Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hollow World Chapter 22


They had spent the better half of the morning watching for the return of the Crazies, the name was beginning to stick, but aside from the one who lay dead where Larry had shot him, none were seen.

Peter pulled Amy aside shortly before lunchtime. “I’m not sure what to make of this. It’s almost as if they heard us talking about the carts and decided to help us out.”

“Do you think it’s a trap?”

“Would you rather wait here for them to come in and attack us? I think if they wanted us dead, they would’ve done it last night.” Vocalizing his thoughts did not make Peter feel any better.

After giving Jim and the rest of the still sane survivors of Wichita Falls a chance to leave with them, which they all declined, the group of eight humans and one dog left the compound and trudged out toward the opening in the ring of cars.

Rocky ran through, barking, before anyone could stop him. All eight held their breath collectively, but nothing happened. An audible sigh of relief escaped all of them, and they moved through the gate, as it were, as fast as possible.

They had made it almost ten miles, taking the better part of the day, when the earth shook and they heard the blast.

“We have to go back!” Brian exclaimed.

Julie grabbed him by the arm. “And do what?” She spat.

“Calm down, both of you,” Chris stepped between them. “Brian, by the time we get back to them, if they’re still there, we won’t be much help. Let’s just hope they got some sense and made it out.

“They should have come with us,” Kyle declared as he hugged his mother.

She stood there, tears welling up in her eyes as she held her son. “Yes, yes they should have.”

“Come on, we need to get going.” Peter placed his hand on her shoulder. “Chris is right, there’s nothing we can do.”

Tired and depressed, they trudged on, making another two miles before nightfall, the sky behind them glowing. Every glance cast backwards a reminder of where they had been, and where they had yet to go.

As they came to a stop on a small suburban street on the westernmost outskirts of Wichita Falls, Peter broke the group up. Two groups, Peter and Sarah in one, and Brian and Chris in the other, were to go and look for a house to stay in, and scavenge what they could. The rest, Amy, Zachariah, Julie, and Kyle would guard the supplies, and each other.
Brian and Chris found a suitable house on their second entry, and even managed to find a box of shells for the rifle that Peter almost never set down. A can of Spam remained in the pantry of the second house as well, but insects and mice had gotten to all of the other goods.

Peter and Sarah were not as fortunate. The first house they tried was missing the back half, something in its garage had blown up, but had not managed to burn the house down. The second house they tried was locked, and the bars on the windows prevented any other entry.

As they approached the third house, the hair on the back of Peter’s neck stood up, a palpable energy coming from within. “Sarah, do you feel that?”

“Sarah. With an H!” was her only reply.

Peter unslung his shotgun and glanced at Sarah, who had grabbed a pistol from the waistband of her jeans. “Be ready.”
Sarah nodded as the pair went up the two stone steps to the porch. A gnome with a large red hat lay on its side beside some overturned chairs. A table with a lit candle stood ominously off to the side.

“Peter, I don’t like this.”

“I know…” was all the reply he managed before the front door of the house opened, revealing two men, one with a rifle slung over his soldier and his hand on the door, and the other a shotgun leveled waist high at them.

“Wait” the man with the rifle said, his voice raspy and weak from disuse. He released the doorknob and jerked the shotgun up right before the trigger was pulled, causing drywall to rain down on the four of them. “These are two that Graham said not to harm.”

“Yeah…” The man with the shotgun managed before a shot from the pistol in Sarah’s hand blew off a large portion of the front of his skull.

“Sarah, what the hell?” Stammered Peter.

“James, James, it’s me Sarah, don’t you remember me? It’s Sarah!” Sarah had begun to sob.

The corpse had fallen to the ground with a loud thump before the man Sarah claimed to be James shut the door. She stood there pounding on it for a moment before Peter grabbed her arm.

“We’ve got to go! But first, what the hell was that.” A look of anger flashed over his eyes before Peter remembered who he was talking to. “Sarah, they didn’t shoot us, hell the one stopped the other from shooting us.”

“Don. The other one was Don. James was my boyfriend before all of this, Don was his asshole brother. God that felt good.”

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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