She took a deep breath. I watched her breasts rise and fall. "Need to focus" went through my head. Even underweight she was still beautiful.
"You guys left and I went home. I talked to Bobby and we decided to start getting it together. You know, just in case." I nodded my head and so did the the women seated behind her. "Anyways...we didn't have a lot of money. Bobby had been out of work for awhile. We had been making ends meet with venison he was killing and selling. Plus, the kids...ah shit..." One of the women reached out and patted her back. "I think I am going to skip some parts here and there G." She looked up at me and I saw her eyes were shining.
"You don't have to say anything Carol." I told her. I was curious but not curious enough to have her open up the doors to rooms best sealed off. I had seen enough and heard enough to know how bad this story could be.
"No. I am going to tell you this story and you're going to listen!"
I held up my hands, smiled, and said "Okay talk to me."
The flare up passed as fast as it had come. She continued "When the power went down I didn't think it was a big deal. Nobody did. It happened all the time." She shrugged. "We did what we always did at the shelter. We made do. It wasn't until, I think it was the fourth or fifth day without power that things started getting weird. You know how it is. Nobody knows anything but that doesn't stop them from spreading stories. You know, it was world wide. It was national. It was terrorists. It was space aliens. What ever it was -- it wasn't getting fixed and even worse, it didn't look like it would anytime soon."
"Then the hoarding started. The people with money and connections, they did okay at first. The rest of us. Well, it was getting tight. Real tight. The Army was driving around with them Humvees with loudspeakers telling everyone not to panic. They said "Food was on the way." It never came. At least in our area." The last was delivered with bitter venom. "The Army came and told me they were closing the shelter. Said everyone was going to be moved to Camp Victory, you know, the one out by Ft. Belvoir." I nodded and said "Yeah, I heard that one really sucked."
"G." She said exasperated "They all sucked."
I laughed and replied "Yeah. Some sucked more than others Carol."
She ignored me. I remembered her ability to do that and mentally sighed.
"So I told the girls if they had somewhere to go then they better go. Sometimes I think I could have done better by them. Sometimes, you know, I could have brought the ones with babies home with me...but I was worried. Worried about my family. So I told myself they would be okay and I left them."
She had stopped talking and was crying for real now. Jeebus I hated the sound of that. One of the women was glaring at me like it was my fault or I was supposed to be doing something. Hell, I never knew this stuff. I reached out and put my arm around her. I felt her move towards me, then stiffen, and pull back just a little. I awkwardly let my arm drop. She had her fist jammed into her mouth so hard that when she pulled it out I saw teeth marks on it. "Sorry G. I don't like to be touched by...men anymore."
"So me and Bobby, we lived up on the mountain, we organized our neighbors, we got as ready as we could. Bobby taught our two boys to shoot. Well, as much as could be done with the time we had and the ammo shortage. I thought we would be all right G. I really did. Then the people came. We tried warning them off. At first I thought they would flow around us. There was just so many of them and they got to be such assholes as time went by. We had nothing to give them but they didn't believe us. We had the people and the mountain on our side at first. We wore down G. They didn't beat us. They just wore us down. It was like for some of them...they didn't care if we had nothing. It was what they wanted to do. Like it was a game. Over running us wasn't about food or anything. They just wanted to hurt us at the end I think."