I woke slowly, relaxed, like you do when you know where you are and feel safe. Muted sunlight filled the room. I was on a thin foam mattress on the top floor of our little glass house as we called it. Lying there, I drifted back over the last three weeks. Toni was not there. I presumed she was out hunting for food. My last foray those three weeks ago had attracted every critter for miles. They still milled about the blown out bank building. It made it relatively safe to move north for scavenging.
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My face was stinging like hell. We headed for the basement.

“Do you have any bandages or things like that?”

She went to a closet on the left side of the room and opened it. I followed her and saw that, yes, there were medical supplies. A considerable cache of injectables, dressings, bottles of pain meds, antibiotics, and other more exotic stuff plus some kind of lab equipment. I grabbed a bottle of iodine and some scrubs and took it to one of the tables.
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Three buildings were up ahead. I had been running for five minutes and my pursuers had fallen behind. But I knew they would keep coming unless I could distract them somehow. I took the three story office building on the right. The front door was open but apparently intact. Running through the doorway, I realized my mistake. Stopping dead, I looked around. Nothing in sight. I let my breathing slow down. Taking the door marked stairway, I was faced with near total darkness. Given past experience, I felt that old alarm that raised the hair on the back my neck. I held the door open, looking for something to prop it open. A book was laying the floor and I shoved under the door, pulling the door over it to wedge it tight. Then I turned to the stairwell. A shadow moved on the steps above me and I saw a figure in the gloom that gave me chills. It was a young girl. Maybe seven or eight years old, coming down slowly, with the deliberate motion I knew so well. Without thinking, I brought the rifle up. But before pulling the trigger, I just had to say it:
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What the Old Man Did 13

April 21, 2012

We drove on for a few minutes, hoping to spot a decent place to wait out the storm. It was raining now and the sky had a funny cast to it, like there were green bubbly clouds.
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What the Old Man Did 9

April 16, 2012

I had been afraid many times. But since that day at Oakland’s door, I had not felt deep fear until now. I realized I didn’t want this person to die. At the front of the store I heard the doors swing open. She grabbed my hand and pulled me to the pharmacy counter. She hopped over it easily. I climbed over and followed her to a door at the back. I wanted to shout for her to wait but it was too late, she was through. It was semidarkness still but I could see another door beyond that. We stood there for a moment and then opened it. There was a warehouse. Locking the door behind us, we scanned the gloom. Nothing. After a few seconds, she put her arms around me and held me for a long time. Then said, “Thanks.”

I was still hyped up. When she stepped back I started looking around. There were racks of untouched items. Food, clothes, tents and sleeping bags. It was a bonanza. Further on, I saw a very interesting sight. A car. It appeared to be untouched. There was a light on the wall next to it. A dim red light. What? I turned to Toni,
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What the Old Man Did 7

April 13, 2012

I started walking back the way I had come. The woman followed me. Girl may have been better. She couldn’t be more than 17 or so. She followed after me, though I had said nothing in response to her plea. I didn’t like this. Darkness was falling and I had no light. But what I was really worried about was having to take this one along. I now felt some obligation to see that she did get herself killed. A likely prospect I thought.
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What the Old Man Did 4

April 6, 2012

. . . Standing at the stop of the stairs, tears filling my eyes, I didn’t notice that she began to move. Slowly, staring with her white eyes, her hand out, moving slowly toward me. I bolted, running for the door. I heard a noise behind me, shuffling footsteps, and then a kind of groan. I stopped and turned. My mother was hurrying slowly to me. But it wasn’t really her. There was a mad hungry look on her face. I turned again and ran for the street. Aside from the breath whistling in and out of my mouth, everything was dead silent. No cars, no people, nothing. I ran for my friend Oakland’s house . . .
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What the Old Man Did 2

March 17, 2012

I saw no one that morning. K was not beside me and the three kids who lived in the boathouse were gone. At first I was not alarmed. After all, this kind of thing had happened before. Sleep late and miss out on breakfast. I put the sleeping bag away. It was time to make a trip to town for another one. Winter was only a few months away and the fallen leaves covered the old cracked asphalt of the midway. As I walked toward our current food hangout I didn’t hear the usual banter of the other inhabitants of our “park.”
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