Authors: Ann Riley
The area across from the pond goes deeper into the woods. A good place for someone to hide. So my guess is that our shooter is over there. I look around for any stray zombies that may have found a way in. I see none. Leaning up against a tree, I take my rifle and put it to my shoulder to look through the scope. I start on my right and move toward the left slowly. After I make a sweep across the pond bank, I still see nothing. It’s like the shooter is invisible. I start back across to my right this time. Then I see smoke. I keep looking and again see some smoke float up. There he is and he is smoking a cigarette. Not too smart I see.
I sit and watch him in my scope for a few more minutes. He isn’t that far away. Maybe fifty yards. The pond is not that big, so I should be able to get in a good shot from here.
He continues to puff on his cigarette, and a trail of smoke comes up.
I brace myself against the tree. As he puts the cigarette in his mouth again, I can see the cherry fire up on the end. I gently squeeze the trigger and fire. I can see the fire explode out from the cigarette. Kind of like when you are driving, and try to throw your cigarette out the car window, but it accidentally blows back in on you and fire flies from the end and has you squirming and dancing all over the seat trying to not catch on fire. Not that I have done that personally.
I heard a thud. Did I hit him or just kill his cigarette? Marc and Bobby come running out of the barn and toward the sound of the shot I just fired.
“I should have known.” Bobby says.
I flip him the finger.
“Did you get him?” Marc asks.
“Well, I got his cigarette. Not sure if I got him or not. But I heard someone, or something, fall after I fired.” I say.
“Well, let’s go look.” Marc says.
Bobby walks out with Marc to the place I showed him I fired at. And they find the idiot in the leaves holding his right hand. A hand that apparently was in the way when I fired as it took his ring and pinkie fingers off.
I never claimed to be a bullseye shot.
Marc and Bobby march him back over to the barn. I can hear him spew expletives with each step he takes. If he only knew how close he was to getting throat punched by Bobby, he would shut the hell up.
“Why?” Marc asks the man.
“Why, what mother fucker?” the man replies.
Well, this interrogation just got interesting.
“Look, we want to know why are you people trying to kill us and take our belongings. The quicker you answer, the quicker you can go on your merry way. And we will let you go. We want you to take a message back to your head of dip shits.” I say to him.
He looks at me for a few minutes, as if he is trying to gaze deep into my thoughts and see if I’m lying.
“His name is Bryant. He says he knows you. He says you have someone he is looking for and he wants them back” The man says, pointing at Marc.
“It’s funny you say that, because the first name I was told by one of your cohorts was William. I don’t know anyone by either of those names.” Marc says.
“So he has this vendetta that involves Marc? And you guys want to make sure and kiss every square inch of his ass, so you join in with him. Not thinking about the fucks he won’t give about any of you getting killed while kissing his ass. Sound about right?” I ask the man.
“Fuck you.” He snorts.
“Nice.” I say.
“So here’s how this is going to go.” Marc says.
“We will let you go only so you can run back and tell him what happened. Tell him that we won’t fold and not fight back. If he wants a fight, he has one. Or he can mind his own damn business and leave us alone. Because in the end, all of you are the ones who will suffer.” Marc says.
“Be glad I only shot your fingers off. I was aiming for your head. I just couldn’t see anything but that damn cherry on your cigarette.” I tell him.
“So what is it that he has against me that drives him to try and kill us?” Marc asks.
“He won’t tell us. Maybe you can ask him yourself.” The man tells Marc.
“You haven’t asked me my name.” He tells Marc.
“That’s because we don’t give one damn fuck about knowing your name. We know your face. And if I see it back around here, I promise you this, I will finish the job that Tracie started. Only I won’t shoot your fingers off fucker.” Marc says with a snarl.
“Y’all are crazy.” The man says.
“If only you knew.” I tell him.
Marc and Bobby commence to kicking his ass and sending him on his way back home. I go inside. I may be a heartless bitch sometimes, and yes, he did deserve it, but I don’t care to watch someone get a beat down unless they are getting it while in the process of trying to hurt the family. I head into the infirmary to see Trey.
“How are you?” I ask Trey.
“I’m better. I didn’t know getting shot hurt that bad.” Trey says.
“Well, I really don’t know why you would think that since a bullet rips through bone and muscle. You were lucky, you know?” I tell him.
“No more going out on guard duty alone. We are all going to pair up. I will have Tammy make a new schedule for everyone.” I say.
He nods again.
“We have to be careful and aware at all times. Please watch yourself.” I say.
Bobby and Marc come in to see Trey. I guess they kicked old boy’s ass and sent him along.
“We need to make a trip to Amory. There is this guy that lives close to the Tombigbee River and has a boat that he uses to move things around. He does some trading too. We need more ammo so we can be prepared for the band of idiots coming our way.” Marc says.
“I can go. I haven’t been to Amory in a while, but I can navigate somewhat.” I tell Marc.
“He is close to the Amory Lock. I don’t know where he docks the boat. But he is located about six miles from the lock. We have plenty of food we can trade with.” Marc says.
“You are going?” I ask Bobby.
“Hell, I’m not sure I want to leave this place without enough protection. I think I may need to stay and organize a new watch schedule with Tammy.” Bobby says.
“Alright. You know we always run into shit when we go out, but we will try really hard to avoid that this time.” I say.
So now we will be going out again. I didn’t like going places before the zombies and I sure as hell don’t like it now. It got to the point where I hated to go to Wal Mart because it was always crowded, they would have 1,977 customers in line and have only two registers open. Then they added the check yourself out option, which is still not any better because due to lack of cashiers, everyone piles into the self-check lane. And don’t let me forget. I would always use their iPhone app to fill our medication so when I went to pick it up, I wouldn’t have to wait. Guess what? I always had to wait. What in the hell do you have an app to refill medicine for if you aren’t going to have it ready two days later when I go to pick it up?
I don’t miss that. Don’t get me wrong. I do not like the zombies. I do not like this shit we are dealing with. But, you really have to ask yourself, which was worse? Zombies, criminals, politicians, or just your good run of the mill idiots?
I always wondered, when I watched Night of the Living Dead by George Romero, why in the hell did the people let the zombies just walk up to them? Why not run? They were amblers. We didn’t have running zombies in those films. But still, you had people who would let zombies walk right up as if they were going to do a secret handshake. Well, sometimes it is unavoidable.
As you can see, I’m really not thrilled about the Amory trip. So I think of other things to take my mind off of it.
“What time do we leave?” I ask Marc.
“Six in the morning.” He says.
“Of course we do.” I say sarcastically.
He knows I am not a morning person.
I head into our room and get my bag packed with ammo and firearms. Diane doesn’t know I lifted her forty-four from her bedside table. Hey, it fires a large, heavy bullet with high velocity. The only bad thing is the kick. It can knock you on your ass. I think that’s why she doesn’t use it anymore. So I will put it to use.
I clean my machete and the forty-four, take my knives and shove them in the bag, then clean my 30-30 rifle. Riley is sitting on the bed watching me as he knows I am leaving yet again.
When I finish packing, I head into the shower and get ready for bed. If I am to get up early, I need to go to sleep early or Marc will throw my ass out of the truck for being ill.
Oh damn, six in the morning? How do I get into these situations? Next time I will ask before I agree to go what time we will be leaving.
After getting dressed, I head into the kitchen. Diane has cooked breakfast and packed us some food to take. She hands me a cup of coffee, and I just look at her.
“What?” She asks.
“You know I don’t drink coffee.” I say.
“You are so weird.” Diane says.
“I’ll take a Pepsi though.” I say with a smile.
She rolls her eyes.
There is nothing like having the love and support of your family. Sarcasm intended.
Marc walks in and looks around.
“Why in the hell are you up so early?” He asks.
For a second, I thought he was asking me, in which case I was going to kick his ass since he told me to get up this early.
“I always get up early.” Diane says.
“Get you something to eat before y’all leave.” She tells Marc.
“You ready?” He asks me.
“Not really, but let’s go and hurry and get back. You have all the stuff loaded that we are trading?” I ask him.
He nods and we head out to his truck.
“Want me to drive?” I ask, knowing what the answer would be.
“Hell no.” Marc says.
“Hey. Last time you wrecked, not me. Remember that buddy.” I tell him.
We head out of the driveway and throw our hand up to wave at Tammy and Mitchell, who apparently got the late shift guard duty.
“It’s only about thirty miles to Amory. We should be able to get there in an hour. Depending on the highway being blocked anywhere. When we get into Tupelo, we can get on Cliff Gookin Blvd and head out to the highway forty-five exit and go from there. There is an exit before we get to Aberdeen that we can take for Amory.” I say.
“Who is this man?” I ask Marc.
“He used to go hunting with us. He had a share in the camp we had in Oxford. I haven’t seen him, but another man that was a part of the camp told me that he was trading. His name is Tater.” Marc says with a snort.
“Who the fuck would name their child Tater?” I ask.
“It’s a nickname dumb ass.” Marc says.
“I don’t give two fucks if it’s a nickname. Now when I see him, I will laugh. Tater? For fuck’s sake. That reminds me of Ron White’s joke about him calling himself Tater and his son Tater Tot. I won’t be able to hold a straight face.” I tell Marc.
Well, my day is starting off like a joke now.
We finally get to Tupelo. Marc takes a right onto Cliff Gookin and we continue on. Soon, we are passing by the Women’s Hospital. It’s so sad to see places that once were alive and bustling totally dead now.
“Go by our house.” I tell Marc.
“Let me see if there is anything I can salvage there. It’s been so long everything is probably gone now.” I say.
We swing by my house. Where we lived before the zombies. We get out and I walk around to the carport. The door is still standing open as it was when I kicked the Fed Ex man off the carport that day. Has no one been here?
We go in. Instantly I see things missing. Why in the hell did someone take the TV? I wonder how that is working out for them. Idiots.
No food. No water left. No nothing. My orchids are still in the window. Oh, did I forget to say I am an avid orchid grower? I love them. I look over the three that are in the window. Yes, it has been almost one year, but in winter they need very little water. I am surprised they didn’t freeze. I’m really not sure how they didn’t.
I take them out of the window and set them on the counter to take them with me. Next, I head into the bathroom to look for toiletries and stuff. Everything is still in the cabinet. I guess no one wanted to bathe during the apocalypse? I gather
all of th oseitems like soap and shampoo . I hand them off to Marc who rolls his eyes at me.