The smell of body odor and cigarette smoke wakens me. I sit up, not sure of where I am, and then IMMEDIATELY lie back down. My head is pounding and everything is out of focus.
“Good to see you’re awake again”, I hear and turn my head, slowly this time, to see a girl with a lit cigarette hanging from her mouth. She’s sitting on the floor to my left. About 2 weeks ago, I’m sure she must have been a knockout but now she’s dirty, unkempt, and looks like she’s just started smoking. It’s obvious that she’s not sure what she’s doing with the cigarette. She inhales quickly, and then sputters it out amidst a massive coughing fit. She catches my eyes looking at her cigarette, and quickly apologizes for smoking. Fuck it, I tell her, doesn’t matter how fast you can run from those bastards, they’ll catch us all in the end. Smoke ’em if ya got ’em, I’ve heard said.
I ask her where I am and she explains that her and another guy met up a few days previous and barricaded themselves in this brick building. During a trip for supplies yesterday, they had watched as the garbage bin I was rolling along in smashed into the SUV and the crowds of “them” slowly made their way to the accident scene. Katarina, as she tells me her name is, says that she and Salvatore spent a few minutes debating whether or not it was worth it, risking their asses to possibly save mine. Katarina goes on to tell me that SHE won the argument and they grabbed me quickly, before the rest of the crowd got to the bin. She assures me that it wasn’t seamless, however; there were several near-misses. She gives me a quick glimpse of her sleeve, and I can see that her arm was scraped. Lucky for her, the bite didn’t break the skin.
I can hear some mumbling from the next room, and Katarina hollers for Salvatore to come and meet me. Damn, I wish she wouldn’t have yelled so loud; my head feels like I’ve had another one of those all night benders that I used to have. I’d really prefer not to think about that I’ll never be able to get shitfaced again.
A gruff looking, surly guy walks in and introduces himself as Salvatore. I’m getting a pretty bad vibe though from him. He hasn’t even opened his mouth and I already think that he’s probably a real dickhead. Sure enough, I’m right on the money. First thing out of his mouth is “hope you’re grateful for us saving your ass”. If I had more energy and my head wasn’t spinning like a top, I would have loved to stand up and punch him in the fucking mouth. As it was, though, I just told him that I most definitely DID appreciate them risking their asses to save mine.
Katarina tells him to lighten up with a “come on Sal, take it easy”, to which he responds by grunting and marching out of the room. She turns back to me and explains that his entire family was attacked, and as he was on his way out the backdoor, he saw them all “turn”. He was understandably a bit freaked when his own family started after him.
As she stood to go, I shrugged it off with a mumbled “whatever” and caught a glimpse of his shadow by the door moving quickly to avoid being caught eavesdropping. She doesn’t appear to have seen it, but I just made a mental note to watch my ass around “Sal”.