Reed held the map in his hands. It couldn't have been anything else. Only a map. And a well-drawn one at that.
Picking up the torch that Uno had had in his bag, Reed pressed the button which illuminated the small piece of thick paper, the light bouncing off it slightly and back onto his face.
Through the middle ran the most obvious item on the map - the city's river. All the way from one side to the other, bottom left to top right. It branched out about half way through, as Reed had seen when he was younger, and in the middle was the small island which he had also frequently visited before the Blast, but not once since. This small patch of land was divided into three parts on the map, by simple lines, and they were labelled A, B and C. Ignoring the markings, however, Reed continued to let his eyes run over the drawing, some areas of which were blank, obviously yet to be explored by Uno.
There were not specific labels on the rest of the map. The occasional exclamation mark where a gang was known to be, but apart from that, the only other thing was in the bottom right. Uno obviously noticed Reed's look of worry and confusion, and decided to fill him in.
'The Dead Zone.' Uno spoke the words as if he was reading the map himself. Reed let his eyes scan over the area which was surrounded by dotted lines, and was labelled as it was called. He allowed Uno to continue. 'I've never been there myself. But I've met people who have. It's dangerous. It's on the other side of the river. I haven't even been that far. I don't plan to.'
'What happens there? Why is it so dangerous?' Reed asked, not even looking up from the map.
'It's where the gangs are. The worst ones. It's where the kids go when they disappear.'
Reed froze. Where the kids go when they disappear. The Dead Zone.
Uno obviously couldn't tell of Reed's expression, as he changed the subject and asked a seemingly random question. 'How old are you?'
Reed glanced up at Uno, tied up to the back of the bus. 'Huh?'
'How old are you? You're just kids, all of you. Not that much older than me. How have you survived for so long?'
Reed let out a sigh, half passive and half angry. They hadn't survived. They had been torn apart by this city. Even Reed. He had lost people. He wasn't even the original leader of his group. He didn't want to think about that now.
'I'm thirteen. Most of the other kids are about the same age. I forget. I try not to get attached. And you? How old are you?'
'Twelve. I'll be thirteen... Soon. I forget.'
Reed smiled. Then he did something he never normally did. He introduced himself. He had never needed to do it before. Everybody else knew who the Lost Boys were. Some of the gangs did, too. But mostly the young scavengers. The Lost Boys were safety for teenagers. Safety in the city was important, and for that reason, every member found the group, and never the other way around. Things were different with Uno. They had found him.
Safety in numbers. Uno, from what Reed had gathered from the items he carried with him, was experienced and practical. The Lost Boys needed him. And Reed had never needed anybody before.