Three More Couldn't Hurt...Right?

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"What do you call a cross between a caterpillar and a parrot?"

    Bryce waits, patiently, for Paislee to respond. All he receives is the scent of sizzling deer meat that is cooking in a rusty, old pan and getting licked by a tiny flame. The brunette girl has been silent for months, and he can't handle not hearing her soft voice.

     "A walkie-talkie!" The black-haired boy answers his own terrible joke, and grins at how dumb it is. A week ago she would have either laughed, rolled her eyes, or told him how not funny he is, instead she stabs the meat with a skewer she created out of a wired clothes hanger and lifts it towards him. The straight face he is met with makes his smile fall, and he gently grabs the meat. Paislee tosses another piece on the pan that is probably for one of his brothers, which causes him sigh.

     "Have you eaten yet?" Bryce looks at her sternly and, of course, she doesn't say anything; not even acknowledging him. Annoyed, he sinks his teeth in the tender meat, and tears off a piece. It is absolutely disgusting, but it is food and will keep them alive.

      "Pais, please speak to me, tell me anything! One word. Insult me if you want," Bryce pleads, not caring about how desperate he sounds. She shakes her head, and her chocolate colored pony tail swings back and forth. The girl shifts from foot to foot, clearly noticing how being mute is bringing her best friend pain. However, she brushes the observation away quickly, and continues focusing on the dinner she is preparing; handing Bryce another chunk to give to one of the triplets.

     The boy carefully takes it, and stalks off to where his brothers are setting up a little shelter with the few supplies they have in the back of the truck. The blue-eyed girls heart aches knowing she disappointed him by not talking, but she can't help but feel relieved that she can have a moment's peace. Bryce is loyal, friendly, humorous but he is also as stubborn as she is. Every time it is just the two of them he would try to make her speak, and she wishes he'll eventually just let it be. They already communicate well with just facial expressions, and talking just feels...unnecessary.

     She is absolutely furious that their haven was stolen from them, and all the hard work she put into it had slipped from her grasp so easily. She wouldn't allow something like that to happen again. Glancing over her shoulder, she spots the four siblings settling down for the night. They will all be asleep soon, and so she extinguishes the fire and takes the extra food and pan to store in the truck. Paislee eats small rations, which frustrates Bryce, and rarely sleeps. She can go four days till her body demands rest, get three or four hours of sleep, then be awake and prepared to start a new day. The boys can barely make it two days before their bodies betray them, much to Paislee's amusement.

     The early rays of dawn hits Bryce, and he scrunches his face up before sitting up and rubbing the grogginess from his eyes. His brothers start to stir beside him, and the outline of Paislee at the wheel of the white Chevron catches his eye. She is ready for a road trip, and stayed awake keeping watch while they slept. 'If only I could be that strong,' Bryce envies.

   By the time the sun started to climb below the trees, the five arrive to an abandoned house.

     "Wow! This place is perfect for collecting supplies to make a new shelter," Ajax exclaims, and Andrew hums in agreement.
     "Pais, you found this?" Bryce asks, casting her an impressed look. She nods, and pushes open the driver's side door, and her filthy boots crunch the gravel covering the driveway. She moves to the bed of the truck and pulls out a gun. Cautiously, she heads to the porch steps. Setting her left foot on the first step and applying pressure, wincing when it creaks. After going up the three steps, she swiftly crosses the porch. Alert, she listens to make sure it's totally empty, and the only sound for miles is the moaning complaints of the wooden floorboards underneath her that haven't been stepped on for ages.

    Once she knows for sure the home is safe, she turns around, and beckons the boys to come. Bryce is by Paislee's side in seconds, and the triplets follow in suite. The brunette girl uses the butt of her gun to shove open the door, which lets out a loud screech, and shuffles in. The girl points at Ajax, Andrew, and Aiden and jerks her index finger to the three rooms to the right. Then, gestures Bryce to go to the living room and that she'll check the kitchen. Everyone mumbles in agreement, and enter their assigned section of the building.

     Five minutes later, Bryce appears with flashlights, batteries, and some cushions from the sofa in the living room. Ajax's meets him with his arms filled with blankets, quilts, and pillows. Andrew and Aiden come grunting with a giant mattress, and Paislee shows up loaded with canned fruits and vegetables.

     Satisfied with their findings, they exit the home. Stashing away their supplies in the truck, the five lock themselves in the truck and devour some of the canned food. Bryce can't help but smirk when he manages to get Paislee to eat a healthy portion of fruit and veggies. Stomachs full and heads relaxing upon cushions in the safety of the vehicle, they all drift to a nice slumber; even the brunette curls up next to Bryce and falls asleep. Worries fade away as she gets much needed rest.

     Bryce feels the warmth of Paislee next to him vanish when she bolts upward, and rummages around for her shotgun. Confused, he flutters his eyes open, and sits up.

     "Wha-?" A finger presses against the black haired boy's lips before he can utter the question. Even more puzzled he raises a brow at her; Paislee points at the door of the house, which is quivering from recently being opened. Shocked, Bryce wakes his brothers, and informs them that something is in the house. Debating whether to stay in the protection of the truck, or uncover what's in the house, Paislee suddenly climbs out of the vehicle.

     The boys roll their eyes and go after her, and speculate a small car parked a few feet behind the Chevron. It isn't something, it's someone.

   "Be careful, Pais," Bryce whispers, as they reach the door. She nods, and her knuckles turn white as she tightens her hold on her gun. She didn't want to kill another human, but she has to in order to survive. Her killing streak is already so high, so what's wrong with adding another one to the list?

    The five creep in, stealthy and silent; the small frame of Paislee leading them. That is, until Paislee is suddenly on the ground holding her head in agony while her gun skids across the floor, and then her body is picked up by someone three times her size. The brunette struggles, and a thick forearm puts her in a headlock. Bryce pulls his gun out to fire, but stops when he hears a shriek behind him. Whipping around to figure out who screamed, he faces Andrew; who's standing there with an arm wrapped around a girl with his gun pressed against her temple.

    There are two of them.

     "Let her go, or I shoot your friend," Andrew snarls, and all eyes turn to the man. He's young, around the age of the triplets, with tattoos covering his biceps. His skin tanned, his eyes hazel, and his curly blonde hair could use a good washing.

     "Don't your dare, or I snap your girlfriend's neck," the man warns, glaring at him. Bryce feels his stomach twist when he calls Paislee Andrew's girlfriend, but forces it to the back of his mind.

    Andrew places his finger on the trigger, but before he can do anything...

     "Mommy!" A child, around five, comes running from her hiding spot. Long, silky blonde hair swishes when she halts, and bright blue eyes look up at Andrew.

    Five adults, two teenagers, and one child freeze, and the silence is deafening.

     What are they getting themselves into?

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