Ali woke me up the next morning. She was playing with my hair! I jolted up and ran my hands through my hair. “Morning,” Ali said casually. “Your hair is very soft considering you haven’t showered in weeks.” She laughed. I rolled my eyes and stretched. The sun was beating down on us and I wondered if it was even morning anymore. I knew we had to get moving if we wanted to get into town that day.
I checked my leg over. The blood had dried up, and while it didn’t look good, I was just glad I wasn’t still bleeding. “We’d better get moving.” I said, and Ali nodded. She jumped up and grabbed my hand like always. “I’m going first this time, though.” She said as she pulled me through the field. The field seemed never ending. We finally stumbled out onto a country road. Ali looked up with a worried look on her face. “It’s getting overcast.” She said mostly to herself.
“We’ll be in town soon.” I said hopefully, and we cut through another vineyard. Carefully we walked down the steep hills leading to town. Finally, only one fence stood in the way of us and the small town. We climbed it quickly and jumped down to the other side. Droplets of rain were slowly coming down as we walked into town. It was strange to see all those people so unaffected by anything that happened on just the other side of the mountains.
They buzzed around the supermarkets and ran to get out of the drizzling rain. And they stared at me and Ali as we walked by. They looked confused by our dirtiness, our lack of shoes, and that we weren’t bothered by the rain. After wandering around a while we finally went inside the mall. The place was so clean it almost felt wrong to me, walking into the polished floors and bright white walls.
Ali admitted she was hungry, and I realized we had no way of paying for food. I felt terrible seeing Ali watch people eating at the cafeteria when we sat down. I was concerned after a while. I noticed she was staring at this particular group of people at a table across from us. When they got up and left she grabbed my arm roughly and pulled me over to the table where she pushed me down in a chair.
“What are we…?” I started but she shushed me. After a few seconds she smiled and said, “Those girls barely touched their food. Then they left it here.” I looked down at the burger with a bite out of it and an almost full package of fries. Ali had the same situation on her tray. “Dig in.” She laughed before taking a big bite out of the burger. “Don’t mind if I do.” I replied, starting on the fries.
After eating we planned to go back out, but the rain had picked up significantly. So we walked around the mall for a few hours. We avoided mall security, because Ali said she was sure she saw a sign outside saying something about having to wear shoes and shirts. At 7:00pm a voice came on the loudspeaker saying that the mall was closing. People slowly filtered out, and we left at the last minute.
The rain was pounding down and I started panicking. This was the kind of rain that hit when the valley flooded. Ali gripped my hand a little tighter and I knew that she was panicking too. Fortunately, this town couldn’t flood. I tried to comfort myself with that as we jogged through town, trying to find a place that was open.
Suddenly, a bus pulled up next to us at a stop light. It looked vaguely familiar but I didn’t focus on it too much until I heard a banging noise coming from its window. I squinted through the rain to see it was Louis. He was hitting the window with both fists, and I waved at him. He shook his head and motioned for us to get on the bus. I didn’t want to, but the look on his face said that it was urgent.
I looked over at Ali but she had already seen. She nodded and we ran up to the bus doors, knocking on them frantically. The doors opened and I groaned as I saw the bus driver was none other than the man who had taken me back to the Children’s Centre. He looked confused at first, but then recognized me and looked angry. At that moment the lights turned green.
He grumbled something and motioned for us to take a seat as he pulled the bus forward. The bus was pretty empty, with about twenty kids on it. And the kids weren’t even kids; they looked around mine and Ali’s age. We sat down in the seat in front of Louis and instantly turned around for the news. He leaned forward and began.
“They’re driving us as far away from the valley as possible.” He said. “Why?” Ali asked. “Mudslides are happening on the outside walls of the valley, and it’s not long before it hits here.” My eyes widened. “Well, where are we going?”
“My guess is New York.” Louis replied. “So why are there only teens on this bus?” I asked as I looked around. “They split us all up according to age groups and sent the buses as they came. The youngest went first, and we went last. Everyone on this bus is 14-18 years old.” Louis explained. “So aren’t we most likely to be caught in a mudslide?” Ali whispered, not wanting to scare the others. Louis shrugged, “Exactly my Irish friend, exactly.” I slumped back into my seat and rubbed my eyes.
The bus jolted as we came off a bridge. The traffic was terrible, since everyone was trying to get far away from the danger of mudslides. My body must have been happy that I was letting it sleep again, because it was taking full advantage. Within five minutes of sitting in traffic, I fell asleep.
I was poked awake and I groggily sat up mumbling, “What’s up?” Ali didn’t answer; she just stood up and ran to the back. I turned around and saw that half the kids on the bus were staring out the back window. “Is that..?” One girl started. “I knew it; it’s coming closer, see!” A boy exclaimed. I shot a confused look at Louis. “It looks like we’re experiencing the disadvantages of being older.” He said as he straightened up. I frowned, “What do you mean?”
“Mudslides, that’s what I mean.”
Ali came and sat back down next to me, looking as pale as ever. I didn’t have time to ask her anything before I heard one boy say, “Look, people are getting out of their cars!” Everyone glued their eyes to the windows as we watched people getting out of their cars, and running. “We should run too!” Another boy shouted. “Sit down!” The bus driver ordered. Ali looked over to Louis. “He’s right, we’re safest in here.” He said. “Tell them that.” I said as the other kids complained, and even attempted to open windows and climb out.
Louis took me literally. He stood up and shouted, “Everyone shut your windows! If we go outside we’ll be swept away! This bus is the only thing protecting us, so just sit down and shut up!” Everyone stopped and considered what he said for a minute, before closing their windows and sitting back down. The driver looked at Louis thankfully. “It’s almost here.” A girl sitting at the back whispered, but all of us heard her.
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