Chapter 13

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Chapter 13

The convoy was back on the highway less than an hour later, this time carrying everything they thought they would need to survive. The farmyard had yielded a treasure trove of food, water, fuel and other necessities that had every vehicle literally bulging with material.

Mike felt more than the occasional twinge of guilt when he thought how they had pillaged the farm. What would the residents think when they got home?

That thought sobered him. It wasn’t so much of when they got home as if. Since leaving the farm, they had encountered several of the wandering corpses. That meant that the undead plague had overtaken the farm. Perhaps not yet overrun, but definitely overtaken. The walking dead they had seen in the fields since leaving could very well have been the former residents of the farm itself.

Mike made a silent pledge that, if things returned to normal, he would do his best to find the farm owners and repay everything they had taken. He truly hoped it would come to that.

Everyone was surprisingly upbeat; the stopover at the farm had done wonders. Lots of food and water and an even bigger dose of reality did wonders. Kyle was reading a book in the passenger seat while Todd and Martin were busy talking to Ricky through the back window into the truck’s canopy. From the sounds of it, they were telling every goofy story they knew to keep the boy awake and aware.

Mike continued to watch, hoping, praying, that he would see signs of life. Maybe people in a yard doing normal, everyday things, or a farmer working in the field on his tractor.

Nothing.

With each passing mile, Mike felt a heaviness pushing him down. What if the boys were right? What if they were the only ones left?

He mulled that thought over for a while. The world was a very big place. One boyscout troop left alive from the billions of people across the planet? To think that they were the only ones in the whole world who were still alive…well that was pretty unlikely to put it mildly.

So, Mike drove, and watched, and hoped.

The troop was only a few miles away from the next large town when Steve signalled all vehicles to stop. Mike stopped the truck and walked up to talk to Steve.

“What’s going on, Steve? I thought we were going to drive right on through?”

Steve shook his head. “I’ve been thinking. We tried that in Spring Valley and we lost a leader and several Scouts. We were just lucky to find the second group or it would have been much worse.” Steve’s eyes looked haunted as he spoke.

“So, what’s the plan, then?” Mike asked as Shaun walked up to join them.

“I think we need to check out the town. Maybe find a high point and check things out with binoculars,” Steve said.

"Who would you suggest do the checking?" Shaun asked. "I'll be honest with you - I don't relish the idea of going off alone. What would I do with my guys, for example? Neither of you has room for them and, after last time, I wouldn't be willing to take them with me."

"I can understand that," Steve said. "I don't really like the idea of going in either. I know Stan was really freaked out by the whole thing. Truthfully, so was I."

Mike looked from one man to the next. He could see the fear that lurked behind their eyes. Fear he knew he shared.

"What I'm hearing you two asking is if I will volunteer," Mike said. "Tell me I'm wrong."

Steve shrugged. "I'm not going to ask you to do it, but if you don't, I'm thinking it won't get done."

"No, you are probably right," Mike said. "And we all know that we aren't safe just sitting here."

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