I stood there wanting to ask Mac what the heck was going to happen but I knew he’d just tell me to wait and see. So I asked anyways.
“Soooo, what’s gonna happen in ten minutes? Why will he,” I made some quote fingers, ” ‘guaranteed be awake’ or whatever?”
“Okay lets talk about something else to keep your mind off it,” Mac replied back. It was the sort of response I was expecting. “So, I told you about the EMP and Seismic probe, Right?”
“Yeah,” I said, wondering why he going back to this. We needed to get somewhere where there was food and water. I knew we needed to be going west, but it felt like Gar and me had been just traveling in circles. Who has a compass? We all had cell phones equipped with GPS, which, with the EMP going off, was pretty much just as good as a rock.
“And the two viruses,” he added.
“Yeah the ‘Zombie whatever’ virus and the ‘Spontaneous combustion’ virus,” I replied as he nodded in confirmation.
“Yes. Okay, so here’s a question: Where are you trying to go?” It was a good question. The guy hadn’t asked where we were going before, he had just been looking for another living soul in need. We just happened to be on the way.
“Well, I know West of here is the suburbs and they’re a bit more wooded. We’d need guns, but I’m sure we could hunt some of the game in the forested areas,” I said confidently, “but I think we have been just circling around the edge of the city. You know, I can recognize some buildings, the unique ones, but much of the rubble looks the same. That and we might have been losing it due to lack of food,” I added.
“Another question: How far do you think the destruction stretches?” He asked. I was getting sick of questions, but I answered.
“I dunno, twenty-five, maybe thirty miles I suppose,” I replied, guessing heavily.
“What would you think if I told you the destruction spans out over a one-hundred mile radius?” Another question. Jeeze Louise.
“I would tell you you are out of your fucking mind, Mac,” I said in my douchiest tone. He pulled out of his bag some ratty rag looking thing. It looked almost like a scroll with writing on it.
“The hell is that,” I asked in my still negative tone of voice.
“This is a message from my friend delivered by our messenger. We’re very connected, very knowledgeable, and very lo-tech. We were hi-tech, but we learned the ways of the lo-tech so that we could survive,” Mac answered as he unfolded the dirty looking scroll.
“Hey, I started getting into that lo-tech stuff for a while too,” I said in a happier tone “Yeah, writing on paper instead of on plastic. Pencils. All that stuff. I can dig the lo-tech for sure.”
“Yes, good. We are on the same level then,” he said as I nodded.
“This scroll arrived just two days ago,” Mac said, unfolding it carefully. I took a look at the scroll, noticing a strange seal at the top.
I read the scroll. It read:
Thu Jun 20 2022,
Mac: Rup and I have traveled East for some time now. Ted should be here with the measurements soon. Estimated radius is 150 miles at the time of this writing. Virus T-251-IV and Virus 2-B-V have been confirmed in these areas. Virus T seems to be different than what we expected. We will update you with a full report very soon on this matter.
Keep traveling West, and report new data as necessary.We will update you frequently.
P.S. We missed your last report, please send A.S.A.P.
“So you missed your last report, huh?” I asked, chuckling.
“Well yes, you see,” he spat out. He paused for a bit, “Ahhhhh, yeah I didn’t get it in. Wanna help me write it up?”
Before I could answer, Gar’s eyes opened up wide as a disturbing look ran across his face. It was the kind of look you’d get if you either had to take a disgusting shit or if you were about to vomit. It looked like Gar was about to do both pretty soon.
“Stand him up,” Mac instructed as he ran over to his left arm. I ran over to the other arm and with one fluid motion we stood him up on his feet.
“Okay stand away from the head,” Mac said. I figured Gar was going to hurl soon. We both braced his back, standing away from the line of fire. Gar made some weird noises, some gurgling sounds, “Here it comes!” Mac just had so say it as a disgusting “ARRRRRRRWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAFF!” filled the air. Projectile vomit spewed from Gar’s mouth and reached a distance of nearly twenty feet from my quick estimate. He puked a bit more, spit for about ten minutes, and, as Mac gave him a bottle of water and a flask, he went back to his drinking and napping.
Gar seemed to be alright after his vomit-fest. It had been a long day, I figured I’d lay back as well, so I started gathering firewood.
“Get on that report,” I told Mac, “I wanna get out of here.”
“Good idea. Thanks. You’re right, I need to stay on top of these things,” he said back.
I was glad to have Mac around and now that Gar wasn’t a rotten piece of shit, we could drag him along again. He sat there, passed out drunk as I collected firewood. Mac scribbled notes in a notebook as I laid the wood down. It wasn’t even dark yet, but I wanted to feel the glowing warmth of a fire.
“Here, use this,” Mac said, tossing me a bottle of kerosene. I pulled out a lighter.
“Thanks,” I said as I lit the fire. The kerosene stunk as it burned but soon the fire was roaring. Mac tossed me two sleeping bags.
“Much more comfortable than the ground,” he said, “Throw that other one on your buddy, he’ll eventually find it.”
“Thanks, man. You’re amazing,” I said in a half-serious tone. I threw the other bag on Gar, hopped in to my bag and warmed up next to the fire as the world turned around me. Today was a long day. I wanted to end it early to see tomorrow again.