We ended our previous episode with Jaya, Seven and Ryan pulling off the highway into the parking lot of a deserted business, Ryan’s dramatic rescue successful. The fact he was alive was miraculous. The more important question was why?
There was a picnic table on the side of the Tractor Supply Co. building sitting self consciously abandoned beneath the canopy of a live oak, stringy strands of Spanish moss threading haphazardly throughout, it was an island oasis in the midst of the still hot Texas sun; I walked towards it, Ryan following lethargically; we sat across from one another, silence broken only by the rustling of leaves in the tree’s upper branches. I’d grabbed some water and protein bars out of the back of the Humvee, shoved them over to him.
I stared at Ryan impatiently, the earlier “moment” in the parking lot disappearing into disgust, “no, it wasn’t me got yanked by raving rabids, it wasn’t me got tortured or traumatized or whatever the fuck it is happened to you but you need to snap out it” – elbows on the hard hewn wood of the table, his head resting in palms coated with what hopefully were the dried remnants of rusty clay typical of this area, soiled and exhausted from a difficult day’s work.. a narrator’s voice echoed in my head sarcastically “bucolic but for the man’s blood spattered clothing and the dried dirt tracing the woman’s face, scoring her forearms”; I’d found myself in the middle of an f’ing Ken Burns video montage celebrating something mundanely dark in the history of man. “Listen Ry, I’m done with this, I need to know why you’re still alive and what was that thing came out of the woods!”
Ryan took a swig of water, swallowed slowly; he spoke softly as if he were a priest consoling the bereaved. ” These things Jaya, these rabids, yes they are a pack of way fucked up, undead walking meat sacks jonesing to score human flesh but now they’ve got themselves a captain and he’s got a brand new game plan.”