Saturday, September 11, 2010
Posted by Jonathan Martin
The roof had collapsed about an hour ago, the walls of the second floor falling in on themselves shortly thereafter. It only took another fifteen minutes before the whole house had become nothing but a pile of charred wood, and still glowing embers.
The Others had left shortly after the collapse, without saying a word. It was almost uneventful in fact, the way they left.
After Brian had pulled Peter away from the one wearing the hockey jersey, the Others had stood, rocking slightly like they had been, and stared at the house. Once the house was smoldering, almost as one, Peter thought he saw the one in his jersey move first, but he could not be certain, the dozen had walked out into the street, and forming a single file line, they marched, no, lurched was a better term, down the road. It was as the last two of them were passing the group that it happened.
Sarah broke down into hysterics. “They did, they shot at me!”
“No Sarah,” Julie began, seeing the fit starting, and quickly adding, “With an H,” as Sarah began to open her mouth, to add that fact in between sobs. “We are all here, they didn’t shoot at you, they didn’t shoot at anyone. You are safe, we are safe, I’m not sure why, but we are safe.”
Julie held tight to Sarah, who continued, in a toneless voice, “They did, they shot at me,” in between sobbing and gasping for air. Julie shot Amy and Peter a pleading glance over Sarah’s shoulder.
Peter caught the look, and composed himself. “Chris, you and Brian get that wheelbarrow filled again. Amy, you and I are going to see if we can find another wheelbarrow, a wheelchair, something, Zach is a little too green for my tastes, but we can’t sit on this lawn all night. Down by 75, about five miles from here, there’s a motel, we’ll get there and see what happens, at the very least, we’ll wait there until light. I think Amy and Chris are right now. We just got told we’re not wanted here. Everyone keep an eye out for Sam.”
Luckily the second house they looked in, across the street from where they had been staying, no one had searched them yet, had contained both a wagon and a wheelchair. They took them both, and on their way back through the house, ransacked the cupboards and pantry, gaining four cans of condensed soup and a box of Nutter Butters, all of which they tossed in the wagon.
Back in the yard, the wheelbarrow had been up-righted, refilled, and was ready to be pushed. Peter and Brian helped Zach into the wheelchair, which Amy volunteered to push for the first bit, as Zach’s lucidness had run it’s course once he was out of the burning building. Kyle sat down in the wagon, Julie grabbing its handle, and Sarah sat on the grass, still chanting, “They did, they shot at me!”
“Sarah, with an H, can you hear me, we need your help, remember, we didn’t shoot at you. It’s Peter, can you help us, Zach is not doing too well, we need you to push one of the wheelbarrows. Can you do that?” Peter thought giving her a task might help her snap out of it, and it did, not completely, but Sarah stood up, and took one of the wheelbarrows by it’s handles.
It was then that Peter noticed that Chris had managed to grab his guitar in all of the excitement, and it hung over his back, the strap having been tightened to keep it from moving much. He also had the other wheelbarrow by its handles.
“Ok, let’s go. If any of you gets tired, Brian or I can take over. Also, look for some shopping carts, especially if we pass a Sam’s or Costco, I don’t remember one out here, but they have to be better than wheelbarrows. Julie, don’t let Kyle eat all of those cookies. I want some.”
It was at this moment that Zack leaned over the side of the wheelchair and threw up.
Walking down the middle of the streets, avoiding the skeletal remains of cars, cinderblocks and bricks from buildings that were too close to a running vehicle, and the craters in the road from the explosions, they made it to the motel. Looking at the doors, they realized that the motel was so old that they still used real keys, not magnetic locks.
“Hang on a sec,” Peter said and went into the motel’s office. After searching a moment, Peter came out with a handful of keys, handing them out to his companions. After getting Zach into a bed, they all crowded into the room next door, to talk over their options.
“How is he, Amy,” Peter nodded his head towards the wall, behind which Zach was snoring, rather loudly.
“You know, I think he is more hung over than anything right now, we will have to see in the morning, but he drank an awful lot of that whiskey. What about her.” She motioned towards Sarah, who was sitting in a corner, now that she was not pushing the wheelbarrow, she had gone back to chanting.
“They did, they shot at me.”
“Let’s find out,” Peter said, approaching Sarah. “Who did, who shot at you?”
“They did. Those last two. My boyfriend and his brother.”
Labels: Hollow World