Chapter 18 – Packing
“Take your time. We’ll be waiting. Bye!” and I pressed the red phone on the screen.
We sat there looking at each other with big smiles across our faces. Joel got up and walked toward my bed, consumed in his thoughts.
“It IS a very tempting offer, isn’t it?” Joel said to me.
I got on my feet too, walked over to him, and hugged him. This put him off balance, and we spun a bit on our feet, falling down on my bed. I started giggling about our clumsiness but also noticed Joel’s soft dick pressed against my naked pussy. The way we were lying now was in the traditional missionary position.
I looked at Joel, who was smiling too, but suddenly swallowed hard and looked all serious. Between my legs, I felt his penis growing rapidly. Joel quickly got up and sat down on the bed, looking all flushed.
“I… Uh… It’s…” he stammered.
“Yeah. I, uhh… I’m…” I stammered too, not knowing what to say or do.
This was all very unexpected. There was an undeniable sexual tension between us that moment, but I wasn’t ready for THAT. At least not yet. It did feel awesome feeling his dick poking against my entrance, even if it was very brief.
“Do you think you’re up for it, Mia?” Joel asked seriously. “I mean… It’s a hell of a walk. But there’s no way we’re going to manage it in just one day. Not now.”
“No. It isn’t. We don’t know what we’ll find outside. Roads blocked, people lying around, fire, you name it. I’ve seen enough of these movies to know it won’t be a party out there. But what’s the alternative? If we’re careful, we’ll last another week with our food. And after that?”
“I know. No doubt we need to do something. But there will be dead people lying around everywhere. You do realize that, do you?”
“I do. And I think I’ll manage. It’ll probably take some getting used to. But I know I can.” I smiled.
“And with our luck, we’ll meet the A.W.A. too. So we’ll have to stay clear from main roads and move through the country once outside of the city,” Joel said mostly to himself.
“But our home will be visited by these guys. That’s just a matter of time, and you know that too. And then what? I think we should take our chance and go to that big underground shelter with a food supply for years. And a shower. And…” I sighed.
“Fuck it! You’re right. We won’t get a better option than this. We just need to figure out how we can do this in two or three days,” Joel said.
“I’ve got my backpack in here. We can stuff our canned food in there. We need some spare clothes and a few bottles of water. These things all fit into two backpacks, and we’ve got two bags,” I chuckled.
“I need to go into my room to get it…”
“Oh,” I replied softly.
“But I need clean clothes and my hiking boots anyway. So it’s just something I need to do. I’ll try not to look at dad…”
“We can sleep in houses along the way. There are probably plenty of houses we can use. Every open house means at least one bed.”
“I don’t know… It’s dangerous. What if the A.W.A. check these houses, and we’re in it?”
“Okay… A tent, maybe? That can be hidden in a lot of places.”
“We don’t have a tent,” Joel said blankly, looking all thoughtful. “We need weapons too. We need to be able to defend ourselves.”
“We don’t have weapons,” I said in the same tone as Joel did about the tent, feeling a bit annoyed.
“Uncle Tyrell,” Joel suddenly blurted.
“Uncle Tyrell?” I asked, not sure what Joel meant by it.
“Uncle Tyrell gave me the keys to the shop and the alarm code. He asked me to open the shop Saturday morning, so I could let the supply guy in,” Joel said with a twinkle in his eyes.
“And do you think the shop is still there and not looted by the A.W.A.?”
“I don’t think so, no. Uncle Tyrell had a very secure place there. He needed to, considering the neighborhood and his license to sell hunting rifles. And it’s close. Less than ten minutes by foot. On a normal day.”
“And you know how to get in?”
“I do. The keys are in my room, and the code is on my phone. While we’re there, we can stock up. Backpacks, shoes, clothes, tent, weapons, anything. Even high-energy protein bars and drinks. There’s a lot of useful stuff in that shop. If we go there today, we can sleep inside the storage room tonight. No windows there, so no one will see us, and easy to defend if necessary. Then we’ll have an early start tomorrow so we can make good use of the daylight. We just have to be careful when we’re… uhm… shopping,” he said excitedly.
I had to admit I liked the idea. They had everything we needed in there for our trip to the woods. It was close enough so we could go back here in case it didn’t work. It was almost like a dry-run for the big journey.
“We can ask Ellie to check if the store is still untouched. And it’s a nice way to test if it works with them talking us through,” I said.
“And if it doesn’t work, we can always head back here. It’s close enough to act as a fallback,” Joel mumbled.
“We go today?” I asked.
“Yes. I don’t see why not. It’s not even noon yet, so we’ve got plenty of time to prepare and head over there. Even enough time to head back if necessary.”
“Fuck. We’re doing it,” I whispered.
“Don’t worry, Mia. We’re together. I’ll never let you out of my sight. Together we can do this!”
“Oh my god, we’re doing this,” I whispered again.
As if I snapped out of my trance, I looked Joel in his eyes and smiled. I kissed him on his mouth and hugged him tightly.
“I know you’ll protect me. That’s why I’m confident we’ll make it. And I’ve got your back too. We’re getting out of here! Finally!”
“We are,” Joel laughed.
We sat there in silence for a few minutes, thinking our own thoughts. I mainly thought about the luxury we’d have over there and worried we overlooked something.
“Don’t we need to sleep a night over this?” I asked eventually. “I mean… Aren’t we forgetting something? Or too excited to get out of here, so our judgment is off?”
“I was thinking that too. But I honestly can’t think of anything. And the stop at Uncle Tyrell’s place is a very sensible thing to do. It’ll give us a good idea of what’s out there. We can stock up on important supplies, get weapons and stuff. But most of all, we can go back here if we don’t like it out there or think we can’t make it. Then we’ll be back in the same situation as we are now, only better supplied. So no. I don’t think we should wait another day.”
I looked at my brother and let everything sink in for a moment. I couldn’t argue with the things he said. We couldn’t stay here forever and needed to go out eventually. By doing it now, we had the most significant chance the shop wasn’t looted yet, the weather was still okay, and the A.W.A. still wasn’t fully organized yet.
“I’ll call Ellie,” I simply said, causing Joel to laugh.
It didn’t take us long to explain our plans to them. By the time we hung up, their system had already checked, and it was safe for us to go there. There had been an attempt to enter the shop through the store’s enforced front window. But all the available footage showed there was only a massive dent in the security fence in front of the store and probably a broken window. They had used a truck to run into the fence that was still in front of the store, but the shop still was secure and untouched besides the big dent.
“It looks bad from the outside,” Ellie said, “but we’re convinced the inside is still untouched. The alarm doesn’t sound anymore either.”
According to Joel, this made sense. If the alarm sounded for more than an hour, the system would shut itself down as a precaution. The alarm was probably still armed on the upper floors, so we needed the code anyways.
We figured it was time for us to trust them and gave our address. The system calculated the best route for us to take now, so we wouldn’t have to climb over some freaky traffic accident or something. This route would take us fifteen minutes tops. The only downside was one small blind spot on the course, but we decided to take that risk. The other routes would take us way longer, or we’d have to go over the main road. We didn’t like either option.
“Right. We’ll gather our stuff and be ready in half an hour. Then we’ll call you the moment we head out, okay?” I asked Ellie.
“Right. Uncle Adam and I will be ready. I’ll do the talking, Uncle Adam the scouting on the monitors. Talk to you soon.”
We stood side by side in front of the sheet by my door. We were both hesitant to open it, but we also knew we needed to. Joel didn’t move, so I started pulling at the sheet, slowly peeling open the duct tape as I did this. I kept pulling, and suddenly, it dropped to the floor.
I closed my eyes and held my breath. I noticed Joel taking my hand and him holding his breath too. It seemed like ages but was probably less than a minute before I opened my eyes again. I glanced at Joel, who glanced back at me.
“We’re still alive,” he said as we both stepped out of my room.
I inhaled deeply but regretted it immediately. The stench from our toilet was pretty thick.
“I’m going into my room alone. I don’t want you to see Dad this way. I’ll quickly gather my things and head back to your room. There we’ll pack our stuff. Okay?”
This wasn’t a question, and I knew this was non-negotiable. I simply nodded and picked up the bucket.
“I’ll get rid of this and go to a proper toilet. Be back in a sec,” I said, walking away so Joel could take his time before entering his room.
After I did my business and cleaned the bucket, I went into my room and picked out the clothing to wear and the spare clothes to take with us. I didn’t want to take too much, but fresh underwear, pants, and a sweater were the least I could take. I also gathered the cans of food that were the most decent.
By the time I was done and started to get dressed, Joel came in. He had a blank expression on his face and didn’t say anything. He dropped his stuff on the bed and started getting dressed too. It was difficult to read his thoughts. But after I was done dressing, I walked over to him and hugged him. At first, he gently pushed me away, but I would have none of that and kept hugging. A moment later, I heard him sniff.
“He’s dead, Mia. He really is dead,” and he started crying his eyes out.
I couldn’t hold back my tears and started crying too. I caressed Joel’s hair and pulled him closer to me. His shoulders were shaking as he was sobbing for all he was worth. I let him cry. I cried too, but he saw our dad. I didn’t. I was still hurt, but he SAW him. That needed some processing.
After a few minutes, the sobbing stopped. He didn’t pull back yet, but it was clear he was trying to get himself back together. I kissed him on his cheek again and pulled my face back to look at him. Through his red eyes, I could see him trying to smile.
“I’m sorry. It’s just…” Joel started.
“Shhh. No need to be sorry,” I interrupted him.
He dried his eyes and looked at his clothes on the bed. I looked at it too, and he basically had the same clothes picked out. A few boxers, socks, fresh pants, three shirts, and a sweater. I realized I needed some spare socks too.
“I think this is the best I’ve got for this,” he said, trying to change the subject.
“I think you’ll manage with it. You’ve got the keys too?” I asked, figuring he’d talk about dad when the time was right.
We packed our stuff and divided it equally over the two backpacks. We made sure we got the food, water, clothes, and phone chargers. We both plugged in one earbud and connected the cord to our phones. We triple-checked everything and made sure we got it all. I looked at my room, feeling a slight sting, knowing this might be the very last time I looked at the place I grew up in, and that kept us safe during these dreadful days.
I checked the time and noticed we took a bit longer than we agreed on. It was a little past one, but still plenty of time to get to Uncle Tyrell’s store. Joel softly unlocked our door, and I started calling Ellie.
“Mia?” I heard with a bit of a worry in her voice.
“Hi. Sorry. But it took a bit longer than expected. But now we’re ready. Let me call Joel and merge the call, so we can both hear you.”
A few moments later, we were standing there in our living room with my heart beating out of my chest.
“We’re watching your street. It’s empty, so you’re good to go. Good luck!” Ellie said.
Joel slowly opened the door and crawled out on his hands and feet, waiting outside for me. I followed him and remained next to him until he closed the door.
We were outside for the first time in five days, and I was scared shitless.
End of Chapter eighteen
Copyright 2021 – Jason Crow
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