Written by Kathryn J Barrow
Sun scorches the surface as it beats down on brown, dusted, soil creating an atmosphere only the stupid risk, and even stupider fail, as I examine a carcass ridden scene of old cars, a couple of corpses and tumbleweed from my window.
It’ll be dark in less than two hours and yet my vision settles on a survivor stumbling through the scene before me. I inwardly groan as they, once again, shield their face with the cloth a rare breeze has carried away from it.
It’s not a quick death. It baffles me every time. I watch them try to find safety as they search in the heat of the sun. A killer sun at that. But if they can make it to the tree which grows, so happily, a thousand feet away, they’d be safe, for now, I suppose.
I lost my empathy years ago when I tried to let one in. I was lucky to have kept the knife in my boot. I reach for it without even thinking and slide my fingers over its cold, steel, handle.
All I can do is sit and wait. It's what we should all be doing until the sun sets. But not everyone can handle it. I do wonder why they risk going out in daylight. It’s an unexplainable action. One I'd find the answer to if I asked but I think I’d find it baffling anyway. Of course, the night does have its own danger so, I suppose, it depends on when you want to die. I’d prefer it to be in action of the night rather than in silence of the day.
My thoughts are only affirmed when the survivor falls to the ground. A cloud of dust floats around them, but it’s only to mock, rather than support, as it begins to fall as quickly as it lifted. I wonder if they had anything baffle their plans. Try to stop them from leaving before the sunset. Perhaps if they had felt how they do now they wouldn’t have left whatever safety they had before this. Maybe they weren’t safe at all? But I see a water bottle lift to their mouth. If it’d been anything but safe I doubt they’d have that. Each passing thought has me perplexed.
I watch them rise once again and find myself confident they’ll make that tree today. It is, however, the only tree for miles around, as is this base. But it is mine and so is that tree.
The sun sets in an hour, so, I sit at my work table, reach for my blade and I stroke steel against sharpening stone in readiness for the night ahead.