Skye led the two-car procession into the superstore's parking lot. Jesse and Kelsey were in the care with her, Reed and Spencer in the dark blue car behind her.
She moved slowly over the paved surface, the tires crunching on the debris of leaves and small twigs that littered the lot. Skye avoided looking to the right, where all the shooting had taken place the last time she and Jesse were here so that the sick feeling wouldn't come back to the pit of her stomach.
Eyes straight ahead, Skye watched for any movement in the shopping plaza or inside the stores. She told the others to also keep their eyes sharp, just in case. Sure, we have done our due diligence, and there can't be anyone here. It looks like a western ghost town.
She wasn't wrong about that. The building itself had started to look untended. A few fallen gutters hung at bizarre angles from the top of the roof and one of the metal pieces moved with the soft breeze creating a high-pitched screech that had them all a minute away from covering their ears. The large window panes looked foggy. Small bits of leaves and dirt piled in any corner of the plaza they could find, some almost knee-deep. Other leaves swirled across the parking lots as if they were tiny tumbleweeds.
The towering handmade statue of the eerie half-made man stood as high as ever and still screamed at the world's callousness, but a few more chunks of its limbs now lay on the ground.
Kelsey eyed the statue as they passed under it, much as Skye had the first time she had seen it, her eyes wide and her mouth agape.
Skye chuckled as she watched her in the rearview mirror. "It's something, isn't it?"
"Yeah, kinda spooky."
Jesse humphed. "Kinda weird is what I say. Who has time to do that? They should be spendin their time finding food. It's a better use of it."
Skye smiled. The more Jesse hung out with Dylan, the more alike they became. "If someone has things so figured out they have time to spend on art," she said, "more power to them."
"Well," said Jesse, "We don't see 'em here, now do we? Guess they didn't have the time they thought they had."
The sound of Kelsey's stifled laughter came from the back seat. When Jesse glanced back at her, they exchanged an amused look.
The sunlight glinted off of the ring on Skye's left hand and warmed her heart. But the mere thought of Dylan's precarious situation was more than she could handle right now, so after sending him a silent 'I love you', she pushed any thought of him deep in the back of her mind.
Taking her ring off, she handed it to Jesse. "Can you stick this into that little-zippered pocket inside your jacket? I don't have anywhere safe to put it, and I don't want anything to happen to it."
Jesse took it from her, and after huffing on it and rubbing it against his t-shirt, he shoved it in his inside pocket careful to make sure the zipper was all the way closed. "There safe and sound."
Skye sent him a grateful look. "I'm sure it is."
As they got closer to the medical store, Skye's hands tightened on the steering wheel. Although she was white-knuckled, she wasn't shaking. She had come a long way from that scared girl Tom tried to get through to in the coffee shop.
Her ability to handle stressful situations had dramatically improved, and she often found medication was unnecessary for her now, which was good considering it was becoming harder to find. Skye knew there were many types of anxiety, some of which never improved. She was grateful that hers seemed the kind that could get better.
Skye stopped the car in front of the empty medical store. She took a deep breath and then turned to the teens. "Remember, please remember, everything I said. Hopefully, this goes without a hitch, and all the warnings were for nothing, but I don't know what I would do if something happened to you two."
YOU ARE READING
Sanctuary's Aggression Book 2: The CapturedScience Fiction
#47 in Action/Adventure, #6 in post-apocalyptic. This sci-fi post-apocalyptic survival story continues with Skye and Dylan hope to enjoy the calm of Cole's Mountain. The community builds homes, plant, and tentatively rejoice that the worse is over u...