Chapter Six: The Abandoned Toy

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They drove into town, full speed ahead. Kai spoke as he drove, fully committed to giving the team the whole rundown. "I've seen some big cities like this out here, we're going to have to be careful. They may be populated, but they're not usually the nicest of places. Just keep an eye out, alright? We'll drive through town, see some buildings, get some gas, then get the hell out of there."

Miriam rolled her eyes. "We get it. You're not the only one who's been to cities like this before. Mer and I come from somewhere a lot like this. We know how to make it around here."

"Well, I thought I gave a good pep talk. You could at least pretend to appreciate it. Right, Dani?"

Dani didn't say anything. Her gaze was locked on the road in front of her.

Kai frowned.

They were quiet the rest of the way into the city.

The further they got, the more something came to the attention of Kai.

Selene's passengers weren't just the quiet ones.

The whole city was eerily quiet.

They hadn't passed a single person walking on the streets since they arrived. There were cars on the road, but they were all parked up against sidewalks. The last moving vehicle they'd seen was at least five miles from the city limits.

Despite the tall buildings and trees—yes, real trees—that cropped up on every other street corner, there was something distinctly lifeless about this city.

"Something's not right about this," Kai started cautiously, shifting into a lower gear as they cruised across the city streets.

"I agree," Miriam said, eyes glowing with concern under her wire framed glasses.

Meredith hung over the side of the car. "This isn't as much like home as I thought it was going to be. Sorry."

Kai shook his head. "Don't apologize, kid. In some weird way, this is probably worth seeing."

"The Rapture," Dani said quietly.

Kai hunched forward, trying to get a better view of the entire cityscape. "Yeah, it sure looks like it."

"What do you think we should do?" Miriam asked.

He opened his mouth but hesitated.  "I don't know. I'll let you know when I figure it out."

A couple blocks down the road, he pulled into a convenience store parking lot. The four got out with little conversation and cautiously made their way inside.

The store was a little ramshackled, like a handful of people had come in and taken whatever they could get their hands on, but there were no signs of a struggle. Most of the fluorescent light bulbs had burnt out, but a couple remained illuminated. It was just enough to dimly light all corners of the store.

"What happened here?" asked Miriam to no one in particular.

Meredith scanned the shelves with worried eyes. "Did everyone...die?"

Kai shook his head. "With a city this big, if everyone died we would've seen bodies by now. It looks like people were here, and they knew they were leaving, but then they vanished."

"I'm telling you, it's the Rapture," Dani spoke up, voice barely above a mumble.

He stopped and gave her a hard look. "I can't tell if you're joking or being serious."

She said nothing and avoided eye contact, instead directing her attention to a shelf of candy.

"A whole city can't just disappear like that, can it?" Miriam asked.

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