Part XVII - Night Training
The evening of our return from the little blue house was a happy one. We cooked pasta and stewed canned tomatoes in the fireplace. Evie had her fill of spaghetti with stars and bananas in a jar. I was reminded of the Romans who would use food as a sign of wealth. That night I felt like one of the richest people on earth. Money had no value in this new world. I imagined myself taking handfuls of George Washingtons and Benjamin Franklins to start a fire or insulate my clothing in the winter. I shared my thought on money with everyone else at dinner and we had a good laugh.
"I bet places that didn't base their existence on capitalism did better at fighting those things." Doris added.
"What do you mean?"
" I'm talking about small towns and villages that still live off of the earth, farm, retain generations of their families at home. Places where superstitions live, those people probably would kill off the first zombie that came their way without hesitation. Thy would be in better physical shape and have farming stuff as weapons and could survive well."
"Interesting thought...but... At the same time those same people might not realize that it's an actual infection spread through contact because of their superstitions. They might think it's,like, demon possession and seek out the town priest to help save some victim or all climb into the local church to pray. Then it would be the end. The town would be slaughtered..." Melissa replied to Doris's optimistic view with a much more bleak situation. There wasn't much said after that.
Chris used the USB port on the back of the crank radio to charge his iPod. He put the volume on high and we sat in the den silently, while listening to the faint whisper of rock and jazz emitted from his headphones. We didn't have any speakers we could use and wouldn't use any if we had. Hearing music was a nice treat, even at such a low volume.
"I think we need to start training at night." Alex said.
"Are you nuts? You want to go outside AT NIGHT willingly and fight zombies? Have you lost your mind?" I said.
" Oh, thanks Jamie, call me nuts without even hearing what I have to say, so typical of you. Why don't you ever..."
"Sorry to interrupt you two. Jamie, I think Alex may be onto something. Let's hear what he has to say." Don interrupted and I could see the embers on the end of his cigarette get brighter as he pulled on it. I sat back disgruntled as Alex finished his statement. I could tell he was gloating, just a little.
"Well, I was thinking that the attacks are only going to get worse before they get better and Zombies don't just feed during the day. They are non-stop. If we ever get into a situation where we have to fight at night I think we should have some practice. We have the upper hand on the zombies. They rely on sight and sound but we have all five senses. We can smell them long before they can see us, for example. We're also faster... I dunno... I just don't want to be inexperienced at fighting in the dark and then have to do it, that's all I'm saying." Even though I couldn't see Alex's hands in the dimly lit den I knew his fingers were fidgety. His insecurity was a turn off as of late. In the beginning I thought it was endearing and cute. I rolled my eyes.
To my astonishment everybody else agreed with him. Saying cliches about how it's better to train and not need it than to need it and not be trained. I laughed. We were going to "train" ourselves? They ignored me. The following night was the first training session. I stayed in with Doris. Once Evie was asleep I practiced swinging my shovel within the house. Personally, I'm more scared of close combat in tight places than fighting outside in the dark. I can avoid the night sky but going looting in homes for supplies looked like it was soon to become a way of life. When the group came back in they all looked spent. Chris was missing one of his sneakers too. Nobody wanted to discuss what had happened. I finally was able to manage a slight explanation about Chris's missing shoe when I was lying in bed with Alex.
"So I guess your little training session didn't go so well, huh?" I used my condescending voice that I knew would push Alex's buttons. He rolled back over towards me and said I was wrong, that the session had gone fine. They just had a minor snag when Chris lost Faith and had to climb a tree to get away from a zombie. The zombie had managed to grab one of his legs and bit his sneaker. When Chris pulled his foot up the zombie kept the sneaker in it's mouth. Don and Mel took care of the zombie while he found Faith. After that they ran back to the house. In his opinion he thought the session went really well, he reiterated. I said he must be dreaming and that he was lucky they came back alive at all.