A dark night had cast itself around me as I walked through the people milling about. I was no longer in a hurry. I knew where the man would be that I had come here to kill. Anger and hate boiled up inside of me at the thought of seeing his picture, his 'file', and his family. He taken my parents from me, but he had everything of his own. Why had this happened to me? What had made him do this? These questioned bounced around in my head as I aimlessly walked around this small town in Kansas. There were a lot of people here, the reports I had read indicated this was a year-round market place. How they got out of bed on the coldest mornings I had no idea.
I rounded a corner, memorizing my footsteps, when I heard a set of footsteps moving quickly up behind me. Keeping calm, and breathing shallower, I sped up. Listening intently. I had been through this alley four times now, at the other end, there would be a back entrance to a bakery, and on the right side, it would continue for 10 paces before T-ing off onto another side street.
"Hey" the voice behind me called out. "Hey wait up!"
I half turned, a rustic looking middle aged man was pacing me. He had a rifle slung across his back and his hand was resting lightly on a pistol at his side.
"Hey, I'm talking to you!" he said more loudly. "I need to talk to you!"
A pang of fear crept up into my stomach as I turned right down the alley way, I glanced back as I turned the corner, the man was gaining on me...
"OOFF!" I heard myself saying as I ran into something. I looked up, another middle aged man was standing in front of me, his left hand moved up and clasped onto my shoulder. I felt myself drifting out of it again, as my options quickly expired down to fight, I braced myself mentally.
"Hey!" The guy said again. "Good, you got her" he said to his companion. They were both wearing plad shirts.
"This one's cute" the man before me said.
"Listen honey" the man behind me said... "Just come along with us and you won't get hurt."
"Bull****" my subconscious told my conscious. "Now or never Courtney, don't hold back."
I twisted in the slightly relaxed grip of the man holding me and locked his left hand with both of mine, bringing his hand over my head and into and arm bar, I attacked with my right hand, a knife-hand strike to the side of his neck. He crumpled over. I reached down into my pocket and pulled out a switch blade, one of three that I had stashed on myself and I looked up. The other guy was struggling to get his pistol out.
I stepped in quickly, hitting the button to deploy the blade. SNAP! The 6" steel blade popped out of the small cylinder in my right hand.
As predicted, my would be co-rapist started trying to make distance by backing up. I lunged, bringing the knife up in a low arc towards his solar plexus. His left hand moved awkwardly to try to intercept my stab, but I was half a second quicker. The blade plunged up into the guy's abdomen. I quickly twisted the blade around a full circle before ripping it out in a downward cutting motion. Blood oozed out as my hand withdrew. The man crumpled to his knees and looked up at me, his hands tightly clenching a darkening red fountain. He toppled over, passing out. I looked over, his friend was coming to. I pulled the pistol out that the guy chasing me failed to get and I knelt by the second man. I pressed the gun tight into the other guy's back and squeezed the trigger.
POOFF POOFF POOFF ... the muffled gunshots echoed loudly off the surrounding buildings. I wondered if anyone had heard them as I stood up. I heard a creaking noise, and the door to the bakery was opening. Dropping the gun, I ran into the crowd.
I spent the next half hour walking aimlessly through vendor huts, money was no issue for me. Unlike most of my fellow Americans, when the bombs hit, I was well diversified into foreign banks, so when the feds came to take everyone's money, I simply had none. I carried the pre-blast equivalent of $10,000 on me most of the time in gold and silver, a little more than six ounces of each. But it goes faster when Gold is the standard currency, if I had to put a price on it, I'd say gold was now worth more like $200/oz. I remembered then my open transactions on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, one of the few still operational global exchanges.
I was about to head back to my car when I had a moment of thought. I wanted to try to find out where the man I had come to kill lived, so I doubled back to the bakery and ignoring the massive crowd of people gawking at the alley way, I moved quickly inside.
I saw that the tables were well kept, this was a nice place for where it was. A young lady behind the counter smiled at me and nodded to an open table. I shuffled over and plopped down. She came over a second later, and dutifully set a glass of water before me.
"Hi, I'm Jenny, what can I get for ya?" She asked in a definite southern accent.
"Whatever's good ... I'm lost in thought" I said absently.
"How about umm ... we just made some pain au chocolats..." She suggested
"Sure ... two ... and some hot chocolate too."
"Sure thing hon" she said quickly and walked purposefully back to her counter. I glanced to my right, and noted the older man sitting at the table reading a pile of documents. I wondered if I should interrupt ... it had been a while since I had any real conversation with someone above an apparent fourth grade education.
My mind wandered back again. I was suddenly back there, the ballroom, the orchestra ... and my parents. I heard myself talking, I could smell the champagne. It was lovely.
"Here ya go" the lady said, setting the plate and mug down. "That'll be 1oz of Silver..."
I pulled out one and a half ounces. "Here" I said absently, "thanks" She smiled and wandered off. I looked back up, the older guy was now looking at me.
"Not many people around here tip..." he said quietly, just above the commotion in the room. "I'm not from around here." I suggested.
"Most people aren't." He replied instantly. "Mind if I join you?"
"Sure" I replied ... after noting the wedding band on his left hand.
"I'm Dawson" He said, holding his hand out. "I'm sort of a co-mayor here."
"Courtney" I replied. "Nice to meet you ... been a while since I've had anyone to talk to."
"You're here alone?" he asked
"Yea" I replied, between bites. "I've been on the road a lot."
"Why?" he inquired, inquisitive eyes looking at me.
"I'm trying to find something that I haven't found." I replied truthfully.
"What?" he asked
"It's more of a who." I replied "I'm looking for the man who..." something inside me flickered. "Who broke my heart" I finished.
"Well then" He said, leaning back slightly. "Quite the ambitious journey."
"You have no idea." I sighed.
THREE YEARS AGO: ALL TIMES FROM HERE ON ARE GIVEN FROM THIS POINT!
"Hey you're really cute" Brad said, looking at me with a large grin.
"Thanks" I said blushing, my face was flush from my cheeks to my temples, the lines by my eyes were exaggerated by the color and shadow contrast.
He took half a step towards me, his right arm extending around behind my back. His hand planting itself in the small of my back, pulling me in towards him. Consciously, I took half a step in, lifting my head as I did so. His bright eyes looked down at me, anticipation and fear showing in his pupils. I lifted my head and...
"COURTNEY!!!!! COURTNEY!!!!! Get up!!! It's time for school ... COURTNEY!!!!!"
"UGH!" I said aloud, rolling over in bed. It always happened like this, just as my crush and I were about to finally unite in love, I always woke up. I laid there; looking over at the clock, 07:35am ... school would start at 08:30am. I tried to go back to sleep ... I wished I could just have one more moment in my dreamland, but it was to no avail. I rolled to the left, my feet found the floor as my cat, Shaun, jumped down from the bed, obviously angry that I was rolling around and interrupting his umpteenth hour of rest...
In the predawn twilight, supplemented by the light from the hallway, I reached around for my hairbrush and started unknotting my shoulder length auburn hair. It curls naturally, so I usually have to sort out a number of these little knots every morning. For a while, I had braided my hair before bed, and that seemed to work okay, but on days when I didn't want my hair to be extra curly – like today, I couldn't do that.
Today was tryouts for soccer. I have always played soccer, ever since I was about 8. My parents signed me up and set me on my way. At first I really didn't care for it, but then I realized I was better than everyone else, so I started to enjoy it. With this came popularity, and what girl doesn't like to be well liked. Today was also my birthday. I've been waiting for this day for a while, not because I was excited to be 17, but because I was excited in the most geeky of senses to be able to sing my favorite song from the "Sound of Music."
Picking up my phone, and ignoring the 50 Facebook notifications that so and so was wishing me a happy birthday, I thumbed my music player open and selected the song.
"You wait little girl ... on an empty stage..." the song began as I finally took to my feet. The music through my tiny phone speaker filled the room as I selected a blue skirt and a white with black vertical stripe blouse. Today, I felt like looking good, so I also grabbed some white and black knee-highs that would go with my flats. It wasn't quite the school girl look, but it was close. Our school has a really dumb policy restricting skirt lengths, but I'm a pretty conservative type, so I'm not going to dress like a slut!
.... There is more of this story ...
Post Apocalypse /