Chapter Twenty One: Aria Stephenson
Once the initial shock had worn off, we started to pack up. Kyle may trust this posing hero, but I’m not too sure. I think he might be a bad guy. I’ll give the guy credit, he led us here to protection, shelter, food and water but it doesn’t mean he isn’t setting us up for a fall. Kyle isn’t convinced of my theory. I tried to start again with the theory that he was a bad guy, the one we should be fighting.
“So, Kyle,” I turned to him, still shoving blankets into the bags we could find. “Why do you trust this 'The Fifth Horseman,' then?”
“He led us here didn't he?” Kyle laughed, but edgily. Usually, I’d not have caught that, but I was on edge due to the apocalypse too. “He gave us food, water, blankets, new clothes, hell, he even thought to give us soap! Now we have quad bikes and bags so that we can get to the next safe house without the trouble of not knowing what to do with all the stuff.”
“So you completely trust him?” This was odd, even for him. He was usually the careful one, always telling me to stop being so reckless. “There is no doubt in your mind at all?” Kyle shook his head, expression sincere. “Not at all?” I tried again. Same response.
“Why shouldn't I trust him?” Kyle asked with a frown.
“He knew that Jason was dead. He also knew that Martha had been taken. How would you know that sort of stuff? He’s in league with them! Or they’re in league with him.” I frowned, puzzled. “Either way, I don’t trust him one bit. I mean, he uses crows to communicate for heaven’s sake! How is that not weird?”
“Okay,” said Kyle, slowly. “So he’s weird. It doesn’t mean that he’s evil. You’re weird. Are you evil?”
“Now isn’t the time to be making jokes! My instinct is telling me that this is a bad idea. If my instinct says something like that, I trust it. That is why it is an instinct,” I snapped loudly. How could he not see this? The Fifth Horseman was evil. I could feel it in my gut.
He sighed and spoke again. “Just finish up packing, then we can hit the road and find out. Hmm?”
I pushed the last blanket into the bag not long after Kyle put the last bit of food and water into another. Hoisting them over our shoulders, we headed for the quad bikes.
“You want one in particular?” I asked.
“Nah. Not really.” He said quietly. “So long as I’ve a helmet and the quad bike has petrol, I don’t care what it looks like. Oh, and that it gets us to the next safe house in one piece."
I sighed and rolled my eyes. Picking up the helmet and putting it on my head, I sat astride the closest bike, but not before reading the inscription on the side. It read “Nobody knew there would be days like these.” I laughed and relished the moment. Turning, I checked that Kyle had his helmet on and was astride his bike.
“Ready?” I asked, voice trembling.
“As I’ll ever be.” Kyle joked trying to lighten the hurriedly darkening mood. Sadly, it didn’t quite work, but I almost hoped it had as we rode out into the stifling hot, humid air outside the safe house.
The humming noises from the quad bikes were quite calming. They weren’t all that loud and the exhaust fumes smell covered up all the other smells such as the rotting flesh lying in the pools of metallic blood and the stench of fear and hate. I’d never realised before that fear and hate had odours, but they did. They mixed with the other putrid horrible smells, mingling and making me want to throw up. I decided against it and forced the rising bile back down my throat. After all, I didn’t want to die while throwing up now, did I? If I was going to die, I was going to die fighting The Fifth Horseman. I’d already made the decision earlier this morning. No common as muck zombies were going to be the end of me.
The ridiculousness of exactly what I was thinking hit me and I felt the urge to laugh. At least it replaced my urge to be sick. It was nice to see that even now, during the end of the world, I still had my sense of humour.
Kyle was whizzing along next to me, keeping his eyes on the road, well, most of the time. Occasionally he’d glance over at me and check to see if I was still okay. After the first five minutes, he concentrated on the road more, obviously satisfied that I could look after myself on this quad bike. Too right I could! I love quad biking. I never got to go very often, but every couple of weeks, I’d go with my older brother to one of the old dirt tracks and practise. After a five years of doing that, I think I’d know how to ride a quad bike. It isn’t like it is hard in the first place. It is just like a regular bike, but with more stability. All it is, is that it requires less input on the balance front. That and no pedalling.
We aren’t going all that quickly and it worries me. What would happen if the zombies turned up? We’d be better off tearing through the streets, hitting the throttle at full speed. I don’t want to take any chances, not when half of our original forces have been either eaten or captured. Kyle seems to be happy going at this speed, so I don’t push it as much as I would with anyone else, but I do pick up a bit of speed.
He attempted to talk to me, but since we weare going along the road at around thirty five miles per hour, I could neither concentrate on him for long enough nor hear him over the whipping of the harsh winds. I suspected he was going to say that we should slow down a little, but I disagreed. So, setting the pace, we skidded around the streets, directed only by Kyle towards the next safe house.
From what Kyle said before we left, the safe house in question was on the other side of town, several miles away. We’d never have made it if we’d walked, so at least the bikes worked in that way for us. The only bad thing was the noise. I was constantly worrying, thinking that every time I’d turn the corner we’d run into a hoard of zombies that had gathered because they’d heard the noise from the engine. I check how far we’ve travelled, just under half way. We can’t afford to run into zombies yet. Not at all really, but we could deal with them better if they were over by the next safe house rather than in the next street, waiting.
I was scared stiff, but I wasn’t going to admit that to Kyle as we zipped around the town on our newly acquired quad bikes. All I wanted was to be able to have had a regular day. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing supernatural. Nothing attacking us relentlessly, without a break in between having to run around into the arms of The Fifth Horseman. Or so I suspected. Kyle didn’t believe me, still, no matter how much I tried to convince him. The more I did try to convince him, the less convinced he was. It was beginning to look like some sort of conspiracy.
Jason had willingly let himself be overwhelmed by the zombies, get killed and eaten. That wasn’t what he would’ve usually done. What he would’ve done usually was turn and run like the rest of us. He’d never played the heroic one before, never. So why would he start now?
Martha had walked into the open arms of those that captured her. I mean, I hadn’t known her for long, but unless she’d been doing some serious sinning, I don’t think she’d just hand herself over. Nobody else would’ve, except her. As she’d walked towards them, her face showed more terror than I’d ever seen displayed on anyone’s face ever before. She seemed to know what was going on, so why would she not tell us? And why would she just give herself up so easily?
Now, Kyle thought the sun shone out of this “so called” good guy The Fifth Horseman. I wasn’t so sure myself. Usually, Kyle is the cautious one and I’d be the one convinced that The Fifth Horseman was the goody-two-shoes of the world.
On top of that, I’d a screaming fit in a safe house. Well, I don’t think it is all that good a safe house if Martha was kidnapped from it. Anyway, I never have screaming fits. I’m always controlled, even in anger. Everyone knows that everything that I say, I mean. There has never been a single thing I’ve ever said to anyone when I’m not in control. It just doesn’t happen. So what happened then?
What was up with everyone?