After we ate we went to sleep. Upon waking up we found the bodies, what was left of them, was already starting to smell up the house. I gathered the remainder of the parts, and took them out to the car.
I came back in to see the girls starting to clean up the house. Without electricity we were in the dark, even in the day, because we were scared to open the blinds and curtains in case people were watching the house.
“I’ve got to dispose of the bodies. You girls going to be alright?” I asked.
They all nodded, and kept cleaning. I didn’t understand why they were cleaning since we may have to leave at any time. I motioned for Susan to come with me into the other room and when she followed me, I asked her what was going on.
“Annabelle was up all night crying. She saw what you did to the man, and even though she knows you had to do it, it scared her. So we’re keeping her busy to keep her mind off of things. It seems to be working for now, but you’re going to need to talk to her yourself.” she said.
I hit my head on the wall, purposely, three times. No matter what I would have done there were consequences, and I had to take responsibility for them. She put her hand on my back, and walked back into the living room. I didn’t know how to talk to a little girl, even as a kid I had a hard time communicating to girls at that age. I always over explained things to them, and they just never understood. I sighed and walked into the living room after Susan.
“Annabelle, we need to talk.” I said quietly. The girls stopped cleaning and Annabelle turned to look at Susan. Susan nodded to Annabelle, and Annabelle walked with me to one of the bedrooms. I sat down on one of the old dusty beds, and dust blew into the air. Annabelle sat down next to me keeping her head down.
“So we need to talk about yesterday. You know I had to kill those men right?” I asked.
She nodded, so I continued “Those men wanted to hurt you, Susan, and Jasmine. In order to keep living on, we’re going to have to do things we don’t want to do. You know what I mean hunny?” I asked.
She nodded again, but opened her mouth to talk, then closed it again. I stayed silent so she could say something if she wanted to. Finally she opened her mouth to talk again, “But why did we have to kill them? Couldn’t we have done what you did to the guy behind the counter? You hit him, and he didn’t get back up…I know he’s not dead, because I could still hear his heartbeat.” she asked.
“That’s proving my point Annabelle” I said standing up. “We had to eat, and since those guys could start chasing us again because they knew what we looked like, the best option in my mind at the time was to deal with both issues at one time. If you didn’t eat soon after we left the gas station, you would have attacked the first person you saw. So instead of you killing a person, I took it upon myself to bear that burden. I wouldn’t want you to live with the burden that you accidentally killed someone out of hunger. I didn’t kill out of hunger, I killed to protect you from the virus.” I said, pausing for a few seconds. “Do you understand now?” I asked, hoping I didn’t over explain it again and confuse her.
She sat still for a little while, and I began to wonder if she was ignoring me because of something I said, but finally she nodded, and I saw tears drop from her eyes onto her pants. I picked her up off the bed, and hugged her tightly. She hugged me back, and began to sob. After several minutes her crying started to subside and I walked back into the living room with Annabelle still in my arms. I nodded to the girls, mouthing “she’s okay”, and they started tearing up.
I set Annabelle down, and she wiped her tears away. She started cleaning again, and I walked out to the car. When I opened the car door to get in, Susan walked out and told me to wait.
“Is she okay?” she asked me.
“Yes she’s fine. I explained to her why I did it. I did it to protect us, and to protect her against the virus. I didn’t realize how hungry she was Susan. She could hear their heartbeats. She would have attacked someone very soon. I didn’t know it at the time, but I knew that we all needed to eat, and they were going to kill us. It’s survival of the fittest now, if they can’t take us down, we need to take them down so we don’t have to watch our backs for them.” I said.
She nodded and said, “Can I come with you? We’re really not cleaning for any purpose but boredom now. I’d rather go with you and help you get rid of these bodies than to stay here and act busy.”
I stalled for a minute, I had never been alone with a woman in what seemed like years. I didn’t know how to act around a woman alone. I always had a hard time reading women, and being by myself with one made it awkward for me. I decided to just let things happen, and shrugged my shoulders getting into the car.
We drove for over an hour, trying to find somewhere with plenty of space to get around without someone noticing. We finally found an old school in the middle of no where surrounded by fields. By the time we searched around the area to make sure no one was around, it was close to midnight. We grabbed the remainder of the bodies and carried them to the back of the school yard. I didn’t want the farmer of the land around the school yard to till up the body parts, so we set the bodies ten feet back from the field.
“Now comes the hard part, do you want to start or should I? I only brought one shovel” I said.
She gestured a wave encouraging me to carry on with a smirk on her face, so I went back to the car and got the shovel. When I got back to where I thought was the mark, the bodies and Susan were gone. I quickly spanned the immediate area, and couldn’t see much of anything in the dark. I ran back to the car and got out the flash light and spanned the area again in search of anything. I seen a shadow shy away from the flash light and I ran in that direction yelling Susan’s name.
When I got in the general area, I stopped to spin around to look for the shadow to reappear. All of the sudden I heard something rushing towards me from behind, and I turn around just in time to get tackled. The fall leaves me heaving for air, pinned to the ground by the unknown assailant. I started fighting against the person pinning me down, and I feel something familiar about the person on top of me. I could smell the aroma of human flesh that was freshly torn away from a limb.
“I don’t know who you are, or what you’ve done with Susan, but I swear I will eat your heart straight from your chest.” I swore.
She laughed, knowing now that the assailant was a woman by her laugh. But again there was something familiar about her laugh. She spoke and I immediately knew who she was.
“Well now Jacob, that’s no way to talk to an old friend is it?” Alli said.
It was Alli from the pharmacy. I was outraged.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” I yelled at her, “Where’s Susan?”
“I’m right here Jacob, don’t worry she didn’t do anything to me. She snuck up on me when you went back to get the shovels. She said she hadn’t eaten in days and was starving. She’s been living in this abandoned school for a few weeks. Maybe she should tell you the rest of the story.” Susan said.
Alli sat back, still straddling me, and put her fingers to her chin. “Where to start..where to start…oh yea, so I’ve been hiding out here for a few weeks. I’ve been eating field mice and stuff, they’re usually pretty abundant. But lately my hunger has been growing, and when I heard you guys pull up I thought it was the men that chased me out of town to begin with. Anyway, so I stuck my head out of the window over there and something sweet struck my nose. It was like nothing I’d ever smelled before, but I knew it was some type of meat. Starving, I didn’t care if it was a trick or not, I couldn’t help but follow the smell. That’s when I saw Susan. I snuck up on her in the dark, but she was pretty quick to hear me or something because she turned around and about punched me. I held up my hands, and asked her what smelled so good. I think she thought I was making fun of her, because she sniffed herself. I pointed towards her feet, and she told me what it was.” she said.
I was moving my hips to try and get her to get off of me, but she had the advantage. She continued, “She handed me some of it, and I began to eat. Oh my god, I can’t tell you how good it tasted. It was like a night of pure orgasmic sex. I don’t know if even that could cover the sensation I had going through my body upon the first bite, then the second, and the third. I grabbed up all the meat you guys had and ran back into the school. Susan followed me, and that’s when you started yelling like a mad man. So I had the bright idea to pin you down. Granted…I look back now and realize that you were already scared to death, and you would have definitely eaten my heart from my chest. but I don’t think I’ll taste very good either.”
I finally had enough strength to push her off of me, and I sat up brushing the grass from my clothes. I began to stand up when a flash light shone on us.
“What are you all doing out here? Don’t you know this is private property?” a shaky voice said to us.
“shit…” I said, and spoke up. “Sorry sir, we just stopped to sleep here tonight. I didn’t think it’d bother anyone since it looks to be abandoned for at least thirty years or more.”
“I heard someone yelling like a mad man up here, so I drove my truck to see what was going on. You alright?” he said, as he walked closer.
“Yes sir, if you don’t want us staying here, I’ll understand. We’ll go find a motel or something. We just thought it’d be nice to be away from the city and sleep under the stars” I said, looking up I continued, “You don’t see stars like these in the city…light pollution you know?”
“You guys can stay if you want, this school ain’t no bodies property for a long time. But be gone by the morning or I’ll have to call the law. I got work to do in the morning and don’t wanna have to worry about you city folk getting in my tractor’s way!” he said.
“Will do, I’m an early riser anyway. I’ll make sure these ladies are up and ready by the time you get your tractor started.” I said.
The old man nodded, and walked back to his truck.
“I bet that old man thought he caught us in the act!” Alli said laughing.
“Yeah, and my improv also required us to spend the night here…nice going Alli” I said, and both Susan and Alli laughed. I rolled my eyes, and walked back to the car to find something semi-comfortable to lay my head on. I turned around after finding a balled up sweater and both girls were laying spread eagle looking up at the stars talking.
“I’m in for a long night” I thought to myself, and I laid beside them and stared at the stars.