Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Atlanta (West End Downtown): Jan.4, 2013

Mick wandered the rooms of the house like ghost.  There were memories in every corner.  The silence was deafening. Shane’s body lay on their bed. Clean now, all the horrible wet redness scrubbed away. 

Peaceful now….




Mick ran a hand over the banister they’d spent hours restoring, sweet memories crowded in salting already  too raw wounds.

The Christmas decorations mocked and taunted.
Presents unopened beneath the tree.
Stockings still full.
The fire crackling merrily.

Everything looked so beautiful in here in the candlelight, so blessedly normal.

“Happy holidays baby” the words came out in a near croak.

Outside crows flew over the ruined city.

Every now and then there was a shot…a scream….the sound of an engine in the distance

It was a hell than Dante would have envied.

They’d seen it first hand when they ventured out  to see if there were any other survivors. 

There had been.
God help them, there had been.
Mick had heard a noise…an animal crying from inside a half pillaged bodega  and had gone inside to look for it while Shane stood watch at the door.  They’d spent enough time gaming to know that you always kept a watch.

Its funny how they had expected any other survivors to be like them, just normal frightened folks looking for traces of hope and answers.

The gang had shot Shane after only a few roughly spoken words. Shot him because of  the color of his skin, shot him because he was a nerdy looking white guy with glasses.
It had taken every ounce of control that Mick had not to scream and charge into the middle of them.

They’d left him laying in the doorway bleeding.

There was noone to call.. No police, no 911, no ER.

He’d died there in the doorway with Mick trying to stop the blood pouring out of him.

His last words had been “it’s kind of ironic when you think about it” It’d taken Mick a moment to realize that he was wearing his favorite Watchmen Tshirt over his thermals. The bullet had hit right  below the fake bullet hole on the bright yellow smiley face. 


Getting his body home had been an ordeal but leaving him hadn’t been an option that Mick could even consider.
Now he was laying peacefully in their bed.  Mick fought the urge to crawl in beside him and just stay there.

“I can’t…I can’t stay here baby…I’ll go crazy. I’m sorry”

Mick closed the door to the bedroom and went to sit by the fire and plan.

They had their gear together from the last game so packing wasn’t a huge  problem.
It was just a matter of spending the time sorting through what couldn’t be parted with.

The streets were clogged with cars or torn up by the tremors so the jeep wasn’t an option here. Bicycle made the most sense going through town. It had the benefit of being quiet. walking was a notion too. It was slow but it made it easier to hide.

Getting ready took longer than expected.

Sleep had been fitful, the face in the mirror this morning was unfamiliar, haggard all traces of softness gone.

“I’m going to head north…towards the farm. I have to get out of the city before the gangs come for me. I can’t stay here baby and I‘m sorry I can‘t bury you but the grounds too frozen” Mick talked to Shane while dressing. “ I can’t live here with you like this and I can’t just put you outside to get picked at by the gorram birds”

Well worn hiking boots, thermals sturdy cargo pants a silk turtleneck topped by a wool one, then one of Shane’s irish cable knits over that. They’d been close to the same size. His scent lingered of the thick knit a comfort and a stab in the same breath.

“I need to check and see if mom and dad are still there. See if there’s anything left. The city’s gonna start to stink as soon as the weather turns warm.”

Mick pulled Shane’s aussie duster on over the layers of warm clothing then did a quick check around the room before putting on a wide brimmed flat crowned hat.

“Christ….I look like Harry Dresden. Shame there’s not going to be a Dragon Con this year…this would make one helluva hall costume”

Mick shouldered the camping pack and settled the straps then picked up the staff by the door.

The sun was beginning to come up…all the bangers would be crawling back into their holes to sleep off the nights fun.

“Time for me to go, baby. ”

Mick paused at the door for one last look around then tipped a candle over into the trail of turpentine that started next to the couch and wound throughout the house then closed the dooras the curtains and couch began to burn. The street was silent in the weak winter morning light. Mick resettled the back pack and with a lift of the chin turned and determinedly strode down the street headed north towards I-85 and what had once been home.

No comments:

Post a Comment