Been here a few days. Dee is recovering well. She is young and resilient. Katherine has been doing daily ultrasounds on her to make sure she did not miss anything. The building is large and half of it is vacant. It looks like there was another veterinarian practicing here and moved out leaving vacant offices and exam rooms. For now we are sleeping on air mattresses on the floor. They are about the heaviest pieces of furniture I can handle right now. If we do stay here much longer though and I will bring some furniture in.
There was an old Suzuki Sidekick around back. I filled the tank, cleaned the throttle body out, charged the battery and managed to get it started. I have been tooling about Osceola in it for a couple of days now looking for signs of life.
Kathy has also admitted to seeing signs of habitation since we came here. She saw a trail of dust yesterday morning as if a vehicle were driving down one of the dirt roads. And yesterday morning when she was checking the convenience store across the street for some Excedrin for her headache (she gets frequent headaches and there are no mild painkillers here in the vet's office appropriate for humans) she found several candy wrappers and a few empty beer bottles by the cash register, which had been cleared out.
There have been a few times I felt like I was being watched, but sensed no malevolence. I found a cabin where I think he has been staying but there was no answer when I knocked. There was an ashtray on the porch with some recent cigar butts in it. Several gold Comacho bands littered the floor around the ashtray stand. My father in law used to smoke Comacho Liberty cigars on special occasions. They were three hundred and fifty bucks for a box of twenty. But they still smelled like crap. The only time I ever smoked a cigar was when my best friend's little girl was born. At the first puff I started coughing so hard I thought I was going to rupture something. A veteran smoker will tell you that you get accustomed to it, but Damn. I am sure that if the first thing I did every morning was to reach for a hammer and hit myself in the face with it eventually I would get used to it. But for the love of God, Why?!
But I can understand this to a degree. Living in a vacant world, does it really matter. Even if your are not the suicidal type, why hang on?
The lack of exterior lighting and shutters on the windows indicates that this is either not a full time residence or he has not encountered the wraiths. Around back I found what appears to be an outdoor slaughterhouse. Bones littered the ground and a bloody butcher block dominated the back yard. Hides were being stretched out for tanning. This reinforced my opinion that this was not a full time residence. He probably did some hunting and trapping, brought his kills here to skin and butcher so that the carnage would not be drawing scavengers to his home. The back door was latched but not locked. I was hesitant to intrude, but I wanted to get to know a bit about the guy before I introduced myself. The cabin was sparsely furnished and no effort had been made to decorate. There was a futon near the wood stove, piled near the this I found a pile of old Playboy magazines and at the foot a small pile of wadded up paper towels. Nice. There was a coffee table at the head with a handheld Sony PlayStation resting on top of a file of game cards. They were all newer games, none of the old classics. What I was finding inside really altered the mental image that had been forming. Outside I was picturing a middle aged man, wearing overalls work boots and a John Deere hat. Now I was picturing a 16 to 18 year old boy, jeans, cammo jacket, ball cap on backwards so as not to interfere with the rifle scope, sunglasses and workboots. Probably involved in either Boy Scouts or 4H or both. Boy Scouts would almost be unavoidable. Osceola hosted the largest Scout camp in the Midwest.
I did not want to be caught intruding so I backed out, leaving everything exactly as I found it. I did not want to encounter him on his home turf, that could put him on the defensive. He's obviously well armed and knows how to use a gun, so that could be deadly.
Thinking about installing a PA system on the Uni so we can announce our entrance when we come into a city. Might help us find people. Then again it might also draw the wraiths to us, so maybe not such a great idea.
The battery on my laptop has gone bad and the thing keeps giving me errors when I boot up. Thing is, I don't think the summer heat has been too kind to these expensive batteries so I may not be able to find a good replacement. I have been keeping my journals backed up on memory cards, but I am thinking of printing it out on a daily basis and keeping it in a binder or something. I will need to get a printer though. Might just get a desktop computer to keep in the Uni.
© 2009 R. Keith McBride