The yips of a coyote pair awaken me. There’s comfort in their cry. Nature has won a victory albeit temporary or permanent. Her voices speak in many languages. Listening would have been great along. Too many things get in the way. Cars, radios, TV’s ran out the gentle sounds to the wilderness. They have returned subdued.
An owl moves closer. Hoots become language. The Horned Owl repeats “Who cooks for you?” The great wings silently rearrange his perch. He calls out endlessly. He knows I’m here. We sense each other. He knows people bring mice, squirrels, and others dinner items. I’m lost in his world.
A sudden metallic chunk rattles my hiding spots. My perch is the dormer of a burnt out house. I overlook my real home. I’m afraid someone has discovered my metal, it’s what underneath I need to protect. Eyes crawl through the outline of chaos. Pickets of metal twist into part circus tent, part mountain range.
It’s a dog. A no good mangy mutt. One sound the damn thing will start barking. Everybody will think there’s stuff here. I’d rather have a person here. I could shot a person. One more body for the pile. But if I miss the damn thing, too much attention. Under a crescent moon,its just another scavenger.
It’s been two weeks. Smoke plumes come and go along the rim of Sharpe’s Mountain. The forest stays intact. The trees seem to have missed the whole event. There are fewer birds and critters running about now. The trees probably like that. The rain has washed down some of the ash and stench of the Event.
I look out across the remains of the town of Peebles. It has the distinction of being upwind. Other than that, it is still the afterthought it always was. Gravel roads surround Peebles. From the air, it’s got to be a squid like stain on the planet. Two paved roads lead out to civilization. When there was civilization off in the distance. Now more people pass through than in a century. They come mostly on horseback. The fuel resources and the whole grid thing finally solved that global warming argument.
My friend is a twelve gage. His brother 9mm isn’t very friendly, son of a bitch digs into my shin. Guns, food, water, and good shelter are rare commodities. I don’t plan on finding out what someone will do for any of them. The city folk are lost. They dress well for a crisis. Funny, without a convenience store or fast food they move on. The wanders are the problem. They have all the ambition to take over, but they aren’t hunters or farmers. Hell, they won’t go an extra thousand feet to find me.
I have taken corrugated metal sheets and piled them over a trailer. Burning out two nearby houses, and adding a couple overturned cars makes for the best unwelcome sign available. Two people came close to the scene. The bodies left on the road near the cars scares them away quickly. But the Event did make me realize I was right about people all along. They are garbage at best.
The evening starts to color the sky. The sunset was pretty at one time. It’s reds are almost blood like now. Orange lines break the day from the night. If I could stop looking for the next picker to steal my things, I would enjoy it more. The night brings peace. Street lights are gone. Candles mean others will find you. Batteries are gold! So is my water. Twenty gallons lined up under a stack of green sticks and branches near enough to see, far enough not to lead back here.
“This will be lonely one day. Or I’ll be dead and a lonely person will get all my shit. I hope they can use the divining rod. I’d be pissed if it was used as kindling for a fire. My flint collection. They’ll use my flint to burn the fucking divining rod! Shit! Where do I hide the flint?” I forget this is actually spoken. Keeping quiet is keeping alive.