Wicca’s Originals @ The Warehouse Sale // November 2021

Wicca’s Originals @ The Warehouse Sale // November 23rd – December 18th

Reality bites!

I remember the Zombie apocalypse movies and televisions shows from Before. Those were nothing compared to life After. But I always knew Hollywood was full of shit.
Some might call me psycho survivalist or a fanatic, but in the end I am alive and they are all dead. Ten years in the army, in the worst conditions possible, prepared me for this. The After has been a long time coming and I made damn sure I was ready for it.

The only thing I failed at was protecting my family. Lost Mom during my second tour in Afghanistan, but Pop was still going strong raising my kid sister and brother in Brooklyn. During one of my leaves, I built a damn good bomb shelter in the basement of the family home. Before I shipped out again I made sure it was well stocked with provisions.

The night the world went to Hell, I was video chatting with Pop and the twins, who had just graduated from high school. They were all so damn happy. All I needed was a few more weeks and the bunker would have been ready for all of us. Instead, the last I saw of them was their smiling faces huddled in front of Pop’s computer before the flash that knocked out everything.

Took me months to get back to the city. I carried the hope that Pop managed to get them down to the basement and into the bunker before the worst happened. That hope turned to ash, much like my childhood home when I finally arrived. I dug through the remains until I found the door to the bunker and opened it with a combination. No one made it inside.

So I packed up all the supplies I had stocked there and started back to my remote bunker, just me and Whiskey; the mongrel mutt I rescued from an animal shelter when he was a puppy. Half canine, half bear, but one hell of a guard dog. Quiet as hell, too, for a dog the size of a small pony.

It will be sunrise soon and it’s suicide to travel during the day; too easy to be seen. My boat is filled with the supplies from the family house and I don’t dare risk being seen during the day. I know a place in the city I can hide the boat and wait out the daylight. Whiskey will alert me to anyone approaching.
The old warehouse had completely collapsed, but otherwise looked sturdy. Over time the debris had settled and left pockets where a body or even a dog could squeeze in and find shelter. But as we approached, Whiskey’s ears perked and he stopped and stared at a tiny dark spot. I moved in cautiously and found a small form hiding in the recesses.
Her thin, burned face and bloody hands did not compare to the fear in her eyes. Before I could offer any assurance of safety, Whiskey jumped ahead of me and stood protectively over her small frame. Hackles raised and teeth bared, Whiskey alerted me to the imminent danger. With a hand gesture order to stay and guard, I quietly covered the small cubby hole with debris and moved to high ground where I could see what or who was coming.
Soon, two men came into view dragging a body between them. They striped the body clean of every piece of clothing then shoved it off the end of the dock. Then they began to fight amongst themselves for what they had just scavenged. One man grabbed a loose board and began to beat his companion. The other, disoriented between blows, still managed to pull out a makeshift weapon and jammed it into his companion’s stomach. Both men fell to the ground and after an eerie silence, neither man moved.
They were both dead. I had seen enough of it in Afghanistan to know what it looks, smells and sounds like. Quietly, I left my vantage point to return to women’s hiding spot and slipped inside my hastily built shelter. She sat huddled close to Whiskey with fists full of his fur and her face buried into the dog’s massive chest.
Since the men were only a few yards away, she had to have heard and seen everything. I slipped inside the shelter, but stayed as far away from the terrified woman as I could. I rummaged through my knapsack and pulled out a couple bottles of water I retrieved from Pop’s house and a few protein bars. Carefully, so not to startle her, I slid a bottle and bar toward her with my foot.
On a metal plate, I broke apart a second bar and held it out for Whiskey. The food was gone in seconds. I emptied half my water bottle onto the plate for my dog while the girl remained frozen by the canine’s side. Once Whiskey was taken care of, I made short order of my own meager breakfast, careful not to look at the woman directly.
I did see her slowly reach for the food and water and clutch them to her chest. She drew up into a tighter ball, keeping Whiskey between her and me. That was fine. I could not blame her. But when she whimpered in pain trying to open the bottle of water, that nearly broke me. Her hands were so torn up she could not manage the simple act.
I held out my hand and waited. Whiskey took that moment to stretch out and bump my hand with his head. With a smile, I obliged my faithful friend with a scratch behind the ears. This is one smart dog, because by showing me his trust, he showed the woman she could trust me as well.
Cautiously, a trembling hand passed over the water bottle. I took the bottle and unscrewed the cap enough so she could manage the rest herself. She snatched it back and took what looked like a couple painful swallows. How long had it been since she had water?
She tore at the bar with her teeth and managed to tear it open enough to get at the food inside. Damn, I thought Whiskey ate fast. Between bites and gulps she stared at me warily, expecting me to attack at any second. Can’t blame her for that either.
Using my knapsack as a pillow, I rested as best I could, but always conscious of my environment. Whiskey laid his head over his massive paws and went to sleep. The woman struggled to stay awake, but finally exhaustion won out and she fell into a deep slumber against the dog’s back.
By the time she woke up I had torn my tee shirt into bandages and cleaned and dressed her hands. Ointment from my kit was carefully applied to the burns on her face. This is all I dared to do for now. I couldn’t risk her waking and running. When darkness fell, I left her with Whiskey on guard and another bottle of water while I scouted the area.
When I returned, she was staring at her hands in disbelief as her body shook and jerked in an odd way. It took me a moment to realize she was crying. No tears fell, clearly too dehydrated to expend the dampness from her eyes.
I gathered my things and silently signaled fo Whiskey to follow. The dog nudged the women’s arm with his nose before he rose and followed me from the shelter. I waited outside until I saw her inch forward the opening to peer out at me. An outstretched hand was my silent offer, for I dare not risk even a word of comfort with danger still around us.
Wide and fearful eyes stared at my hand for a long time before her eyes shifted to my bare chest. The night was still hot, so I was not uncomfortable without my shirt. I had my durable pants and boots that never let me down. Her oversized shirt was torn and dirty, but it was long enough to protect her.
I was patient. The decision was hers to remain or come with me. We were both alone in this new world. I am not going to lie. I wanted human companionship. Female companionship. But I wasn’t going to take anything that was not offered.
I looked out at the once great city and knew it was the last time I would ever see it. Life Before is just a memory. I looked down when I felt her hand slip into mine. She slowly stood and stared up at me. The fear was still there, but not directed at me, but for the future before us.
This was a new and strange world for both of us. I offered her a reassuring smile as I led her to the awaiting boat.
One step at a time.

– The End –

Sizes: Maitreya, Legacy[F], Legacy[M], Gianni, Jake
(one full version and one coat-cut included – matches the Scavenger Coat)
HUD: 10 Colors & Metals
Event Location: The Warehouse Sale // November 2021

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