Raine August
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Casualties of Mansplaining

Casualties of Mansplaining

Jan 08, 2022

Huge shout out to supporter DantonSix for their prompt, and my apologies for the delay. This was a fun one! Comments are more than welcome, as always:

Another shift guarding the restaurant with Binny meant inevitable invasive dating questions. Under the beating desert sun, Liv wasn't sure she had the energy to fend them off with vague responses, even with her thick black hair tied in a knot on her head and clothed in the lightest garb she had, a black tank and cargo pants. She didn't bother with extra padding and protection, knowing it would slow her down.

“I'm just saying, you get more swipes if you change your profile picture to something more candid than a bored selfie in your living room. Let me do a photo shoot for you, babe, please.” He spun the spear in his bandage-wrapped hand.

“It's too hot for a photoshoot.” She sighed, wiping the sweat from her brow. Flicking her eyes to Binny, she wondered what extra-strength gorilla-glue gel he must have used to keep his perfectly coiffed hair in place, unaffected by his own sweat.

“Yeah, I mean, now, it is. But later it'll cool off. A little.” He clasped the spear in his hand and leaned forward as Liv scanned the parking lot entrances for any movement, toying with the dagger at her hip.

“When was the last time you had a boyfriend, Binny?” She inquired as there was rustling in the bushes near one of the gates.

“I'm a gay minority in a red state in the middle of an apocalypse, Liv. I'll be lucky if I can find a closeted man for a one night stand.” He pursed his lips at her as a figure lurched from the bushes, in a tattered hot pink track suit and a single sneaker. “Shi-!”

“I got it.” Liv sighed, pulling out her dagger. She flipped it and tossed it toward the haggard woman. It landed with a thunk in her eye socket and she collapsed backward before her bare foot touched the asphalt.

“My point is, the odds are in your favor.” Binny continued as Liv walked across the lot to retrieve her dagger. He isn't wrong, she thought as she placed her shoe on the woman's forehead and yanked the dagger out, bringing her green eye along. She used the fence to scrape the eye off the blade and looked at the woman. She couldn't have been turned more than a couple weeks prior. With her outfit, she looked like she may have been well-off, but if there's one thing Liv noticed in the three years since the Outbreak, it was that money couldn't buy someone the brains to survive the Turned.

“Nice kill.” A voice called from the side of the building. She turned her head to see Justin leaning against the brick wall, his thick arms folded across his chest. “You'd do better with close combat though. Your blade wouldn't get stuck every time either.”

Liv took a deep breath and used all of her willpower to refrain from rolling her eyes. “Thanks, Justin.” She walked back to her spot near Binny and they exchanged glances.

To both of their chagrin, he followed, whipping out his own knife, curved and flashy. He gestured at the air, “See, you can get a cleaner strike if you're closer. Then,” he grunted and jabbed the air sideways, “right in the temple. The most you'll have to deal with is a little brain matter.”

“Very instructive.” Binny nodded, feigning interest. Liv clenched her jaw, knowing that would only encourage Justin. He faced Liv and Binny, missing the cue of Liv's unimpressed expression. As he went through the motion again, reiterating his unsolicited advice, Liv saw another figure. This time a large burly man barreled his way towards them. It was harder for the Turned to find their prey, but this one appeared to be extra drunk, bumping into the only car in the lot.

“How would you rate the success of this tactic?” Liv inquired as Binny looked from the rotund Turned Man to the oblivious Justin, who grinned and wiggled his eyebrow.

“100%... if you're not afraid of getting a little close.” His voice lowered and he stepped closer.

“Uh, Liv-” Binny’s voice quaked.

“Now's your opportunity to put that into practice.” Liv pointed her dagger behind Justin as the Turned Man lurched for him. Justin barely turned around when he was tackled to the ground. As packed with muscle as Justin was, he was no match for the large man now chewing at his cheek as he writhed beneath him, too stunned to scream.

Binny moved with a swiftness, jabbing his spear through the man's neck. “Little help?” Binny's lanky frame was no match to the wriggling boulders of men beneath him. Liv knelt next to them and lodged her blade into the Turned Man's temple. He collapsed, and there was no movement from Justin as she removed the dagger. The Turned Man had chomped a chunk of Justin's throat, now flooding the pavement scarlet.

“Huh.” She raised her eyebrows at the clean blade. “Guess he was right.”

“Liv.” Binny's eyes were wide as he yanked on his spear. She met his gaze and he gave her a berating look.

“Oh, you can't tell me, he didn't deserve it. Consider it a life lesson. Or, death lesson?” Liv wiped the sweat from her brow.

“Remind me to never piss you off.” He shook his head. They were both going to have to explain why one of the staff members was killed by a Turned on their watch.

“I frequently do.”

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