by Britny Brooks
first aid kit
food (canned & dry)
photo of everyone from last summer gold jewelry
jade pendant from J
a list of everyone’s names
To tell you the truth, I’m not sure where we are anymore, except in a valley that has a forest of trees with leaves instead of trees with needles, but that doesn’t really matter. The distance that we’ve walked the last two weeks is probably impressive, but it seems so trivial given the situation. I wish I knew what was happening. Later, it might seem like there is a simple answer. You might even believe it, but I think this is much more complicated than any of us ever imagined.
- REMEMBER: Yellow touches Red, you’ll soon be dead, but if Red touches Black, it’s a friend to Jack.
If you see a tan-colored dog with a blue harness, please take her with you. Her name is Gabby and she is friendly, but a little timid. She ran off last night when our camp was raided and I haven’t been able to find her. I want to make sure that she is taken care of. She is the best dog, I promise. Please tell her that I love her.
Turn east here and walk half a mile. There is some fresh water and shelter.
Here lies one William DuBois. He was shot twice in the back by Nora Andrews for being a lying, son of a bitch and trying to sell her out. In case anyone is looking for him please let them know his hobo meals were always the best, and that he was a decent man who made a mistake when he was weak. Take comfort in knowing he is (unfortunately) in a better place now.
- I can’t remember how many days ago the blackout happened. I just keep telling myself this can’t be it. The end is always so loud in the movies with everyone screaming and shouting, windows breaking, cars crashing. But when I opened my window all I heard was static—like the tv tuned to a dead channel.
- In Native American legend, disease was a punishment given to any man who killed without permission, took more than was needed, and did not give thanks for the gifts freely given.
If you are reading this, I’m sorry. I want you to know that I waited as long as I could. Your route is marked out right there on the map hanging in the kitchen if you want proof that I tried my best. It must have been difficult to walk all those miles just so that you could get to me—to make sure that I was safe too. I’m so sorry, but I couldn’t wait any longer.
If you are reading this, we probably walked right passed each other. After a while I started thinking about all the things that could have gone wrong and I couldn’t take it anymore. Remember when, we were lying in the spare room of your old house, the one with all the books you’d soon lend to me, you kissed the back of my neck and told me that you would always be there for me? Your lips moved against my skin as if asking me to feel the love you couldn’t speak aloud like braille. I wanted to understand what you meant then, but I couldn’t. I knew deep down that I could decipher every secret message you left on my skin, but I wasn’t old enough yet. It was only after all those years that we struggled and argued, only after we tore ourselves away, back-to-back marking paces until I had to imagine your voice echoing mine, that I could read what you’d given me. It still took many more years for me to understand.
I hope you aren’t reading this. It was only supposed to take you a little over a week to get here by foot. I calculated it once in the dark after I dreamt about the end of the world. Somewhere I found a map and marked out what would be the fastest way from me to you. It was only supposed to take a little less than 195 hours, and that was only if all transportation was out of the equation. I promise it will only take me 200 hours to get to you. I hope we meet each other half away and everything is forgiven.
If you are reading this please just wait. I promise I’m coming for you.
Britny Brooks currently lives in Philadelphia with a dog, a cat, and a writer wearing a tie. She recently graduated from Arcadia University with her MFA and MA in English, and wishes that she was something more exciting than a female human–like a mystical Corgi or a self-aware video game character. She drinks coffee and retweets things as @Britny_Brooks.