Coming clean

So, I see all my friends – those of them I’ve got left, anyhow – are wondering if I’m a lair or if I’m dead. They’re right on one count, and as for the other…well, it won’t be long now.

So I exaggerated a little about how well I was keeping the farm going, and having massive stores of food and fuel. I didn’t get much from the town, cause I couldn’t get gas in the truck. I took the car on a couple of runs before that ran out, too. Walking there and back with a trolley takes hours, and it’s been too dangerous since the gangs moved out of the city. For weeks I’ve been living mostly on mouldy beans and the odd squirrel – or woodchuck.

Most of the food I put aside when I was prepping got taken in the raids. The first one, I turned out my lights, locked the door and shivered under my bed till they left. I was afraid they’d be carrying the flu, or that they’d just shoot me, or that I’d have to shoot them. The second one – the one about a month ago – I was already kind of not quite here, I mean I half believed the stuff I was posting. I thought I could take them, and I started shooting from the window but they jumped me. They’d come in through the back while they used my rigged alarms to lure me out front, and they knocked the gun out of my hand before I could even take aim. They forced me to show them where my hidden stores were. They took almost everything. Worse, they made me go up to the main house, with a rifle in my back, to call out and see if anyone was home.

They realised there wasn’t soon as we got within 50 yards of the place. The smell. They still made me go in with them. They made me face the wall, and one of them held a gun to me while the others searched the place. I could hear the flies buzzing around, and the smell made me wretch. I couldn’t stand upright. Eventually the guy with the gun let me kneel down to puke. They put masks on and ignored the flies, like it was nothing, they see this shit all the time. They took all the food in sealed containers from the kitchen and the basement, most of the tools in the garage, the truck and most of my weapons. They left me alone in there, said they’d shoot at me if I came out before they’d gone. I kept telling myself it wasn’t real. I’d buried them, I did funerals and everything. The wooden crosses and laminated photos were there, out in the herb patch. But I didn’t bury them. I just left them in there and didn’t go over that side of the farm again. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look at them.

And I couldn’t say any of that, here. Mei was reading, and she was just dealing with it all, like it came easy to her. She didn’t need anything from me. And if she saw that I wasn’t coping, that things were falling apart for me… I’d look so weak and stupid. So I lied. I wanted to impress her. I wanted her to change her mind about me. I thought, my life might have been going nowhere in the old world, but now that the shit’s hit, it’s my time, and I can be the one to keep it going, and bring it back from the brink. That’s what I wanted her to see. And I wanted her to regret brushing me off, and know she’d have been OK if she’d only come to join me when I asked her to. So yeah, I guess it was pretty pathetic. And petty, and mean. And it didn’t even work. Whatever I said to big up my life, she never regretted staying in Beijing for a second. She could barely find time to think about me. So the whole sham was pointless then, and it’s even more pointless now.

So I guess now I get what I deserve: to sit in an empty house on a wasted farm with no family, no friends, no food and no way out. All I got now is one loaded pistol, a backup I hid when I was prepping. So perhaps I got a way out after all.

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BIG NEWS

OK, guys, brace yourself for the most exciting news of these troubled times – Mei’s here! Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either. Turns out there’s still some flights going on – vaccines and government deals and shit – and after Mei left the quarantine her doctor friends got a job with one of these secret labs working on the vaccine, and they got Mei a job there. They don’t got many pilots left, so she trained up, and soon as she got onto a flight out to the US she detoured here. Stole a plane just to find me again.

I know that might seem pretty unbelievable, given that she wasn’t all that hot on the idea of coming out here before, but after thinking it over all this time she realised the one place she wanted to be was here.

It was late last night I heard the proximity sensors go, and when I ran for the window with my rifle I just saw her standing there, waving up at me. She’s not here right now, cause she insisted on quarantining herself over at the other house, but we’re counting down the 28 days till we can finally be together again.

Another raid

This time there were more of them. I’d gotten too confident, and they snuck past the traps and alarms while I was asleep. Time I’d woken up and seen them off, they’d already found the main store and made off with a few sacks of beans and flour. I’m pretty angry at myself for getting so lax. I’ll manage without the food, I have some more in a second location, but I just don’t feel so secure now. I’ve started chopping down our little pine forest we used to harvest for Christmas trees, using the straight trunks to make some spiky fencing for a second barrier around the perimeter. That’s keeping me busy, and of course I’m keeping watch, only sleeping a few hours at a time.

It was a bit of a shock to the system, if you know what I mean. I mean, I’m fine, I’ve still got everything I need, but they kind of got in under my defences. I had to shoot to kill, and y’know, dealing with bodies again and everything, brought a few things back. I’m fine, though. And knowing I can do that, when I need to, I guess it makes me feel safer, in a way. It just got under my skin a little, is all. But hey, what doesn’t kill us makes us hard asses, I guess! That’s the way it is from now on. And before anybody comes in with the sympathy for the raiders, these guys were totally prepared to shoot me if I didn’t get them first. If I hadn’t stopped them, they’d have taken everything, and that’d be even worse. So I did what I had to, and they got what was coming to them. That’s an end of it.

So, I’m just wondering if anybody got a message from Mei? I figured that what with Ash and Elaine both having some close calls lately, she might have been concerned and just, you know, sneaked in a quick SkIMp to say “hang in there”. Not my place to check up on her, I know, but I’m kind of worried. I just hope she’s OK. Just, y’know, let me know if she’s said anything – you don’t have to say what she’s said, just if she’s said anything, that’d be a comfort to me to know. And I hope you’re both recovered, too.

I know Mei’s out there

Wishful thinking?  Don’t believe me?  Here’s how I know.  Mei’s had stuff going on since the first quarantine that she never put on her blog.  There’s a lot of political factions trying to take control of the campus.  There was stuff she couldn’t go public about, and I can’t tell you all of it – I don’t know all of it, myself – but I picked up some details when we used to SkIMp every day.  That’s how I know what to look for.

It’s like her paintings, all disconnected bits and you have to piece it together.  She knew I understood that.  I think she only dumped me to protect me; maybe they were onto our SkIMp calls and maybe they could’ve reached me to put pressure on her, who knows, they could have people in the US, that’s not so unbelievable, is it?

She has a plan she’s trying to tell me.  I think she needs to make it look like she’s dead, but she’s planning something big, bigger than the occupation and the quarantine, bigger than the CPC even.

Did any of you notice her new picture?  It’s a message to me.  It looks like the one from before the first quarantine ended, but it’s not.  The horizon’s further, the sky’s clearer, you can see the mountains – it could mean she’s getting out of Beijing, maybe out of China.  I mean, look at her new avatar!  How much clearer can you say: “I’m not here anymore, I disappeared.”

I don’t know where she is, and I don’t know where she’s going, but I won’t give up on her.  I’ll hear from her again, I know it.  You’ll all see.