B Part II
B stared intently, brows furrowed, into the fire. Swallowing the last of her beef and rice concoction, she sat the tray and spoon on the ground, and wiped her hands on her dirty cargo pants. They didn’t fit her as well as the woman she’d taken them off of, and had begun to go threadbare at the knees.
Terry shifted her weight on the log in silence, somewhat awkwardly. ‘She’s much too polite,’ B surmised. ‘Clearly, not a soldier. Maybe a doctor? Oh, please, not a therapist!’
B cleared her throat roughly, making Terry jump almost imperceptibly. “So, you didn’t think you’d find anyone here? There aren’t many others out here that I know of, but I’m sure those that are have already noticed the fire and the campsite.” She looked around to the wood line, maybe an eighth of a mile from the camp she and Terry sat on the outskirts of. The flat, leveling of the clearing certainly didn’t make it seem that far off, however. Terry had to fight off a shiver at B’s ominous tone, and even B herself was uncomfortable at the idea of being surveyed. She especially disliked the way the bright fire light kept her eyes from distinguishing the shadows amongst the trees.
“I don’t mean to make you nervous,” she continued, “but it’s not the best idea to put yourselves and all your belongings on display in front of desperate people, especially at night. You don’t leave a steak on the table in front of the dogs and turn your back.”
Terry considered this before seeming to steel herself with the slightest of grins. “You don’t seem all that worried about it,” she said. She wondered if B was toying with her.
“I’m never worried. But I do like to exercise a little caution and discretion. If something were to happen, it’s not as if I couldn’t get myself out of it, but I don’t like to gamble,” B stared back into the fire, reflexively moving her right hand to the cracked leather sheath that held her bowie knife at her thigh.
“What do you think the chances of ‘something happening’ tonight are?” Terry asked, doing well to hide the intent behind the question, seeming to only mildly entertain the idea.
“I dunno,” B said. “Depends on how hungry they are, I would think. At least it’s not winter. Freezing, starving people in winter don’t have much rationale dictating their actions. It’s just, survive! Survive! The word doesn’t even exist in that world, it’s just a constant drive. It’s past human emotion, empathy, pity. That kind of desperation is what turns people to thieves, murderers…cannibals.” B trailed off, not entirely unaware that she might be getting some sort of a twinge of pleasure at disturbing her company. After all, she rarely gets to experience any semblance of superiority in her life anymore.