August - September 2012
Me and Bella - just us two left in this dying world; ever silent, beautiful, baby Bella - staring at me all the time – accusingly. She was sent to drive me mad, I tell you. There is never any input from her sky blue eyes. Though the sky blue of which I speak is not the sky of today, her gaze is more dirty, pond water, blue these days. Her toothless grin never points at me, anymore. Though, she only had a couple of teeth to lose, at her age. Mine have mostly gone now, too. No man will ever fall for this dried up walking corpse, but I still apply pink lipstick.
There may also be others, I remind myself; other scavengers like me, but invisible to me, hiding somewhere. They wouldn’t want me in their gang though – it’s like school all over again. Ah school – I so loathed it, but I'd go back to it in a heart-beat.
Perhaps everyone melted away. I know we liquefy – I see it all over the place. I see myself dissolve like a Madame Tussaud's wax statue, under a UV lamp. I smell it too, the rotting flesh all over the world – the ubiquitous and now, familiar stench. I don’t scratch it off, it falls off when I undress, or bathe. So, I don’t do those activities anymore.
At least the pain is less evident, where the first few layers of skin have gone. That’s a blessed relief for us both.
Yes, there is almost certainly, no one else left.
What was I saying? My memory!
Oh yes: Itching! God, that’s the worst; all day and night. I itch almost to the point of numbness. Bella is very good and so much better than I - at coping. She has a secret. She used to cry often - like babies do, but for weeks now (or is it longer – time is difficult to hold onto, now) she barely makes a sound. And she never, ever scratches? I don’t even know if she itches like I do, but if she does, she has learned to block it out.
My clever girl, with her secrets.
September or October 2012
I found a gun. And one bullet.
The question now – at least for me – is whether to abandon Bella to her own devises when I taste the sweet nectar of the bullet, or to kill her too. It’s for the best. It’s a no-win situation; either way I do wrong – I know that. I could smother her – or drown her – or break her tiny neck. But could I? How do you actually kill your own child?
But is leaving her survival to chance alone, a much more disturbing cruelty? God knows? Ah, God - he has forsaken us.
I’d love to talk to Bella again – to hear her little mumbles. She’s so silent, so private.
She is quite slow when it comes to speech. She was beginning to say the odd word before the world went mad – before the bombs. But, over the last eight or nine months, she just stopped. I don't recall the day it happened - it just did.
She just sits around in her pram all day. I put her to bed every night and put her in her pram every day, and she’s happy as Larry (who ever Larry is, I doubt he’s really happy anymore). Bella never complains, even with all this misery around her. I was lucky to have her, I know. Some babies are a pain.
She’s changed so much. Her blue eyes – how they used to sparkle – no more. Her blonde curls have fallen to the floor; her pink skin has grown ashen - peeling off like gift wrap tissue. Sometimes I even imagine she is dead, but I ignore such thoughts. They’re just the craziness sent to haunt me. I wouldn’t allow her to die after all – I’m a good Mom. Its craziness.
Where was I? Yes - I’m decided then, just because I am crazy and hopeless, just because I see only years of pain and loneliness ahead of us, it doesn’t mean my tiny three year old daughter feels the same way – she must live on - alone if needs be. She’s adapted so much better than I had. They say the young do though, don’t they?
Plus, I only have one bullet.
I’ve tried to talk to her about it, but she’s no great conversationalist. I rarely get her attention these days. She barely even blinks at me, she certainly doesn't want to make life and death decisions.
But I have to. I’m only twenty one, myself. She should share in this decision, surely?
Poor Bella, you will not attend school, work towards a career, travel to far off lands, or marry a Truelove. Neither will I. Hell, it’s doubtful she’ll even reproduce as the fall out is ultimately going to affect fertility – isn’t it? I’ve not had a period since...?
November I think – 2012.
The bullet – The gun.
Her eyes are blank. They don’t see me anymore. I can’t put her down to sleep – I can’t lay her down. It’s all so final then.
Wake up - Dearest Bella.
November or December 2012
To whoever reads this, to whomever finds me and my sweet Bella, please be kind to us – we’d love a shared grave.
And good luck to you, in this awful place we leave behind.
shah wharton (c) 2010