Fall of the Risen – Week 14 – Dawn
Lynn van Lier came back for another post and it’s a slobber knocker! Get out your hankies and don’t forget to check out some of Lynn’s other works like her blog, her satirical short story Interminable, or her helpful guides 50 Free or Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Toddler and 50 Everyday Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them.
It wasn’t the same. Everyone was different after Clark was gone. Even Ferguson wasn’t as amorous.
It didn’t take long for Clark to become a legend. People lowered their voices when they talked about him. They said they saw him hulking around the perimeter, like he was some kind of sasquatch. I wanted not to care. I learned not to when I saw my sister and her family eaten by zombies. Told myself I was lucky to be unattached. But people are sticky, and I was stuck on Clark. I smiled in spite of myself remembering Lionel Ritchie.
It was no use. I had a curious mind. Never could leave anything alone. I figured out cars and I figured out survival. I thought I’d never figure out people, and I didn’t even want to until recently. I had to get back in that tower.
I found Ferguson in his usual position, feet up, eyes fixed on the horizon. He didn’t even register my boots on the metal steps.
“Hey,” I smiled at him. “How’s it going?”
He looked glum. I looked out where he was staring. It was the last spot we could’ve seen Clark, after he jumped.
“Thought you might need some company,” I said, but it didn’t sound convincing to either of us.
“Forget it, Dawn.” He pushed up out of his chair, stood up and stretched. There were dust trails in his face where he had been crying. He rubbed his bleary eyes.
“I knew I was a piss-ant, but I never knew how much of one until I watched a friend sent to his death.”
I must’ve looked surprised because he poked a finger at me.
“Yeah, sure, I wasn’t his friend, but he was mine. I admired the shit out of him. I don’t need your comfort, Dawn. Leave me alone.”
Jesus, it was getting heavy around here.
“Look, Ferg,” I couldn’t remember his first name. “Why don’t you just take some time, let me do lookout. Lord knows, I can’t sleep, and we could both use a change of scenery.”
He searched my face with suspicion.
“Never mind,” I said. “It’s okay. I just thought I could help.”
The next day, as I was cleaning up a puddle of motor oil, Ferguson trudged up my driveway. He’d been crying again. He just nodded at me and kept going to his place.
I scrambled to get some clean clothes and my lantern, and raced back to the tower.
It was quiet that day and through the night.
The next morning, Ferguson wasn’t back, and I saw some of Marshall’s goons harassing Daffodil. I peered through the binoculars, trying to read lips. They circled around him. He just shuffled around awhile, kicking the gravel. My stomach tightened, waiting to see unleashed cruelty. At last, he looked up at Jansen and said something that made them all stop in their tracks. A minute later, they cleared off and left Daffodil standing alone.
Ferguson was kind enough to bring me a sandwich at dinner time, but he didn’t stick around. I was actually beginning to worry about him. I didn’t know a whole lot of piss-ants where I came from; they never seemed to be around very long.
Just after sunset, when I could still see the tree line, I heard them. That familiar swell of shuffling feet, low moans and grunts. One by one, they filtered through the forest. I couldn’t tell if there were twenty, fifty, or more. I kept my eyes on them as my hands fumbled for the radio.
Instead of getting louder, the sound stayed the same, and then grew quieter as I saw one after the other disappear into the tall grass. The last staggering one, a woman, from what I could tell, looked as if she was doing a comedy bit, pretending to walk down stairs that didn’t exist before falling on her face. She was down a few seconds when up popped Clark. No mistaking him. He was pumping his fists in the air and dancing like a six-year-old on Christmas morning.
I put my hand up to my mouth to stifle a laugh, but before I knew it, I was crying. That was the minute I knew; either he was coming back in, or I was going out.