He saw the flash of hair in the corner of his eye, but still carried on walking. Any sudden movement and his follower would have sussed that he had seen them.
He should have been terrified, but he was excited. He was defiantly sure someone was following him, he wasn't imagining things which meant there was life in the city, someone to answer his questions.
Options whizzed around in his mind. He wanted to turn round, to speak to them but he didn't want to scare them. And if he carried on like this, they might disappear and he would never get a chance. He chose the former; it was a chance worth taking. He inhaled deeply and spun round,
"Show yourself!" he cried "I come in peace"
He grimaced, he sounded so cliché. He looked around him and didn't see anything. Maybe he was just imagining it after all.
But just as he was about to turn around and give up, he heard a voice behind him,
"Who are you stranger? What are you doing here?"
He spun round, and faced a strange looking girl, with brown hair, randomly plaited and backcombed. Her skin was tanned and she had striking green eyes. He stared for a few moments, taking in the new human being. She stood in front of him in silence until he composed himself enough to talk.
"My name is Bray, I used to live in this city"
"So? What are you doing here, there's nothing left here" she said, her voice aggressive
"I'm here to find family, my tribe. Do you have a tribe?"
"No tribe" she answered bluntly, before looking towards the ground "Your tribe is not here"
"How do you know that?" he said stepping forward
"Nobody is here, there are no tribes here, you must leave"
Bray stepped closer again and anguish took over his body , he lunged towards the girl, ready to grab her, but she was quick and blocked him with some sort of steel pipe, she pushed him hard.
"There's nothing here for you!" she said raising her voice slightly.
He was on the floor & he felt tears starting to well up behind his eyes. He had been pushed over by a girl, but he tried to hold them back.
"I need to find my family! You don't understand I need to find her! I need to find my son" he pounded the ground next to him
The girl saw the pain in his face & the tears in his eyes, so she softened. She was looking at a broken weak man on the floor. His long hair wispy, and his face was pale & gaunt. His clothes were tatty, and ripped in places, but it was his eyes that spoke to her. This man was suffering, and had been for a long time. She was now in a position she had not been in before but it was her job to lead stragglers and nomads out of the city. But this man was no nomad, he was not simply going through the city, nor had he wondered upon it by accident and was curious, he had history here. She felt that even though his body & mind had been broken, his spirit wouldn't let him leave this place. He was after answers and she was afraid that he wouldn't rest until he had them, which could be dangerous for everyone.
Most nomads she had come across, she had spun them a line about the "virus" and then had fled without question, this man she knew would not go so easily.
She held out her hand, and smiled softly at the man on the ground "I'll take you"
"Take me where?" he asked
"The Phoenix Mall" she replied