Out of the freezer
There’s this old saying that John used to repeat when we were younger: ‘calamity is the touchstone of a brave mind’. I never used to understand what it meant; it was cryptic as John always was. Now I understand. It is at times of crisis that the great and courageous are separated from the sheep in wolf’s clothing. I have learnt this so many times and yet human nature still perplexes me; people will always put up a front to mask themselves from the world, they will pretend to be stronger than they are to fit in. It sounds hypocritical coming out of my mouth.
John would always spout off old proverbs when we went on a run. I think it was his way of reconnecting with the time before everything went to Hell. The stories he’d used to tell about the days when Christmas lights lit up Trafalgar Square, illuminating a city that never seemed to sleep. When commuters would wake at the crack of dawn and cram onto packed trains and the tube. When the world seemed to be alive. It would be mad not to yearn for that type of a world; instead of the perpetual silence that has fallen.
Roman and I walk in silence out of the front door; John has sent us on a run to get more supplies, I can be persuasive when I desire to be, and I still cannot contemplate everything I have seen and heard over the past day. To think I thought solitude was the best thing for me; maybe I am needed.
I am dreading what Roman is going to say next, he can’t stand awkward silences. He is a lot more eloquent when he expresses himself than I am.
“So medical supplies...food...yeah, cool. Wait, they had tonnes of supplies; I saw the medical cupboard. I do believe we have been had by the old codger; I guess we’ll just have to talk instead.”
“Really, I’d prefer to get supplies. Not that I find your company dull but I find your company dull, with the greatest of respect.”
“If you will insist on being a bitch about it. I really wonder what goes on inside your skull, you know that. Nothing phases you, does it? Not killing people, not the prospect of death, not the idea of people you love dying. It can’t be easy but I guess John has got you well trained in that ideology, am I wrong?”
“I guess you’re not. I think I’ve proved things do phase me, I’m not a sociopath. I just want something to take my mind off of things. Like Annie and Isla...”
“Who told you about Isla? She’s not dead, she can’t be. Rita said she was but she couldn’t be because she was Isla and I was supposed to protect her and...”
Roman inhales and places his head against the crumbled wall that stood before us. He begins to hit his head continually until he begins to bleed and he begins to resemble Frankenstein’s creature.
“Roman, stop. Stop. It wasn’t your fault, it’s nobody’s fault people become infected. We all know the risks and you shouldn’t have to bear the weight of her death. Que sera sera. For god sake, stop it! Do you need me to Rohypnol your arse.”
“I still had responsibility for her. It was still my fault; you wouldn’t understand. She was pr...”
Roman takes one look at me and falls like a log. You bash your brains in against a wall hard enough and you’re going to faint, naturally. But he was going to tell me something which seemed important. He was disorientated so maybe he was just a little delusional but just him to knock himself out when things are getting interesting.
I have to continue on without him. He should be fine if I leave him here; I can’t wait for him to wake up and he will be fine. I just have to get a few things and if he wakes up while I’m gone it won’t be difficult to find me; I really don’t want to sit and watch his dumb ass.
I walk down the road. I shouldn’t feel guilty, he’d do the same if it were me lying on the concrete. I can’t think about it, I can’t.
The sky seems somewhat darkened by the clouds, threatening more bouts of rain; absolutely fantastic. It still looks like it could be dawn but it has to be somewhere about midday. I can see why the world misses clocks, they make things so much easier when deciphering time. I still have my wrist watch but it’s been battered to hell. It hasn’t told the time in years but I’ve still kept it, I guess for the sake of being sentimental. It used to belong to my dad from what I can remember. Or it might have been my mum’s. It gets more difficult to remember my past. As far as I’m concerned, my life began again when John took me in. There was no real life before otherwise I would yearn for it, wouldn’t I?
After 5 minutes, I reach my favourite goods supply; the old supermarket responsible for my broken leg and a literal stab in the back. You’d think I wouldn’t have ever come back after that ‘trauma’ but I got over it. The promise of feeding people is worth getting over your own crap. It looks even worse than ever; if I’m not mistaken, it looks like there’s been a fire here recently due to the fire damage and white smoke billowing from the building. Crap. I’m guessing that’s all the supplies up in smoke which means I am up the creek without a paddle. I just have to hope that there are some supplies that are salvageable. I mean the fire may not have affected the stockroom; oh God, I am so screwed. Why are people such dickheads? Everyone’s got to survive, for god’s sake we need each other or we’re all going to end up as worm meat.
I have some rope in my backpack which I always keep in there in case I need to climb, which is the most common usage, or to stem bleeding. Who knew rope had so many uses? Oh, that would be everyone that has survived thus far.
I throw the rope through the small opening in the window. My throwing is pretty bloody amazing, even if I say myself. I make sure the rope is secure by tugging it; I have learnt my lesson in regards to unstable climbing apparatus. I really can’t afford to be disabled at the current time but I have a choice.
Climbing up the wall never gets easier; I pride myself on my abdominal strength so how the hell do the others do it. Oh wait, they don’t because they lack judgement.
Once I reach the destination, I realise how difficult this is going to be. There is still a small fire blazing in the centre. The gap in the window seems slightly too small. The last time I went to this supply haunt, I was a few pounds lighter and smaller in general. It must have been a year since I graced the building with my presence. Shit.
I struggle. The gap begins to look like the space is sufficient but it will be a tight squeeze. Damn having muscle; if I was just a skinny little wretch I would not be hanging with my head and upper torso in the building and the rest of me hanging in mid-air attached to the rope. Oh god, I am going to have cuts on my hips by the time I’m through.
Crap, crap, crap. My belt is stuck. My sodding belt is stuck.
If I wasn’t so busy using my hands to steady me, I would be able to detach it somehow. Maybe it’s a blessing that Roman knocked himself out. I don’t think I could live with the shame of Roman always talking about the time he saw me with my trousers around my ankles while performing a belly flop into a building. Oh the shame, the shame.
If I move one hand, I can keep a hold of the rope with the other. I just need a few seconds. My only issue is if I drop my belt, there goes my knife. If I get into any shit, I am dead. Well, at least without the belt, I have a chance.
Yes. The belt is detached. Okay, one last push.
Ow. All I can say is...ow. I was right. My hips have been cut to pieces. I look back. There is a significant amount of blood. I’m going to have a fun time tonight; picking out splinters with blunt tweezers. Damn, I need a disinfectant otherwise I could get an infection which could lead to septicaemia which is not something I need to worry about right now.
I let out a little wince. Great...no weapon and now a trail of blood; it’s like Christmas.
The fire doesn’t appear to be near any of the supplies, which worries me. The last time someone set fire to a building with supplies it was a statement. It was saying: ‘if I can’t have these supplies, you can all starve with me, you bastards.’
History does have a tendency to repeat itself which is why this worries me.
What are they trying to burn?
Purification by fire? Torture?
Oh god Elektra, what the hell have you got yourself into?
“Get down on the ground! Drop any weapons and get on the ground!”
Damn. Shit’s about to hit the fan.