The sound of leaves rustling in the soft wind greets my ears as I step outside, for the first time in a long time.
An occasional tweet of a bird, or buzz of a bee, filling in the rest of the quiet. A sigh breaches my lips, before a deep breath of fresh air fills my lungs.
I let out a whistle, the shrill calling forth my dog, Di, from the house. Her soft ears sticking up, listening to all that is around us, twitching ever so slightly at noises.
Her tongue lolls out of her mouth as she pants, the heat from inside still wearing on her in the cold breeze.
I lay a hand on her head, stroking her fur ever so slightly before moving to grip my backpack tighter. The worn fabric rubbing against the palm of my hand as I drift them over the straps.
The bag light, almost void of contents. Few things are necessary to keep in the world we live in.
My hand reaches the clip that’s attached to the straps, holding in place the one item that’s the difference between my life, and my death.
A gun, I never found out what kind it was, and there’s no need, all I know is that it’s saved my life more times than not. The first time was when it was in the hands of a soldier.
The young man had shot at a beast that was attacking us, killing it, but not before it took a fatal bite out of him. He died in my arms, bleeding out on an old pathway. Far away, and long ago.
Many more times after, the weapon has granted me my life, but those are stories too long, and numerous. I brush my hand over it, letting my hands rest against it’s end.
Holding my breath for a moment more, letting the sounds around me flood my senses. The peaceful ambience hiding the sinister world behind it’s facade.
Moving from this place feels like a mistake, but a necessity. With no food, and little water, there’s only eventual death in the fallen home.
The dark insides holding stories of loss from times before. Not a place for one to thrive. With delicate steps I tread lightly down the rotting wooden steps.
The long grass dancing across my clothed shins. A few bees buzz from flower to flower nearby, carrying their pollen and nectar back to the hives deep within the surrounding woods.
The dark trees hiding life, and death, from view. Their looming shape casting shadows on a perhaps once thriving garden. I move through the long grass, Di moving swiftly besides me.
It doesn’t take long to find the flat surface of the road. The old tarmac still existing after so long, almost entirely undamaged, save for a few scattered cracks.
The hard surface warm in the shining sun. With cold wind out our backs, and hot road under our feet, Di and I set off.