Afterward: Chapter 7

Awaking with a start, Cait smacked her head on the bottom of the desk she was sleeping under.

“Fuck. Shit. Fuck.”

Rubbing her head she moved towards the sheet that was still hung up from the previous night and looked out from behind it. Shit. From where the sun was she had slept far too late. She glanced up to the building across the way but the reflection of sunlight prevented her from seeing into the building. Hopefully her own building was the same and the addition of a sheet wouldn’t be noticed.

Her eyes felt strained from the late night and she wished she had water to waste. Water would be able to address the problem, to a degree, but she had to engage in quite a bit of work yet today. The water would come later. She grabbed a small amount of food to tide her through the day and put her boots back on. Her Apple was put into one pocket and her knife into another. Thus prepared, she un-barricaded the door to her den and set out through the building.

Sitting down heavily at the base of the stairs at the base of the building, Cait again doubted her choice. Everything had been uneventful upstairs and there was little evidence that Susan had left any messages or anything like that. Cait was also able to figure out another of the entrances that Susan might have used and exited through there to prevent wasted effort from getting rid of her previously built barricade. She took a moment to catch her breath and wished she had brought water with her. Pulling herself up she set off down the street. For today, she had decided, she would try to sneak back into that building where she had met Susan the day before. They were unlikely to live there, she figured, as it wasn’t very defensible. Even as picked over as it might have been it was pretty likely to have some supplies in there for her. Being able to find some sort of way to get water would also be on the list of things for here to accomplish on this day. She glanced at the sky, again, as she moved towards her goal. There wasn’t enough time and she really wanted to be back in her place and safe by the time that night fell.

Finally, she arrived at her destination. Now to sneak in. From across the street she sized up the location to determine her best way of entry. She gazed at it for a few moments and figured her choices really were in through the roof, or in through the front doors. There were some doors along the sides of the building; heavy metal ones painted the same beige as the side of the building. They would be locked, or bolted even, from the inside. A crowbar would make a reasonable level of work out of those, she figured, but she didn’t have one.

Cait decided, at this point, to try the front door again. It would be wholly unexpected, she reasoned. She had jut tried to enter that way the day before and who would be so stupid as to try entering that way again. She walked back around the front of the building, crouching down as she crossed the last corner, and skirted along the front wall. Once she got to the front door she opened it slowly, and then slipped inside.

Unlike the day before it was empty inside. The dust on the floor had a number of tracks through it. That didn’t bode well. Hopefully there would still be something left inside. She needed a few different things and Cait knew that normally it would be a good call to go to the hiking or hunting supply stores. Somewhere with this much traffic would be picked over. Fortunately, she had some lessons under her belt. She remembered the afternoons of lessons that she had drilled into her. She would need something to catch rain first. Those could go out the window if she could find a good way to tie them to the side of the building, or up on the roof. Her brain was already running away with her trying to figure out how to have water piped down the floors. That would be a lot of work, but she didn’t know how long she’d be there. Might make sense to plan ahead. She had to prioritize though.

Moving as silently as was practical with her backpack she started checking the places that weren’t as regularly checked. Places like Dollar Stores; she didn’t fully understand why they were called that. She understood that they usually had stuff that was essentially junk, but she knew how to use things. Besides, when it was life or death getting only a couple days use out of a pan before it was unusable from the fire was acceptable. It would give her time to get the rest of her things set up.

Moving through the mall she noticed that it had seen better days. A number of the windows, mostly in the ceiling, were shattered. It was too bad; this could easily be a good place to hide out. There were plenty of supplies and, other than the windows in the roof, it was defensible. Besides, who would jump in through the roof? That was just a bad idea waiting to happen. There would be glass, and what looked like a two story fall. The dust wasn’t as thick in here as she had seen elsewhere. She didn’t know what that meant.