Simone: Part Two
Simone: Part One is available HERE
Simone: Part One is available HERE
The petrol ran out quicker than Simone would have liked. Minutes, perhaps an hour? Who knew, moreover, it wasn't important anymore. The car coughed and slowed to coasting pace by the side of a field with long grass, leading to another wooded area in the distance. Simone was in an open space all of a sudden. It was pretty, actually. A good place to die. She had no idea where she was, it suddenly occurred to her, she had left without a map. In too much of a hurry to run away from everything. Improperly prepared was an understatement. A guess would have been Surrey somewhere, maybe south of London, she hoped. Or had she headed away from London now? Simone had wandered, trying to keep off the “roads” and sneak in to wherever she was going. Fear and impulse. No maps, no preparation for this, it was the only time she’d not prepared in her life, and it was a mistake.
Eventually the car stopped. Simone’s eyes whipped left and right. Forgetting herself, she checked the back seat. Again. She shot back around and put her head in her hands wanting to cry. Almost did but regained her composure, then looked around. Can’t see anyone. Or anything. The day was bright and in its infancy. What could she salvage to survive on from the car now? Her rucksack with minimal food and supplies, the blanket and her coat were all. She was in hiking boots fortunately, being a fan of country walks. Having, been a fan of country walks. She saw the irony. But not enough to laugh.
Supposing, correctly, it was now a choice between die here or walk and die somewhere else; Simone thought living longer was at least a small celebration of the tiny power she had over the grim reaper. The car was now caked in blood and surely made some noise as it coughed and spluttered to an inevitable halt. She set off through the field heading to the wood and hills the other side of it in the distance. There was a deep irrigation ditch down to the field first. Her impulse thought was that the packs of bone and bile hunting her, hunting anything, couldn’t climb. Trees were preferable for travel, if perhaps adding the danger of being sneaked up on. So she headed for them. Head spinning, acting on instinct. It wasn’t like her. There was hardly enough time to have that thought though before death’s friend, nature, slapped her in the face. She needed the toilet. This was not one to be held, her last “visit” was many hours previously and despite the serene setting she was nervous, which actually didn’t help matters.
The long grass stood whispering quietly and at about Simone’s waist height. The field seemed empty which was good. Another, smaller, irrigation ditch ran through the middle of the field leading over to the woods and Simone thought that would be the safest place to answer nature’s calling. Slightly out of sight, and also leading the right way. Unfortunate, needing a wee in such circumstances but sadly unavoidable. Ducking and quiet, but only because she withheld her hyperventilating, Simone headed toward the ditch. On arrival there was ample space to crouch in and be totally invisible to the field- level world. On edge, Simone undid her fly. Why jeans? Surely there are more apocalypse friendly trousers? But regardless she undid and pulled them down with her underwear, squatting. Nothing. Oh come on body, you told me you wanted to go, so go!
The urine in her was scared of this world too. Understandably. Simone contemplated pulling her clothes back up and carrying on her aimless coffin dodging. Wait! A trickle, this was encouraging. Bit by bit the unwanted and slowly departing waste in Simone headed with a quiet patter back to earth. She closed her eyes and sighed. That odd, that old, feeling of relaxation which had once felt so reliable returned. Then the other, now more familiar feeling of dread showed up. Opening her eyes Simone looked at the dirt of the ditch in front of her and upward. Dirt. Grass. Sky. Silhouette.
A person stood above her blackened in the day’s light. Simone froze. Had they been there long, and what did they want. The answer came immediately, the silhouette’s hands pointed at her and as the wind made the stench hit Simone, it began to moan. Growl. She hit the dirt and pushed into it, hoping somehow this would save her. She could feel the damp soil on her backside and began squirming back into her clothes. Terrified. Undignified. Running away with your pants round your ankles was definitely both a hindrance and embarrassment. But then; who’d see? And she was more squirming than running away from the thing. Digging a hole into the wet ground like a piss worm, pointlessly.
The sun went behind a cloud and the face of the creature above her was more clear. A more decomposed person than most of them, probably a woman with short hair, or maybe a man, the eyes almost nothing but puss. Hungry though. The dead are all so hungry for our life. The stiff lurched forward. This was it, and dead with her bottom out too. Simone was transfixed by her downfall, a rabbit in the headlights.
A heavenly white blur above and a rush of air atop her head and Simone’s angel of death disappeared backward and away from her, clearing the sky once more. As she finished pulling her trousers up a man also jumped over the ditch above her. Giving a grunt as he landed and with a crack of a skull, he dispatched the fallen death bringer. Quickly making it back upright in case she was next the sight was one of pure precision which reassured her, this was no accident. Two dogs, two beautiful white dogs, pinned the now permanently dead body to the ground. One dog on each upper arm, the man with them was crouched over it having thrust a bayonet through its skull. Dressed in dark, very dirty clothes he turned to her and it was apparent, was a young man perhaps just out of his teens.
Simone was speechless. The two looked at each other and the young man stood and turned to her, wiping the bayonet clean. The dogs, realising their task was done had initiated interest in Simone and wandered over to her, tails wagging. Both white, one with brown ears and the other with a brown patch on its eye. They were the most joyous thing Simone had been near in what seemed like centuries. She put her hands out to their excitable faces which licked her in return.
“What are their names?”
It seemed an odd entry to the engagement. But it was all Simone had in her. These bloody dogs.
The boy answered matter of factly.
“She’s Hattie and he’s Jake.”
Simone smirked knowingly. It felt nice.
“Like the actress.”
“Yeah. Like her.”
A sad smile washed over the boy’s face briefly as he responded.
Simone looked at her saviours; two drooling dogs and a young man who seemed almost miffed he’d been put in the position of rescuer. He produced some dog biscuits from his pocket, the young canines returned to him and took them from his hand. He then ate one himself.
“Sorry.” Said Simone.
“Don’t be sorry.”
The two exchanged a look of pure nothingness. Their fledgling relationship not freely flowing yet.
“How did you know?”
“Your car was not subtle. We followed the noise.”
“Sorry. I’m glad you did.”
“Please stop saying sorry, we came to you. We could have left you.”
“Why didn’t you?”
The man shrugged and sighed. Looked at Simone and said
“I hate them. If I can kill one I will.”
The young man stared at Simone silently for a few seconds.
“We need to go. Where are you headed?”
“I don’t know really, London maybe? I don’t know for sure.”
She was being coy, this person was an unknown quantity still, but she also realised her plans were largely spontaneous and not planned well. Or at all in any thorough manner.
“Are you bit? Have they broken your skin?”
A flash of that face again, pale with blackened eyelids. Simone pursed her lips.
“No. He didn’t. I haven’t been touched, I mean.”
The boy looked her up and down. She was tall, Simone, taller than the boy by half a foot or so. He was making his mind up, and they both appeared to realise that his kind act made her an imposition, or more kindly a responsibility, now. They shared the silence awkwardly.
Eventually he said.