NaNoWriMo, Day 14

Anyone want to see 883 words? I am kind of happy with what I’ve written today, so you can see it. I guess I’ll say it’s Copyright 2008 J. Robert Novak, even though it sounds kind of presumptuous to say it.

Anyway, on with the show!

Walks With Knives dragged the carcass of the deer back to his campsite. It was heavy, but he was strong. He was confident that he could make it back to his home base before it got too dark, before it became unsafe. He had a hold of its front legs, careful not to spill any blood on himself from the arrow wound in its neck.

It was an uphill climb, the slight slope of the hill seeming much steeper that it was from the heft of the deer. It was an eight point buck, but it was lean, and the trees in the forest provided rest spots on the trip where Walks With Knives could set the deer and regain his strength. He did this often in the last month, and it had become fairly routine.

It helped that since that night, twenty eight days ago, he had not seen a single walking corpse. He had left them behind in Arebel, never to return. The undead could have the town; the countryside was all his.

The sun was low in the west, not quite ready to set. It shone through the maples, the light glistening the red gold leaves. He looked up through the leaves and smiled; this is the life, he thought to himself. The earth beneath me feet, the sky above me. No roof, save for the canopy of trees. I am free, I am free. He stopped against a tree, not releasing the hold on his prize. He wasn’t resting, he was listening. The cicadas had not yet returned, which was odd, because insects seemed to be immune to the plague. Still, birds sang a melody of renewal and rebirth, even in this autumn evening. If humans were only a footnote in the entire history of the earth, then the earth was returning to normal. Nature was reclaiming the land. The zombie plague was the best thing that had happened to the earth in a long time. He thought.

He began dragging the carcass up the hill again. It amazed him how health he felt; better than he ever had felt, really. This past month was a real workout for him; he had to gather the supplies from the town, make a semi-permanent camp, and then rebuild. The hard work had built up muscles he had never known that he had. He was, truly, in the best physical shape in his life. And his mind! It felt crisp, focused. He was no longer living to survive; he was enjoying life, the was it was meant to be enjoyed.

He finally crested the hill and saw his camp. A buckskin tepee stood beside a tall oak. About thirty pases from that, a fire burned beneath another buckskin, which was stretched between two trees. Hanging from various other trees in the campsite hung animal furs: wolf, fox, raccoon. Before it got too cold, Walks With Knives would sew the skins together and make a winter coat. Laying off to the side was his “workbench”; a wooden table he had put together with fallen branches and logs he had found by the road about a mile away. By the bench were tools he had taken from the hardware store (mostly knives), as well as various hunting equipment he was putting together. He had built several bows for different distances and different types of hinting, as well as a few spears. Walks With Knives welcomed the changing of the seasons like an old friend or a new lover.

As he entered the campsite, his wolf awoke and looked up at him with a whine. “Hey, Laika,” he said as the regarded him. “I brought supper.”

The wolf looked better than she had a month ago. With a steady diet (partially thanks to Walks With Knives, but also on her own initiative), she had grown to the normal size of a wolf her age. Had she belonged to a pack, she would probably not be cast out now, Walks With Knives figured. And in a way, she did belong to a pack. Their pack.

Walks With Knives dragged the deer over to the tree where he did his dressing. As he did, Laika got up and sniffed at the deer. She was hungry, but content to wait for her…master? No, that was not right. Neither man nor beast was superior in this relationship; they were equals. Walks With Knives hunted large game and built things; Laika hunter for smaller fare and guarded the camp from other predators, whether that meant other wolves, bears, or the living dead. Their mutual survival depended on the complete trust and support of one another.

Walks With Knives ties a rope around the deer’s back legs carefully and threw the rope over a tree branch. Having done that, he pulled as hard as he could, raising the carcass up off the ground. Pulling out his longest, sharpest knife, he opened the deer and began to remove its organs carefully, much more carefully than the first deer he had shared with Laika. After he did that, especially careful not to let the bladder leak urine onto the meat, he began to skin the deer. While he did this, the wolf watched him intently, as if to supervise him.

2 Responses to “NaNoWriMo, Day 14”

  1. mercury727 Says:

    ‘It helped that since that night, twenty eight days ago, he had not seen a single walking corpse.’

    Awesome line! Rest of its good too 🙂

  2. Jason, I am really enjoying this story! Keep going and post it so I can follow the story line. This is good writing!

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