#SampleSunday – After The Virus, Chapter 7:
Over the next 12 weeks I will be sharing a chapter of my novel After The Virus each sunday. Warning: for coarse language and brutal content. This is a post-apocalyptic love story. I hope you enjoy getting a peek. Feedback is welcomed and appreciated. If you are so inclined, purchase links can be found on the side bar. – Meghan
He held her eyes with his own, which were dark brown, and then, with a grin, offered his name. ”Will.” She remembered she should let go of his hand.
He sauntered around the store with B.B. at his heels. She knew she would follow, but momentarily thought of the freedom she had found alone. He looked back, not assuming her compliance, but really genuine, which was almost impossible to fake, even for the most cunningly skilled.
B.B. trusts him, her weary brain offered, while her gut screamed to keep on moving and moving on. She was just too tired to keep walking.
B.B. climbed into the back of the truck like she did it every day — maybe she had; her history was a mystery, not like her own puppet strings. The truck was an old red Ford and she wondered if he liked pretending to be a cliché; there was a certain safety in playing a role. He opened the door for her, but then crossed to the driver’s side.
“You have gasoline,” she stated.
“No one to compete with,” he replied.
She climbed in and immediately started digging through the glove box. He didn’t seem to mind; she found a handgun, a knife, and granola bars.
“Perhaps it’s rude to mention, but the two of you look more than a little banged up, tho’ mostly healed, so,“ he let the question linger.
“I took care of it,” she answered, tersely. True, that billboard still haunted her, but there’s no way they’d be following her random turns.
“I’m sorry it was necessary at all,” he started, but she cut him off.
“That’s just the world we live in now.”
He didn’t push the subject.
They continued in silence for another ten minutes. Here the road rapidly left the little town behind and curved into the mountain valley. Seemingly randomly, Will stopped and hopped out of the truck to clear some brush, drove in, and then re-hid the entrance to the turn-off. So he left the town open and inviting, but hid where he laid his head. She wondered what that said about him, but was really not into analyzing anything at the moment.
A large, well-kept house was nestled in the evergreens at the end of a long driveway. Its cedar shingles had grayed. Will parked by the front double doors.
Still not sure about this, she crossed to the truck bed and lowered the gate to put B.B. on leash. Will grabbed a box of supplies, which included Froot Loop cereal — odd choice for a grown man.
She turned to the house and saw a nine-year-old girl holding a sawed-off shotgun trained on her. The girl held the gun hip high and wedged against a front patio post.
“Ahh.” Actually she didn’t know what to say. Will carted his box up the stairs, and the girl adjusted her aim around him as he passed.
“This is Snickers,” Will offered as he entered the house.
The girl didn’t move, so she didn’t move.
B.B. also seemed a little unsure.
Will crossed back out.
“Um, she’s your sister?” she asked him as he grabbed another box from the truck.
“Nope,” he unhelpfully responded.
“Hello, Snickers,” she tried.
“Snickers doesn’t talk much, like, not once since we met, but she’s a great cook!” Will supplied.
“And, I’m guessing, she can shoot that gun,” she asked grimly.
“Wouldn’t do her much good if she couldn’t. We practice, lots,” he replied.
“Snickers,” he continued, “that’s enough aiming of the gun. This is B.B. and Rhiannon. I wouldn’t bring them here if I thought they’d hurt you.”
Snickers grudgingly lowered the shotgun, slung it across her shoulders with a silk scarf she had tied to each end, and entered the house.
So we’re not his first strays, she thought, and instantly felt more at ease. The girl looked unscathed, definitely loopy, but no bruises. And, even though she knew it was a dangerous thought to have in this chaotic reality, she actually whispered out loud, “Maybe, maybe this is all going to be okay.”
Then she followed B.B., who was already loping off into the house.