I had lost track of time... didn’t remember which week day was, or even what month we were… I know that the day came and a lot of the infected were still roaming around… they should be very hungry after so many days raining on and on.
Vicky woke up but I told her she could remain in bed, after all the infected were still too active, as they had been all night long, and I kept thinking, fearing they would find us, maybe they could feel we were there, or smell us or anything else… who knows? That meant I would have to wait for my morning coffee, shit! Oh well, that wasn’t worth the risk.
Still, today we would have to go out, even it was for a few minutes only, we had been stuck on our apartment for too long already, maybe four or five days and things were getting a bit weird, I mean, it’s kind normal for things to go weird when you have three or four people enclosed together for some amount of time, we all have our space, our quirks and they become very apparent after a while, and things tend to become complicated, funny, I wonder if being in prison would ever help anybody, well at least here in Brazil.
Hours later the sun said goodbye, the rain came again and the infected left, I finally woke them up.
I had my coffee, oh, and how good that dark, hot liquid felt... man I think I’m addict to it! After our breakfast we started to make an inventory of what we had which took quite some time, but to my relief we still had enough food, like nonperishable food, of course we no longer had any fruits, veggies and meat, and that in itself wasn’t good, after all we need vitamins, lots of it and that can only gained with fresh stuff, the lack of it can cause serious health problems in only a few weeks, can even lead the path to death itself, and that is something we do not wish, after all, any kind of sickness now is like shooting one’s own head. We just had to get some vitamins …
- I guess we better make a list of what we need before we leave, like medicine and vitamins. And better organize ourselves to start to think about moving.
- Yeah, I thought we had some time, but after last night… If they find out we are here we are lost, like this place is almost indefensible, we are just too vulnerable for my taste.
- But where can we go? What about the others? What we gonna do?
- Adriana, first all we need to stay calm, to panic right now is just about the worst thing we can do now. So… don’t panic!
- Right, okay honey, but she’s right, what will we do? Or, better yet, what can we do?
- Well, we can start a plan...
- Honey, I know you, what’s on your mind?
- Well, I really do have something on my mind, after all to stay here is suicide, the city is becoming a huge graveyard, not that this is a problem per se, however, the biggest problem will be when the summer comes, then, well, we will be in trouble, like no water… besides food that is. Plus, whatever is left of food on the supermarkets will be over within a few months.
- We don’t really have how to stay here, do we?
- We can go to my brother in law farm, if he and my sister survived they will be there, and if I know them, well they will have the place set up.
Vicky looked at me with a face like: are you going completely nuts now?
– Honey, you know I love you, but please, do tell me, how in the seven hells do I know that you aren’t going crazy? You want us to travel to your brother in law’s farm with things like they are now? You going bananas aren’t you?
- Honey, I know you love me and I know I love you too, and well, I always been a bit… well… you know loony, but I’m dead serious, we got to move on, and we got to do it really fast, and here we ain’t got nowhere to go anyhow, so we better go there.
- Oh, boy.
- Where’s your brother in law’s farm?
- Close to a city called Paraúna, let’s see… about a hundred fifty kilometers from Goiânia.
- More than a thousand and four hundred kilometers from here.
- Well, if you think about it this way… we can also think it will be a big adventure.
- You can count on it baby, it will be a helluva adventure and it sure ain’t gonna be simple.
- Peter, you still haven’t said how do want to get there.
- Well I’d say we can drive for a better part of the way… we have two trucks with full tanks, that is to start with. I do think that the most important thing to do now is replenish our stocks of food, medicine and guns if possible, also ammo, lots of ammo.
- Peter, Vicky told me you guys have already made to the police station deposit.
- Ye, we have, but we can still hit the Military Police deposit and the armies.
- I didn’t remember them.
- Yep, we got an army camp close by, I was thinking about hitting it on our way out of here you know?
- The MP deposit is closer, doh.
- Well I was thinking about going over there ‘cause we may find some army rations, kind a like dry food you know?
- Army ration?
- Yeah, the army use to stock that, it’s basically dried food, like those ready to do soup we buy on the supermarket. There are some better ones for people who like to go camping and things like that, but I’m pretty sure our army wouldn’t want to spend a few extra bucks buying better stuff for our soldiers, its wide used all over the word, with a bit of luck we’ll find some over there.
- With a bit of luck.
At this moment we were all a bit lost... just contemplating what we had realized… more than a thousand six hundred kilometers of travel in a wild land… well, wild because of everything that was happening, like, it would be a beautiful trip throughout the Brazilian savannahs, however, this year we had one of the worst rain seasons that I can remember, if not the worst, that would probably finished up with any road that might still exist, there was also the risk of not finding fuel, food and to make matters really bad, well, the world was full of infected. Human beings that had lost all capabilities of higher conscience, they had become the same thing as wild animals. You know what? Maybe this would be the last trip of our lives, of my life. And that got me thinking: How many of my ancestors had done the same thing throughout the centuries, they faced the unknown, they faced their fears. I never thought I was a coward, neither a fearless super courageous man, but I must confess now I was scared, and I asked myself, not for the first time if this was the best path to follow, the best thing to do, but what other path was there? Was there any other path? What to do?
Something struck then, something very strong, very powerful, maybe it was the influence of all that I had been thought, and maybe... why not? Maybe one of those light beings that I had seen was whispering to me, or who knows, perhaps one of my ancestors… and I smiled… for a number of reasons, one of them, perhaps the most powerful was that while I still had many doubts somehow in my heart I knew I was doing the right thing and that everything would be fine… and then something else happened, I remember a gift from my father, a bayonet from the second great war, heritage of my grandfather that came to me. I got up, went to my meditation room, where I have a little altar, opened up a drawer underneath it and took it out, it was rusty but nothing that a good cleaning wouldn’t take care of it.
I smiled again, time to go shopping!
- Girls, I think it’s time to go shopping.
- Yeah, we better go while we still have sun light.
We got our guns, if found a way to fix my bayonet on my sit belt, on the other side the Glock, all improvised but close at hand. I even made a bandolier for my HK. Vicky had learned her lesson after our last struggle, she had her shotgun ready at hands and her Glock on her belt. Adriana was still insecure, looking at us and the weapons. Somehow she was still making her mind about it, well she was having to make her mind now, the same decision that we had made way before, after all Vicky had to kill our downstairs neighbor and my time had come when we went out for the first time, still I guess we were lucky ‘cause we didn’t have to think about, now she had to take a gun knowing she would have to use.
She got the FAL, hold it tight and I smiled, the gun was almost her size, I went to her, showed her the selector for locking and unlocking the gun and choosing a single burst or full power, but the weapon was just too damn big for her, I ended up giving her the Glock.
- Here, take this until we find something better for you, I don’t think the FAL is the weapon for you. After we were all ready we left, in silence. The silence that, before, was so strange to me was now common and I pay attention to each noise, each sound. All details, small as they could be became important, from a bit of wind coming, which could bring a different smell, after all the infected had their own smell, better yet, they have their own stink… still each detail matters, we couldn’t function on auto pilot anymore. This time however it was all quiet, we got in the car and went to the ghost city. The grass was becoming real wild bushes, in a matter of weeks it had grown more than a meter, and the truck sounded like a dinosaur.
Vicky was the driver and I the lookout… I think it’s prejudice to say women are not good drivers, most of the ones I knew throughout my life had proven otherwise and Vicky was among the best.
Besides it felt like she knew each hole on the asphalt and in a few minutes we made to our first stop. The supermarket was already showing of the signs of time abandoned… the rain had done a lot of damage to it and from the looks of it some people, including infected had been there. Many shelves had been overthrown, some had been broken… after seeing how things were we started to move a bit slower as we were getting used to. To think that our so powerful society is done for… I couldn’t avoid searching for signs of the infected, looking on the floor searching for footprints on the dust that started to build up on the floor and on the shelves or trying to feel any different smells on the air. But it was all quiet.
- Okay people, we need water, sodas, things we can drink that is and also food since we are here anyway.
- We won’t find food here. – Said Adriana.
- We sure will, I bet there’s plenty of noodles, dried soup, canned food, things that most people wouldn’t remember to pick up.
- Well, we also need some things…
- Women things, baby – Said Vicky with a smile and giving me a brief wink. After that she just turned around and they both left walking quietly in the middle of all of that rubbish. I stayed there for a few more seconds trying to understand what had just happened but I figured it was way too much for me, turned, grabbed a shopping cart and left. Minutes later I was back with my cart full of food and I saw them coming with their cart full of bottles of water, sodas and a lot of other drinks. After that we glued the posters, the first one was about the infected, all that we knew about them, the second one saying that we would be back there tomorrow at noon. We left in silence, we just didn’t have much to say.
We load the car with our stuff and left, still in silence. Silence is what we hear most in this new world, broken only by a few different noises, right now by the trucks engine and the birds singing in the distance. And I started to ask myself, not for the first time where would the other survivors be. Like it’s not possible that no one wasn’t hearing us now, not in the middle of the city. There had to be more people and yet, no one would come out. A little later we made to the pharmacy, and the silence was with us, but now there was something worst. I felt like we were being observed.
- Honey, be quick about it, I have a bad feeling about this.
- Wanna try another one?
- Nope, I just want to get our stuff and leave, go home, let’s just stay sharp. By the way, Dri, this time you fix the posters.
- Okay, but what will you do?
- I’ll be on the look out.
It felt like Vicky didn’t like the idea so much but we went ahead, and that was the first time that we worked in such a fashion, with a look out. And that’s what I did, went to the top of the truck and stood there, utterly quiet, looking all over, searching for signs, searching for the smallest clue that would justify my sixth sense blipping like it was. Thank the Goddess they didn’t take long, I was really nervous. We left fast and yet as noiseless as we could. Only them I could bread again. We made home a bit later together with the sunset and the infected leaving their hell holes… and it was that night that things really got dark… like literally, the lamp bulbs that were lit for so long started to blow in millions of little pieces, and darkness took over the city, now we couldn’t turn on the lights anymore.
Time moved on slowly, we had a simple dinner that night, canned feijoada and rice, I had some peppers and yet, simple as it was it felt like the best dinner ever. Funny how values change… well mine didn’t change that much, I always enjoyed a good feijoada but this time there was a different flavor there, after all, perhaps it was the last time we were there together … I believe that now, one of the things that had changed was that I was conscious that everything changes all the time, there’s no comfort zone anymore, change is continuous, all the time, and that’s where things get scary. Most people will spend their entire lives thinking that life is this or that, hoping, waiting for this or that, hoping it will never end, even I, whom had never being afraid to change, at least not much… well, now the common place was change itself, adaptation, and talking about change, well, a sound made me wake up from the lethargic stage I found myself in… and I made a mental notation to never eat that much again… and the sound kept getting closer and closer… a sound that we hadn’t heard in quite some time…