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She ended up staying with Dave and the rest of the group for a little over a week. She got to know their names and what kind of a person they were. There was a pregnant woman, Lisa, with her husband Tom and their small child Rachel. There was the brother and sister who had lost their parents: Olivia and Evan, they mostly kept to themselves. Olivia, sometimes, looked as though she wanted to mingle but Evan was anti-social. There was Dave and Juarez, the guys who had saved her and then Ingrid and her husband Vaughan, the sniper she had seen on the first night. Greg and Nathan were the ones who went out on supply raids and Callie was the one who cooked the meals.
Overall there were thirteen in total, more than she had originally thought, and on several occasions it got too much for her. Personalities clashed and people grew sick of living with one another. There had been fourteen, but the guy had grown sick of living with them and had taken his chances on the streets instead. His name was Sam or something like that.
She mingled as best as she could but she mostly just wanted to be left alone to her grief. She had lost her husband in the most brutal way possible and her son was nowhere to be found. She just hoped and prayed that he was safe, wherever he was. Hopefully the man with the gun, who had been in the hotel that first night, had managed to safe him as best as he could. She remembered the last sight she saw of him was him getting dragged from the room as the zombies became overwhelming.
It was a miracle how she had escaped.
Once the situation had become clear, that her husband wasn’t going to be returning to his normal self any time soon, she had tried to escape. One had grabbed her by the shirt and she had acted without thinking. The self-defence classes that David had made her take prior to any of this had actually helped a little. She fought a few of them off, but they never grew tired or felt the pain and they soon became overwhelming and she had to escape through the hotel lobby. It was only really minutes after Joe had escaped and she had hoped that she would see him but was instead greeted with an empty night.
She had spent the first night in the hotel room with the door fully barricaded. She never slept. Instead, she lay curled up on the bed with her knees under her chin and stared at the clock until it ticked into the morning. Then she started looking for her son.
Would she ever see him again?
‘We’re gonna go on a supply run,’ she heard Greg tell Juarez.
‘I wanna go,’ she stood up, announcing. She needed to be kept busy, she couldn’t sit here and listen to her thoughts all day; they’d drive her insane.
They looked at her a little uncertainly.
‘I can do it,’ she told them.
Greg shrugged his shoulders. ‘The more the merrier. I’ll go tell Nathan we have an extra set of hands.’
Ten minutes later she had two sets of rucksacks on her, a long sleeved raincoat and heavy trousers and boots. She imagined it was to prevent the risk of getting bitten. They were out in the open moments later and suddenly running, keeping to the shadows and sides of the buildings. They never spoke out loud, instead communicating through a series of hand gestures and mouthing. She was terrified and excited. It was the adrenaline that flooded her veins. Maybe she’d see her son hiding somewhere. She imagined his face as he saw his mother and the embrace they’d share once they were reunited.
They kept on the outskirts of Reno; there were enough shops here to keep them going. They needed more bottled water, some meds, some bandages, a new set of batteries, a flashlight and some more canned goods. A can opener was also needed, thanks to it being cheap and breaking easily.
The first store they came to, they hadn’t cleared it out properly the last time they had come but they did so this time. The windows were smashed in and the aisles were dark but there were no creatures about as far as she could see and hear. They managed to get the meds from this store plus a few other necessities. The next store they went in had a few more supplies and they managed to get the rest of what they needed from here.
‘Should we clear it out?’ Greg whispered.
‘Wait,’ she held up her hand. ‘What if there are other survivors and they need some of this stuff? We can’t take it all.’
Nathan raised a brow. ‘It’s survival of the fittest sweetie. We need this stuff.’
‘What for?’ she challenged. ‘We haven’t faced any real threats just yet; people out there could be a lot worse off than us.’
‘The supply raids are dangerous enough, we wanna try and limit the times that we come out here,’ Greg told her. He was a little more reasonable than Nathan who was now looking at her impatiently. She was firm though and stuck to her guns.
‘I’m not taking any. We don’t need it. We take what we need and leave the rest.’
Nathan growled. ‘Damn women and their emotions.’
She looked at him in disbelief. Greg’s eyes flickered between the two, sensing trouble and tried to calm the situation.
‘Easy you two, fighting isn’t gonna do any good.’
‘You’re a pig,’ she spat at Nathan and stormed out. She was riled up, furious at everything and needed someone to direct it onto. She stopped on the pavement, tears flooding her vision. What had the world come to? Her life had been so perfect a few weeks ago and now it was a living nightmare.
She was too busy grieving, too busy longing for her husband and her son, that she never saw it coming.
She didn’t see the attack until the zombie had sunk its teeth straight into her flesh.