AaW Chapter 20

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“Fill the bleach bottle. Find a mop! Get me towels. Blah, blah, blah.” Dora muttered to herself as she topped off the bottle of bleach with water at her sink. Her back was to the rest of the group in the living room and she heard Marge's ongoing complaining about the treatment Mary was giving her. When Dora came back Paige returned from the garage with a mop and bucket. The mop was old, stiff and full of cobwebs. Paige handed it to Dora and set off up the stairs, with a bit of amusement in her eyes.

“Do you repent your sins?”

Dora heard Mary asking Marge as she arrived at her front door. Marge was standing up and Mary was working her legs over, each sported several oozing, bloody wounds that made Dora want to vomit. Looking at the bucket she was glad she had it handy, just in case.

“You about done, doc? Or should I say 'preacher'?”

“Don't. This is serious. Maybe she still has a chance to redeem herself, maybe the Lord means for her to find her way, even at the end of days. Do not make light of this situation.”

“Give it a rest. She is chomped up and bleeding and you are the only person with any way of helping her. Do you think she wouldn't say anything you asked her to? What is the Lord's feeling on coerced confession?”

Mary's face flushed slightly, but she nodded, “Really what you say is true, Dora, I had not thought of it like that.” Turning back to Marge she said, “Whether you repent or not, I will do what I can for you, and be as gentle as possible. I will still help you. Do you understand?”

“Yes.” Marge said.

“Do you repent your sins?”

Marge looked at Dora, “Yes. Yes, I do.”

Dora let out a short, “Hah!”

Marge continued to look at her, “I do. I am serious too. I messed up Dora. I messed up bad. I am so sorry for what I did to you. And to him and to Jerry. If I could take it all back, I would.” The sincerity in her voice bothered Dora, this was not like Marge at all.

“Why Roger? I mean, you could have done so much better!”

“He showed interest. I’m not like you Dora, men fall all over you, flirting. Roger...he, well, he showed interest.”

“How long?”

“Two months, it started when you went with your sister on that trip to Chicago. Roger said he was sure you were cheating on him, so you wouldn't care. He made it sound like you had practically agreed to it.”

“Roger was a player? God! Who knew? Marge, you don't think I would have told you first? I mean, if it was okay?”

“He said you liked to keep things discreet, which is why you never talked about your other men to me.”

“You stupid, stupid woman! The fuck of it all is, if I had been getting some on the side, I totally would have told you. We'd have laughed about it.”

“I can't believe how naive I was.” Marge said, casting her eyes down.

“It takes two to have an affair.” said Mary, “You knew it was wrong when you did it and you have suffered the Lord's vengeance because of it.”

“I know and I knew it then. I knew it was all lies when it happened, but I let it happen. I was mad at you Dora. Angry at how you seemed to have everything, you ate what you wanted and never gained a pound, had a husband who wanted you sexually and was around, you had friends, money and, well, things.”

“Margie, Margie, Margie, don't go all like this on me!”

The other woman just looked at Dora, “Of course darling. So sorry about Roger and I. You are so right, I could have done better.”

Dora looked at her and let out a heavy sigh, “Alright, I supposed I can deal with 'maudlin Marge', I mean you are dying and all.”

“Thank you. I am sorry.”

“As Mary said, it takes two, lucky you, I can blame Roger for most of it. Are you going to be okay?”

“I don't know, doc?”

Mary finished binding Marge's leg up with strips of towel and said, “The bites will not kill you. Pray that you don't have the virus or whatever the infection is, if you don't have it, you will live.”

Dora made the sign of a cross with her fingers in front of her and said, “Lord hear our prayer, please don't let Marge have the virus so she can get better so I can kill her myself. Amen.”

“Dora!” Marge said.

“I will agree to the first part. I hope God gives you time to reconcile and repent Marge.” said Mary, then to her son, “Peter, we need to clean this up, come and help.”

Mary and Dora wiped Marge down with the towels and then led her across to the kitchen and sat her on one of the bar stools by the island. Mary sniffed the air as they went. “What are you cooking?”

“Oh that? We popped a bottle of wine last night, to help us think things through and decided to make all the meat in the freezer into beef jerky so it would last longer, we expect the power to fail any time.”

“That’s a good idea. Russell has a freezer full of meat too, venison mostly, we should get over there and bring it back here. How many days does it take?”

“Just about twelve hours actually, this batch is probably done. I think we made some of it a little too salty, other bits are too dry. We used the grill outside too.”

“That was the smell we ran into last night, there was a rot in the air, but fresh meat too, the mix was disturbing.” said Mary.

“We killed a lot of zombies yesterday afternoon. We dragged them all out back behind the pool shed.”

Paige came downstairs with Mike right behind her. He was carrying two rifles, the thirty aught six and the military rifle they had found hidden in the garage.

“Everyone, this Mike. Mike this is Mary, Alex, Peter and Marge. Why don't you lend Peter a hand cleaning up the entry Mike. Make sure not to get any blood on the carpet.”

“You are welcome Dora, for saving your life I mean. Don't mention it, no problem.” said Mike sitting down at the island next to Marge. “This the woman who was sleeping with 'The Bastard?'”

“The Bastard?” asked Marge.

“Roger. A little nickname we came up with. And yes, Michael, thank you so much for being there shooting when I ran out to save Marge. I could not have done it without you and it is good to know you had my back. The entry way isn't going to clean itself.”

Mike just stared at her, Peter spoke up, “I got it. Almost done.”

Looking over they saw that he had placed towels around the edges to protect the carpet and had moped up most of the blood. He had the mop in the bucket and brought into the kitchen to rinse out in the sink.

“A handy kid to have around.” said Dora.

“He helps around the house. He is very self-sufficient.”

“We could use that around here. Mike cooks, Paige manages and Marge and I mostly just sit around telling people what to do. Mary you get to be the medical staff.” Turning to Alex she asked, “What can you do?”

Dora noted with interest that Mary was also watching Alex closely for his answer. The man slowly rose to his feet and said, “I worked as a locksmith.” to Mary he added, “I went to trade school, made some sort of life after I...left you.”

Mary's eyes were disapproving, “You could have contacted me at any time in the last thirteen years, don't look for me to be happy with you about getting your life together.”

“Mary...” Alex began, only to be cut off by Mary making a firm cutting motion with her hand.

“I don't want to hear it and in front of these people, definitely not.”

A zombie pounded on the front door of the house, causing Peter to jump.

Dora laughed, “Don't worry son, the doors in these places are pretty solid.”

“Don't laugh at him.” said Mary.

“Oh don't be silly, it was funny. If we can't find humor in our situations then we are just...lost. Look at me, I just fended off a zombie horde to rescue my husband's lover. Now that’s funny!”

“No. I don't appreciate you laughing at him.”

“Noted. Now we move on, right?”

Mary turned away from Dora's gaze to look at her son, who had stopped mopping and was looking at her.

“Well now that we are all here, we might as well finish cleaning up and make a little breakfast, while we still have power to do so. We did raid Russell's fridge so I think we have enough food to go around for now. Why don't you manly types move the couch in front of the door. If it has Peter worried, I am worried.”

Mary's eyes snapped back to Dora's face, “You took food out of Russell's house?”

“Oh. That. Yes. I understand you knew him?”

“Did you kill him?”

“Us? Please lady! I could not put a bullet through my lying cheating, husband's head when I had the chance and you think I killed Russell, someone I don't even know?”

“That isn't an answer really, is it?”

“It is of a sort.”

“Jesus Dora!” said Paige, “I am too tired for this shit. No, Mary, we got there and this Russell guy was dead, or rather undead. He attacked us and we killed him again. He was the first one we killed, before him we just ran away. We found the key to his gun safe in his basement and took his guns too. Oh, and we did a load of laundry at his place, because we all got splattered with his blood and were worried that we were contaminated. We took the food when we left as an afterthought, because Dora here,” Paige pointed at her with the barrel of her rifle, “really didn't have any food here. Well except for the meat.”

“I normally eat out a lot.” Dora said with a shrug of her shoulders, “See? I am really not the bad guy.”

“No, just a bitch.” said Marge from behind her. Dora laughed again.

“So, Paige while the boys are moving furniture, can you make us breakfast? Mary could you help Peter clean?”

“Sure Dora, me and you can make breakfast, why don't you check the beef jerky when I get the coffee started?”

Dora sighed and nodded, “Fine, I won't return to my warm bed, but will do a little work with the common folk. Marge you don't have anything to do, on account of your condition, I'd say you should just sit tight. Would somebody turn on the news and see if we missed anything last night?”

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