Burden

She laid awkwardly on the road, her left ankle twisted and broken by the fall. A foolish misstep onto the soft verge had sent her stumbling, her twisting motion to try and get back onto solid ground just destroying the joint instead. It hurt like hell, but nothing was hurting more than her heart at that point. For she was alone, her rucksack emptied and pockets turned out.

“There’s not much I can do here…” Their group’s medic said as he looked over the injury.

“I guess we’ll have to get everyone to cooperate then.” she smiled weakly, her brow drenched in pain-fuelled sweat. “Get me to somewhere that something can be done.”

“Yeah,” he trailed off, looking into the distance. “I’ll just go and talk it over with the others.”

Pushing herself up, she peered around the area. As far as she could see, there was no one present. Just rolling countryside and dilapidated roads, the odd tree sticking out against the horizon. Completely lame, she had tried to drag herself on by her arms to little effect and a lot of agony. Even holding herself up was more than she could manage, her arms giving way to send her back to laying on the cold ground.

Her fellow group of survivors had been terse on returning, their faces grave and bodies tense. The sinking feeling in her stomach dropped like a lead weight when the de facto leader, Jeff, spoke.

“You’re nothing but a burden to us now.” He shrugged, as hands began to strip her of what items of value she had. The ‘sorry’ he had gave her had little in the way of sincerity as she was robbed, despite her struggles and hoarse cries. They even took her jewellery, the woman she thought might have been her friend at one point yanking her engagement and wedding rings off her hand.

They were scavengers of the land, true, but she thought camaraderie might count for something. But she was just another corpse to them now. One that hadn’t had the decency to die yet. Like animals, they picked off what they could and fled, leaving her sobbing on the cracked road.

She had stopped sobbing long after they had left, now just feeling numb and helpless. With the chill of a cold night saturating her body, she curled up as best she could and did something she had not done for years.

She prayed.

The Burning Night ->

Author’s Note: Today’s Three Word Wednesday words were: Cooperate, Lame, Terse.

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14 thoughts on “Burden

  1. It’s the kind of story that makes you hope you would act differently than the characters but you can never quite tell with any certainty until you’re in those exact same shoes.

  2. What a harsh and brutal landscape and yet in search situations we must survive..and always always hope..so i am left feeling that inside she will not be alone..and in a way she will indeed be ‘ok’

  3. At least they didn’t cut you up and eat you there and then but it was almost as bad. Clearly this is an allegory for an incident that you are aware of or have experienced…man’s inhumanity to man. I can think of a few examples myself.

    • A healthy interest in post-apocalyptic fiction such as Terry Nation’s ‘Survivors’, the BBC nuclear drama ‘Threads’, and Raymond Briggs’ classic comic story, ‘When The Wind Blows’.

      I also dislocated my knee in a similar manner to how the protagonist broke her ankle.

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