She's strong. She's strong. She's strong.

Repeating this to herself, either muttering it or just thinking it, has become somewhat of a habit. She tried to remind herself that this is what it was like before Boulder – it was better than it was before Boulder, here she wasn't part of some sick 'zoo' – and she'd held together just fine then.

Then she hadn't been walking toward certain death, though… she could think that she was living the possibility of certain death, but the only thing that would have affected her mortality back then would have been how she acted. She was young and she was beautiful – well, these days on the road hadn't been exactly kind to her, but she thought that once she got to Las Vegas, she'd clean up again.

Now she would die no matter what. She'd accepted this job knowing that, and while she was still accepting of the fact, it seemed to swing a bit more weight now.

Lost in her thoughts, she tripped and wondered if she couldn't pick up another car. She'd had one at the beginning, but it had gotten stuck in a traffic jam, and she hadn't found another one yet. She wondered if there was one that still worked –


She could have sworn that she just heard a meow. A cat? There were a lot of them around, they hadn't been affected by the superflu, but she hadn't been in close contact with a cat since she was nine years old.

The meow came again and she paused, trying to pinpoint the location. She would have a companion, at least, and that would make her journey less bearable. Less alone.

She eventually located the cat, a kitten, really, underneath an old truck. She got on her hands and knees and peered underneath to face bright yellow eyes on a black-and-white spotted face.

It crawled out to her after a bit of persuasion, and she carried it down the road as she walked. It attached itself to her quickly, sharp little claws in her shirt. She thought of Sue, for some reason – well, she thought of Sue often, but it was just a strange thing that had triggered her to remember Sue.

But Dayna Jurgens was strong. She found a working car with gas in it a few miles down the road and decided that she would drive the rest of the way to Las Vegas, roadblocks be damned. She'd drive this shitty rustbucket until she hit Las Vegas, and then she would get her information or, if not, die trying.

Because Dayna Jurgens was strong. Dayna Jurgens was persuasive. And Dayna Jurgens would make it back to Susan Stern with this kitten in tow.

This was requested by a user on Tumblr who wanted something Dayna-centric! Dayna is one of my favorites in The Stand, though I've never really thought much about her before, so this might be a little off. Either way, here it is!