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Authors: S.L. Simps

Surrounds (Bonds) (9 page)

BOOK: Surrounds (Bonds)
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"Stop laughing!" She tells him dryly. "I'm not above hurting an already wounded person more."

"I'm not even laughing, Lace. This," his finger points at his face, "is a smile."

"Oh?" Lacey questions. "You only do it every millionth year, I wasn't very sure."

"Good one..." He zips up his backpack and stands. Henderson looks at her for a while before quietly snorting, trying to cover his laugh with cough. Lacey face twitches.

"Hey," she quickly gets onto her feet and stomps forward, only stopping when right in front of Henderson, poking him in what was an unwounded area on his shoulder. "What in the hell is so funny?" Suddenly she finds herself in a warm hug, her face now deep in Henderson's new shirt. His arms are tight around her, his nose buried into her neck.

He is shaking.

"I'm so sorry..." He whispers voice wavering.

She hesitates before encircling his arms around him, fingers digging into his shirt. "For saving me?" The girl lightly jokes, blinking away the wetness building in both eyes. "If that's it, then I'm also starting to regret that I saved you." His body stops shaking, but he continues holding her. "Why are you so dramatic, Hen?" She finds her arms subconsciously tightening around him. She could have truly lost him forever. His arms in response tightens around her.

(O)

Lacey's been seeing a lot of things she thought were wrong the last month and a half. Empty neighborhoods, insane men with bone armor, bleeding skies, hordes of tiny, ugly creatures, and magical machetes, but this is something else indeed.

A caravan, a traveling group of off looking travelers. She and Henderson hid behind a rusted vehicle on the other side of a stretch of highway, too close but no time to sneak away.

They traveled, in mostly bulky vehicles which rumbled and kicked up heavy exhaust into the morning air. But they also walked behind some of the vehicles, dressed in bone armor and loaded down with frightening looking swords and other weaponry. At least ninety of them made there way down the highway, laughing and hooting, talking in strange languages.

Lacey pressed her back against the van's side, breath lost inside of her, shoulders stiff, back ridged. She could see them all, snippets of piercings and odd markings on flesh between the vehicle which they hid and one in front of that one. It was impossible to look away.

A loud caw echoing out has her flinching and sucking in a breath of air, instantly looking up. But there is laughter from the group and she turns back in time to see two of 'them' yanking at three heavy chains, lugging one of those huge flying creatures down the highway. Like. It. Was. Nothing.

Henderson nudges her lightly, drawing her attention away. He's sweating and quietly panting, hair shielding his face. The chains rattle and after a while the hoots and yells grow quieter and quieter until its silent again. The group is gone.

Without a word Lacey stands, helping Henderson up along with her. He's unstable on his feet at first but ends up being able to stand on his own. Sweat continues steadily down his face. Her own sweat was seeping into her already stinging eyes, making it worse.

It was much to hot to be out. If they didn't find a place to rest in the next hour it wouldn't be good. She thinks of the water bottle in her backpack and how cool it would be against her parched mouth, how wonderful it would be, but they were limited on water. She could wait.

Her attention is drawn to Henderson beside her. He couldn't wait on water if the amount of sweat tainting his gray T-shirt was an indication. Lacey shrugs of her backpack off, annoyed with it for being cheap. Both straps had broken twice already in two days, forcing her into using tape and her weak skills at tying things. She tugs out her water bottle as both of the head opposite the group of travelers.

"Here..."

Henderson looks as if he's going to refuse the offer but thirst wins out and he takes it, taking two long sips before handing it back. She caps it and returns it to her backpack. Henderson eyes her, she ignores it.

Henderson remains quiet besides a 'thank you' under his breath. They continue to follow the empty road in silence, taking short breaks.

Its about fifteen minutes later when the horizon turns red. Lacey had already began to feel off, besides being exhausted and horribly thirsty, she notices something was wrong. Wordlessly, they pick up pace, twisting into the forest and onto a dirt, narrow road.

Lacey screams, back peddling and falling onto her behind. Another voice also screams out in surprise, a teenaged blonde boy falls backwards as well.

"Nathan!" A blonde girl appears from a clump of bushes and onto the narrow road behind him. She takes a long uncertain look at Henderson and Lacey before looking back at the boy. "Nathan..." She once again says uncertain now, moving to help him up.

Henderson is already helping a scowling Lacey onto her feet. "Wh- " Lacey cuts herself off, looking behind her at the bloody sky and at the black forms appearing there.

Without a word, both pairs of teens begin moving again. Lacey feels dizzy when the cries of the creatures begin to take over her mental mantra of 'Run' 'Run' 'Run'.

A house, a tiny one with a broken porch and falling siding comes into view. They all make for it. Henderson pulls her and she him, up onto the broken porch and into the home while the two strangers follow. Henderson searches for a basement and finds one and yanks Lacey into without hesitation, the two strangers follow.

The house begins harshly trembling a few minutes later. Lacey sits in a ball at Henderson's side on a dusty, wet floor. Its an hour after all is quiet and still again before any of them move, climbing wordlessly out of the blackened basement and into a destroyed home, now missing a roof.

Henderson keeps his hold onto Lacey's arm as both of them make their way clumsily over debris. Once outside of a lone frame, apparently only standing alone on his own will with no walls supporting it. It was a wonder nothing was blocking their way out of the basement.

The brunette glances at her friend, both of them hearing the younger teens following loudly. Henderson eyes dart to hers briefly. It had been a long time, very long, since Lacey had been around other people besides Henderson and she was already annoyed with them. The boy anyway. Who runs into other people in the center of an apocalypse?

Who? Stupid fourteen year old boy is who. The boy couldn't be much older. Its only when they make back onto the narrow road does anyone actually speak.

"Have you seen a group of those creatures who kinda looks likes us, but are uglier, go by here about three ours ago with a group of humans?" It's Mr. Hard Forehead who asks, without even a 'Hi, How you doing' not even a 'My name's dumb-ass, what's yours?'

Lacey massages her own forehead, wondering if she has a bruise there. "Why?" She asks glaring unhappily at the boy.

Its his friend who speaks up. She is oddly clean besides a few spots on her white T-shirt with smudges of dirt on her shoulders. Actually both of them suspiciously clean. Lacey pats herself on the back inside her head for noticing.

"Nathan's looking for someone that group stole from us." Her green eyes dart between Henderson and Lacey, looking rather uninterested. "He's stupid like that."

The boy rounded on her. "I am not." He growls. "How is it fucking stupid for me to want to save my little brother?"

"Its stupid," She hisses hotly, "the way your going about it. I mean come on, Nathan, how are you going to save him? Really?"

"Then I'm suppouse to - "

"Wait, until your father and Mrs. Agatha thought of a plan to rescue our people. You're not the only one they took someone from." She interrupts him. "Why are you so selfish?"

"I never asked you to follow me, Hanna" Nathan whispers dejectedly under his breath. "You did on your own."

Lacey and Henderson watch both blondes argue with blank faces, glancing at each other, silently coming to a decision to leave. They begin to walk away when the Nathan-boy rounds on them again.

"So have you seen them?"

Henderson shoves his hands into his pockets. "Yeah, about half a mile that way, they were heading east towards Macon." Henderson answers with a careless shrug. "You should listen to your friend."

"Who asked you, old man?" The blonde boy ask snottily.

Lacey couldn't help her snort and full blown laughter which followed. He thought Henderson was an old man. Good-Goodness. Lacey doubled over holding her stomach, tears in her burning eyes. Henderson did look like an old man under all his hair. He had yet to grow facial hair however. She would without a doubt tease him later about it.

"Nathan stop being immature." The blonde girl whispers sounding embarrassed.

"I'm glade you find it funny, Lace, but I think keeping on moving is wise. Its going to be harder finding shelter now." Henderson looked away from her, a small portion of his nose flaming red with embarrassment.

Hanna perked up at their words, seeming to get over being upset with her friend. "You're welcome to come back with us."

"What?" Nathan shouts and all of them wince. "You can't offer random strangers a place to stay. They could be murders."

Lacey also found his words funny and snorts again. She turns her attention onto Henderson to see if he found it as funny as she had, only to find him sweating and breathing hard. He had worked himself too hard. She turns her gaze onto the girl.

"Alright, we'll go with you." She agrees interrupting the blondes, who were yet again arguing.

Nathan glares and Hanna smiles, she has no idea what Henderson does because her gaze is sure to stay away from him.

"Great, I'm Hanna by the way, and he's Nathan..."

"I'm Lacey," Lacey offers, pointing a thumb at Henderson, "Henderson."

"Nice to meet you." Hanna glances at a now pouting Nathan. "Are you coming back with us?"

"As if anyone would let me forget it if I left you alone with potential murders." He turns back around and begins walking away.

"Camp isn't that way, Nathan..." Hanna calls out a small smile of her face. The boy huffs.

"Yeah..." He turns and began walking in another direction. This must be correct because Hanna smiles at them both.

"Come on, its not too far from here." Then she waves and begins to follow Nathan.

Henderson grabs Lacey's arm before any move is made to follow. "Are you... sure about this, Lace?"

No, because honestly, Lacey never was one to think anything out. "You need rest and food in you. It'll be alright."

(O)

Chapter 22

Lacey

The Warehouse, is pushed far back in in the middle of the countryside, travelable only by a narrow road, and hidden behind rows of other abandoned warehouses and high swaying grass. It was once a clothing warehouse, outside of it are tons of iron container bins still filled with brand new clothing.

That's what Hanna says anyway.

There's no one around when they make close enough to see the warehouse's doors, which is odd because Hanna had said something about there being fifty people in their group. Lacey moves herself next to Henderson.

"'Halt!" All of them freeze, attentions snapping to two men standing on one of the iron containers pointing guns at them. "Who are you and what business do you have here?" Both men were mostly shadowed by a lowering sun.

"It's us Hanna Nickles and Nathan Barkens..."

"Obviously Hanna..." One of the voices speaks, sounding younger now in his annoyance, "I mean those two."

"Ethan?"

"I told her it was a bad idea to bring them." Nathan chimes up, "but your sister is an idiot, Ethan."

"Says you." The other one finally speaks. "Mr. Barkens is waiting on you two. I'm sure he's going to want to meet your guests."

"Why isn't anyone around?" Hanna asks ignoring Nathan. "Nothing happened right?" The girl's voice cracks with worry.

"Oh nothing but a demon storm." The annoyed one announces, sarcasm leaking from his lips. "Nothing too big."

"What in the hell is your problem, Ethan?" Hanna snaps, glaring weakly. Instead of answering the one named Ethan climbs down the container and walks over, his gun is no longer pointed at them, but that hardly makes Henderson and Lacey feel safe. He's at least twenty with blonde hair and blue eyes, with thin, pretty features like Hanna's.

"Before you go any further, we're going to need your gun." Ethan announces, looking at Henderson with schooled features. "You can keep any blades on you and we'll be happy to give you the gun back when we are certain you can be trusted."

Lacey's gaze finds Henderson's and both of them share a look.

"Its alright," Hanna assures.

Henderson, unclips his gun from his side and lays into onto the ground in front of him slowly.

"You don't have any others?" Ethan asks, sparing a glance in Lacey's direction.

"Nothing else," Henderson assures, sweat on his brow despite the quickly lowering sun. "We only need a place to stay until daylight."

"Of course," he waves Henderson and Lacey forward, falling in step behind.

(O)

"I understand your want to help people, Hanna, but you shouldn't bring strangers here."

BOOK: Surrounds (Bonds)
2.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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