Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

The Scout convoy, now comprised of only four vehicles, cautiously travelled down the gravel road, a healthy distance between each. The dust was still a problem as the roads were bone dry. Once again, Mike brought up the rear of the group.

They were lucky and didn’t encounter any further accidents along the gravel road. After thirty minutes of driving, they had their first indication of civilization when the road changed from gravel to asphalt.

The boys were silent right up until they made the transition onto the smoother road. Kyle spoke up then.

“Dad? What happened to Scouter Connall?”

Mike looked at the boy. “I don’t know, son. Trevor said they got to a farmhouse that was burning. Connall pulled into the yard to see if he could help. There were already people on the ground either hurt or dead. One of those people apparently bit him.”

“Bit him?” Kyle asked.

“That’s what Trevor said.” Mike leaned ahead and looked up into the air through the windshield. He could see a column of smoke beyond the next rise. “If the smoke ahead is any indication, we are probably pretty close to that burning farmhouse.”

“We’re not going to stop, are we?” Kyle asked.

Mike could tell the boys in the back seat were listening by the sudden silence and lack of breathing. “I don’t know Kyle. If it looks like we can help anyone, we should. Knowing that there’s danger means we will be that much more careful though, okay?”

“I guess, Dad,” Kyle said. The boy looked out the window of the truck at the passing trees. He was silent for several minutes before he spoke again.

“Dad, I’m worried. What if what happened to Scouter Connall happens to you or to any of us?”

“We will just have to watch each other and make sure it doesn’t, Kyle,” Mike said with a sad smile. “Keep in mind, we don’t even know if anything is really wrong with Scouter Connall or not. He may just have a bad virus or something that is making him hallucinate.”

“Hallucinate? Really, Dad? I don’t think Scouter Connall was hallucinating. That bite you told me about was real, wasn’t it?” Kyle said.

“It was real,” Mike admitted. “But I can’t say whether he is delirious or if something more serious is wrong.”

“But, Dad….,” Kyle began.

“Kyle, I know you are all worried,” Mike interrupted. “But I want you boys to remember a few things. The first is, Scouting is about more than just earning badges and going camping. Scouts are meant to use the things they learn to help others. That’s why Scouter Connall stopped at the burning house. He saw a problem and tried  to help.”

“And look where it got him,” Kyle said.

“You’re right, Kyle, but I doubt that Connall knew the danger he was in. People in trouble don’t usually attack their helpers. We can’t let what happened to him prevent us from doing what’s right. The only difference is, we know what can happen and we will be careful to avoid the problem.”

“I guess so, Dad,” Kyle said. By his expression, the agreement was made with great reluctance.

The truck crested the hill then and Mike and his passengers got a first look at the source of the smoke. The farmhouse had once been a two-story high wooden building. Now, it was a single story high with the second floor already collapsed into the lower floor.

“Oh, my goodness,” Mike said. He began to slow the truck and pulled it over and behind the line of three other Scout vehicles that had parked outside the gates of the farm. As described by Trevor, there were several bodies on the ground. The only difference was, at least one of the bodies was still moving.

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