I was far too eager to return home. On a normal day I would have dreaded it. But then again, I wasn't used to blowing up an entire village. I hoped that I never would be, either.
Jackson went around telling everyone far fetched stories about how he single handedly saved the chopper from crashing, and that I had fainted from all of the gore. People who knew me knew that wasn't true, but there were still enough people willing to listen to him that he was able to tell them for a while.
The longer I was around him, though, the more I wondered what I had ever seen in him. I couldn't recall the slightest good thing about him, other that the fact that he wasn't one of the undead like the majority of the world now. When I tried to think about how we had even met, there were no good memories. Hell, I couldn't even say that our engagement had been pleasant.
In fact, the ring I was wearing now had come off the hand of some poor rich woman who couldn't pay her way to safety. Money didn't stop the undead from getting her, too. I glared at the ring with disgust. If it weren't for appearance, I would have thrown it at him long ago and told him never to come near me again.
Sometimes I wish it were that easy.
If I were to do that, there's a chance that I would be exiled. He could easily say that I would pose a threat to the Alley People's safety, and even if that wasn't true, they would have no choice but to ban me. Jackson's influence over this place is way too strong for someone to get on his bad side, even when their father is an elder, like me. And in a way, it makes sense. The Elders can only be around for so long. The ones who really have power are the ones who protect us, the ones who find food and other survivors.
However, I think that they might not be able to risk kicking me out. There are so few eligible women for "breeding", as it is called now, that I come across as a rarity. In the Alley, so many women have become infertile due to poor nutrition and harsh sickness. I'm one of the only ones who can still have children, even though I don't really want to. But when the human race is hanging on by a thread, you kind of have to take one for the team.
It's because of this that I'm no longer on the outside exploration team. The Elders only allowed me to go with Jackson as one final mission, per se, although I know the real reason. They wanted to scare me out of wanting to fight out there. They knew that I didn't agree with killing innocent people when they weren't infected. So they wanted to show me that I would be doing exactly what I hate if j had stayed working. In the end, they got exactly what they wanted.
I sigh adn look out the window. Even though they've known for a whiel now that I wasn't going to out on the Mission Squad anymore, they hadn't given me a new task here yet. I've been in some sort of limbo state, and I'm pretty sure that I know why. They're just waiting for me to get knocked up so they don't have to worry about me working. From the time I announce pregnancy, they won't have to worry about me working ever again. Then I'll just be around to pop out babies for everyone to nurture. After all, they would be the fate of humanity.
There's not much to look at. I wished silently in my head that I had taken advantage of the trip a few weeks ago. Even though it was gruesome and not at all what I had wanted, it was the last time that I would have really been able to see outside. Maybe even the last time in my life.
See, the way the Alley worked was like this: if you were a survivor and were deemed acceptable, they would give you housing and food within the confines of the property. To pay for your stay and protection, you had to work. There were tons of jobs around, and it was rare that there was a job that didn't need to be filled.
We had designated Mission Force people, who would search for survivors and decimate areas that were the most heavily infected, in order to try to prevent any more spreading of the virus. There were Nutrition and Wellness people, who tried to find medicine that could be salvaged, and if not that, then herbs and chemicals that could create home-made fixes.
There were the cooks, and that job was obviously pretty self explanatory. They were the ones to determine what would be the best meal to serve and when,. also who would get how much of what based on their BMI and what they did to contribute. They had always been pretty resourceful when it came to working with what we had, and it was rare for them to ever serve a skimpy meal.
There were some people who tried to find some ways to cultivate the land we had, and would try to work with whatever kinds of seeds they could find. When the viruses became exposed to the world, they had mutated into ways that effected anything that lived; global warming also hadn't helped anything, and most of the plants and animals had died off. But people who knew ways to make things grow in this barren land were almost as scarce as finding living trees. None of us here really knew what to do, but we tried our best to make it by.
Some people made clothes, others worked with metal and built moire safety structures to guard our area. We'd never had a breach in security yet, but then again, the Alley had only been up and running for about a year. the last place it was had been breached and very few survived that incident. We were cautious in building another, but this time we had taken more measures into making sure it was the safest place for humanity.
Also, it was mandatory that everyone in the Alley knew how to defend themsleves with at least two different kinds of weapons. We all knew how to survive at least a week in the wilderness on our won, and we knew how to make weapons out of simple objects. Everyone had to carry at least one survival pack complete with matches, water, and dried fruit and nuts in it, as well as a weapon of their choice. It was just a precaution in the event of anything actually happening.
People liked the Alley. The rules were strict, but they made sense. We felt safe. There wasn't ever much of a worry about being attacked or starving to death. We had people to take carte of things like that. An average person didn't have to worry about those kinds of things, not when everything was run so flawlessly.
But then again, normal people didn't have to worry about the same kinds of things as I did. They weren't expected to carry on humanity, or keep a perfect image for the others. They didn't have to harbour their sexuality, or worry about what would happen if soemeone found out the truth....
Jackson wasn't ever stupid; he knew that I didn't love him. But he also knew that I didn't have the heart to tell him no, that I wasn't going to risk my own life just to be with someone else... He knew everythign about me that I wished I could hide.
And in the end, it was smartest that I had said yes to him. Automatically, that had secured me a spot in the Alley, and it made me not have to worry about the outside world Anyways, if I had said no, I would have wound up just like her...
Memories flashed before my eyes, Priscilla laughing and dancing, the feeling of her lips against mine, the smell of her strawberry shampoo. The three years we had been together.
But none of that really mattered anymore.
Priscilla was dead, gone. She was out in the world, just like the rest of the infected. If she were to see me, she wouldn't remember those days.
No, she'd want to kill me, too.