I hope the moon doesn’t come out tonight. I’m fine with just being by myself and I don’t want to see anyone. I’d rather be alone.
My phone is broken so I haven’t been able to check the moonrise app in weeks. I’d made a chart to keep track of the new lunar calendar—one moon, every five days—but I stopped logging it the week I got sick. Now I don’t know if the next moonrise will be tonight or tomorrow.
I hope it’s tomorrow, I just need one more night alone.
Stephanie has gone to the west quadrant. It’s fine. I told her it’s fine. She wants to check the old factory route one more time for survivors. She has so much optimism. She’s a good person—so good. She’s the only one I still want to see. But she’s gone now until the final harvest, probably.
I could jack off again, I guess. There’s nothing else to do.
These panties she left don’t even smell like her pussy anymore. They just smell like the outside, like everything does. Like the cloudy air, the weather, and the ashes of the bonfire. I tried putting them in a small shipping crate I found in the kindling heap, but it didn’t do any good. Her smell still went away. I tried, but I couldn’t keep it.
She was feeling sick too the day before she left—she threw up. She said the potatoes from the last drop-off were bad. “You don’t have to go,” I told her, but it just made me sound selfish.
I hope she’s ok out there.
She has a better attitude than I do: Just keep moving forward. Only think about the immediate future, not the long future. Not the eventual outcome. “Just think about your quality of life, Jeff, and I’ll be back soon,” she said. Steph and Jeff. That’s what people could have called us if we were a couple, back in the day. Maybe she would have been my girlfriend.
What if she found someone else? A better dispatcher? She said I’m the best—it’s why everyone left me here—but what if she found someone else in the west quadrant? There are other men there. Like those guys with the desk jobs. I wonder what they do all day? I mean, are they just like, “Write some shit, then write some more shit, then do some math and balance the numbers in the fucking boxes and then eat some food and go to bed and get up and do it all over again?” Is that all there is? Is that all life is supposed to be?
After this next moonrise I could leave; go west—I’d be back in time for harvest seventy-four. I’d have to see more people, though. Can’t stand people, except for Steph. Maybe it’s good if she met someone else. She deserves someone who likes things. I just—don’t. I don’t like things anymore. I used to think I did, but now I’m not so sure if that was even real. It’s hard to remember. She seems to like things. She really does. I think she likes everything. I don’t know how a person does that.
I can fuck her better than anyone, she says. Nicole used to tell me I was good in bed too. It was the only thing I was good at, until the orbital disruption. Until they began testing soldiers for the harvest sites and slowly all the others were dismissed until there were only five of us left. Now I found something else that I can do. Fucking and dispatch; they’re the only things that make me useful.
It’s weird to be alone all the time. I think it would be easier if I were one of those artsy types, like an artist or a writer or whatever. Or a musician. I’d like to be a musician. They can create stuff to keep them company; their “work.” They always have something to do, ‘cause they can generate their own entertainment with their minds. They can be alone, but not alone. That’s so crazy. To do anything I’m good at, I need another person. And I don’t even like people (except for Steph), and that’s why I can do this. Excel at it, even. The irony.
The sun’s going down. It’s been hard to keep my muscles as fit as I should for the harvest nights. And truthfully, I was more motivated to do it when I could work myself out just making her cum and fucking her the way she likes. Doing pushups and running in circles, it’s not the same. The incentive isn’t the same when all I’m doing is keeping myself in a form that’ll ensure I survive another six months of rotations. If I had someone to fuck, I think it would help.
But then, being alone, I’ve grown accustomed to it. Now, I would rather be alone. People seem useless now. I feel useless.
I could jack off again.
I miss her so much.
I’m out of medicine if I get sick next month. These goddamn migraines. I could get another blister pack if I go to the main med station. Then I could go just a little farther and see her. Maybe. Even if she met someone else, I could just see her. I could go and get back here again between the moonrises, before harvest seventy-four. But if she is seeing someone else, and then I have to come back here, alone, I don’t know what I’d do. I don’t know what I’d do.
Actually, I do know: I’d fight out all the langeriformed until the very last one, and then hold him down and let him take me as he goes. We could go out together, and I’d finally leave this mess the moment the world is free of it. Only thirty-six more rotations now. Steph would be so much better off with someone else. Once the world is finally reset, she could have a normal life. I could do that for her.
No, you don’t even know if it’s happened yet—you don’t know if she’s found anyone else. You’re just going to do your bit at the next moonrise. Do your dispatches and take your blows, and go to sleep until morning. Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Stop being such a wuss. You deserve things. Just because you may not be as interesting as someone else doesn’t mean you don’t deserve ... something. Someone.
Maybe when this is all over, Steph and I could have a family. That’s what people do, right? I mean, my Dad was barely ever around and I turned out okay (I think), so I could at least do as well as him. Probably.
Shit. It’s not as dark now as it was an hour ago. The moonrise is tonight. I knew it. I saw the dark waning to light but I kept telling myself it might not be true. Shit. I wanted one more night alone. No matter, now. Wanting doesn’t get you much but more wanting.
Time to get ready.
The anti-langeriformed gear is so heavy. It feels heavier this time. And the rubber this vest is made of is getting old, so it doesn’t bend easily anymore. Oh yeah, the nail from the top of my right boot broke off, and I still have to find another one. I moved the nail from my left boot over, since that’s my dominant leg, but I’ll have to remind myself of that tonight. There is no nail in your left boot. Don’t kick with your left.
Here are the spiked steel knuckles I can wrap to my hand with gauze and strips of ripped up bed sheet. That was Steph’s idea. This way I can still hold an additional weapon, but I’m not left defenseless if it gets away from me. The spikes are four inches long, each, so they go deep enough, but not too deep. And since they’re strapped to my hand I can use them for other stabs too, ‘cause they don’t come off in the carcass. Steph is so smart. She used to ready them for me; I remember just how she would hold my hand in hers while she wrapped it, and I could smell her dirty hair as she leaned over my lap, smiling. “You’re so good,” she’d say. “You got this.”
This jacket is still in good shape. It will probably last me to the end of deployment when the final rotation is over.
This machete is still good. Getting a little dull, but it’ll do the trick. I can work with dull.
Wow, there are a lot of mushrooms tonight. There could be more beasts, then? I wonder if they’ll know. More numbers means more dispatch and more disposal, but fewer to take on next time. Closer to the finish line.
It’s easier to be alone when the only people who come to you are people who want something from you. Except Steph. She only wanted me.
Sometimes I think I used to like people, before all this started. Now I’ll never know.
Here come the monsters.