Apparently word had gotten out about the incident at the clothes store. I’d watched the girl before I shot her, and she was definitely one of them, but apparently the others had mixed opinions about it. Robin, Scott, Maria, Dante and, oddly enough, Pet had taken my side. Riley and Joe hadn’t really said much about it, but Alice, Sam and Houston were all furious with me. As a result, they wouldn’t listen to a word I said. It didn’t matter too much, since none of them were much use and mostly kept to themselves, but if ever I needed them to do something, unless the order came from Robin, they wouldn’t do it. It was just another issue on a long list of problems.
Maria and Dante had only just managed to get the power connected again, though they had concerns about it. If something had chewed through it before, what was to stop it from doing it again? They’d tried to reinforce it, and had managed to make a kind of cage around it, but they didn’t think it would hold for long. If that wasn’t enough, Scott had come to me and Robin, telling us he’d had complaints about the water not working all the time. Unlike the power station, we couldn’t check the water since the nearest station was a few towns over. That and no one had any idea how to use it. I told him to fill all the bathtubs up with water, so at the very least if the water went off, we’d have plenty stored. We just had to hope it didn’t go stagnant.
Food was as sparse as ever, and with an extra mouth to feed, it was stretched even thinner. Where food was concerned, keeping Alice fed was our main concern. After all, if she stopped producing milk, we weren’t exactly in any position to go looking for baby formula. She’d been grateful for the clothes, though she’d yet to say it to my face after everything. As for Rae, I hadn’t really seen her since we got back. She’d been avoiding me; that much I knew, though whether it was because of the girl, or because she was embarrassed about what had happened, I wasn’t sure.
I’d assumed, after everything that the shooting lesson Rae had been organising was off, but when four people turned up at my apartment, ready to learn… I guess I was kind of glad they still trusted me enough for that. I’d tracked down Robin to lend a hand, and we’d gotten the others some pistols to start with. As much as I’d have preferred teaching them how to use the assault rifles, we had to start small. Rae was there, though she tried to avoid me, looking mainly at Robin for help, along with Sam. Scott and Maria, on the other hand, where happy to let me teach them. It took a while, but eventually we had them shooting well enough to protect themselves. Sam had been the worst to teach, and Scott seemed to take to it like a duck to water. I guess whatever Joe had been teaching him had helped.
Speaking of Joe, we’d kind of been a little awkward around each other. Rae had found some video cameras on her second sweep of the fourth floor, and had given them to Maria to see if she could do anything with them. It’d taken her a couple days, but she’d managed to get them working like security cameras, bracketing a few of them to various positions of the building outside. They’d hooked them up to some TVs in one of the apartments, and it’d been left to me and Robin to let everyone know about them, and the subsequent guard duty rota we’d written up. I’d gone up to the garden to let Riley and Joe know, and had kind of walked in on them kissing. None of us had really spoken since, all of us too embarrassed to make the first move.
A few weeks later, I was on a supply run with Maria and Scott. We’d taken a break, trying to decide on the best way to move the abandoned cars littering the street when we heard a loud engine in the distance. We’d grabbed our guns, just in case, and waited for whoever and whatever it was to get closer. Scott spotted it first; a three truck convoy heading our way, pushing everything out of its path. We found out why when they stopped near us, they’d attacked what looked like a snow plow to the front of the first truck, a huge 18-wheeler. The plow was scratched and looked pretty beaten up, but still worked, and looked like it’d come from a train. The three of us waited, not sure what we were about to face, and the door of the first rig opened.
“Don’t shoot, we come in peace and all that” I heard a thick New York accent shout, as a man dressed in military fatigues hopped out of the rig.
We held our fire as he made his way over to us, the doors to the other two rigs opening as well, as three more people got out. The first was stood in front of us and I eyed him suspiciously. The standard military haircut implied he was actively serving, and I could see two of the others had the same. The fourth, I didn’t get a good look at. The third kept getting in the way, while the first seemed to be trying to draw most of my attention.
“I’m Private Natch,” the first said, before gesturing at the other two, “And these are Privates Rainer and Grovesnor”
“Who’s your friend?” I asked, gesturing towards the fourth with the nose of my rifle.
“That’s Spitfire, he’s no worry to you. Might I ask what you three’s doing out here?”
“None of your business, Private” I said, and he seemed to notice the stripes on my uniform.
“What’s with the convoy?” I asked, lowering my weapon a little, while Maria and Scott kept their aim fixed on Rainer and Grovesnor.
“Supplies we’ve gathered on the way. We came from New York, been looking for survivors since”
“What’s with the haircuts?” I questioned again. Robin and I hadn’t exactly been bothered about our hair since this started, both of us letting it grow out a little. It wasn’t long enough to get in the way, yet, but it could do with cutting. We’d been on the lookout for a pair of hair clippers, but hadn’t had much luck yet.
“The way we see it, Sir, we’re still actively serving. It’s our job to find survivors and help them as best we can”
“You can drop the ‘sir’ thing, just remember who’s in charge. Think you can spare to part with a few of your supplies? We’re kind of struggling back at the tower”
“Part with a few? We’ll lend you the whole convoy; you’re the first survivors we’ve found since we set off”
“Really?” Maria asked, lowering her gun and Natch nodded. “I can’t believe it…” she said in disbelief, and Scott put an arm around her shoulders.
“Truth be told, we’re amazed we found you, what with being this far out, and all” Natch said.
If they’d really come from New York, then they must be near the end of their search. We were on the other side of the country to New York…
“Anyway, if we’re coming with you, I suggest we all make a move. Won’t be long til the biters come out”