So we said our goodbyes today and left the town out the back way.
Adam was a little sad to leave, but it was also his decision to go too, so he was ready. I’d only learnt the names of half a dozen people in my time there, and only saw three of them before we left just after breakfast (a boiled egg and a couple of slices of bread from a bakery they got going again with a coal-fired oven).
Out on the road again seemed a bit weird. We had to get back into the cautious mode after a couple of weeks of letting our guard down. Thankfully the surrounding areas have been pretty well cleaned out of undead by the regular patrols from the township.
We settled ourselves into an abandoned gas station a few miles out of town well before the sky had even started to turn pink.
Today was the day I deemed to be Adam’s birthday. I like to spring it on him each year so it is a nice surprise. Neither of us have any clue when his real birthday is, so I just make sure it is roughly around the same time of season each year.
First I found a couple of chocolate bars that hadn’t turned too rancid in the gas station’s store out front and gave him those in lieu of a cake. I then pulled out the whetstone I had been carting around ever since that fishing store visit all those weeks, or was it months back. He loved it and was so excited. I showed him how to spit on it and gently rub each side of his knife in a figure eight motion to put an edge back on it.
When he finally grew tired of that the sun was going down. So I got a couple of our candles going and then pulled out the big guns – literally.
When I took out the 9mm and handed it to him, his blue eyes grew so huge. He was excited, scared, nervous and overjoyed, all wrapped into one scrawny little blond-haired bundle. Before letting him hold it himself, I showed him the safety, how to release the clip and pull back the slide to ensure no bullet was in there, and clip it all back together again.
I handed the gun to him and he held it in his lap reverently. He was so grateful he gave me a huge hug and wet kiss on the cheek – something I’d never got from him before. So for that I thought it wasn’t worth mentioning that it was a gift from the sergeant. Not tonight anyway – perhaps another time.
I promised him we’d find a safe location in the next couple of days to let him fire off a few rounds and get the feel of the thing. But first I’d show him how to strip it down and clean it to keep it in good condition – that is if I could work that out myself first.
All up it was a pretty happy birthday I feel.