The Rage: Part 28

XXVIII

He’s still there when darkness falls. Still alone. I hear no movement outside. We both hear Emilia complaining beneath the floor hatch. He says nothing. We haven’t spoken for hours.

I still don’t know what he wants.  I don’t know if I can trust him. All I know is that Emilia will not stay put much longer. If I don’t speak to her, she will force her way out of that tunnel. If I do speak to her, she’ll demand to meet the man. Either way, she’s the weak link.

Emilia is desperate. She would accept his help without even stopping to think about it and if she dies because he is dangerous, I have failed. I cannot let that happen.

The only way I can protect her is to go with her, but then Topi will be alone if he refuses this ‘help’.  Topi is more capable than Emilia, but even he won’t survive long alone. None of us would. I wish Miro were here. He would know exactly what to do. Now it is all on me.

I look at the hatch and back to the man. What else can I do?

“How close is your shelter?”

 

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Goodbye, Harvey

Harvey & his teddy
Harvey & his teddy

Harvey. Harvles. Stinky old fish.

I recently lost my dog. He was a Labrador, 13 years old. He came to us when we needed him most and immediately became my best friend. He had lymphoma. I don’t want him to be gone.

Pooch. Mushroom bum. Waggles.

Words fail me. As a writer, this is rare, but there is nothing I can say to make you understand what this dog meant to me. He was beautiful, gentle, quirky. He was clever, stupid and manic. He was Harvey.

Wiggy dog. Wiggles. Stoopid poopid.

He used to get me out of bed in the mornings. First, he would shake his head. Then he would poke his nose under the covers to dig me out. Failing that, he would bury his head under my pillow and lick my face. One time, he climbed up and stood on me. The whole time, his tail would be thumping against the wall like a war drum. All because it was time for a little walk.

Slow coach. Pumpkin. Babyboy.

He only ever wanted to play with other dogs when they weren’t very friendly. Or if they weren’t allowed off the lead. But the people… Well, he’d be friends with anyone for a gravy bone!

Harbar. Doggy. Hound.

But now… Now there will be no more cuddles on the sofa. No more belly rubs. No more piggy time. He’ll never lead me around the house for no discernable reason or take me on one of his missions around the estate. No one will wag at me when I come into the house. No one will sleep on the bed when I’m not looking.

H. Harvs. Harvey.

He shouldn’t be gone. He shouldn’t have gone that way. He was the kindest, specialest doggy in the whole wide world. I never met a single person who didn’t like him. Even people who hate dogs liked him. And they may be other dogs in the future, but there will never be another like Harvey.

Goodbye, friend.
01/05/2016

The Rage: Part 27

XXVII

“I am not a threat to you.” The man puts his back against the wall and folds his arms.

I scruff the dirt with the toecap of my boot, drawing a thick line down the middle of the room. “If you are not a threat, you will stay on that side of the line. Then I won’t kill you.” I extend my hand to him. “Give me back my knife.”

The man nods and draws his own weapon, a long, thick blade with a heavy handle. It’s the kind of weapon purpose made for this job. Sturdy. Sharp. When I kill him, it will be mine.

He returns my knife point first, forcing me to take hold of the sharp edge. He’s done this before. I can’t grip it tightly enough to harm him or I cut myself and by the time I have readjusted, he will be ready for me. As soon as I touch the knife, we both jump away from the line, our backs against the walls of the shack.

“What is your name?” he asks.

“Why do you care about my name?”

He shrugs. “I don’t.”

“What’s yours?”

Again, he just shrugs. “Does it matter?”

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The Rage: Part 26

XXVI

“You should leave,” I say, trying to put as much authority in my voice as I can muster. Authority. Like that’s a thing anymore.

“There is a village not far from here,” he replies, ignoring me. “We have fortifications. We have clean water. We have food.”

“You are infected.” I draw each word out to be sure he understands. “You have to go.”

“I am not dangerous. I can help you!”

I take a step back. He doesn’t have long left. He doesn’t realise what he’s becoming. Perhaps he doesn’t even realise he’s trying to kill me. I brace myself and curse myself for not being prepared for this. But maybe, if he’s that far gone, he’ll be as desperate as the others. Maybe…

“I know how to cure you,” I say. “Would you like that?”

He clenches his jaw and his lip curls. His mismatched eyes fix on me like a hunter on prey. Perhaps he’s too far gone.

“I’ll need my knife back, but I can stop you suffering.” I nod and extend my hand, smiling. I think. I’m not sure I remember what smiling feels like.

The man shakes his head and moves away from me.

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I’ve Been Quiet…

I realise I’ve been quiet for a while. Thing is, I’m hard at work on this book I’ve been writing for ages and I just want it to be complete now. I’m nearly there. I just have a couple of thousand words left to round everything up and that’ll be good to go… into a desk drawer… to await feedback and editing. So only halfway done really. But there will at least be a story and that makes me happy.

There are so many things I need to do when this beast is off my lap.

I’ve not done any new worksheets for a while, but I’ve got a tip sheet in the works and I’m hoping to come up with a feedback sheet that could be useful when you’re giving feedback to other writers, or for readers to give feedback to you. It might not be this week, but hopefully, those will be done by May. End of May at the latest. Before summer. Soon.

The Rage: Part 25

XXV

You might think that when the end of the world comes, people will put aside their petty squabbles and pull together to ensure their own survival. You would be wrong. People will always be selfish. Put their backs against a wall and they’ll sell you the bricks.

When things look bleak, the weakest look for any way to survive. The schemers use this to bait them. Offer a starving man a trail of crumbs and he’ll put himself in your cage.

I’ve seen places they’ve been. Survival games. Carnage.

The man in front of me is one of those. No one offers safety on a plate. If we follow him, we will wind up caged. If we’re lucky, we’ll be forced to work for food. If we’re not, we’ll be bait. They’ll place bets on which of us will be last to die when the Ragers find us. Or they’ll make us kill each other.

Some people would rather satisfy themselves than ensure the survival of our species.

I just need to wait for the moon to rise. So long as he doesn’t have companions of his own, Topi and I can overpower him. He can’t kill us both.

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