TWENTY-FOUR, 2.0

Alexander kept coughing and coughing and coughing, I had to do something about the noise. When they’re outside your door, you must remain quiet. It’s for your own safety.

After I smothered Alexander, I took only a few seconds to pray. If you pray too long, they’ll find you. They can sense it, or at least my father told me that.

I didn’t know Alexander very long, only a few months, so when it came time to leave the room I just left his body there and shut the door. I don’t know why I shut the door, they don’t come after dead people, they just burn them. I figured, though, that if they did happen to walk by at a moment in the very near future, perhaps they would investigate, and find my scent, and then they would find me.

Wouldn’t be the first time.

I walked several hundred yards down the road, passing shack after shack, a few two-room huts, and very few teepees. No one used the teepees any more, really, except the reckless and danger freaks.

When I was younger, my father was a danger freak. It hurt at night when our neighbors would come in, easily lifting our teepee’s flats, and molest me. I told my father about these nightly visits years later, or, rather, I whispered them to him as I closed my hammer over his windpipe and smashed out his last breath. He may have heard me, but I still don’t care.

Further down the road, I finally reached the neighborhood’s outpost, and sure enough the gate was still wide open, blown apart by the Great Weapon that had been shouted about for months.

Grabbing my gun, my staff, and my small bag of peaches hidden just under the guard tower, I proceeded to the path beyond the woods to the hut that I had gently covered with leaves and branches many nights ago, before venturing into the Villa. The Villa was Alexander’s idea, or so he thought, but really it was a constant attempt at me to re-adjust to the “inside” world.

This was yet another failure. The inhabitants would soon rebuild the gate, and I’d have to wait until another raid to find my way inside, through the trust of a “good person” on the inside. There’s a guy named Nick who told Alexander he thought I was cute, so Nick is my target. Next time.

For now, I wait silently.

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