They were travelling to the east carrying few eatables. He was hopeful when they started, however after crossing a few distance, he complained of fatigue. He hadn't been eating enough lately and should have known. His frequent climbs to the hill had helped him build some muscles but that was minimal. "Should I carry you", she asked. When he growled at her she did not ask him again. As they walked, once in a while she would stop, point down, herbs, she would say, it’s name, benefit, side effect, she would spill out everything from her database, Thanks to her encyclopedia, he was soon gaining strength.
As they walked he realized, even though the destruction looked diabolical, he saw most of the nature still up with life, what had been blown to tatters was the man made junk. The trees stood, still bearing fruits. The ground was filthy but still grew herbs and food. The lake was murky but still had water. Nature prevailed but was smudged by man made waste.
As they passed miles, they came across human bodies, rotting slowed down by the cold. At first it had been difficult for him and he threw up the first two times. The most horrible was the sight of a dozen children broken and mangled, he'd crashed down and sobbed like a child. It was all he could take. He asked Aeriel to turn back. But instead she wiped his tears, took him into her arms and patiently cradled and consoled him. When they stood, they did not go back but forward, silent, hand in hand. When they crossed as many as fifty rotting body, their vileness no longer made Ryan sick.
They had walked five miles and three nights had passed. The herbs helped him gain physical strength, however he was losing much more emotionally. Initial days of the death dance had crumbled him. Each night, as they sat beside the fire, under some debris, he would ask Aeriel her about their mission and she would report negative. That night when they stopped, he told her it was futile. And they should rather not waste time. Better go back, he said almost crying.
“There is no wood tonight. There is no fire”, she said instead. Will this horror end, he thought. He sighed. “In that case you will need to warm my bed”, he said and caught his tongue. He saw her blushing. That lifted his spirit and for a moment he forgot the sadness. “Blushing? You know that art as well? You look cute”, he said as he saw her face showing deeper colors. A little surprised he asked, “Tell me, you said you are work in progress and were not sent to the Expression level D programming, yet you know about warming the bed... Do you know what it means?”, he asked.
“It comes under category Sex... A few categories were installed” she replied as she sat beside him, her neon shoes dimly lighting up the area and her crimson face. “Why?... Of all, why category sex”, Will might have simply installed the program along with others, yet he felt anger surfacing in him. He hesitated but asked her slowly, “Did he use you?”. He felt a sudden resentment towards the man.
She nodded, “Yes. He was working on me and had to make try and make constant changes.”
“No.. you don't’ understand...Did he violate you?”, maybe it was his sudden change in demeanor, she stared at him, she understood, he thought, processing his words?
No, she replied, "He took me to a private military party. He installed the category before that, the phrase and actions were set as alarm, any of which should happen, I was to turn around and come back to the laboratory”, she clarified. “Oh”, he chuckled at his foolishness. “Will seems to a good man”, he said.
When he saw her she was blushing again. He looked at her puzzled. “Warm your bed?”, she asked. He laughed. “I mean we can use your battery. How much can you warm yourself? “60 degrees and I look just as normal. 70 degrees I would be crimson. 80 degrees and I will melt”, she said.
“I just need good 30 degrees”, he chuckled.
They lay on the ground, next to each other, rolled in a blanket collected on the way, looking up the sky, her warmth passing to him. He wanted to touch her. But he looked up. The sky looked beautiful that night. "It's beautiful”, he said. Life was getting better. "Beautiful", she repeated.
“Aerial, you said you were programmed to react on the words. But you are still here.” he asked. She nodded, “Still here”. "Why?", he asked.
“Sixth sense?” he asked.
“Sixth sense” she repeated, "Or something.."
P:S:. I am sorry my posts are getting longer again. I am trying my best to make them shorter, with every read I am deleting a few words, unfortunalely couldnt help adding a few too. Please bear with me.