“The world used to full of people just like you and me. They were kind to each other and lived in harmony with one another. Their belly’s were always full and they had wonderful beds that were as soft as clouds to fall asleep in every night.”
“Stop telling him those bullshit stories,” I begged, hearing Anna talking to her three year old son about how things used to be. It wasn’t like any of it had been real, or would ever be.
“Don’t listen to your Mama Syl,” Anna whispered conspiratorially to the little boy sitting at her feet, her violet eyes darting towards me. “She’s just jealous because she doesn’t remember how it used to be.”
I rolled my eyes at her words as I double check to make sure the perimeter alarms were armed and that the entrance to our little bunker was camouflaged and bolted tight.
Looking back over my shoulder as Anna’s voice carried another story to my ears I couldn’t help but give her one of my few small smiles.
Anna was the kindest, most generous woman left in this world, and she was mine, from the top of her ash blond locks to her dainty toes.
Looking to see how much our solar batteries had charged during the overcast day I frowned when I found the meter low.
Heaving a sigh, I knew I'd have to go outside tomorrow and make sure the panels weren’t obscured by fallen foliage, or worse yet, damaged by last nights storm.
Outside into a world were humans were an endangered species.
I knew there were human settlements out there, pockets of humanity trying to eek out just one more day since the world had been overrun by creatures of myth, but I had no idea how to find them.
It had been twenty years since were-creatures had banded together to put humans in their place. At the bottom of the food chain!!!
Whole cities across the country were taken over, their human population forced into labor camps or fleeing into the wilderness.
My dad had been smart, leaving before the shit really hit the fan. He’d always been a survivalist, believing that one day the world would end.
Turns out, he was right.
Thankfully, he’d built this bunker in the middle of the woods seventy five miles outside Chicago with it’s own well, solar batteries and a hydroponic grow room that grew enough food to feed us both vitamin rich greens.
Before fleeing our home, he’d packed up his minivan and a trailer with as much canned food, guns, ammunition survival gear, fresh water, and books on survival and homesteading he could get his hands on before we ran.
I was three when everything went to hell, so I don’t really remember much of life before living here. So, here I was, in this little bunker I’d called home for twenty years.
Five years ago, my dad had gone hunting one day and just not returned.
After two days I went after him.
I found what was left of him two miles from our home, his body torn apart by wild animals.
Knowing I couldn’t bring him home I dug a hole there in the woods and buried him, marking the grave with a series of rocks in the shape of a cross.
Then, I’d returned home bringing with me his hunting gear and wedding ring which I wove into one of the many braids that adorned by auburn hair.
After that I was alone, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’d thought many times that it would be easier to just put a bullet in my head.
I was suddenly pulled out of my memories by Anna’s arms snaking around my waist.
“Let him believe in better things Syl,” she purred into my ear before nuzzling my neck. “It helps him sleep.”
“It doesn’t help him live,” I sighed, leaning against her slight frame.
Turning in her arms, I pulled her to me, my head resting on the top of her's.
Anna was a few inches shorter than my five-foot eight, and she was bone thin no matter how much game I snared and brought home, but she was still the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen.
"Living is a choice," she replied, defending her stories. "If he doesn't have something better to look forward to, then he will give up the way you did before I came along."
Sighing, I held her tighter, knowing she was right.
If I hadn't found her in the forest, her new born baby clutched to her chest three years ago, I might well have given up.
"How is Billie today?" I asked, remembering that the boy hadn't been wanting to eat much over the past few days.
"He seems to be doing a little better," Anna replied, lifting her head so her chin rested on my chest. "I just wish I knew what was wrong."
"I'll look through my dad's old copy of Physicians Desk Reference again," I told her, placing a teasing kiss on her nose. "Maybe I missed something."
"I love you Sylvia," she whispered, rising to her tip toes to plant a delicate kiss on my lips.
"I love you too Anna," I sighed, pulling her closer. "How are you?"
"I'm good," Anna sighed, resting her head on my shoulder. "How about you?"
"Same old, same old," I replied with a rye smile
"I wish you smiled more," she said, turning her face to look at me. "I mean a real smile."
"Well," I breathed, making my voice low and husky and I nuzzled into her neck once more, "maybe you could help me out in that department."
Squealing, Anna laughed and danced out of my arms.
"First we need to put Billie to bed," she called, giving me a wink as she continued bouncing away.
Smiling to myself, I shook my head before following her back towards the small room the boy slept in.
"Night Mama Syl," Billie said with his usually heavy lisp.
"Good night Billie," I said, giving him a kiss on the cheek.
Anna and I held each other's hands as we headed for our own bed.
"Tomorrow I'm going top side to check the solar panels," I told her as we undressed for bed. "Why don't you and Billie come with me?"
"Do you think it will be safe?" she asked, her face paling at the thought. "What about the collectors?"
Collectors were humans who'd taken to capturing their own kind and selling them to the were's.
"I think as long as we remind him of the rules, it should be fine," I told her, pulling her into bed with me, pinning her beneath my muscular body. "I haven't seen any sign of the collectors or the were's in weeks.
"Besides," I added, dipping my head to trace kisses across her clavicle, "some fresh air would do you both some good.
"Not to mention I love to see the sunlight shining in you beautiful hair."
All other thoughts were pushed aside as my lips found hers, soft and sweet.