Monday, November 29, 2010
Posted by Jonathan Martin
Well, here it is a few days late, sorry for the delay....NaNoWriMo got in the way as did real life!
Sam watched the glow in the distance. He had heard the explosion, some fifteen or twenty miles distant, about the time the sun was beginning to set. Now the sky was dark, the moon above him a sliver, and the glow off in the distance reminded him of seeing Texas Stadium all lit up from his bedroom window when the Cowboys were playing.
Now the Cowboys would play no longer, Texas Stadium probably nothing more than a pile of rubble.
Sam had taken it easy those first few days after the liquor store exploded. His strength slowly returned to him as he averaged only about ten miles a day, foraging in whatever shops he found. Now, despite the near 90 degree temperatures, he wore a windbreaker and a ball cap he had grabbed out of a mall he had passed. He had found a water backpack and carried that as well as two canteens on his hip, stopping to fill them whenever he found the opportunity.
Despite being hot, the going was easy for Sam. He only had what was on his hips and on his back to worry about. A storm had hit two days out of Bowie and cooled the temperature down significantly, but had forced him to hole up in a house for the better part of the day. If the news had been running, he would have been reminded that it was hurricane season. That Hurricane Igor, or, maybe they were up to Hurricane Zelda by now, had made landfall and was reaching all the way into the southern reaches of Oklahoma. When he had been able to resume, he saw the damage the storm had wrought, ripping up trees and tearing the roofs off of buildings.
Now he was walking again, the storm days behind him. For the first time since the disaster, Sam passed the wreckage of a plane. He did not know why that shocked him, planes ran on gas too. Its tail stuck up like some shark crowning out of the stark expanse of flat space that was laid out in front of him. An hour’s walk got him close enough to realize what it was, and it took another hour to actually make it to the scene of the crash.
The tail stood slightly askew and rocked gently in the wind, moaning as if its former occupants had never left. Off in the distance glinted sunlight off of what may have been another piece of the plane, the only one Sam saw, but more likely it was the windshield of a parked car.
As he approached the tail, the wind picked up, the groaning increased, and the smell - How had he not noticed the smell before? - permeated him to his core. He quickly backed away, almost losing his footing as he jumped back from the horrible reminder of that tragic day. He had run away from the metal corpse, placing it and the horrible reminder of its passengers behind him.
The plane had shaken him. His path took him to a strip mall where he chose to call it quits for the day. Using a rock, he broke the window on a mattress store and set himself up a mattress and some pillows to sleep on. He had taken one of the nightstands and broken it up, piled it on the sidewalk outside the storefront, and lit a fire using matches he had found on one of the houses he previously broken into.
As he sat there, eating the can of beans that he had heated over the fire, Sam thought about his former companions. Had Peter even looked for him? Did they know he was alive? All he knew was that they were headed towards Boulder City and that he should go there too, but something told him that he would be more useful in White Sands. Unsure of where this notion had come from, Sam put it out of his head and pulled out his map. It took him a few minutes to find where he was on the maps he had, about a day’s travel southeast of Wichita Falls. Tracing the route he knew too well, he realized it would still be a long time until he reached Boulder City.
As Sam stared at the map, his eyes could not help but illuminate the fact that White Sands was much closer, even if he had to head South a little to get there.
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Labels: Hollow World