short short fiction fragment

Laura Davis, Survivor.


Ten minutes ago the President went off line for the last time. The City power's been out for weeks, we knew that when we set up the generators. Our bigger problem is the three basics, fuel, food, ammo. Guns we have, everyone has those. Maybe one in thirty people know how to safely use a gun. But only so much ammo.

Last week was the worst. Downtown's gone. Most of the useful parts of the City are, burned up by the Firebugs. But life's going to get real tough for them too. There's only so much drugs, and they tend to make themselves prey to the Eaters.

Most Eaters are not that smart, and if you take a second to think, you can usually use the environment against them. Basic physics knowledge helps. We're walking out of the City today, the fifty of us. No leader, no alpha males yet. Everyone with an ego, a chip on their shoulder, they went down in the beginning days, about the same time as the Frozen.

The fires are making our decision for us. We have to get away from the winds, cause the fires do a better job than the Eaters or other crazies at taking people out. Fires moved really fast. We have maybe a few hours. Me and Kara are moving out first, then the rest will follow a mile off the road. (I-25) In packs of ten. Rifle and ammo with every group, water carriers for all.

Lots of people drove on the road in the first days after, trying to get away. Some made it farther than others. No more gas stations though, so. The road is littered with cars, and further down, the bodies of the drivers. Somewhere out on that road is Joanna, and Deeg.

I've cried enough for them.

I retie my pack. Most of the stuff I got from the Mall south of here after looters took the most obvious stuff. It was an easy if harrowing trip, just take the elevated train line straight down, stay a hundred yards away from anything that moves bigger than a dog.

Socks, twenty pair of those. long sleeved shirts, pants. Extra boots, slightly big. Water bottles, boiling pot. Metal coffee thermos of rubbing alcohol. All the jerky I could find. Fire sparkers. Hand crank walkies. Bullets for the Beretta PX4. Bandages. Super glue packets, a roll of duct tape and scissors. 5 packs of needles and 4 spools white thread. Hand mirrors. Machetes, 3. Walking stick, which is really just a heavy, metal pipe from a chain link fence. That's all I have.


Realistically, I'm not going to make it farther than two hundred miles. But I'd rather die out there from sun sickness than be burned alive and eaten. Besides, rabbit looks to taste better than cat, anyway.

So, I'm leaving this note here. If things get back... if things ever become re-civilized, look for me near the dam where Vegas used to be.


Castle Rock:

Office Depot Post Collapse seems like a fortress, but instead of soldiers and gated fences there are rows of boxes of copy paper and Xerox machines. Place is amazingly easy to fortify. Drove a van up parallel to the glass sliding doors, and the rest of the store is a big concrete box. No windows. Down from fifty to twelve. Some, like Sarah just dropped dead on the side of the road. Others, like Asher, well. Asher went down fighting. If there's any record of history anymore, put him on the heroes list.

The Eaters run so goddamn fast. Most of the gear I brought from Denver I lost on the run. Still have the guns and ammo, and a couple of the water carriers. I lost the pack. Two days ago, when the pack of those Eaters found us in the middle of the night.

Asher was like a movie star, or something. Guy in his fifties, bald lean and skinny and wrinkled, he was shooting the Eaters left and right, reloading the shotgun and yelling for us to get out of there. I was up on my feet gun in hand just running like an idiot. It took me a minute to realize I was just pounding ground like a scared rabbit, blind with panic. I went back.

People tend not to fly when they are shot like they do in movies. Asher told me why when we were walking along the section of Denver light rail towards Yale station. He said though it was a dramatic effect, when people really get shot there isn't enough inertia, or maybe it was mass, to send them flying. He said that it would take getting hit by something bigger, like a car, or a truck.

I trusted Asher's opinion on this, because he used to be a cop, and if he told me about how guns behaved don't you think I'd believe him?

There he was, standing his ground pumping round after round into Eaters coming into the camp. And he was right, too. Even with the shotgun the Eaters didn't really stop so much as stumble. Asher was screaming at the top of his lungs, shooting round after round into them as they came at him. It gave most of us enough time to get out, to get away. The last I saw of him was blinded by a flash of light as he lit one of those grenades he had kept hidden away.

I will never forget Asher.