Hollow World Chapter 27

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Peter shot three more of the Others before a click told him that the gun was empty.

Walking up to him, Amy cautiously took the weapon out of Peter’s hand, his blank stare registering nothing. “Peter,” she placed a hand on his still outstretched arm, “Come on.”

As Amy guided Peter back to the rest of the group, the remaining Others sprang to life.

Ignoring their fallen companions they fell upon the house and began to tear it apart with their hands. Siding came flying as it was pulled off, fists began to beat upon the windows until they shattered. Finally, one tried the front door that a few moments before Peter and his friends had come out of, and pushed it open.

A few seconds later, an explosion shook everyone as the Others started the car in the garage. The Others stood transfixed for a brief second before they began to pickup debris and headed around to the site of the explosion.

Horrified by what she saw, Amy stood, unable to tear her eyes from the scene. “Peter, what’s going on?”

Peter, still in his stupor, did not answer.

“Oh!” Exclaimed Amy as Others returned to the front yard, debris still in hand, now aflame. The first one to return, an ebon skinned man, his bald head reflecting the fire, threw his makeshift torch into the house. The rest followed suit and soon the house was ablaze. After they tossed their loads, the Others silently walked away from the burning building, their walk casual as if they were out for a stroll. One walked in front of Peter and Amy tensed, but the two ignored each other, Peter continuing his zombie-like stare and the Other’s hollow gaze not deviating from its path.

Still shocked, Amy jumped at a tap on her shoulder. It was Julie. “Come on Amy, lets go.”

“Do you think they’ve done this to every place we stay?” She asked.

A gasp escaped from Julie’s lips, and then, “Are we responsible for Wichita Falls?”

Peter, who still stared blankly towards the fire, now bathed in its orange glow, shook his head, “I’m sorry guys, I don’t know what happened back there. Did I hear you say we were responsible for Jim and them?”

“Well,” Amy responded, finally pulling her gaze from the destruction as the last of the Others walked out of sight, “we were just wondering if they did this to every place we stayed.”

“Maybe. But why?”

“No,” Zachariah added his voice to the conversation. “Even if they are burning every place we stay, we are not responsible for their deaths. We gave them the opportunity to come with us, and they didn’t.”

“We gave Jim the opportunity, did he pass that on to anyone else?” Sarah clarified. Still getting used to this new Sarah, it took Zach a moment to respond.

“Well, then it’s on him. Come on, I don’t like just standing around here, what if they decide to come back?”

“But, they said we are not to be harmed.” Peter said.

“Yeah, but what if all of them did not get the message.”

“Ok, we’ll get going.”

With that, the group walked down the street, weaving in between the wrecks of once running vehicles.

“Mom, what happened? I mean what caused all of this?” Kyle broke the silence as they walked past the skeletal remains of an eighteen wheeler. Until then, the question had not been asked, but every one of them had thought it.

“I don’t know,” Julie responded.

“Do you think it could have been terrorists?” Zach added.

“How?” Peter replied a little more sharply than he meant to.

“Well, we get most of our gas from over seas, right? Could they have put something into it before it came over?”

“I guess, but that does not explain the Others.” Peter tried to be a little softer.

“Well, hmm, I hadn’t added them into the equation. Hmm, I don’t know.”

“Ok,” Chris chimed in, “What if it was a coordinated attack, the gas and then some kind of airborne virus or something? I’ve been thinking about this a lot.”

“Then why weren’t we affected?” Peter asked.

Amy answered, “Well, there are immunities to everything, maybe we just happened to be the lucky ones. Ok, Chris, I’ll bite, how did they spread it?”

“This is where they’re really genius,” Chris became more animated as he spoke, his pace quickened so that he had time to stop and turn around to look at the entire group. “Look around us, what do you see?”

“A bunch of burned up cars, what’s you’re point?” Zach said, agitation creeping into his voice.

“Exactly,” Chris punched the air. “It was in the gas.”

“So,” Amy said catching on, “When the cars exploded, it dispersed it into the air. Actually that is pretty genius. But what did it do to them, and is there a cure?”

“They seem to have an obsession with fire and killing, so I guess it ramped up their aggressiveness maybe?” Chris responded.

“Ok, all that may be true, but what about Graham?” Peter asked.

“What about him?” Amy and Zach asked almost simultaneously.

“First off, what is his obsession with us?”

“Maybe he’s just a psychopath, jealous that we are not sick, that would also explain why he killed Jim and his group.”

“Sure, but why is he appearing in our dreams, and why then does he not want us harmed? And what’s the deal with Hoover Dam?”

“He’s just got to you. You’re having nightmares. You've got me as to why he doesn’t want us killed though. He’s had numerous opportunities, it’s almost as if he is waiting for the right moment, or to do it himself even.” Amy responded analytically. “As for Hoover Dam, it could supply the town with power if it is still running, don’t you want to get back to some sense of normalcy?”

“Yeah,” Peter said enthusiastically before an image of his girlfriend popped into his head. He cast his eyes to the ground.

“Peter, we’ve all lost people.”

“I know.” His head felt heavy but a gunshot in the distance reminded him of where they were. His resolve bolstered, he pushed past Chris, “We can worry about the people we’ve lost when we’re safe, come on, let’s go.”

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