Mica heaved herself, a thermos of chicken soup and the wiggling puppy, she had dubbed Barbra after discovering it was a girl, into the bus. Barbra immediately ran over to her makeshift crate and huddled in the blanket Mica had put in there. The tiny puppy didn’t seem to like riding very much. Mica turned her attention to Ava. The new addition to their group sat in the same spot they had left her. Sitting on the cracked green seat, her back against the side of the bus, knees pulled up to her chest.
They’d been lucky. The school had been taken over by Gavin’s biker gang, who were taking in survivors. The gang had been ballsy enough to go to the Med Redi for medical supplies and had discovered a nurse hiding out there. He’d been able to put a cast on Ava’s wrist, but without x-rays they couldn’t tell how bad it was or exactly how long the cast should stay on. Erring on the side of caution he’d told them a couple months at least.
Ava looked up as Mica approached. “I brought you some chicken soup.” Mica offered holding up the thermos and sitting on the end of the seat.
“Thanks.” She took the offered container. Pinning it between her knees she unscrewed it with her good hand.
Mica watched Ava maneuvered the thermos, wanting to offer to help but also knowing if it was her she wouldn’t want to be treated like an invalide. Especially now, when having a broken bone could mean life or death. Holding the cap full of soup between her knees and the thermos in her good hand, Ava offered Mica a sheepish grin. “Little help.”
Mica smiled back, “sure.” She replied, taking the thermos and the inside cover to screw back in place. “Where were you headed?”
Ava took a sip of her soup, slurping down a noodle before answering. “Big Moose. My family has a summer home there. When this whole thing started my mom and brothers headed up there.”
“You didn’t go with.”
For a moment Ava seemed to be debating how much to tell her, while taking another gulp of soup. Finally she replied, “I stayed to help my dad, he stayed to keep the Nuclear power plant in check. Yesterday there was an accident. The cooling pool caught fire and my dad…” her voice caught and she looked down at the cup in her hand.
“I’m so sorry.” Mica offered, knowing full well those words meant nothing to Ava right now. “I lost both my parents in a car accident before this whole thing happened. It’s just Piper and me, now. So I get it.”
Ava’s head came up, her blue eyes boring into Mica’s brown ones. Mica felt her stomach flutter, and a tingle raced up her arms. A ghost of a smile crossed Ava’s lips, then she settled back against the bus again sipping on her soup.
“So where were you guys headed?” Ava asked changing the subject.
“Same place. We’ve been in contact with someone up there who says they’re taking in survivors. Figured at least we can check it out.” Mica shifted in the seat pulling one leg under her and turning to face Ava.
Voices at the back of the bus drew their attention. Mica peered over the seat as Jacob climbed in with a much bigger teen right behind him. Two other boys clambered in after them.
Jacob grinned at her, “great you’re here. These guys wanted to meet the driver who saved their butts.”
Mica didn’t like this one bit, she didn’t like how the boys were eyeing their supplies or the once over they were giving the bus. Standing Mica stood in the aisle between the seat blocking the way to the driver seat. The bigger teen gave Mica a once over which made Mica’s skin crawl.
Jacob smiled wider, “Mica this is George. Mica’s the one who was driving and smashed all those zombies.”
George grinned at her revealing tobacco stained teeth some pieces of chew stuck there as well making her cringe. His dirty blond hair was greasy, pimples covered his face, he had the build of a football player or farmer. He stepped closer, and the smell of peppermint snuff mixed with body odor wafted toward her.
“So where’d you learn to drive like that?”
Swallowing down her revulsion, Mica replied, “My dad.”
He nodded as though that was the answer he expected. Anger spiked in Mica’s chest. “Listen I don’t think you should be out here.” She looked over George’s shoulder at Jacob, “Does Piper know you brought them out here?”
He gave her a noncommittal shrug.
“Hey we just wanted to meet you and ask you to come party with us on the roof. Celebration for getting rid of all those dead heads.”
“Thanks but I’ll pass. I want to stay with my friend, she was hurt and isn’t up for partying.”
He glanced down at Ava, who glared back. “She can come too, or we can just have it here.”
Mica shook her head. This guy was pissing her off more and more. She hated these types who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Gritting her teeth she spat out. “We don’t want to party. Get the hell off my bus.”
Anger flashed in George’s eyes and he gave her a hard shove, knocking her into the seat across from Ava. “We’re going to have some fun whether you like it or not.” He snarled looming over her.
Mica lashed out with her foot connecting with his knee, the small space had made it hard to get momentum and the blow just made him snarl at her. Kneeling on the seat he unbuckled his pants with one hand while grabbing at her jeans with the other. Mica forced herself to remain calm. He grinned down at her, “see it’ll be fun.” The dumbass leaned down as though to kiss her, and Mica headbutted him right in the nose. For a moment she saw stars, then heard him howl in pain. Jerking up holding his bloody nose, he screamed. Mica didn’t think twice this time she brought her booted foot up right between his legs. Another cry of pain leaked from George as he crumbled to the floor. Getting to her feet she found his two lackeys edging closer while Jacob was no where to be found.
From the other seat Ava rose up a Browning in her good hand pointed at the boys. They froze in their tracks, staring at her. “Don’t fucking move,” she growled.
“You can’t shoot us both.” One said, with a tremor to his voice.
Ava raised an eyebrow, looking devastatingly badass. “Can’t I.”
They glanced at each other nervously, but otherwise didn’t move.
Mica felt a smile tug at her lips as she keyed the headset mic. “Piper get your ass out the bus we have a problem.”
Author's Note: Unedited Version