Morris is doing this wrong.
There no longer remains anyone to remind her of this fact. She had stopped caring some time ago.
The resulting cup of coffee was something described as ‘chunky’, but without supplies there weren’t many ways Morris could do this right. She sipped at the steaming, swampy drink, intent on tender steps navigating charred remains of past furniture and bio hazardous materials burned away from being bio hazardous. On top of this base layer of a scorched maze were signs of life, of people come and gone; leaving pieces of cloth, blackened pots, makeshift tools.
Morris navigated broad hips and slender legs through the strata, stopping at the narrow shaft that was the sole light-source here in the concrete bunker. She looked out at ground-level over eerily dark peat, past spindly, white trees in blue light, and watched the amorphous shape of a six-legged deer chew away at poisonous brambles and the small mammals dead within.
Its neck rose, head following shortly after. A few more significant chews sounded with the sickening crunch and crumble of tiny bones, before the creature turned and its thrice-combined eyes stared just past Morris in the bunker.
She watched its secondary jaws work away at thorns that would kill her in a expedient shutting down of organs from least to most essential. She had watched this happen to others, just as she now watched the front legs of the cervidae shift to walk away. A particular chunk of coffee diverted her gaze; the creature moved out of the bunker’s narrow line of vision.
With nothing of particular interest in an observable proximity, Morris moved on through the concrete building buried in the earth. She hadn’t like the notion of live burial at first but, as suggested, had become accustomed to the thought. There were worse ways to die.
She had watched them.
She had narrowly avoided them.
Now she pranced a little, past sections of uncleared rubble her bare feet wished to avoid. On the other side was the wreck of a medical bay. It was essentially a maintenance closet, downgraded by destruction into a niche in the wall. She selected a vial of estradiol perched among the chunks of concrete, and moved back to the other side of the rubble.
This roundabout way to the sanitary facilities was slower but much more comfortable than shimmying along the narrow space between fallen chunks of ceiling and the wall to the closed loop shower and the pressurized heat unit someone had written 'poop crematorium’ on in permanent marker. The autoclave was here also, in this unlit room where Morris no longer fumbled in the dark handling dull needles.
She had been doing this a while.
The bunker’s lack of light had oddly been one of her primary concerns about her residence here. She was anxious about her vision failing should she walk into full sunlight again. This line of unease had been stymied when a gentle hand on her shoulder reminded her that no one was ever going to walk in full sunlight again. The sun was gone.
Morris failed to remember owner of the hand’s name, but Brandy had been maybe the most useful to her of all the information gather-sharers. Small and smooth and hardened by experiences resulting in such valuable facts, Brandy accompanied her advice and discourse with sardonic remarks. Of Brandy, Morris remembered her calloused, dark fingers, the crinkle around her scarred eye, and the axe she had taken with her.
That had been Morris’ axe. But property was a strange, senseless concept here and now.
Like sunlight, or protesting live burial.
Morris replaced the twenty-five gauge needles in the autoclave and picked up the remaining dregs of her coffee from on top of the roughed together pressure cooker. She was doing this wrong.
She had no callouses to show for all her work and experience. She had daydreams of sun and nightdreams of deer that still looked like deer. There was expired coffee in her digestive system and expired hormones in her circulatory system. Returning to the room of brewing coffee, of observing the world, of sleeping curled in the fetal position, of relics from past people – of relics from her past self – she continued her interned existence. She was doing this wrong.