The words were out of Joe's mouth before he could really stop them.
So now he was volunteering himself on another death run. He didn't know what it was, maybe just the fact that he wanted to somehow make up for AJ's death, to prove himself. He could take care of himself and dammit he was tired of being scared all the time. Maybe exposure to the zombies would dull his fear?
'I'll go on my own,' he told Sophia.
'Not on your own,' Cancer repeated, shaking his head.
'Look, I can take care of myself. I may not seem like it but I haven't had an opportunity to yet. Let me do this, please.' He was completely serious and he hoped that they could see it in his eyes. Right now, to them, he was a joke. He was a boy who couldn't even avenge his parents death, he was the person who had ultimately gotten AJ killed. He was a walking disaster, a complete coward.
The silence that followed said it all. Nobody else really wanted to go. Scott was out of the picture, Cancer was injured and Sophia wanted to keep an eye on him.
It was up to him.
Minutes later he was loaded up with two rucksacks; one hanging off each shoulder.
'Remember, if you're swarmed just drop the bags and run,' Sophia said for the hundredth time.
'And come back with no supplies?' Joe looked at Scott's face, which said it all. 'I think it'd be better if I let the zombies get me if that happened.'
'You're damn right, we need those supplies.'
'I'll get them.' Joe replied firmly. He was determined to do it right this time. No fuck ups and no deaths (certainly not his). A quick run, in and out of the store in no time. Piece of piss.
'Use the back entrance, it's boarded up but I think we can loosen some of it enough for you to slip out. You'll find yourself in an alleyway, from there -'
'I know,' Joe cut Sophia off. 'I've been here before.'
'Right well. Good luck.' They all stood there facing him, none looking too pleased that he was going (except for maybe Scott), but none of them exactly rushing to stop him either. He hoisted both rucksacks up and headed to the back of the store. Sophia was right; it was boarded up, probably by the previous tenant. It wasn't done too well though and came off easily with a few yanks from a crowbar they had found. Joe took a few deep breaths and squeezed through the narrow gap, out into the open.
He was immediately on full alert and crouched low to the ground. The crowbar was shaking slightly from his vice like grip on it and he told himself to calm down. He wasn't going to get anywhere like this. Preparation for the worst encounter was a must, but he also needed to be constantly looking for safe passages and the least zombie populated areas.
'Happy birthday Joe,' he muttered grimly to himself before setting off.