“So,” Enang sighed. “We’ve ignored the dead and went on to confirm that there were no monsters in the area. Yet.”
“Yet?” Joey smiled. “You’re intentionally putting yourself on edge.”
“I don’t care.”
“All that we need to do is to head inside the compound through the gate, clean the houses, bury the dead inside the compound, move in, and wish that our sleep will not be haunted by the bodies we’ve disrespected.”
“They’ll understand. They’re already dead. And the doesn’t haunt us.” Enang crossed her arms. “It’s not like they would still be able to use it.” She licked her lips, frowned, and turned to Joey. “Right?”
“I don’t know. I’m a Telemarketer, not a spiritist, so I’ll tell the others to, you know, consider packing some salt from everyone’s homes too.” He cupped his chin. “Maybe it’s garlic.”
“Either way, we were able to get a pickup truck. We’ve slowed things down with the buddy-buddy system to make sure that none of us would go insane in fear of jumpscares and death, but I’ll say that it’s coming along. For now…”
“You’re scaring me.”
“We all should be scared. Time is not on our side. And the only stronger, strong ones that are left are me, that insubordinate fucker who hurt George and…” Her thoughts trailed. “Oh, right, he punched Uncle.”
“You didn’t really count me.”
“You just had to hurt yourself didn’t you—”
Jonathan came, blaring the horn of a small scooter to get Joey and Enang’s attention. He lit the turn signal, looked at his front and back like he was expecting some other vehicles, and made his careful turn to park in front of them. He took off his helmet, placed it carefully on his lap, and threw them a proud badass smile with a thumbs-up as though he was not riding a vehicle that didn’t cry at his huge buffed body. His teeth seemed to shine.
Another old pickup truck arrived, carrying boxes of looted and overflowing coffee packs, canned foods, instant noodles, and some toiletries. The other half of the truck had some gas tanks. And the remaining one-fourth was for tools like two fire axes, three crowbars, hoes, shovels crammed in between water dispensers.
It was driven by Lucy, who rang the horn, rolled down the window, and shouted to flip Enang off with a middle finger.
“Suck my dick,” Lucy shouted and laughed.
Enang smiled back. “You don’t have any!”
“Hey,” Jonathan waved his eyebrows as Enang. “I’m looking forward to seeing you pulling your weight. But we’re willing to share if you would just—”
“Thank you very much for your help, Jonathan. We would be in so much of a problem if you didn’t show up like this.”
Enang followed with the most disinterested and insincere tone, but it registered to Jonathan as though it was a choir of singing angels. He pulled himself back. He closed his mouth. He pouted his lips. He blinked. His brain blanked with thoughts and was replaced by an episode of confused internal screaming. Fuck. His taut muscles tingled. His cheeks felt hot.
“Have you seen any other people?”
“Nada. They’re… a-all dead.”
Fuck. He jumped off his scooter and squatted into a ball. He gave himself a moment to think and turned back. He found Enang looking at him—he shivered. He lost his words again. Shit. He trained his body for this moment. Fuck.
He cleared his throat, jumped on his feet, and cupped his chin.
“It’s not my fault.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
Wait. Was she comforting him? Holy fuck. That’s so fucking sweet.
“Anyway… I’m familiar with this place, too, like anyone else, but seeing that you didn’t want to stray too far, I guess I’m the only one that got there. The ones that got to us were smart enough to understand and share our language, but this goes to show that they have no idea what our technology is.”
“You’re actually smart?”
Jonathan froze again. What the fuck? She’s onto him. He closed his eyes and replayed her voice again and again. Dammit. He stopped himself from grinning. He opened his eyes a bit and examined Enang from head to toe. Damn. She’s not that bad—no. That’s creepy and terrible. His cheeks felt hot again. This was a very, very serious situation, and he had to respect her boundaries.
“I just know things.”
“Anyway… we could loot them for more, but that’s not our priority right now, so we could get by with that bad boy along with the things that you guys have gotten!”
Jonathan pointed Enang and Joey to the old pickup truck, and there they met Lucy’s middle finger again. They all froze. But Jonathan broke the heavy atmosphere by shrinking to force out a laugh as he rubbed the back of his head. There came another moment of silence.
“What the fuck is this tension?” Joey broke it.
“I don’t know man. Maybe you shouldn’t even be here,” Jonathan covered his face with the back of his hand and giggled like a princess.
“Right. I’ll just round up the people we have and send them to—” Joey blanked. “I…”
“What’s up?” Enang frowned.
Joey’s eyes trembled. He looked at Enang and Jonathan. It was easy before since he was the only one doing it and the others were volunteering. There was no way that he could take the blame if something horrible happened. But this one was different.
He realized a thought that made him turn tail and run.