Ever – Character Study

by cunningstuff

How I imagine her sensitized sight sees the apple in the dark.

In the deep dark of predawn, Ever reached into her backpack for an apple. It was a Granny Smith, and it was about two weeks old and still perfect and unblemished. She listened to the small noises of the new day, and could hear a truck, or some other loud vehicle, some ten miles away. No human noises broke the night, and once satisfied with her solitude, began the noisy task of demolishing the fruit. Her ass hurt from sitting on the rock, but sleep had again evaded her, and walking around only increased the chance of discovery. She looked around the tiny cave with some apprehension. She could see everything fine, but the heat signature from her body could escape the mouth, revealing her hiding place.  Eight hours should not be enough for the heat to classify her as human to the satellites, there were bears and cougars in these mountains still. The grainy black and white was slowly giving way to the rosy wash of dawn, her eyes were adjusting to the glow of predawn. Morning was her favorite time, once the sun broke the horizon the wash of heat would hide her infrared footprints, which was the most used trace method for refugees and immigrants.

In the year since the scientists had let her escape, life had been a joy, if a joy filled with nightmares. She had but one fear, and that was she knew Jericho would not stand idly by and soon would start a war with the race he hated. Never mind that he himself was human, she read the reports, he considered himself a god, and gods are not human. Cities were fine if the police had not been replaced with military, but everyone was to be avoided, at least for now. Her virus identity still needed another month of “baking” before she could claim it and print it out, but until then, life was basically an extreme camping trip. The Rocky Mountains had been the closest to her escape point in Denver, and she had gone north instead of south, like the scientists had suggested. They meant well, but they raised her in MOTHIR, so they could not even understand most basic principles of escape and detachment. Yes, there were more military outposts and even Jericho might be installed in the Rockies, but a valley was the most secure way to travel in the day, and it was beautiful, with fish and wildlife for food, along with about 500 edible plants. Montana has always been the stronghold of independents as well, so more foot traffic in the woods meant less possibility she could be tracked and found.

Her skin registered the movement of air and the rising temperature, and she could see the earth’s shadow retreating from the sky in the entrance to the small cave. Time to go! She got down on her stomach and pulled herself out of the cave. After getting up, she could see the brilliant reds, browns, and greens of the Montana wooded valley. The extra cones in her eye let her see the wind as well, the minute movements of air causing a temperature change that was evident. She felt a sting on her knee, sometime last night she must have torn the worn military fatigues she had stolen from the christian martial outpost the night before. Pulling out the canvas tape in her side pocket, she wrapped the knee with a couple of layers, and then stuffed it back in. She waited, looking for any sign of satellites, and when she was sure no stars were moving, she headed out into the grey dawn fog in the valley below.

The fog impeded her sight in no way other than clinging to her canvas clothing. The sun would burn it off soon, so even that did not deter her from her goal today. When going over the pass the day before, she had spied a small glacial lake in the center of the valley, sure to have fish and their ever important protein for her diet. The hike into the foothills had been arduous, and since she avoided everything but either empty cabins or abandoned outposts, her muscles were getting a bit smaller than normal. Nothing the eye could see, but she could feel it in her legs on the way down the valley. A pound of raw fresh fish would give her exactly the aminos and proteins she would need, and the apple she had saved would give her the energy to catch them. She reached the lake in about 40 minutes, and the fog was holding, so she was not worried about being spied in a moment of hunting.

She stripped down, her long lean body knotted with trim muscle, free of fat. She had very small breasts, but she was very glad of the fact. For a moment, she giggled, no one was around for probably 40 miles, and here she was worried about her body. She caught her reflection, and wondered if her gene donor mother was still alive. She assumed that if she was, they would look alike, although her face was the face of a competing athlete, skin tight to her cleft jaw, the eyes grey in reflection, but turning dark green when her emotions ran high. She spied a reflection of quicksilver in the rising sun, and dove in immediately after it. There was a sharp pain as a fin stabbed her palm, but once her fingers clenched on the tail, the fish was hers. She pulled herself up the rocky outcrop on the side she dove in on, and saw she had nabbed a 30 centimeter Esox lucius, but she knew most people called them pike. Using the sharpened edge of her longer thumbnail, she gutted the fish, and proceeded to eat it raw and still alive. She could feel the proteins being processed in her intestine after about five minutes, and smiled smugly with her breakfast still twitching in her hand. The sun broke over the foothill’s top, and she knew she was going to have a good day again, her and mother nature.