Word Count: 1096
Rayn’s idea of losing them is, apparently, driving us straight into a pile up further down. He slowed down enough to get us in there without crashing, I’ll give him that. The car skidded around a sharp corner and we – hopefully – disappeared in the carnage.
He took us further through the wrecks, slower now, squeezing through places that Joe clearly didn’t think we were going to fit through, judging by the look of fear on his face.
I trusted Rayn’s judgment… but god help him if he was wrong, I’d kill him before any fucking zombie would.
The megaphone was slowly becoming more distant. Either they hadn’t seen us, or they weren’t brave enough to follow us through it. Rayn slipped through a gap at the edge, taking the first exit he could before any of the bodies in the cars could decide to come back to life and chase us too.
Even as we cautiously got away, I had this feeling that wasn’t the last we’d be seeing of them.
“I think we could all do with finding somewhere to get some proper sleep tonight,” Joe said carefully after a while, glancing at me as he said it. I shrugged. I wasn’t going to be of much use in the driver’s seat when my limbs still felt strangely detached from me.
“I could do with some sleep,” Rayn sighed sounding kind of flat. I frowned, but didn’t say anything. What was there to say? I was probably imagining it anyway.
We pulled up in one of these up market neighborhoods – y’know, the kind that trailer trash like me would’ve dreamed of living in as a kid. They were big, all neat and uniform and a few weeks ago, the lawns would’ve been manicured to within an inch of their lives. Trash and bits of bodies made a sort of film of filth and nastiness over them, but it would do. With luck there would be one with a few clean beds, and hopefully this time, no dead family inside.
Rayn chose one that looked like it could at least be boarded up securely enough and left me to try and work some energy back into my body with a few candy bars he’d picked up at the last gas station we’d stopped at. With my own knife strapped back to my arm where it belonged, and my gun in the waistband of my pants, I felt at least a tiny little bit more like myself again. There were a couple zombies in the house, nothing the other two couldn’t handle by themselves. Which was just as well really. I felt so fucking useless.
We settled down in the front room, dragging the mattresses from the bedrooms to cover the front room’s floor. It was safer to stay in one room, but you could think twice if you thought we were going to sleep on another fucking sofa, or the floor.
I closed my eyes, pulling the comforter I’d taken from one of the rooms up around me. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so comfortable and sleepy.
“Joe?” I heard Rayn murmur when he thought I was asleep.
I was kinda curious to hear what he wanted to say, given that he’d waited until I was lying there with my eyes shut to say it. So sue me for listening in.
“You’ll look after him, won’t you?” Rayn sounded like he’d spent too long trying not to cry and his voice cracked a little. He always sounded like that when something was upsetting him. Still, Rayn had always been more comfortable with saying how he felt and talking about what was going on in his head.
“What d’you mean?” Joe asked, confusion twisting the tone of his voice.
“I mean if I end up… I dunno. I’m just over thinking,” he forced out a little laugh.
“I think we all are.”
“Well… being separated from him like that, and not being able to do anything because I was driving, that was what made me start thinking, y’know? Like, I couldn’t do anything for him, and it scared me because he needed someone to help him,” Rayn sniffed. I didn’t like where this conversation was heading, “he’s tough, I know, and he’ll never admit it, just like he’ll never say sorry to anyone, but he needs someone there for him too.” Nope. Don’t like where this is going at all. But if I said something, I’d just embarrass him, or worse, upset him some more. So I just stayed where I was. “Lu- I mean Cancer, doesn’t have the best grasp on reality at the best of times, like I said before, and his temper gets him in all kinds of trouble. He’ll pick a fight with anything, doesn’t matter if it’s alive or not. You saw how he was earlier when he was trying to get out of the car.”
“It’s okay, Rayn,” Joe said probably trying not to be as awkward as he sounded.
“It’s not,” he wailed, “we’re fucking useless without each other. I dunno what I’d do if I lost him.” He was full on crying now, and there was just no point pretending to be asleep anymore. “I’m sorry,” he sobbed as I rolled over, “I didn’t mean to go on and now I’ve woken Cancer up, oh my god.” Joe had an arm around him, but he didn’t really look like he knew what he was doing. I got a fistful of Rayn’s shirt and pulled him down so he was lying next to me. He buried his head in my chest and I did my best to calm him down.
Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to get me to relax than it is to pacify Rayn. I put an arm around him, letting him burrow down and settle in where he was, to tire himself out crying.
“Is he alright?” Joe asked, not knowing what else to say.
“He’ll be okay. He’s like an over emotional child, you know the ones. They get too tired and suddenly everything is worth crying over,” I said, trying to lighten the mood, but neither of us really smiled. Rayn jabbed me in the ribs for it, but otherwise said nothing. We just kind of hunkered down there for the night in a miserable silence, hoping that they wouldn’t come back and hunt us down, or that nothing would try and kill us in our sleep. This new world we were in was exhausting, mentally and physically.