A YEAR UNDERFOOT – entry #112

A Year Underfoot


December 24th, 2033

I’m back at the cabin. I got in yesterday afternoon and after heating up a tin of rice and beans, I fell back on the cot and stared up at the wood slat ceiling. I closed my eyes hoping to catch some sleep, but I found sleep wasn’t going to come that easily to me. Every time I drifted off I saw his face, the ruin in his eyes and the desperation of his rage, and I would wake up, startled and disoriented. I’d look around the room, and once I was satisfied I was safe and alone, I’d fall back and lay there, staring back up at the ceiling and the process would repeat itself.

I was too tired to move and too exhausted to care.

Eventually sleep came, but it was a fitful one at best and two hours later I awoke, shivering from cold, with the calf muscles in each leg knotting up and growing tighter.

The pain was excruciating.

I bent my body awkwardly, reaching down to my calves, when the muscle leading up the right side of the back of my neck pulled, and started to tighten as well. I stretched out my neck as far to the left as I could and rotated my torso away from the contracting muscle. In time, the tightness in my neck yielded, but the knots in my calves would not. In fact, if possible, they tightened further.

I felt a twinge in my lower back. Another spasm?

My body was in rebellion.

I knew why I was cramping. I was cold, I was worn out and I was dehydrated. Since the shooting I’d walked two days straight, no breaks, no stops whatsoever, – not to rest, not to eat, not to drink. I had pushed myself too hard. I was feeling it before, the mental and physical stresses of simply surviving, but this incident threw me over the edge. This time I had gone too far.

I struggled to my feet and stiff-legged my way to the propane stove. I had a can of chicken broth left and I put it on the burner and fired up the stove. I grabbed the last jar of peanut butter off the counter and gulped down some water before easing myself onto the lone wooden chair. Slowly, I leaned forward and began massaging the backs of my calves. The knots were rock hard and threatened to tear right out of my skin.

What to do? What to do?

Protein and H20, – that s what my body craved. The cramping was going to persist until I refueled and re-hydrated my body. I sat at the table and massaged my calves in between spoonfuls of peanut butter and mouthfuls of water and over the course of a half an hour the tightening slowly eased and I gingerly stepped to the cot and lay back down.

I can’t ever remember being so tired, so worn to the bone.

Between the chicken broth, the peanut butter and the water my aches and twitches finally eased and I was able to get a solid six hours sleep. I’ve felt much better since. I’ve stayed indoors, – for the most part, but I did step outside to visit Caleb’s grave. I let him know Rachel and Jessie were safe and sound and they were thinking of him. No sooner had the last words left my lips when a stiff breeze kicked up through the trees, – I like to think my message has been delivered.

The past few days have been like no other and are going to take a while for me to process.

If I’m lucky, I’ll have the time to do it.



About paul nevins

Fiction writer, reader and baseball fan.
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