#SampleSunday – After The Virus, Chapter 10:
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 thought he’d heard Rhiannon scream, but as he continued to try to sense her through the multiple walls that separated them, he got nothing. He’d been awake all night, his brain too full to turn off, not a problem he’d ever had in the past. He’d watched her, collecting clues. Perfect table manners, hesitation with the dishwashing — she wasn’t used to this life. Again, it’d nagged him, that feeling that he knew her. He wondered if she was going to stay. He wondered, if it came to it, whether or not he’d ask her too. For himself? Or Snickers?
He was pretty sure Snickers should be talking by now. He was starting to think maybe she was mute; maybe he shouldn’t have given her the gun, but he couldn’t start second guessing, not even with Rhiannon’s doubt. He thought of the Fleetwood Mac song and wondered if he could still play it.
There was movement at the door and he turned his head expecting Snickers but, traitorously, hoping for Rhiannon. It was Snickers, sans gun. He patted the bed beside him and Snickers, dragging all her bedding, climbed up. Maybe one of her parents might have been part Asian?
Now, with Snickers awake, he was pretty sure Rhiannon must have screamed because it’d been days since the child had needed to crawl in with him.
Snickers stared at him with her almond-colored cat eyes, and as he always did, not knowing what she needed, he just let her look. She raised her hand to suck on her thumb and he pulled it gently away with a smirk. She smiled at this — their habitual, familiar behavior.
There was more movement at the door as Rhiannon and B.B. silently slipped in. They curled into bed with Snickers wedged in the middle.
Snickers curled her hand in the hair at the side of his neck and he realized how long it was getting. B.B. sighed as only a satisfied dog can.
He was glad he’d claimed the master bedroom with its king-sized bed; the responsibility had scared him at first, but now there was Rhiannon. Smiling, as he closed his eyes to finally sleep, he thought maybe he could see the first glimmer of dawn at the edges of the blinds.
He later thought it was the worst damn idea he’d ever had, and he’d done many stupid things. Taking the girls with him — beyond stupidity.
A road trip, he’d suggested. The girls glowed in excitement and he’d felt so damn satisfied. Only four hours south, they‘d be back before dark.
He’d been systematically collecting supplies from the surrounding towns, to restock the store, hotel, and houses. He didn’t know why.
He hadn’t ventured this far since he’d acquired Snickers, but he’d thought it would be fun and get Rhiannon out for the first time in weeks.
They’d relaxed into a rhythm, but he had noticed the strawberry plant in her bedroom. Even with room in the garden, she hadn’t planted it.
Rhiannon saw the gun shop as soon they entered town and, in minutes, the bullet belt was around Snickers’ waist. So the gun idea was okay now — he attempted to be pleased rather than smug.
Rhiannon went clothes hunting. Snickers stuck with him. He hoped to add rarities to the hotel library, but prioritized medical supplies.
He left Snickers by the magazines, she liked the pictures, and went to box as much penicillin, painkillers and whatever else he could carry.
He hadn’t realized that B.B. was with him until she started to growl a deep warning just as his hand reached for the box of condoms.
“Hey, it’s not like that,” he started to back away. Then he saw the hulking shadow by the window. Jesus. H. Christ, what the hell was that?
B.B. couldn’t get lower to the ground and still move, and she was scaring the hell out of him with her noises. He placed his box down.
He suddenly had a terrible feeling he was about to come face-to-face with Rhiannon’s and B.B.’s past.