Part 2: Our Strength
Every group has a leader, someone who the group looks to when times get tough.
Walking down the stairs I hear her voice. “They’re here, just across the river.”As I go down the stairs I see her pointing at the map that’s crudely carved into the dining room table. We have been here a few weeks now so the land scape is getting familiar.
She’s young, my guess about twenty four. She stands maybe five foot two and I would bet she’s one hundred pounds soaking wet. Bright blue eyes, tattoos up one arm and down the other. When we first met, her hair was bright red, now with time I see she’s a brunet. She wears tattered clothes, grime under her finger nails and the dark shadows under her eyes show the wear of time and stress in conditions like these. The rifle that’s strapped over her shoulder looks bigger than she does. Not what you would call intimidating. Her given name was Judy. She was named after her aunt. She told us her friends called her “Star” because she played the guitar and they thought she was going to be one, but after seeing the way she handled herself with the geeks for the first time we just called her Knuckles.
“That’s about three miles from here”, she looks up at me and says, “Christian, there’s more than one herd!!” There are gasps and then silence. “How many?” I asked.
“Three, one across the river here, one at the base of the canyon here, and another wondering the main road out, here”. She points to the map. “Numbers?” I ask. “Altogether maybe seventy five.”
“What does your book say now, Prophet? We have the ocean to our back and three hoards of geeks in front of us. What are we supposed to do now?”
Standing with that stone face is Lamar Banks; a large man to say the least. At six foot five and two hundred fifty pounds, he played linebacker for the Redskins. When the evil took D.C., he made it out but the rest of his family didn’t. He lost his three sons and his wife.He never offered the details to us, and Hanna and I never asked. We know what it means to loose loved ones. The first time we saw Lamar he was putting a geek’s head threw a wall, smashing it like a pumpkin. Hanna became physically sick and still has nightmares to this day, unfortunately she’s seen far worse since the evil has spread.
“Prophet” I whispered to myself. I trusted Lamar with my life many times, and he trusted me. I was confused; he started spreading this “Prophet” story.
“Daddy,” called Hanna from upstairs “the baby is crying again”. The baby is not my child, we call her a baby but she’s around two. We found her and her mother in a makeshift shack in the desert of Nevada. It had dirt floors and was mostly made from tin and other pieces of loose housing material. Her mother was preparing a meal. The largest pot they owned was boiling on their cooking fire, water mixed with some local growth to give it taste, but there was no food. They were starving.
We held a large debate and it was not easy to convince our growing group of wanderers to give up our dwindling supplies of rations, but in the end we fed them. She told us that she lost Lily’s father to the geeks. He fought off the geeks trying to save his family. The amputation of his bitten arm did not stop the spread of the infection and he succumbed to the evil two days later. She told us they were headed West, that she had family in California. They heard that there were still resistance strong holds along the central coast. They were held up in Nevada there for several weeks without food and little water.
I fell asleep that night wondering how this growing group would ever make our destination, how this group could fulfill the prophecy that was written in the book. The next morning we woke to the loud pop of gun fire. On her body we found a note. It said, “God help me, I was going to eat my baby.” You see geeks aren’t the only ones who eat humans in our world now.
“We can do this, Lamar,” Knuckles said, “this is not the time to go wobbly and start questioning Christian, he got us here he’ll get us out.” She could always defuse a tense situation. I turned back to her and said, “Knuckles, I want to see the geeks. We’ll go out at first light. We don’t have much time. Get Tommy and let him know.”
Walking back upstairs toward Hanna and Lilly, I can’t help but think about The Book and that first headache…the dream that followed.
Part 2: Our Strength