The Girl and the Dog: Fiction Fragment

She reached down for the water bottle at her side, remembered it was empty only when she brought to her lips, sighed, and hung her head.

“I should have stayed in the city.”

She knew she was wrong about that, of course. The city is where it all started. Things were still bad there. And the smell? She didn’t want to think about the smell.

But at least she knew what to do in the city. What abandoned stores to search, which apartments had storerooms others might now know about, what neighborhoods were left at least somewhat intact after the Event. She could find something to eat there. Something to drink. A place to sleep.

Hell is other people, though, as someone once said. However many people were left, a lot of them would be in the city. And now was not a great time to encounter other people.

“Hey Dog, you ready to get moving?”

Dog just gave her eyes and a wag. Dog didn’t bark. Dog never barked. That’s why she liked Dog.

“I should probably give you a name, huh?”

More eyes. More wags. No barks.

“Come on.”

She put the water bottle back in her bag, hoping to get a chance to fill it later, and led Dog across the ash, under the tilted utility poles, and through the gaping wound that had once been the suburbs.

In four days, they’d reach the farm … and maybe, just maybe, a place they could call home.


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