Chapter 15 Wednesday, 0400 hours (4 AM)
Jack returned from patrol and popped into his sleeping bag, but he could not sleep. He often had trouble sleeping. His walkie-talkie was on the desk, powered up with voice activated autoscan enabled and the volume knob set to low. Not that he needed to know what was going on. He just didnt want to feel alone. Jack was stretched out on his back on the floor of a small, first floor office. All the officers and Joshua each had their own rooms, Joshua in fact was rumored to have two. The rank and file members shared rooms, which room depended on their sleep schedules. Jack wondered idly if now that there were no more officers, hed have to give up his room. Not that it mattered. After tomorrow when they all became murderers, the police would probably have no choice but to invade. Again, not that it mattered, not even if everyone got killed. That way at least he wouldnt have to figure what to do after college. Not having a home after college, after not having a home at home. Thats what scared him.
He tried to think back before the divorce or at least before his dad remarried. Was he happy then? He couldnt remember. His dad was rough on him, especially when his dad had been drinking. And after the divorce he'd started drinking a lot. Through it all though, they'd been a family, a small one, just he and his dad, and God of course. But then his father remarried.
His dad used to say, "Youre not losing a father. Youre gaining a sister." He gained a sister, his precious older stepsister. Maybe he didnt lose a father, but he did lose his dog. His perfect precious, stepsister and her supposed dog allergy; He hated her, and when she died a few years later of leukemia, he said he was glad. His father said he had sinned against God, and his stepmother hit him hard. They tried therapy, and when that didnt do anything, a private school. After that, he never went home again. From high school, he was injected directly into NYU.
Why was he always dwelling on these things. It just caused him pain. Not that he didnt cause others pain, either emotional pain as in the case of his parents, or physical pain as when he was in school. He became an expert on pain. He was the school bully and inflicted it a lot. It made him feel good, like when you secretly feel good when you hear about someone elses misfortune. Yes, like that, but more so.
It was no use. He just couldnt sleep. He turned his attention to his walkie-talkie and pondered the news of mauled deer carcasses. Apparently the released cats had found munchies, but how did the deer get loose? His mind was now too fully engaged to even make an attempt at sleep. Jack sat up in the sleeping bag and rubbed his stubble. A few more days of this and hed have the beginnings of a beard. Revolutionaries were supposed to have beards, werent they? Joshua and Brian didnt have stubble of course. Joshua was too fastidious and Brian probably didnt even shave yet. Jack crawled out of his sleeping bag, flipped the light on and got dressed. He snapped off his walkie-talkie, went out to the service kitchen, and opened the outside door a crack. He whistled softly at the crack until the black tip of a nose pushed in at the door. Jack swung open the door, admitting Wolf, the stray dog that come out of nowhere. It was a survivor, no doubt living at the zoo and staying out of sight.
"Good dog. Good dog," he said while Wolf jumped up to lick his face.
Jack hugged the animal and went to the refrigerator for a snack for both of them. Wolf, independent and feral, was good company for Jack who never seemed quite comfortable with people. Jack finished off his pre-dawn meal and regarded his canine friend. Wolf padded over and put a paw in Jacks hand. Jack closed his fingers around the paw and Wolf licked his hand. Jacks face inexplicably hardened. He tightened his hand to a fist, squeezing Wolfs paw. Wolf yelped in pain but Jack continued to squeeze. The yelp turned to a low growl and the gray eyed animal sunk its teeth into Jacks arm, drawing blood. Jack, smiling, loosed his grip, and patted Wolfs head.
"Good dog," he said.
Then Jack heard the machine gun fire from outside.