Sun, 21 June 2009 - 11:14 pm

The Seekers’ mouth

It’s hard to keep secrets when we all live in each other’s pockets. It’s hard not to look suspect when you can’t explain what you’re up to. Of all the things I had thought about since we decided to do this celebration, a cover story wasn’t one of them.

The hardest part is not being able to talk to Matt. I’m so used to telling him everything that I feel myself stumble when he’s near. He knows that something is going on but he hasn’t asked me about it yet. I don’t know what I’ll say if he does so I’m staying away from him in the meantime. I’ve never been good at lying, especially to him. He always knows; he gets this wounded, disappointed look on his face and stops asking.

Thorpe’s giving me weird looks as well. It’s so hard to read his stoic grumpiness; he could be annoyed with me, he could be upset, or it could be gas. Of course, asking him reveals little to nothing except an extra effort on his part not to give anything away.

Masterson couldn’t care less what we’re up to, though he’s getting snarky over the fact that Sally is spending time with me. He’s like a hangnail, the sort you’re just dying to chew off because it catches on everything but won’t because it’ll make your hand bleed.

Dillon, on the other hand, is so bored that he’s glad of any attention I can give him. I wind up sitting with him most of the time I’m in the warehouse, making him help me sort out the things that we found on the day’s scavenging. He’s still in a lot of pain and welcomes distractions. He even brushed out Nugget’s snarled hair earlier, with such patience and care that I found myself sitting and watching him when I should have been shifting supplies. He reminded me of a younger Matt; they have the same hands.

 

The Wolverines are as much trouble as they always are, squabbling over the division of supplies. They defend their space and gear with dark enthusiasm and the rest of the Seekers mostly avoid them. It made me sad at first, until I realised that they were stopping the doctor from getting to Dale.

Dale is pale and sickly from his injuries, not the Sickness. He hasn’t left his blankets since we laid them down; I don’t think he’s been awake much either. When I found out that his companions had prevented Masterson from checking on him, I lost it a little bit.

I told the doctor to come with me and marched over to the poor fella. When Jersey tried to get in my way, I asked him what the hell he thought he was doing. The lad didn’t have the chance to reply – of all the stupid things, stopping a doctor from getting to his patient it right up there with running around in the rain. We might not have much in the way of medical supplies, but we can still make a difference. What did he think we were going to do – kill his friend? Did he really think we’d do that?

Haven’t we lost enough people already? Haven’t they? It was about time they started doing the best thing for survival and making a few compromises, because the way they were carrying on, they wouldn’t last long. We’re all making choices that we don’t want to so that we make it to tomorrow, and it was about time the Wolverines realised that they’re not exempt from that.

Then I noticed I was ranting. Masterson was watching me with a closed expression – maybe just a little smile – and Jersey’s mouth hung open a little. I caught myself, took a breath, and asked the Wolverine to get out of the way.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” he demanded, but he stepped aside anyway.

“I’m the one willing to shout at you so your friend gets help,” I told him.

“She’s the Seekers’ mouth,” Masterson agreed as he stepped calmly past us to Dale’s side. He might pretend not to care, but he still likes to make a difference.

I went to go with him, but Jersey wasn’t finished with me. “He can, but not you. I don’t want you near him.”

I glared at him, furious, and had to remind myself that Dale was the important thing here. So I left them to it and sent Sally to lend the doctor a hand.

The whole incident made me so tense that my arm aches now. The healing gashes cut deep into the muscle and they don’t like to be so wound up. The pain radiates out from my arm to the rest of my body until I find myself gritting my teeth. Then I look at Dillon and know it’s so much worse for him that I don’t complain.

 

My cracks are showing. I shouldn’t have gone off like that at Jersey, even if he did deserve it. I feel like the slightest thing will make me snap – the wrong look, the wrong word, a question too far. I don’t know how to uncoil myself. I can feel my dream waiting for me when I fall asleep – the footsteps in my head, the reaching fingertips at my back. It feels like something’s coming, something awful.

If I let it catch me, will it really be as bad as I fear?

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