Don't Die, Will
The day finally arrived. Jack called everyone in the discussion room and handed each team a copy of the map. They chose their destinations between themselves to avoid collaboration.
They headed for the gate. All the people from the community were waiting for them in the front yard to say good luck.
"I feel like this is gonna be a tough one." Emma waved her hands to the people shouting at them.
"Don't worry, I will keep you safe if something happens." Ethan assured.
"But, we are not in the same team."
"Oh, then who am I with?"
"You're with me." Nolan said from ahead.
"Fuck, not again." He mumbled.
"I heard that."
"Jeez, you're ears are sharp."
Will spotted Juan, Ruby and Manny in the crowd. He got to them.
"Hey Will, be safe out there." Manny raised his hand from the wheel chair.
"Thanks, Manny." Will shook his hand, "Oh by the way, I have a favor to ask you if you don't mind."
"What is it?"
"While we are away, can you take care of Lucas for me? He's always in his room locked up all alone. I am worried about him."
"Sure thing, Will. Leave it to me."
"Thanks again, I am counting on you."
Will looked at doctor Juan.
"I know, I know. I will take care of David while you're away." Juan predicted.
"You got it right. Thanks, doctor."
"Be safe out there, Will." said Ruby.
"I will. Thanks."
"Hey Will! What are you doing? We are gonna be late!" Olivia shouted from ahead.
"I am coming, I am coming."
Everybody took out their horses. As they were moving with their horse Jack noticed something. He counted the horses.
"We are short in horses." He said, "Each team takes one."
"What about me, dad?" Arthur asked.
"You're not going, son."
"What! Why! I go every time! What's the problem now!"
"It's finally time you take some responsibilities." Jack said, "I am leaving you and your mother in charge of here."
"Hey, watch your language." Jack exhaled, "I won't be around forever. You gotta learn how to run this place and deal with other business."
"Yeah, like how you dealt with that Arnold guy."
"I get it, it's my fault. But you don't have to be like me. It's time you learn something while I am away. Okay?"
"Be safe." Grace kissed her husband.
"May I take the front seat?" Will asked Olivia.
"You wanna ride Buck?"
"Why not? You can sit behind me."
"Hey, Will." A voice came from behind.
He looked, "Emma."
Emma and Julia came to them on a horse.
"You ready?" Emma asked.
"Promise me that you'll take care of Julia."
"Jeez, why are you being so dramatic?"
"Shut up, just promise me."
"All right, all right. I promise."
"All right! Everyone on their horses!" Jack shouted.
Marco opened the gate. Each team went each way. They wouldn't be home for two days.
Nia shouted out, "How much farther! my feet hurt!"
"We are almost there, baby." James said, "How far, Brad?"
"J-just a couple more minutes."
They had been walking for more than one hour now. Turned out, Brad actually forgot the direction of the place and they were wondering around without any proper direction. At some point, he started to think that he might have hallucinated about the place. But he didn't mention it to James. He would kill him.
James, their leader. Brad and his wife Diana met him and Nia few years ago. Since then, they had been surviving the apocalypse all together. Brad had seen him in tough situations. This guy was no good news. He had a short temper issue. There was a time, he killed a survivor on streets just to have his supplies. From that time, Brad decided that, he would keep away from this guy when he was not is a good mood. He was even afraid to leave the team as he thought that James would get angry and end up killing him and his wife.
"Brad, we've been walking for more than a hour now and you said that it would take only 45 minutes. We've seen nothing so far." He turned to him, "If you're lying about this place, you're in trouble." He smiled.
"No no. I definitely saw this place. Maybe I miscalculated the time since it was dark yesterday."
"You better hope so."
Brad started to sweat like bullets. If they couldn't find the place, he was in trouble. He just kept praying that they would find the place. And soon after, God responded to his prayers.
Sound of horses!
"James, you hear th-"
"Shh." James walked a bit far, crouched down and hid into the near bushes. So did the others.
James looked through the bushes. A huge place, surrounded by walls and a heavy gate. Shouting of people were coming from the back of the walls.
"All right! Everyone on their horses!" A voice shouted out.
Soon after, the big gate got opened slowly. 5 five horse with 2 people each went for different direction.
"Those are the kids!" Brad whispered and pointed at Nolan and Ethan, "Those are the one I saw yesterday!"
"Shh." He was still observing the area.
After the horses got lost out of their sights, James let out a deep breath.
"See? I told you this place exists. We just couldn't see it 'cause of the trees and shit."
James didn't respond to him. He turned around and faced everyone. Brad looked at his eyes. Those eyes, they were up to something and it wasn't good.
"I have a plan."
Will and Olivia had been riding Buck for couple hours now. They left the forest and passed away couple towns. Will never came this far from Rust. In the earlier years, they searched the passed towns for supplies. Now, they had to travel a little bit farther for food. Next year, they would have to go even farther. Year by year, they would have all the towns searched. Then, there wouldn't be no choice but to search the cities. He was terrified of the cities after what happened in the west. But it wasn't needed to be mentioned that, the cities would be filled with weapons and food.
Maybe there are military forces in the cities who are rescuing people. Who knows?
"Hey, watch where you're going." Olivia said from behind.
"Oh sorry, I almost ran into the deads."
The street was surrounded by a few deads roaming around. Will was making Buck walk very slowly so they wouldn't get noticed.
"If anything happens to Buck..." Olivia didn't need to finish her sentence.
"Okay, okay." He said, "Jeez, you care about Buck more than me."
"Buck is family."
"And I am not?"
"Okay, that hurt."
"Lemme tell you this, I'll care about you when we get into a relationship." She said, "Which will never happen. So, there you go."
"That hurt even more."
"Enough chit chat. Now keep your eyes on the road."
"How far are we?"
She took out the map and spread it.
"Let's see." She pointed at the map, "If I'm not wrong, we are exactly here. So, to get this place..." She slid her finger, "Here...it's not far. If we keep going at this pace. We'll reach by the time it's noon."
"I'll speed up the pace then."
"This is the place." Julia looked at the map.
"Hop off then."
Emma tied her horse to a lamp post. Their first destination was about 10 to 11 miles east from Rust. It took them a little over 2 hours to reach the marked town. They didn't saw much deads on the way so there weren't much trouble. The town was uninhabited with few deads near by. To avoid unnecessary trouble, Emma took them down and took the chance to teach Julia about it.
"Let's go to this one first." Emma pointed at a near by house.
"Remember, the first thing is to make sure that there are no cannibals."
"After making sure that the house is safe, search for weapons and food."
"You find anything suspicious, you call me. Okay?"
They busted the door of the house. Searched the place and made sure that it was safe. Then got busy searching.
"You once told me that you and my brother were classmates."
"I did." Emma took some can food from the kitchen.
"How was he in school?"
"Umm, what do you mean?"
"I mean, he never mentioned anything about school or his friends." She said, "I never saw him bringing any friends in our house."
"Will, he..." Emma scratched her eyebrow, "He used to get bullied."
Shouldn't have said that. Emma regretted.
"Are you serious?"
"Calm down. It was way before." She exhaled, "He ahh...he was really shy in the class. He didn't really interact with people. As a result, he ended up getting bullied...bullied by Arthur and his gang."
Fuck, I talk too much.
"Why didn't you tell me before!"
"You never asked so..."
"So did you stop them from bullying?"
"Because..." She exhaled and put her hand on her face, 'Because I was stupid. I was blind with my pride and popularity. I didn't give a shit about other people. And in that time, people didnt wanted to mess with Arthur and his gang."
"Who were in this 'gang' of his?"
"You know what, Julia? We shouldn't talk about it anymore. It's all in the past. Will is happy now. He's changed. He's joyful and have friends to talk to."
"Huh, you're right. I overreacted, sorry." She said, "It's just, he was all cheered up and happy in home. But when I saw him school, he looked sad and lonely."
"I get how you feel."
"He was really lonely, wasn't he?"
"Yeah." She said, "But not anymore."
"Fucking hell!" Ethan looked back, "Speed the fuck up!"
"I am trying!"
"They are catching up to us!"
"Shut up, Ethan! Let me concentrate!"
They were chasing by a herd with dozens of deads. Turned out, one of the exclamatory marked area was accidentally marked with circle. When they reached the marked area, they were instantly spotted by dozens of deads. And they had been running since. Surprisingly, these things were even faster than before. Nolan didn't remember the last time he saw them running this fast.
Maybe they are developing. That can't be good.
He took a left turn. More deads. They were trapped.
"Fuck! What are we gonna do!" Ethan looked behind.
"Calm down, let me think." He kept looking around to find an escape route. But there wasn't any.
"Think Nolan! Think!" He pulled out his gun and pointed at them. There were to many of them so he didn't know where to point.
Nolan tried his hard to think. But his mind went blank. He couldn't come up with any idea. The horse was freaking out.
"Calm down, boy." He tried to keep the horse under control. Then it hit him.
"Ethan, listen. We only got one choice."
"We gotta abandon the horse."
"What?!" He exclaimed, "Then how are suppose to get back to Rust?! It's miles away from here!"
"We got no choice. It's either the horse or us."
"Fuck! All right!"
"We will jump on my count. 1, 2 and 3!"
They jumped from the horse and pushed their way out of the place. The horse was freaking out and started to draw more attention. Soon after, the deads were all over the horse. Nolan and Ethan ran as fast as they could.
"Fuck, the horse. It's gone."
"But we are alive. That's all it matters. Now run before they set their eyes on us again."
After running 20 minutes without taking a rest, they reached a safe distance from the deads.
"I can't fucking believe we had to go through all that shit." Ethan sat down under a tree, "Can you fucking believe it?"
Nolan sat down leaning against the tree and spread out the map on the ground.
"10 people including us went out for this mission, with 5 horses." He started to calculate, "Each team got 2 locations to search with several exclamatory and question marked area."
"Where are you getting at?"
"I don't know. It doesn't add up." He said, "Our community didn't explore that much yet so there weren't that many locations to search, for now. We leave some locations to go search for the next year. That's what Jack told us to do at least."
"I know Jack. He doesn't miscalculate easily when it come comes to stuff like this. He never did."
"Maybe he did this time. You know, everyone makes mistakes."
"No." Nolan shook his head, "Not Jack."
Arthur never felt so humiliating before in his life. There was a time when he was considered as "The King" of their class. Everybody would respect him, beg him for attention and money. Girls were all over him. Today with this one, tomorrow with another hot chick. When he got bored, he also had options to bully others. Will was his favorite target. He was living his life. But then, the apocalypse happened. His life turned upside down. His parents were the one who created the community and named it "Rust". They gathered people and built walls and gate. They secure the place and started to bring people in. After a short amount of time, the place got enough manpower, weapons, medical support, food and security. Basically, a heaven in Earth. But that didn't change his fate. When Nolan joined, he started to less respect him. He wasn't really surprised by it. Nolan was always like that. He didn't like to be under control of someone. But little by little, the people who used to shit their pants in front of him, didn't really care about his presence or absence. He lost his power. Girls didn't pay attention to him. His whole life was fucked. And now this, his father left him here to baby sit the place. It really got into his nerves.
"Motherfucker." He mumbled.
But he realized one thing, he still had a chance. A chance to shine once again. Since he was in charge of this place. There was nothing to do but to wait for the others to come.
But what if some shit happens here and I deal with it perfectly?
Then everyone would pay attention to him once again. He would be able to gain his lost fame.
Something. I need something. I don't care if it's a herd or a tornado. I'll just deal with it and make everyone proud of me. Once again.
He gave a devil's smile. Suddenly, he heard some noises from outside.
Is God responding to me already?
He left his room and went outside. There wasn't a crowd. It was Marco. He was talking to someone behind the walls from his post.
"Hey, Marco! Who the fuck are you talking with?"
"Arthur, we have some business here."
"What the fuck happened?"
"Come up here."
"Fuck." He climbed the guard post and stand beside Marco.
Arthur looked at the other. 4 people, one of them was with long hair and a beard. He had a girl beside him. Looked like it was her girlfriend. There was another male. He had a hunter hat on him and was wearing short pants. But the one who attracted the most attention was the woman with big belly. She was bleeding.
Pregnant lady? Labor?
"Hey! Please help us! My friend's wife is pregnant! I think she broke her water and shit! Now she's bleeding!" The guy with the beard shouted out.
"Who are you people?" Arthur asked.
"I am James and this is my crew but do we have time for this?! We can do it later! Please let us in! Help!"
The pregnant lady screamed out.
"Please help us!" The one with the short pants cried out.
"What's happening?" Grace came running from inside.
"Some people came outside. They have a pregnant lady with them. She's bleeding. What should we do?" Marco asked her.
"Jesus, that's serious!" Grace said, "Let them in and call Juan."
"But they are strangers, mom."
"A pregnant lady is bleeding. Do you think we have the time think about if they are strangers or not?"
"But this could be an act." Arthur pointed out.
"But what if it's not? Do you want to let a child die?"
"Open the gate, Marco. If anything happens, I will take the responsibility." she ensured, "And Arthur, go call the doctor."
Marco slowly opened the gate and Arthur called out Juan along with Ruby. The strangers entered the heaven in Earth.
"Thank you, thank you. We are in your debt." James said.
"Let me see her." Juan checked her pulses quickly to get an idea to know how bad her condition was. But it was a bit abnormal.
"You're bleeding. Your pulses should be racing right now. Why...they are so calm?" Juan looked at the pregnant woman.
"Because, I have 6 more months to go." She said with a straight face.
"What?" Juan couldn't understand.
"Everybody put your hands on the air! Now!" James grabbed Juan and put a gun on his head, "Or I will blow this old fart!"
Everyone raised their hands.
Arthur closed his eyes and pursed his lips. Then he looked at his mother. She was more terrified than him. She kept trembling and looked at her son with a guilty face.
"I-I am s-sorry." She was about to cry.
Arthur shook his head, "Nah, you're the one who's going to take the responsibility now."
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