Authors: Ann Riley
People looking like him give all of us rednecks a bad name. Yes, there are rednecks that are not slow and stupid as the media portrays them. I know this because my whole family is full of rednecks and they aren’t slow, stupid, or nasty. Just to clear up that profile for everyone.
I was raised in the country, have a thick southern accent and also have a computer programming and networking degree. I am a geeky nerd at heart. So not all country, southern people are slow.
I see I have gone off on a rant. Sorry.
So I stay still and watch to see what this man, bear, whatever he is, is doing.
He is dressed in camo hunting gear. Could this be the one setting all the snare traps?
He walks toward the camera in the tree. Boy am I glad I moved from the tree.
I see him move a piece of bark away from the tree and pull the battery pack out to change it to one he had in his hand.
When he gets everything back in place, he scans the area, looking around, trying to see anything out of the ordinary.
I wish he would hurry because my leg is going to sleep and if I have the need to run, I will be in a heap of shit.
He turns and walks back towards the way he came. Then he stops again to look around.
Oh for shit’s sake, go already.
So my first thought is why do they have a camera out here? Who are they looking for? Zombies? People?
We know they have weapons and ammo stashed in that storage shed by their home, but why a camera?
He starts to walk again and doesn’t stop this time. I stay where I am quietly waiting for his departure.
Finally, after a few minutes, I slowly stand. My leg is dead to me now. It’s at that point where it has gone to sleep and is now waking up and hurts like hell if you even twitch it.
While rubbing the feeling back into my dead leg, I look around to see if I see any trace of Marc and Trey. I hope, no, I know, Marc is paying attention.
I have had enough woods for one day. I head back the way I came. Slowly moving through the leaves and limbs to avoid as much noise as possible. I look down at my compass to make sure I am going in the right direction, and I am.
Finally, I hear crunching leaves. I look over to my left and see Marc.
Trey is behind him. I head over their way and we walk to the truck.
“You see anything?” I ask.
“Yeah. A big fucker walking around out here.” Marc says.
“By big fucker, do you mean a man?” I ask, snorting.
“I saw him too. He apparently came to change a battery pack for a camera that they have planted in a tree.” I say.
Marc gives me a confused smile.
“They are watching activity out there. I don’t know why, but they are. They are still trapping too.” I say.
“They have weapons and ammo. I wonder what else they have out here?” I ask.
“Let’s get back home. Then we can think about how to handle this. I know they are up to something, but what? I know they will be paying us a visit, but when?” Marc says.
Trey and I nod and get in the truck.
Upon returning home, we notice a white van in the driveway.
“What the hell is it now?” Marc asks.
We stop, gather our stuff and exit the truck. Bobby is waiting on me when we get out.
“How did it go?” He asks.
“We saw a man and a camera.” I say.
“What?” He asks.
“I will explain later.” I tell him.
“What is going on here?” I ask.
Bobby then proceeds to tell me about the visitor, his sick wife and Tammy and the Doc helping her.
Riley comes barrelling out and runs over for me to pick him up.
“Aww, you miss momma?” I coo to him.
Yes, I talk to my dog who happens to be my baby.
He gives me a big wet kiss on the cheek.
When we go inside the house, I can smell that Diane and Kelley have been cooking. They are both in the kitchen with a glass of wine.
“When did you start drinking wine?” I ask Diane.
How in the hell can she not know when she started drinking wine?
And to my delight and shock, on the counter, in a glass cake plate is… a pineapple upside down cake. I have died and gone to heaven. I open the refrigerator to get a Pepsi, and lo and behold, Kelley has made a cheesecake. I almost shed a tear.
Tammy comes in about that time and spies the cheesecake.
“Holy shit, did we do something to get this reward?” Tammy asks.
“Are y’all drunk? What is with all the shrugging?” I ask.
Again, they shrug. I go into the bedroom that Bobby and I have before I let loose with a string of expletives for them.
I start taking off gear. Riley sits on the bed watching me. I get a treat from the table and give to him and he sits and eats while I shower.
When I finish, I can hear Marc in the kitchen talking to Bobby and Mitchell. Yes, the kitchen is our meeting place. I don’t know why, it just is.
I join them. Marc is telling them about our day and they tell Marc about their day.
“When do you want to go back?” Bobby asks him.
“In a day or two. If they watch that video from the camera, they will see Tracie. I don’t want to go back out there for a few days to give it time to settle hopefully. They will be watching closely.” Marc says.
“We’ve been checking for weak areas in the fence, reinforced the barn stall doors, gathered walker bodies up for burning and checked the perimeter of the woods.” Bobby said.
“And we will continue fortifying so we can withstand an attack.” I say.
“Yeah.” Marc says.
Everyone nods in agreement.
I sit down and get Remington, my great-great niece, out of her walker. Yes, Trey and Gabby named her after a gun. Go figure. She is such a sweet baby. Beautiful blue eyes, dark brown hair like her mom with red highlights in it like her dad. She is spoiled. As she sits in my lap blowing spit bubbles, I look around at all our family. Kelley, Tammy, and Marc who is Diane’s kids and just like siblings to me, Trey, Brittany and Brad who are Marc’s. Taylor, who belongs to Kelley and Preston, Hayley and Aidan who belong to Tammy. Marc’s grandchildren, Remington and Langley, Kelley’s grandchildren, Maddie and Mason. And more who are not with us. My brother, who passed away a few years ago has four children, Cheryl, Tommy, Angie, and Melissa. Cheryl has four children and five grandchildren, Tommy has two children and Angie has two children. Melissa has none. Gosh our family has grown over the years.
Bobby wants to go look for his family. I guess we need to plan that. He has three brothers and one sister who live in Memphis, TN. So maybe that will be our next trip. I know he is worried about them. He is the oldest and he always feels like he has to take care of them, even though they are well into their forties too.
I want to check on his cousin Marilyn. Her and I were always close so I have to know if she is ok.
This shit storm has destroyed so many lives. Still no one is any closer to a vaccine. The Doc has been working on something, however, he won't tell us until he is sure it is a perfect. Doctors are scarce these days and we are lucky to have him and the three nurses we have.
Remington starts yelling and crying so I find it is time to hand her back over to Gabby. I have no children and I love children, don’t get me wrong, but the wailing and crying gives me a headache.
Looking at the clock it shows
onea.m. watching the clock is not something we do too often these days. Why should we? It isn’t like we have appointments and jobs to get to. We go by sun rise and sun set now. We are literally back in the days of the horse and buggy. Well, almost anyway. We are fortunate to have electricity, but for how long? How long until we don’t have that? Until gasoline evaporates from tanks? Until everything that was being manufactured runs out? There are no answers. We can only live one day at a time and protect what we do have. Which reminds me, I need to check out the setup in the barn for guards. I am claiming a spot in that loft before anyone else.
“Come walk to the barn with me.” I tell Bobby.
“Why?” He asks with a questioning look.
“I want a spot in the loft.” I say with a smile.
“That figures.” He says.
“What the hell does that mean?” I ask.
He smiles and we head out to the barn. Twenty-four years with this man. We made it this long when everyone doomed our relationship from the start. You see, Bobby is black. And in the south, that is not done often. Interracial dating, I mean. So of course we went through our share of troubles from the small minded people but we made it through when others said we would fail. They can kiss our asses. You can’t prevent falling in love with someone, regardless of race.
We arrive at the barn and I start the climb up the ladder leading to the loft. Bobby comes up behind me. As I put a foot on the floor of the loft, Janice, the young lady that tried to hijack Diane and I right after Diane was scratched by the zombie, stands up from a bale of hay and scares the shit out of me. If you have forgotten, she is the aggravating little piss ant that whines all the time. But she has proven to be an asset to us. She does her share and has been doing well since we brought her home with us. She still whines though.
“What the hell Janice?” I yell.
“You scared me. I could have shot your ass. I do have my gun. Next time, let someone know you are here.” I say.
“Don’t be so dramatic.” She says.
“Oh. So had I shot your ass, would that be too dramatic for you?” I say.
I should kick her ass.
“What are you doing out here?” I ask her.
“Nothing. Just looking at the stars.” She says.
I shake my head. The one thing you don’t do these days is sneak around. You risk the chance of getting shot or stabbed. It’s best to let someone know where you are and where you are going. Will she ever learn this? Doubtful.
I walk around looking for my spot. I make my little nest in the corner where there is a window on the left and right wall. Well, the window may be the wrong word. Not a window in the normal sense of the word, but an opening that has a door that is capable of opening and closing. Would that be a window? Hell, I don’t know. I am not an architect or a carpenter. Anyway, I will be able to see in two different directions. I brought a few items from the house with me. Three knives, my 30 30 rifle, and a few flash grenades. Should I bring my Molotov cocktail accessories up too? No. I would more than likely end up setting the whole barn on fire. Best to leave those for the non-combustible areas of the Foxhole.
“Help me pull a couple of hay bales over.” Bobby says.
I look questioningly at him.
“For a place to sit your ass?” He asks.
“Oh, right.” I say.
I make Riley a little nest too, as I know he will be up here most of the time with me. It seems I can’t get a few feet from him these days and he howls and whines like I have ditched him and may never come back. He is spoiled, I know.
“Janice, get your ass back inside the house. I don’t need to spend the rest of the night worrying about you.” I tell her.
She gives me an eye roll.
I give her a growl.
She climbs down the ladder and heads inside.
Bobby shakes his head.
“What?” I ask.
“That’s how you do it. No arguments. I don’t have time to argue. She knows to get her ass inside now.” I say with a smile.
“I see why we have no children.” Bobby says.
“Smart ass.” I say. As we make our way back down the ladder.
I may not make mother of the year, but my concern and care is always there, even though I may not show it. Everyone tells me I am just like my daddy who could never show his true feelings. I guess it prevents you from getting them hurt too often when you act as if you don’t care. My personality type is that of if I love you, I will harass and aggravate you and often times make you angry if it means you will be safe. If I never have anything to say to you, ignore you, and never try to help you along the right path, then my concern level is not that high for you. Is it harsh? Yes. But, I’ve been told numerous times through the years that I always look like I’m angry or that I just don’t like people. I think the proper term for that now is resting bitch face. Or so I read. I’ve never been a people person so that is the easiest way for me to keep people at a distance. But, it doesn’t mean I don’t care. It means that I am not up for any bullshit or drama.