Judgment Day: Part 30

Part 30 of my woefully unedited novel from several years ago. This is also the end of a chapter. Is anyone still reading this while sober?

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As Martin started  to rave about his surprise offensive, Daryl closed his eyes.  If he was crazy and stuck in his head, then fine.  Fine, fine, fine.

Azizi finally changed tracks,  “Have you eaten?”

The mist cleared and Daryl shook his head, “Cookies,”

“Oh, okay.”  Azizi nodded and sat back down.

“Uh,” Daryl squinted at Azizi, “So, I guess I should get some food.”

“What?  Yes!  Of course.  You had cookies, though.”

Daryl had no idea how hungry he was until he tucked into the sandwich that Azizi quickly threw together for him, turkey and cheese that would be worthless as soon as the power died. Martin, no doubt sensing that his surprise offensive plan was falling on deaf ears, headed out to unload the supplies from Daryl’s van.

There was a feeling of waking up, of snapping back, as the food hit his stomach.  The world had ended.  Quickly and without scream or whimper.  He was really here, with his friends, in this impossible situation.

“I don’t see how it’s possible the three of us could survive,”

Azizi raised an eyebrow, sitting on a counter across from Daryl with his back against a wall of soda cans in loading crates. “We did, though.  Chance or design, who knows?”

“Do you think it was a virus?”

Azizi just shook his head in reply, eyes distant.

Daryl asked a question that needed to be asked, lowering his voice and leaning forward.  “Can we trust Martin?  I mean, should we go knock him on the head and then take off for the country?”

Azizi paused, “Well, you know how he gets.”

“This whole hunting the monsters thing.  He’s serious?”

“Yes.”

“We can’t do that.  These fuckers are strong.”

Azizi nodded.  “Yes.  He thinks they’re up to something.”

“What do you mean?”

“He wants to head down to DC and do some snooping… When we were coming up here, we encountered a couple of those jellyheads.  They had found another survivor – “

“You found another survivor?” Daryl almost shot up and grabbed Azizi.  Instead he clutched the table, forcing himself to stay calm.

“Dead,” Azizi replied.  “Those freaks were tearing him apart, Daryl.  They had cut his throat…or gnawed it or something and were just methodically…”  He shook his head.

“What, so they’re ghouls.  It doesn’t surprise me.”

“To tell the truth, D, I’d like some answers, too.  Yes, they’re organized, but they’re not an army.  We know they’re out there, so all we have to do is keep our cool.  But if they’re organized, we’ve got to see what they’re doing.  This is the new world, man.  Think about what it’ll be like when the power dies – when our civilization dies – and those things are still crawling around.  Then they’ll have the advantage.”

Martin stuck his head into the kitchen.  “Your girl’s awake.  Get her some water.  Azizi, you’re Iranian, what do you know about making bullets so that they explode on impact, or whatever it is they do in the movies?”

“Well, I’ll need a knife and… Wait a minute, where do you get off – “

Daryl allowed a brief smile as he hurried to fill a glass with water and grabbed some crackers.  He went out to Molly, who was lying flat on the couch, holding the dripping washcloth to her head.  When Daryl knelt down beside her, she opened her eyes and grinned.  “Hey,” she croaked.

“Hey,” Daryl replied.  This woman he had been staring at for months like some sort of pervert had become the last woman on Earth. He felt like a fool sitting there, staring at her, letting her get under his skin.  There was a sense of power about her, but how much of that was in his muddled brain?   He pulled the water away from her when she started gulping, a thin smile dancing on his face. When she spoke, he become aware of her eyes, blue-grey,  staring hard right back at him.

“So what’s going through the mind of my hero?”  She smiled again and touched his hair.

Daryl tried not to look shocked, or uncomfortable.  A world of emotions  flowed through him and he pulled away from her.  She pursed her lips, letting her hand fall back to the couch.

“Talk to me,” she breathed softly.

“I don’t know what to say.”  He watched her watching him.  Her smile grew a little wider then, after a while, she asked him to find her a comfortable bed.  He stood, stretched his back, and walked into the kitchen where Azizi was pressing a knife on top of blue-tipped bullets.

“What are you doing?”

Azizi didn’t look up from his task.  “I just want to say that my family left  Iran when I was four.  I learned this shit watching TV.”

“Is there a bed or something upstairs?”

Azizi moved his head towards a hallway leading off from the kitchen.  “There’s a daybed in the front office.  Everything upstairs is stuffed with stupid chairs and linens for when they rented this place out for snazzy events or whatever.”

Daryl went back and picked up Molly, carrying her to the office.  She held on to his neck and grinned mischievously the entire time, then pulled him into the daybed with her.  She pressed her body tight against his, but there still wasn’t enough room for both of them, so he lay there, half on and half off the bed, listening to the rain outside and trying to convince himself he was comfortable.  She lay curled against him and, eventually, he focused on her breathing.  He closed his eyes and knew nothing else until the sun woke him, flooding through the office’s picture window and shining onto the bed.  Molly, sleeping soundly, looked a mess in the light.  Her hair matted, her clothes wet, the bruise on her brow an ugly purple.  Her eyes fluttered open when Martin banged through the sliding double doors with his usual gracelessness.

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