Page 48

The backroom was dark, and Shavian could hear every stop of her scuffed and dirty shoes. They looked as good as new just two days ago. But two days ago there weren’t zombies in the world; two days ago she wouldn’t have given a crap about any of these people.

There was Elliott laying right where Junie said he would be. She crouched next to him. Junie had indeed put his head on a bag of beans but it was so full that his neck was folded with his chin pressed into his chest. Leaning over, she pulled the bag away and his head hit the concrete with an audible thump. He jerked awake and flailed out, slapping an arm into Shavian so hard that she squeaked and fell back on her butt (which was happening more than she’d like). He was a lot stronger than she thought.

He was still groaning while his hand lay firmly in her lap, and as his fingers started to grip at her jeans she raised a brow. She picked up his arm by the wrist, dropping it to the cool pavement. Only then did his eyes open.

“Wha-Where is Junie?” he said, trying to sit up.

“She’s busy saving the coffee.” She waved over her shoulder as Junie walked in and the tall waif of a girl picked up a sack that weighed as much as she, walking back out saying not another word.

Shavian sighed and let her arms fold in her lap. “How are you feeling?”

“Um, groggy? How long was I out?” he said.

“Not long.” She tipped her head to the side. “How does raw meat sound to you?”

“Can’t I get it medium well?”

Taking his arm with the scratch, she pulled it across his body roughly and started to look it over.

“Shavian, what gives?” he groaned.

“Don’t complain, the other one almost found heaven.”


“I’ll let you decide what that means.” She squeezed the wrist and then let it go. “I think it’s just a scratch. Why are you passing out like a narcoleptic at a mattress convention?”

“I’m scared,” he said.

“Suck it up sunshine, you kidnapped me into this. Time to get up and be the leader you tried to be and got us into this mess.” She stood up, dusted herself off and started to fix her hair back into the thong again. All she wanted was a zombie free shower. God please.

Walking out front Junie had started the battered old Treeville delivery van. Black smoke was pouring from the exhaust pipe as it shook to life, the belts making a horrible racket. Jackson pulled himself out from under the hood and wiped the black soot from his nose.

“Don’t tell me that Jackson has proved useful with something other than his threats?” Shavian said.

“Yeah, Sweet Stuff,” he leered at her. “I’m a mechanic by trade. I just also steal and chop some of the cars that I fix.”

Taking a step back from him, she was forced to look up to catch his eyes. “Yeah the Lord works in mysterious ways. What was wrong with it?”

“Fuel filter was clogged. I just punched through it with a screwdriver. It’s not like the truck has to run for another year or something.” He smiled, seeming to really like making her uncomfortable.

Junie backed the truck up to the battering ram broken doors and she and Elliott loaded enough coffee to last them years. The dog Pat hopped out of the back and walked after Shavian as they looked out over the smoking city of Portland. She wasn’t sure that she heard it at first, but after a second, imagination became realty as the low rumble of a train could be heard in the almost silent city. Pat whined and Shavian arched up onto the balls of her feet to get a better look.

“What on earth?”

There, on the main tracks that came through town was an old Amtrak train; the front of it was welded up with a blood caked cattle pusher, and every car window had been welded over with slotted plates.

“It seems we aren’t the only ones trying to get back to Washington,” Roger said.

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