The DeadZone

Chapter One

The knife I threw whizzed through the air and seamlessly buried itself into the squirrels skull. It twitched for a mere second before dropping from the low-hanging branch and onto the grass. The shot was perfect considering I had been standing a good foot away, but as they say practice makes perfect.

With care, I picked it up by its skinny little tail. The tail, however, wasn the skinniest part of the little creature but it was all the food around for the time being, and started making my way back my so-called base. Which was set up by a quiet creek. Consisting of a small, simple fold-up tent, with a small fire pit and thick rope hanging from a tree. The rope was used to hang anything I caught to skin and gut it more effectively.

As useful as the place was for now, I knew Id be having to move soon. No place was safe to dwell in for too long especially now a days, even in an area surrounded by trees. At least in clearings, I could see what was coming. My eyes drifted to the darkening sky, tomorrow Id move out but tonight Id enjoy my skinny squirrel.

A chuckle escaped my lips as I strung up the little creature and I hummed a little tune while I pulled the knife from its skull and used the same sharp point to cut a shallow slit from the base of its neck to above its bladder.

Its insides splattered across the grass and I worked at cutting the edible chunks off the bone. With fresh animals unless you have to add a lot of salt, and use sunlight to thoroughly dry out the meat,then you needed to cook it before the meat went bad – that could happen in mere minutes.

With night quickly approaching, I started the fire before placing the chunks onto a few forks then stuck the handle into the ground so the flames could lick at the meat. As they cooked, the smell overpowered my nose and I contemplated eating them almost raw – I was near starving. However, I couldn afford to get sick off whatever the squirrel could be carrying.

So, I busied myself with cleaning up my base and shoving anything I needed to take with me into my travel bag. It wasn much – two bottles full of (previously boiled creek water), a metal flask also full of the boiled water, a sweater, an extra pair of panties and socks, a pair of shorts, two more thin sharp knives, a bottle of vodka, a lighter, a small towel, bar of soap and a few bandages. That left enough room for my small tent to be folded up and shoved in there as well as my piece of rope – which I paced as I wouldn need it until the next location.

Other than what was in my bag, I dressed in a pair of loose, thick leggings, black boots, a black tank top, then my loaded Glock which I kept in a holster around my waist with the knife (that I used for the squirrel), a watch strapped to my wrist and a razor blade I kept tucked into my sock.

Finally, the chunks were done as the sun disappeared in the sky and was replaced by the moon and I covered the fire with dirt before shoving the chunks into my mouth as quickly as I could while drool dripped down my chin and of course trying not to choke on them as well forgetting how gamey they can be.

Once the meat was eaten, and my stomach was less empty than previously; I climbed into the tent zipping it up tightly and closing my eyes. The only times I could have the fire going were dusk and dawn, any other times the brightness at night or the smoke during the day would lure them straight to me and Id end up dead. If I slept as soon as the fire was out, Id still be warm during my sleep.

Sleep these days was never easy.

*****

Dark green eyes. Much like my own, except these ones came with a graying beard and warm smile. Dad always smiled at me no matter what. Now, he smiled at me as he handed over his only gun.

”There should never be a situation where you need to ever fire a gun but if you do, fire and run. Don stick around to see where the bullet lands, ” he spoke softly as my little fingers gripped the gun tightly as if it could disappear at any second.

”What if theres too many to run? ” I asked, afraid.

He smiled sadly at me.

”Then make sure you have one bullet left for yourself, ” he swallowed then passed me the rest of the half-empty can of peas, ”eat up Lilith. We have a long journey tomorrow. ”

Something cold and wet hit the side of my face jolting me awake. I peeled my eyes open slowly, rising out of my dreaming state, and slowly looked around then my eyes locked on my watch. I frowned, concerned. The tent was darker than it should be. Another splash – on my forehead this time and my eyes rolled up to the top of the tent. A hole was collecting water and dropping them down. A crackle in the distance sent dreadful shivers down my spine. It was raining out – no, storming!

Fuck. This wasn good. I had to move. The rain and clouds made me even more vulnerable and due to the rain now I couldn take my tent. It would only soak the inside of my bag and add extra weight I probably couldn carry.

I shoved my tent open and crawled outside – the rain was heavy but not yet pouring. That was a good sign, I had time to move and try to find some shelter. I was taught to avoid buildings – buildings meant population at one point which meant now there would surely be Bitters there. But it would be safer than out in the rain where I couldn see, nor hear anything.

Another wave of thunder in the distance and my bag was starting to get heavy with the rain. I started running through the trees – jumping clear over uprooted plants and roots and ducking under low branches. Rain was hitting me square in the face and with my wet clothing, I was starting to get cold and now tired. In the distance, I spotted a patch of dark gray ground and a break in the trees.

Knowing it would be a r

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