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Memories of Lori Part 6: Bird of Peace

 
Lance Striker's picture
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                                                             12:30 May 12th 2144

                                        Kaibab National Forest



A spark settled on the charcloth in the nest of dried grass. Striker set down his knife and firesteel, gathered

the bundle in his hands and coaxed the potential from the ember with a firm blow. Lori watched him, smiling, taking

a momentary break from her drawing. Smoke erupted from the bundle and he calmly placed the now flaming ball

down onto a set of flat rocks and quickly began to build up their campfire for the night.


   Lori's brightened expression warmed him as well as any flame and he began to unpack the cooking supplies

from her pack. She began to sway excitedly in anticipation of a hot meal then went back to her drawing.

One frying pan and a spit was enough for tonight. Luckily, Striker had managed to catch a fairly large rabbit thanks

to his powers. It lay lifeless on the ground by the fire, awaiting the indignity of his knife.


   “Do you think we'll find everyone?” Lori asked him, her face hidden behind a clipboard of paper.


   “If we do...I hope it's not here.” He replied, pinching the skin on the rabbits belly and inserting the point of his knife to make an incision.


   “Why's that?” She asked, leaning around her drawing and looking down at her dinner.


Striker pushed his fingers into either side of the incision and firmly pulled at the skin, neatly tearing it away from the pink

flesh at both ends. He looked up at her with a frown of concern.


   “We're not the top of the food chain in this sector.”


Lori gulped, set down her drawing, gave a nervous look through the forest and held onto her rifle.


   “B-but you're stronger than mutants, right? You can do anything!”


   “Let's hope so.”


His words did little to calm her nerves so she hurried over to him, sitting by his side as he continued to dress the rabbit.

Off came its head with a crunch of his knife; he tossed it into the fire along with the torn pelt. Lori's eyes welled up

watching it consumed by flames.


   “Good night, little bunny.”


Striker rolled his eyes, Lori wiped hers and the rabbit's popped and boiled. Next came the messy part, the knife severing

the flesh below the chest and down to the pelvis. He propped the rabbit up and began to scoop out the internal organs, smirking

at Lori as they sloshed to the ground. She turned away in disgust, more from the noise than anything. Striker examined

the liver, it was plump and healthy – no white spots. He nodded in approval and set it to one side with the kidneys and the heart.


   Next, he batoned his knife through the pelvis to break it, carefully removing the droppings from the lower bowel along with its gonads

so as not to cut his finger on the sharp bones. Finally, he trimmed the extremities from the limbs, leaving a neat, if bloody, carcass ready to cook.


   “You remembered to pack some soap, didn't you?” He asked, holding his crimson-soaked hands up with a smirk.


   “Of course I did, I'm not old and forgetful like you.” She replied, rummaging through her pack for tiny flakes of soap.


Striker threw the rest of the guts into the flames then held his hands out over the carcass as Lori poured water from her canteen

over them, washing away most of the blood. She handed him a few flakes of soap with a smile then helped him rinse once more.


   “You'd better go get some more water, eh?” He said with a smirk.


Lori frowned.


   “Go on...There's a spring just behind those trees. I'll get started on dinner and we can have some tea when you get back.”


She narrowed her eyes at him for a moment, grinned, then kissed him on the cheek before running off excitedly. Striker shook his

head and made preparations for dinner with the vegetables Lori brought with them and some dryad's saddle mushrooms she'd found along the way.


                                                                                             ***


The sun was setting over the canyon, dinner was far behind them and pine needle tea warmed them from within. Lori had set her

hammock annoyingly close to Striker's, he sighed at the prospect of another sleepless night. She had gone back to her

drawings, he decided to make use of the last light of the day and climbed up into a tree.


   He looked out over the area they'd be heading into but couldn't make out anything significant for the density of the forest.

Instead, he opted to watch the sun sink into the horizon for a while. Stolen memories of youth flooded his mind, bringing him pain and

comfort in equal measure. He sighed and went to head back down to the camp when a flash of red caught his eye in a nearby treetop.

Two vermilion flycatchers were singing their ode to the dying sun.


   “Lori!” He whispered, leaning down through the canopy. “Lori!”


She looked up at him over her drawing, seeming a bit nervous. He beckoned her closer and she did so reluctantly, setting down her paper.

He extended a hand and helped her up the winding branches along with him and pointed at the birds.


   “Look there.”


Lori's face beamed in delight, she adored birds.


   “Wowwwwww... look at the colours!” She whispered, gripping hold of his arm.


Striker smiled, the birds didn't interest him so much as the joy on her face. She leaned back against him, watching the birds sing and dance

against the backdrop of the yellowing sky. He planted his hands on her shoulders, bracing himself against a large branch.


   “Thank you.” She whispered, as the birds flew off.


He gave her shoulders a little squeeze, memories were beginning to overwhelm him. Lori, as if sensing it, opened those old wounds.


   “Tell me about Milly's favourite bird again...”


He fought back his tears and the lump in his throat and laid his head on top of hers.


   “The dove? Pure white...the bird of peace. Milly once asked me if they were angels...I told her there was no such thing, but she

    was stubborn like me. She said that you always see doves when people get married and people stop fighting so they must

    be angels, looking out for people.”


He laughed a little, caught up in the memory. Lori put her hands over her shoulders to lay on his.


   “Sometimes she would sit in the garden, talking to the birds in the trees, asking them to tell the doves to keep daddy safe...she hated

    it when they sent me off to fight. Doves were her way of dealing with my absence.”


Lori turned and looked up at him, something in her eyes seemed different to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck, gave him a kiss

on the cheek and just hugged him as tight as she could.


   “I wish I could give you your daughter back.”



Comments

Joe Spivey's picture

((Awwww, such a sweeet scene at the end there. I guess the wasteland, like any wild lands, can be just as beautiful as it can be deadly.

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Lance Striker's picture

clues-clues-everywhere.jpg

Lonely are the brave...

Canni Belle's picture

((I have been lax on my reading but after this I found I absolutely had to go back to the first one and discover the rest... so vivid and real, the story brought me right into it.))

One minute your calm, the next your shooting someone in the face, then your doing your chickendance. If that is not chaos I dont know what is - Aiid

Lance Striker's picture

(( Thanks. You might have a slight interest in how this all culminates ;)

Lonely are the brave...

Canni Belle's picture

((slight is a bit of an understatement, I am fully involved with Striker and Lori now))

One minute your calm, the next your shooting someone in the face, then your doing your chickendance. If that is not chaos I dont know what is - Aiid

Lance Striker's picture

(( I shall try not to disappoint!

Lonely are the brave...



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