“No, Michael,” John says. “This isn’t a joke. This is a real life or death survival situation.”
“Wow,” I say. I stare into my coffee as I take this all in. The world as I know it has collapsed; civilization has crumbled, monsters have taken over, and everyone I once knew is likely dead. I’m not sure exactly of how to respond to this. What would Kenneth say?
“Well, shit…” I say, paraphrasing Kenneth. It honestly doesn’t strike me very hard. I didn’t have much of a life; I worked, and I slept. I didn’t have hobbies or friends. I guess the whole zombie thing is kind of bad though.
“You’re lucky, dude,” the young man, Luke, says. He is immediately jabbed in the arm by Claire.
“I bet her doesn’t feel lucky right now,” Claire says through clenched teeth. The two begin bicker but their conversation is quickly cut off by a glare from John and they fall silent. Claire turns her back on Luke and looks at me. Luke turns and heads toward the front of the RV with Chase.
“You haven’t been visited in the last month?” John asks. “Not by anyone, or anything?”
“No,” I say, still in a bit of a daze. I sip my coffee and push my thoughts aside. I’ve always been very good at repressing my thoughts and emotions. This seems like a very good time to utilize this skill. “I’ve just been up at my cabin, alone. I’ve been trying to finish a book.”
“How did you survive up there all this time?” John asks.
“Uh, canned and frozen food mostly,” I say.
“Frozen food? You have power?” John asks.
“Yeah,” I nod. “This entire town is powered by a solar field and windmills. I have a few solar panels of my own on the property and a backup generator for long nights. There’s no radio or phone reception up there, though, so… So I had no idea about all this.”
John nods at me and a contemplative silence falls.
“You don’t seem very concerned about lost loved ones,” Claire says.
I shrug at her.
“I don’t have any. Never married, no kids. My brother and I haven’t spoken since our parents died. Only friends I had were coworkers, and they were just pseudo-friends; only spoke at work. Only thing I have right now-” I pause briefly as something dawns on me. “Oh, shit.”
I see both John and Claire’s expressions soften, they were probably waiting for something to dawn on me and for me to break down in a fit when I recognized my losses. I hadn’t thought I had anything to lose, but I completely forgot about Nancy.
“Nancy,” I mutter quietly.
“Is that your girlfriend?” John asks.
“No,” I say, solemnly. I set my coffee down and press my hands to my face, letting them slide around my head and link fingers in my hair. “She’s my publisher.” I release a heavy sigh. ” I think I just lost this book deal.”