Day Five Mafia Hit - Funny Candles
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
TS Elliot Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Waste Land
There comes a time, when you should see things clear
Free from my innocence, there is no circumstance too severe
Only the need for us, for us to believe again
"Le Bel Age" by Pat Benatar
They had finally beat the rain Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that was the good news Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and replaced it with the dry dusty climate of the desert. The change was not entirely unpleasant, but it meant more planning, more effort, more unmerciful heat beating down on their backs. The cave nestled at the base of the Sierras proved a cool comfort, though. Once, perhaps, their resting place, located just outside of Carson City, had been part of a mining company, but at some point after the rush but before the flu it had been converted to a small tourist trap where folks could learn the difference between stalactites and stalagmites and see the pretty sparkles in the walls.
Matt had been in good spirits but it seemed that Vera had swayed the opinion of the crowd once more. At this rate they were practically in the Walking Dude's back yard. He raked his fingers through his hair and checked out the supplies, doing the math for the amount of water they would need to get through the desert on his fingers and comparing that to what they actually had. It looked like a good ratio but he wanted to be safe Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think of a stupider way to die than, after all they had been through, running out of water when they could have planned ahead. Frowning, he browsed through the other items Ã¢â‚¬â€œ mostly survival gear Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and lifted up a box of dynamite.
Huh. That was strangeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Matthew shrugged and carefully set the box back down. Maybe it was a leftover from the old mine or perhaps someone had picked it up along the way. He supposed they might need it to clear a rockfall along the road. It didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem terribly important at the moment, not with everything else weighing on his mind.
Never in his life had he been a praying man...except for that one time when he played a cleric in AD&D but now he sat on the sagging mattress and put his head in his hands.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“God, if you're really out there could you please keep us alive? This whole plague thing I figure is your idea of another purge, right? Well, I've got to say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot messier than a flood, no offense. Paints a picture, I suppose. See I'm just hoping that you aren't planning to chuck this whole earth project because I kind of like it...most days. There are some good people still out in the world and I think we might have a chance if we could settle down and start over. If we don't get help soon that will never happen. Anyway, just think about it okay?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tired from the driving and moving cars, Matt curled up in his sleeping bag early and went to bed.
It was only hours later, when the muffled sound of an explosion shook the depths of the cave, that Matthew realized what else dynamite could be used for.
Xrystal walked delicately on the tips of her toes as she made her way deeper into the cave, hoping to find some undiscovered corner where she could hide and sleep without running the risk of being disturbed in the night Ã¢â‚¬â€œ by her death or someone elseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. She crept along so quietly, in fact, that it was easy to her the stifled sounds of people trying very hard to walk quietly and being all the louder for it. She was being followed. The tunnel was too narrow to hope that she could stand still and have them pass her by Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no, her only chance was to move so silently that she lost them inside the cave.
She was certain they could hear the beating of her heart, but she pressed on.
Finally, though, she heard someone give an exasperated sigh behind her and a voice echoing through the cave.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You might as well give it up Ã¢â‚¬â€œ even if you do somehow manage to get away from us, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll remember the way back.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Xrystal stopped walking as that profound truth sunk in. At first she tried to deny it. Surely she remembered Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it was right, right, left, then straight through a turnÃ¢â‚¬Â¦or was that two turns? And had that right been a sharp right or more of a veer? She choked back a sob Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they were right, she really was lost.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ah, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t worry little girl! WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got a light hereÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â
That last was said with a sarcastic edge that she didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand until she saw the dim, sparkling light in the distance. It sailed in a clean arc through the air and landed, still lit, at her feet.
The last fragments of Xystal slapped wetly against the walls of the cave, making an enormous mess that, fortunately or not, ended up mostly on the wrong side of the rocks that would serve to trap her forever in her tomb.
After killing that poor clown last night, which she realized she didn't regret nearly as much as a honorable and just person ought to, her faith in the dwindling group's sense of decency and humanity was gone.
We're all gonna die, she whispered softly. The redhead didn't know who to trust and was quickly realizing it didn't matter, they were all being picked off one by one. Those dreams of a new start and a better place were always going to be just that, dreams. Choking back a sob, she leaned her head down onto her knees and tried not to think about who the latest innocent victim was.
He lay there, willing them to just shut up. To just let him have a few more minutes of sleep. To understand that if the person were dead, there was little they could do to bring them back.
He fought against his own curiousity and the fading sounds of conversation as people began doing whatever it was people did when someone died a horrible, gruesome death...
The cave was filled with a fine dust, and people were dragging their gear out of the opening. Someone was crying and saying over and over, "We're all going to die."
Estaban shrugged out of his sleeping bag, and headed outside for his morning ablutions and a cigarette.
"Damn," he thought. "Been off these things for five years, and now I'm smoking again." He finished his business and flicked the remnants of the cancer stick into the wet brush.
Overhead, the sky was crystal blue, and the scent of pine trees rode the morning air.
Estaban returned to the cave and began packing. All in all, it beat thinking hands down.