Author's Note: It's been a while, but I've been out of town for two weeks and my computer's broken, so I had to use my cousin's to dish out this chapter. It's not the greatest, since it's more of a transitional chapter, and the next one will be much, much better. And more quickly updated.
"Hazel, the field—it's covered in blood!"
—Fiver, Watership Down
With not a single word spoken between the three, they assembled a collection of the few precious items they'd acquired; the bottle of disinfectant, their food, and anything else that they could jam in their pockets and Rachel's horsey backpack. Ray even shamefully forced the reel of pictures from Coney Island into his back pocket, knowing that he might not see these photographs ever again. In silence, they'd met in the foyer, and set off hand in hand. Robbie and Ray kept Rachel in the middle, as if they were going to encircle her if danger neared, like a pack of wolves.
As they walked down the middle of the street in almost total darkness, they felt more like the loner kind of wolves, with no sign of life anywhere other than themselves. As they passed, there seemed to be an accumulating amount of papers blowing through the empty streets like tumbleweeds. As Ray got a better look around, he noticed that they were flying off of power lines. "Stay here," he barked as he ambled toward one such pole, looking at the leaves pinned to it. It displayed photos and bold letters stating MISSING at the top of almost every one, with the hardly any saying FOUND. Against his word, his children had already joined him, looking at the makeshift notice board, too.
"Look," Rachel said excitedly. "They're looking for us!"
On a bright yellow piece of paper standing out in a sea of white, was another missing notice, only taped to it was a picture of he, Robbie, Rachel, and Mary Ann back at his house in Jersey. His heart swelled as he read:Missing
Ray, 40, Robbie, 15, and Rachel, 10
Last seen on November 12, 2005, Newark, NY
If you have any information, please contact Tim and Mary Ann Cohen at 1151 Wells Ave.
"1151 Wells? That isn't her parents' address…" Ray muttered. "Where is that?"
"There's a chunk ripped off of the paper, too," Robbie observed, tearing the piece from the pole. "Maybe there's another somewhere else—Rachel?"
Rachel stood in the very center of the street, shaking as she craned her head upward. There seemed to be a flood of crimson light showering down on them, and Robbie and Ray looked up, too.
The moon had just peaked out from behind a veil of dark cloud, offering light, but Ray wished it hadn't. The sphere, once a beautiful white disc hanging in the night sky, was the color of blood. It, Ray realized, was covered in the red weed.
The Ferrier men turned their heads when an ominous thump rang through their ears. Rachel was collapsed in a crumpled heap on the asphalt, twitching and shivering.
"Rachel!" Ray screamed, sprinting over to her side and kneeling to hold her head in his arms. "Rachel, baby, no… no, don't do this to me, not now, Rach…" Ray now slid her whole fragile body into his arms, and stood up. "Rae… God, Rachel, wake up!"
Robbie simply was paralyzed in absolute horror as he watched from afar. "We—need to get to a hospital… or something." He whispered after a while of examination his father's growth of panic.
"Yeah," he agreed quietly. "But where is it—"
"Hold on!" Robbie interrupted. "Wells Avenue! We're near the intersection! I remember!" he cried, and took off running. With a moment's pause, Ray followed his son's figure through the diffused scarlet light. Suddenly, Robbie halted at the fork, beaming wickedly at the green sign displaying 'Wells Ave.'. "We're almost there!" he darted away again, maybe even forgetting the urgency of the situation for a moment.
By the time Ray had reached him again, Rachel's weight numbing his arms, Robbie was looking at the enormous cream-colored complex:
1151 Wells Avenue