Pip

Pip

A Chapter by MightyMouse

It’s been another week since she found Sebastian. This week has been easier since he’s awake, but she’s trying to figure out how to help him walk well enough to take care of Jake. She’s managed to fasten him together a sort of boot to that relieves a little of the pressure from his ankle. He still hobbles around slowly, but it’s a start, and he claims it doesn’t cause too much pain from the effort. Aside from rehabilitation, Pip has also been busy with her preparations. Pip plans on leaving them to find Jake’s brother as soon as Sebastian is well enough to babysit.

She’s built a small fence metal around the RV. It isn’t a very good fence, but it is sturdy enough to last a little while. The food supply is in no danger now. A warehouse had been conveniently placed just to the right and back aways from the city. It was a warehouse that had been used to store chicken noodle soup. Over a period of about four days, Pip managed to drag every last bit of it to the RV. The collection of chicken noodle soup sat outside, in the fence, but under enough rocks and tree branches that it can’t be seen. The water also has been filled to it’s max. Pip has a complicating water filtration system set up on top of the RV. A very large container, like the ones used to ship things in big cargo ships only a little bit smaller, sits on top supported by the RV and some strategically placed thick branches stripped down to act as support beams. Pip had welded a wall in the center with a rudimentary solar powered welder dividing the container into two separate sections. One side is covered and holds clean water. The other side is uncovered to catch rain water. The water goes from the open tank through pipes stuffed with several pool filters Pip had gathered from a summer store, before it flows into the sink. After leaving through the drain, it travels back up using a system like the one used to move boats through the Panama canal. It passes through several more pool filters and into the closed tank completing its journey and ready to be used again. Pip had explained this to Sebastian. The closed tank isn’t all the way full yet because the open tank had been full of rain water from the few days before when it had rained. The closed tank is the reserve, and the goal is to get it filled with the recycled rain water from the open one. Pip thinks it’s a clever system, but she’s worried it’s going to fail on her, so she checks it everyday and has taught Sebastian how to do it too.

It’s almost dark now. “You know he’s sick right?” Sebastian says to her when she brings him his dinner. Chicken noodle soup, of course. “Yes, I know he’s sick.” She says worriedly glancing at Jake over her shoulder. He’s been getting steadily worse since she brought him to the RV. Jake had spent the first few days eating and sleeping and talking like a normal toddler. Stress and depression wore him down, though, and now he sleeps all of twenty hours a day and sits in the passenger’s seat staring through the window quietly, not eating the other four. He’s sitting there now with a bowl of untouched soup in his lap. Deep purple bruises have formed under his eyes despite the amount of sleep he’s been getting. and he’s losing weight.

Unable to look at him any longer in his pitiful state, Pip stands and announces. “I’m going to find his brother. You can walk well enough to keep an eye on him. I don’t want you to leave this RV for any reason. I’ve been stocking up on the food supply. There’s enough food to last ten people at least a month. I should be back before you run out, and if I’m not, then I’m probably dead.” Pip quickly begins to pack her backpack with anything and everything she might need. A flashlight, medical supplies, extra weapons like her many knives and arrowheads for her bow, a change of clothes, rope, a few bandanas, a roll of duct tape, a few personal items she never leaves without helps to fill the void of her backpack. A smaller backpack is filled with water and a few cans of soup to last her for the first few days. She suspects she’ll find more food along the way. “You can’t just leave right now. At least be smart, have a plan.” Sebastian has been watching her, concern plastered all over his face.

“I do have a plan. Once I’m all packed up, I’m going to take a nice long nap and then I’m going to find that old cabin again. The rest you don’t have to worry about.” Sebastian rolls his eyes. “Alright, Mrs. Hero. What do you expect me to do when you don’t come back?”

“Stay here. I will come back. Promise.” Pip smiles a big dramatic smile at him as she zips her bags and tosses them in front of the doorway. “Now, I’m going to sleep. I’m going to need it.” She picks Jake’s limp body up gently. He hasn’t eaten his food. She takes the bowl away and places it on the counter. “Jake, I’m going to find your brother, but you have to get better for me.” She pushes the hair back off of his forehead and tucks him into a small bed she made for him next to Sebastian. “Here,” she says to Sebastian retrieving a small bottle from underneath one of the seats in the front of the RV. “Give him five CC’s every eight hours until he’s better. There’s a few more bottles under the seat. It’s children’s cold medicine. I don’t think he has a cold, but some of the symptoms are the same.” Sebastian takes the bottle not taking his eyes from her. Pip pretends she doesn’t notice and lies down on an empty space in the middle of the floor covering herself with a small blanket. “You’ll be gone when I wake up, won’t you?” The sad sound of his voice  makes Pip look at him.

“Probably. I’d like to get to the cabin as the sun is rising so I have all day to look. I don’t like to do anything in the dark.”

“Then good luck.”

“Thank you, Sebastian.” Pip says sincerely and rolls over, falling easily into a relaxing sleep.

Pip wakes up shortly before the sun rises. It’s later than she wanted, so she tiptoes to the door attempting not to shake the RV, and tosses her bags onto her back. The smaller blue bag with food and water in it, she puts on first. The bag has straps across the front that she buckles and then puts the other over the smaller one. Her green army bag has straps across the front also. She clips them and leaves. She avoids looking back, afraid she might convince herself to stay. Just long enough for Jake to get better. But she knows he needs his brother. Jake had given her a picture of his brother, Waya and she knows the last place he was seen. Now all she has to do is find him, hopefully not dead. She sighs heavily.

The sun has been up for nearly an hour when she arrives at the cabin. It’s easy to find a set of large footprints leading towards the city, she assumes. The ground must have been wet when the footprints were made. Pip spends about a half hour searching the rest of the property to make sure she follows the right tracks. There aren’t any more human tracks around, except for her own and a few older tracks that have almost entirely disappeared. So she begins following them. After a few hours she runs into a problem. The tracks disappear in a small grassy meadow. Pip wonders what to do next. She decides to walk straight across the meadow and see if she can spot his tracks on the other side. But they aren’t there. She walks around the outside of the meadow trying to find any sign of his passing, but can’t find anything. Her stomach rumbles letting her know it’s about time for lunch. She sits and eats a can of chicken noodle soup and lets herself relax. “Tracking someone is frustrating.” She admits out loud.

As she’s eating she notices a tree with a small cut in it. The cut resembles the letter J. Pip swallows down the rest of her meal without taking her eyes from the cut. She goes to investigate. The cut has been made purposely, green still shows underneath. She wanders back down the path and notices that several trees have similar markings. Waya must have marked them so he could find his way back to Jake. She sighs in relief. By mid-afternoon she reaches the city. She’s already exhausted from the heat and humidity of the day, but she’s resolved to look until night fall. Tracking him through the city is going to be difficult though and she doesn’t think she’ll find him today, so she searches for a place she can stay when the sun sets.

A small, one-story building on the edge of the forest catches her attention. A fence surrounds the back. The only way in is through the shop, so she climbs the fence making it rattle slightly and jumps down from the top into the closed in area. A dumpster is pushed up against the orange-red bricks making up the back wall and giving off the faint smell of garbage even though it’s empty. No decorations adorn the boring wall. There is a light just above the sturdy steel back door, but the bulb is shattered. Pip doesn’t suspect it would have worked either way. She tries the door, pulling gently on the knob. It sticks a little, but isn’t locked making slipping inside easy.

She takes her knife out of it’s sheath, just in case. Her heart pounds as she pushes the door open. It squeaks until it’s halfway open, and stops, swinging slowly closed again. She steps into the building pushing the door out of her way with her shoulder. The building only has two rooms. The employee’s lounge room, the one she’s in, and the main room separated by a white painted wooden door. The employee’s lounge room only has a couch and a broken television. It smells strongly of cigarettes, but Pip thinks it would be good enough to sleep in for the night. Still, she wants to check the other room before she stays. She turns the knob and pushes the door open. Something behind the door stops it from opening all the way. Pip squeezes through wiggling her backpack from the crack between the door and frame with a little difficulty. The door swings shut with a soft click. The building is a souvenir shop.

Most of the shelves in the souvenir shop are on their sides, their contents shattered on the floor. Glass covers every inch of the floor shining in the sunlight. Before she can examine the rest of the shop, the sun decides to play hide and seek with the clouds. The souvenir shop is covered in a gray shadow making it hard to make out any details. But fortunately, there’s no movement. Pip wanders further into the room heading for the front door. She pulls on the door, but it’s locked. The glass at the bottom of the door is busted out, allowing enough room for someone to crawl in and out of. The space isn’t  big enough for her large army backpack and herself to fit through at the same time, so she unstraps her backpack to toss it out ahead of her.

The sun suddenly comes out from behind a cloud lighting the shop around her turning the gray dimness into a diamond reflecting off all of the glass. Her heart skips several beats as she notices massive pools of blood around the door. It’s not the first time she’s seen blood since the apocalypse started, but this blood is still wet. It’s started to dry around the edges turning from dark burgundy into a brown color that chips away from the floor as dust. A trail of footprints lead through them and Pip glances down realizing they’re her footprints. The soles of her boots are lined with the dark blood. She stands from her crouched down position and looks for any evidence as to what happened. In the middle of one of the smaller pools of blood, she finds a necklace. It has a cord instead of a chain, and the charm is in the shape of a wing. Her mouth is dry as she takes the photo of Waya out of her pocket. Waya is wearing the necklace in the picture. She slips the necklace over her head and hurries through the door. Her search for Waya has quickly become more serious. He’s probably hurt somewhere since his body isn’t here, and she needs to find him before he dies if he hasn’t already.

Her head is spinning with the onset of a panic attack. She closes her eyes and takes several long deep breaths calming herself. The panic attack averted, she replaces her backpack on top of the other. Voices around the corner catch her by surprise. She stops to listen. The voices aren’t far away, so she resolves to hide back inside the souvenir shop before they reach her so she can assess how much danger they pose.

By now, her heart’s pounding so hard she’s afraid it’s going to explode right out of her chest. A rather noisy thump makes her jump and spin around only to find a man is standing between her and the shop door. The man is at least six feet tall, and has muscles bigger around than her head. His army clothing is covered in dry blood. His shaved head has long scars in the shape of animal claws from the middle at the top all the way down the left side of his bearded face. His cold black eyes are staring straight at her. “Hello, Sweetheart.” He says with an evil grin. His voice is deep and taunting. He’s holding a large gun pointing in her direction. Another man, similar to the first hops off the roof of the souvenir shop and lands behind her. She turns enough to see both of them at the same time. They look like twins, minus the scars. The second has a large machete. “What do we have here, Avon?” He asks. “Looks like some poor little girl got separated from her mommy, Nova.” They both snicker menacingly. “She’s kind of pretty, Avon.” The second says and pokes her in the side with his machete. Pip flinches away from it. “Sure is. I’ll bet Tommy’ll think so too.” It’s eerie the way they talk to each other, back and forth they way they did. Pip has a hard time figuring out which one is talking.

“Better come along with us, girly. Don’t want to make this harder than it has to be.” The one named Nova says and pokes her with his machete again. Pip doesn’t want to look like she’s afraid. She doesn’t say anything for fear of her voice quivering and giving her away. The one named Avon grabs her backpack. “You won’t be needing this, Sweetheart.” He says. He unstraps the second too and throws them over his own shoulders. He takes her knife from her side too. He walks away obviously expecting her to follow. Nova pokes her with his machete again, so she does. She thinks about how much she’s going to enjoy breaking the machete over his head as soon as she gets the chance, all the way through the city. Her eyes dart around her surroundings taking in as many details as she can so she doesn’t get lost when she comes up with a plan and gets away from them. Around the corner, is a bright blue truck. Four men surround the truck. There’s a trailer attached to the back with bars welded to it making it look like a cage with a top. The men are all laughing and making jokes with each other as they approach. They all examine her. “She’s a little small don’t you think?” One of the men ask. “Tommy said everyone.” Avon answers with a bored tone of voice. The men shrug their shoulders. “It’s getting late, load up!” Avon commands. The men obey.

Pip is thrown into the cage on the trailer and the men drive their truck away. One of the men is left in the back to guard her as they drive down the road. He’s a young man, maybe only sixteen. He has curly orange hair and freckles making him look a lot like Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. She coughs dramatically for a moment to keep herself from laughing.

The boy glances at her nervously and a little concerned. Like he’s afraid she might be insane for almost laughing right after she’s been kidnapped. “Sorry about all this.” He says, and looks off in the distance. Pip assumes he’s trying not to say anything that might get him in trouble. She doesn’t say anything either. She isn’t afraid anymore. Calm is spreading through her as her mind begins to plan her escape. She lays down in the cage knowing she might not get proper rest for a while and decides to take a nap. The truck is moving too quickly for her to keep track of her surroundings any way. Everything is a blur, so the nap is her only real option, unless she wants to stare at the sky which would make her tired anyway. So she sleeps.




© 2016 MightyMouse



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Added on August 20, 2016
Last Updated on August 27, 2016


Author

MightyMouse
MightyMouse

Dayton, TX



About
I enjoy writing and I want to know if other people enjoy my writing. I live in a house full of seven people, three of them children, thirteen dogs, and ten cats. I have a twin sister with only one leg.. more..

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A Chapter by MightyMouse