:Waist-Deep in Walmart: Capitulo Doce!

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It was unusually quiet when I woke up, not too mention bright. The lights were back on. For a few moments I thought maybe I’d gone deaf, but then I remembered I was wearing Anthony’s headphones. After taking them off, I found it was still silent. There was no thunder— not even the sound of heavy rain. A smile was starting to grow on my face. The storm was finally over.

            I turned my head to tell Anthony, my voice getting caught in my throat when my eyes landed on his sleeping face. His expression was peaceful and his shaggy hair fell over his closed eyes, making him look cuter than usual. Glancing down, I noticed our hands were still entwined. A warm feeling spread throughout me and I felt the overwhelming urge to kiss him. Somehow I managed to force that desire down.

            Slowly, I slid my hand out of his grasp, trying to ease out of my sleeping bag without waking him up. My stomach rumbled loudly and I slapped a hand to it, afraid the sound would rouse the sleeping young man. Bearing a sheepish expression, I backed away from our campsite and headed for the food aisle. Nutella was sounding pretty good at the moment. This time though, I didn’t want it to be on my face.

            I whistled to myself as I almost skipped to the food aisle. Knowing the storm was over (hopefully over) definitely made me feel a hundred times better. Soon I would be out of this place and I’d be able to see if my family and Julius were okay. My heart sped up a little at the idea. The only thing I wanted was for everyone to be safe. After I ate, I was going to check the reinforcement walls to see if they were still down. Even if the storm was over, if the walls were still up we were still stuck until someone came and raised them.

            As I turned the corner to enter the food aisle, unfamiliar voices met my ears. Immediately I froze, my eyes widening. People? Were those other people? Cautiously, I peeked around the corner, my gaze landing on two men. They both were soaked, looking like they’d been caught in a heavy rainfall. Hoodies were over their heads and their boots squelched as they walked. From what I could make out, they were maybe a few years older than Anthony. Hope swelled up inside of me at the sight of them. If they got in, that meant there was a way out.

            “Hey!” I called, stepping into the aisle and revealing myself completely. “Hey, you two!”

            The two young men paused, their heads turning toward me in perfect unison. Excited, I jogged over to them, grinning in a friendly manor. One of the men had cropped blonde hair while the other was a brunette and had a little stubble on his chin. The blonde one returned shifted his position slightly, his body drawing up to his full height in what seemed to be a defensive manor.

            “Hi!” I greeted, a little breathlessly. “Do you guys work here? Or do you happen to be city workers? Or…”

            The men glanced at each other, frowns crossing their faces. The blonde one narrowed his grey eyes at me. “Are you in here alone?”

            My smile faltered a little. What kind of question was that? Was I in here alone? Why would he ask that? I quickly scanned his body from head to toe once more, taking in a few things I hadn’t noticed before. The first and foremost being the basket full of expensive electronics in his hand. My eyes widened slightly. These guys definitely weren’t Walmart workers. They were looters.

            “Well?” the blonde prodded.

            With my mind racing, I did my best to figure out a way to get myself out of my situation. What was the best answer to that question? If I said yes, they might hunt for Anthony. If I said no, they might think I’m lying. Or think I was a looter too. There were hundreds of different things that could happen.

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