Chapter Four: Doc

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Kai spoke up as his adrenaline began to die down. "How long until we hit the next stop?"

"Uh," Dani adjusted the map as its sides flopped over on her. "Well, anywhere you want, really. We're not hitting anything for a long, long time. No place on this map, at least. We'll probably have to stop for the night somewhere along the way."

He looked out into the horizon. The sun was already beginning to sink lower and lower. "That's fine," he mumbled.

"Kai." Miriam leaned forward. "Hey, Kai."

He stared intently at the road in front of him. "Hm?"

"You're—you're bleeding. Do you not feel that?"

Kai looked down, frantically switching between both arms. He finally found it, a spot on his upper right arm, only a couple inches from his shoulder. The moment he took notice of it, it started to sting. The gash was an inch and a half long and cut straight through his poncho, his long sleeve shirt, and down into his skin. Blood seeped from the wound, staining his clothes an even darker brown. "Ah, goddammit."

"Pull over, you have to take care of that."

"It's fine," he insisted.

She put a hand on the back of his seat. "You're full on bleeding. You can't just let that go."

"I'm not gonna bleed out from a cut on my arm."

"You may not, but you're depleting the iron in your body and you'll get an infection. You have any red meat? How about penicillin?"

Kai groaned loudly. "Oh my god, chill out. Are you trying to help me or are you just yelling at me?"

"Both."

He huffed. "Fine." He reached into his bag and pulled out a bandana. He held it back for her to take. "Just tie this around it for now. We'll hold off the bleeding until we stop for the night, which shouldn't be too much longer looking at the sun."

Miriam gave him a hard look and snatched the rag out of his hand. "This won't help your risk of infection. Probably won't stop the bleeding much, either. But fine. I'll compromise, but as soon as we stop you're letting me take a look at it."

"Deal."

She folded the bandana up until it was a long strip of fabric and wrapped it around the cut. She tied it tight with a definitive knot.

A jolt of pain shot up Kai's arm, but he kept his mouth shut.

They drove for miles as the sun continued to sink closer to the horizon. The landscape was repetitive, redundant. Rolling orange flatland with stacks of rock far off in the distance. There really wasn't anywhere to stop for the night that wasn't out in the open air. It was arguably better than hiding out in a place where you couldn't see what was coming, Kai pondered, but it also felt like they'd be advertising their location to just about the whole world.

Eventually some remnants of old buildings began to pop up, signaling signs of lost civilization. The group unanimously agreed to stop before they came across a full town. It wouldn't be safe to traverse a place like that at night.

Kai pulled Selene off to the side of the road and drove behind an old dilapidated shack that may have once been an ice cream stand. It wasn't big, but it was enough to obscure their position from the road. A majority of the roof of the shack had been removed for whatever reason, making it easy to see they were indeed alone here.

Kai parked the vehicle and hopped out to perform his evening routine. In the back of the Jeep between the backseats and the bumper was a small storage space Kai miraculously had filled with stuff. He yanked out a large, plastic orange tarp. The unfolding process felt unending. Once it was fully expanded, her threw half over Selene, material resting on top of her caged frame.

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