Alicia is wondering whether there is a bathroom in the store when the door slams open and shut.
She turns, horrified, and feels both herself and Cole freezing with fear.
There, standing in the doorway, is…
A girl. Around her age, wearing really baggy pants, an “I Love Jesus” shirt and a blanket tied around her head. With…no shoes.
“Wow,” Alicia comments, “I guess it’s the fashion apocalypse too. Am I right, Cole?”
Cole, like the jerk he is, decides not to back her up and instead stands, still chewing, and approaches the girl.
“We don’t want any trouble.” He says quietly, “We’ll take what we want, you take what you want, and we part ways, okay?”
The girl nods, curtsying.
“I do not wish to cause any trouble.” She says in a thick British accent, “I was merely seeking shelter from the…the…”
“The zombies?” Cole offers, taking another bite of what looks like a packet of cookie dough.
“Yes.” The girl continues, “I…was not aware they had a name.”
She looks at Alicia and then Cole, curtsying again.
“My apologies. I have not introduced myself. My name is Scarlett.”
“I’m Alicia.” Alicia buts in, “The stoner’s Cole.”
Scarlett nods politely and quickly starts eating, her hands shaking.
Alicia watches disapprovingly. Fashion disaster and a pig? Bad combination.
“So Scarlett,” Cole starts, “Are you on your own?”
She nods again, taking the blanket off of her head, folding it, and sitting on top of it delicately.
Alicia tries to hide her surprised expression.
The girl has long, dark hair, pale blue eyes, and skin whiter than a sheet of paper. And she’s so bony!
She could be a vampire.
Alicia tries to sip away her envy as she nurses her mineral water.
“Do you want to join us?” Cole asks, rubbing his nose.
Scarlett looks relieved.
“May I? That would be most kind of you both.”
Cole grins, and holds out a hand.
It takes the girl a while to realize she’s supposed to take it, and she looks pleasantly surprised as they shake hands.
“Is this a common greeting here?” she asks politely, “I must say it is rather charming.”
Alicia rolls her eyes and pretends to look busy perusing the shelves.
She is all but sure that the girl was putting that accent on. Who is she fooling?
“Yeah, I guess.” Cole laughs, “Are you from around these parts?”
“I was born in Liverpool. Spent my childhood in London. You must excuse me; I am not quite sure where we are.”
“Denver, Colorado.” Cole offers, looking amused, “America?”
“America!” Scarlett exclaims, “The New World! How extraordinary that I should find myself here!”
Alicia snickers. Confirmed nutjob.
“You’ve never been?” Cole asks, looking confused and intrigued at the same time.
“My, no. I would never have dreamed it. And I had no idea America was so…modern.“
“That’s America for you.” Cole replies, “Did you get on the wrong plane?”
Scarlett looks puzzled but seems to catch the gist of what he’s saying.
“No. My…memory…hasn’t been in the best condition. With everything that has happened.”
Cole nods, accepting her explanation.
“It’s pretty scary out there. I wish I knew what was going on.”
“Yes. It is rather…scary.”
They are quiet for a moment before the conversation continues.
“Were you out there long?” Cole asks, “Did you…see any zombies up close?”
Scarlett looks even paler, if that’s possible.
“The…zombies. They are quite horrible. I was in a church, and they burst in…I ran here as fast as my feet could bring me.”
Cole looks at her feet and grimaces.
“I can tell. You don’t have any shoes?”
Scarlett shakes her head, blushing.
Alicia throws her a pair of musty old flipflops from behind the counter, only accidentally hitting her with one in the process.
“Thank you, miss.” Scarlett says, somewhat hesitant as she tries to understand what she has been given.
“You put them on your feet?” Cole offers, amused.
Scarlett eventually figures it out and looks amazed.
“The wonders of America.”
Alicia moves to the door, peeking out at the world, and tries to drown out the sound of the two losers chatting up a storm.
She is almost glad when she hears the sound of wails approaching.
“Uh, Cole?” she starts, without looking back, “We need to get out of here. Now.”
Cole scarfs down the remainder of the sloppy sandwich he had made and, picking up an unholy amount of shopping bags, runs to the door and looks out.
“Oh, shit. Time to move.”
He shoulders the door open and Alicia follows, shuddering as the cold air hits her.
Scarlett is close behind, her clothes stuffed like Cole’s, and an array of bags in her hands too.
As if one Cole wasn’t enough.
Cole ties his bags up, hurls them onto the store’s roof, and promptly starts climbing up the downspout.
Alicia rolls her eyes and follows the human monkey, ignoring the bags flying by her head as Scarlett does the same.
By the time they’re all on the roof Alicia’s arms are hurting horribly.
“Cole, do we always have to be climbing?” she whines, “I’m so tired!”
He ignores her and starts the roof hopping again, except with the added element of bag tossing.
Alicia angrily forces her mouth shut, not bothering to hide her anger as Scarlett passes her and jumps right behind Cole.
What a bother. If the world wasn’t ending, she would’ve found way cooler people to be around than two lunatics.
The thought makes her pause.
Bill and Lola were out here somewhere. Surviving with people who understood her would be a relief.
Then she could properly enjoy the apocalypse.