Zeds 4.1


“Go do the shopping, Claire. Go cook dinner, Claire. Go babysit Luke, Claire. Do I look like a damn Maid? Should I do the laundry while I’m at it?”

The way Claire is ranting, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her stomp her feet as she walks, but, she doesn’t. Her face has a bit of red to it, though, like she might be clenching her teeth too hard. Claire really hates being charged with menial tasks while everyone else takes care of the ‘adult’ business. I don’t care as much. They expect nothing of me, and I like to live up to expectations.

“I don’t need babysitting,” I mutter as I follow along behind her. She’s the second youngest here; only 4 years older than me, but sometimes she’s treated like a child. If there’s a group of the creeps, John has a tendency to stand in front of her. I think he thinks he’s being chivalrous.

“Very important job, though!” I say a bit louder than I spoke before. “We can survive a lot longer without guns than we can without food. And, they must trust us a lot if they’re letting us run off alone.”

“Yeah,” she says. She takes in a deep breath and lets out a heavy sigh. I try not to watch her chest as she does so. She doesn’t have a whole lot there, unlike Lcu, but she’s got the only pair close to my age. Lucy’s, like, older than my mom and that’s just gross.

Older than my mom was.

Mom died in the first days. I don’t even remember how long ago that was. It wasn’t long; a few weeks at most? Not more than a month for sure.

I wish I had saved some photos or grabbed anything of hers when I left the house.
I follow Claire across the parking lot, stopping a moment to admire a red Ferarri. I do it more to reset my mind than because I actually care about the car. I need to stop thinking about the past.

Dayumn! This thing has more red than a Tarantino film!

I chuckle out loud at my own genius humor.

“What are you laughing about?” the disgruntled one questions.

I almost say ‘your face’ but she could beat me up.

“Why did zee cheekun cross zee road?” I say, putting on my best Schwarzenegger impression.

“Oh jeez, no!” Claire covers her ears and takes off in a run toward the store.

“To get to zee other side!!” This joke is ridiculously stupid, but it gets laughs if you manage to get his laughter right and burst out laughing as though it were the absolute most hilarious joke on the face of the planet.

Claire’s standing just outside the door as I catch up, waiting and staring into the building. The store still has power. It’s really odd finding a place with electricity; none of us have seen lights or heard music outside of the RV. Music wise, we still don’t get to ear it since all of the radio stations are blank noise. The power cut off everywhere about two weeks into the whole mess, but here we are, in front a store with automated doors sliding open at our presence.

Claire puts her arm out to stop me as I pass.

“I want to do it,” she says with a slight grin. I guess if she’s going to be forced to do food runs, she may as well get to do the fun part. She steps forward, through the door and into the soft music playing overhead. She pulls the pistol from the holster on her hip, checks the safety, rests her finger on the trigger guard. “Go for it.”

I nod, enter, and cross to the line of carts to the side. I take the last two steps quickly to get some momentum, then kick the cart carts as hard as I can. The entire row rattles loudly. I wait a few seconds, watching Claire’s back, with my hand resting on my gun at my hip.

Nothing happens.

She turns her head and nods at me again. I pull a cart out, step back, and kick it over. It rattles on the ground, louder than the row of carts had before. Another few seconds pass before Claire lowers her gun.

“I think we’re clear,” she says. I pull another cart from the row, shove it her direction, then grab another for myself.

“You know the drill; canned crap and things that take forever to go bad.”

“Yehp,” I nod at her and we split up.

Author: CJ Stark

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