Chapter 15

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I changed into shorts and one of Blakes hoodies, and climbed into bed. Blake looked over at me,

"I am not leaving four girls alone overnight. Especially with those guys that showed up today."
    
"You don't have a choice."
    
"Yes I do. I'm waking Landon up early tomorrow and we're leaving at 5. There's about three hours of driving to get to all the places and then two hours back. We will be back at 4 or 5. Giving us an hour or two in each place." I nodded.
    
"Fine. Just please be safe, and if you can find a set of walkie talkies that has a very long range so that we can keep in contact while the other group goes on runs."
    
"Alright. I will. Landon has the list. I love you." He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.
    
"I love you too, now if you're going to leave at five, you should go to sleep." He nodded, and after a few minutes his breathing evened out and he was asleep. We kept duke in our room for the night and I invited him up onto the bed. He jumped up and curled up right next to me. He licked my arm and I pat him while I read my new book. I finally put it down at around midnight and scooted closer to blake then draped my arm over Duke. I felt Blake get up in the morning and I called out a be safe. I'll see you later before falling back asleep. I was up at six and took Duke on our normal run. I came back and gave him food. We still had seven or eight bags of dog food left. We came back inside and I grabbed a granola bar for breakfast before sitting on the couch. Duke jumped up next to me and I settled down and started writing. I wrote about our experience, how we got Duke, how the girls found us, anything that I thought about. I wrote a short story before the girls came out of their room around 8.

 
"Goodmorning girls. Do you want me to make some eggs?"
    
"No thanks, we're just gonna have some cereal. There's a little bit of milk left." Ava said. I nodded. After they were done Liv came over to me,
    
"Will you help me with writing and math again? Please?" She asked sweetly with a smile.
    
"Sure." I said giving her a small smile back. We worked on writing sentences for an hour, I asked if she wanted to take a break a few times but she shook her head. Then we did math, we worked on numbers up to ten and once she had those down we moved up to twenty. Nova came out at about 9:30, she grabbed a granola bar and curled up on the couch with a book. Ava was coloring in the corner. I helped Liv with reading for about half an hour before she asked if we could go get eggs and milk. I nodded and I grabbed the now empty pot. She was in the chicken coop while I was milking the cow. I continuously looked over to make sure Liv was okay. Thirty minutes later we went back inside. I looked around for something to do then a case caught my eye. It was an Xbox game case. We had all the lights off and I decided to try the Xbox. It turned on. I turned the tv on, and everyone looked at it.
    
"We can play some video games for a little while, if you want. Not online or anything." I said and the girls faces lit up. I handed them each a controller and they decided to play minecraft or something like that. As long as Landon can get those extra solar panels hooked up, it'll be a lot better. About two hours later the girls shut off the game.
    
"Can we go on a walk?" Ava asked.
    
"Sure, Nova, you wanna come?"
    
"I guess." She said putting her book down. We headed out, bringing the gun for me and a knife for Ava and Nova. We didn't bring Duke in fear that he would see someone or something and run after it, he had become an amazing guard dog. We walked far enough into the woods and saw something. It was a beautiful Black mare with a white stripe down her head. She didn't have a saddle but she did have a bit. I had worked with horses a bit in high school and I was very excited. I looked over at the other three.
    
"Stay here and stay quiet, it would be nice to have a horse."
    
"Why?" Nova asked.
    
"Because that way if we only need to go on a short run, or we're low on gas then one of us can go get what's needed." She nodded and sat down with the girls. I slowly approached her, coming out of the woods. Her original owner must've passed, or didn't secure her the right way. She picked her head up from grazing and saw me. He ears flickered and her nose twitched. She stared me down and I stopped. I called out quietly to her but she didn't move, then I saw what was behind her that she must have been guarding, a small spotted grey foul. It stood next to her and kept it's head lower. I started moving again but closer. The foul had a thin rope tied loosely around its neck. The mare didn't see me as a threat to her and her baby, and she started grazing again. I was about fifty feet away and moving very slowly. After about five minutes I was in front of her. I lifted my hand and she pushed her nose into it. She was definitely raised by people or she wouldn't have let me that close that quick. I took the bridle from the back of her neck and let it hang in front of her so I could lead her back. I reached for the baby and I was very surprised when she let me grab it's lead. I walked slowly with the two horses in tow to the others.
    
"That was easier than expected." I said with a smile.
     
"I thought it would take longer even without her having a baby." Nova responded.
    
"Me too. I think we should put them in the cow pen. I think it's big enough and I can take momma for a run every morning."
    
"That should be perfect." Nova said. We walked the hour back, talking about the horse.
    
"Sky can you teach me how to ride the horse?" Liv asked.
    
"Sure. But I need to ride her for a few days just to make sure she's good for younger riders."
    
"Ok." We continued the walk and talk and got back home around 2:30. Nobody went inside as I led the horses into the pen. I let go of the baby but held onto the momma.
    
"I think I'm gonna take her for a ride. I'll be back in an hour."
    
"You shouldn't go on your own, what if a swift appears."
    
"Let's just hope it doesn't, my luck hasn't run out yet."
    
"But what if.." I cut her off,
     
"No. No what ifs. We live in a world that belongs to the dead. I will be fine." She finally nodded and went back to the house with the girls. I put the bridle behind the her head and lead her out of the gate, which I quickly shut behind us. I tried to mount, but she was a lot larger than I thought. After probably 7 or 8 minutes I gave up and used her neck to get up. After I was up, I let her get used to my weight walking to the road. Slowly I brought her to a trot for a couple minutes, then I could feel the pent up energy, I led her into a full blown gallop. She kept this pace for ten minutes and then I slowed her down. She was fast and she could run. I hit the Jackpot. After about forty five minutes I turned around and let her set the pace, which was a fast jog. We were forty five minutes away but at her pace we made it back in thirty. I saw my truck in the driveway and put the horse away, I didn't know what to name her or her baby, I'm thinking, Midnight, Star, Majesty, or Rebel. I'll have to run it by the group. When I walked back in there was a huge pile by the door, there were at least two backpacks with what I assumed was school books and teacher books the rest of the stuff was hidden but there were more solar panels, towels, blankets, and some new curtains for the huge window. I looked at the pile again that's when I saw it. The rifle, and the crossbow. We would finally have meat again, and Nova would be able to cook. Nova the boys and Ava were unloading the last few bags and I looked over at liv and she ran over,
   
"How did the horse ride go?" She asked with excitement in her eyes.
    
"She should be fine for you to learn to ride but the first few times I'm gonna be up with you." She nodded.
    
"What're their names?"
     
"I don't know, I think the group should decide."
     
"That's a good idea we can decide over dinner. Let's help unpack." I nodded and headed to the pile, I grabbed a small bag, I looked inside and there was a small what looked like jewelry box and I quickly put that bag down and grabbed a backpack. Liv looked confused but didn't say anything. She grabbed a backpack and I grabbed the other. I looked inside and I was right. School stuff, I went over to the bookshelf and Liv and I cleared a shelf to put their work, pens, and pencils on. We were about halfway done with one bag when the others came in with the last few things, a few pots and pans, a few new plates, bowls and cups.
    
"That all?" I asked standing up.
    
"Yep." Blake responded. He grabbed a small open cardboard box and headed to the kitchen. I went back to Liv. I finished getting everything on the shelf and stood up. She insisted on organizing it so I went to the pile and grabbed a box that was very heavy. I walked to the kitchen and saw Blake putting away spices. Nova and Landon were putting away whatever they grabbed and Ava and Liv decided to organize. I put the box down on the island and there was loads of flour, brown sugar, and breadcrumbs. I started putting them away and after a couple minutes I spoke,
    
"So how was the run?"
     "Not that good." I stopped and looked at him
    
"Why what happened?" I asked concerned and he sighed,
    
"We came across a small group of hostile people that were not interested in talking, there might be a few bullet holes in your truck, I'm not sure though." I nearly dropped the flour I was putting away.
    
"YOU WERE SHOT AT AND THAT ISN'T THE FIRST THING YOU TELL ME?" I said much louder than expected.
    
"Skylar be quiet, don't worry the girls, we're fine. That was the only close call we had today." I nodded and went over and wrapped my hands around his neck. Pulling him closer to me and he hugged me so tight I thought I was gonna break. I felt the tear roll down my face and onto his shirt as he picked me up.
    
"I could have lost you." I said burying my head in his neck. He kept one arm around my back and the other one was running through my long black hair.
   
"But you didn't" I let out more tears and sniffled.
    
"But I almost did. I don't know what Nova and I would've done if you guys never came back, we wouldn't've known what happened to you and it would be four girls against a world gone to shit." I said with a sob. He held me tighter and gave me a kiss on the head.
    
"You'll never lose me. I will always come back to you no matter. I will always come back to you. I love you."
    
"Promise?" I asked lifting my head up to look him in the eyes.
    
"I promise you Skylar Pierce, I will always come back to you." I hugged him again and he put me down, and wiped my eyes. "I'm ok, Landons ok, we're ok."
    
"I know you are but that could have ended worse than a couple bullet holes in my truck."
    
"I feel bad about that and if they find me a mold I'll fix it."
    
"Don't worry about it."
    
"But your dad bought you that truck the day you graduated." I pulled out the small pistol and showed him the initials on the bottom.
    
"See that? J.P, my fathers initials, he gave me this the day I moved out."
    
"But you're truck."
    
"Screw the truck, we can fix the truck, but if you got shot, we'd have a hard time fixing you." He leaned down and stealing a kiss.

"Please stop worrying, it's in the past." I nodded and went back to unpacking. Once I was done I looked over at Blake,
    
"Oh by the way, we got a horse." He stopped dead in his tracks.
     
"You got a horse?" He asked clearly excited.    "How?"
    
"We found a mare and a foul in the clearing and they let me approach so now they're outback with the cows."
    
"Sweet." Is all he said before finishing his rather large box of spices. I went to the Door and grabbed the next bin. It had some more cookware in it so I headed back to the kitchen. The pile was almost halfway gone and at the bottom I could see some new toys and things for Duke. I unpacked the box in roughly ten minutes. The rest of the pile was done within two hours, there was more coloring books, things to write and color with, the polaroid that I wanted, toys, games, books, dried milk, more blankets and more towels, and I gave Duke his new toys, and bowls. He seemed to enjoy them and started chewing on one of the new bones he had. The boys put up the curtains and when we were done it was about 4:30. We all sat in a small circle on the ground to discuss what to do next.

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