Chapter 7- Part1
Indiana glanced at the sky then looked at Ryan. “We need to find a place to camp. If that storm catches us, we’re screwed.”
He nodded. “Do we have a tent or are we roughing it?”
“We have a tent, but it'll be a tight fit. I think it's only made for one.”
“Guess we'll be warm, then.” He grinned at her.
She gave him a small smile. “We need to find a flat area, preferably near the road so if anyone is looking they might see us. Some tree cover might help with not getting totally soaked.”
“Probably shouldn't be at the bottom of a hill either since water tends to run down,” Ryan added, walking beside her.
They walked in silence for awhile, then Ryan pointed slightly off the road. “What about there? Not a lot of tree cover but it's close to the road.”
“Let's check it out.” Indie said, heading in the direction he pointed. They had to climb a small ditch and rise to get to the area. It was covered with dead leaves, and sparse trees, but was flattish. Indie glanced at the darkening sky and shrugged off her pack. “It'll have to do.”
Pulling a small bag from her pack, she began to assemble the tent.
“So, how come you get the tent in your bag?”
She glance up at him then back to what she was doing. “You have the food.”
“That makes it even?”
“Sure. I can find food, but don't like making shelter.” Indie smiled. “I gave you a tarp to make a shelter, but figured you'd need food more if we got separated.”
“Hey, you coulda climbed up there and filled your own bag,” She muttered, shoving the last plastic rod through the top of the tent. Stepping back she looked over her handiwork. “Help me secure it, then let’s get inside. Those clouds are moving fast.” Grabbing a couple rocks, they hammered in the tent stakes.
After a moment, Ryan spoke. “I let you pack the bags, because you know more about this stuff than I do.”
Indie glanced at him, then pounded her stake in the ground. The drops began to fall just as they finished up and climbed inside.
Ryan shifted, bumping into Indie. “Sorry. This is cozy.”
“Yeah, cozy and hard.” Tugging her pack closer, she dug through the contents and pulled out a wool blanket. “Here, we'll put this one down and use yours to cover up.”
With a lot of shuffling and bumping, they got the blanket to cover the bottom of the tent. Indie lay down and closed her eyes. This was much more fun when you knew there was a nice warm house and shower waiting for you at the end of the weekend. Her stomach grumbled, and she placed her hands over it, peeking at Ryan.
He grinned, grabbing his pack and digging out the food. “Ugh, MREs,” he muttered, pulling out the olive drab bags. “There wasn't any Spaghetti Ohs? Or, I don't know, something that tastes good?”
“Stop complaining. You've got something to eat.” She tugged a bag from his hand. “Besides, cans are heavy and these have warmers. So we can have a hot meal, without a fire.”
“And yet you aren't using it,” Ryan pointed out as she ripped open the bag of food and began eating.
Indie shrugged. “It's good this way too.” The thoughts that had been dogging her steps since they'd left the truck filled her head. How could a bullet not have brought Ms. Weltner to the ground? Even if it had been a shoulder wound, it should've left her on the ground in pain. The food tasted like ash, but she forced herself to eat since she knew she'd need the calories tomorrow. “Do you think we're safe out here?”
Ryan shrugged and swallowed. “As safe as we can be. Right now I'm more worried about regular threats than those things, since they move pretty slow and there aren't many places up this way.”
Indie paused between bites. “You know what's really creepy?”
“Other than this whole situation?”
She ignored him and continued. “How quiet they are. They don't make any noise other than the shuffle. You'd think they'd growl or groan.”
“Once again, you've watched too many movies.”
“After everything we've seen, and what's been on the news, you really think I've watched too many movies?”
“Yes.” He grinned at her. “But seriously, this is life, not a movie.”
“I know but...” She shook her head. “You're right. I'm just trying to wrap my head around something that's way beyond my scope. I'd rather be worrying about graduation, prom, and what my parents are going to do when I tell them I was accepted to Potsdam. Not how much my mom will freak when I tell her I shot the cranky old lady across the road in self-defense.” Sniffling, she rolled up what was left of her food and set it aside.
“Hey, it's natural for you to be upset for shooting someone, even if she was already dead.”
“I keep playing it over in my head and wonder if I could've run or something.”
Setting his food down, Ryan put his arm around her shoulders. “I saw the whole thing. You made the right choice. If you hadn't, you might have been infected, and I really don't want a zombie for a girlfriend.”
Indie's head jerked up, she looked at him in the dying light. “Girlfriend?”
“Yeah, girlfriend.” He leaned toward her. She moved to meet him halfway, but miscalculated in the dim light and they bumped noses. A giggle bubbled out of her. He chuckled and kissed her. Her worries slipped away under the onslaught of his lips. His hand cupped the back of her head, tangling in her ponytail. His intensity left her breathless. She'd never been kissed like this before.
The sound of something rubbing against the outside of the tent caused them to jump apart. Reaching behind her, she grabbed the rifle while Ryan snatched the shotgun. They heard voices and lights flashed outside, then the zipper began to open. As the tent flap fell open, a light momentarily blinded them.
Holding her hand to her eyes, she squinted into the light. “Dad?”
The light moved out of her eyes, and she could see her father in rain gear squatting next to the flap. He turned yelling over his shoulder. “Found them, guys!”