Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hollow World Chapter 16


Julie was crying.

“What’s wrong mom?”

“I was just thinking about your dad, that’s all. Come here and hug your mother, Kyle.”

He did, and it made her smile. “Thanks, sweetie.” She tousled his hair. It hadn’t been cut in three weeks, since everything had gone to hell. North Dallas was a week and over a hundred miles behind them. After the foray into the hospital, the group had struck out west, along 190 until it ended. They had then taken 77 up to 380,
which had caused a bit of a problem with Sarah.

As they had approached the 380 junction, Sarah began to fidget more, and started chanting “They shot at me,” again.

“We’re awfully close to the school Peter, keep an eye out,” Amy said, realizing what was setting Sarah off. “Zach, take my cart, I’m going to walk with Sarah.”

They had made good time. Zach was walking again, and although his arm still hurt, he had insisted upon contributing to pulling the wagons, or pushing a shopping cart.

Once they got to 380 and began the trek west, Sarah began to calm down, realizing they were not going to the school. 380 lead them to 287, which took them straight into Wichita Falls.

Shots rang out on two separate occasions, the bullets flying far overhead, more like warning shots than actual attempts to harm. Whoever was doing the shooting did not pursue them though, and while Rocky barked at something behind a store, the eight companions continued on. On the third day out, as sunset approached, they encountered a group of people on bikes that were travelling along west, also towards Boulder City. Both groups had decided to share camp, food, and company, but in the morning the bikers said their goodbyes and left. Back in North Dallas was the last sign that anyone had seen of the man in the jersey, Sarah’s boyfriend, his brother, or anyone else from that group, although the bikers did claim to have seen the man in the jersey as well, a day’s ride behind them.

They were on the outskirts of Wichita Falls, in an office building with about thirty other people. On their way in to the town, Jim, the man that seemed to be in charge, had approached them in the middle of what was left of the street, stuck out his hand and said “Hello.” Just like it was any normal day.

“Careful,” Peter held his hand to his side. “Stay back.”

“What, have you ever heard one of those crazies talk?” The man said, the straggly crown of his white hair blowing in the slight breeze. “We saw you coming, and thought we’d say hi. Hi!” He was animated, his hands moving as he talked, neither going near the gun he had strapped to his hip. “Come on out folks.”

“Look, we don’t want any trouble.” Zach said, walking forward, Brian and Chris coming with him.

“Neither do we. By the way, my name’s Jim. Jim Buchanon. I own Buchanon’s Used Automotives. Well, I used to. It’s a crater now.” Three other people, all with guns in hip holsters, one of them wearing a Sheriff’s hat, came out from the side of a nearby building. “We just wanted to warn you, we saw a group of them crazies march through here about an hour ago. I think there were fifty of them or so. It was the strangest thing.”

“Woah, fifty?” Amy’s eyes lit up. “It will be dark soon, do they know where you are staying?”

“Nah, we’re holed up in the old Truman and Truman Law building over on Main. Anyways, we’d probably hear them coming.”

To say Peter had a look of puzzlement on his face would be an understatement, and it caused Jim Buchanon to chuckle.

“Tell you what, you come with us tonight, and we can trade tales. That over there is Diego,” he motioned toward a Hispanic man with a coarse black beard covering most of his face. “Larry is the sheriff around here, and the other one is John. You are?”

Peter took the moment to introduce each of them, leaving out details of their past lives. He was still unsure of this group and did not want Amy’s surgical experience to be a reason for them to stay.

They travelled silently and after about a quarter hour, found themselves at a large office two-story office building, the words Truman and Truman, in big white letters on the side.

“Coming in,” Jim shouted, and through the glass, Peter noticed a couch, up on its side, moving out from behind the door, and then a lean man, who was later introduced as Jeremy, held the door.

“They safe?” he asked.

Jim snorted and looked over his shoulder, eyeing Zachariah and Chris, “I guess so.

Jeremy snorted again. “Come on then.”

As they walked into the law office, Chris and Brian helped Jeremy move the leather sofa back into place blocking the door, and then a large bookshelf was placed behind it, sliding into place.

“Thanks, we don’t take any chances. Hey man, don’t let the rest of them see that,” Jeremy said, pointing to Chris’ guitar.

“Why not?” Chris looked hurt.

Jim had shot Jeremy a glance and Jeremy just nodded.

“In due time. Tell you what. There are some old offices that aren’t used down that hallway to your left there, why don’t you go set all of your personal stuff down in one of them and come back out here. Leave the guitar, I’ll explain in a few minutes.” Jim waved them toward a hallway, that upon inspection, held a number of shopping carts, but the keys to the offices were in the doors.

Peter, Zach, and Chris rolled the carts and Kyle’s wagon into one of the offices, set the guitar against a corner and then left the room, locking the door and taking the key with them.

“So, Amy was it?”


“Amy was just telling me you came from near Dallas. How’d it look?”

“Well, we didn’t get too close, but by the amount of smoke, both Dallas and Forth Worth were burnt to the ground.” Peter shook his head, not quite sure if even he could believe that he had just said those words. “So, why no guitar?”

“They’re singing.”

“What do you mean?”

“The crazies. Two days ago, they started singing. They walk around carrying radios that aren’t on, but they’re singing.”

“Singing what?” Kyle had been standing, holding his mothers hand, but pulled away from her to walk to the front of the group. “What’re they singing Mr. Buchanon?”

“Well, Kyle,” It was Larry’s turn to talk. He took his hat off and set it down on one of the shelves of the barricade. “The first night they were all singing different things, it was just a godawful noise, but last night, they were humming Pachelbel’s Canon, and to tell you the truth, it was pretty godawful too.”

“Oh, I know that one!” Kyle hummed a little bit of the song.

“Yeah Kyle, that’s Pachelbel’s Canon,” Julie said, reaching out and pulling him back.

If you read something you liked, didn't like, or just have a question about the story in general, I would love to hear from you. even if it is as minor as an misspelled word or a misplaced apostrophe, it made it this far so someone obviously missed it.

I take feedback seriously, it is the best way for me to improve and the easiest way for you to help me improve.


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