I was born in 1994. Today is my thirty-third birthday. I remember my seventh birthday party pretty much consisted of me sitting between my father and mother on the couch watching the coverage of the attacks on TV. My mother did not really want me to watch, but my father thought it was something I needed to see. I remember watching the first tower fall, thinking about all the people still inside while my birthday cake sit on the kitchen counter forgotten. I never did open my presents.
I am leaving Osceola tomorrow morning in an old International Travelall. It's got four wheel drive and what appears to be a freshly rebuilt 350 Chevy V8 under the hood. Behind that I'm pulling a trailer with a couple of ATVs. The ATVs were Micheal's idea. Be good for getting around some of the pileups I may encounter on the way back to Independence. Or for use as a quick getaway vehicle if needed. Katherine thinks I am insane for going back there. But I have to shut down that radio or change the message. I can't bear the thought of someone cruising into town thinking it's safe and getting killed because of me. Katherine and Dee are staying here. I think Micheal can be trusted to watch over them. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders and his earlier encounters have made him cautious. The International has a fifty gallon tank in the back in addition to the nineteen gallon mounted underneath the driver's side. The previous owner probably took it on hunting trips and did not want to have to stop for gas. I think that should get me to Independence. I will fuel up outside the city with a portable pump I have found at a local tractor supply store. I don't want to get caught on an empty tank in town. With Micheal's help I have installed a heavy steel mesh over all the windows.
I will travel for as long as I have light and sleep in the locked truck at night. The back seat is wide enough for the to stretch out on. I don't plan on getting out of the thing anymore than absolutely necessary. Just to relieve myself, gas up and only once in Independence to change the outgoing message.
We finally convinced him of the reality of the situation by showing him one of the preserved embryos that Katherine has been studying. He visibly paled when we told him that we had to cut it out of Dee's belly. Dee kept wanting the look at the little monster, she does not seem frightened by it at all. I don't think she really understands what it is or how close it came to killing her. I hope she never does.
I am more nervous than I am letting on about this. At least I hope that I am not that transparent. I am scared of leaving Dee alone. I know she will have Katherine and Micheal, but she has already lost so much.
© 2009 R. Keith McBride