind blew the smoke down the chimney and nearly suffocated me so I put that one out as quickly as I could. The shutters were closed and tied down to keep them from being ripped open in the storm.
At first when I heard the thumping on the side of the cabin I thought that something had torn loose and was banging against the walls from being caught in the wind. But the banging did not match up with the rise and fall of the wind speed. It had its own beat, its own cadence. Then I thought maybe someone was lost in the storm and was trying to get help ... for all of half a second I thought that because then the thumping came from two then three sides. Next I thought some fool was out there trying to scare me then thought they weren't just trying, they were succeeding.
I was already arming myself when the banging started on the side of the cabin where the only door was. I was up and positioning myself - barely feeling the cold - when the cabin door smashed open. For a moment I was blinded as the wind whipped in and nearly blew the fire out in the stove. Worse, I hadn't cleaned the fireplace properly and ashes flew around the room, luckily though the cinders were all cold and did nothing but dirty everything.
Of course soot was the least of my worries. I was facing six people, thinking perhaps it was a raid by one of the other camps or people I didn't know about that were looking for easy pickings and decided to do it under cover of the storm to prevent Singing Waters from finding out. Then the hairs in my nose curled and it wasn't from the cold. Puss brains!
My time in the city kicked in and helped me to survive. I'm pretty sure my guardian angel - that being that I am sure exists but seems to prefer that I handle things as much on my own as possible - lent an unexpected hand. As I took on the lead attacker a heavy wind tore one of the blankets down from the wall and it fell over three of the puss brains and they fell together, ripping and tearing, as they tried to escape.
The first attacker was down with a crushed skull. They were moving slower than they might have and I realized they were frozen and suffering from exposure. Snow blind and skin nearly abraded from any exposed skin they were nevertheless dangerous. The second attacker tried to take a chunk out of my arm and I screamed in pain. That is when the terror hit me. I fought like a wildling, like the stories that Mr. Svenson told of the feral children of the forest. The thickness of what I was wearing prevented the creature from breaking the skin but it gnawed on my like I was a bone, shaking me so hard that I dropped my bat and had a difficult time getting the pistol out of my pocket.
A third attacker was on me and I barely had time to shoot the second in the eye and then turn the gun so that the next bullet caught the third in the cheek. The third fell to the floor but was neither dead or still but there wasn't time to finish her off because the three that had been stopped by the blanket were freeing themselves.
Not for long. I don't even remember picking the bat back up but I came to myself only after the mass under the blanket was flat and mostly unrecognizable. The third had recovered enough and was on the move without me realizing it. A white film covered her eyes where the cornea was either frozen or sanded away by the icy storm. It was blind but the soft tissue of the nose was still intact and it must have found me by smell and sound alone. It bit into my ankle and if I had thought it hurt when my arm was bitten, this time it felt like someone had thrown acid on my tendon. It took nearly everything I had left to detach her and dispatch her.
I fought for my life that night in a way I hadn't for what felt like months. And never had an infected actually latched onto me enough to bite. The puss brains had been so few and far between I had begun to believe I was safe from them ... at least until it warmed up. I didn't take into account what had been occurring; had no inkling that people to the south would even do what they did. When I did find out it was the same feeling I had when I learned that they'd cut the city off to save themselves.