Sometimes, the best thing to do is forget.
Forget about reality.
Forget about the pain.
Forget about the past.
And yet why. Why does it all come crashing back?
memories of a time that once was were reflected in the man on top of me. His smile pressed deeply into his lips as if what was happening didn't perturb him. How unnatural and rare something like this would happen. As I watch him laugh, wiping tear drop after tear drop, I couldn't help but feel a pit begin to build in my stomach.
He was sobbing, so relieved that he finally has someone he knew before everything went to shit. Someone who is alive, surviving, and fighting. Someone who he had history with. He was so glad that I was still alive.
And yet I couldn't return the feeling.
All I felt was deep sense of dread and apathy from the fact that he's here. I mean, shouldn't I be happy that he's here? Why don't I feel anything?
Is something wrong with me?
I was pulled from my thoughts when he begun to move again. Climbing off of me before turning to give me some help up. I took it of course, gripping onto his hand as he pulled me off the ground. Passing me my helmet which I immediately shoved back on.
As if time restarted again, the groans came back. My eyes darted around and seeing that the Zs that were rushing to the mall were now beginning to slug back the way they came. Most probably realizing that not a single lick of fresh meat was were the sound was.
Bryce tsked as he looked around, pulling his bandanna up before turning to me.
"As much as I'd love to stay here and talk, I rather find some place safe before I get ripped apart."
I nodded, looking around once more before recognizing the path we were on. Soon my legs began to move, already heading back to base subconsciously as I pulled my bat out.
"I've got a safe place near by. We can hide out there for the time being until the Zs calm down..." I mumbled, soon picking up my pace as he followed.
At most, the Zs didn't notice us. Even if they did we were moving much faster than they could. Our bodies weaving by out stretched bones hoping to grab something to bite. Quickly making haste as more and more dead began to trudge back to where they were before.
Making a quick left, I found myself at the familiar stripe which I resided in for the past few months. Dodging to the right when a Z came a bit too close as I headed to the very narrow stair case in which my base was. My hand reaching back into one of the pockets of my bag to grab my set of keys.
"In here!" I called out behind me, watching as Bryce nodded, both of us heading towards the gate covering the stairway. Promptly unlocking it to allow the both of us in. As I turned back to secure it, the sound of confusion that left my companion caused me to hesitate and look back.
"Uh... dude... How are we going to get through?"
I tilted my head to his question. A bit perplexed as to why he didn't know what to do when I took a look behind him. The stair way was cluttered with all sorts of chairs and boxes. Many times throughout, it was piled up to the ceiling. So long as I could add it to the pile, the item was there.
Looking at it now, I guess I never realized just how... Complicated it was to actually get back to base was.
Pursing my lips, I turned to him and shrugged.
"Just get over it."
With that, my hands clutched for a ledge and my climb began. Taking note in the familiar positioning of each object so I could give pointers to Byrce. Ensuring that he doesn't upset the gentle balance of the items and their places.
He grumbled, stopping ever so often to shift his gear around so he could fit in the gaps that could fit my size but not his. All this did was pull a giggle from me as well as a creeping warmth in the center of my chest. Was it strange that I couldn't remember the last time I've laughed like this?
Just as the warmth began to fade to emptiness, I reached the landing. Clambering up into the hallway as I turned back down just in time for Bryce to flop next to me. His hands clawing at the many straps and zips on his outfit in an attempt to take them off. Each of them just dropping with a thud as a heavy pant left his lips.
"y... you go through that every time you go out?" he questioned as he removed his bandanna to reveal a grimace, "I haven't done that much climbing since back at camp?"
Part of me wanted to laugh at his response. The other half was curious as to what he meant.
After a bit of debating, I decided that it was best to just bring him back to base. Let him rest for a while before interrogating him. With a kick to his leg, I placed my hands on my hips as I huffed. I felt a bit of pity for his state but
"you can rest when you're dead. Let's go" I urged, kicking him again and turning heel. Heading to the right to where my place was.
A groan met my ears as Bryce hurriedly gathered his things in his arms, soon scrambling to get to my feet before taking note about how the place look. Wonder crossed his freckled face before turned back to me. For a second, I met the eyes of amazement and approval yet it was all that was needed for me to turn away.
"You've... Did you do all this?" He gingerly asked. Almost as if hesitant to. But a question was asked and an answer must be given.
"No, I wish..." I started, my eyes drawing back to my surroundings as I remembered when I first found this place.
twinkling lights hung across the top with a soft white glow, some even stretching to the other side of the wall to make the area just a bit brighter. Along the floor were small floor lamps that added to the calm and whimsical atmosphere. Tapestries indicating the stars and the horoscopes lined the walls as scraps of chiffon were strung up in places that tied the whole area together.
"It was like this when I stumbled upon this place. The people who lived here owned the only shop upstairs which just so happens to be one of those fortune telling places..." I say with a sigh, leading him to the door as he nodded to my answer.
"Like one of those tarot places?"
"yeah, something like that." replying, I pushed open the door to the dust ridden apartment I've resided in for so long. Maybe it's just the fact that I've become desensitized to my surroundings but everything just felt too lackluster for Bryce to be acting the way he was. Whistling at the different sashes strewn around the room, the multicolored pillows and blankets.
I left him at the door way, opting to restock my supply only telling him to find some place to hunker down. It was when I placed the final can that I realize just how uncomfortable I was having him here. In the middle of my base, was the mirror of a person who I once was.
And I could do nothing but deal with it.
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