As Graham’s head lolled to the side, Peter spun, ready for an avenging attack from any and, more likely, every direction. The attack didn’t come though. All around him Others were dropping their weapons and shaking their heads, as if trying to wake from a deep sleep, their link to this world no longer holding the souls in place.
“What’s going on,” The closest, an asian man who appeared to be in his late thirties asked.
Peter looked to Amy, who had just walked up to him and dropped his own blades. “I don’t-“
“Sir,” Amy began, addressing the man, “What’s the last thing you remember?”
The man thought for a moment, “I’m not sure, maybe explosions outside. Where are we?” He asked, looking around.
Peter heard Darrel in the distance, barking orders and trying to organize a bucket brigade to put out the fires that Tartarus’ army had left in its wake. “Boulder City.”
“How the hell did we get here?” More people had gathered around the trio, listening in. Said a tall blonde man, with blood smeared across his face.
“Are you ok sir?” Amy said, turning her attention to the bloody man and ignoring the question.
“I think so,” He said as Amy began to look him over.
“I’m a doctor sir, please hold still.” Amy finished looking him over, determining that the blood was not his. “Any one else need medical attention. I know you are all confused, and I am certain, we can provide you with an explanation in time, but right now I need to do the best I can to help out the injured. If you are not hurt, I need you to go with Peter here,” Peter rose his hand, “And help put out the fires, especially if we all want places to sleep over the next few days.”
Three people remained with Amy, one, Anne, said she was a nurse and was willing to help wherever. She helped Amy set a broken arm, using clothing torn from the dead to create a makeshift sling. The other injury was a man who had somehow lost three fingers. He had been one of the Others and had no idea how it had happened. Anne grabbed some more cloth from another corpse while Amy stayed with the bleeding man.
“Jackson,” The young dark-skinned man said.
“Ok. Jackson, I have two options. And I don’t like either of them out here. So you need to listen to me, because what I do is going to depend on you. We need to stop the bleeding. Now, we can tie this,” she took the offered strips of fabric from Anne, “around your arm, and you risk losing your whole hand. Or I can try to cauterize, but that’s going to hurt.”
“What, what’s that?” Jackson stuttered.
“We’d have to burn the wounds.” Anne said, taking Jackson’s other hand.
“Oh shit,” Jackson said, looking at the stumps of his missing fingers. “I, I don’t know.”
“How are you with pain?” Amy asked.
“Uh, ok I guess.”
“Let’s try the fire, Anne, could you grab that torch for me?”
“What can we do,” Peter asked.
“You come with me, Everyone else, get in a line and help out where you can.” Darrel said. “Actually, you two,” He pointed at two rather muscular men that had come with Peter, “About two blocks that way is a fire station, go and grab the hoses and some tools to open the fire hydrants. Rush back.”
The two men ran off in the direction he had indicated.
“Where are we going?” Peter asked.
“We lost Jack.”
“Mayor Clemens, his real name was Jack. He was on the wall beside me…”
“What’s that mean?”
“It means, at least until we’re done with the cleanup I think, that I’m in charge.”
“And I’m going to need someone to help me out. At least until the election.”
“I don’t know, I mean we need to see who survived before you can pick.”
“I’ve already picked Peter.”
Realization dawned on Peter, and he nodded, “Sure.”
“Just keep helping the way you’ve been and you’ll do fine. That was one hell of a fight back there.”
“Thanks, I think I got lucky.”
“Luck? Skill? you won it for us.”
“What are we going to do about them,” Peter said, nodding to the hundreds of people moving water around.
“Right now? Put them to work. As long as they are helping each other, they are not asking questions. But you’re right. We have to do something. What do you think?”
“We’ve had nearly nine months to deal with this new world. They’re just waking up to it. What do we tell them?”
Peter chuckled, and it felt good. “Do you think they can handle the truth? They were possessed or something. Do we even know the truth?”
Darrell raised his eyebrows and let out a long sigh. “Let’s get through this first.”
“Sure thing,” Peter said, and then smiling, added “Boss.”
“Ok, they’ll need a place to live and…”
Peter half listened as Darrel put together a plan for the survivors, from both sides. He mumbled or nodded when he felt Darrel’s gaze upon him, but his mind was elsewhere. How far they had come in nearly nine months. He remembered his initial encounter with the man that had become his nightmare, the night they had lost Sam. How inviting the building in Wichita Falls had been, the time spent with Zach’s family. The arrival at Boulder City. The first night he had spent with Amy. All of it leading to him standing here, becoming the assistant, what? Mayor?
“Hey, you ok?” Darrel asked, tapping him on the shoulder.
“Oh, yeah, sorry. It’s been a long couple of days.”
“Tell me about it. I need you to start spreading the news about the assembly tomorrow. I want everyone there. I’m going to find Sam and see if I can borrow the car.” Darrel laughed. “I feel like a teenager…”
Peter smiled, it had been a long nine months. And he had an even longer nine months before him.