Tag Archives: animal

Frek In The Aftermath

28 Nov

If you’re new to Aftermath, you may catch up here, and here.


The birds flew overhead. They were a sight to see. Birds rarely flew anymore.

The groundchucks stopped their groundchuck business and looked to the sky to watch. Their furry front claws caked in dirt.

That’s when the boy, Frek struck the biggest groundchuck through the head with a spear.

The other groundchucks scattered. Frek quickly pounced on the mammal 3 times his 7 year old body’s size, and pulled out his knife. He expertly skinned and gutted the animal. Frek dug a hole in the ground and using a stick, stuck the poisonous organs in it. Then he quickly covered it up. The dirt pile steamed a little. The groundchuck skin he expertly draped over a small lean-to. He cut the meat into long strips and placed them on a stick to dry. Later he would salt and smoke them like jerky. It would be enough food to last a week if he rationed it right.

After they were dried and cooked,  Frek took just the tinniest of pieces to check the flavor. Beautiful!

Frek paused. Thoughts of his mother drifted through his head. He didn’t remember the last time he had seen her, but he could see the same image of her every time. Her lifting her head, blocking out the sun, her blonde hair bobbing slightly, a sly smile, and then…darkness. Her smile shifting into a frown, she is screaming something, pushing Frek down, covering him with her body.

Then ….blackness.




Frek eventually crawled out from beneath his mother’s lifeless body into a world that was no longer vibrant, no longer sunny, no longer living.

Just like his mother.

Frek cried a long time. A really long time. For days, maybe even weeks. Frek was pretty sure he was six when he started crying, and ended right before his seventh birthday. That was the day Frek gave up any chance of being a child, and turned into a man with a very very small, frail frame.

Frek shook the thoughts from his head. He needed to focus on the task at hand.

Frek had been careful to keep the smoke from his fire low, but he hadn’t been careful about getting lost in his memories, what little he had. A gloved hand quickly covered his mouth. It smelled of gasoline and dirt. An arm clasped around his all too skinny arms and pinned them to his sides. Suddenly the ground beneath his feet disappeared as Frek was hoisted in the air.

Frek went slack. It was the only defense mechanism he had.

“Oi,” laughed a gruff voice in his ear. “Dis one no put up a figh’ at all! It be like he be a lazy fish!”

Frek heard feigned laughter behind him, but he just kept his head down, and looked at his dangling feet and the rough cracked ground underneath. The soil was a mixed hue of grays and tans. Some cockroaches were sitting next to the fire, eyeing the meat. It almost looked like they were discussing how and when they were going to steal it. Frek took in every detail he could, because he was pretty sure this was his last day in the Aftermath…his last day on Earth.

The gruff man swung Frek around. Frek saw four sets of old rubbery oilman’s boots caked in mud.

“Dis one is already dead me thinks!” said Mr Gruff again. “And he be no meat on dees here bones! Boys, help ye’selves to the groundchuck! It smell good. Dee Chef says it’s done, me thinks! Don’tcha Chef?”

The gruff man shook Frek as if he was a rag doll.

“Aye, Chef’s a little quiet. C’mon little Chef…you don’t mind if me and my mates eat your groundchuck, do ya?”

Survival. Don’t speak. Don’t move. Don’t end up like the groundchuck. Frek killed them so easily because they are loud and animated. Frek was going to be the opposite, quiet and lifeless.

The Gruff guy squeezed Frek. Squeezed him hard. His ribs were on the verge of cracking. His face was slowly turning blue. Gruff lean into Frek’s ear and whispered, “If ye don’t say something…I’m gonna kill ye. Squeeze the life out of ye. Leave ye in a pile on the ground for the groundchucks and birds to pick at ye.”

His breath stank of rotten meat and death.

Frek felt pain on his left side as one of his brittle ribs gave way. A tear rolled down Frek’s cheek. Gruff kept squeezing. Another rib cracked. It was heard and felt. Gruff smiled.

Frek felt Gruff’s grip suddenly loosen and a loud noise zipped by his head. Gruff fell to his knees. Some sort of wet gooey substance matted Frek’s hair. He twisted out of the Gruff man’s slowly loosing grip and turned around. A smoky hole now was in the Gruff man’s head where it wasn’t before. Blood poured from it like a fountain. Frek reached up and felt the sticky blood in his hair. He turned to where he heard the sound come from, to see one of the booted gentleman holding a gun. Frek held his sides as the shock of being let go allowed his crack rib pain to take over. He fell to the ground.

The man holding the gun put it back in his holster. “Boy. We are going to eat your groundchuck. You need to find something to wrap your chest with…keep it tight. We will eat and leave. Then you are on your own.”

Frek laid in pain and watched the men devour the cooked groundchuck. They didn’t look at Frek, they didn’t offer him help, they didn’t offer explanations, and they didn’t even put out the fire when they left.

They just left.

Left Frek in the dirt.

Left Frek in pain.

Left Frek alone.

To survive in the Aftermath.