Allie had initially made her way towards Kelsey’s jeep; when she saw Kelsey moving at a brisk pace out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk she ran to catch up. People were moving up and down the sidewalks in a hurry. A lot of the houses had emptied out as people were running to one another in their yards trying to learn what had happened, or what to do.
“The jeep won’t start?”
“No. I’m pretty sure it won’t. Come on honey, keep up.” she said as Allie tried to keep pace.
Kelsey had not been sure if bringing Allie was the best of ideas. She knew Allie could not make it home to Thorp on her own. It was ten miles west of Ellensburg, without a car or bus or anything to help her get there. On the other hand she had no intention of leaving her at the Meridian. Though she had full confidence in Kevin, Allie had been in her care, and tied to the family in a way. Once she had her son she could take them both back at the Meridian and mother both of them.
‘…be right back’. That was what Kevin had said. She had meant to do just that. Get her son out of harm’s way, then run right back. She was going to try; the Meridian would be a safe place. She just had to get her boy and… what? Run back? Did they have time? How far to home? Was it a mile and a half? It seemed so short by car; she had never clocked the miles.
All this went through her head as they ran up the short, motionless road. The road curved upward and as they reached near the top of the hill they could hear a lot more clamor downtown ahead. When they both reached the crest they stood transfixed; Kelsey was now sure they would not be going back to the Meridian.
The scene downtown was quite different from the neighborhood beside the Meridian. As the shops had emptied out and everyone was on the street the situation had quickly dissolved. People were running in every direction, pushing, screaming, some fighting. It seemed like an ants nest as people tried to fight their way in and out of the nearby buildings.
Kelsey was at a loss of words at how quickly people had turned violent. A large window pane in the seven-eleven shattered as something was thrown through it. She could hear a whistle being blown frantically by someone and she was briefly surprised to be seeing people carrying things in their arms as they looted. All of the gas pump nozzles were lying on the ground. The safeties on them would not release with no electricity and people had already given up on them.
In the middle of the street, being trampled underfoot were bodies of those knocked out or passed out.
“Allie, stay with me, we’re going to run. Grab my hand.” She turned and held out her hand to the girl. She only nodded once and grabbed Kelsey’s stretched hand. She was afraid the girl was too in shock, and so she repeated to Allie that they were going to run. Allie only nodded again, her eyes focusing a little.
“Okay, let’s go then. Now.” Allie said nodding continuously in a hurried voice.
“Okay, we’re making our way to Albertsons, just a few blocks from my house.” she said quickly. Time was quickly running out but it had to be made clear. She looked up and saw thick black and grey clouds were now over their heads. The sun had vanished as the clouds had thickened at some point. She continued to look up for another precious moment, just trying to locate the sun in the sky. When that moment was up and she still couldn’t find a bright spot in the sky she gave up and looked at Allie again, expectantly.
Allie looked at her confused, “Why Albertsons?”
“It’s closest to my home. We need to get some things while we still can,” she said starting to walk, then jog with Allie along beside her.
Now she was afraid of making a worthless trip; should the store already be looted of anything worthwhile. “We don’t know how long we’ll be holed up so we need supplies. Understand?”
“Yes, let’s go then! Now!” the young woman shouted, trying to be heard over the other people they were running towards.