If You Abuse it, You Lose it.
Coon watched the carnage about a half mile away, she made her mind up. She would NOT be joining the 'human race' again anytime soon.
She slowly backed out of her little niche of rock high on the top of the ridge and began the steady loping run that would take her back to her cave, no make that -her home.
Her long strides carried her quickly through the woods and although she had tears streaking her face, she was of sound enough mind to note a deer family of a doe and two fawns, five squirrels, and the lonely twill of an Eastern Bluebird calling for a mate. She realized that the woods were becoming habited once again and a sad smile briefly crossed her face.
The scene she had just witnessed was about 20 miles south and on what use to be old freeway 44, now the only traffic that occurred on it was trouble. One of the many fractions or gangs that seem to be gathering power had just eliminated a rival gang, including the few women and children. She didn’t even want to think about what she had witnessed. She shuddered as the memory of the blood and violence surfaced unbidden. And she kept running.
Her cave was not huge, but it was comfortable…for a cave that is. There were three rooms to the cave and the entrance she used was hard to find unless you knew what to look for. She preferred to climb over the rocks so as to not leave marks in the vegetation. The entrance was small, only about two feet wide and three feet tall, so she stooped over and waddled into the cave. Once inside, she had to make a sharp left about five feet in since there was a tunnel before the cave actually opened up. The ceiling wasn’t high, only about ten feet but there were spots that dipped to four feet and another entrance that was high up but too small for a human to climb through. Not that one would want to since the drop to the floor would at the least, break a leg. This first room was about 15 feet square and inhabited by the few remaining bats that made it through the ‘event’. She was careful to be very quiet and slipped through the dark to the second room. She had the pathway memorized only after many bumps on the head, but that was long ago. She had firewood stacked up in various piles for cooking and warmth.
Now she was in her new home. Here in this back second “room” is where she had set up a crude but serviceable place to live. She had a thick bed made of an old camping cot and blankets that were brought from what had been her home. She had some things that she had scavenged from the closest town but she had seen the armed people from That Place, taking things so she hadn’t gotten much. She hoped she hadn’t left any sign that she had been there.
She had a small cook stove but preferred to use the small fire-pit that she had made under another one of the small vent cracks in the cave. She even had a shelf from the inside of an oven to put over the rocks and use as a base for the cast iron kettle and pans she’d brought from her Grandpa’s home –what had been her home. There was some smoke, but most dissipated through the vent. She had already went topside while dinner was cooking one day, so see if any smell or smoke could be discerned. She couldn’t even find the vent! She didn’t have a problem with rain coming in and she didn’t know why. Also in the room were crude shelves made with some boards and bricks. The shelves were mostly filled with books. But there were some clothing on them also.
She still hadn’t figured out just how she was going to make a door to close off the room yet; so for now, she had a blanket secured to a wooden frame and it was propped up against the opening. She had another blanket on a frame propped up against the opening of last room that held all the food she had and where the small spring came out of a rock into a small pool and then went back out through the rock. She figured it was the spring that fed the small stream about 400 yards south of the cave. She could still remember the first time she had drunk from that small pool of cold water. But she pushed that memory away for now.
She was still crying silently as she lit a small candle that she had ‘liberated’ from the Dollar General in town. That was one of the few places that hadn’t been totally cleaned out yet. She knew that she had to get back there and get as much as she could before the whole town was cleaned out. But she could only carry so much and truthfully there wasn’t that much that she really needed, thanks to her Grandpa.
“Oh Poppy, I sure wish you were here…” she sighed as a long ago memory began to surface…
“Now Coon, just because you’ve been shootin’ this bow for a few years now, doesn’t mean ya get to be all lazy!” Poppy exclaimed as he chastised me for forgetting to care properly for my bow.
I had planned on wiping the rain off of the wood and waxing the string just as soon as we had gotten back but that bratty brother of mine had gotten into my personal belongings and strung my under garments all over outside. I had to chase the bugger down and give him the thrashing he so deserved and then gather up my things! I had just finished gathering everything up and was climbing up the steps to the porch when I looked up and saw Poppy with my bow in his hand and was devastated by the disappointment in his eyes.
“Oh Poppy, I’m so sorry, I was fixin’ to care for it, I promise.” Poppy just handed me the bow and walked back into the house. I sat down on the porch and cleaned my bow for a good hour as the tears flowed down my face.