Loyalty Must Be A Sword

The malls are burning, choked with zombies, thronged with looters. Zabriskie (not her real name) watches from across the long mile of the parking lot. The parking lot is five thousand feet of cracks and long bearded grasses; hard to run across, and nothing to hide in. She has (she counts again; it kills time) ten bullets left. Not enough to make a difference, but enough that she can lie to herself and say she’s trying.

The river is burning, has been burning for weeks, will be burning when they get bored of looting and overwhelm her.

She could run, but won’t. Where would she go? Here, looking over the faded white lines and overturned cars, she can think herself the ragged edge of the frontier. She knows she lies, but she has ten bullets left before she has to admit it. Ten bullets, and three hours of daylight; she knows the trigger.

Civilization is behind her, and anarchy before. Zabriskie counts her bullets yet again, and settles down to watch the turning tide.