Annie and the End of the World 3

Annie heard screaming. It was her voice.  She was sitting on the floor screaming.  Strong arms were holding her, a man’s voice murmuring something. Annie thought how nice it was to be held in arms that made you feel safe.  Safe. What a minute, Annie jump up breaking the connection she had felt with the arms.

“What are you trying to do?”  She glared at the man sitting on the floor.

Arthur looked a bit confused, and then grinned. “Comfort you. It is what friends do to  another when one is in need of reassurance”

“I don’t need reassurance, I need no comfort.” She glared.

Still grinning, Arthur nodded and got up. He walked over to the woman’s remains, the rats long gone.  Annie watched as he untied her from the mannequin and laid her on floor, chanting something under his breath. She could not quite catch what he was saying, but assumed it had something to do with comforting the woman’s soul. She turned and left him with his ritual. She had things to do. In fact, Annie was quite perturbed that the rats had frightened her so. If she was thinking she would have killed a few for dinner.  She looked around the store.

It was a nice store once. Most of the clothing had not survived the end of the world. Some of it had. The spandex seemed alright, if not a little dusty.  There were round displays with jewelry on top.  Annie went over to look. At one time she would been looking to buy.  She loved jewelry and sparkly things in general. There was a necklace with an arrow pendant. The arrow had several rhinestones on it with one or two missing.  Even though it felt wrong, she reached up and took the necklace. Undoing the clasp she slipped the arrow off of the chain. Annie rubbed a finger over the arrow; there were others just like this one but with all their rhinestones. Annie thought about getting a complete one, however, this one called to her.   She felt, more than heard, Arthur coming towards her. Annie slid the bangle into one of her many pockets. It was bad enough he had seen her lose her mind, he didn’t need to see her get sentimental over costume jewelry.

“You ready Chief?”  Annie said and walked towards the door.

“I wouldn’t do that” he warned. “And I am not a chief.”

She ignored him. Annie walked to door swung  it open to be greeted with a hiss. She backed up and grabbed a blade from her side. It was a goddamn mountain lion. What the heck was a mountain lion doing in these parts? Anne could not remember if there were ever mountain lions in this area. At one time, when she was, maybe, ten, she wanted to be a zoologist. She read everything she could about animals, past and present, where they lived, used to live, eat, everything she could get her hands on. Now she wished she  could remember if these cats were native.  If not then it was an escaped zoo animal. They were the worst; they were typically hungry and looked for humans to fix their situation, even if they didn’t trust them. The lion hissed once more.

“Told you not to go there.” Arthur said.  “Leave it”

The mountain lion at hearing Arthur’s voice turned into a house cat. It was all purrs and head bumps as it greeting Arthur, totally ignoring Annie standing there with her knife. Arthur was rubbing the big cat all over and murmuring stupid words, like folks do to their pets.  Annie looked at the two and sheathed her knife.

“I take it you two know each other.”

“Yep”, Arthur said, “This Bob.  He is my companion.  Want to say hi?”

“No, that’s ok.”

“You should say hi. That way Bob knows your scent and that you are a friend. It’s kind of important.”

“I am allergic to cats.” Annie lied.

Arthur rolled his eyes and grabbed her hand. He held it to Bob who sniffed a while then licked her hand.  Annie flinched when she felt the sandpaper tongue rasp her hand. She pulled her hand back, glared at Arthur and walked out of the door. She didn’t even look. She had had enough and woe to anyone in her way. She stomped her way to the sporting goods store, little puffs of brown dust formed at her feet with each step.  She had had rats, dead women and now a puma named Bob. If anyone was in the store they were in for an unhealthy meeting

The store’s glass doors were broken out.  Annie stooped and went through, being careful not to catch herself on the jagged glass.  She stood up and let her eyes adjust. It was a mess. There was nothing left on the shelfs or walls at all, it was all on the floor. A huge mountain of fishing rods, canoes, sleeping bags, camping gear, shoes everything you could imagine was in a pile in the middle of the store. She would have to climb the mountain in order to see the back end of the store. She thought of the rats. She had eaten rat before, she would kill a rat but she would rather be shot at then meet a rat. The thought made her skin crawl.   Annie took a deep breath and started to climb. She was almost to the top when she heard a noise. It was a faint one to be sure but she heard it. It sounded like someone  had said “wait”

Annie reached for her blade. She put in her teeth and quietly climbed to the top. She peered over the top for a look. There were some children and a teenager there. All were armed with baseball bats. The youngest could not have been more than 5.  Annie turned on her back. She had to think.  She could of course take them all out, bats or not, but they were kids.  Smart kids if they built this mountain.  Maybe the mountain could help her.  Arthur arrived at the door of the store. Annie put her finger to her mouth, indicated he should be quiet. He gave a signal to the cat. Bob lay down. Arthur crept, quieter than even Annie was, up to her.  She held up her hand to indicate there was five. Arthur started to take his bow from his back, but Annie shook her head no.  She touched the top of her head, and then her waist to show they were small. To Arthur’s credit he understood.  She then showed that she was going make the mountain collapse towards the kids. Again he understood. Annie reached forward intending to push some of the stuff towards the kids, hoping to disorient them Arthur also went to push forward. Both of them yelped at the same time. The kids had put mousetraps all through the top of the pile. Arthur and Annie had traps on both hands.  Annie reached with her teeth and pulled off the trap on one hand, then removed the trap from her other hand before removing Arthurs. Her hands were red, angry looking and throbbing like hell. Damn smart ass kids.  She stood intending to scold the children but they were gone.


Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

Chapter 5:

Chapter 6:

Chapter 7:

Chapter 8:

Chapter 9:

Chapter 10: