A Pious Man (Part III)Submitted by ridiculous at 2010-05-24 11:22:35 EDT
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A long minute of uncomfortable silence passed before Akilina lost control of her growing impatience.
“So…” She allowed the word to draw out. “What happens now?” The wind accentuated her question.
She had been standing in the kitchen of the destroyed house for several minutes now. The Makarov PM in her hand was cold and heavy but it was a solid weapon that she knew quite well. The battered kitchen wall, the plaster lying in heaps on the floor and the lining boards not much more than cinders stood between her and the man she knew was on edge. On edge, and armed, he was just waiting for her to walk around the corner. The wind was blowing, fast and hard. If not for the wind, he might have shot her already. Thankfully it muffled and threw their voices enough that neither knew exactly where the other stood.
“You leave and in a few minutes, I leave.” The voice carried from around the wall between them.
“That hurts, you don’t even know me and you’re rejecting me?” She teased, trying to ease his tension and wondering if she might do better to take a lesson from him in that regard.
“That is exactly the point. I don’t know you. Get out of here.”
“Can’t we talk for a while?”
“No.” His voice was firm, resolute.
Akilina brooded. She was not used to being rebuffed, especially not by men. She was not willing to accept this man’s callous refusal to speak with her.
There were several more long seconds before her temper got the better of her.
“I asked you a question you bastard! Why in the hell won’t you at least talk to me? It’s not as if we aren’t alone here!” She fumed.
He remained silent.
“Answer me!” She disliked the edge of desperation in her voice but she disliked being alone even more.
“What do you want from me?!” He yelled, his voice was exasperated, untrusting.
“I just want to talk…” She pleaded.
There was a long pause. The wind filled the silence with its deafening gusts and the eerie quiet between them. Finally he responded:
“Tomorrow morning. The lake, near the airport, there is an inlet on the west side. Meet me at the house north of there. Ten AM. Don’t be late.” He grunted as he stood and ran for the house’s front door.
Akilina heard him move and stepped around the corner just in time to see the edge of his pack vanish from view around the side of the house.
“I’ll be there.” She said to no one in particular, her eyes scanned down the hall to where he had sat in ambush.
Akilina returned to the kitchen and passed through the window she had come in, thinking that if he had stopped to watch and saw her come from the door he’d just left he might shoot her for paranoia’s sake. He was definitely paranoid. It was a nice change though, she mused, meeting someone who didn’t immediately try to get in her pants just because she was a woman.
The snow crunched under her feet as she wandered through the city. She ducked into various houses, factories and similar places scavenging anything that looked useful. She imagined the man she had met was doing the same thing; picking the bones of a dead city like a pair of carrion eaters.
She had no luck in the morning, bumping into the stranger was certainly interesting but hardly going to keep her from starving. She had better luck when she turned into the residential areas. She found a more or less intact blanket spread over a frozen corpse, some canned food buried under some loose debris and some ammunition for her Makarov in the guardhouse next to the old courthouse. She hadn’t even had to spend a round scaring off dogs. It was a downright prosperous afternoon.
Late in the afternoon, when it started getting colder, she started making her way back to the church, which had been her home for the last two months. She busied her mind during the walk by thinking of the stranger she had met and wondering what kind of food was in the nondescript steel cans in her pack. Mostly, she thought about the stranger. He had thought he was alone. Had he been totally alone? Since it had happened? What would that do to a person’s mind? She eventually concluded the subject by deciding that regardless of the answers, she wanted to know more about him. She smiled, shaking her head at herself. He didn’t even want to talk to her, and because of that, she had to talk to him. He might be the only real man left.