Filed under: jen
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
She meets him outside an abandon gas station just outside of what used to be St. Louis, Missouri. In fact she almost kills him, because hell her nerves aren’t exactly what they used to be, but he dodges the stray .44 bullet and doesn’t wince when she throws holy water at him.
“What’s your name?” Her accent surprises him, probably figured she be southern, maybe midwest. Definitely not the smooth, crisp Sussex she speaks in.
“Sam.” She’s still got the gun pointed at him, but the muscles in her fingers pulse, she’s not used to holding something like this. “How long have you been…on your own?”
She shrugs, shows him the watch on her wrist, dead. Just like the rest of the world. “Its been about nine days since I’ve seen another person. Lots of them. But no one still living.” He nods, like he knows what she’s talking about but offers no explanation. He’s got sweat lines around the neck of his tshirt, and she’s pretty sure that the sexy summer tan he’s sporting is more like a fine layer of dirt and sand.
“What’s your name?” He sits down, back leaning against an empty gas pump. He’s tall, probably gangly when he was growing up. The kind of kid who didn’t know where to put his hands because they hung so far down his body.
“Like the demon.” He chuckles. “Ironic.” She pulls a bottle of water out of her backpack and throws it at his feet before she walks past him towards the station. There isn’t much there, broken glass from the windows and sand cover the debris but luckily there’s a few cases of water hidden behind a cooler. She rips open the pack with her knife, piling the bottles into her pack. “I’m sorry.” She jumps at the sound of his voice – she’s not used to this much interaction.
“It’s fine. Here, put the rest of these in your backpack,” she says, point to the bottles. She’s careful of the broken glass as she moves between the aisles of the tiny store. There’s no food, and anything that was once food has turned to dust.
She leaves him standing in the gas station when a radio at her belt starts beeping. Running outside she takes off for the highest plain in sight, maybe a hundred feet from where she’d taken her first shot at Sam. She knows its a long shot, that maybe there’s a radio frequency out there that still works, and maybe there’s someone on the other end of it.
“Hello? Hello?” The faint crackle of static from the tiny speaker is a glimmer of hope. “Hello? Is there anyone there?” But no one responds and Lilith curses under her breath before heading back down the slope to where Sam stands, hands in his pockets.
“What do you think?” Lilith says, shoving the radio back onto her belt. “Look, I’m sure you’re a great guy and all, but I like to be on my own.” Lilith hefted her backpack onto her back, securing the final strap around her waist.
She’s surprised that Sam doesn’t say anything, doesn’t make a move to follow her, and its only until she’s 75 feet away does he call her name.
“Where are you headed?” She turns, looking back at him.
“I don’t know,” she says. “but good luck.”
She kills two demons just south west of Indianapolis. Two large ugly creatures who’s host bodies have been mutated into these beastly forms. The stench of sulfur is so strong she almost vomits, but she holds it down. She’s stronger than that now. She feels slightly bad about leaving the boy named Sam in St. Louis. To anyone it would be almost stupid to not work with someone else. Safety in numbers right? Lilith would like to think she used to believe that, but doesn’t anymore, now she doesn’t believe in anything. She just lives in facts. The fact that she knows how to kill a demon. The fact that she’s closed herself off as someone sort of defense mechanism so she never has to feel anything again. Yet here she is, sitting next the corpses of two humans cum demons, feeling guilty.
“Fuck you, Sam,” she mutters, walking back toward her camp. A couple of cushions found in an abandoned house laid next to the small fire pit. Her food supply is running low, if you could call canned potatoes and mandarin oranges a food supply. She’ll have to go to Indianapolis tomorrow even though she tries to avoid what used to be large cities. They tended to be where the demons migrate to, the ones who couldn’t find their way back to hell before the devil’s gate closed.
Plopping down onto the the cushions, Lilith grumbles when she sees the soft white puff of air from her mouth. Every night the air seems to get colder and colder, and yet during the day, the sun shines brighter and hotter than ever before. Pulling her knit cap from her bag she pulls it over her head, tucking her dark curls in. She settles down into her makeshift bed, her knife in hand under her pillow. She hates to sleep, fears that’s when they’ll get her, the moment she turns her back and closes her eyes. At least with a partner they could take turns. She shakes her, pushing the thought aside. Precisely the reason she didn’t want a partner. She didn’t want to depend on anyone else.
She wakes up alive and unscathed, except for the sand fleas who seem to have taken a liken to her ankles. Pulling off her sock she examines the tiny red dots that pepper her ankles and feet. They’ll itch later. Just one more thing to make her a little more crazy. She eats the last can of mandarin oranges for breakfast before she starts gettign ready to head into the city. She cleans her guns, taking each peice apart, the chamber, the receiver, the barrel. Cleaning is the only form of procrastination she allows herself.
By the time she’s done cleaning all her weapons, the ones she’s accumulated over the past year or so, its almost sunrise. Lilith pulls on her jeans, well worn but not a rip in them. She opts of a couple layers of shirts, pulling on her leather jacket over the homemade shoulder holster.
Indianapolis is like most cities she’s been through in the last year, deserted and destroyed. Grass burnt and fried from the heat, houses half standing, the rest either destroyed in battle or eaten by termites afterwards. Its eerily quiet, and not one demon has showed itself in the last hour she’s been wandering through what was once the downtown core of the thrid largest city in the Midwest.
Instinctively Lilith checks her EMF reader – homemade out of an old walkman and some batteries, but it detects electromagnetic forces and that’s all she needs. If there is one thing about demons, its that they radiate EMF almost as much as the sun does ultraviolet rays. “Come on you sons of bitches,” she whispers, stepping through the broken glass door of what used to be the Riverview Shopping Center. “Come out, come out where ever you are.”
“Well, if it isn’t the little pain in my ass.” She doesn’t have to check the EMF reader to know its flying off the meter. She can smell the distinct scent of sulfur as she turns around, facing the creature behind her. He’s hideous, thick pale skin stretched over bulging muscles and distended limbs – she can see the dry, crusted blood beneath his long fingernails.
“Skulking around as usual.” Lilith taunts, as they circle each other. “Pouting because daddy wouldn’t let you back downstairs.” He snarls and she knows he’s walking into her trap. “Pathetic.” He lunges and just as she shoves the dagger into his throat she hears the gunshot – the demon disintegrating into a puff of ash above her and in the distance she sees a familar lanky form.
“You’ve been following me.” Lilith states, as they collect supplies from the empty stores in the shopping center. “Is that supposed to impress me? I hate to break your bubble Sam, but I grew out of the handsome prince theory a long time ago.” She stops short when Sam steps in front of her.
“I think we should work together.”
“Work together? Work on what? I’m just trying to survive!” Lilith pushes past him, but Sam’s hand closes around her wrist, pulling her back.
“Do you want to wander around forever, Lilith? In case you haven’t noticed we have survived, now we need to start rebuilding.” Lilith ignores him, walking away and deeper into the shopping center. She doesn’t want to start rebuilding, she doesn’t want to stop moving, she doesn’t want to stop fighting.
“Then you go rebuild it, Sam. You go save the world.”
“Lilith,” Sam’s voice is softer now.
“I’m not helping you.” She refuses to turn around.
“I found some survivors.”