Twenty minutes later, I was ready to get moving. Well most of me was. My ankle still hurt when I put weight on it. Andy found a cane for me after I refused to lean on him. I limped out of the store under my own power while he closed the doors behind us.
My bat and machete were still laying near the bodies. I made my way over to my machete watching the corners of buildings for motion. I started to dip down to retrieve my machete when Andy swooped in and picked it up for me.
“Here you go. I’ll get your bat,” he said walking off. I sheathed the machete and stuck my bat in my pack when he handed it to me.
“We should move the bodies,” I said.
“You need to get off your feet. The more rest your ankle gets the better.”
“We can just leave them out in the open. Anyone who comes along will know someone else is in the area. We should drag them out of sight.”
“Ok, where do you want to drag them?”
“The drainage ditch would be best,” I said pointing at the ditch running near the parking lot.
“That’s kind of far.”
“I can get the small-” I started to say.
Andy cut me off, “No, you’ll fuck up your ankle more if you do that.”
I thought for a second surveying the area. Two bodies. In the middle of the parking lot. Nothing nearby except for the car Andy had walked into that started this mess. I had an idea. “What about putting them behind the car?” I said.
Andy looked at the car and the bodies. “Ok,” he said and moved to grab the arms of the smaller zombie. He dragged it behind the car. He grabbed the larger zombie’s arms and with more effort dragged it around behind the car as well.
“Ok that’s it. We’re going now.”
“Which way is your house?” Andy asked.
“If we go to your store, I can manage from there,” I said and started walking in that direction.
“You can’t walk home alone. You said you saw two zombies on the way to my store this morning. What if you run into them on the way home?” Andy walked beside me matching my slower pace.
“I can manage.”
“You’re going to get yourself killed.”
I said nothing and we walked in silence the rest of the way to Andy’s store.
“Ok, now which way?” Andy asked once we reached his store.
“I only have to go a couple of blocks. I don’t need you to tag along,” I said.
“I’m not going to let you walk home alone. Either I walk you home or you don’t go anywhere.” He put his hands on his hips and panted his feet.
I took a half step back. My hand tightened on the cane. “Is that a threat?” I said.
“What?” He dropped his arms to his sides. “No. I just don’t want you to be in danger,” he said
“I told you the first day we met, I can’t trust you,” I said.
“Because I can’t.” I felt my voice rising in volume. “Now, go inside your store and stay there while I leave,” I said.
“And if I don’t?” he asked.
Time slowed down and cranked into high gear. I pulled my machete out. Is he really a threat, I asked myself. Why won’t he just take no for answer. Or am I just being stubborn? I have to do this. I could let him walk me home but would that be enough or would he insist on going inside?
“If you try to follow me I will kill you,” I heard myself say.
“What for trying to help you?”
“You want my trust?” I lifted the machete. “Then you need to respect my boundaries. Right now that means going inside and letting me go home in peace.” This was happening to fast I needed time to think but I needed to get away first.
He raised his hands and stepped back. “This is kinda fucked up. I just wanted to help you.”
I glared at him machete still raised.
“Fine whatever. Go get eaten by a zombie. Just don’t say I didn’t try,” Andy said. He walked backward to the store’s doors turning only to open one. From inside through the broken door he said, “Stay off your ankle as much as possible and it should be mostly better in a week or two.” He walked to the back of the store toward his barricade.
I lowered and sheathed my machete and headed home. I hobbled along on the street. I couldn’t negotiate the uneven lawns without causing myself more pain. I was exposed but moving slower which gave me more time to examine my surroundings I hoped. I passed the intersection where I had seen the two zombies earlier without incident. Finally I made it to my apartment.
I went inside and locked the door. I shed my backpack and machete belt on the way to my lookout chair. I sat down and focused on the entrance to the apartment complex. From my vantage point only part of the entrance was visible but I hoped it would be enough. I sat watching for twenty minutes before sitting down on a sofa with my foot up.
He hadn’t followed me. Or if he had, he had kept his distance. Either way I couldn’t keep watch all the time.
I rested my ankle for about an hour and then emptied out my backpack. Food was stacked in the kitchen, blackout curtains tossed on my lookout chair. The battery packs I dropped in a kitchen drawer. The spare machetes I placed on the sofa along with the medical supplies Andy had packed for me.
I sat down on the sofa and opened a package of ice packs. I activated one, pulled my tank top and bra straps aside and stuck it to my bruised shoulder.
Later I nailed the blackout curtains up.