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She walks up to me slowly. I meet her half way, unsure if this is real or a dream. We're inches from each other's faces and I study every little detail on her beautiful face. The pointed nose, the light blue eyes that match mine, and the little freckles that trickle across her cheeks.

She grabs me and pulls me into a hug. I hug her tightly, still in shock at what has just happened.

Her body starts shaking with sobs. "I never thought I'd see you again," she cries into my shoulder. She pulls away to look at me again. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry we left you. We didn't have much of a choice." She runs her fingers down my ponytail and studies me more. "Are you hurt?"

"I'm fine," I say. "My friends are the ones who are injured."

Mom looks back at the group of people who are helping each other stand because they're so weak. She turns to the line of people and says, "Friendlies."

They all put their weapons to their sides.

"Come on, we have a nurse who can help you guys out inside." Mom leads us into the old school building. She enters one of the first rooms which seems to have been the nurses office at the school. "Melissa, we've got a group in need of medical attention. They're friendlies."

Melissa, an older woman, stands up and starts to help out the worst in the group, which is Tessa. Kat stays at her side and explains what happened. Melissa nods and looks at the rest of us. "I'm going to need you all to step out until I'm done with her."

Melissa doesn't look panicked. She looks calm and experienced, giving me relief.

"Your father will be so happy," Mom says while wiping tears away. "We must go to him."

"Alice." I hear Chris call my name and I turn to him. He smiles. "You found them."

Mom realizes who he is and squeals with joy. "Chris?" She goes over and hugs him. "How did you two find each other?"

"Long story," I say to my mom. Chris is far too exhausted to talk now. "Chris, sit down to get off that ankle. I'll be back soon."

He does as I say.

"Everyone will be so happy to see you!" Mom says excitedly.

"Who's with you?" Chris asks curiously.

"Her father, Amy, and Josh," Mom says happily. "We all made it here safely." She starts walking forward but stops. "Oh, and guess who we found along the way?"

"Who?" I ask, nervous. I can't even remember anyone, so who knows who they found.


I stop in my tracks. James. My boyfriend. Memories flicker in my vision, bad ones. Yelling and fighting.

The sound of Chris cursing angrily under his breath brings me back. Mom is looking at me, confused. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," I say. "Let's go see Amy and Josh."

We walk down the long hallway of the old and abandoned school. Trash that has accumulated over the years is all over the hallway floor. The walls are empty of any decorations. Doors that lead to classrooms line the walls. Most of them are closed, but a few of them hang open for anyone to walk in. We walk into a small cafeteria. There are small groups sitting at old metal tables. When we walk in all eyes fall on me.

"Everyone listen up!" Mom grabs hold of my hand and steps closer to the groups. "My daughter has found us. And her group will be joining us too."

Many people start to mumble and grumble over the announcement.

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