Naomi Ch. 03byscotjock1©
(Just to let the readers know, unlike the last two installments, this installment is written from two separate viewpoints; James, and Naomi.)
I found myself in the kitchen sat at the table, a brisk Summer air filling the room as I sat with two children either side of me happily eating their breakfasts.
They were two beautiful little girls, dressed for school.
They couldn't be older than twelve or maybe even eleven, and they were mixed-race with black hair in ponytails.
They saw me staring, and both smiled in unison.
"Daddy what's wrong?" The one to my left asked, distinctively with a mole on her left cheek.
I didn't know what to say, I didn't recognize these children or this house, and how was the radio working as I could hear the weather report in the distance?
The food on the table was fresh pancakes, bacon and even fresh orange juice.
This food didn't exist anymore.
Then she walked in, a young black woman gracefully entered the room and I recognized her.
It was Naomi, beaming and smiling she turned to me.
With her hair pulled up into a bun, she was smiling wearing a pair of simple blue jeans and a black top.
"What you looking at handsome? You're not eating your breakfast?" She asked smiling, it was unusual.
This wasn't the Naomi I knew.
Naomi grinned walking over to me as I sat, and leaned in without hesitation kissing me in a romantic manner, as lovers would pressing her lips against mine and holding the kiss for a few moments.
She slowly withdrew smiling, and giggled gently.
"What babe, it's like you've seen a ghost or something." Naomi smiled, turning away to the stove, and she brought over a fresh, fried egg placing it onto my plate from the frying pan with a utensil.
"Planet earth, to James." Naomi smiled putting down the frying pan, before turning to me. I said nothing, still in shock, not able to understand a thing about this.
"You've got to take the girls to school, and then pick up their dresses for their dance recitals tonight, from the cleaners." Naomi explained, as if I was supposed to know what she meant.
None of this made sense.
I wasn't married to Naomi, nor did we have two children together.
Was this a dream? Was this my mind playing tricks on me, or was this what I truly yearned to have with Naomi?
Naomi smiled again, and spoke but no words came from her lips yet she spoke them.
The room was silent, not even the sounds of the children sat next to me were audible yet Naomi was speaking to me.
Slowly my sight of her, began to become blurred and then it happened.
I sat up like a jack-in-the-box toy, panting and breathing hard.
I was in a warm bed, sweat on my face and forehead and I quickly scanned the dark room.
It was still night, and I could see a figure approach me from the recliner in the corner of the room.
Slowly the moonlight from outside illuminated her face, and it was her.
The real Naomi.
Her face was tired, and exhausted.
Her hair was not in a bun, and her clothes were torn and dirty in places.
The main indication that what I had experienced was in fact a dream, was the shotgun in her hands she clutched at.
She was concerned leaning across the bed to me.
"James it's alright, just a bad dream." She said leaning over at me, and slowly she took one hand off of the pump on the shotgun, and gently pressed the back of her hand against my forehead.
"You're burning up, and you're not sleeping properly. You need to sleep." Naomi added patting my forehead gently, feeling the heat from my skin before withdrawing it.
Slowly I scanned what little of the room I could make out in the darkness, and I could hear the pitter-patter of the rain hitting the windows from outside, the rain drops slowly rolling down the glass of the window.
I then looked up at Naomi, it may have been the end of the world yet she was still beautiful.
Her beautiful dark, caramel skin shone in what little moonlight was in the room.
Her hair was a mess, but it was still beautiful, and her clothes may have been torn, but she still gave me that feeling that I felt in my dream.
"Yeah, just a bad... Dream." I whispered, I truly didn't think it was a nightmare or even a bad dream.
It was a good dream, surprising to have one in the middle of the end of the world.
Naomi smiled, obviously not registering what my comment truly meant.
She slowly backed away from me, looking out of the rain covered window out to the street below.
I remembered now, we had been on the move since we had left the town of Noblesville and it had been hard work, trying to find someplace safe to rest in during the evenings.
We had moved in the general direction of the East, but we had finally come to the conclusion to avoid any of the major cities, and make our way to the coast to search for a boat.
Where we went with a boat if we found one, was not determined yet.
We had talked about making our way to the eastern coast of Canada, maybe with such a larger nation such as Canada, but with a low populace we hoped there would be less Walkers.
Naomi moved over to our duffel bag, in the corner of the room and she began to go through it searching for something.
I couldn't help but look, the minimal light of the moon streaming in illuminated her body and I could see her ass.
The jeans were baggy, modest and simple, it only added to her allure.
She was beautiful, as womanly as a woman could hope to be.
I smiled at myself, and quickly she turned on he feet to face me, clutching a bottle of water.
She slowly came over to me, and leaned in she pressed the bottle towards my mouth.
"It's alright, I'm not thirsty." I said forcing a smile, but Naomi was having none of it and hadn't moved the bottle away.
"You need to drink water, you're burning up so your burning up any water you have in your body. Now drink." Naomi said, not backing down.
I sighed, and as she removed the cap on the bottle she pressed it to my lips and I took a few mouthfuls before she moved it away from me.
"How are we for numbers, outside?" I asked breathing hard, forcing the words out.
Naomi nodded, and moved across to the window that was being pelted from outside by the rain.
"I'm counting only about half a dozen of them right now, they don't seem to be aware of us yet. They're just milling around out there." Naomi recollected, counting the number of Walkers she could see outside.
I nodded sitting up further in the bed, so my back was now against the bed frame. It was quite cold, the signs that Winter was soon on it's way.
I then thought about how much harder, things would be one Winter set in.
Food and wood be more scarce to find, as would supplies, and to fend off the cold we would have to scavenge for warmer clothing, and survival equipment.
I got out of the bed slowly, and Naomi's eyes went wide upon seeing me.
"No way, you have barely slept for fifty minutes. You promised you would sleep for at least two hours, now get back in the bed." She said trying to sound stern.
I sighed, since leaving the town of Noblesville, Naomi had adapted and become more reliable in surviving with me.
She was more trustworthy, but it also made her more aware of my condition, I was coming down with a fever she said, and I wasn't sleeping.
She didn't like this, and demanded me to sleep properly and leave her to do guard duty for us both.
I relented, I was too exhausted to argue with her about this so I laid back.
I pulled the covers back over me, and resting my head on the pillow I tried to dream again.
I wanted to dream of her again, the Naomi in my dreams.
With the two daughters, the nice house and back to the way things were before this whole goddamn mess started.
I never did dream of her again that night, I had to settle for memories of my parents, and family.
The Next Morning, Approximately 8:35am
I was meaning to wake up exactly after two hours, from the moment I woke from my dream earlier but that never happened.
My body was fatigued, and exhausted so I slept through the night and awoke in the morning to Naomi opening a tin of baked beans, and another of spam meat.
I rubbed my eyes, and awkwardly got out of the bed as the sheets were tangled around my legs.
"You're up." She said with a weak smile, handing me a spoon as we were eating the food cold. I think it was that the meat was cold, and we had been eating it like that for so long that was causing the fever, or perhaps a cold coming over me. She handed me the tin of baked beans, after using her own spoon to take a few mouthfuls. Naomi smiled watching me, as I ate heartedly.
"We're running low on food, and supplies James." Naomi said gently, as if to make me aware.
I said nothing, still eating what was left in the tin of baked beans but I could feel Naomi's eyes bearing into me.
"We're running on empty, James. Of every supply we have, it's not going last all the way to the East Coast." Naomi added.
I finally looked up at Naomi, she was tired, and as exhausted as I was. We had been on the road for a week solid, and the supplies we had found were minimal. We were running on empty, less than half a dozen tins of food left, and two bottles of water, and even one of the bottles was only half full now.
Food, and supplies wasn't the only thing we were low on. Ammo was more of my concern, we had used most of the bullets for the two handguns we had, and I was down to just seven cartridges for the shotgun. That wasn't filling me with glee, we had used most of the ammo we had lost in a shootout near a lake we were both navigating around when we were ambushed.
Out of the forest line about a 100 yards away we were ambushed, Walkers of all sizes and builds scattered out towards us from the tree line and we were forced to run, and gun our way out of their reach. We must have fired at least thirty rounds each from the handguns alone, and then I personally wasted several rounds from the shotgun. We were almost overwhelmed, when I decided that the only way we would avoid getting caught, was to wade through the lake water to the other side which wasn't too far. We swam the distance, and made it to the other side. Luckily the Walkers behind us were caught up in the water, and were slowed by it. Sadly we were unlucky, as we lost most of our supplies, and even ammunition in the water making them useless.
We were low on food, water and supplies and had lost even more ammunition from wading through the lake water. This was how we found ourselves now down to the amount of ammo we had now, and since the lake ambush four days ago we hadn't found any new weapons, or ammo scavenging. Now we were morally damaged, we didn't even want to travel on the road even to avoid danger. I looked up at Naomi once more.
"We need to get moving again, or we will die in this house from either starvation, or malnutrition. We could also be attacked at any time by the Walkers outside, we need to go soon." I said groggily, as I was still exhausted, and close to collapsing. But I couldn't let Naomi get hurt, or worse killed because of me.
"Where do we go?" Naomi asked slowly.
I finished what was left in the tin, and put it down.
"The coast, as we discussed. We need to find a boat, and get out of the way of this fucking civil war brewing in this country, along with the Walkers in the centre of it." I said trying to make her understand the severity of finding a working boat at the coast.
"We take no sides, in this struggle?" Naomi asked me.
"No chance, we take sides we don't know which side will win. Plus we don't know which side if either of them, is good for the country. The loyalists to the President, or the Joint-Chiefs and the Senate forces. We don't know which side, which of them is actually going to be a force for good rebuilding this country. Both sides lie, and would lie to win support and numbers. Once the dust settles, and that's if it does from the Walkers then we have no guarantee on which faction wins, will actually stick to what they promised us. Politics is murkier, and darker than war. Just as much death, and betrayal. Only difference is that the politicians don't pull the fucking triggers themselves, they send others to do it for them." I went on, as if in a rant about what things were like before the epidemic, and how nothing had changed since.
Naomi simply nodded, and looked at me.
"Then let's move, while we have light." Naomi said simply, and stood.
Naomi was taken aback by the sudden departure I had in mind, and we quickly packed away our things into my duffel bag, and a sports bag we had found on our travels that Naomi carried. We soon vacated the empty house we had stayed in for so long, and made towards the East along the empty, deserted highways and roads that were once busy with traffic. Hours passed, and I could tell from the color of the sky, that we would soon be greeted by the sun going down for the evening. Then as we walked along the deserted two lane road, we heard screaming, a female was screaming. Both me and Naomi angled our heads in the direction of the screams.
"What's that?" Naomi asked, her tone told me she was frightened.
"It's a woman's screams, coming from over there." I said pointing towards a heavy forest line, made up of trees.
I didn't moved towards that direction, and then Naomi grabbed my arm.
"Whoever it is we need to help them! Come on!" She pleaded and she pulled on me, slowly I moved and I followed her as she began to run in the direction of the tree line.
As we approached the wooded tree line, the screams became louder telling us we were going in the right direction.
I pulled from my shoulder, the Remington pump-action shotgun that now hung on my shoulder by it's strap. I held it by it's pump, and as we pressed through the trees I followed Naomi. Every now and then a branch would almost hit me in the face, but I pushed forward.
"Hurry up! Come on!" Naomi told me anxiously.
I ran after her, and I knew something was coming, and we were walking straight into blindly. Pushing through the trees, we could see a clearing ahead of us and a commotion going on. From the distance I could make out a few figures dressed all in red clothing, bright red that caught my eye. They wore red hoods, with eye holes cut out of them, and some simply wore red bandanna's over their faces. As for their clothing below, it was a mixture of clothing types but they were all red in color.
Whoever these people were, they held some sort of love for the color red. Most of them carried torches with them, burning rags on sticks and clubs. Those not carrying torches seemed to be struggling to hold the only person of them all not wearing red, it was a young woman. She was struggling with the three men holding her, they were pulling her towards another of the men in red, this one however had a large Star symbol etched into the front of his red jumper. I also noticed, most of those carrying torches were armed, some with baseball bats, clubs and machetes and other carried guns. We could just make out what the man with the Star on his red clothing was saying, it sounded like he was preaching gospel.
"Nigh on is the time, for God's will to be fulfilled. He brought his creatures to our plane, and now our people destroy his most precious creation by his hand. We of the Red Star, in faith to God must cleanse the land of those who strike down our God's work. We must follow in the way of his creations, we must become his new children, and we must shed blood to become his most beloved creations." The leader preached, and his minions listened intently.
I figured out most of what he was saying, he and his minions believed that the Walkers were God's most recent, and finest creation to date. He was also preaching as it was a sin punishable by death, to kill a Walker even in self-defense. They sounded like a death-cult, believing that it's God's plan for every human being still alive, to become a Walker and if need be these men would kill innocents and let their bodies re-animate into zombies. This was simply a death-cult, and their message was death to all survivors of this Outbreak. It was clear who the woman was they were restraining, she was a survivor and they intended to kill her now, and allow her body to re-animate, and they would be long gone by the time that happened.
"We need to save her." Naomi whispered to me, anxiously with an urgent tone to her voice.
I counted this woman's attackers, there were six of them and that wasn't including the preacher leading them.
"Look at them, we're outnumbered here by five. How am I meant to get close enough to save her?" I asked, my voice told her I wasn't in the mood to do a suicide run for this woman.
Naomi was scanning the clearing, and moving closer against me I felt her warm breath on my neck.
"You circle around them, and I'll shoot at them from here behind a tree here. Whilst they're busy firing at me, and missing you can circle around and hit them from behind. All the while they're too busy to kill the woman." Naomi recommended to me.
I had to move fast, even if her plan seemed like a failure waiting to happen, but if I left it any longer this woman was going to die. I planted my duffel bag on the floor next to Naomi, and had only my revolver in my holster, and the shotgun in my hands. The woman from a distance looked to be blonde, tanned and quite a petite, but full womanly figure. I simply nodded and began to circle around the tree line left of Naomi's position and followed it around at a running pace to get around the group of crazies. Then I heard the shots, as I jumped and pushed through the trees and bushes. Naomi was unloading with her 9mm handgun I'd given her on the day, we first met. Shots rang out, and I could hear shouting, and the barking of orders from the group. Most of them leapt for cover, even the preacher hid behind some wooden fencing, that was used to corral cattle.
I ran as fast as my lungs would allow me, and soon as I looked at the red-dressed religious fanatics, I knew they were unaware of me coming up behind them with my shotgun. I pushed out of the tree line and charged up a slight slope to the armed fanatics, with my shotgun angled at their backs as they hid behind cover. I could see the blonde woman we were saving was still alive, on her front laying face down in the grass for safety. I began to rear up on the unsuspecting gunmen firing at Naomi, and one was laid out on his stomach firing from behind an overturned steel barrel which I assumed was once used as farming equipment. I angled my shotgun at him, dead-set on his back and fired. The blast tore through his red hooded-top, and his red clothing was made even darker now with the blood that erupted. He was dead, that was clear as he was not moving. I continued to charge up the slope, ejecting the shotgun cartridge I had just fired. The next cartridge entered the breach of the shotgun, as I pulled hard on the pump.
I could still hear Naomi firing away with her handgun, but her shots were less now, as I assumed she could see me coming up the slope from behind the attackers. I was down to six cartridges for my shotgun, I had to keep a mental note of what I had left. The first blast from my shotgun had alerted some of the gunmen at the back of the slope I was coming up, and two reared their heads in my direction. Both however were in awkward positions to face me, one laying on his front prone, and the other kneeling behind a tree stump. I quickly angled my shotgun at the one behind the tree stump, and I fired. The blast hit him in his side, sending him flying sideways down the slope, dead. I quickly re-adjusted my shotgun at the one laying prone on his front, and before he could get to his feed I quickly reloaded the shotgun by it's pump and fired again. The blast tore through the man's back, just like the first one and killed him outright.