Pancake

Something bad happened yesterday morning. I went out to the backyard to feed Pancake some carrots and fruit I saved from dinner the previous night. A zombie must have gotten into our yard again because when I got outside, he was taking a bite out of Pancake’s little shoulder like he was a big mac. My hand fell to where I keep my small pistol, but the space was empty. I always have it, even in the house. The only time I don’t keep it on me is when I shower or sleep. Even then it’s in arm’s reach. I ran back into the house to find a weapon. We keep a stash in a drawer of a cabinet next to the back door. I pulled out a small semi-automatic and fired through the still open back door. The zombies head burst, and he dropped Pancake who hit the ground still flailing. I went to see what the damage was. His neck was torn open at the throat, and he was bleeding out quickly. His face and chest was slick with blood, and he was making this noise that sounded like, well, it sounded like what it was, a wild animal dying in pain and fear. I knelt down and tried to hold the wound closed with my hands. It ripped down from his shoulder to his neck, and it looked like a toy that had been torn down the seams, but he was still flailing his legs and struggling to get to his feet, unable to support his head which stayed lolling back and forth on the grass. His hooves were slipping continuously in the slick grass, toppling his body to the ground with a sickening thump that pushed more blood over my hands.

I have never cried in the apocalypse, at least not like this. Trauma and shock has made it easier to distance myself. Even my experiences were always somewhat second hand. I was never forced to kill another human. I saw awful things, but they were never that close to me, and there was never any tactile feedback. Something about the feeling of the hot blood pulsing over my hands made me undone. Completely. I kept one hand at the wound, trying, pathetically really, to hold it closed, and with the other I lifted the fawn and held him close to me letting his head fall at my collarbone. This was probably the most idiotic thing I’ve done in this mess, but I really couldn’t be bothered. I felt a bit of moisture on my neck, and I realized Pancake was licking at my collarbone. I made this small, pathetic, noise, and I pushed the side of my face to his little head for a moment. Than I set him down on the ground and quickly emptied the barrel into his head. I never look away when I shoot, I never blink until the target is on the ground, but I closed my eyes this time. I made my way back inside the house and found Rok loading the dishwasher. He looked shocked, and it took me a moment to realize he was staring at the blood that spread out across my chest and arms.
“Is it yours?” he said. I shook my head. That seemed to be enough for him; he took me into the kitchen and sat me on the counter. I saw him look out the window as he ran the cold water over a dishcloth. He ran the towel over my face and hands while I sobbed like a baby on the counter. I think it was one of the kinder things Rok has ever done for me. He threw the bloody towel in the trash, we don’t keep anything that gets blood on it. The cold water calmed me down, and I took a shower which helped. I wasn’t in the mood to do anything or watch ZTV, so we watched some dvds Rok had collected, some classic films and a few b movie gems. We just spent the day on the couch. I went to bed somewhat early, for me, but I woke up a few hours in from a nightmare. It was jarring because I usually dream about life before the apocalypse. Or if I have a nightmare it’s a stress dream about some mundane shit like forgetting to study for a final exam. But this nightmare was completely different. I saw the situation from this morning, but instead of seeing Pancake, Rok was on the ground where the fawn was with the side of his neck torn open from jaw to shoulder. His mouth opened and closed without any sound, and his boots slid in the blood soaked grass as he struggled, convulsed, spasmed. I knelt down and tried to reach my hand to his shoulder to try and hold the wound closed, but I couldn’t seem to reach him, like how it can be impossible to run in a dream. I couldn’t get my hands to close on the wound, but I could feel the blood pooling around my knees and climbing up the fabric over my thighs. The blood was coming in waves, and it was hot, and the smell of iron was sickening, and Rok’s boots kept slipping on it over and over. When I woke up, I was sitting straight up with my hand around my shoulder. The skin there felt sore. I climbed out of bed, and into the hallway. Then I walked back into my room to grab my gun. I knocked on Rok’s door and heard a sleepy “yes?” from inside. I slipped inside and place my gun in the drawer in the bed side table. Then I slid into bed next to him. He didn’t ask me anything, he just wrapped an arm around me. Unfortunately, he brushed my boob in the process.
“Shit, I’m sorry,” he said, sleepily.
“It’s okay,” I said and adjusted his arm so it lay across the indent of my hip. We fell asleep there for a few hours, but I woke up again, restless and anxious. I got out of bed and moved to the other side, so I could lie with his back to my front and wrapped an arm around him. I fell asleep faster and deeper that time. It’s better to be the big spoon.

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