AK-47 Slaughterhouse: This is Hell

Chapter 2: The Smoke Break

I was having a smoke near the mall entrance as I did my patrol rounds. The survivor group was wary of me at first, but they became more accepting of me after I had several intense and passionate military tactics discussions with Kohta. Kohta was obviously the happiest member of the group to have me tag along since I have a past in the military as a U.S National Guardsman. He is quite adept with military strategy and weapons despite his lack of real-world experience. I would describe him as a Call of Duty nut who actually knows what he's talking about.

I was smoking a cigar… Cuban made. I found it a couple days before in an abandoned smoke shop, but never got around to lighting it. The mall was full of other survivor groups, but I wanted nothing to do with them. While my new group is full of the young and spry, most of the other groups who were already in the mall before us seem broken and weary… they had the same look to them as some of my friends who went through horrible shit in Afghanistan… empty looking eyes devoid of any ambition to live in this hell. I'd imagine most of them think this mall is their final destination; a place where they'd either ride the storm or perish. Most people end up like that… giving up on themselves. The last thing I'd want is to rely on people like them. I'm fucking glad I came upon my new group.

The smoke from the cigar was thick and rich. A slight wind picked up and blew the smoke into my eyes, and I had to pause to rub out the irritation. The shit burned. Suddenly, I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around quickly, fearing it's an undead.

"Oh shit! Who…. Who…" I said while still rubbing my eyes. My vision was blurry.

"Relax champ, it's me" said a soft feminine voice.

I finally regained my composure and realized it was the purple-haired chick, Saeko.

"Your eyes are red. Are you ok?" she asked.

"Yea, I'm fine. Some of this damn smoke went into my eyes haha. How are you doing?"

"I'm doing fine. Just wanted to check up on you" she said.

"How's the rest of the group doing? Are they still helping the other survivors barricade the place?"

"Yes. In fact, maybe you should go help"

I knew I should.

"I… need to think some things out" I replied.

"Oh, I apologize for interrupting" she said earnestly.

"No, no, it's totally fine. It's great you're here. I wanted to have somebody to… to talk to anyways"

Saeko gave me a small and delicate smile.

"Hm?"

"Well, you see… I was thinking about the big picture of everything. Like… what…. What are we doing? Why are we trying so hard to survive?" I asked, as my voice drifted along while my mind was deep in philosophical meditation.

I looked up into the night sky. She also looked up. I felt like we were looking at the same star.

"I don't know about you John, but I personally feel…"

She stopped talking abruptly. I look at her face, and was surprised to see her eyes water as she put on a delicate grin. I couldn't possibly make out her emotions. Was she sad or was she happy?

"You ok?" I asked.

She didn't reply back. She just kept looking up into the stars. Her eyes were watery, but I saw no tears.

Then she turned and looked at me. Whatever emotions she was feeling were now gone, as her usual façade gleamed in the moonlight… beautiful, intense, and focused.

"Nevermind John. I think it's best if I let you have your alone time. Sometimes a man needs solitude to be at peace with the world" she told me as she adjusted her Katana sheath.

A carton of mint-flavored gum slipped out of her pocket. I picked it up for her.

"Ok. Sorry if I…" I told her as I handed her her gum. I didn't know what to say as an apology.

"It's ok. It's nothing. Welcome to the group John. When you're done with that cigar, maybe you should come back in and help the rest of us" she said as she walked back into the mall.

"Sure thing miss" I replied.

Unsure of what the hell just happened, I continued to slowly sip the smooth smoke. That gorgeous Saeko… she's… fucking weird.