Mona and Naomi waited until the zombies thinned out on the street.
“Let’s go. Grab us some guns.”
“What the fuck? What’s your problem bitch. You don’t tell me to shut up.”
“You talk too loud. Zombies. Don’t wanna get eaten.” Mona said, low and fast as always.
“Alright. You and me gonna have words later though.”
“K. Quiet now.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence, glaring at each other as they went.
Hnatiuk’s, the hunting store, was a small place right on the main road. The door had a note pinned to it. It read “If you can read this, the door is unlocked, come inside, take what you need. We’re all in this together”.
They entered the store. There were racks and racks of guns, all still there. Not only that, whoever had unlocked the door had unlocked every display case, storage area, etc. The register was open and full of cash. The ammo had some empty spots, but there were many, many boxes. There were knives, bows, guns, arrowheads, etc. It was exactly what Jasper had promised, with the added bonus of being set up for anyone who wanted to come take what they needed. Naomi felt a burst of hope wash over her, maybe humanity wasn’t completely screwed.
They filled up bags with weapons and ammo, still in silence. Naomi felt almost guilty about stripping the place, but survival won out, so she kept going, grabbing as much as she thought she could carry. Mona had more, a lot more. A bag bulging and overflowing with weaponry, two bows strapped across her chest, two full quivers of arrows.
“You forget we need to carry camping gear too?” Naomi said, “No way we can use that much shit.”
“Better to have guns. Can get food with guns. Bows too. I can shoot.”
“K, whatever. I ain’t carrying your shit though.”
“K. Don’t care.”
They left the store, Mona staggering under the weight of all her weapons. The bag looked like it was larger than her. Naomi spotted Jasper heading towards them. Somehow Snow had caught up to him and was trailing a pace or two behind. The big dog freaked her out, so quiet, not mean, but not friendly either. He was a shadow. Jasper didn’t look so good, there was blood on his shirt, dripping down his side. He was pale, almost green, and he was swaying back and forth as he walked.
“Fuck. Jasper, you alright? What happened? You get bit?”
“No, fucked up the jump. Landed bad. I think I hit my head. I’m okay though.”
“Fuck you are. You bleeding like a motherfucker. Let’s go. Back to the camp, we gotta check you out.”
Back at camp, Jasper started pulling off his shirt, but it was caught on something. Slowly, gingerly, the women helped him pull it away from his side. They found a stick poking through his shirt into his stomach. It wasn’t very thick, but it was rough and the wood was still green, dirt and moss caked the bark.
Mona grabbed the stick and started to pull. Jasper grabbed her hand. “Look, it does need to come out… but if we just pull without thinking about it I might bleed out. We need to clean the wound and be ready to stop the bleeding. Normally it’s best to get to a hospital, but they don’t seem to be running these days. Have you ever sutured a wound before?”
“Nope. Never. Will try… you can be my first.”
“OK. I can talk you through most of it. Shouldn’t be too bad. Man, I don’t feel so good.”
They used the camp stove to boil some water, sterilized some gauze strips, and set some water aside so they could use it to clean the wound. They also got some extra bandages to wrap the wound. Everything laid out on a newly sterilized cloth. It was pretty rough, they did everything possible to prevent infection, but conditions were what they were.
Naomi did all the prep, she was precise and methodical, but Mona was going to do the sewing. Naomi didn’t feel confident in her ability to close the wound. Much as she hated to admit it, Mona was much, much stronger. None of them had a clue what they were doing. Jasper had some first aid training, but with his head swimming, he wasn’t much use.
“Ready?” Mona said, grabbing the stick.
“No, give me a minute. Okay, no, wait... okay, go.”
Mona pulled, the stick popped out with a spurt of blood. It was longer than they had thought, most of it buried in Jasper ’s abdomen. Naomi pressed a cloth to the wound as soon as the stick was clear, putting her weight into it. The blood slowed, pooling in the cloth, while Mona got sterile strips to clean the wound with. She poured rubbing alcohol over the wound, then poured sugar from a bunch of sugar packets into the wound. Time to sew it shut, she grabbed a needle, held it over the flame from the camp stove for a moment, a final step, and started sewing Jasper’s flesh shut. It took three stitches, and it was ugly. Naomi poured more alcohol over the wound and packed it with gauze. Finally she wound gauze around Jasper’s stomach, binding it as tight as she dared.
Jasper managed to stay still for the whole process, then he turned over and puked his guts out.