Being in Charge – Part 2

Posted: December 31, 2016 in Book I Terror in Texas

“Wow!”  Tate laughed.  “Small fucking world.”

“What do you mean?”  Matt asked.”

“I was headed there to stay with my cousin.  He’s been there since the VA cut him loose last year. He works for some crazy general restoring a hunting camp or something.”

“Damn.  I was hoping it was a little more than a hunting cabin.  Shit, two kids, and one a baby.  Maybe I ought to rethink taking the girls there.”

After a brief meeting with the women of the group it was decided they would all join Matt’s group.

“We have nothing to go back to.”  Red commented. “You’ve got a place to go that’s protected.  It’s what we need right now.”

“Accommodations are tight.  Just want you to know that.”

“We lived in a cage for the last week.  Do you really think it can be worse than that?”  Theresa answered.

Matt shrugged and answered. “Well, let’s get pack and get moving.  We can be there in six or seven hours.”

The store suddenly became a beehive of activity. Children and adults alike were gathering clothing and a myriad of supplies and carrying them to the vehicles.  They decided to leave the caged truck behind and take a mini-van they found in a garage behind the house.

The trip back was slow and winding through back roads.  They dodged two small gatherings of infected around stalled vehicles.  The people had run out of gas and spent days camping along a deserted road only to die from heat and exposure after running out of water waiting for rescue.

Red glanced to Matt behind the wheel of the mini-van.  “Dumb shits probably sat around waiting for someone to save them.”

He shrugged.  “Yeah.  City people in their SUVs don’t have much in the way of life skills for this life.”

“You do.”  Red answered.

Matt pulled the pills from his pocket and dray swallowed one.  “Haven’t always. I just figured out it’s time to step up.”

“You and Tate did.  I’d be dead right now if you two hadn’t come along.  I had every intentions of killing Stubby that night. Grant would have killed me, but that bastard would have been dead.  In my book, it would have been worth it.”

They drove in silence for a long time before Matt answered.  “You have to stop looking at it like that.  If you try to justify each and every time you’re put in that position before you act, you’ll end up dead.  It’s a matter of doing what you have to to survive.”

“I…”  Red began then fell silent.  After a moment she continued.  “They took everything. How do we go on after this?”

Matt glanced over his shoulder.  “The kids.”  He answered flatly.  “If we can protect the kids we have a chance. They will learn to adapt.  The bodies will decay and the infected will eventually disappear. If we can survive long enough, there’s hope for some of us.”

“We’re all infected. How can we make a life.  People die and it only takes one infected to destroy a community.  That’s what happened to our town.  One person.  That’s how it started.  Twenty four hours, it was overrun and those of us left were running for our lives.  We barely had time to load up water and canned goods.”

“We’ve seen that.”  Matt agreed.

“My brother in law got hit by a neighbor’s car. We took him and Theresa with us when we left.  He died and came back. If my husband hadn’t been there, he would have killed Theresa.”

“I’m sorry. But that’s the reality now.  We can lie down and die, or try to learn to live with an axe hanging over our heads.”

Matt saw the white trucks tail light blink twice.  Matt rolled down his side window and could hear the truck being down shifted.  He pulled the van toward the left and could see the camouflaged gate swing open.  “Here we go.  We’re home.”

Red turned toward the three people in the back seats.  “We’re here.  It will be fine.  Nice people that will be nice to us.  Wait and see.”

Matt glanced up at the hidden tree stand and threw a wave at the soldier.

“Glad to see you, Monroe.” The soldier held up a radio, then waved the caravan forward.

Matt followed the truck down the narrow gravel road to the park entrance.  The gate swung open and Larry ran up to the van.

“About fucking time you showed up, asshole.”  He took a deep breath.  “You had us worried.”

“Sorry about that.  I ran into a problem, Tate showed up then we got a little distracted.”  Matt nodded toward Red. “Found some folks that needed some help.”

Larry leaned in and grinned at Red. “I guess we’ll let it slide since you brought a beautiful woman back with you.”  He glanced toward the three people in the back seat.  “Welcome to Camp Verde.”

Tate pulled forward and Matt pulled his foot from the break.

Larry stepped back.  “Let’s get these folks inside and settled.” He tapped the top of the van. “When we get these folks settled, we need to have a talk.”

“Got it.  Meet me at the office at four.” Matt answered.

A few minutes later, five vehicles, the two pickups, the white truck, doc’s Oldsmobile and the minivan were parked at the edge of the parking lot.  Everyone gathered bags and boxes of supplies and followed Tate and Matt to the Rec Center.

Doc, Helen and their granddaughter, Libby and Rosalee stood together looking at all the people around the camp.  Red and Theresa stood together.  Three more children, two more adult women and two teenagers stood behind them.

They are looked around at the collection of soldiers, couple women and dozens of children and teens.  The kids were the first to move closer to the new arrivals.  Amy came hurried toward the group carrying Clair.

“Mr. Matt.”  Amy called out as she ran toward the small gathering. “I missed you.”

When Amy got to his side, Matt rumpled her hair and squatted down to smile at her.  “I missed you too, pumpkin.  How’s Claire Bear?”

Claire reached out with both arms and leaned toward Matt. He caught the wiggling bundle with a chuckle.

“Claire missed you too.”  Amy laughed and hugged Matt’s neck.

Finally, he rose.  “I can see. Have you two been good while I was gone?”

“Of course.  Miss Amanda fed Claire mushed up peas and she smelled so bad, Miss Amanda says never again.”

Amanda crossed the yard from the Manager’s office with Jake following close on her heels.  “Well, what have we hear.  New arrivals?”

“And none too soon, the way I see it, young lady.”  Answered Doc.

Amanda looked at the old man with white hair and the pleasant looking plump lady next to him.  “And why would that be?”  She asked.

“I’m a doctor and my wife a nurse.”  He grinned.  “From the looks of it, none too soon.”

Amanda laughed.  “If you only knew.”

Jake looked panicked.  “She’s been doing that thing all afternoon.”

“Just Braxton Hicks.”  She turned to Matt.  “Did you tell Jake to watch out for me?  I can’t even go to the bathroom without him jumping up and following me.”

Matt got to his feet.  “Jake, we need to get these folks settled.  Do we have room in the Rec Center?”

Jake nodded.  “We came across a lucky find, day before yesterday.”  Brought four campers from another camp ground, not far from here.  Found a few people too.”

Matt turned toward four campers parked on the front row of concrete pads behind the food truck.  “So I see. You can tell me all about it later.”

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