I did mess around with the computers for a couple hours. There wasn’t a password or a code or anything set up to protect access to the files. It was just all out there in the open. So much for confidentiality. All these dead guys would be pissed about that if they weren’t dead. I couldn’t figure out if anyone was frozen alive like Martialla and I were. After much poking of buttons, I did manage to open one of the other pods but nothing happened. I went out and looked. Just a frozen old dead dude in a tube.
After awhile I gave up on that idea and I started playing solitaire. Somehow out of all of it, that’s what made me cry. The world may be over and I was playing computer solitaire? It was too stupid not to make me really sad. When Martialla found me, I was in the bathroom starting at myself in the mirror. She looked around like she was expecting someone else to be in there with me.
“What are you doing?”
“Staring at myself in the mirror.”
She looked to the skies for help “Jesus Ela, I know you’re vain but this is too much even for you.”
I glared at her “Hey, if the world really is gone out there like you say, I’m never going to look this good again. I want to remember it. I want this image to be seared into my mind.” I held up one hand “If you’re right, I’m never going to get a manicure again, look at these cuticles! My nailbeds will never be this clean again. Have you thought about that?”
She shook her head and twisted the wedding ring on her finger “No, mostly I’ve been thinking about how I’ll never see my husband again.”
I sighed “You always have to one up me, don’t you Martialla? That’s one of your worst traits.”
She nodded somberly “I’m sorry that the thought of Rick being dead distracts from the sorrow of your beauty routine being disrupted.”
I snorted and then waved towards the door “If you’re going to be like this, let’s just go.” As we headed into the hallway, I looked over at her “Are you going to give me one of those guns?”
She thought a moment “I haven’t decided. I would like to have someone watching my back but I also don’t want you to freak out and shoot me in the spine because a cricket jumped on you.”
I scoffed “I went to the range every week when we were filming LA Gun Club.”
She gave me a side-glance “That movie wrapped over three years ago, I mean, three years before we were frozen for a hundred years . . .”
“It was not a hundred years!”
“Whatever, you know what I mean! Have you fired a gun since LA Gun Club, Ela?”
I thought about lying for a moment before answering “No.”
Before she could answer, we came in sight of the front doors. The glass is too dirty to see through clearly but we could both see a silhouette on the other side – one that was obviously the size and shape of a person. We both froze in place and she silently handed me one of the pistols. We stood there for a moment wondering if we were seeing what we were seeing. When the shadow moved on the other side of the door, I almost fell over. Martialla started creeping forward in a ballet like shuffle with her weapon up. I wanted to ask her what the plan was but I was too worried even to whisper.
She stopped when then person (?) outside started making some kind of wailing sound. It took a moment but eventually I realized that it was singing. Horrible singing, maybe not in English, but it was singing nevertheless. That shook me out of my torpor. Not that evil murdering rapists can’t sing, but it was something human and familiar. Martialla’s eyes went wide as I walked up to the door and reached for the handle.
I winked at her “Cover me.”
When I opened the door for a second, I thought it wasn’t a person at all but a very small and very upright bear. It was a man wearing a fuzzy brown animal skin. Not a fur like a rich lady would wear, more like a pelt – like I wore when I had a small role in that movie about the Oregon Trail. A Native American group sent me a nasty letter about playing that role. They should have been bitching to the casting director, not me. What actor is going to turn down a part?
When the door swung open, the man (?) jumped back like a startled rat. He didn’t look like he was even five feet tall. He brandished a sharpened piece of metal at me with cloth wrapping for a handle, more than a knife, like the size of a baton maybe.
“Hoo-ra!” he shouted at me, or something like that.
I kept my gun down but made sure he saw it “What? What’s who-raw? Are you in the marines?”
“Digger hi baker!”
I kept my eyes on him and said over my shoulder at Martialla “Is he speaking another language?”
Before she could answer, the small bearman whistled and two more guys came down onto the ramp. They were equally as small and dirty and their exposed skin was covered with hives. What really bumped me was their teeth though, they were so yellow they were almost brown and they looked like they were half the size they should have been. One of them had a fire axe, one of those mil-spec ones that looks even nastier than a normal axe – it made me think about what had happened just a few days before (to me, maybe a hundred years before) to that poor slob who tried to stand up again the mob. The other one had what looked like a pipe but was closed on both ends, a heavy piece of metal for smashing heads in any regard. I did raise my gun at that point and they backed off a few steps.
“So you know what a gun is huh? Can you understand me?”
Bearman ducked his head and said something that sounded like “seecwo”.
Out of my periphery I saw Martialla move up and take cover with her gun trained on the strange men.
“What the hell are we going to do here Mar?”