Brad knew Pastor spoke the truth. Teyata died a month ago, and still, every girl in Haven reminded him of her. To make an inroad with any one of them would have been a betrayal of both Teyata and his new interest.
“I still miss her,” Brad said, leaving before getting into any uncomfortable conversation.
He broke into a run across the gathering place and into the cornstalks. Civilised life had slowed him, tiring his legs, even by the time he reached the corn stalks. Pushing on, he puffed as he leapt for the wall with all claws extracted and latched on. His arms dragged painfully as he wrenched, launching himself higher. At least instinct leant itself to his legs as he dropped to the ground on the other side. He rolled fluidly to his feet and half staggered into a run, picking up speed as he went. As on the inside of the compound, his best fell well short of the standard Teyata trained him.
Smiling to himself, he felt relieved that he didn’t have to work to such a standard anymore. God had put her in his life for a time, only so that he’d reach the sanctuary of Haven. In time, he would degenerate into a scheduled humdrum, just as people did before the war. At least he had the freedom to run outside the walls for a time. It felt good to reach the open spaces, then the trees across the fields. He missed the feral life.
Lisa sped up the projection. Brad found a variety of wild plants used to heal, kill pain, reduce fever, and various other applications and stuff them into his pack. She kept the fast-forward motion going as Brad scaled the wall and returned, making his way to Doctor’s office. There was no need to slow down the action. Doctor beamed brightly and hugged Brad in a crushing embrace.
Lisa only had to imagine the words of elation coming from Doctor’s lips…
Brad felt useful and valued as a member of Haven, but he had no interest in farming, or ongoing gathering for Doctor. Solar engineering looked like interesting work, but Solar Technician plied his trade mainly on the gun turrets and energy bars powering the walls. Brad had left behind a violent world; he didn’t want to go back to one.
His energies shifted to helping Pastor. He spent his off hours in the older man’s company anyway, listening to his perspective on the Bible. Brad evolved to do his own studies and lead Pastor’s group. After reaching a level of competency, Pastor insisted that Brad lead his own group. At the time, he didn’t welcome the news. It made for the best decision.
Pastor explained that ” a leader in aany caparcitae, shud teach those under thum to do wi oot thum.”
He was right. The day would come that Pastor might die in any unforeseen circumstance. It had become and unpredictable world. If he died, Haven would need someone to lead.