Archive for August, 2013

“Don’t shoot ‘em!” the voice from the barn ordered us. “They are friendly, and I invited them!”

Mr. Lead strode out of the small barn, pulling his green , grey and tan Ghili suit up over his shoulder. He carried his pack loosly in his left arm, its side strapped with the now all too familiar green stocked DMR.

“They are making way too much noise!” Blackbird complained from behind his covered position, peering into the trees through his rifles scope. “And now Leroy has to make the campfires again…” He smiled at that, but Leroy didn’t. It was his turn to cook it appeared.

“Yeah! Back in the kitchen, Bitch!” Outlaw said in his comfortable drawl. “Screw you both…”came the retort as the tall kid made his way back to the still steaming campfires. Still clutching his Battle Rifle, he tugged the skins from the fires and stood the spits back up. Fresh splits of dry wood were added and the fires began to crackle once again.

Lead, shrugging into his pack and snapping close the chest straps, loosened his pistol in the drop rig secured to his right leg. One rarely moved anyplace without his gear. You just never know when circumstances would dictate a fast bug-out, and your gear might not make it with you.

He moved out to the tall spire of granite jutting out of the ground to one side of the makeshift camp. “Move into the clearing and don’t touch your weapons…for ANY reason.

Shortly, two people walked out of the trees and into the clearing that made up the right side of the farm.
It was a woman, and a man.

And once they came into full view, I was shocked to see that I recognized her!

The years and this hell we now lived in had been kind to her. When last we saw one another she was heading to Australia. Her company had its main offices there as I remembered and she had been offered a new position. They produced military equipment for several countries, and she was one of the lead technicians…as I remembered.

Mona…and her friend. He, I didn’t know.

“Everyone, this is Muse and Shane…Muse is the woman.” Lead made the simple introduction. “I invited them here to share some dinner, some intel, and consider some trades” He continued.

Muse? I thought to myself. Hmm, well it seems that we all have nicknames here. Muse? I’ll have to ask her about that one.

A muse…Greek Mythology…never knew she was into that. As I remembered, a Muse was any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science. Many artists, writers, poets and musicians have said that their creative work has been inspired by an individual whom they refer to as their muse.

She was creative, but not in ways I should discuss here…

We ate, and exchanged information about a variety of subjects. Everything from this virus, to the state of the world. We settled upon the topic of the Trading Post. The Post was helpful, but Bandits had been stalking the area lately and every week there seems to be less people willing to make the trek and take the chance.

Shane told us that there was a new post being set up.

A survivor by the name of Shawn Severas Had began to spread the word about a new post up near the North West Airfield.
“Competition could be good for business”, Mona, er, Muse said, drinking from her canteen. “The people at the other post know that they are going to get their cut no matter what.”

The conversation drifted back and forth as the sun set. Watches were changed, and H1N1 rotated to new positions. This time, I didn’t take a watch. It was nice to be able to share memories with an old friend
.
“Whatcha got there?” she asked me peering at the small device wrapped in an old shirt I was pulling out of my pack.

“Prize possession. A solar powered Satellite Computer…kinda like a militarized iPad.” I told her, unwrapping it for my semi-nightly use. “In this upside down world, I remember the words of a very wise man. “ When things seem out of place, do something normal. It will make you feel normal”

“So, I write.”

“You going to write about me?” She asked. “Hadn’t thought about it really. I usually just turn it on and write what comes to mind.” I told her, setting the pad on top of the old shirt for careful support.

“If you are, would you please let me write about when we became friends?” She asked, smiling at me. The vague twinkle I remembered showing for a brief second in her eyes.

I suppose it could have been simply a reflection of the now dwindling fires, but whatever. I passed the pad over to her.

‘Hello, its Mona’ she typed into the keypad displayed on the screen. ‘I wish to tell you about my friend, Ian, and how he once helped me through a shitty time’ she continued, getting into the feel of the machine balanced on her lap.
‘Here is what I remember:
I looked over at him.
He sat in the old iron chair like it was that soft Italian leather sofa in his office I had seen him sit in many times the year before. No hint of discomfort…the obdurate metal just seemed to not bother him at all. He comfortably reclined and crossed his left leg over his right, while balancing his drink on the arm of the metal ass-torture device that annoyingly didn’t shake his calm one bit.

A slow intake of breath…and ….”You seem pensive…” The words flowed effortlessly from his mouth. He swallowed a drink from his glass.

I decided I hated him…right then, right there. He was relaxed in his Nazi chair that I seemed to be perched on like a kitten attempting to stay out of reach of a rabid pack of wild, hungry Pit Bulls.

“Really? I don’t think so.” I was trying to keep my voice level; I couldn’t have this man think he was dealing with a wimp that has a soft ass. Besides, I really didn’t know what ‘pensive’ meant.

“Okay…so, do you want to tell me exactly what’s going on?” He fixed me with his eyes; grey over the rim of the glass.

An interesting look… cold steel over amber liquid. He seemed completely focused on my answer.

Perhaps I didn’t hate him…he just un-nerved me a bit, and made me a trifle fluttered. It wasn’t that he was handsome, well, perhaps he was…but not like Hollywood handsome. Too short.

He just owned the ground he stood on. You just ‘knew’ it.
And he knew it too. But not like some liquored-up cowboy, or a grill-wearin homie would. More like someone that had seen liquored-up cowboys, and grill-wearing homies, and knew he was different. Not that he stood above…just stood apart.

Ok, I didn’t hate him. He made my heart beat faster and I remembered that at one time I wanted to just throw him down and fuck him right there. That would have been bad, because we were at my friend’s wedding, where I first met him after becoming a liquored-up brides maid.

“Someone’s been leaving notes on my car, and I’ve been getting these nasty calls real late, and the other day my neighbor thought she saw someone outside my bedroom window!” I blurted out, almost all at once.

“I remembered that Connie says you used to take care of things like this…like, like a bodyguard or something!”

“Something like that” He smiled…and the dimple showed on his cheek.
Great…a knight in shining armor, well clean Levi’s anyway…dimpled cheek and calloused hands, and those piercing eyes.
God-damnit… I shifted in my seat for what seemed the hundredth time.

“Who has a crush on you, or have you have recently broken up with someone?”

“Um, no” I answered. “No men, I mean boyfriends…lately”
“Any women?”
“What?…oh, no!’ I realized that my answer was a bit loud and quick, so I tried to joke it off.
“Well, there was that one time in college…” I laughed. He smiled again, and I noticed that his teeth were white, white like his shirt. Clean and white.

Bastard.

“‘ll take a look around and see what I can come up with. YOU, go about your business and don’t change your daily habits”

“In the mean time” he continued “give me a complete list as possible of people that might either have some issue, or attraction with you. Names, workplaces, address as near as you can, and vehicle types. Send them here.” He reached into a small silver case and handed me a card. I was black with his name, number and email address in white, and a business name in silver above.

Executive Protection

“If you have an issue, and feel that you are in immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, call me.”

“Oh believe me…I’ll call!” I told him.

It wasn’t but three nights later that I had my cell phone in hand, nervously pressing his number into the dimly lit keypad.
But that’s another story for another night…and I am too tired to share right now so I’m giving this Satpad back to Ian.

“Don’t read this yet, please?” she said, handing the pad back to me.”We have to decide who finishes it!”

“Ok, no worries” I glanced at the screen, powered it down and folded the large, soft shirt around it and tucked it into the backpack.

The fire was basically embers by this time and the animals and zombie noises were calling out around woods surrounding the farmstead. It was late, and an eventful day and I think that a small drink of whisky was in order.

I looked out at my friends, new and old. Life was shitty now, but there were moments that the universe allowed me to bask in the warmth of memories and new connections.

Until next time
Shadow~