Ian and Juan where standing by the check out desk, picking through a stand holding a variety of hiking cereals and trail mix. Both looked up when Luke emerged from the storage room, followed closely by Andrea.
"This is all that was down there." Luke said, brandishing the boxes of ammo he'd confiscated as he strode over to the two.
"Poquito." Juan complained as Luke dumped the boxes on the check out counter. Juan picked up the boxes and read the amount on each one mentally adding up the shots, making his disapproval over the meagre supplies known.
"How often were you planning on using the guns? They're just for prevention." Luke pointed out before ducking behind the check out desk and rummaging around for a bag. After a moment he reemerged with a green plastic bag to hold the ammo boxes.
"I think we're about done here, right?" Andrea asked walking over to the boys holding as many cases of batteries as she could.
Ian took a couple from her and lobbed them into their trash can cart.
Luke looked over their very long list then scanned the store's shelves to make sure they had gotten all that they needed from this place.
"I think so too." Luke said, handing the bagged ammo to Juan, who seemed to have been voted as gun carrier. Ian gathered up his collection of trail mix and cereals and pocketed them. Juan gathered up the quilt he'd used previously to wrap around Andrea, so she wouldn't get cut by the broken glass, and used it to carry the guns.
"Here let me help you," Andrea said, picking up an end of the quilt and helping Juan fold it around the guns. However, her eyes were fixed on Luke, who was still standing in the same spot deep in thought and looking slightly frazzled. He seemed to have developed a distant air about him since she found him staring at that puddle in the basement. She was worried about him - and curious.
"Gracias" Juan said to Andrea, taking the folded blanket and slinging it on to his back.
Ian, Luke and Andrea grabbed hold of a trash can cart and they proceeded carefully from the Sporting goods store to scavenge through the rest of the mall. The first floor was dark and silent, with tiny patches of sunlight peeking through the oddly placed windows. Andrea pulled out a flashlight that she'd taken from the sporting goods store; it was shaped to resemble a lantern but was powered by batteries not gas.
The strong yellow beam of the lantern light illuminated the way for the group and by the light they scanned the display windows of the stores, determining which would be most useful to break into; always on the look out for any unfriendly sounds. They were relieved to see that the heavy iron bars did not block the entrance to every store. The bars were mostly protecting stores with electronic deceives which were currently useless.
"You know it's going to get cold eventually." Andrea pointed out as they passed several clothing outlets, their display mannequins still dressed up in summer attire.There was a murmur of agreement from the group.
"That's what you're here for though." Ian reminded. "You're a seamstress."
"Fashion designer." Andrea corrected.
Juan snickered and said something in Spanish that nobody understood, nor did he bother to translate.
"I'm going to need supplies." Andrea said still glaring at Juan as she tried to decipher what he just said.
"What do you need?" Luke asked.
"Layers, scissors a sewing machine--"
"A sewing machine!?" Ian complained. "I'm not carrying one of those."
"A needle and thread." Andrea corrected grudgingly.
"We'll see what we can do." Luke said halting the group in front of a kitchen supply store.
It was one of those quaint little over priced cooking stores where every piece of cutlery and clay container was a piece of artwork and cost about as much as 'the Mona Lisa'-maybe a little less. It was more a shop for collections than supplies.
"Ian can you grab the tire iron, again?" Luke asked stepping back from the glass.
"I don't think we're going to find any food in there." Ian said pulling the iron from his trash can cart and striding over to the glass.
"I was actually hoping for scissors." Luke said, shielding his face as Ian swung the tire iron into the door.
The door creaked and the store alarm went off, ringing loudly throughout the mall. Everyone froze; Luke raised his shot gun to the ready and scanned the premises. Ian swung the iron once more and the glass broke. When no one came at them from the mall or the kitchen store, Luke relaxed the gun and Andrea turned the lantern flashlight to shine inside the kitchen door.
"Here," Luke said handing Juan the shot gun. "Stand watch and have Ian load the other guns."
"Problemas?" Juan asked taking the gun.
"Just keep an eye out." Luke insisted, he felt as if someone was watching them, the same as he'd felt on the way over here. Had they been followed? Or was this just his mind playing tricks on him?
"Andrea, let's get your stuff." Luke said, proceeding cautiously into the store. Andrea followed, examining the artwork on display containers.
When Luke made sure that it was just them in the store, he signaled to Andrea to find her supplies while he looked for some way to silence the alarm. Andrea picked up a shopping basket and set out into the store; spending quite some time looking for her items and being distracted from her search by the other merchandise.
However, when she found what she was looking for, it was all in one place at the back end of the store, by an Easter display. There were a pair of kitchen scissors and sewing utensils, albeit for food but it would be just fine for clothing too. Andrea grabbed five pairs of scissors, several spools of cord, and a few large needles which were designed for sewing up stuffed chickens or such.
"Done." Andrea said coming over to the front desk where Luke was still trying to disarm the alarm. "Any luck?" she asked.
"It needs a key, which I can't find."
"Would a hair pin help?"
"Juan, you got a hair pin?!" Andrea called.
"What?!" Juan asked, clearly confused.
"Looks like we're out of luck."Andrea said turning back to Luke. "I found my stuff."
"Mmm." Luke slammed the locked alarm cover with his fist, when nothing happened, he hopped over the desk and joined Andrea outside the store.
"Let's get as far from here as possible."
After twenty minutes, the alarm shut off, probably after running out of battery power. The group proceeded to the second floor, where they found a snack stand, and sat by the second story balcony, on a lunch break. Here they began to plan out their next move, while keeping an eye on their trash carts that couldn't make it up the stairs.
"So what do we need next?" Ian asked.
Luke began to answer, but Andrea spoke first, addressing Juan.
"What is this place like any way, the place we're heading to?"
"How the *!!^ am I supposed to know, novia? I never even heard of it until a week ago. Panacea, what a stupid name for a town."