The Girl and the Bush, Part II

The first installment of this story can be found here.

Carolin didn’t say much on the walk to Mitch’s pickup, and neither did he. Carolin was used to being alone by now, and she could tell he was too. Carolin hadn’t seen another person besides Daniel in months, and he was dead now. How long had it been since Mitch had seen another person?

At the truck, Mitch climbed out of the bush costume. He opened the hatch of the cap and tossed it in the bed. Then he opened the tailgate and climbed in after it. “I just need to remember what pack I put it in…” he twanged to himself as he unzipped and rezipped tan and camo bags.

Carolin glanced at the small space created by the cap and the truck bed. Mitch had made himself quite the little home in there. The bags were packed against the sides of the bed, leaving room in the middle for a twin-sized mattress. The wall of the cap had all manner of things taped to them: maps, pages from books, and pictures.

“There!” Mitch’s southern accent boomed triumphantly. Carolin refocused her attention on him to see another bush-like suit in his hands—a ghillie suit, as he had called it. “It’ll be a bit big on you, but it will help if you hide from them rotters out there if you have to go away from the truck.”

Carolin reached into the bed towards the suit, but before her fingers could grip into the cloth leaves, Mitch yanked it away. “Now you understand that you only get the privileges of this suit if you agree to come along with me, right?”

Carolin hesitated, withdrawing her hand. “How do I know I can trust you?”

“You don’t,” he said with a sly grin. “But isn’t that where the fun comes from?”

Just then, Carolin heard a snap in the woods to her. She turned to see a zombie meandering past the truck, about 10 yards to the right. As soon as she set her eyes on the thing, it turned and looked at her, its own eyes weeping puss.

“So, what’ll it be?” asked Mitch knowingly.

A scoff was all he received from Carolin as she threw a leg up on the tailgate and rolled into the bed. Getting into a stranger’s vehicle was just the way things were now.

***

            “This was not a great plan,” Carolin said. She was sitting cross-legged on the mattress, listening to the small horde that had gathered outside the truck. The two of them were safe in the shelter of the cap, but it was still unnerving to see the faces of hungry, rotting corpses smearing across the glass of the hatch.

“We ain’t stuck in here, if that’s what you mean,” smirked Mitch from the other end of the mattress where he was clicking bullets into clips. “I just needed to reload.”

“You can’t possibly be thinking that we are going to be able to get around to the front of this thing by shooting out the back,” remarked Carolin. “The zombies clearly have the upper hand in this situation. It just isn’t worth it!”

“Nah, little lady.” Mitch’s foreign voice made the double t’s in “little” sound a lot more like d’s. “This baby is practically brand new. We got sliding windows!”

Carolin watched with a quizzical expression as Mitch scooted behind her. She turned just in time to see him slide open a window that led into the back seat of the truck. Did all trucks come with little windows like that? She had been an SUV driver in the good days. The thought of her old explorer with puppy stickers peeling off the back of the passenger seat brought a smile to her face, and then it was gone.

Mitch slid through the window. It was a good thing he was one of the long and lanky southerners, like in the old cowboy films her mum had watched, and not one of the short and fat ones like in the comedies her father loved. “Come on now, girl.” He laughed, poking his head out the small window. “You ain’t gonna want to be back there once I get this baby rolling!”

Carolin placed her hands along the bottom of the window, ready to hoist herself through. She paused for just a second. One of the pictures had caught her attention. it was a little boy holding a baseball in two hands, offering it towards the camera like a cat would offer its owner a dead bird.

She shook her head from the momentary daze. With a swift tug, she slid through the window and into the cab.


Hello, my favorite reader!

That’s right, I’m talking to you!

I did not get much quality writing done this week (unless you want to count the twisted mess of failed comedy I wrote for one of my classes—pretty sure I bombed that assignment because it was so not funny), so I decided to treat you to my experiment with a follow-up story. Let me know how you liked it!

I literally just realized that I only have four more Saturdays for blog posts, and that’s only if I actually manage my time well enough.

I have a ton of homework between now and the due date for my last assignment ever for this degree (It just so happens to be a 15-20 page paper on sound as an expression of rebellion in the punk rock genre as exhibited in Green Day’s new album, Revolution Radio). Between now and Thursday December 15, I will be slowly drowning in projects and papers galore.

Wish me luck!

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