Henry and I spent the last week running from the Infected. Hardly any words were spoken between the two of us; the only verbal communication we swapped was in the form of commands and acknowledgements of those commands. I was too afraid to say anything that would piss Henry off, and I guess Henry was too afraid to say anything that may freak me out. Honestly, he was a little too late for that. Narrowly avoiding the jaws of Runners, hearing the haunting clicking of the Clickers attempting to get a sense of their surroundings, and the constant feeling that death may be around every corner is more than enough to make a kid piss his pants a few times.
After a steady week of travel, Henry and I made it to Allentown, Pennsylvania (or at least, judging by the countless highway signs, that's where I assumed we were) and we holed up in an abandoned church. Seems like as good a place as any to hide during the apocalypse.
Henry used his knife to crack open a can of beans that he found in a backpack that was lying on the highway. Not wanting to risk burning the old wooden chapel down, we decided against a fire to cook the beans. While munching on my raw beans, I turned toward Henry, ready to break the week long silence, "So bro," I said quietly. "What do we do now?"
Henry sighed and stared at the empty can of beans at his feet. "The only thing we can do, Sam." He paused for obvious dramatic effect, something I always hated about Henry. "We have to find and join the Fireflies."
I locked myself in the confession booth after Henry announced his appalling decision, and I've refused to move for the last 36 hours. How the HELL could he be okay with joining the Fireflies?! After all the hell they've caused around the nation. After all the innocent lives they've taken in their losing war against the Feds. After they killed our parents.
Sam gave up on trying to reason with me after about the 13th hour. I didn't want to hear what he had to say. I don't see how losing someone you love could cause him to pull a complete 180 with his opinions about an organization. The Fireflies were evil, and they were destroying this country, arguably more so than the Infected.
After almost 50 hours of being locked in a tiny booth, I let myself out and surveyed the area for Henry. I found him sleeping on one of the pews, using his stuffed backpack as a pillow. I can't imagine that's too comfortable.
The hunger tore at my stomach like the Infected tore at Natalie's body. (Too soon? Ah, fuck it, Henry will probably never read this.) I grabbed the nearly empty can of beans and started on my pitiful dinner to break my three day fast. As I ate, I thought, and I thought hard. Why would Henry think such a thing? Why was joining the Fireflies such a good idea all of a sudden? What flipped this humongous switch in his mind?
With a shift of Henry's sleeping body, I got my answer to all those questions in the form of the ting of metal hitting a wooden floor. I looked over toward my brother and saw that a silver-looking chain had fallen from his backpack. I silently worked my way over to Henry and picked up the chain. My heart dropped when I realized what it was.
I had seen this artifact before. It was more than a chain, it was a necklace. And on this necklace was a small metal circle. On one side of the circle there was a person's name, followed by a six-digit number. On the other, an unmistakable symbol. I had seen this necklace around the necks of many. I had seen this necklace around the necks of my parents. I held in my hand a Firefly pendant. This Firefly pendant I held in my hand had the number 000546 on it. Also etched on the pendant was the name "Natalie Kingsman."
I stuffed the pendant back in Henry's backpack and shook him awake. Before he had the chance to say to me, "Hey, look who finally crawled out of their hole," or, "Sam, I knew you'd come around," or, "Why does your breath smell like raw beans?" I grabbed Henry's shoulder's and looked him dead in the face. I said in the most serious voice I had ever used with my older brother, "Henry, let's go find the Fireflies."