The moon had set fourteen times since setting off, making this day fifteen and probably the hottest so far. Provisions had all but run out, with fire making material having been exhausted two nights a go. Though the days were hot, the nights were bitterly cold. Water I was having to ration. Sanctuary needed to arrive soon.
With the sun at its zenith, I took shelter within the shadows of a derelict building. Travelling across the urban wasteland was difficult enough without the heat of the midday sun burning down on your back.
Cleanliness was never going to be a major concern, especially with clean drinkable water being sparse, so it was probably my delightfully pungent aroma that attracted it.
I heard the snarl first, which allowed me to ready my makeshift spear; a hunting knife lashed to a long sturdy pole. A second knife hung from my belt, just in case. The snarl seemed menacing enough for my heart to quicken and sweat to pour. Typical then, that my throat was dry.
I don’t know what I was expecting, a doberman or rottweiler perhaps. Maybe even an alsatian. What stood above me on a overhanging ledge was a scrawny light brown chihuahua. There was no doubting it was hungry and would have a nasty bite, but I thanked whatever gods were looking down on me. A couple prods with the spear and it soon turned tail and ran. Times had not gotten bad enough for me to have considered eating rabid dog.
With the sun and temperature dropping I chose to push on further into the ruined city. It was almost picturesque the way nature had already begun reclaiming the land where once concrete and steel stood dominant. It certainly put a new meaning on the term ‘urban jungle’.
Carefully rounding a corner, spear in hand, my attention was drawn to a reflected light shining a little way off in the distance. Was it glass catching the sunlight? If so was it a signal of some sort? It didn’t appear to be using morse code, more a constant light.
Tentatively, more out of curiosity than necessity, I edged my way closer. My heart was almost bursting out of my chest, my grip slipping on the pole of the spear, such was the extent of my fears making me sweat. That was until a laugh crossed my lips.
The light was coming from a pinwheel that had been attached to a child’s tricycle. I pushed it with my hand, watching as it went round and round. On the floor was a rucksack with a teddy bear’s head sticking out. It had been well loved with fur patches and an eye missing. I opened the bag tossing the teddy aside, no one was going to love it anymore.
Inside the bag was a can of Coke and a few sweets, praise be to kids and their sweet teeth. With the bag being in good condition, I transferred some of my belongings into it before adjusting the straps and slinging on my back. Who was going to see me carrying a Princess Unicorn bag!