That cereal was the best thing I’ve had to eat since the nukes fell. When stocking a bunker, really only those who are paranoid enough to build one, tend to go for long lasting food over taste. Mia really wasn’t kidding about leaving after we at some cereal. Almost right after I finished my last bite she just about yanked me out of my seat and told me to head to the door. I don’t know what made her boss… Okay so I know what made her boss but that’s not the point here.
“You sure you’re good to keep going?” Mia asks concerned from next to me. Her arm is outstretched towards me, her fingers almost brushing my elbow.
“I’m fine woman!” I joke, playfully swatting her hand away. “Well, I’m at least not in trouble of falling over. Without the sun beating down on me, I have a good deal of energy.”
“I don’t know.” Mia brings her hand to rest on her chin. She’s so totally in the stereotypical ‘I don’t know, playfully not believing you’ pose that I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing. “You do have a talent for falling over.”
“If I start falling behind or stumbling I give you permission to make sure I don’t fall over.” I pat her shoulder twice placatingly, before purposefully picking up my pace slightly. I mean my legs still feel weaker than they normally do, and my head is still pounding, but I doubt the effects of passing out from heat stroke go away in a matter of hours.
“I’m holding you to that,” Mia says sternly, and I know there’s no getting around her on this.”
“Is that a pun?” I almost say. But I don’t. We’ve been talking so much these last few hours, some quiet time might do us some good. I know I’m the one that insisted we talk, but sometimes people just need time alone with their thoughts. Although I’m never alone in my thoughts anymore lately. She’s always there. Just on the edges of my mind, if she’s not at the front of it. The longer we’re together the more I’m starting to think this is how relationships are supposed to go.
“I mean if I didn’t like her, I wouldn’t be thinking about her this much would I?” I think to myself, letting my gaze wander over to the person in question. The more I talk to her the more I can start to understand. But even now, she’s still mostly a blank slate, or an unfinished puzzle that you just started. I have some of the edges filled in and some the the center, but without the whole thing how can I ever hope to understand… anything?
“I don’t get it,” I mumble, the pounding in my head getting a little worse the more I try to think about her.
“Did you say something?” Mia asks, looking over at me. My head snaps up and I lock eyes with her through the masks. There’s only curiosity there.
“No, didn’t say anything,” I squeak out, blush rushing to my cheeks. She looks so cute when she’s curious. Mia continues to stare, slowly bringing her hand up and doing the ‘I’m watching you gesture’. I nod and quickly turn my head forward, to avoid having to keep up eye contact.
I’m being a hypocrite aren’t I? I ask her to tell me everything there is to know about her and yet here I am over here not even giving her my name. I mean how hard is it to say ‘Hello my name is Kate?’ What am I afraid of? That she won’t like my name and then won’t like me? But if I don’t tell her my name she can keep calling me Miss Mystery, which is a plus.
I should probably be paying attention to my surroundings. It’s nice walking around at night, or at least it is when you’ve suffered from heat stroke during the day. Instead of the cold being uncomfortable it’s actually quite soothing, keeping my temperature down, for once my hazmat suit isn’t miserable. My arms and legs still feel a bit weighted down, but I feel like I have more energy than I did during the day.
“Walking at night is much better than the day why don’t we do this all the time?” I question, turning slightly towards Mia.
“Because it gets cold and the monsters come out at night,” Mia answers bluntly.
“Monsters? What is this a movie? You could just say that the mutated animals come out at night geez you’re dramatic.”
“I would say that if they were the only thing that came out at night.” Her answer sends a chill down my spine and I tremble a bit.
“It’s best not to make the conversation go dark again,” I think to myself letting the subject drop. I don’t even feel cold, I freaking love walking at night. There’s no sun rays to blind you or to cook you like an oversized T.V dinner. I can actually see where I’m going and I don’t have to worry about sweat trying to drip into my eyes and blind me all the time. My head throbs with each step I take but it’s definitely more manageable than dying of heat stroke or something.
Now that I think about it, the trees look like they’re swaying a bit. It’s easier to focus on things when the sun isn’t taking up most of your processing power. The trees shouldn’t be swaying, I can feel myself stumble forward a few steps as I bring the heel of my hand up to rub my eyes.
“I told you I’d take you up on your offer,” Mia seemingly scolds from next to me as I feel her hand slip into my free one. Even with Mia’s hand giving me a point on which to ground myself, something still feels off. I turn my head to Mia bringing my other hand down, and almost fall over at the sight. All of the trees are swaying now. “It feels like I’m on a boat.”
“Hey, give me your arm,” She doesn’t really need to tell me or ask, she’s already taken my arm and put it around her neck again.
“This is becoming a bad habit,” I joke, letting Mia take some of my weight.
“I’m going to have to start charging for this,” Mia tries to joke back. It would have worked too if she could just keep the worry out of her voice.
“I don’t have any money and neither do you.”
“That’s what you think,” She easily responds back, managing to keep the worry out this time.
“Okay enough talk, let’s just walk. I’d like to feel like I’m on solid ground again.” Mia nods quickly before adjusting my arm around her neck a bit.
We walk like that for a while, maybe hours It’s hard to keep track, at least for me it is. The longer we walk the weaker my legs feel, its like before I passed out. That’s no surprise really, the sun started climbing into the sky maybe two hours ago, still hard to say. My legs waver with my every step and my head is… fuzzy or… clouded maybe. It’s hard to concentrate.
“Mia,” I get that one word out, not trusting my legs to withstand a longer conversation.
“What is it?” She asks without hesitation. I can hear her anxiety levels rising.
“My legs are going to give out again,” I mutter quickly. No sooner are the words out of my mouth does she have her arm wrapped around my waist. Most of my weight is being carried by Mia, again.
“I know you said this was a blip on your heavy lifting radar, but you haven’t slept and I hardly doubt you have the energy to support my weight for too long.” I blurt out, my concerns getting the better of me.
“Is that a challenge?” Mia huffs, craning her head a bit to look me in the eyes.
“No that is not a challenge, not in the slightest.”
“That sounds like a challenge,” Her tone is challenging and strained, but I don’t think I can talk her out of doing… whatever it is she’s planning on.
“You not going to listen to a thing I say are you?”
“If It involves letting you walk on your own, which you just told me you couldn’t, then no no I am not.” I’d argue with her but she’s right, and I’m just… tired of fighting.
“Let’s just walk then.”