Axiom 3: Search for other survivors.
The girl didn’t wake up gently, as I’d imagined that she might.
In my imagination, I saw her eyes slowly fluttering open, settling on me. “Oh, you saved me,” she’d cry out as she slowly looked around at my fortress. “And wow, you’ve totally prepared for this Apocalypse really well! How can I possibly convince you to let me stay here, where you can guard and protect me?”
“Oh, I’m sure that we can come to some situation,” I’d gallantly reply, moving over to her and thoughtfully dabbing her brow with a wet cloth. “But I do have to warn you, I only have one bed at the moment.”
“I’m sure that we can make something work,” she’d reply, looking up at me with soft, warm eyes, her hands reaching up to pull my lips down to hers…
At least, that’s how I thought it would play out…
Instead, the girl’s eyes shot open and she came lunging up, out of bed, slamming into me and tackling me down to the ground. Somehow, I noted as I toppled over, she managed to slam me down on the one spot of floor that I hadn’t covered with soft rugs and cushions.
“What the hell did you do to me?” she demanded, as I gasped from the impact and the weight of her on top of me.
“I do have to warn you, I don’t have a second bed,” I gasped out, my mind still adrift in the fog of fantasy.
“What?” She glared contemptuously down at me. “What are you talking about? And what’s with this?” She reached over and grabbed a damp towel out of my limp, unresisting fingers.
“It’s to dab your forehead,” I choked out. “Look, can you let me up? You’re kind of crushing my ribcage.”
She looked down at where her knee pressed against my sternum. “I’ll think about it,” she said shortly. Not getting up, she let her gaze roam around the inside of my fortress. “What kind of shithole is this?”
“Hey!” I waved my hands ineffectually. “It’s my fortress, thank you very much!”
“Your fortress?” The woman on top of me looked around for another second or two, and then, mercifully, stood up and climbed off of my chest.
“Thanks.” I rubbed at where she’d planted her knee and sat up. “Oh man, that’s going to leave a bruise.”
She didn’t look at all sorry for hurting me. “You tried to rob me,” she accused, pointing a finger at me. “I caught you rummaging through my pack, and then you threw alcohol in my eyes when I tried to stop you.”
“No, that’s not it at all!” I insisted, but she kept on talking, not listening to my attempts to defend myself.
“And then, I passed out from that blow to the head,” she connected, rubbing at her forehead – where, sure enough, a decent sized lump was starting to form. “And you must have dragged me back here! What’s your plan? Going to rape me? I’ll kill you, first!”
As I stared, she dashed across the room, scooping up a golf club from where I’d left it leaning against the wall (a putter; I wanted to work on my short game). She brandished it at me, looking like a batter teed up to swing.
“That’s not it! You’ve got it all wrong!” I frantically waved my hands at her, but she poked me with the golf club, and I hastily lowered them. “I wasn’t trying to rob you, and I don’t want to rape you! I just wanted to help you after I accidentally hit-”
I snapped my jaw shut, but it was too late.
“You hit me?” the girl repeated, incredulous. She lowered the club for a moment, just staring at me, and I thought that I might be safe – but then she charged forward, swinging it at me over and over, yelling mindlessly.
“I didn’t mean to!” I shouted back, somehow managing to grab onto the club in mid-air. I yanked, wrenching it out of her hands. “Now, stop it and listen!”
She stopped attacking, but her eyes still glowed with anger and rage. “Talk fast, asshole.”
“Okay, first off, ow,” I replied, setting the club back down against the wall by my bucket of putting balls. “And look, you’re the first other human that I’ve seen. I wanted to get your attention, so I tried to hit a golf ball off the roof towards you.”
“You golf?” she asked, still glaring at me.
“Um, no. But I’m trying to learn.”
Her withering gaze could have wiped out acres of farmland. “Why?”
I tried to find an answer, but fell back on a shrug. “What else is there to do during the Apocalypse?”
This time, she was the one to stare as she searched for words. “You,” she began, but didn’t seem to have anything else to follow her first word up with.
“You are,” she tried again, after a couple gulps of air. “You are an absolute idiot, aren’t you?”
I tried to give her my best rakish grin. “Would an idiot have a lifetime’s supply of coffee in his fortress?”
Again, she just stared at me – probably trying to find the words to express how impressed she felt with me, I thought happily to myself. I waited, basking in her admiring, slack-jawed gaze.
Finally, she cleared her throat. “You had better start from the beginning,” she told me, shaking her head.
I hesitated, wondering if she was just getting ready to attack me again, but she stepped over to one of my armchairs and sat down in it. She sat on the very edge of the chair, clearly poised to attack at a second’s notice, but at least she was sitting.
So I poured myself a cup of coffee (I always kept some brewed, mainly because it was a pain to make it one cup at a time), and began to tell her my story.