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Memoirs From the End of the World
So, our group is one member larger than it was. Isabel’s past is certainly full of trauma, but she tries to focus on what she needs to do to survive. I admire that in her. If there are enough people with that same resilient nature, we might actually be able to overthrow the overlords one day and rebuild our lives.
If only the world outside the reservations weren’t so comfortable with sacrificing us for their own benefit. As it is, any uprising would likely be squashed by people who are supposed to be human beings.
When the three of us finally returned to the house, we were covered in snow and nearly frozen to the bone, but Isabel didn’t complain once. Compared to what she was used to, tromping through drifts of snow had to be paradise. She smiled warmly when Sheera and Peter nearly knocked us over in excitement. They’d all feared the worst for us when we didn’t return at the expected time. And while they certainly looked twice at the newest member of our entourage, their suspicion soon gave way to curiosity. Isabel glowed when she met them, probably because they helped her temporarily forget all the horrific things she experienced. Ollie lay in bed as he had when we left, but his head felt somewhat cooler to the touch. Sheera said he hadn’t eaten at all, but he at least took water at regular intervals. We took this as a good sign.
Isabel went to get some sleep not long after that. The small amount of sleep she got in that garage wasn’t enough to keep her going, so she retreated to one of the bedrooms. Sheera and Peter, who were up most of the night waiting for us to come back, also went to take a nap. That left me alone with Alyx in the front room. We sat together quietly, too exhausted for words. I leaned against his shoulder, relieved that the peril had passed and comfortable to be there with someone I trusted.
Romero, I once promised that I wouldn’t get emotionally involved with anyone. You know this, and by now you also know that I’ve failed in that regard. I know it sets me up to be hurt, but I can’t help it. Something about Alyx draws me in. I trust that he won’t purposely hurt me. He’ll do what he can to protect me, and I’ll do the same for him. Say what you will, but from now on, that’s the way it’s going to be. Rules can be revised.
Survival is more than making sure your heart is still beating. It’s also about not forgetting what it feels like to be human.
That gang of teenagers that rapes and kills for a living have obviously forgotten. I will never end up like them. I’ll die first.
After a couple more days, Ollie was starting to move about the house, and I could see right away that his eyes were drawn to Isabel. It didn’t help that when Alyx and I went out gathering, she stayed behind to help take care of him. She wanted nothing to do with gathering food, simply because she didn’t want to risk running into her old companions. Unfortunately for Ollie, those horrifying experiences made her reluctant to let him too close.
The close call we had also prompted me and Alyx to stockpile whatever weapons we can find. Hammers, knives, a bow and some arrows we found, a golf club. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but we have to be prepared. We have a number of people to defend, so we can’t be too careful.
I hate to admit that I still didn’t feel comfortable having knives around Isabel for the first couple of nights. I couldn’t stop picturing what she did to Spiked Club. I may not have seen it, but I didn’t need to. What can I say? I have a vivid imagination.
Still, my fears about Isabel died over the next several days. Had she intended to harm any of us, I figure she would have done it by now. Besides, if we can’t trust our own people, we’re as good as dead. Especially if we have to fight any well-organized groups in the near future.
That’s the other problem. I fear it won’t be long before we run into those creeps again. In the middle of the night last night, I awoke to the sound of howling. And it wasn’t an animal. They were human howls, from more than one person judging from the sounds of the voices involved.
Alyx was already awake. He sat beside me on the sofa, rigid as he strained his ears to hear. Since returning from that harrowing nightmare, we’ve shared the sofa, too afraid to be alone should anything happen. And last night, hearing those menacing calls in the distance, we held each other close, hoping we didn’t have to make a move for the weapons we’d strategically stashed away. I thought back to whether we’d adequately hidden our footprints. I wondered if we’d taken enough of a circuitous route in our gathering the day before to throw any hunters off our trail.
We didn’t have to go for our weapons after all. The sounds soon faded, and after more than an hour of terror, we were able to relax. I can only say that I’m glad Ollie is getting better, because we may need to move on soon. Maybe those boys are hunting us, hoping to get revenge for what happened to Spiked Club. Maybe they’re just tormenting us.
Even if they just happen to be in the area for other reasons and don’t know we’re here, they’re too close for comfort.
Go to Entry #24