Peter had to admit, it was just like riding a bike, as he rode down the long driveway. He had chosen to go first so that he could then spend the rest of the time helping Kyle and Brian. After only five minutes, a trip down to the end and back, he had the hang of it again. He made one more circuit jut to be sure, Rocky chasing him and barking the whole time. He hopped off of the bicycle and passed it to Amy, his legs feeling slightly weak.
“Ok, who’s ready?” He asked as Zach came back with the other bike. Kyle hopped up and down, and Brian stared skeptically at the bike as Zach handed it to him. “First things first, lets get on the thing,” Instructed Peter. Both of his charges did so, and Peter spent a minute adjusting the height of Kyle’s seat. “Ah, much better. Brian, I think you should be able to figure this out, let me know if you need help. That’s the brake there on the handle.” Peter turned his attention back to the boy in front of him.
“Sure, thanks,” Brian said, as he started to pedal, the bike wobbling underneath him.
“Ok Kyle, can you get one foot on the pedals? Use the other foot to help you balance, good. Now push with that foot and bring the other one off the ground…” Kyle started to move, making it a few feet before the bike began to topple. Peter caught both bike and rider, against his hip, propping them up. “Good.”
Julie watched from afar as Kyle, cautiously at first, got the hang of the bike. It was not long before he was zipping up and down the driveway, challenging the others to race him. Zach took him up on the offer, letting the boy win.
“They’re great guys, aren’t they?” Amy said, joining Julie on the porch.
“Yeah,” she smiled. “I think so.”
“Sarah found a couple of boxes of bread mix in the pantry she’s going to try and make them in the fire.
I’m going to help, and I’m sure she would appreciate some more company.”
“Sure.” Julie said, laughing as Brian fell off of the bike near the roadway.
They heard his ‘Ow’ all the way on the porch.
“Well, let me go check on my patient first.” Amy said, smirking.
“I’ll go help Sarah.”
Despite a bruised ego, Brian was fine, a small scratch on his left knee that did not even break the skin. To his credit, Brian climbed back on the bike and he too soon had figured the thing out.
Kyle was again playing with the toy plane as Peter and Zach emptied one of the shopping carts, placing it’s contents in the infant carrier.
“You know, we should be able to get an extra mile or two a day now.” Zach said.
“Let’s not get ahed of ourselves yet.” Peter smiled. The chore finished, they looked over the rest of the carts, redistributing the weight.
“There were some more canned goods inside we should take.”
“Ok, lets get them. As much as I like this place, I want to be moving as early as possible tomorrow.”
“Yeah, I understand.” Peter said. “I’ll be in in a minute.”
Alone in the garage, Peter approached a long workbench set against the back wall. Hammers, wrenches and screwdrivers all neatly arranged, how did it go, a place for everything and everything in it’s place, thats right. He pulled open the drawers, one by one, and found them each just as neatly arranged, screws in one compartment, nuts and bolts in their own, different sized nails. It was not until he opened the last drawer, he could imagine the owner rarely going in it, that he found anything of real interest. The drawer felt heavy as he pulled on it, the rails sticking from disuse. Finally it budged with a jerk, the contents scraping around inside. A pistol sat inside. He pulled the gun out, hefting it’s weight in his hand and felt his fingers brush against something rough. He turned the gun over, revealing a scratched silver patch against the near black of the rest of the weapon, where the serial number had once been. Peter added the weapon to his collection and searched for a few more minutes on the desk. He found an open box of razorblades which he took, but otherwise came up empty.
He was greeted by the scent of warm bread as walked into the main house. “That smells delicious,” He called out.
“Don’t you dare touch it Peter,” Amy shouted, “It’s for dinner.”
“What else are we having?”
“Well, you have a choice. There was a jar of peanut butter hidden in a corner that looks like it is still good, or they had some freeze dried vegetables and Brian caught us a rabbit earlier. There’s a stew cooking.”
Peter felt his stomach growl, “Can’t I have both?” He laughed.
“Sure, if you go without tomorrow.” She chided.
She kissed his cheek as he walked through, and brushed up against the new pistol in his waistband.
“Just a gun I found in the garage. No bullets though.”
“Oh well. Go get cleaned up, there is a trough of water out back. We’ll be eating again soon.”
As Peter went to find the trough, Zach walked passed carrying an armload of canned goods. “First trip.” He winked at Peter.
“Do you need some help?” Peter asked
“Sure, there are some boxes of stuff in there, bread crumbs, flour, that type stuff. Take it and we can sort it out later.”
“Good idea.” Peter did so and soon him and Zach were rinsing there hands off in the trough and using a plastic cup to pour water over their heads.
“So?” Zach asked.
“Come on, don’t shut me out, how is it?”
“How is what? Oh.” Peter laughed. “How old are you? Quit acting like a damned teenager. It’s nice though.”
Amy appeared at the door, “Hey, we’re dishing up the soup, come on in.”
Zach let it dropped, but wore a smile the entire meal.
“You know, that is probably the best meal we’ve had since Christmas.” Sarah said, sopping up the last of the stew in her bowl with a hunk of bread.
“Yeah it was, thanks for cooking it,” Julie said.
“If there is nothing else, to do, I’m sore and going to turn in,” Peter said, massaging his calf muscles.
“Nah, mind if we stay up a little longer?” Brian asked, pulling out his guitar.
“I want to leave as soon as possible.” He looked directly at Amy, “Don’t stay out here too long.”
This earned him a cat call from Zach, but he ignored it and soon was lulled to sleep by the laughing and singing going on beyond the door.