As witnessed by Jenna Pitman
Kathy killed herself last night...
The handlers told me she hadn't checked in this morning. They sneered at me for asking. Guess they really hate us. I waited for her for another half hour then gave up and went to find her.
Kathy lived on the perimeter of the inner ring. Her own house was located in one of the small, more removed trees on one of the smallest platforms. She didn't have to share with anyone else. Initially it had served as munitions storage but as our population grew that had been moved to a better location in another ring. That left this cozy little cottage open as viable living quarters. I had always envied Kathy's luck at landing the only relative privacy Haven offered.
I stopped myself from running, telling myself that it would only draw undue attention. Instead I walked quickly to her front door. I resisted the urge to swing it open and demand to know what she was thinking, leaving me all alone like that, giving me such a scare. Instead I stopped, I listened. Inside I could make out a steady, rhythmic thumping. Thump, thump, thumping. And a wheezing.
My blood grew cold. I turned my brain off, followed my instincts. I studied the sounds, gauging where It was and how long I would have before It could reach me. Then I lifted my leg and kicked in the door. In that one motion I was already loading my weapon and raising it to my shoulder. I saw movement, didn't focus on it too much, just enough to confirm that it was what I had suspected. Then I fired.
You can't kill a Walker if you look it in the eye. You freeze, your mind snaps, and before you know it BAM, It has you by the throat. It must be something hardwired into the human subconscious. I'm not sure if it's because They look so much like us or because They were once one of us. Maybe it's just that there's something inside that simply cannot accept the fact that something dead is up and walking around. In any case, it takes a lot of work to override your impulse to do nothing. I've never seen anyone who can look Them full in the eye and shoot. I've seen many people, tough-as-nails soldiers-of-survival, snap when they face down what was once a loved one.
I have killed more Roamers than nearly anyone in Haven. My aim was excellent. The body that had once been Kathy's hit the floor, blood that had already congealed seeped from the wound in the side of her skull. It was already rusty-brown. She must have done it pretty early last night.
I felt an unfamiliar pang of grief hit me hard. I walked over and stared at her for a few moments, feeling the odd need to say something special, something of import. Instead I just stared, unable to comprehend the fear and anger that had forced someone as unaffected as Kathy into actions so rash. Maybe if she had come to me sooner… I wished I had one more day with her, out in the pit, just to tell her what a great friend she was and how much I respected her. My period of mourning was painfully brief.
"Well done, pitter," I heard the nasally voice behind me, heard the sadistic pleasure and could picture the grin of childlike delight before I even turned around. Harton.
"It seems you've saved our lives," the detestable little man beamed, indicating both himself and the son that served as his assistant. "In another moment we would have walked in here for our scheduled conference and straight into a trap. And you sprung it before we got here. Bravo! I suppose that makes you a hero. Or it makes you the most deplorable citizen Haven has to offer. What would you prefer?"
It took me a moment to understand what he meant.
"Don't take too long to decide. That shot of yours wasn't exactly quiet, everyone will be here and soon. I can already hear the shouts. There are dozens of explanations for what just happened. What shall we tell them when they get here?"
I stared at the weasely pair for a moment, "What do you want from me?"
"Just your loyalty to the Sanctity Party's cause and your oath of silence. I'll fill you in on the details later."
I glanced down at the lifeless body at my feet then looked back at the man. If I said "no" I'd be killed, this looked bad. "I swear. Whatever you say. I'm at your disposal."
"Good," he grinned and turned to face the first comers. Saying something about a plot and how I had saved his life. I didn't hear any of it. I pushed my way through the crowd and made my way out to the pit. I needed to be alone. I don't know what to do. Harton's a bastard. Whatever he wants, it can't be good. What have I agreed to?
photo: Donald Holman
photo: Donald Holman