Chapter 8- Part 2
Indie awoke with a piece of paper stuck to her face. Pulling it from her cheek, she blinked to focus her eyes.
Indie, I know you two are going to veto my plan so I'm taking off. If you guys want to play house in the woods, it's fine by me. Sorry. This isn't my thing.
“Crap!!” Indie scrambled up. “Ryan.” She shook his shoulder. “Get up. Susie took off by herself.”
“What?” He groaned, rubbing his eyes.
Indie waved the note in his face. “Susie took off in the middle of the night.”
“Good, now we don't have to worry... Ow!” He jerked up, rubbing his leg where Indie kicked him.
“We have to go after her.”
“Why? She clearly doesn't want our help.”
Indie clenched her teeth, trying hard not to yell. “Because she isn't going to have enough food or water to get to town on foot.”
“Her problem, not ours.”
“This is survival, Indie...” He trailed off as he looked up at her.
Hot angry tears slipped down her cheeks. “You and Susie are all I have left. I will not let her kill herself by walking into the woods unprepared. So get your ass out of that sleeping bag, get dressed and help me break camp. Now!”
Slack jawed, Ryan stared at her, then climbed out of the sleeping bag. Indie stalked out of the tent. She was being a diva and knew it. But she had no idea if her parents were even alive or if they had been turned into those creatures. She wasn't going to lose the two people she had left. Susie didn't know what she was in for. Pooling their resources made this a walk in the park compared to going it alone with nothing but a pack. Not to mention what would happen if she actually made it to town and ran into those things.
Wiping her eyes, Indie scanned the area where they'd set up camp. Susie couldn't have made it too far, even with the full moon last night it would have been hard to see. Hopefully she hadn't fallen and broken her leg or something. Drawing a deep breath, Indie began to prioritize. Eat breakfast, break camp and find Susie's trail. Survival 101, keep your strength up. Feeling more composed, she ducked back into the tent.
Ryan looked up from rolling his sleeping bag. “Sorry I was being such an ass.”
She put her hand up, stopping him. “Don't, okay? Just help me find her.”
He nodded, tying up his sleep bag as she grabbed her jeans and pulled them over the shorts she slept in.
“I'll scrounge us up some grub.”
Indie nodded, pulling on her shoes. Ryan ducked out of the tent. Indie sighed then rolled up her own sleeping bag.
Not surprisingly, Susie had left a trail a blind monkey could follow. She'd left footprints, broken branches and smashed underbrush in her wake. After trudging through the woods for a couple hours, the smell of wood smoke wafted toward them on the breeze. Following the scent, they soon heard Susie's unmistakable high-pitched giggle. Indie exchanged a glance with Ryan before continuing forward. Cautiously they crept closer, stumbling to a stop at the edge of a clearing.
Susie sat next to a fire pit, across from an older man, who was vaguely familiar to Indie, and a set of twin boys about their age who held shotguns. Susie glanced over her shoulder at them, as the boys lowered their guns.
“What are you doing here?” Susie asked in a snotty voice.
“Good to see you too, BFF,” Indie muttered, stalking over to where Susie sat on a fallen log.
“Come on, kids,” the older guy said good naturedly. “We've got enough for everybody.” He lifted the lid on the pot sitting in the pit and the smell of venison stew crept up, making Indie's mouth water. Slipping off her pack she plopped down beside Susie. Ryan followed, sitting on Indie's other side.
Stirring the pot the guy said, “I'm Fred, the boys are Eugene and Earl.”
Fred leaned back studying her. “You're Dan's girl, right?”
Indie nodded, swallowing the lump in her throat. Since leaving the school, she'd been so focused on keeping everyone alive and going she hadn't given into thinking about what might have happened at the school. Had anyone else survived? Had they stopped the infection, before it'd gotten everyone? After Ryan's dad, Dan had slapped a B.O.B. in her hands and told her to bug out until it was clear. She'd wanted her parents to come with her, but they'd refused, taking responsibility for all the others. Instead, she'd taken Ryan and Susie. Indie stared into the fire wondering if her dad had gotten infected from the scratch he'd received. Anna most assuredly had been. Would anyone do anything or would it happen again and again?
Fred cleared his throat, and Indie's head jerked up. “Don't worry, if anyone can survive a zombie apocalypse, it's your father.”
Indie blinked away the moisture that gathered in her eyes.
Ryan glanced at her then said, “We're not sure if anyone survived. We did a supply run to see what was going on in town and my dad got bit. He...” Ryan swallowed. “He turned and bit one of the women, scratched Dan. We lost radio contact a few days ago, so we don't have a clue if they're okay or not.”
Fred nodded, “Towns full of zombies, now.”
“It's like Dawn of the Dead down there,” Eugene pipped up.
“Yeah, they’re all gross and decomposing,” Earl added, groaning and doing a bad zombie impression.
Fred gave the pot one last stir then declared, “Soup’s on. You three got bowls or something?”
Indie dug around in her pack and pulled out a metal cup which she handed to Fred. As he filled it, she pulled out a plastic spork. Fred handed her cup back full of hot stew and took Susie's next.
“Thought you were a vegetarian,” Indie murmured, blowing on her food.
“After eating roots, berries and the occasional twig, I'm done.”
Indie smiled, taking a bite. It wasn't great but having real food after living off the land and MREs was a delight. After wolfing down her stew, she sighed and put her cup on the ground between her feet.
“So, where are you headed?”
Indie glanced from Susie to Ryan but both ignored her and kept eating. “Not sure. Where are we?”
“About ten miles south east of where you started.”
Propping her elbows on her knees, Indie pressed her head into her hands. What to do? She badly wanted to go back and see what happened at the school, but she also didn't want to endanger Susie or Ryan.
“You're all welcome to come to our place. I'm sure we can make room.”
Ryan leaned toward her. “I think we should take the offer, regroup and figure out what to next.”
“Fine. Yeah, it's a good idea.” Wiping out her cup, Indie muttered, “I just wish I had my Jeep.”
“Where is it?” Fred asked, starting to pick things up.
Indie glanced at him, startled anyone had heard her. “ In the parking area at the school. Just inside the gate.”
Fred scratched at his cheek. “Maybe we can work something out.”