Chapter 4

Zed watched Kanna skip into the darkness. “Bitch,” he muttered under his breath whilst pulling his ripped shirt from the dirt and putting it over his head.
“You’re going to have to excuse my baby sister. She’s been through a lot.” Eli shot him his signature closed eye smile. A very genuine smile.
Zed scoffed, “We all have. She’s no exception.” He sat in the dirt leaning on the rock as he observed the fire.
“So what has a young boy like yourself seen?”
“None of your business.”
“You remind me of someone.”
“That’s nice but I’d prefer if you didn’t compare to a pathetic friend of yours in a past life.”
A small snigger came from Eli’s mouth. “Ouch. You’re mean. An old man is just trying to warn you. That pathetic friend did alright. In fact, look for yourself,” he said as he gestured to himself.
Zed observed him, his build was thin and slender upon first impressions but the way he had pinned him, Zed realised that he was a lot stronger than he had seemed.
“Don’t compare me to you.”
“Okay, Zed, let me tell you something nothing is as simple as it may seem.”
“You and your sister travelling together seems simple enough. What is it? The cliché ‘parents died in front of your very eyes and you devote yourself to avenge them’ but before you can, you then realised how royally fucked you are; so you just move, valuing your own life more than anything.”
“You want me to start from the top I will.”
“My parents were killed before my very eyes.”
He groaned to a story he expected.
“They were killed before the war. As a child I lashed out. Became a victim of the system. I had no one. Nothing. Just lived. Did drugs. Committed crimes. Squatted in other people’s houses. Pretty much did anything I could to survive. Then the war started and chaos spread. The dead bodies on the street, the shattered glass. I became intoxicated with it, I felt happy. People were suffering the pain i had been for years. I saw this as an opportunity. I could do whatever I really wanted with not even a risk of punishment.”
“So what did you do? Kill people. Did you shoot a man as he begged for his life, looking at the fear in his eyes as only more ammo as you pulled the trigger and watch yourself becoming a killer. And not hate it.”
Eli was not shaken by the oddly specific description that Zed had painted for him. In fact he chuckled. “I’m thankful I was never that far gone. I did the same shit I always did. I tripped on acid, got high with the same people but just in a bigger playground. I thought I was so bad, I thought I was living how I wanted. I thought that what I did was a big fuck you to everyone who did me wrong. These things that were taboo, but i had been doing it so easily. It’s because there was no one left to tell us, no punishment, no crime, no boredom. In reality, we were just teenagers squatting in someone’s house that didn’t care while other people were dying. I didn’t care because in that moment I was immortal. The feeling of immortality is only heightened when you see more people die. I felt superior.”
“Then one day when we were all tripping. A group of kids our age had bigger plans of saying fuck you. They were the killers you described. They came into our home, our barrier to the shit that was happening outside. They lit it on fire and tried shooting at us from the windows. My best friend sawyer got shot right in the eye and burst out laughing because he was hallucinating. He was enjoying the pain and didn’t even feel his life slip away. Not from the first, second or even third bullet. Some people got an idea of what happened and ran. Well, they tried at least, however the fire spread and their alcohol soaked shirts determined their fate. I didn’t flee I just sat there completely unable to move. One friend pulled me out and threw me out the window, he saved my life. The reliable older brother. We were on the second floor and I had managed to land as safe as possible. I urged him to jumped but he smiled and exploded with the house.”
“So you were the only survivor?”
“Me and Sarah. We survived. She was so fucking crazy. She would occasion trip out and do some crazy shit but most of the time she was clean. She did this crazy stuff like jumping from bridges completely in her right mind. She was fearless.” His eyes lit up talking about her, which urged Zed to ask, “you loved her?”
“Completely. I thought if I lived by jumping out of a house on fire then I could survive if she rejected me. I was more taken aback when she actually said she liked me too. We already travelled and lived together for a year and a half. But now it was different. Now we were together.
“So where does Kanna come into this story?”
Eli laughed. “I completely forgot that’s why story time began. You’re awfully interested in her.”
“Only because that’s why you started it. Explaining why she’s such a bitch.”
“Well if you want to know maybe you should ask her.”
Kanna walked into the camp. “Ask who what?”
“Well, sis, Zed has a question for you.”
“Go on, bastard. Make sure you don’t piss me off.”
Zed cleared his throat, clearly uncomfortable with the current situation. “So why are you such a bitch?”
Her blood boiled. “Wrong question.” Before he knew it a small fist came into an uppercut at his chin. “I’m not treating him again.”
Eli unfazed once again. “Nice hit but why hurt an already injured pup?”
“There’s a lake probably 500 km. Dump his body there or treat him. Your choice.”