“Belligerent underpaid tactical team.” The absolute deadpan disbelief behind the words I speak, “You mean someone here came up with an acronym…for butt?”
George looks at me like I totally must be yanking his chain and doesn’t appear to believe any of this. The how and why I don’t remember, things that must seem simple to him. “Not someone, you.” He says.
The slightest gasp of air behind my voice, something you could almost mistake for a chuckle, “Why?”
Obviously becoming frustrated with me now as he bites his bottom lip, “It was s’posed to be lighthearted. Shit’s bad out here, Morgan. People need a reason to laugh, they needed some kind of distraction. So you got all these scavengers together and you gave ’em name. Belligerent Underpaid Tactical Team.”
Giving him a shrug and a roll of the eyes, “Alright, so how long we been out here? I don’t have an answer as to why I don’t remember any of this shit, but I want some answers.”
“A year.” Propping himself against the wall, tapping the ash off the edge of his smoke, “Ever since the Pennsylvania meltdown.”
“The Pennsylvania meltdown?” Shifting back in the hard wooden chair that digs into my skin, “You mean Three Mile Island?”
Puffing out a cloud of gray, “That’s right. This guy named Jack infiltrated our established community and he had all these insurgents use explosives to take it down. So we fled. We fled all the way here to Salem, New Jersey.”
“Fuck me sideways…” My eyes travel over to the cracked doorway where just a sliver of yellow light peers in, bodies passing by every so often. “And humanity’s going extinct?”
“Not if we can stop it.” He tosses the cigarette out the open basement window at the top of the wall. “But it’s like I said earlier, if we don’t get out there and find a solution, nobody here’s going survive another week or two.”
“But how’s it gone extinct? Or nearly? Or whatever.” Stretching out my arms, I catch my fingernails, covered in dirt and grime. Must’ve been digging, pushing up dirt.
“You really don’t remember?” Stepping closer.
“What’d I tell you?” I say.
“The dead. They came back. And when people started dying, they also came back.” His eyes go off a thousand miles into the distance, “And I swear to god it must’ve been some kind of reckoning from the heavens above, ’cause nobody saw it comin’. And the CDC went down with ’em.”