HELLS ON EARTH
Kevin made a point of keeping a closer watch on the front entrance. He did not want any surprises.
It had been several hours of non-stop work, and they were all tired, but nobody complained about it. And no new undead visitors came along.
When the afternoon aged, Eula made an appearance. She was looking proud of herself and was about to say something when she looked at Kevin’s face and stopped. She frowned, then said, “Kev, did you know your hair is still matted with blood, and your face is half covered in your dry blood? Did you think to wash it off?”
Kevin gave a confused frown, then he remembered. “Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I must look really weird.”
Fred gave a little laugh while saying, “A little? I thought it was part of what you do, so I said nothing because, well, you did save our asses today.”
He blushed in embarrassment, “I am so sorry. I will go clean myself up. Shit, we have finished anyway so I can wash up now.”
Eula laughed at him. “Anyway, I came here to tell you that we are done with butchering the pig. And shit, it was fun. I have never done that before, and neither had Carol or Lilly.”
Kevin said, “I thought you grew up on a farm?”
She answered, “Carrots, numbnuts. No animals were killed during my childhood.”
Just then, Carol, Lilly, and Betty appeared from around the house. All were smiling, cleaned up, and energetic. Carol announced, “That was fun, and I only threw up once in the beginning.”
Fred asked, “I hope it was on the ground and not the pig meat.”
Carol said, “Ha, bloody, ha, old man.”
Betty surveyed the house. “The windows only being half boarded up is a good idea. And I like the boarding up of the door. Now, this has been a long hard day, I am cooking up a huge roast with the freshest herbs and spices for dinner. Before that, everyone has to get cleaned up, changed, and into the house.”
John whispered to Kevin, “Is she always this bossy?”
“It looks like it. I only met her yesterday, and she was bossy then as well.”
Betty continued, “Tomorrow, three of you will do another survivor run into Kyneton. Two of you will be visiting a few farms to pick up another tractor and trailer. I know someone who has one who no longer needs it. We have no car, so they will ride the bikes that Eula and Kevin came riding in on. One of you will stay here to slaughter another pig and be shown how to butcher it. Any questions?”
Eula put her hand up for some reason. Everyone just looked at her strangely until she sheepishly put it back down while saying, “Yeah, how many people are we aiming to bring back?”
Betty answered, “As many as possible. This farm can house twenty people, but that does not matter because the more people we have, the better the odds are of building a sustainable community.”
Nobody said anything else, so Betty said, “Ladies, to the gun range, it is time to learn to shoot a rifle. Gentlemen, shower time, then meet us at the gun range. It is signposted.”
Nobody moved. Betty said, “And that means now, everybody. Move those legs.”
Kevin made his way to the ensuite, cleaned up, changed clothes, and felt a lot better. He looked into the mirror for a few moments. His face was drawn and tired looking. He decided to check the gash on the back of his head. Then he thought about Amanda.
His heart sank, and he wondered if it had really been four days since she passed away. It felt longer. Too many things had been squeezed into that time.
He shifted his thoughts to Eula. He was happy she was with him, yet his happiness was greeted with a tinge of guilt and sadness. As he pondered that, images of death and zombies tearing people apart intruded. Teeth gnashing, biting, and tearing. Screams echoed in his mind. He visualized the eyes of the man escaping the zombies and the pain in his eyes when he was captured by the grabbing ghouls.
He closed his eyes.
He forced himself to picture Eula’s smile, her lengthy hair, her lean features.
He opened his eyes just in time to see her enter the room.
She asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” He half lied. “It is good to be clean again. I was just thinking about, well, you know, stuff.”
“Same here. We were practicing shooting targets, but I was having trouble focusing, so I came back here.”
She closed the distance between them, they hugged each other for a minute or two, then Eula said, “Hey, I was wondering if you would like to learn to drive the tractor?”
Kevin said, “Hell yeah, that sounds like some serious fun.”
They exited the room and walked down the stairs, hand in hand. Fred noticed them and smiled.
As they left the house and made their way to the tractor, Eula said, “I think we have been fortunate. We are the only ones here to know someone alive before the, whatever the hell happened. I don’t even know what to call it.”
“The Collapse. And yeah, we are lucky. I also think that luck runs out. I have made too many mistakes already if I keep doing that I won’t last much longer. When we finish playing, I mean learning to drive, on the tractor, or during dinner with everyone there, we need to make up some routines for surviving. You know, like the army does, or the special forces when they run into rooms and check corners and scream out “Clear.” You know, shit like that.”
Eula nodded in total agreement.
They reached the tractor. Eula opened the cab door and said, “This is a door, it opens like this, then you get inside and sit on the chair.”
Kevin looked at her then said in a severe voice, “How do you sit on a chair?”