Chapter Three Part Three - Smokes

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 Jackie knew full well that the purpose of the current run was to locate medical supplies. Ken was in dire need of medical attention, if only to ease his pain, but that did not mean she hoped that Annalise and the rest would have chance to grab some other supplies, too; cigarettes, for example.

It would still be a couple of hours at the very least before they returned from the run, and that was assuming they did not encounter any complications.

She and James had been on gate duty for the last six hours, neither of them willing to sit and watch Ken die. It was not that they did not care because nothing could have been further from the truth. They did care, both of them, that was the point. It was simply too hard for either to sit and watch a man whom they had lived and struggled side by side with in so much pain. He was wrought with fever, and Jackie suspected that those on the run might not return before it was too late.

Just because they could not sit with him though, that did not mean they had left him alone. Every half hour or so, they would take turns visiting his room to ensure he had everything he needed and was as comfortable as a dying man could be.

“Ain't gonna' be long,” James said quietly, having just returned to the gate. “Poor bastard... Would've been better if he'd got bit. At least then he wouldn't be aware of what he's going through.”

“Hate to say it but you're right,” Jackie replied in agreement. “Gotta' be honest I'm surprised Annalise went on the run. Figured she'd stay with him.”

“Guess she feels the same as us,” he said. “It's too hard. Gotta' remember she and Ken have been together for months.”

“Guess you're right.” She checked the packet of cigarettes she knew was in her pocket. The fact she knew it to be empty wasn't the point, she just needed to make sure.

“Here,” said James, handing her a smoke. “I got a couple.”

“Thanks,” she replied, accepting the offer and lighting it quickly. “You worried about Fiona?”

“With 'Lise and Jack watching her back she's probably safer than if I was out with her,” he replied as he lit a tab for himself, inhaling deeply as he did so. “Don't get me wrong I can handle a couple of Zeds but Jack's a beast, even more so with that sledgehammer and well... 'Lise is 'Lise...”

“You know I was thinking,” said Jackie. “We ought to check out the marina down by the water. Those boats we can see are probably good for fuel if nothing else and so long as we don't actually leave the moorings, we should be safe enough.”

“Yeah, unless anyone out on the water is watching for movement,” replied James. “You're right though, we could certainly use the extra fuel and besides, I bet there's some non-perishable food there, too.”

“We'll suggest it to Annalise when she gets back.”

“I doubt she'll have a problem with it,” the man replied.

Neither could quite recall when they had started to think of Annalise as the leader of their group. It had crept up on them. It had definitely been before they had arrived at the hotel but it was odd, that the whole group thought of a girl in her late teens as senior. It probably had something to do with the fact she was pretty much fearless when it came to killing Zeds. That fearlessness though was counteracted by the love and care she showed to her friends. She would do anything for them and both James and Jackie were well aware of that fact.

“Never know, Jacks,” said James with a smile. “There might be some smokes down there, too!”

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