~ Chapter Twenty ~

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Jack returned swiftly to collect Perri and Skeet.

When they jumped down from the cabin, they followed Jack along the body of the truck towards the rear end.

As they drew nearer, they could hear voices.

And when they turned at the end of the truck, Perri sighed with relief.

The other survivors were safe. Maybe one or two were missing, no one Perri knew.

Though, there was only one face among the crowd that her eyes scanned for.

Gavin.

He stood out to her like a sore thumb, but he was there. He was safe.

Soldiers outnumbered the survivors by about a dozen more heads.

Perri made her way briskly over to Gavin to embrace him. Skeet held her hand tightly, and as they passed Jack she could feel his gaze linger on her back.

Letting out another sigh when she wrapped an arm around Gavin's middle, Perri took in a deep breath through her nose just trying to savor his scent. He was alive. But, if anything had happened... Well, she wanted to make sure that she remembered everything about him.

It was agony not being able to remember even the simple details about the ones she'd already lost.

Suddenly, that familiar, crooked grin from her dream bubbled up from the recesses of her memory. She found herself reaching in. Searching for more. More details. Until a voice snapped her back to reality.

"You weren't worried about me, were you?" Gavin asked with raised brows and a smirk. His large arms gave her a playful squeeze before they separated.

Perri scoffed. "No. Of course not. I'm just happy to see you." She said with a shrug. "Aren't you happy to see us?"

Gavin shifted his gaze to Skeet and ruffled the boy's blond hair. He said something but Perri didn't hear it, she was distracted.

Watching Carter and Holloway as they talked with a soldier, who she could only assume oversaw the remaining military force in the city.

There was a time, long before the whole world went to pot, that she had considered joining the defense force. A brief time. But, if memory served her correctly, the triple inverted chevrons on the patch that the soldier donned on his combat uniform... would suggest that he was the Sergeant.

Perri's eyes narrow, she couldn't help but wonder what the three men were discussing. From the distance between her and them, their words were lost amongst the muttering of the rest of the group.

But, before she can get lost in her thoughts, a soldier stepped forth with his back to her, blocking her view through the crowd and drawing her attention immediately.

She frowned, however, it faded just as soon as it appeared when she heard the soldier speak.

He wasn't but two meters away from her, just close enough for her to hear his accent, but not to clearly hear what he'd said.

His golden-brown hair became all the more obvious as she stared, trying to remember his name...

Jack! That was it.

Perri opened her mouth, but not words came out.

The soldier that she suspected was the Sergeant called for group to gather together more closely. The other soldiers included.

Since they were armed, with ranged weapons, they encircled the survivors forming a protective barrier. Their keen eyes were constantly scanning the surroundings. Knowing, all too well, that the infected can jump out when they're least expected.

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