Ok, this seemed like fun, so I thought, what the hey! Here are the first 500 of Evernow, my YA dystopian for the Catch Me if You Can Blogfest.
Life is so much easier without underwear. That was one of the first things Sal taught me. He taught me a lot of other things too. Like how to pee while holding a bow with an arrow nocked and drawn. In the Wild you have to know such things.
That’s what I’m doing now. Crouching over a leafy sprig of creeper so that my urine makes no sound on its way to the ground. My bow, Donriel, rests across my knees. My left hand holds it steady, my index and middle fingers twisted in order to keep tension on the arrow which is, in turn, applying tension to the string. I can let it fly while still crouched if I need to. But my friend, Brother the raven, is nearby at the moment. He’ll forewarn me of anything approaching.
I couldn’t do this wearing underwear. But in just chaps and a loincloth it’s easy, with practice. I’ve practiced a lot.
Eyes constantly scanning the forest around me, I pluck a large leaf of lambs ear with my free hand. It’s almost better than toilet paper. Softer but also more substantial. The pale leaf comes away with a smearing of blood.
Damn! The curse rings only within the confines of my mind. I’m too smart to curse aloud. Damn. Damn. Damn!
I stare at the leaf for a moment then drop it aside and pick up another. I get the same result. The last time I cycled while I was in the Wild, I was with Sal. Now I’m alone, with no one to keep watch or hunt while I lie in miserable discomfort. And bleed. And attract anything with half a sense of smell.
Brother startles me from my cringing thoughts, dropping from the air to strut around me in a circle. He lowers his thick-beaked head and snatches the soiled leaf of cows tongue from my hand. Skittering a step sideways, he grabs up the first one too, ratting them like a terrier with a toy.
“Yes, yes take them!” I murmur, shooing the black bird aloft. Sal taught him to carry dirty bandages, anything with blood on it far away and drop them where they won’t betray their source.
With the bird winging overhead I quickly set Donriel aside, rummaging for the cloths I carry in my rucksack. They never work like in the stories and books but they’re all I have nowadays. Three years after surviving the cataclysm that killed most of humanity, I’m used to going without what was once considered modern comforts.
I don’t have much time to debate what to do. It won’t take long for me to attract unwanted attention.
I skirted a small settlement yesterday morning. I might make it back there by nightfall if I rush. But if I go back to the settlement while I’m bleeding, they’ll know that I can still bear children while so many women nowadays inexplicably can’t. That will make it harder on me when I try to leave. And I will leave. I always do.
I decide to go it alone instead, find a defensible hiding spot and hope that I go unnoticed by anything roaming.