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Greyeyes, that wily old bird, he showed me things that I’d thought of before, but in ways that I didn’t fully understand yet. I was on a trek through the wilds that had once been Portland, Oregon, and I was minding my own damned business like usual. The Pacific Northwest has been almost vacant of people for years now, and yet there are a few of us that go traipsing hither and yon, either banding together to survive, or remaining apart from a society that’s crumbled in the years since the pandemic. I’ve kept apart from humanity as much as I can, and to be fair, Greyeyes was the first human being I’d seen in at least six months.

It wasn’t exactly a peaceful meeting, since I’m still convinced he came close to getting me killed. Wild animals had nearly taken over the whole of Portland, since it had been mostly abandoned for nearly two decades after the pandemic hit. The city was a hotbed of disease and insanity when the plague hit, but after only a couple of decades, all that remained was a broken city that had swiftly been reclaimed by nature. But it wasn’t dead by any means. The Oregon Zoo, just up the road from the downtown area, had been emptied by someone, I don’t know who, maybe a big-hearted employee or someone that was just hoping to finish off whoever was left. Humanity is screwed up, that’s all I’ve been able to figure.

But the city had played host to a bunch of critters that had carved out their own ecological niche within one area or another. What few humans remained, as I learned, had adapted to the presence of their animal neighbors, and had learned how to avoid them. Of course, the only thing about this was that Greyeyes was the last, or so he thought. To make a long story short, I was heading down 1st Avenue, near the Willamette River, when I was cornered by pack of wolves underneath an overpass. It wasn’t my first animal attack, but with four wolves against one of me, it might have been my last. I wasn’t going down without a fight though, since I’ve always remained armed over my travels, and I pulled my two machetes, sharpened and worn after many battles, to make it known that I had my own claws.

I was facing down four sets of teeth, all of them which were bared and ready to rip me apart, and I knew I was going down. But then Greyeyes came, and things only got worse.

(to be continued)

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