“I see I had nothing to worry about here,” Luka was smiling as he entered the campgrounds.
Most of the survivors were sitting in a circle on the clearing’s central mound, their hands full of small fruits. They were all conversing with one another in small groups within the group, much of it broken into gender-exclusive duos and triads. In the center of the pack stood a lithe black-haired boy, his hands warm in his pockets. Luka almost laughed upon seeing him there, supervising the ordeal. The boy had looked up upon hearing Luka speak. With a smile, he stepped out from the circle to speak more exclusively.
“Of course not. Had I died in the wreckage, and Lex been allowed free reign on these poor souls, then maybe you could’ve expected something different.”
“What would I do without you, Parker?” Luka grinned, reaching forward to clap his hand on his friend’s shoulder. This friend was still wearing his logistics uniform, complete with a fully legible magnetic nametag. Of all things to have survived the ocean’s fury, he was surprised that it was one of them.
Parker pondered over the question quite visibly for a few moments, “I don’t know. Starve a large group of people ranging in age from thirteen to twenty?”
“Funny guy, funny guy,” Luka was sputtering from behind clenched teeth.
“So what news? Did you drag those two off into the forest to brutally murder them as to take full reign over these poor children?” Parker was chuckling.
“No, actually, though that might be a good idea.”
“Remind me not to go anywhere with you alone.”
“You wouldn’t be able to resist,” Luka joked.
“Hilarious, you,” Parker countered dully.
“Back to the point, we’ve found the perfect place to set up a permanent camp. It’s a bit far, and it might take the whole day to reach it considering the injured, but it’s fresh water.”
“Water?” Parker perked up.
“Waterfall, to be more specific. The trees there are a bit high though, and they’re more than big enough to stand up against us. We’d have to go elsewhere for building materials and the like but…well. You understand. Water is a priority.”
“And you didn’t bother to bring any with you. What an ass,” Parker sighed. “We’ve made due with rain water, but it’s not cleanly stuff, you know.”
“So we leave now?” Parker asked, turning back towards the circle. Almost simultaneously, some of the girls very quickly diverted their gazes away.
Luka clapped a hand over his mouth to hold in the laughter, but managed to get out a simple, “no.”
“No?” Parker blinked.
“In the morning. It’s why Artemis and Oliver didn’t come back. Traveling in the evening could be treacherous.”
“I see. So in the morning. I’ll get them ready.”
“You are a special sort of person, you know that, Parker?”
“How so?” he cocked an eyebrow.
“They like to draw to you.”
“They’re like moths,” Parker chuckled.
“Drawn to all sorts of destructive light,” Luka shook his head.
Parker chuckled, “thank you. Had you said ‘flame’, I might’ve been tempted to put your lights out.”