“How does it taste?” He asks her. “It tastes like shit.” She answers, her mouth still full of freshwater mussels that he picked up after taking a dive in a stream not too far from here. “Well, alright, how did the goose taste then?” He responds, hoping to receive a more positive response. “It tasted like literal shit. Did that poor bird crap itself when you killed it or something?” She answers.
He’s starting to get a bit irritated now, but in all fairness, her complaints are not completely unjustified. When he found the poor bird lying dead beside an old road just after sunrise it was already covered with flies. Luckily for him however he found it before the dogs did, which is an exception as most of the dead animals he found over the past few weeks had very few organs left that could still serve as a meal.
Despite the mediocrity of the meal he remains a bit upset, as he hasn’t even received so much as a thank you. She’s emaciated, he wouldn’t estimate her to weigh any more than fifty kilo, which is a poor fit for her tall frame. He happened to stumble upon her because he noticed smoke rising in the distance and after running in that direction he found to his amazement a young woman, he wouldn’t guess her any older than twenty-five, keeping herself warm next to a fire.
He doesn’t know how she got the fire started and he fears it would be impolite for him to ask, because it’s similar to asking someone his net worth. If she happens to somehow be in possession of a magnifying glass she has the ability to easily start a fire throughout much of the day simply by gathering some tinder. She’d be much better off than him, as he doesn’t have any method or experience with making fire.
His introduction was awkward but honest. After slowly walking in her direction with his hands above his head until he was in hearing distance, he shouted that he had some meat that would be safe to eat if they cooked it and he offered to share half the meat with her. After some more shouting back and forth they settled on two thirds for her and a third for him, as she was clearly the one doing him a favor here.
He wakes up from his daydreaming as her voice interrupts his thoughts. “So, don’t you wonder how I got that fire started?” She asks him. “Well yeah, I kind of do…” He answers. She slides her hand down her garment to reveal what he was expecting to see, a magnifying glass, a very valuable possession. “Wow! Where did you find that?” He asks her. She struggles to hide a smile before she answers: “First of all I didn’t find it, secondly, that’s impolite to ask a lady!” She tries to feign some anger in her voice, but to no avail.
Despite not having talked to anyone other than himself in weeks, his social skills for once are adequate enough for him to figure out she’s flirting with him. “Well, sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you.” He responds, as he removes his backpack and starts to dig through it. “Do you reckon I could make up for it to you with some… blueberries?” He asks her, as he opens a small tin metal box where some blueberries are kept relatively cool throughout the day. Days ago he decided to climb a mountain to figure out a direction to travel to. It wasn’t a bad decision, as he stumbled upon some bushes with blueberries and after eating the smaller ones he decided to save the best ones for later, as he never knew when they would come in handy.
“Oh my God! Blueberries! I love blueberries! Where did you find those?” She asks him, to which he answers cleverly: “That’s impolite to ask a man!” Both now start to laugh. After eating the blueberries, she begins to smile and says: “Well, I’ve got a secret in my bag here as well. Close your eyes.” He closes his eyes, but puts his hands in front of them before opening them again, trying to figure out what she’s got there. As she bent over he found himself too distracted to see what she had grabbed and thus her surprise remained unspoiled.
“Alright, you can open them now.” She says. He falls from the rock he’s sitting on from shock, as he notices she’s got a bottle of wine. “I took a bottle with me that I found exploring a basement in a city a few days ago. There were bats sleeping there and the whole floor was covered in their shit, but it was more than worth it. It was hidden somewhere in the back, I think people who raided the basement before me overlooked this one.” She explains.
“That’s great, but do you have any way at all to open it?” He asks her. “I was hoping you did.” She answers. “If you will keep the fire going, I’ll figure out what we’re going do with this bottle.” He offers her. As the sun goes down and temperatures begin to drop he struggles with a very thin box-cutter knife he keeps in his bag in an effort to remove the cork of this dastardly bottle. Finally, after more than an hour, he somewhat hesitantly announces: “It’s out now. Well, most of it fell into the bottle. Sorry about that.” She walks over to him and says: “Alright, let me take the first sip.” The first sip was followed by a second and a third, before he asked her if she would leave anything for him.
“I’ve got something better for you.” She answers suggestively. It’s an outcome that exceeded his initial expectations, although he only became willing to give up her blueberries when he began to figure out her interests go far beyond his food alone. As they finish the bottle together and their bodies begin to intertwine he remarks: “Man, I’m glad to get these pants off, I found them on some dead guy and it still gives me the creeps.” She puts her hand on his lips as she says: “Shut up already, will you? You’re killing the mood.”
Her plan had worked. She had woken up early that day near the water and happened to glance between the trees where she noticed him removing his clothes to take a dive into the stream as he was searching for something to eat. As he climbed out of the stream again she decided on the spot to come up with a plan to enjoy what she was convinced would be her last days alive. Thus she had set up camp nearby and waited to see if he would find the smoke.
The seasons were changing and she knew her struggle to feed herself would only worsen in the months ahead. She had accepted in her heart that her end was near and because her low fat reserves had caused her to stop menstruating she didn’t really fear the consequences of any liaison. Afraid of being a burden on him, which she feared would end in certain death for both of them she decided to leave the next morning as he still lay asleep. As she packed her bag she couldn’t help but push her nose into his armpit, giving her brain the opportunity to register the pheromones she continued to long for.