The U.S. of After Chapter 45

Ethan

When the two boats sailed on down the river and moved out of sight around the bend, I listened to the curses spewing from the lips of Captain Waldeburg.  He had untied me when I convinced him that I was through with the villagers and wanted them dead.  I sort of lied, but was coming around to pretty much hating them.

I felt sick.  I could see the blood in the water and the bodies floating down the river, bobbing ugly corks, and I felt like throwing up.  I looked down at the rifle in my hand and realized how useless I had been.  I fired at the water, fired at the trees and at the shore line, and generally froze up, until I shot one of them and realized that it was Ralph.

Many of the militia had been killed and lay like bloated crash test dummies all over the bridge.  Some of them were sticking dirty fingers in wounds that wouldn’t heal.  The Captain had taken one in the hip but was still walking around barking orders and screaming, a fat angry baby, his mouth always moving, his mirror shades on crooked so you could see that dead eye socket of his.  He didn’t realize that I was not completely on his side, so when I pointed my gun at him and pulled the trigger four times in a row, his face looked funny, all quiet and still and shocked.  He fell down on the pavement and made a gurgling sound, drowning in his own blood.  I put another one in his head for good measure, at close range, and blinked when some of his blood went in my eye.

I figured someone should give me a good hand or a pat on the back for offing the guy.  Human waste.

After I whacked him, the rest of those guys just stared at me.  They didn’t have the guts to retaliate, I guess.  I don’t know why I did that.  Mostly to shut him up.  I didn’t think about it as I dropped the gun on the pavement, walked to the railing and then jumped over the side.  When I hit the water it felt cool and good and welcoming.  None of those rednecks did a thing when I bobbed to the surface and started swimming.  I was a good swimmer in high school back in Jersey.  I just plugged along the river, swimming like a boss.

I saw my friends the crows, flying down to peck at the faces of the dead, and I climbed out of the water onto a small dirt road that came down by the shore, probably where some country bumpkin used to fish and bathe in the water and probably to to make babies with his sister.

After about an hour of limping along, I found a little house out in the middle of a wiped out field.  There was a truck parked near a boarded up and sagging house at the end of a long gravel driveway.  Didn’t see anyone around, so I hobbled up to the front door of the house, up on the stoop, and looked in.  Not a single sound.  I turned around and coming around the house was an old redneck guy with a shotgun leveled at my head.

Time to do what I do best.

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