“Figures. Out of milk.”
You drag a hand down your face to suppress an oncoming sigh, already dreading the trekking you’d need to make to replenish your supply. You’d put it off, but… the soft coos of one blonde infant nestled in a bundle of cloth behind you only serves to remind you that it wasn’t an option. You look back at the baby thoughtfully, watching as she squirmed and played with her toes without a care in the world, a bottle of half-finished milk in her tiny hands.
No milk? Not an option.
You steel yourself, drawing in a long breath before you tack on a smile, approaching the tiny bundle with all the air of a loving caretaker. “Hey Casey,” you begin with a grin, and you could see her small face brighten at your presence. “Sorry. We’re out of milk. Looks like we’re going to have to get some more,” You try to restrain the smallest quiver in your tone at the end of that sentence.
The baby girl just keeps staring at you blankly. Of course, she couldn’t understand you, but it’s a practice you don’t particularly want to stop. You justify it as a way to stimulate her mind or at least teach her to talk, but honestly, you’ve been dying for someone to talk to (dying is a poor choice of word given the situation, but whatever). It was better than talking to nothing, at least.
“We’d better get moving while it’s still bright out…” A brief look at the watch tells you it’s a quarter after six in the morning. No better time than to head out and find supplies, and if you’re lucky, other people still alive. Friendly people, you correct yourself. With any luck, you’ll find a place that hasn’t been completely ransacked and has enough to keep the both of you fed.
You go over to the table where you’ve set most of everything you need, checking over its contents. A crowbar for anything that needs breaking into, a Swiss army knife you’d gotten for your seventeenth birthday (never leave home without it), a flashlight with some spare batteries, tissues and rags, a lighter and some matches, first-aid kit, among others. You always have a stainless steel bat strapped to your waist, if there was ever a need for it right away. You also kept yours and your dad’s wallet. God knows what good currency will even do anymore, but you never know. If anything, if you need to burn any paper. ‘Always be prepared’ was starting to be a constant, personal mantra. It’s saved your life so far, but you suspect that you’re not coming out of this entirely… unscathed.
One item in particular always catches your eye almost hauntingly: a civilian model M1911 Colt pistol, was what it was officially called, though you don’t care much for names of guns, so much that it was a freaking gun. It scared you witless to even hold the thing. Case in point, you’ve only shot it a total of four times: two for practice, and the other two…
The build up of bile in your stomach tells you that it’s a bad idea to continue that line of thought.
Personally, you hate that it’s a necessity at all to have it. You’d be stupid to go out without it, and not just because of the zombies. You wish it was just because of the zombies.
Another glance at the clock tells you it’s a little after six thirty, now. You’d better get moving before someone beats you to the good stuff of what’s left of the supermarket. God, you hope the milk there’s not spoiled.
After one last look, you grab your bag and baby harness from the table, placing the harness down next to Casey so you could strap her into it. You store the bottle of milk in one of the pockets of your bag —Wouldn’t want it to go to waste. Gingerly, you carry Casey up to buckle her into the harness, her cooing happily in response as you do, then strapping her to your front. “There you go, Casey. Comfy?” You take the little gurgle as a ‘yes’ and allow yourself to smile, giving her a pacifier to keep her mouth busy, and a low hood to partially cover her eyes.
Some people would probably argue that it was suicide to bring a baby with you in the midst of all those… things. Hell, some people actually have argued with you, quite verbally, that you’d be a fool to be lugging such extra weight, one that might be prone to crying, making noise, and taking up more of your resources. Maybe you are a fool…
You sling your bag over your shoulders and wear it on your back, patting yourself down one last time to check if you had everything you need. There was enough water and snacks packed to last the both of you at least a day. Of course, there was more stored and hidden away in the house, but you never knew if it would be safe to come back.
You’ve yet to find the keys to the house to lock the door with, nor do you intend to exhaust any effort to do so. It wasn’t actually yours, in all honesty, and it wasn’t as if locked doors would stop any other looters. You do close it after exiting, though. Looters might come and go as they like, but zombies don’t actually know how to turn a knob.
The morning air is crisp when you breathe in deep. The sun was up and bright, only slightly clouded over, with a gentle breeze to go with. On any other day, it would have made a wonderful day for a walk, though the shambling, pale, bloodied woman right at the end of the lawn was quite possibly the start of an already bad day. By some good grace, nothing else was lurking about the neighborhood street. There were the two corpses laying listlessly on the road since the two days you’ve taken shelter there.
Normally, you don’t go to any lengths to actively hunt down zombies. The less of them still walking around to potentially kill anybody, the better, but that was energy you couldn’t afford to exert on a daily basis. You’d ignore the dead lady if you could, but there was a problem: she was standing right next to your bike.
Damn. And you just got your bat cleaned.
You pull down Casey’s hood a little more and hope she doesn’t see anything too gruesome. The last thing you need is for her to become accustomed to this sort of thing… though there’s a part of you that knows it’s unavoidable. There’s little chance of this girl to grow up ‘normal’…