Anno Viventes Mortuae Ch. 01

byFelix921©

Maria shifted position on the couch and looked at Warren. "Is it good or bad that we're close to the military bases here?"

Warren gave an odd, non-comittal shrug. "Maybe good, for safeties sake. Maybe not so good for your constitutional rights."

Leer snorted.

Warren adjusted his glasses and continued. "Thing about the military, or the government in general for that matter... in a crisis, they tend to look at civilians as... livestock. They'll save you if it's part of a plan that solves the problem most efficiently. 'Course, they might have to round you up in pens. For your own good, of course."

Maria nodded dourly. "Sounds about right."

Leer scratched the back of his head thoughtfully. With a deep sigh he turned off the television and regarded the two on the couch.

"If they don't get this shit squared away like, pretty fuckin' quick, we'll end up drafted, locked up or quarantined. Sounds crazy, but quarantine could turn into termination."

"In the interest of the public good, that would be." Warren added sarcastically.

"Foods on." Draga announced cheerfully, coming to stand next to the couch. She saw the expressions on their faces. "Nothing good on?"

Over dinner Draga was brought up to speed on the general state of the world. Warren did most of the talking, keeping it short and morbid. Draga listened impassively. She understood, academically, but even after her own experience with the ravening undead, it was all a little surreal. Kind of like Neo waking up from the Matrix or something. You thought it would be cool to live in one of those movie worlds. Imagined what it would be like if it happened. But that was when you knew it was impossible.

Draga filed the information without really thinking about it. At this point she was just trying to resign herself to going with the flow. Focus on the present and keep busy. Cling to the tenuous stability provided her by her new companions.

When Warren had fallen silent, apparently finished, she waited a moment before speaking.

"So... I won't be getting a refund on tuition, will I?" there was little humor in her voice.

There were a couple grunts in reply.

"You were taking classes?" Maria asked, wiping hot sauce from her lower lip.

Draga nodded. She regarded her half eaten burger blankly for several seconds, mind wandering, before setting it back on her plate.

"Yeah, um, massage and... well, just physical therapy now. Already have massage certification." She smiled wryly. Her right hand came up to brush at the raven wing of hair obscuring her left eye in an almost unconscious gesture. "Probably not a lot of demand for physical therapists now."

"Lotta crackpot survivalists laughing their well prepared asses off. I'd think about accepting barter, though. It doesn't look good for the American Dollar." Warren observed.

"Wait, you say you're a ... what, how you say.. a masseuse?" Maria cut in.

Draga leaned back in her seat and brushed at her hair again. She smiled. "Yeah, that's the word. I think it's french or something. There's actually a different title; masseur, if you're a guy."

"Leer might go for a rub down. Really cutting loose these days." Warren stood to deposit his dishes in the sink.

Leer had been sitting silently, having finished his meal. His head was tipped back a bit, eyes unfocused. He blinked, answered without looking around.

"I miss your sister, Locke."

Draga looked at Leer, slightly surprised at the lack of any playfulness in his voice. Warren was smiling his vague smile, nonetheless.

"Taking in strange women. Smoking in the house. Whats next?" Warren went on, unperturbed.

Draga's eyes lingered on Leer. He must have some sort of Asian ancestry. You could see it around his eyes and his so straight, so black hair. He was lean all over as well. On the other hand, he stood just over six feet and had more of a V shape to his upper body than she would have expected from Asian genes. And pale blue eyes.

"Well, he did kinda save my life." Draga trailed off, managing to make it sound vaguely suggestive.

Leer tipped his head to give her a blank look. She smiled sweetly.

"I dunno. Collar makes me a little nervous."

"Well, I don't usually use it during a massage."

Leer cracked a smile at this. "Maybe later. I'm gonna get a little exercise out back. Just toss the dishes in the sink. We'll probably take off bright and early. You can take my bed and I'll crash on the couch. Assuming Maria can bare sharing the Guest room with The Professor again."

"No problem," Maria commented, "I'll just have him read one of his instruction manuals, be asleep in no time."

Warren and Maria retired to the guest room for the night. Leer spent an hour in the backyard working up a sweat. He returned to find Draga laid out on her back on the couch, eyes closed. Black cord ran from the buds in her ears to her ipod where it hid in her hip pocket.

She was singing softly along with whatever she was listening to. Leer remained just inside the door. It was a melancholy piece. Beautifully melancholy. And the girl could sing.

When she had finished the song Leer stepped over and tapped a couch leg with his foot. Draga flinched and quickly came up on one elbow. The MP5 slid to hang by its sling over the edge of the couch.

"Oh. Didn't hear you come in." she said, looking a little embarrassed. She removed the earphones and stuffed them in with the ipod.

"You can sing."

"Uh, yeah..." she could feel her cheeks heating up.

"Very pretty. What's the song you were singing?"

"It's called Gloomy Sunday. I was in a band... back in High School. We did a lot of random, off the wall stuff. Gloomy Sunday was one of our covers."

Leer nodded. "Multi-talented. Any other skills we don't know about?"

"I play guitar. Or I did. Kinda wish I had my guitar now."

"We'll have to find you another. Was considering hitting a pawn shop or two anyway."

"Hitting?" Draga gave him a look of mock reproach.

Leer arched an eyebrow. "If there's no one there, we'll leave an IOU."

"Fair enough. What if there is someone there?"

"We'll figure something out. I'm gonna take a quick shower before I hit the sack. We'll be getting up early, so you should try to get to sleep. Feel free to leave the guns next to the bed. I'd hate for waking you up to be the last thing I do."

"Thanks for the tip. Sure you don't want that massage now?" she teased.

He just managed to stop himself before saying something about her father coming back to kill him and gave a weak chuckle to cover the hesitation.

"Rain check, wagon girl."

While Leer showered Draga tried to make herself to home in his bed. She set the MP5 on the carpet next to the bed. After a slightly self conscious glance around the room she stripped down to her panties and t-shirt, leaving her clothes on the carpet where they fell. She felt a little funny sliding into someone else's bed, but the cool sheets against her skin elicited an exaltant sigh. Wriggling about, pulling the sheets and heavy mink blanket about her like a little cocoon, she smiled into what turned out to be an old feather pillow.

Draga actually giggled to herself, inhaling the faint laundry detergent and Leer smell of the pillow. This was more like it.

When Leer emerged from the bathroom there was a Draga shaped mink mound of contentment on the bed. He noticed the clothes next to the sub-machine gun on the floor as he walked by. He was just about to hit the light and head out to the den when something occurred to him. He padded over to the bedside and leaned over to have a look. Sure enough.

There came a faint 'hmm?' when he carefully unsnapped her collar.

"Shh. It's alright."

Draga had her back to him. She turned her head to regard him with half open eyes.

"You'll wake up eating goose down if you keep this on."

"Mmmkay." she replied dreamily, shifting her head enough to allow him to take the collar.

*

(No infringement of any copyrights or whatever is intended here - I don't own any of the brand names... not that it would be worth trying to sue me anyway. :)

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