Friday, January 21, 2011

Running Back

Fire warm.

That's about all I was able to think about last night after we got free from the train car full of dead cows we were trapped in. We finally got a break in the zombie activity around our location, enough that Mason could slip out through the door. He snagged his machete from the downed zombie he had left it in and managed to draw the crowd of them away. He had warned us not to do anything until he got back. I had asked him how long we should wait until we had to assume he was dead. He said, and I quote:

"I've outrun and outlived terrorists and counterintelligence agents on five continents. I'm not getting killed by a bunch of zombies."

So, yeah. We waited.

It took about an hour. Mason told us that he lost them a few times, but he had to go running back to the zombies each time because he wanted to get them as far away from us and our abandoned vehicle as possible. Then he had to creep back to us silently enough to stay hidden. He saved our lives. Again.

So, we managed to top off the tanks and get out. Mason found us a nice spot to camp, a clearing about twenty feet across right in the middle of a bunch of pine trees. They surround the campsite in a ring, and we had to get on our hands and knees to get through the branches. We got a fire set up and broke out the supplies. After all that time in the meat locker with nothing, we were dehydrated and starving.

We are well supplied for this trip, with sleeping bags rated at negative forty among many other useful items. Of course, we have to cover our faces when we sleep without a tent like we did last night, which I forgot to do. So I felt the first flakes of snow start to fall before anyone else. When I woke Mason up to tell him it was snowing, he made us all cram into the short bus, and that's how we spent the night. A bunch of freezing, smelly people jumbled across each other. It was while I lay there, someone's elbow occasionally jamming into my neck or ribs, that I remembered the significance of today.

It's my wife's birthday. And here's me, far away from her in danger yet again. Well, in more danger relative to the constant threats we all live under. I hate to be away from her right now. Jess has always been childlike in some ways, and her birthday is one of them. For her it's a reason to have a party, to be the center of attention. It's one of the few times she wants to be in the spotlight, most of the time she's really shy though that's changed a bit since The Fall.

I want to be there with her right now, telling funny stories and trying to make this day special for her. I can't, and so I will do the only thing I am able--keep on with the job at hand. The best gift that I can give to her is the one I am helping to secure for the human race: the contents of the Ark. It's going to be a game changer someday, maybe soon but likely much later. Also, getting done with this will mean going home, and back to her, which is almost as good a gift. Right?

...maybe I should have gotten her something, like a new gun or a guitar...

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