On the Road AgainMature

Tess embraced the warmth of the van. She wasn't even put off by the smothering sent of patchouli oil inside of it. Besides her Xavier comforted his pet rat. She inched towards the window, putting some space between herself and the rodent. She pulled out the camera, which to her surprise was still intact in her pocket. The rat couldn't have tampered with it too much.

“Hey, cool!” Xavier exclaimed snatching the camera out of Tess's pocket. Tess shot the kid an agitated look. He turned the camera to video and began to tape himself close up. “Freaky things have been happening.” He breathed heavily into the camera.

Annoyed, Tess stole her camera back. “This isn't the Blair Witch Project,” she mumbled. Xavier made a face at her, and his rat just so happened to fall out of his hands and into her lap. Tess shrieked. The driver eyed up his new passengers, skeptically in the rear view mirror.

Luckily Leila scooped the rat up. She brought the rodent close to her face, eying it up like a predator.

“You know Street rat,” She said to Xavier. “This little guy should be kept in good hands.”

Xavier smiled at her appreciatively.

Leila nodded back. “If we get hungry, I can always devise a nice rat gumbo out of him.”

Xavier snarled something incomprehensible at her, snatching up the rat again. Leila laughed sarcastically in the back seat. Over her shoulder Tess could sense Claude's presence as she thumbed nostalgically through the photos on the camera. “What's a matter Tophat, didn't you get the message?”

“You hit like a freakin man,” he replied bitterly.

Tess turned to face him. “I live alone in the city. I've had my fair share of defense training.”

Claude rubbed the bruise forming on his face. “Touche,” he said leaning back into his seat.

Tess rested her head against the window. Laying on the passenger's seat was the driver's cell phone. She stared at it miserably, fighting the urge to call everyone she knew and loved. At this point in the game it would be selfish to get anyone else involved. By now everybody probably thought they died on the bus crash. Her heart ached for her family. She knew this was the way things had to be for now.

The End

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