Colin wrapped his arm around the cans of food in the cupboard, pulling them over the edge of the shelves and dropping them into a cardboard box. He knelt down and opened the cabinets under the sink. He scanned the labels of all the different soaps and kitchen cleaning products. He could hear Peter’s footsteps behind him.
“Hey Pete, should I grab dish washing soap?” Colin said looking over his shoulder.
“Well, dish washing soap is as effective as it is against normal people.”
Colin, confused, looked back at the label and then looked back at Peter, “. . . so, no?”
“Not unless you want them to smell like lemon zest.”
“Oh,” Colin put the dish washing soap back down. “I do like lemons,” Colin said, turning to look back at Peter.
An awkward dimly lit silence wrapped around the kitchen where Peter stood and Colin knelt. Peter held his stare until he turned away; unsure as to what Colin meant by mentioning his admiration of lemons. He slowly tilted his head to the side wondering if he just didn’t understand what Colin was referring to.
“What else is there?” Peter asked, ignoring the remark.
“There’s some Lysol. Will that work?”
“Yeah grab that, you want things with chemicals,” Peter nodded, “Using chemicals against the infected should work in tight situations. It won’t kill them, but it’ll definitely sting.” Colin nodded, his face focused on the products under the sink.
“Did you find any salt?” Peter asked.
“Not much,” Colin replied, “There’s a salt shaker on the counter over there.”
Peter walked over to the kitchen counter. The salt lay in a small 3 oz glass container amongst the pepper and other spices. He carefully pulled the salt from between the paprika and parsley and placed it in an open available space on the counter.
“Colin, come here. I want to show you something,” Peter said. Colin got up and walked next to Peter while he was slowly turning the cap off of the salt shaker.
“You probably already know this, but salt, it’s very important. The infected are like slugs, they have sensitive skin. Throw salt on them, and they bubble. Now it’s not like chemicals, it’s way more effective. The salt digs into them. Over time the salt will reach their brain, their organs, and it’ll eventually kill them.”
“Why can’t we just shoot them?” Colin asked.
Peter raised his brow, smiling as if he just heard something funny. “How many bullets do you think we have? How many random gun stores do you think there are out in suburbia? How many lucky houses have an weapons armory just casually sitting around? Yeah, they’re humans. You could stab them, you could shoot them, they could break a bone. But have you seen these things? They run in packs. Twenty, thirty, forty, maybe even more. I mean it’d be cool if this were a video game and we had infinite ammo, but it’s not. Every bullet could be our last.”
Colin stood quietly attentive as he listened to Peter. Peter pulled a small woven sack out of one of the pockets in his cargo pants. He pulled a string on the sack to unravel an opening. He then took the salt shaker and started pouring the salt in.
“See if you throw one of these sacks into a wall, it explodes. If you throw it hard enough into an infected, it’ll explode. Pour a line of salt on the floor and they won’t start bubbling, but they’ll definitely start reacting to it. It’s the most useful weapon against a swarm of infected.” Peter pulled on the strings of the sack tightly sealing it closed. “Salt is very important!”
Peter held the salt in his open hand leveling it up and down to acknowledge the weight. He turned to face Colin who stood attentively, “Be my Valentine?”
Peter placed the sack filled with 3 ounces worth of salt into Colin’s open palms as if it was the only thing that mattered. Colin felt the light weight on his palm, and thought about how essential 3 ounces of salt must be worth.
Right now it was worth their survival.