Lisa Fang, Buena Vista, Virginia
Lisa requested the tower bedroom for her temporary home. She claimed she wanted it for the view, which in all fairness was partially true. The view was indeed stunning.
But the main reason she wanted the tower was because it gave her privacy. And right now she needed privacy so she could use her Sat-Phone. She kept it in her purse where no one would really look.
She hung up the phone and put it back in the false bottom of her purse.
She hadn’t been able to call Beijing in several days and she had to give her report. A lot had happened in the past few days. Also, it felt good to speak Mandarin again. She hated pretending to speak English badly. That had been her cover for so long that she automatically did it with these people she had never met. Now she was stuck with it.
She was stuck with them as well. No one could have predicted that the Americans would unleash a doomsday virus. She thought the days of Mutually Assured Destruction were over. Now she was trapped here in a devastated world and in a country that wasn’t her own.
Things could be worse, not much but it was possible. She found a group of survivors she could trust. They needed help indeed, but she needed them as well. Without them she wouldn’t be able to survive. She knew nothing about farming and most Americans’ distrust of the Chinese wouldn’t help either.
But, this was a beautiful place and there were worse places to survive the end of the world.
“Hey, Fangs! Breakfast is ready!” Adam called up.
“Be there in minute!” She called back down.
She had been training for cultural infiltration since she was fifteen. This had been a mission she was born for. Now none of it mattered. For five years she had trained to be an agent in America, now it was all pointless.
She was pointless. She would survive, but what was the point of survival without a purpose?
She was a tool that no longer had a function.
The only thing she could do was continue to play along and
She walked down the spiraling staircase and found the others gathered in the cafeteria. There were no lights but there were plenty of windows.
What ever they were eating didn’t smell good at all.
“What is this?” She asked as she took her seat next to Alex.
She trusted Alex.
“Spam and instant eggs. It’s good,” Alex said.
She had her doubts and her first forkful confirmed her suspicions. She must have made a face because Adam commented on it.
“See? She don’t like it either,” Adam said.
“I’m glad its not kosher because I wouldn’t want to eat it. I’ll stick to my eggs,” Rebekah said.
“After breakfast let’s search around the University here and then we’ll search the town,” Alex said.
“I don’t think we’ll find much,” Spencer said.
“We’re not just looking for supplies, we’re looking for things that can help us down the road, antique farm equipment, seeds, tools, I don’t know what else, but anything,” Alex said.
“I’ll be in the library,” Jennifer said.
“Good, look up books about farming. None of us are farmers and without some kind of knowledge, we’re going to starve,” Alex said.
After breakfast she slung her American M4 and followed Alex around the school. It was a small school. There were a few dorm buildings, a three story class building, a small office building in an old rickety house and down the ways a bit was an art studio filled with students’ art.
It was a shame but art wouldn’t be useful for a long time, not until society rose above the level of survival. She didn’t know how long that would be.
Her government education covered a lot of topics and much had been expected of her, but some things just weren’t on the schedule. Surviving the end of civilization wasn’t on the agenda.
She missed China and knew she’d never see it again.
“Ready to hit the town?” He asked.
“Sure,” she said.
They walked down a narrow, crumbling stone staircase down the hill and into the town. Some of the houses looked pieced together from other bits of houses. Others looked old and some looked old and nice.
Rural America wasn’t what she had thought it would be like. It wasn’t what she had seen on TV. She had expected sweeping prairies, cowboy hats and country music. This place was just like the rest of America except smaller, poorer and older.
She scanned the buildings for signs of movement or occupation. Somebody had to have survived here. Perhaps the survivors went elsewhere?
Then she heard something moving between two old stores, a pizza place and an ice cream parlor. She spun around and raised her M4. There was nothing in the alleyway except an old cat scrounging around for food.
“A cat,” she said.
“We could eat it,” he said.
“Too loud. Waste ammo,” she said.
They needed something like a .22, a smaller caliber for smaller creatures. She began to think of recipes for cat. Fried cat was good.
Growing up in the state orphanage made her used to eating anything. The food was never enough and some days they’d go hungry. So, they hunted whatever they could.
They found a hardware store on their main street that had old non-motorized farm equipment.
“Jackpot,” Alex said.
They looked around the store while he took notes on a small notebook. Carrying around a notebook was a good idea.
“You have family back in China?” Alex asked as he checked out a dusty plow.
“Yeah,” she said. She didn’t but her cover identity did.
“It okay. You no end world.”
“How long you been in America?”
“I bet you miss China.”
“I do,” she said truthfully.
“I miss Las Vegas but I know that if I went back, it wouldn’t be the same. I don’t think I’d want to see it without power or people.”
She couldn’t imagine an empty Beijing, but nearly empty it was. Perhaps it would be best if she didn’t have to see it like that. She wondered if her commanders were surviving in a bunker somewhere. They had to have had a plan to escape. They were too good to just die in a plague.
“This my home now,” Lisa said.
Through all her lies the truth came out whenever it could. She hid her lies behind simple honesty.
“My home as well.”
After taking inventory of the old, used farm equipment, they continued down main street looking for anything else of interest. There wasn’t so they started searching homes. They did that for a few hours and found a few cans of food, some hunting rifles and shotguns and some ammo. She had slung on her back a Ruger 10-22, a semi-auto .22 that would be great for small game.
They walked past that alleyway and she saw the same cat. They had to make their more durable supplies last so any fresh food had to be taken advantage of.
“Alex, hold on,” she said.
She took aim down the low magnification scope on the .22 and put the simple crosshairs between the cat’s large, green eyes.
“Pretty kitty,” she said before squeezing the trigger.