A man stepped out of the shadows. He was hunched over against the night carrying a pack that nearly fell apart in his hands. His clothes were more patchings than clothes. His face was weathered and hidden behind a matted bread and shaggy uneven hair. He held a large shard of glass in his hand like a weapon but he looked unwilling to use it.
"I mean you no harm." He said, his voice tentative.
Miss Blabbermouth had become uncharacteristically quiet but watched the stranger with a mixture of fear and pity.
"If you don't start anything then we won't." I said defensively.
He nodded lowering the broken glass piece.
"Could I bother you for some food?" He asked, with his best 'help me' eyes fixed on Lady Bossypants.
"Sorry mate we're all in the same boat here." I said, before Olivia could dish out our supply. Olivia cast me a glance that was somewhere along the lines of 'what the heck?' and 'you fat troll' but she didn't contradict me.
"Oh," The man said. He looked like he knew I was lying but he didn't press the matter.
"So where are you youngsters traveling too?"
"We're actually--" Olivia began.
"Gonna stay here, there's nothing really out there for us. You?" I asked.
"I'm heading for the city." He made a face. "I know it's risky but I hear there might be some work there."
"But what about all the...you know...happenings." Olivia said and for a second I believed that she actually knew what she was talking about.
"Yeah...well it can't be avoided, sooner or later he'll send his men out here too. But I heard it's not that bad in the city he takes care of his people once you stop denying him."
Olivia looked thoughtfully over at me. I picked up the thread.
"That's pretty dicey...I don't know...I wouldn't trust him...any further than I could throw...him."
The man laughed.
"I never said I trusted him. That's one thing you learn as a beggar. Never trust anyone but just ride the tides. If you want my opinion it's not much longer before the war engulfs us all and there will be no place to hide. Quite frankly I don't know what will happen after he wins, after the last bit of rebellion dies down. Things are just so horrible that I keep thinking this is it. Things have to change they've gotta get better cause they can't get any bleaker. But things just get worse...I think this might be the end. It's good you got your friends, all I've got is my feet under me and the sky above me."
"Hey, don't be like that." Olivia cried, reaching out and touching his arm. "It can't be that bad, things will turn up."
The man looked at her like she was crazy but smiled appreciatively.
"You'll have to excuse my friend, she's losing it, she thinks we're rabbits sometimes." I said pulling Olivia back.
"Hey." She snapped.
"She the lucky one, I'd love to live anywhere but here now." He sighed, looking like he meant to stay awhile longer.
"I guess you should be going, thanks for the news." I said.
The man nodded.
"Good luck to you all." He said before trudging off. We watched him disappear into the fog and stared out into the fog long after that mulling over what the man had told us.
"You're a real jerk you know that?" Olivia said before jabbing me in the arm.
"What the hell woman!" I demanded turning on her.
"We had enough food for him!"
"No we don't! we have enough food to last the night and possible the morning which give us three weeks before we starve to death, or one week if we don't find water, to get the hell out of here. He is his own problem."
"Speaking of problems; do you know what yours is? You only care about yourself! Next thing you know you'll be killing us off and eating us." Olivia snapped. "If you’re trying to survive then the last thing you want to lose is your humanity but that seems to be the first thing you want to chuck out...if you even had any to begin with."
"Whoa, Miss used-to-be-tie-dye get yourself a bottle of chill pills and overdose please. You want to know what your problem is? You hate me, and I can't for the life of me figure out why but you’re gonna have to get over it and let me handle these things, I know what I'm doing."
"Hahaha how cute! you think you're in charge, Mr. bronze-for-brains-can't-pass-my-math-test."
"Idiot, we have Calculus together!"
How did I miss that? The girl dressed like a traffic cone...I had to stop texting as much.
"If you want to survive then you'll listen to me I've been lost before." She continued.
"Oh great you've just shown your expertise in getting lost that's just we need right now! More lost with a side of where the hell are we? topped with I don't give a crap!"
"That's not what I meant and you know it!"
"How is that even an argument?!"
"Unless you can beat me in arm wrestling I win the leadership by pure brute strength and ability to protect the flock."
"Awesome we got the caveman for our leader!"
"Lady I get that your jealous but can the feminism I don't wanna hear your 'I'm a woman and proud speech' it's old and I don't care how well you give it but I'm not taking orders from you!"
"You’re an moron-"
"Guys both of you need to shut up! I'm the leader!"
We turned to find Jaclyn standing looking furious.
"Can you guys hear yourselves? Hunter you win, your ego's bigger! Olivia your better than this. You both need to calm down. We're not gonna get anywhere arguing. So until you guys can play nice I'm leader as it seems I'm the only one who doesn't want to pinch anyone's head off."
Olivia and I fell silent. I didn't know Jaclyn had it in her...I kinda felt bad now.
"That that works." I said, looking anywhere but at Jaclyn.
"Sure." Olivia said, glaring daggers at me. What the hell was that about?
"I believe you owe each other an apology." Jaclyn said.
"Yes, Hunter I believe you do." Olivia said, crossing her arms.
"I'm sorry mother but she started it." I argued.
"That's why your both apologizing...and getting over it." Jaclyn said pointedly to Olivia. Olivia grimaced.
"Hunter I'm really sorry that your such an egocentric jerk, Jaclyn is right I should be more considerate and feel sorry for you. Your such a jerk, it must be hard."
"That's what she said." I sniggered.
Jaclyn gave an exasperated sigh.
"Fine. I'll be the bigger man...Olivia I'm sorry...but I just can't do this." I paused. Why the hell couldn't I say sorry?! I didn't have to mean it. I'd said so many things that I didn't mean all the time why was this so different? It was her, it was Olivia she got under my skin and danced on my nerves. She was the only girl who managed to make me feel like a complete and utter idiot. She completely ignored me and bashed me and by rights I should've been ticked off but instead I was kind of embarrassed. I'd been trying to impress her...but I just didn't know how.
"I'm sorry." I said.
Olivia sighed, flinging her hair back.
"Me too." She said grudgingly.
"You too what." I prodded.
"I'm sorry Hunter." She said, as if it was the worst possible thing that she could've be forced to say.
I smiled, she was so cute...no she wasn't she was annoying!!
"Peace comrade." I offered.
"Tolerance." Olivia said.
"Phew, that's good enough for me." Jaclyn said, "Now if you haven't alerted everyone living creature to our location can we eat?"
"She's right we should probably move." I said and for once Olivia agreed.