They went out hunting and didn’t come back. They left a note, “Went hunting, be home soon. Love Mom, Dad, Buck, and Ronnie.” I waited for them, it was really too dangerous to go out alone. I waited three days for them to come back, with five of us to feed there was not much worry about me running out of food.

I waited a week, still nothing, hunting trips should only take a day or two. Nights are too dangerous to do much. Everything is dangerous now, with raiders, mutants, wild animals, and non-humans.

I headed out to look for them, obviously something bad happened and they won’t be coming back soon. I packed my riffle, ammunition, jerky, some of our home canned food. I also grabbed my canteen and filled it with water.

I planned on returning home that night to restock, today’s mission was to find which direction they went.

Their trail was not hard to find since our giant, semi domesticated, mutant dog had gone with them and knocked down every bit of vegetation in his path. Since it was still early I followed their trail. Out of the abandoned city where we live and through the former farmlands, that looked more like forests with food crops growing in them. It was a good opportunity to restock my supplies. Being a solo meant I was fast and silent, not triggering any alarms or lookouts. It also meant I was vulnerable, no backup.

I kind of wished I had our dog with me, at least he would be something. I made it to another abandoned city. This one more populated than ours. This city was where I found the second note from my family after six months of following and searching for them. They had left it with the lookout who spotted me easily.

“You Gabrielle?” He asked when I approached.

“Yeah,” More curious how he had known it was me.

“This is for you I guess.” He handed me a wrinkled and beaten up envelope still sealed with my name written on it.

“How do you know this is for me?” Really I knew, there weren’t many female survivors of the catastrophe, and the female birthrate was low. A loner was odd, a girl loaner extraordinary.

He shrugged, “They kind of look like you.”

“Did they have a dog?”

He nodded and I tore the envelope open. “Chased by raiders, didn’t want to compromise the home base. Love Mom, Dad, Buck, and Ronnie.”

“You just missed them actually.” He said and pointed in the direction they went. Still farther away from home. I followed hoping I would catch up with them. I lost their trail a few times, finding our dogs kills along the way.

The way they took took me two years to follow them back home. There was a new note on the kitchen table. “Went hunting be home soon!”

With a sigh I went back into my room in the basement to wait for them.


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Writing short stories and flash pieces.

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