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February 26, 2024

All-Nighter 20

By Lydia Manx

Episode Twenty


Even to this day I still remembered how Lindy had been shocked that I'd killed my own kin. She thought I hadn't noticed the stunned look and the way she tightened her mouth. I'm pretty sure that she thought I was a failure, and being from the city, not West Virginia, she didn't know how close my family was. But fuck all if I was going to let my cousin Leon go chow down on some random friends and probably unimportant strangers.

Once I'd finished telling grandma more than I thought I would about the interview, I just thanked her for letting me use the car later and then I went back to my room to try to sleep. Instead I found myself thinking about that stupid whole mess in West Virginia. It really did go tits side down, but hell, it was fucking crap from start to finish.

Back then ...

"So what are we going to do today?" It was Ginny. She'd slept on the bed with me in the largest bedroom, but she'd insisted that she sleep opposite me. My feet were at the top of the bed and her feet were in my face at the bottom. I didn't bother telling her it made no difference, 'cause my grandma would skin me alive if I touched Ginny, no matter how cute she was. Besides I knew way too many of my family and friends who ended up parents before they turned eighteen, and that was nothing I wanted to do. I wanted to get out of the mountains and see the world before I settled down. I didn't wanna work for the mines or in a shop, but do something else. No clue what, 'cause I was still a kid.

"Let's get breakfast going and then see how much snow fell while we slept. The place is still warm so we can go add some wood to the stove first, before the embers die out." I tried to seem calm, but inside I was pretty much jelly. I'd never been in charge of anyone but me. My mom just liked me out of the way, and I liked knowing she didn't give a damn what I did as long as the cops didn't show up on the doorstep looking for me. I wasn't guessing -- she'd told me that with swear words in between and a smack to my arm. That was her idea of a 'love touch,' she claimed whenever someone saw her hit me.

I pulled the curtains open and looked out the back window and saw that it'd snowed all night long. There had to be at least a foot plus of snow outside. When we'd arrived and unpacked the SUV, Dean and I had brought in a ton of dry wood before we'd gone to bed, but looking at the snow I wasn't sure it was going to be enough. I stoked the fire a bit and added the larger pieces of wood once I'd got the flames going. Ginny had started fussing in the kitchen and I let her. It wasn't two minutes more before I saw Lindy coming into the kitchen to help Ginny. Happily I went to the couch, and flopped down in front of the stove. Dean hadn't shown up, but that was kinda a good thing. He was a total tool and didn't seem to understand that zombies were real. Dumb ass.

Soon breakfast was ready, and Dean showed up looking like crap. Nobody said a word to him, but I saw Ginny and Lindy throw each other secret glances. The stove was keeping the room toasty and we ate at the coffee table again. There actually was a table but so far we didn't use it. I figured the girls thought if we sat at, like, a real table that would make all this real. We ate in silence.

Once done Lindy looked at me and asked right out, "So now how do we get down the mountain?"

Shrugging, I answered, "We don't for a bit. I think that those mercs will be covering all the roads and 'cause we found a bunch of those damned zombies, now I bet they won't let anyone leave."

From the grim look on Lindy's face, I think she'd already figured that out and just wanted me to say it aloud. Dean looked like he wanted to crawl right back in bed and wait it all out; I wasn't so sure that would work. From Ginny and Lindy's quick glance they thought the same thing. Not about hiding, but that Dean had fucking checked out and as far as I could tell wimped out. Like I said, such a tool. I don't care what happened to him, but instead of fighting, he was folding up and crawling away. Jerk.

The day was pretty much snowed out and snowed in for all practical purposes. To my total shock Lindy didn't try to play cheerleader and get us to do anything, but simply sat back and watched the flames in the stove. Ginny found where my family had tucked away some board games and by mid-morning, we were tossing dice and playing Yahtzee followed by a long game of Monopoly. Even Dean roused his ass from moping to join us. All too soon it was night again. On the plus side, nobody showed up to shoot us or eat us, so since we already were in the cabin we spent the day into the night playing games.

Ginny started getting dinner together and Lindy offered to help but Ginny declined, saying the kitchen was too small. Pretty much an obvious lie, but I could see that Ginny was worrying and wanted time to think. Lindy didn't argue, so I guess she understood it, too. I was kinda happy that Ginny was trying to figure out her stuff without my grandma's help. Hell if I knew when we'd be able to get back with our families, and my grandma was probably long ways away and didn't have a clue how bad it'd got up here. My mom wasn't big on calling her, and I don't think the phones were working mostly. The storm had to have knocked out the lines and that was a good thing for me cause it meant I had a full on excuse for not calling anyone.

We all went to bed early because we were pretty bored and the snow was falling again. At some point one of us -- probably me, knowing my luck -- would have to dig out the SUV and start the engine up to make sure the battery didn't drain in the cold. There wasn't a shed to put the car in and the back of the house was keeping some of the snowdrifts from completely covering the vehicle. I didn't see Dean shoveling snow -- but with his bent thoughts, he'd be sitting inside the car and forgetting to unblock the tail pipe, sucking down on carbon monoxide. That's the way a few of the old miners had died around here in the past. Most of the time everyone pretended it was an 'accident' around us kids, but we knew it wasn't. Mining was fucking brutal, and being kicked to the curb once they got old and beat up by the job, there wasn't much else they could do. That's why I was never going to be a miner. They talk about how much money you get right out of high school, but then you look at the old men sitting around drinking beers at the family gatherings and remember that those dudes are only ten years or so older. That is scary. Zombies seemed less terrifying to me. I'd already killed one for sure and a few others that Ginny and I had set up traps for could be dead now. We'd put some traps around town, and figured if you were too stupid to watch where you were walking, you deserved to be killed.

Having met the mercenaries, I was sure none of them would be stupid enough to get smacked in the head with a bucket of nuts and bolts. The hardware store had plenty of fun things I used to set the traps, and I did my best to make it harsh and dangerous. Ginny didn't ask any questions just handed me stuff when I went up the ladder to set up the swinging bucket of hell. If I could have added like napalm or something to burn them I would have been very satisfied, but with winter on the way I knew it would've backfired.

The next morning came, and so did a knock on the door.

I'd been awake and adding wood to the fire. I knew I'd have to go outside in an hour or so and grab up more wood to let it dry during the day. We had about a day and half of wood inside already, but it'd just take one misstep and we'd freeze our asses off -- for real.

There wasn't a peek hole in the front door, but there was the thirty-eight I'd used to shoot Leon with back in town. Picking up the gun, I opened the door while keeping the gun in my right hand. To my shock it was one of my uncles.

"Uncle Scott, what the hell are you doing here?" I had the gun half way up to shoot him when he put his hands up saying, "Sammy, put the gun down. There are damned zombies running around town. I knew about this place and want to hide 'til the government guys killed them all."

I looked at his huge truck sitting in the middle of the yard and said, "Fine, but pull that piece of shit behind the house and go shovel the snow on the path up, okay?"

Looking at me he nodded and replied, "Fair enough. You okay?"

"Yeah, now go to it and come inside and you'll get breakfast. Did you bring supplies?" I didn't lower the gun so he knew I meant business.

"Hell yeah! Couple bottles of bourbon, some steaks, chicken, and half a hog. That work?" He grinned at me but I could see he was afraid.

Laughing, I said, "Sleeping bag in that mix?"

Ducking his head he said, "Sure enough. Thanks, Sammy."

Uncle Scott had been working in town at some office doing accounting and such, so he wasn't a druggy, just had the normal family bad luck. I turned around to see Lindy standing behind me with a gun of her own.

"Everything okay?"

"Yeah, my uncle showed up." I tried for nonchalant but from her face I'd failed. I guess that some of my own fears were leaking out.

She lowered her gun and said, "Okay. I'll start some coffee."

With that, she turned and went to the kitchen. I felt good, but still was worrying who all Uncle Scott had told about the cabin. Nothing I could do, so I followed Lindy and helped her start breakfast. Okay, so that meant just pulling out the fresh stuff and getting out of her way until Ginny came to help, but at least it stopped me from fretting. I heard a soft knock at the door and let Uncle Scott inside seeing he had some bags of supplies. He wasn't kidding he had more liquor than food, but I knew the fresh meat would be good. Ginny brought fresh cups of hot coffee and liberated the meat with a grin to me.

I introduced Uncle Scott around while breakfast was served at the dining room table. Dean showed up, but wasn't looking good at all. I now figured that I'd get Uncle Scott to dig out the SUV and run it so the battery charged. I figured that as a score, and tried to not smirk. Uncle Scott seemed happy to meet new people, and the snow continued to fall outside. My uncle had done what I asked and parked in back. His shoveling of snow over his tracks was quickly filled in with more snow. The blizzard wasn't showing any sign of dropping off any time soon. Not unusual for this area but not great.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-06-20
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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