The wandered 4 : The lady

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A little late on this week's issue, sorry.

Submitted: February 27, 2018

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Submitted: February 27, 2018

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It had been very lonely years, she now realized it. Not just since the Incident, even before, when her son had left to go and study far away from her.

She didn’t usually care much about the people from the colony, coming and going as years passed. When someone thought it was a good idea to ring a truck’s horn, she only went out of curiosity. She had given them a hint to expand the walls, as it was now clear that they needed a safe place to grow more food. She first watched as the two lovers walked right passed her. Maybe there wasn’t anything between them yet, but it’s not that often that you find someone around your age in this world. Then she saw him. Soaked in blood, leaving behind him a path of light red marks on the ground. He had driven the car back alone and looked as if the entire universe weighted on his shoulders. She had just prepared a bath, heating water on a campfire in her backyard, and had definitely looked forward to it. But this man looked like he needed it way more than her. She called him in. He followed without a word. Guiding him up the stairs, she noticed the squishing sound of his steps. “I should get you some clean clothes. My son was around your height I think. Come here.” She hadn’t entered his room for years. Everything was covered in dust. Roaming through his clothes, she found an old jean and a probably even older shirt. “Here, take this. Bathroom is first door left. Take your time.”

The man obeyed. She went back downstairs to prepare a dinner. Cooking had become a hassle those days, with so little diversity of ingredients left. But she still managed to make tasty meals every single day. Her son used to say she’d become a wonderful grandma. Not going to anymore, after all. It had happened at the very beginning of it, the first day. She had been on the phone with him, hear the ruckus around him, his breath becoming heavier as he ran, his fall, his screams and, as a perfect dreadful end, him crying for her, who he’d left alone in a place like this. Finally, she had only survived thanks to him. This senior community had been evacuated quickly, she had stayed behind and had lived peacefully since. “The wall will protect you from thieves.” Had he known, he’d have stay hidden with her.

She heard footsteps come down the stairs. “Did you bring your clothes with you dear? I want to try and let them in some water during dinner.” He entered the kitchen and held up for her the mess of cloth and blood. Showing him the bucket, she ordered “Wash your hands and sit, I made us a fine dinner.” They didn’t talk at all while eating. She had been told he never spoke and it was perfectly fine by her. She had always thought that a meal is best if enjoyed in calm.

At the end of the meal, as she was getting up to clean, he suddenly stood on his feet and, awkwardly bowing, uttered in a crackled voice “Thank you ma’am”. The voice was a surprise, but not as much as the words. Everybody called him the old man, following the lead of the girl who introduced him. “Ma’am? There can’t be such an age difference between us for this to be justified!” Looking at him in the dim light of candles, she tried to find out how old he possibly could be. His hair was of a perfectly homogeneous black, but his eyes wore the despair that should only be found in those of an elder. “Still less than thirty I think.” Maybe his body agreed, but his mind didn’t. Some thinks make people age faster. “So, she’s not your daughter.” Their relationship wasn’t a clear think for anyone in the colony, which meant to her… “Do you have a family?” If possible, his eyes screamed for mercy, as if he had drowned deeper into despair than he already had. “Wrong side of the Atlantic.” The voice was incredibly calm, the total opposite of what the eyes showed. She promised to bring him back his clothes, clean as new, in less than two days, and maybe, if he ever wanted to, invite him again for dinner. He left without a word. Seated on her son’s bed, she wondered. Would she have survived not knowing his fate?


© Copyright 2018 E. Lascawosc. All rights reserved.

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