Chapter 10

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Coinciding with the actual time of day, the digital window displayed a pale moon emerging from behind dark, distant hills. The portal revealed there was still a dusky orange hue near the horizon, but night had almost fallen. A multitude of stars dotted the blackness of space and Eva stared at them, her mind lost in the simulated depths of the cosmos.

Lacy had fallen asleep in her chair and Gus was passed out at her feet. As Eva shifted on the couch, the dog raised his head, stared and blinked, then laid back down and sighed. Eva's eyes traced the contours of Gus's ribs, simultaneously running her fingers along her own. This was no way to live, even in the current state of things. She not only worried about the dog's survival, but everyone in Community; food supplies had to be dwindling. When Eva had first arrived, there had been a "supply run," where a group had been sent to scavenge outlying homes and towns for any consumables. She had a hunch that one was needed soon, and she intended that day to be the day for her escape.

But she needed to get her ass moving.

Kay stepped into the room, accompanied by Wes. "Eva."

Eva rose from the couch. She couldn't resist glancing at her rifle, leaning against the wall. It was of no use to her, however, as Grant had taken her ammo. He allowed her to carry the weapon as a reminder that if she got her head right, and obeyed Community's laws, she'd be given the ammo and therefore, her weapon privilege back.

"Eva, you need to be taken to quarantine as a precaution."

"Not to actually be quarantined," interrupted Wes, "but to get a case you came into contact out there. Outside the perimeter."

Kay seemed displeased that he had spoken. If her looks could kill, Wes would be a goner. Eva guessed the bitch had wanted it to seem that she would actually be quarantined.

Eva smirked. "Lucky me." She placed her wrists together and offered them to be bound.

Wes shook his head. "Oh, you don't need to be tied. It's okay."

Kay snapped at him. "You will absolutely tie her wrists – you're leaving the perimeter!"

"Oh, right," stuttered Wes. "Of course."


Quarantine was a squat, semicircular building, known as a Quonset Hut. When the airbase had been in use, this place had served as the medical facility and therefore, had been deemed Community's Med Hut. The equipment and machinery had been rendered obsolete long ago and been replaced. The building was a good staging area for anyone who might become ill, as it sat a good fifty yards or so from the silos and the rest of Community's members. It was also used as a place of quarantine, in the case that a nomad was captured. Here, they could be kept and observed for any signs of infection.

Eva had been placed here when she first entered Community. She stayed for five days before being released to Walker House.

"Thanks for the Laird thing earlier," said Eva.

Wes walked beside her while Mitchell watched from afar. He stood farther south, talking with Laird.

The two jerk-offs.

"The Laird thing?"

"Yeah. I muttered something to him, and you changed the subject by asking him about his workout strategy. Good thinking."

Wes laughed. "Oh yeah...he likes himself a little bit."

"A little bit? He's always checking himself out, staring at his biceps."

"Yeah," Wes agreed. "His guns are pretty big, though."

"Not as big as his ego."

"Oh!" Wes nearly doubled over. "True."

At the Med Hut door, Wes banged his fist against the glass pane. After a few seconds, Charles McGinley answered. He was a stout man, with a dark moustache and hair on the sides and back of his scalp, but bald on top. He was in his mid-fifties, about thirty pounds overweight and the closest thing Community had to a doctor. Eva had learned that he had been an ambulance driver, which somehow qualified him to run the medical operations.

"Wes. Eva," he said blandly.

"Hey Charles," replied Wes, "Eva's here to-"

"I know why she's here, Wes. Thanks." He stepped aside and waved his arm for Eva to enter.

Wes waved. "Uh, okay. See you two later."

"See ya," said Eva.

Charles closed the door and locked it. He and Eva entered the next room where there were two chairs. On the opposite side of the room was a wall-mounted camera. Before she could take a seat, he halted her by gently grabbing her arm. "Before we're in view of the camera...did you bring me anything?"

"Yes. Left pant leg."

Charles shoved his large hand up Eva's pants. "Don't worry, I'm not a pervert."

"I know," she replied. "You've behaved yourself every other time I brought you something. Besides, if you'd done anything weird, I'd have kneed you in the face."

Charles removed four protein bars taped to her leg. "Protein bars again?"

"Uh, are you new here? What're you expecting - filet mignon?"

Charles sighed, then led her to the chairs. "Sit."

Eva did as he said. Charles went to a desk and flipped a switch beneath it. "There, the camera's disabled." He looked at his watch. "You have exactly five minutes. Beyond that and-"

"I know, I know...then you can't account for the camera failure."

Charles opened a bar and took a huge bite. "Well, you know where he is. He thinks he's riding the bike again."

Eva stepped through a heavy-gauge plastic curtain hanging in the doorway to the next room. The Quarantine Room. There sat a five-by-five cell with steel bars running from floor to ceiling. It had been built to house nomads. Inside, his legs bent at the knee and leaning forward as if he was riding a cycle, was Alex Dash.

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