Fall of the Risen – Week 27 – Clark
It had been a week since Dawn helped me realize I needed to leave Sisco. Since that moment, I hadn’t told anyone or made a single preparation for leaving. I still felt like I had to leave, but I had no plan. I usually didn’t think that far ahead, but I didn’t even know where I would go once I drove out of those gates.
I didn’t know where the nearest settlement was. It’s not like we had neighbors just down the road. For all we knew, we were all that was left. Unlikely, but possible.
Dawn suggested driving the main highway until we saw something that looked like Sisco. A decent enough plan, but what would we do if we didn’t see anyone after 50 miles? 100 miles? 1,000?
Meanwhile, everyone seemed happy to keep living one day at a time. Most of the big changes were in place and part of the daily schedule. My role as temporary leader had become quite boring.
At the very least I got to spend a lot of time with Dawn. Since the night she kissed me, and told me I wouldn’t leave without her, we barely left each other’s sides. At night we were either at her place or mine, but we were together. And during the day, I didn’t know crap about cars, but I hung around in her garage and did my best to distract her from her work.
“Come on,” she said, playfully pushing me away. “I’ve got work to do.”
“What work? Every vehicle in Sisco is purring like a kitten.”
“I’ve got a special project I’ve been working on, and I haven’t touched it in a week.”
“It can wait a few minutes longer, can’t it?”
She shoved me harder, breaking my hold on her, and dashed across the garage, running out the back door. The door led to another bay that Dawn barely ever used. But there was a vehicle in that bay. It was a dark blue mini-van.
Murray was crouched beside it, working at attaching a large gray panel to the side.
I approached the van slowly, placing a hand on the hood.
“Do the seats fold down?”
She nodded but gave me a questioning look.
“I’ll tell you about it later.”
“These panels are going to make it a lot heavier, darling,” Murray said. “Maybe too heavy.”
“She doesn’t like when you call her that,” I said.
“It’s okay when he does it,” Dawn said, teasing me with a smile. “And I think it’ll be okay. I have some ideas. Won’t need top speed out of her anyway.”
“What this all about?” I asked.
“I started making this for you to take on runs. When Murray’s done with it, it’ll be bullet proof. I’ve been installing ports where weapons can be attached.”
She walked me around to the back of the van pulled down a panel on a hinge.
“You’ll be able to shoot and stab from the safety of the van. We’ll probably put a few more of these in.”
Murray cleared his throat. “Dawn keeps saying we should make a trailer for the schlepper so we can take it when we leave. I think it’s a waste of time. It’ll be here if we need it.”
I pulled Dawn a few steps toward the door.
“You told Murray we were leaving?”
“You brought him here. You think you can just leave him here when we go?”
“You’re leaving?” Jack walked through the door, hurt plain on his face. “When were you going to tell the rest of us?”
“We haven’t decided anything yet,” I said.
“Don’t give me that shit,” Jack said. “I know you better than that. You don’t take a single step unless you’re sprinting full out.”
Jack noticed Murray, who looked like he was trying to blend into the side of the van.
“I get that you’re taking Dawn, but you’re taking the guy you just found buried underground and not your best friend?”
He turned and stormed off. I stayed a few feet behind him, doing my best not to sound desperate.
“Jack, come on! Of course you can come. I don’t even know when we’re going.”
“I have a suggestion. Today. Soon. Now. It’s funny that you think I’d come with you after you invited me out of pity. I’d much rather stay here.”
“If that’s what you want, fine. When I go, I’ll leave you in charge.”
“You’re not actually in charge of a damn thing around here. And I just told you I don’t need your pity.”
“It’s not pity, you asshole. You’re too damned smart to go back to making runs and being a sack of shit for people to kick around. You want to go back to being nothing? To having nothing?”
“You think I had nothing? I had a best friend. Had. You know, maybe there’s one favor you could do for me. When you leave this time, don’t come back.”