It was midday, and Olivia and Mitch continued their walk down the road that would lead them to Porter. Brown grass lined the sides of the road, and they had spotted a jackrabbit earlier that day, eating what it could find. Olivia couldn’t believe how much Mitch had told her that previous night. He had just opened up to her, and told her everything. She could never open herself up like that to a random stranger. His story was also so unexpected. When she first met him, she would have never thought he would have any problems with his parents, or be into drugs of any kind.
“And then she was gone,” He had said after the story. He had woken up, and she wasn’t in his bed. He found his window wide opened, with a note taped to the window sill. The note he described had said “Sorry for all the trouble, but thanks. I owe you one.” And then scribbled on the bottom was her signature; Roséa. Olivia didn’t say anything after he was done telling her the story. She didn’t know what to say, her mind was completely blank. Something in her mind was screaming. It tried unlocking the box inside her which held all of the thoughts and memories she tried to block out.
Things that were personal could not be concentrated on in the heat they walked through, though. It was the dry kind that made your throat feel like sandpaper, and your tongue dry up like a raison. They had no water left to drink. Olivia had a few crackers left, but that wouldn’t satisfy the thirst they craved. She tried to keep up her constant pace, but her legs felt like jelly, and she feared they would soon give in to her exhaustion.
“Do you see that over there?” Mitch asked, looking to their right, into the distance. Olivia followed his gaze, but saw nothing. She took out her telescope and scanned the horizon. She only saw more sand, and dried up grass.
“It’s an oasis!” Mitch shouted, running off the road into the desert grass.
“Where,” Olivia asked, skeptically. Mitch was running towards nothing, and looked like a mad man with his arms in air, leaping for joy. Olivia curiously followed him, walking much slower than him, for she didn’t see what he was seeing. He then stopped and looked at the ground. A grin spread across his face, as he dug his hands into the sand.
“Water I tell you!” Mitch shouted, throwing the sand in his hands up into the air.
That’s when Olivia clued into what was really going on.
“Mitch! It’s just a mirage!” Olivia shouted, now in a slow jog trying to catch up to him. He ignored her, bringing more sand into his hands. He licked his lips, and then poured the sand into his mouth.
“Idiot,” Olivia stated, bringing her hand up to her face in embarrassment. Mitch then started to cough
“God, this water tastes like ass,” Mitch said, continuing to cough. That’s when the mirage started to slowly disappear, getting farther and farther away from him.
He then started to panic.
“No! Water! I didn’t mean it! Come back!” He shouted, running after the oasis that continued to slowly get farther and farther away from him, until it was out of sight. He continued to run a few seconds longer, until he stopped to catch his breath. Olivia continued her jog, until she was beside him.
He slumped over, quietly blubbering in disappear. “I’m just so thirsty,” He said softly. Olivia sighed, and patted him on the back, unsure how else to comfort him. She looked out to the horizon ahead of them, and hoped that maybe a real oasis would actually appear.
“Come on,” She said, tugging on his arm, “We still got a long way to go,”
“Go on without me,” He said falling onto his knees.
“No,” She stated, continuing to tug on his arm, but he stayed in his kneeling position, with his head hung.
“I can’t go any further,” he whined. She rolled her eyes.
“Enough. Get on your feet,” She ordered, trying to pull him up. After a few moments of tugging, he finally found the strength to get onto his feet. “There, was that so hard?” He shook his head and then started to walk back towards the road. Olivia walked beside him, watching him. He still had his head hung, and was in a slump. The jog that Olivia had done only moments before started to take its toll on her legs, for now they felt more like jelly than ever before.
Once they made it back to the road, Mitch collapsed onto his knees again.
“If I’m gonna continue,” He said breathlessly, “I need to take a rest,”
Olivia nodded, sitting next to him. She brought her knees up to her chest, and grabbed a nearby stick. She started to draw random lines in the sand, trying to keep her mind off of her need for water. Mitch crossed his legs, and watched Olivia as she drew.
That’s when she heard a rumbling.
Olivia’s head shot up in the direction of the sound. A red object on the road was heading for them. Olivia immediately brought out her telescope, and looked through it.
“Please tell me,” She said, taking a gulp, “That I’m not imagining it when I say there’s a van driving towards us,”
Mitch leaned back looking past her. He squinted his eyes, and then lent out his hand for her telescope. She handed it to him, and he took a look.
“Oh god,” He said, a smile spreading across his face, “You are not imagining it at all,”
Olivia jumped up, and pulled out both of her revolvers that she had hidden underneath her leather jacket. Mitch’s eyes went wide, for he was unaware that she was armed with guns this whole time. She closed one eye trying to get her aim perfect. She waited for the van to get closer, and then a smirk spread across her face. Olivia and Mitch sprinted towards the van. Olivia had her guns out, ready and waiting for a fight.
The van came to a halt, but no bandits climbed out like she had expected.
Instead the sliding door on the right opened, and a small boy jumped out. He put his hands up in surrender.
“Don’ shoot!” He called out. Olivia stopped walking, but kept her guns out. No boy was going to let her get her guard down. She was about 100 meters away from the van, and if she squinted her eyes she could see that there was someone in the driver’s seat.
“I won’t shoot if everyone exits the van,” Olivia shouted, already aiming her gun at the driver. That’s when the driver’s door was thrown open and man jumped out. He shut the door, revealing who he was.
He had a trench coat that reached just above his knees, and he had it unzipped with a grey v-neck underneath. He wore dark blue jeans with dirty black boots. He raised his arms up in surrender as well, as a smirk grew across his face.
This man just screamed trouble.
Olivia started to walk towards the van again, her guns still aimed at the man. She heard Mitch start to jog behind her.
“You have 2 minutes to get your belongings out of the van, and—”
“Samuel!” Mitch shouted waving. Olivia looked back at Mitch, a shocked expression spread across her face.
“You know this man?” Olivia asked, lowering her guns slightly.
“Yeah!” Mitch answered, going into a slow jog.
“Mitch Rivers!” The man, Samuel, said with a laugh. Olivia lowered her guns completely, and went into a jog to keep up with Mitch. Samuel started to walk towards them, a grin spread across his face.
“How’ve you been?” Mitch asked with a smile.
“I’ve been alright, can’t complain,” Sam answered, “What about you? Where’s that jeep of yours?”
“Ran over a Cor. Mine. The explosive kind too,”
“Oh… That’s too bad.” Sam said shaking his head.
“What about you? Where’s your Harley?” Mitch asked looking from Sam to the red mini-van.
“In the back of this piece,” Sam laughed.
“Isn’t that the gas station geezer’s van?”
“Where’s the old man?” Mitch asked.
“Dead,” Sam replied quietly. Mitch nodded, his smile disappearing. He then noticed the boy. The boy was intently listening, but hadn’t said a word.
“And so you’re helping his grandson out huh?” Mitch asked, making the connection. Sam nodded in response. “Where you headed?”
“Porter. The boy’s Aunt lives there—”
“We are headed to Porter too! I was driving Olivia there but then the Cor. Mine situation happened,” Mitch said with a shake of his head. Sam then looked past Mitch at Olivia who was only a few feet behind him. She had her guns tucked away, but her arms were crossed, looking impatient.
“She looks like a bitch,” Sam mumbled.
“She’s nicer than she looks,” Mitch defended.
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Olivia said, hearing Sam’s rude comment, “But if you don’t mind, Mitch and I are in a hurry,”
“Yes of course you are,” Sam said rolling his eyes.
“So if you don’t mind,” Olivia said, trying to hurry Mitch along.
“Hey Sam, you owe me a favour or two don’t you?” Mitch asked. Sam thought about this for a moment and then nodded his head. “How about you do an old friend a favour and give us a ride to Porter?”
Olivia shot Mitch a serious look.
“Yeah, it’d be pointless not too,” Sam rationalized, “Plus we got lots of room,”
“Alright!” Mitch exclaimed, walking towards the passenger’s door, “And do you got any whiskey?”
“Nah, only beer” Sam answered.
“Good enough,” Mitch opened the passenger’s door, and sat in the seat, shutting the door behind him. He then reached for something in the space between the two seats. He sat back up with a bud light in his hand. He opened it and took a huge gulp. Sam opened the driver’s door, and was about to get in when he looked back at Olivia. She still stood with her arms crossed, trying to decide if she was going to go with them or not. She trusted Mitch to an extent, but she had a bad feeling about the man Samuel.
“You coming?” Sam asked, looking impatient. Olivia looked away from the van for a moment, to scan the horizon. She then made up her mind, and walked towards the sliding door behind where Sam was standing. He watched her as she walked past, being obvious about checking her out. She did her best to keep her face composed, for she wanted to scowl, and she threw the sliding door open and sat in her seat. She watched as the boy with blonde hair climbed into the seat beside her.
“Yuh might want ta do up yer seat belt, ma’am,” The boy said, while doing up his own. She rolled her eyes, but listened to the boy. The boy then nudged Olivia, and she looked over at him. He had a water bottle for her, already open. Olivia, forgetting how thirsty she was, took the bottle, and drank out of it greedily. After she was done her drink, she looked back over to the boy.
“Thanks, I needed that,” She said with a smile.
“No problem, ma’am,” He said, returning the smile and blushing a little.