Chapter 4: On The Run

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 96

GreenBrooke City had once been a thriving city filled with amazing people. And now, it was a pile of rubble. According to Quinn, who was checking the news on his phone every few minutes, a total of seventy eight explosives had gone off, tearing apart the small town and killing nearly everyone inside.

 

“Did all of that happen?” I thought to myself, “was Luis actually gone? Was our home destroyed?”

 

I had a hard time believing it all, but I eventually came to realize the situation we were in. Luis was indeed gone. And in exchange all we had was the young boy he saved from the crash.

 

Every time I stared at him, I felt a feeling of resentment. I wanted Luis to be here with us, driving the RV and blaring Mexican music over the radio to all of our annoyance. None of us ever understood it, but I wanted to listen to it more than anything right now.

 

There was dead silence in the air, the nine of us waiting for someone to say something. Quinn sat in silence in the passenger seat, organizing several first aid-kits while shooting glares in Axel’s direction every few minutes. I’m sure he felt the same way I did, but considering the way he felt about kids, he was much more resentful.

 

I was sitting in the back with Spencer right beside me with his GameBuddy in hand. Space was situated on the floor with Julia, who was laying on her lap, crying softly. Andrew and Quinn were up front, quietly discussing where we should stop while Maddie sat in the booth alone, facing away from all of us.

 

I stood up, walking past the sea of sulking faces as I approached the only two people who were communicating. Quinn turned to me, noticing my approach.

 

“Is there something you require?” Quinn asked, an emotionless expression littered on his face. I grit my teeth at his actions. How the hell could he care so little about this? I thought.

 

“Where are we going? What’s going on? And why haven’t we stopped yet?” I asked him, slightly agitated

 

“We have been driving for four hours and according to my phone we have just crossed the Nebraskan border. At the moment our plan is to stop for the night so we can rest and prepare for the next day,” Quinn explained.

 

“Nebraska? Why the hell are we driving to Nebraska?” I questioned.

 

“We have no idea where the source of that bombing came from, and if my suspicions are correct, getting as far away as possible is the best plan of action,” he explained.

 

I sighed, rubbing my forehead, “Quinn… getting far away means the next town over… not three states over!”

 

Quinn stepped back, frowning, “calm yourself Anikan. When we find a satisfying place to stop, we can take some time to rest and in the morning discuss our next plan of action.”

 

“Don’t you think we should all discuss that as a group?” I asked him, crossing my arms demonstrating my disdain for the situation

“If you wish to do so, then yes. I find my judgement to be much better for our well-being, so I was not sure if I wanted to hear any opposing opinions,” he explained.

 

 Still with that smug attitude and careless tone of voice. I thought, clenching a fist. How could he even think like that in a situation like this?

 

“You can’t just make decisions by yourself, nobody appointed you leader. We work as a team.” I told Quinn, with fire in my eyes.

 

“Why? None of you ar-”

 

“Why?! Are you kidding me? You can’t just take over the RV and not tell anybody anything just because Luis isn’t here anymore!” I shouted, causing Space to get up from her seat and approach us.

 

“Anikan,” She said, putting a hand on my shoulder. “Quinn wasn’t saying that he’s our boss. We’re all friends and we should work together.” She turned to Quinn, “You shouldn’t make decisions without approaching us.”

 

 “All of you are grieving and emotional. My logical decisions would be what is best for the group right now.” Quinn stared blankly, his eyes glossed with emptiness. I released my clenched fist and understood Quinn’s point of view.

 

“Right,” I said softly, “just talk to us next time okay?” I put my hands in my pockets. Luis would know what to do. I thought.

Hunter got up, noticed the commotion and approached us, “so what is our next move?”

 

“Well I suggest we lay low, find a place to stay for the night, and see what the morning brings us. Judging from the most recent events, I do not assume it will be good,” Quinn told us, “there is a chance we are being followed by the perpetrators who destroyed our former residences.”

 

“Five Star hotel?” Hunter suggested, “I would kill for a hot tub soak right now.”

 

“Due to the fact the only money we have is three measly dollars from Spencer’s back pocket, a hotel is out of the picture. I do, however, know a campsite we can stay at,” Quinn told us.

 

 “Hunter this is serious, we need to actually think about where we are going.” I said, a small amount of scorn in my voice.

 

The RV pulled up onto a path where a wooden sign sat on the edge of the road. There was a dirt path beside it leading into the forest, into some sort of campsite.

 

“Silver Lake? Jeez this place sounds like the setting for a slasher flick,” Hunter said as he examined the sign, “if I see any sign of Freddy or Jason I’m booking it outta here.”

 

“Relax, this establishment has excellent reviews… even if there are only two of them,” he said, staring out the window.

 

Stuck in the middle of the woods with Spencer and Hunter for the night? And at a place called Silver Lake no less?

 

I muttered beneath my breath, “we’re screwed.”

 

We drove down the dirt path, illuminated only the cracked headlights on the front of the RV. We found ourselves in a large clearing surrounded by trees with a lake in the center and a single log cabin beside it.

 

Andrew drove the RV across the grass, parking it beside the cabin before turning off the vehicle. He turned around, sighed, and asked, “this is where we’re staying? What now?”

 

“I dunno about you guys, but I gotta take a shit,” Hunter said bluntly before hopping out of the RV, strolling towards the cabin.

 

Quinn sighed, “ignoring his comment, let us settle in and then devise a game plan.”

 

One by one we hopped out of the RV, carrying our bags over to the cabin and firepit. I picked up my backpack and crossbow, but Andrew shot me a glare.

 

“Leave the crossbow,” he said.


I begrudgingly left the crossbow lying on the floor before continuing ahead, following Andrew and the others out of the RV.

 

 

***

 

Shortly after, the fire pit had flickered to life and we were all gathered around in a circle, sitting on wooden logs as we snacked down on some of the food Luis kept in the RV. We hadn’t had any sort of food since lunch other than the popcorn from the movies, so by the time we stopped we were starving. I was drinking an Orange Ripple, looking down to see Space carefully eat her cup of ramen noodles.

 

“Ah Luis… even from beyond the grave you are causing problems for me. For once, I wish you would organize your possessions,” Quinn said as he held up a set of keys. Luis’s keyring was extremely messy and unorganized, the three different rings attached to each other each carrying a jumble of keys and tiny plastic cards.

 

“Are you serious right now?” Hunter asked, standing up and glaring at Quinn, “did you really just fucking say that?”

 

Maddie stood up, grabbing his arm, “hey calm down. He’s not saying it to be mean. He’s just being Quinn.”

 

“I am unsure whether to take that as an insult, but nevertheless I was not trying to dishonor our fallen comrade. I was merely stating for as long as I have known him, he has always been very disorganized and irrational. A bit… brash,” Quinn explained.

 

Hunter nearly jumped at Quinn, and Maddie stood up, trying to hold him back. Quinn stood up to try and back away but was knocked backwards as Hunter landed a punch square clean in the center of his face. He fell backwards, Andrew rushing to his aid while I helped Maddie restrain Hunter.

 

“He was our friend asshole! Don’t disrespect him!” Hunter shouted.

 

Quinn shot Hunter a glare as he wiped blood off from beneath his nose, “were you not listening to a word I said? I said I was not trying to insult him, but merely-”

 

“Yeah yeah whatever,” Hunter said, sitting back down in his seat. Maddie sat down next to him, rubbing his arm and whispering to him quietly to try and deescalate the situation before either of them did anything rash.

 

To try and change the subject to something less negative, Space turned to the young boy we had saved before. He was sitting beside Julia, the two of them sharing a pair of Lunchables.

 

Space knelt down and smiled at him, “hi. Axel right? My name’s Sarah.”

 

“W-Who are you guys?” Axel asked curiously, looking around at us all.

 

I shook my head, setting down my Orange Ripple, “nope. We’re just a group of idiots with really bad luck and no idea what to do next. I’m Anikan.”

 

The boy nodded to me before stating, “m-my name’s Axel.”

 

“Well I’m happy to have met you Axel,” Maddie said politely, “do you have any family we can take you to?”

 

He shook his head, sniffling, “n-no… it was always just my mom, my dad and my sister. My mom was at work when it happened. Elysia Hospital. She’s… probably gone too.”

 

Space stood up, tapping me on the shoulder before walking over to the tree line. I stood up as well, following her away from the campfire.

 

“What’s up?” I asked her.

 

“What’s up? Luis is dead, our city just blew up, and now we have a twelve-year-old boy to take care of. H-He’s just a kid, and his entire family is dead. What are we gonna do?” she asked me, her voice shaky.

 

“My suggestion is that we ditch him at the nearest rest stop and let the riff-raff have at him,” a voice suggested. The two of us turned to see Quinn walking over to us with a faint smile.

 

“Dude what is your issue with children?” I asked him.

 

“They are snotty annoying little brats that just pick their nose and whine all the time. We cannot take this child with us, it will only burden our attempt at survival,” he told us.

 

“Survival? We’re lost not on the run,” I told him.

 

“On the contrary, it seems we are indeed on the run and on a time limit. This country is set to expire in five days, and in those five days we need to be out of here,” he explained, “and we also have to deal with the issue of the police.”

 

“The police? What are you talking about?” Space asked in a confused voice.

 

"On the way here, I decided to listen in on police frequencies. All police in the area were being redirected to search for a damaged recreational vehicle with a broken left headlight and the plate starting with 7CS," Quinn explained to us.

 

I turned around to look at the RV across the campsite, eyeing both the broken headlight and the 7CS on the license plate.

 

"If I am correct, the police are after us. For what, I do not know, but I believe it may have something to do with the bombing. Being the only survivors, it is only natural that we are considered suspects. However, considering the state of this corrupted country of liberals, I have a feeling we may end up being blamed for this incident to cover up the true perpetrator’s identity," he told us.

 

“So not only is this country probably going to blow up in less than week, the police is blaming a bunch of teenagers for a terrorist attack?” Space asked.

 

Quinn rolled his eyes, grabbing our hands and dragging us back to the campfire. Space and I both sat down while he stood over us, an ominous tone filling the campsite.

 

“As you all know, with the exception of the two children, we are on a time limit and this country is set to expire in five days. Originally, we believe it to be a hoax, but this sudden bombing by foreign operatives makes me believe that it is indeed the truth. America is coming to an end,” Quinn explained.

 

“What are you talking about?” Julia asked quietly.

 

“On the internet, someone posted a detailed post dictating a nuclear attack on the United States lead by several foreign countries, primarily Russia and North Korea. While we all assumed it was a scam of some sort, this recent attack seems to have confirmed that it is indeed the truth,” he announced, “and because of that, we can either accept our deaths, or find a way to live.”

 

“Just because some city blew up does not mean the entire country is,” Hunter told him.

 

Spencer then chimed in, “actually… um I didn’t get around to telling anyone this until this morning when Quinn asked me about it. A few hours after that first post released, a second one was released with even more information. According to it, eleven sites have been identified as ground zero for the nuclear warheads, and 118 cities were also marked down as possible targets for terrorist attacks.”

 

“And let me guess, GreenBrooke was on it?” I asked.

 

He nodded, “y-yeah… Quinn told me not to tell anyone.”

 

“What the hell?” I asked, turning to look at Quinn, “so you knew about this?”

 

“Technically. While our city was on that list of possible targets, I, like everyone else, assumed it to be false information. It was not until that bombing that I realized that it was indeed the truth,” Quinn told us, “Aside from that, we need a plan. If we are to survive, then we must leave this country as soon as possible. Does anyone have any ideas?”

 

“Catch a flight? If we find a way to sell off some of Luis’ weed then we can probably afford a few tickets out of the country,” I suggested.

 

“Guadalajara baby!” Hunter added with a smirk.

 

Quinn sighed, “if we sell drugs we risk being caught by the police. Any other ideas?”

 

“Hijack a helicopter?” Spencer suggested, “I know my way around a rotor so if we get ahold of one I can pilot it.”

 

Andrew stood up, scoffing at Spencer, “you, a pilot? Where’d you learn to fly, Grand Theft Auto?”

 

“To be fair, their graphics are extremely detailed,” Spencer replied.

 

Space then rose her hand awkwardly, “um, I may have something.”

 

The nine of us turned to look at her and Quinn asked her, “please share your idea, unless it involves Chinese fireworks, drugs, or hijacking helicopters.”

 

“My family takes frequent trips down to Florida every few months or so, and we have a pretty nice boat we take out every once in awhile. It’s pretty well stocked and good for long journeys, so if we need a way out maybe we can take that,” she suggested.

 

Quinn smiled faintly, “that… that may actually work. Yes, I do believe that could be a possible solution assuming nobody has a better one.”

 

“Alright alright, what if we get a really big firework, and then a bunch of tiny fireworks,” Spencer suggested, standing up with an eccentric look on his face, “we wrap a rubber band around them all and- “

 

Andrew shoved him aside, glaring at the young boy, “the adults are talking moron. Go back to your game.”

 

Spencer frowned, returning to his game after shooting Andrew a glare. The small blue device he was holding was known as The GameBuddy, one of the newest revolutionary handheld game consoles in the last decade. He took it wherever he went, treating it better than himself.

 

Axel and Julia both looked over Spencer's shoulders as he played. His fingers were mashing the button rigorously as it were an exhilarating workout. While Spencer wasn’t useful for much, he at least could keep the kids distracted from the inevitable doom approaching us.

 

“So? Are we going with Miss Allen’s boat?” Quinn asked everyone, “if everyone chooses to accept that as our current plan of action, I’ll draw up some plans.”

 

Nobody gave a clear answer. Space stared down at the ground, tapping her foot on the dirt. Maddie stood by the kids, stroking Julia’s head to comfort her. Spencer was staring down at his game even though the screen was off and neither Andrew nor Hunter had spoken up either. The group, as always, was indecisive and divided.

 

"Guys... everyone here... listen up," I told everyone, standing up.

 

Everyone looked up, except for Spencer who only did when Maddie snatched his GameBuddy from him. I took a deep breath before beginning my ramble, hoping it'd have some effect on the others. I didn’t have much confidence, but I hoped I would do well here,

 

"We're all scared here. I can tell. I am too. I mean... we're miles away from the home we've known for years and all we have is each other. Things may seem bad, but it’ll get better. For now, we need a plan, and Space’s plan is the best we got,” I told them, walking around the campfire, “we’re not kids anymore guys. This isn’t about homework, school dances, or being to class on time. This is about staying alive so we can live to fight another day. I’m not giving up and I don’t think any of you guys are either.”

 

“So, if you wanna go with this plan, then raise your hand,” I told them before raising my own.

 

One by one, they all raised their hands. Spencer was the only exception, Maddie raising his hand for him.

 

“Alright, now that that’s settled let’s pack up, head to bed, and hopefully by morning Quinn and I will have us something to go off of,” I told them all

 

Everyone seemed to perk up slightly, including Andrew who even gave a small smirk from beneath his hoodie. Hunter then punched his fist in the air “and then after we get out of this shithole of a country, we go to Fiji!"

 

"No!” Maddie, Space and Quinn all exclaimed. Hunter sneered at them, stomping away towards the RV in defeat, “you guys are no fun…”

 

We began to pack up the campsite, grabbing our trash and bags and moving them to the cabin where we would sleep. Hopefully it would have enough for us all.

 

Space turned to me after picking up her stuff, smiling slightly, “that was really nice Anikan.”

 

“Thanks,” I replied, grinning a bit. I rarely received praise from others but getting a compliment from Space made me feel better.

 

“Don’t get cocky,” she joked, “you’re a good leader but you still need a little work.”

 

“Leader?” I questioned.

 

She nodded, “well yeah. Quinn’s smart and Madeline’s caring, but neither of them really have that trait that you do.”

 

“And what trait do I have?” I asked.

 

“You make people feel safe,” she replied with a blushing smile, “especially me Ani.”

 

Space turned around, walking over the cabin with her bag in hand. I smiled to myself, replaying her compliment in my head silently. None of the others had ever acknowledged me like that, so it was nice to feel like I had accomplished something.

 

I smiled, grabbed my bag, and followed her over to the cabin where we would rest for the night.


Submitted: August 10, 2020

© Copyright 2022 AnikanDarkness. All rights reserved.

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