Happy Weekend! The Holiday rush is over, now it’s time to recover and get back into regular blogging. 😉 To kick off, here is this week’s ‘Saturday Snippet’ from my current WIP due out soon – ‘Lost & Found’, book 2 of the Find Me Series. Enjoy!!
Drake stopped just before a major intersection, stepping off the cracked sidewalk to lean against the wall of a three story office building. I stood next to him in semi-baggy clothes that didn’t quite fit right, my hair pulled back in a tight pony tail and stared across the street where dozens of medical tents stood, cordoned off from the street by a slew of haphazardly placed military vehicles. Even from hundreds of feet away I could hear the flap of the plastic tents as the breeze moved through them with a lazy kind of lull. A separate area inside the barrier was partially obstructed from my view but the single story tent with a white dome top had a rip down one of its long sides, exposing the contents to the elements.
Stacked on top of each other in tight rows were thousands of white body bags; just iridescent enough that even from beyond the street and across the parking lot I could make out the brunette, blonde and occasional redheaded bodies through their milky-colored plastic wraps. It wasn’t the first time I had seen a medical quarantine zone but the sheer volume of people sickened me. The way each body, no matter the size, was piled neatly on top of the next, meant there was a system in place on how to properly store infected human remains. Someone wrote up a plan, had a title, pointed at a pile and said, ‘That one over there’. It was depressing and sad and made me want to puke.
“Sure is something, isn’t it?” Drake said in a hushed tone. His eyes were glazed over, like he was looking through the death across the street, rather than at it.
I glanced between him with his stoic and faraway gaze, and the parking lot turned military base with a numb feeling. It should hurt to see such a thing. Thousands of dead people – hundreds of dead families. It should hurt every time, like a knife straight into the heart, to see a body bag with a person half my size rotting inside. But it was only that detached and numb feeling. A feeling of ‘been there and seen that’. A shitty feeling.
Drake cleared his throat to bring my attention back to him. “Warehouse is just over there,” he nodded down the street, beyond the vacant office building.
I stared at the side of his head, wondering what the story was behind the closed hole in his right earlobe. A random thought for a fractured mind. Made sense.
“So, when do you want to do this?” I asked, still staring at the tiny hole in his ear where a piercing used to be.
“No time like the present.” He grinned the wide Joker smile that creeped me out.
Sighing, I knelt to the ground in a small patch of brown grass, letting the moisture from the night before soak into the knee of my jeans. Mudding up my pants wasn’t a concern. Being dirty was a normal part of my new life. Besides, the jeans would be easy to replace if needed. Stain your clothes and break a shoelace? Pilfer new ones from the closest mall. Lose your brush and run out of shampoo? Pilfer more from the closest mall. Of course, that philosophy wouldn’t last forever. Eventually even the malls would dry out just like the bones from the bodies under the dome tent.
My pack was full of weapons; handguns and clips, knives of different shapes and sizes. Most of them pulled off the dead men from the day before. My own knife was strapped securely to my leg, just like Drake’s. A gun was tucked into the back of my jeans, loaded and ready for action. The day before, I hadn’t even bothered to take one of the long range rifles. My shoulder wouldn’t tolerate the kickback so Drake was the only one with a rifle draped across his torso like a pageantry ribbon.
All we needed was a little bit of greasy paint to streak our faces and those cool lace-up combat boots and we would fit right in with the thugs we conspired to kill. Well, maybe the camouflage paint was a bit much, but the idea struck me as a funny one and I imagined Drake’s face covered in hunter green, mine in black. The image was so appealing at that moment that I almost dragged my fingers through the mud and rubbed them under my eyes.
Instead I sighed, doing it over and over, filling my lungs with air as rapidly as I could sort of like a swimmer would right before launching their body into the water for a race. When my head felt efficiently light-headed and cleared of all the gunk that lingered around in there like the day old smell of skunk, I tightened my pack straps and nodded at Drake that I was ready. Of course, all he had to do to prepare was hitch his jeans up half an inch or so. Men were easy that way.
“Ready?” he asked, gun in hand, fingers and muscles taut and ready to fire.
“Ready enough,” I said with a smile. If we were going to die in five minutes, I wanted a smile to be the last expression we shared between us.