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The trucks were loaded; Jackson had the delivery van idling without stalling. “It’s running, but it won’t stay that way for long without gas.”

Higgins nodded. “Diesel,” the cop said, and thumbed back at the SWAT van. Shavian watched as both men talked to Elliott or, should she say, at him. He stood there looking shell-shocked and from time to time he looked down at the scratch on his wrist, saying nothing.

Roger and she had walked back telling the others about the train. “I’m willing to bet coffee to brews, the train is going to stop at the station,” he said.

“So?”Fipps asked, stepping out of the van.

“The ‘so’ is,” Roger said, “that bloody train might be our best chance into Washington. I heard the news at the beer festival; the army is keeping people from crossing out of Oregon because of the infection.”

“You think the train is going to get through?” Jackson said with a skeptical look.

“Thousands of tons of train have a better chance than one SWAT van,” Roger said back.

Shavian looked at Elliott as the three of them argued.

This is where you show them who the leader is, she thought as he continued to look half comatose. It was like he’d put all his energy into saving the girl and now he was spent, unsure what to do.

They were going to die arguing in this PDX hellhole.

That’s when the idea came to her and she stepped forward taking both of Elliott’s hands in hers. She took effort to keep his scratch hidden.

“Elliott?” she said in the voice normally reserved for asking her father for money.

His eyes came up and she saw something she didn’t expect. Was it hunger? But when she glanced over her shoulder she saw Junie and understood at once. “W-What do you think? The train or the bridge?” Shavian asked.

Elliott blinked back to life and gripped her hands tightly, his eyes staying on Junie. “We have to get over that river. It’s the only natural barrier that could keep them at bay. Oregon is already lost, we can’t do anything to save this magical place of bean and barley. The best we can do is take as much of it with us when we leave.” He held Shavain’s hands up. She really wished he wouldn’t, they’d become sweaty. “What we need to do is take this load of coffee to the train, and get them to wait while we collect as much beer as we can from the breweries in town. We have two large vans, think of all the good we can bring back with us!”

“We should have three,” Roger grumbled.

Is this really all he had to say? Take everything you can and run for the hills? What about the fight against the zombies? She was a prophet of God! Her job was the meet these abominations head on! She had the light of God on her side and he wanted to run?

Was she the only one that believed this to be folly? The men cheered and started to mount up. Roger argued with Higgins for who got the drive the SWAT van, and Fipps and Jackson settled in.

Elliott started to pull her towards the coffee truck and she slipped her slick palms out from under his, wiping her hands on her jeans.

“What’s up?” Elloitt said.

“I think I should ride with Higgins,” she said and turned, leaving him confused. It’s great that he found Junie, but three made a crowd. She left him looking on as she closed the back door and locked it. Moving to the front of the van she pulled the protesting Roger out of her way and took the passenger seat next to Higgins. Roger looked ready to say something else, but the glare she’d given him quailed any further argument.

Higgins started the van, but his eyes were on her; it made her blush hard enough she could feel the heat. At last trying to get him to stop she pointed to the other van. “Lovebirds.”

She crossed her arms and thought about it…

Oh no… he was turning her into him.

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