Fan Friday—REPEAT, Chapter Two

Chapter Two

The kids ran around the meadow, chasing each other. Paul and Millie and Rosie and Zoe had plenty of friends now, but they still stuck together like glue. They were sitting quietly, whispering, when I snuck up behind them and started tickling Millie.

Little pistol. She whipped around grabbed my legs and sent me crashing to the ground. Damn, I felt that all over. The three amigos jumped up and took off and I just gave up, rolling onto my back and staring at the clouds.

Jules joined me.

“Emmy, can we talk?”

I sat up, brushing grass out of my hair. She sure sounded serious . . .

“You know David and I are heading out next week. Out west. He’s got this itch to take off again and wants me to come. Millie and Rosie are going to stay with Alison and Brad, and well . . . EJ wants to go with us.” Jules stared down at her lap for a moment, then dodged my eyes again, looking out across the meadow.

Huh. This was going to be interesting. And by interesting, I meant that Abby would throw a fit. She wanted that daughter of hers to be safe, and this was so not safe. Well, on the other hand, it might be . . . we’d really had no intelligence from that area in years. It could mean that no one was out there, or that things had settled down like they did here, or it could be a hot mess.

I thought about this for a minute, wondering exactly what to say. Jules beat me to it.

“She’s talking to Abby right now.”

Crap. Yeah, I could see something was going on. All the way over at the kitchen shelter. This was not the way I would have handled things, but EJ sure had a mind of her own. Once she got an idea, she put it into motion.

Kinda like her mother.



Fan Friday—REPEAT, Chapter One

Chapter One

We left our cozy little compound, Brad and Abby and I, and took our time hiking back down to the camp. Brad stayed for a few days, but was anxious to return to Walt’s old place. Funny how we still called it that; Walt had been gone for years.

We’d gotten the old pump system working and repaired, thanks to Brad, and scavenged some old PVC pipe to rig up irrigation for the garden. Since we didn’t have to hide anymore, we started digging up the meadow across the road so we could get our seeds in the ground. Oh, we were still careful, but it was more habit at this point than any real fear.

“Damn, it’s hot.” I wiped my face and walked over to the old stone steps that used to lead to a screened porch. “Abby, take a break, will you? You’re making me feel lazy.”

Abby looked up and shaded her eyes, gauging the position of the sun. She shrugged and kept digging, tossing her blond braid over her shoulder, and hollered back, “In a minute!”

See, there’s the difference between us. She keeps going and going, with her “in a minutes,” and when I’m done, I’m done. That’s all, folks.

So I took a swig of water and watched her work. About five minutes later, I gave up and grabbed the hoe again. Sigh. Of course I knew it was important—and this was just the start.

We still had to gather and cut firewood, but the fallen buildings would provide a lot of that, at least for this winter. And Abby would go hunting. Not me. I can shoot, and I have no problem defending myself or anyone else, but I’d just rather not kill something I’m going to have to eat. Not that I mind eating it, but don’t want to look at it first, when it’s still alive.

Had to find water barrels too. Probably go into town for that. Ha. A long time ago, a trip into town from camp was a hell of a lot of fun. Now, not so much, although you never knew what you’d find, even after all this time.

Colonel Barton and his guys had cleaned up the place, and after him, Colonel Hoefer. Mostly, though, they just cleared the roads and shoveled everything off to the side. Big piles of who-knew-what.

In town, too, there was still stuff to be found if you knew where to look.

But in the meantime, this garden was kicking our butts. Four days now, in the August heat.

Abby finally stopped and took a drink. She looked around, grinned at me, and said, “Come on, let’s go for a swim. We can finish tomorrow.”

Thank heavens. I set my hoe up against the steps and walked over to the footbridge, slowing impatiently while Abby caught up.

We took the old trail to the lake, up around the east side of Sunnytop. Years ago, the lake had been full of young girls canoeing and jumping off the floating dock, running around and giggling.

Now, of course, most of those girls were dead, like everyone else, and the old dock had long sunk beneath the surface.

It was quiet now, and hot, the sun reflecting off the water, and the fish had come back. We’d cleaned up a couple of the canoes and used them from time to time. We talked, sometimes, about building a new dock, but we never did . . .