When Zed was 43 & the world seemed to be ruined in more ways than one - children grown, husband left, plus that apocalypse - she started walking.
She picked a direction based on a song she barely remembered from Before & put feet to pavement (sometimes dirt or gravel), keeping the sun at her shoulders & stopping every hour to cast a small spell.
She camped from just before sundown to past
sun-up because the worst monsters came out at night; she took that time to brew some~
~every night, storing them in scavenged plastic bottles.
She didn't have a destination except Away, but when she'd been walking 4 days, she decided that as long as she was walking, she'd document it all.
She scrounged a notebook & a stash of pens in her next campite, gathered samples & seeds of every roadside plant she could find, & kept on walking.
12 days in, a cat joined her. The thing was lean and tall & handsome and, after a few days of conversation, she named it Sphinx.~~
She'd been all right without human company, but she found she enjoyed having someone to talk to.
When Sphinx brought her a plant she'd been looking for, meowing through a mouthful of leaves, she decided Sphinx was something special indeed. When it shared its fat rabbit kill that night, she told the cat it was better than her (missing) husband.
When it sang harmony for her next spell, she told Sphinx she was in love. And that, as it turned out, was only the beginning.
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