Saturday, August 6, 2011
Posted by Jonathan Martin
It had been six days since Chris’ death and things had pretty much returned to normal in that time.
The men were out hunting and collecting firewood, leaving the women at home, tending to the farm. While she patched some clothing with some fabric scraps Aubrey kept around, Julie sent Kyle out to collect eggs from the chicken coop.
“Patching his clothes is fine, but that boy is going to growin’ like a weed. Before the winter is out, he’ll need a new wardrobe, and I bet you guys could use some more clothes to, especially if you plan on moving out after the snow passes.” Aubrey told Julie as she sat down next to the younger woman and picked up a pair of jeans with holes along the cuffs where somebody had trod upon them for too long.
“I know, I need to talk to Peter about it, I’m sure he will think of something.” Julie replied, looking over her handiwork, a patched elbow in one of Jud’s long sleeve shirts.
“Well, I was thinking about that myself,” Aubrey said, “and well, you know…” she let her voice trail off as Amy walked into the room.
“No, I don’t know,,” Julie responded, not having looked up from her sewing yet.
“Hey, what’s up? Need some help?” Amy asked taking a seat on a up-turned milk crate.
“Sure,” Julie said, finally looking up and throwing a pair of worn jeans at the new arrival. “We were just discussing needing new clothes for the spring.”
“Ah, yes, any suggestions?” Amy asked, watching the glance that Aubrey shot towards Julie.
“Yeah, Aubrey had one she was just about to share…”
Hesitantly, Aubrey began again, “Well, there is a community about three miles away, and well, they aren’t using their clothes any more, I mean…”
“No,” Julie protested, seeing where Aubrey was headed.
“I don’t know Julie, I think she has a point. They may not even be dead, they may have just headed out west.” Amy said, trying to bring reason with the emotional Julie.
“But, its stealing, what if they come back?”
Aubrey put the shirt she had picked up down and turned to face the younger woman. “Look, I don’t think those laws apply any more, besides, where did you get the clothes you are wearing now, the coats you came in with.”
“We took them from stores, not from people. It’s different!”
“And the weapons that have been keeping you safe? And the ammo?”
“Ok, I guess you are right, where is this place? I’ll mention it to Peter when they get back this afternoon.”
Amy smiled, glad that her friend had seen the sense, but then Aubrey continued.
“Why can’t we go, if we leave soon, we can be back in a couple of hours and not have to bother the men.”
“But what if there are Others? Or what if we get hurt?” Julie argued.
“Dear, at my age, if I didn’t do something because I might get hurt, I might as well stay in bed, and you heard Jud the other day, we haven’t seen Others out here in a long time.”
“Besides,” Amy added, “We have guns, we can handle anything that they send our way.”
“Ok, but what about Kyle?” Julie asked, trying to find an excuse not to go.
“I’ll watch him,” Sarah said from the doorway, “I mean if that’s ok? I’m not sure I could shoot a gun, I’d just get in the way, besides, Julie’s right, someone has to watch Kyle.”
“All right,” Julie reluctantly agreed, “But first sign of trouble we come back, ok?”
“Deal, I’ll get the guns,” Aubrey said as she got up and headed out of the room.
Fifteen minutes later, Kyle had come back looking sheepish. “I dropped one of the eggs.”
Julie tousled his hair. “It’s ok honey. Listen, I’m going to get you some new clothes, Miss Sarah is going to watch you, ok?”
“Why can’t I go? I don’t wanna stay!” Kyle pouted.
“Sweetheart, we’re going to be doing a lot of walking, plus you won’t wear your winter coat, and it’s cold out.”
“Pink, I know. I am going to see if I can find you a blue one, or maybe black, Ok? But you need to be good for Miss Sarah, ok?”
“Ok, but could you get me some toys? Oh, and some mac and cheese!”
“I will look,” Julie told her son doubtfully.
Amy cleared her throat in the doorway, “We’re ready when you are.”
“Ok, let me grab my jacket.” Julie stole a last glance at Kyle as she left the room, afraid it was the last time she would see her son.
“You know he’s right,” Amy said after they had been on the road for a few minutes.
“What do you mean?” Julie asked, stopping.
“Mac and cheese sounds heavenly…” Amy replied.
“Bah, give me a nice honey baked ham, or some Blue Bell Tin Roof ice cream,” laughed Aubrey.
“Ooh, some Rocky Road, or maybe a Butterfinger Blizzard from Dairy Queen,” Amy said.
“Hell, I’d settle for a cappuccino and a cinnamon scone right now,” Julie laughed, hurrying to catch up to the still walking women.
The chill wind wound its way inside their thick coats as they continued walking and after about half an hour, they could see the community Aubrey had suggested as they crested a hill.
“There, see, it looks relatively safe, all the houses are still standing, I don’t see smoke or anything, either. This will be easy,” the older women said, trying to instill confidence in her two companions.
Another quarter of an hour later and they were standing in front of a tractor trailer blocking the roadway into the neighborhood.
“Who is the Marquis?” Amy asked, looking at the red crown that had been spray painted on the side of the trailer. Underneath it were the words ‘Marquis De Oakvale’ which was further emphasized by the stone Oakvale sign that marked the name of the neighborhood.
“Ah, I am delighted you asked,” said a man’s voice as the back of the trailer opened.