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Dawn's Early Light

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Chapter 2 Lindsey

Making to the edge of town Josh shut off the lights and parked in the brush. He put on his bag and walked the rest of the two blocks to the scumbags den and pulled out a homemade silencer and drew one of the nine millimeter pistols attaching the silencer in case he was spotted. From the look of it there were no guards, no snipers, nothing. "Either your walking into a trap or these guys are really stupid, or have something that makes them feel cocky." He said slowly approaching the school bus and checking for guards. "Really, not one guard? You guys are losers." Slipping around the front of the bus to the doors, surprised they were open, he entered and looked for the girl. "Hea, you here? Hey chick, you called for help?" He looked around the bus, the moonlight was enough to make out some things but no sign of the girl. "No! Get off me!" The girls voice shouted from inside the community center. "Okay boys, plan B." He said ducking out of the bus and planted a claymore bomb under the sniper nest at the south west corner of the building. Moving to the back he could see the back door open and a grill cooking. "There is my entrance." He thought to himself reaching for the fire crackers, he lit them and tossed them to the front of the building. When they went off and he heard the men shouting and running outside. He snuck in and flipped the detonator to the explosive he set taking out that corner of the building and blowing some men outside back. He heard some noise in the kitchen, Josh tossed two tear gas grenades, one toward the front door and the other to the kitchen. Pulling his gas mask over his face he pulled out the two nine millimeter handguns and prepared for a fight. The men start shouting out at each other, Josh's blood is pumping hard enough it drowns out the words. "What am I doing? All this for a kid? Am I crazy? There has to be twelve of these guys and one of me. But they don't know that." He thought. "Give us the girl and we all walk away from this alive, no negotiations, just you giving us the girl." Josh shouted through the mask trying to find a target. "She's mine. Back off or we kill every one of you!" A mans voice shouts in response. Josh wasn't the diplomatic type, he couldn't talk to people, some times at all. "If we can lay explosives around you and you don't know we are there, how do you expect to walk out of this if you fire on us?" Josh tried to keep bluffing but it wouldn't work forever. "You really think this kid is worth your life pal?" The man says. As Josh peers over the table and around the room, his eyes fall on a pile of ammunition. "I'd hate to blow that ammo up, but it may save my skin." He argued with himself, reaching into the bag for a fire bomb instead pulling two and lit them, tossing them into the pile of ammo and finding a more durable cover behind a brick wall adjacent to the kitchen. To his luck, the wall had a small window in it, providing a clear shot at the man holding the girl. Loud pops and bangs began to ring out, some loud enough to deafen the already deaf. He keep down, covering his ears. He ducked down, hands over his head as he prayed to live this out. It seemed all of the ammo had went off, you'd think a war happened and there was a post to the post apocalypse. When it was quiet Josh rose his head up and peered into the kitchen, the man laid still on the floor. Josh found himself saying "please be dead" over and over in his mind while he walked up to the corpse. He was alive, holding his neck and gasping, "You messed with the wrong girl boy, now you are going to die alone. Was it worth it?" Josh said looking into his eyes not expecting as much as a nod in return. Josh put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger, this is the kind of animal you leave where it falls. No thanks, nothing, just leave it to rot. "Anybody alive? Hea, girl, its safe now. Come on out, we got the place locked down." josh said aloud, looking for the damsel in distress. "How do I know I can trust you?" She says, huddled over in a corner. "Because I just saved you from rape, and who knows what. I'm leaving, going to gather what I can and move on, your welcome to join me. No chains, no rope just food, a bed and a place to call home. You can hop out any time you wanna split ways. If your coming, help me load up." He said to the girl holding out a hand. "They killed my family, my people, I'm all alone..." She had a tear in her eye as she took his hand and wrapped her arms around him. "It's ok kid. It's over now, I got you." He said patting her back, "she looks so young, so afraid. What then, am I to do with her?" He asked himself "C'mon girly, lets gather this scrap up and go home, dinners waiting. You ain't had coyote till you have my coyote steak and fries." He joked with a smile looking at her in hope that it changed her mood. It took a minute but the words got her feeling better. As we let each other go she chuckled, "You rescue a girl in distress, offer to take her home, and offer dinner that happens to be dog? Your a real lady killer. What about your friends? Are they as charming as you?" He had entirely forgotten his bluff, "Girl look, I bluffed. The only people here is you and me. I've been alone for a year, well since the world ended. I've lost my family, and everything else I had, your not the only one whose alone." We gathered what was salvageable, the fire had been put out from lack of fuel and the ammunition going off, some of the bedding in the main room was damaged, still usable as rags if you didn't mind the smell. He pulled what he thought was necessary from the bodies, they wouldn't need these things anymore. After pulling the bodies in a pile in the kitchen, he turned His attention to the lobby where they had set up a few tables. "Hold the phone, we got booze" Josh exclaimed approaching three aluminum beer kegs as though they were all their own individual holy grail. "I don't know what is in those." The girl says with a sigh as if saying all men think about is women and beer. He shrugged her off and shook one of them only to find it empty and drained through a bullet hole. "Oh no, no no no no no. Not the booze! I coulda sold this to somebody! Oh cruel world, why do you torment me so?" He cried out checking each one with the same result. "So we got rags, a little ammo, some lighters but no smokes, a crack pipe, some money. And what's ever left in the vehicles out front, oh and no beer." the girl smarted off. "Ok lets go check the trucks." Josh moaned out in dissatisfaction. After scavenging through the vehicles, finding little than nothing in them, we load the truck up and get in, He turned the key and glanced at the girl. Reaching behind her seat, Josh pulled out the bag of corn chips. Handing her the bag he said, "Here chick, this should help your belly get ready for real food. Ya look starved." With reluctance she stretches out her hand and replies, "Thank you. Those jerks didn't feed me at all." His heart sank low for hearing that. "I'll take care of you, don't worry any more." Josh said and she smiled. He began to drive home, trusting in a complete stranger, he'd offer sanctuary and a place to call home. "So, is your group dead as well?" She asked curiously. "Whoa there, slow down. We just met and your getting personal. Lets start over. Hea there, I'm Josh. What's your name?" he replies countering her question. "My name is Lindsey. I'm twenty three and hitchhiking with a strange man that saved my life." There was a pause after this comment, then they broke out laughing. They've beaten the incredibly large odds that were stacked in deaths favor and came out alive. They were invincible, nothing could stop them, no one. "Listen chick, your welcome to stay with me. Your all alone, so am I. I don't even know if my family is alive, even if they are, are they looking for me?" Answering her premature question. "Hold on boy, we just met and your trying to shack up. Slow your role... And thank you, I'd like to have someone in this life I can trust." She chuckled, her cheeks a light rose red. They didn't know each other, they just had to trust the other. "What am I saying, she might not even stay. Or this is a trap. Either way, trust is all we got." He thought pulling into the driveway and parking behind the house. They start unbuckling the seat belts. "So we can unload the truck in the morning, lets head on in and get the fire going." Josh said sliding out of the truck, "I'm gonna head to bed, not feeling so hungry after all. Help yourself to dinner." He grabbed his bag and drag it out of the truck, as he began to turn to the back door he noticed something odd in Lindsey's face. "You ok?" He asked with sincerity. "What do you plan on doing to me?" She said in a lifeless tone. Why would she ask this? Does she not trust him? "Without candy coating? Trust, friendship, reliability, someone to watch my back. What's eating you?" He asked concerned that she has a secret poking at her. She got out of the truck leaving her bag in and came around the front to him. Pulling her shirt off she said, "Every man has a price for service." Her eyes were empty, soulless. "No." He put her hands at her sides and saw a glimmer in her eye. "You aren't...I'm not...we..." Josh said trying to find the words to say. Then she reaches for his belt, tugging to undo it. "No Lindsey! No, you don't owe me. And you don't throw yourself at people like..." Her eyes filling up to cry cuts me off. The horror she must have been through, I cant imagine the thoughts in her mind, memories and pain. "No, you don't need to do that. I'm not that kind of person, and you never need to go through that crap again. Your safe, I'm gonna take care of you. Promise." Her face became a waterfall as she broke down crying. *"I held her tight, just like when you would cry I'd hold you."* He walked her into the house, flipping on solar lights as we went to the fireplace, its embers shining red like the sunset, still able to start again. "Nice place, for a creepy hermit." She says taking a seat in a lawn chair, sniffling, making an attempt to calm down. Kneeling over trying to light the fire, he pushes his plate toward her. "Give me a minute and ill have this going again and we can have some better lighting and you can have a hot dog. Get it, because its a coyote? Yea I suck at this." Trying to make a joke. The ember finally took to a tender bundle he had made from old news papers and he relit the fire with some smoldering wood and twigs, he built the fire up until it could sustain its self on small segments of chopped tree branches. He turned to the plate he laid the steak in earlier and it had disappeared into Lindsey's hands, what was left anyway... she was working on the last few bites when he began to stare. "Sorry, did you want some?" She held out a strip of fat that she hadn't finished yet. He shook his head and she ate it whole without remorse. the poor girl must have been starved by those goons. "Ok, there are some fried potatoes in that pan over there too. Sliced, not French fries. I'm not running a fast food joint." Josh tries to seem less concerned but she is so thin. " What do you want from me? I mean your nice, but how can I repay you?" She asked again, different than before, but still I feel a secret darkness that she anticipated from me. "Honestly, to wake up alive and find you didn't rob me blind or try to kill me. Sex isn't payment here. Feel safe here ok, this sex stuff is a pinch uncomfortable." He tried hinting to end the conversation about sex but she had something to say, he knew it. Finally giving in he had to say "What ever you did before, or what ever happened to you. Your with me now. Your safe, fed, got a bed and welcome to call this home. I don't care about your mistakes, nor do I plan to rape you like that asshole did back in town. Ill take care of you, I promise, just don't go psycho and try to kill me." Josh placed his hand on hers and smiled, in hope that she'd stop jumping him. "Me go psycho? What about you huh?" She joked, finally realizing that for now, the nightmare is gone, and she is safe. They laughed and Josh put a large log on the fire before turning in for the night. Lindsey stayed up for a while looking him over in front of the fireplace. He risked his own life just to save a complete stranger. Why? Why did he risk his life to save her? Personal gain? Was he just another one of those men? What did he want from her? Did he want anything at all? She saw a ring on his finger, was he married? With a flickering light from the fireplace she began to look around the room she went into the corner of the room and found a bag with the name "Lilly" on it. Did the bag belong to his wife? Did it belong to a child? Was it his child? He said he was alone, did he lose his family? Was he planning on replacing his family with her? Could she trust him? She walked to the other side of the room and noticed that there were other parts of the house that were blocked off by plastic sheets weighed down by large rocks. They were buttoned together with snapped twigs, he had turned this room into a den. He lived in this room, he ate and slept here. Maybe he was just lonely and wanted some company. She wasn't sure what to think but for tonight she was going to rest. As she approached the couch she took notice of a book on the table by a radio, she picked up the book and started reading. It was his journal and letters to his wife. The last year of his life was in this book. Reading some of the pages she found out that he wasn't the man that she thought he was. Just looking for his family trying to find them. Is he alone in this world like she is now, maybe she would give him a chance and see what he really was. She laid the book back down on the table and went to bed, laying on the couch that he had made for her. Couch was covered in animal hide. It looks somewhat welcoming yet creepy at the same time. There was a bear pelt for a blanket, the head was gone but the claws were still there it was almost like it was just reaching out to hug you. She felt the claws and they were sharp, like knives. Her finger slipped inside of one of them, she took a look at it and then found that it was hollow. Every thing that she found seems like it has a little more story to tell of her hero. Now that she thinks about it it's kind of sad that he's been alone for a year and not knowing what happened to his family.