Posted: July 29, 2016 in Book I Terror in Texas

Tate led the small convoy of rescued women and children to an abandoned country store they had passed on the way to Hondo. Once secured, Tate and Matt ushered everyone inside and closed the building up for the night.

With flashlights in hand, the women combed through the goods for clothes, shoes, bedding, and food. They found several large bottles of water in the breakroom.

One of the kids came out of the bathroom giggling.  “It flushed!”

“There’s water in the sink, too.” Theresa, the short dark-haired woman that had assaulted the leader of the survivalists announced with a grin.

Red stepped up and added.  “Wait until we know how much water we have to work with before celebrating.”

“Yeah. Find clothes and food for now. Let me look around first.” Matt answered.

After a little investigating, Matt figured out the bathroom was hooked to a cistern that collected water from the metal roof. He found a filtering system under the bathroom sink. “You can wash in it but only drink bottled water, ladies.”

He walked toward the back door, but Tate stopped him. “Where are you going?”

“I saw a house up on the hill,” Matt answered.  “Maybe the people that own this place lives up there.”

“You don’t need to go up there,” Tate argued.

“Yes, I do. We’re taking and using whatever we find..  Who knows, we maybe the people up there need help.” Matt countered. “Get everyone cleaned up and fed.  They need rest.  Cover up the windows then put a lookout at each window.”

“Fine.  Go drag a couple more helpless people down here to take care of. I’ll never get my truck, and you won’t get your new Hummer.”

“So fucking be it, then.” Matt sniped back as he slipped out the door.

He stepped out into the dark and took a deep breath.  The silence was so heavy it seemed to insulate him from the world. A house was silhouetted against the night sky as if a dark phantom.  No hint of light could be seen through the windows.

Matt walked up the narrow drive, glancing from side to side.  The open pasture on either side of the lane showed no signs of livestock.

Suddenly he heard footsteps. He drew his handgun and fell to a knee to face the intruder.

“Woo. Easy soldier.”  A deep, gravelly voice called out. “Just me.  Bruce.”

Matt rose and stood to wait for the fiftyish man to approach. “Doc I could have shot you.”

“I don’t think so. If you were going to shot, I would be laying in the dirt right now.” Doc laughed as if a real joke.

“What’re you doing out here, doc?

“I needed to get outta there. Sonja and your friend, Tate are a real pair.”

Matt laughed. “Yeah, Tate’s a strong personality, for sure, but you need to go back inside.  I’m going to up to the house and check on the folks.”

I should go with you.” Doc answered. “Someone may need medical help.”

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were afraid of those two.” Matt laughed.

Doc sighed.  “Those women have been through a lot, and I think having a man around right now is the last thing they need. Helen seems to think when they’re cleaned up and get some rest, they’ll be a little more tolerant.”

“Alright.  Stay behind me and do as I say.” He started walking up the edge of the path waiting in the shadows.

After walking for a few minutes, Doc said. “You know there are more women in Grant’s camp.”

“Yeah.  It was one of the reason’s I wanted to take at least one of those assholes alive. Now we have no idea where they’re camp is.” Matt answered.

Doc fell silent. They walked for several minutes in silence.  As they got closer to the house, they realized the place looked deserted.  No vehicles could be seen.  The house was dark.  No light shown through the windows.  Wind chimes hanging on the front porch jingled on the light breeze. Somewhere in the distance, the sound of a loose shutter hinge squeaked.

“No one’s here,” Doc announced.

“Doesn’t look like it.”

“Maybe family came and picked them up.”

Matt stopped at the edge of the porch and sniffed. “No. I don’t think so.”

“You might be right,” Doc answered.  “No point in going inside.”

Matt passed his machete to Doc and pulled his military knife from the scabbard. “We can’t leave infected to attack someone else.”

“You got a point.” Doc conceded.

“Stay here and if anything gets past me, shoot it.”

“Got it,”  Doc answered.

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