Sunday, February 26, 2006

Dollar Store Food Fight

She had found them in the ruins of Dollar General store, squabbling over the last few cans of mackerel and the wormy crackers. They were hungry, angry and lost, children from a family that had a natural resistance to the virus.
It was amazing that they had survived as well as they had, even before the virus came and took most everybody they knew as it burned through humanity.
Before the dying, they would have been considered disposable trailer trash children, the bastard children of people who polite society had considered too tasteless to rub shoulders with.
After the Death, they were some of the best at surviving, or maybe even thriving, given the right chances and some guidance.
Angie had headed north after she rode out the multiple waves of infection. She had been smart enough to see what was coming, and had stocked up on supplies, figured out a low profile and tried to ride it out. She nearly made it through, only getting the virus in the last wave, and had been one of the few who could fight it off. When she finally rose from her bed and decided to leave town before it burned, or the nuke plant started melting and spewing toxins, she had headed north and west, away from the prevailing winds.
She'd been considered a joke at her old workplace. A geeky woman who baked her own bread, made her own soap and was a walking repository of what her co workers considered to be useless information. They'd made fun of her, and considered her to be a nutcase obsessive without a clue. She sometimes took comfort in the fact that she was abrasive enough that she kept the worst of the idiot skirt chasers scared enough to leave her alone.
The kids in the Dollar store ruins saw her differently. After months with no adults around, her quiet competence and oddly huge base of knowledge made her seem a gift beyond value. In six months they had built a home, started farming and had begun being self sufficient, in four years they had a thriving community, a school, and the start of a new world.
As she looked back on the 14 years since the Death, Angie realized that the office geek, the woman that people rolled their eyes at and who was thought nuts had gotten the best revenge of all, a life where she had been more than a cog in the wheel of corporate machinery, and had been someone of substance.
The fact that the biggest assholes in her past were dead didn't bother her a bit either.

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"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." Ralph Waldo Emerson