We went scavenging yesterday for foodstuffs, which are quickly disappearing.
Me, Colin, Hector, and Henry took off for a supermarket which lies around six blocks to the east of the school, following a main street.
And of course, because of recent concerns the others have had, I was the only one un-armed.
And I suspect the reason Sean didn't participate with us was so that he could keep an eye on our armory, which he now seems obsessed with meticulously inventorying, lest even a single magazine or slug goes unaccounted for. And Henry didn't seem that keen pushing Anna and Colin together so he asked her to stay behind. Which was alright with Sean. But since he couldn't watch both her, the unconscious Monica, and the armory at once, he asked Anna to step into the infirmary with him and kindly, await our return.
Paranoid son of a bitch.
Which doesn't really make sense because I'm going and I was the one that shot at the little bugger. But what the hell ever.
All during the expedition, Colin put on the sweetest, most despicable "oh, I just want everyone to get along! Pweez?" front. The way he treated me in front of the others probably only further cemented the notion and me and Anna are somehow the bad guys in all this.
Worse yet, even I almost fell for it. Until we were alone and his mask fell away.
The market had been picked clean, probably should have expected that, but we'd found a little place next to the market that had been filled with water containers. Containers we could use to increase our supply of the precious substance. It was under lock and key, but Hector said he thought he saw a ring of keys back inside the market, near the security office. Henry, although obviously not wanting to leave Colin alone with me (the gun Colin held and I didn't probably helped absolve this), went with him; to use the bathroom.
We stood there for a few minutes, silence between us. I was getting ready to try and lighten the mood, say something to bridge a friendship between us, something I hadn't really felt since the morning after I got his mom the supplies she needed. But he spoke up first, and what he said sent a chill up my spine:
"I'm going to get that bitch."
"No one hurts my mom. That bitch is dead. And if you get in the way, so are you."
I said it once, and I'll say it again: that kid is cuckoo for coco pops. Damn. Ice cold and calm too, didn't even break a sweat telling me he was still planning to pop Anna off.
I tried to explain he was wrong, about me and Anna. That Anna hadn't tried to kill his mom. That he had seen it wrong. Shit went in one ear and out the other. He just stood there, calmly, with that childish glow he had warmed the others with, seemingly ignoring my explanations, which I kept sputtering right up until Henry and Hector returned with the keys.
And I could see that words were useless with him.
We found no food that trip but plenty of water containers which we loaded into shopping carts and made the arduous trip back to the school. Which took hours, the way we had to travel around the barricades.
When we got back, Sean and Anna were where we had left them. Just sitting in the infirmary, against the wall, against each other. Anna sitting there calmly, her eyes closed. Sean sitting there eying her aggressively, his rifle cocked unassumingly to the spot of wall directly between Anna and Monica.
I took Anna out to the tree she had been under when Colin tried to kill her and explained that Colin was still gunning for her. That he had a gun stashed around the school somewhere. And worse yet, he was under no restrictions from using arms like we were, so he might even be able to get more.
She listened to this, this entire fucking mess calmly, before speaking, and then asked me, totally from left field, if the despair had vanished.
At first I didn't know what she meant exactly, it took a few more words of explanation for me to realize she was referring to the despair we had all felt a few days ago, since the tentative reality of the situation sunk in around our faintest pleas of hope.
And, to my surprise, my answer was yes. I hadn't even noticed, but the despair, the numb scatter brain we had all been victim to had simply vanished.
It's because of the danger, Anna explained then. For me and Anna, the despair slipped away when the threat Colin poses to Anna became apparent. It sharpened us, the fear of losing something close, and pushed our attention away from reality, back toward survival.
For Henry, Hector, and Sean, it's similar but not quite. Instead of the danger Colin poses, what awoke them from the numb dread was the danger they imagine me and Anna pose to Colin and Monica. In attempting to protect a kid and his mother, they too were freed from the hopelessness.
And Colin, well since he seems to sincerely believe Anna tried to kill Monica, that was what snapped him up and awake.
The rest of the day passed peaceably enough and so did the night.
But I have to wonder how many more days can pass like this before more familiar blood has to be shed.