Memories of Tomorrow

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There’s only pain, all encompassing pain radiating in crashing waves that threatens to drown me with every breath. Occasionally there’s something else, something, warm maybe, but it never lasts long before the pain rears its head and everything goes black again. Muffled sounds make their way to my ears, running or panicked dragging perhaps, but nothing more defined than that. The one thing I’m vividly aware of is being laid down on a hard surface with someone calling me. I try to open my eyes, but the agony is overwhelming, pain explodes from my cheek and I instinctively open my eyes. It’s Mia, she’s standing over me with sweat dripping down her face, mixing with the blood smears on her forehead as they make their rapid descent earthward. I can’t concentrate as the pain comes in excruciating waves that knocks the air from my lungs before I can take a breath now that I’m awake. Grabbing my side, I writhe and groan pleading for the pain to stop as I try to pull air into my lungs, only managing to pull in short quivering breaths that threaten to suffocate me, each more shallow than the last.

“Oh thank god you’re not dead,” Mia sighs from next to me as I try futilely to make the pain, if not stop, lessen with tears brimming in my eyes.

“I need you to stop moving,” Mia commands as she holds my arms down with a grunt. Tears now streaming down my face I manage to nod. With trembling hands, I grab fistfuls of my shirt, grit my teeth and manage to stop rocking my body. Sweat begins to form on my brow within seconds, I can’t keep this up for long.

“I’ll make this quick, you got shot. Well not shot per say, but the bullet at least grazed your side. I just need you to stay still so I can see how bad it is,” Mia speaks hurriedly rushing around the room.

“J-just make the pain stop please,” I beg through clenched teeth balling my fists tighter, trying to control myself. Mia nods as she kneels next to me bringing a bag into my view. She pulls out what looks like a makeshift scalpel and a few other items before turning in my direction. The gravity of the situation suddenly slaps me in the face draining the remaining color from my cheeks. She’s going to cut into me with nothing but a scalpel. My stomach is tying itself into knots and before I can do anything about it, I find myself vomiting on the ground. Mia sighs before gently lifting the bit of my shirt that isn’t clenched tightly in my fists revealing the wound in my side.

“Oh no,” she mutters inspecting the wound. At her touch an agonizing pain flares and I can’t help but yelp in discomfort. Why should I even trust that she knows what she’s doing?

“Open,” she commands, holding a balled up rag. I open my mouth slightly and Mia manages to get the rag in.

“I’ll try to make this quick, but I’m not the best,” I hear Mia mutter before the pain in my side becomes unbearable and I scream. I can’t- I just need it to stop. I can feel every movement as she commands the sharp steel of the scalpel to cut scorching lines of agony in my side. I arch my back wanting, no- needing this to be over. Needing this torture to stop, for there to be something other than pain in every part of my body. I dig my nails deep into my palms as scream after scream erupts from my being. Warmth seeps through my fingers as my nails bite into the already open wound on my hand, blood making its way to the floor as the blissfulness of unconsciousness claims me once again.

There is nothing but pain. More of a sharp, throbbing pain this time, but pain nonetheless. My surroundings are more defined this time around as I can distinctly feel the hard concrete that is pressing into my back and head. The warm blood that was seeping through my fingers has been replaced with a rough covering that’s been tied tightly. I shiver as a gust of humid wind rushes over me. I take as deep a breath as I can muster, before the overpowering smell of must and burnt wood suffocates and clogs my lungs with its pungent, almost tastable, odor. Before I know it, the now familiar pull of unconsciousness claims me once again as my surroundings become soundless and disconnected.

This time I’m woken by the pleasant feeling of warmth on my forehead. I shiver, goosebumps forming along my arms and legs as the source of the heat is removed from my forehead. A small displeased whimper escapes from my raw throat. I’m so cold. Why is it so cold? I don’t remember it being like this in the bunker. Before I can think any further a light pressure falls over me.

“A blanket,” I think as I clutch it close to my chest savoring the warmth it brings. I hear something, a sigh maybe, but it’s not long before I slip into unconsciousness and every sensation fades away again.

“Holy shit,” I pant as I let the scalpel fall from my shaking hand only to clatter on the ground. I just dug a bit of bullet out of someone. I run my hand through my hair, getting it out of my face in an attempt to clear my mind. I look down at my hands, covered in her blood and shiver to myself as I wipe them off on the little bit of leftover cloth I have. She actually looks peaceful passed out like that, well compared to earlier. I wrapped her hand in the small washcloth I kept my can opener in and her side in the last of my bandages.

“I don’t know why I’m even trying so hard,” I muse to myself finally getting my hands clean of her blood. I don’t owe her anything, if anything she owes me twice now. I sigh inwardly before I start gathering my supplies, or what’s left of them. I doubt she would have survived if she didn’t have that bunker of hers. She doesn’t even have a weapon to defend herself. I’m surprised she hasn’t dropped dead yet.

With so few medical supplies left they’re relatively easy to pick up and in the span of a few minutes they are clean and placed back in their small bag. I mean without me she wouldn’t have been able to get away from Hunter. I shudder involuntarily at the thought and with nothing left to do for the moment sit next to mystery girl.

“This is going to be eventful.” I sigh to myself deciding to sort out my bag.

“I really have too much stuff in here.” I mutter to myself for the millionth time. It took at least two hours to sort the contents out on the floor in front of me and another one to get it all back in a bit more organized.

“Note to self, get a bag for mystery girl.” I mentally mark, rubbing at my tired eyes. Pulling my hand away I find my gaze wandering over to her prone form. She hasn’t bled through her bandages so that’s something. And she isn’t moving around too much, so... everything is looking up?When was the last time I thoroughly cleaned my ‘tools’? I mean there’s not much I can do about that anyway.

Wait why am I even- what am I thinking? God now I’m questioning the cleanliness of my medical supplies in an apocalypse, what have I come to? I sigh before rubbing a hand down my face, sort of just relishing in the feeling of the motion. It’s not like I have peroxide lying around. I don’t magically have everything you could ever need, most of this shit is hard to find. People aren’t exactly still making these products, I wish they were though. I turn myself towards mystery girl completely in an attempt to make sure she’s at least still breathing. Her chest rises and falls slowly, not that I doubted it would be, her face is lax worry gone as she sleeps.

“Or wait would she still technically be unconscious?” Man these are the questions I need the internet to answer. Well I put the work in, might as well check up on her. I gently bring my hand down to her forehead, brushing the few hairs that linger off her face. I bring the back of my hand down on her forehead carefully trying not to wake her.

“Well she doesn’t feel warm.” I think to myself, retracting my hand carefully. As soon as my hand is back by my side a small whimper comes from her and a somewhat violent shiver wracks her form.

“Well now that just isn’t fair.” I mumble almost inaudibly as I pull my old bag closer to me. With my new organization system I can easily locate my blanket, not that it’s size doesn’t give it away anyway. I carefully unfold it as I work my way to my feet, trying to keep my balance. I take the two opposite ends of the blanket in my hands and with one graceful movement manage to lay it over mystery girl. Almost as soon as the blanket touches her, a small smile makes its way to her face and I sigh.

“My god, is that all it takes to make her happy?” I think to myself as I return to my seat on the floor. “Man she’s so naive.” I shake my head slightly at my own thought while I redo the clasps on my bag. I don’t know how we are going to do this, I mean she doesn’t even have a gas mask. We can’t do much without one of those and a hazmat suit. Neither of those are easy to find, and for the life of me I can’t think of how I’m supposed to fix that.

“I might as well make sure I didn’t stash anything else around here, I don’t plan on coming back this time.” I concede to myself, getting back on my feet.

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