The Lockdown

Majorette wore her best walking shoes, so she thought. The soles were beginning to wear, and if you looked closely, you could tell that old knee injury affected her gait. Her right shoe, all shifted and worn away to the inner man-made material, made her limp just that much more. She crossed the old highway and made her way down the dirt road toward home, stopping to shift her pack to the other shoulder.

“We just weren’t ready for them,” she mumbled aloud to herself. The day was bright, with a crisp chill that balanced out the strong scent of her unbathed limbs. The thought of a hot bath almost made her mouth water. “Bubbles,” she declared, to no one in particular. Majorette was used to talking to no one in particular, and truth be told, she hadn’t seen a single soul for days. But, it didn’t hurt to keep that muscle in shape.

Once past the first intersection, Majorette’s thoughts shifted to her location. Home. She hadn’t looked upon these woods in more than eight years. She inhaled deeply. Except for the obvious destruction from The Lockdown, it looked, and smelled, pretty much the same. The patch of trees across the street from her parent’s house were still standing, but the creek was dry. Not a good sign.

Majorette crossed the street and quietly picked up her pace as she entered what used to be the front yard. Old cars and motorbikes and bicycles were carefully sorted and piled, stacks of tires teetering precariously against the big garage door, and boxes filled with random parts labeled “free.” A path was worn between all these rather large junk sections, before heading toward the back of the property. Smoke was rising from the stack, but she knew it didn’t mean that her parents were home. Just that someone occupied the dwelling.

As she made her way through the abandoned vehicles, she watched and listened carefully for warning signs of a dog or other guard animal. Nothing. Which, of course, was a sign in itself. A muddy, paw-stained door into the garage could be a sign, but then again, it could still be tracks left from Kadeedid; her family’s blonde Chesapeake Bay that passed away before she left. The door was jammed a bit as she pushed her way in; finding the space curiously dark in the daylight. A small bit of sunlight made its way in somehow, but the window was still heavily draped in raid fashion, keeping the light out…or in.

“Ain’t you kinda exposed to be running around out here all by yerself?” Majorette convulsed violently at the male voice, knocking over…something; and causing a resonation that hung in her ears for a full three seconds. Fear, humiliation, anger. The emotions washed over her like burning water, but her recognition of them was still severely delayed. She fumbled to open the pack containing her handgun.

Majorette struggled to use her authoritative tone, “I’m not sure…I…I’m wearing clothes. I’m fully clothed.” Standing in the doorway with the sun at his back, she couldn’t see any features of the man, except that he was tall, with a slight build and longish hair.

“Woman without her people. I reckon there’s a story there…” The man reached to turn on the light.

“Reckon? So, you escaped from Texas to find solitude up here–” She interrupted herself in favor of silence when the lights turned on and was surprised to see a kid standing in the doorway. Young man, she supposed, tall, seemingly 24 or 25, wearing shoulder-length auburn hair, worn motorcycle boots and toting a gun notably bigger than hers. “You’re just a kid!”

The kid lazily moved in for a better look, bearing no shame in where his gaze settled, slowly walking round her as if he were pricing cattle. Majorette swallowed hard, another emotion to identify and now it was lost in her gut.

“W..what’s your name?” she asked, weakly trying to lighten the moment.

“What’s your name,” that all you can come up with? “What is mine, what is YOUR name?”

            “Majorette.”

It was the kid’s turn to be startled, but not from fear. Majorette could only look on in confusion as she watched the boy double over in laughter, bringing him to tears. The kid smacked his rifle on the garage floor in time with his giggles, trying to regain composure. This did bring a smile to Majorette’s face, and she definitely recognized this emotion. Utter bewilderment.

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