Linny also spoke of the dogs. We readied the bunker and I gave order they were to stay in it at night rather than the house, and for her to always lock the twins in if she had to leave them for any reason. She helped me with a patronizing air. I knew she was going through the motions, that she was humoring me because she knew I wouldn’t go otherwise. But I would. I did know. I couldn’t make her do anything. I couldn’t make her love me, or want me. I couldn’t make her stay when times were good. I couldn’t be with her any more than I could be with Anna. I couldn’t be with anyone, in any reality. I was no more alone now than I’d been then. Perhaps less, because there was Hope.
She spoke of them in passing, with a dismissive air.
“Don’t underestimate them,” I said.
“Jesus, Jim,” she sighed. “Everything with you.”
“You’ve been out here long enough to know what fear and hunger can do. Take conscience away and you have them.”
“So fucking dramatic.” She climbed out of the bunker and into the bright yard, taking my flashlight with her, leaving me in the dark. She stuck her head back in and called to me. “Next you’ll be saying to watch out for the rats. Or the cockroaches.”
I wondered how she could be so flip and unaware. How could she not know that these smallest of creatures would reclaim the planet? Who was to say the next species of intelligent life wouldn’t evolve from one or all of them?
Humankind was no longer running the show.