Extreme boredom can do this to a person. Without homework except compiling college essays and searching for scholarships, senior year is starting off pretty smoothly. I had to leave my job because I didn't sign up for concurrent enrollment or work study/internships like I wanted, so I'm a fulltime high school senior. T_T Oh well.

Anyway, that's not what the main idea is. Now, bare with me everyone. This time skip may seem a little out and you're going to wonder "What the heck? What just happened!?" Trust me, I have a good idea on what I'm doing, and this won't last long. Think of it as, a foreshadow.

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July 8th, 2008

Peter and Charlotte have yet to return. Dad says we need to get rid of lunch altogether. I never did a huge lunch before, but now I realize that it helped me to become accustomed to this. Mr. Goddard's body is still here. It's beginning to stink. But we can't dispose of it yet. Not until we know we're clear.


The crevice was becoming much easier to travel through; she had burned many calories during the last search, although it was unsuccessful. She easily slid through the large hole, being extremely careful to avoid scarping her cheek against the protruding pipe which had left an unsightly scrape during her last rush to their private excavation. The band-aids began to loosen due to her sweating. Ignoring the sudden drastic change in temperature, she went through the left tunnel, with the first-aid kit in her left arm. Stopping at the make-shift red mark next to the door, she bent down and pulled a loose grey "tile" and put it to her right before pulling her legs over into the hole with a firm grip on the ladders. Clenching the handle of the first-aid kit with her teeth, she descended down the dark "knothole."

She looked up, making sure that none of the machines were following her. There was only one entrance, as it was the same as there only exit. The routine had become a habit ever since a close call with Peter. He'd lucked out; a better candidate had caught the machine's attention long enough for the wry teenager to make it. They had all lucked out that day. With the current circumstances, losing the main scavenger would have been detrimental and severed any contact with the "coast guards."

She finally reached the bottom and hopped off of the ladder, fishing around her pouch for her flashlight. She stopped when she heard a small growl form her left. Flinching, she turned her head, the tension in her heart increasing to perilous proportions. She immediately relaxed as she saw the two small glowing orbs at the end of the hallway. Pulling out her flashlight, she kneeled down and pulled out a small rice cake given to her by the "neighbors" Asian cook.

"Ssh…come here Jerk. Come come…"

The glowing orbs suddenly blinked before a rough mewl sounded.

A German shepherd trotted toward her, his left bandaged foot dangling as his other paws padded against the relatively smooth asphalt. Tail wagging enthusiastically, the dog's panting quickened as she placed the rice cake in front of her. As the dog gobbled it up, she reached into her pouch and pulled out one of Muriel's "walkie talkies," holding her finger on the com button on the side. "I'm here."

"Is Charlotte or Peter with you?" A feminine voice sounded from the small device.

"No, I wasn't able to find either of them. I found a first aid kit though. I came across some Ibuprofens and liquid Tylenol though. Is he still delirious?"

"Not so much. He's been sleeping for half the day. His fever's still up there though."

"I have two water bottles left. I think that'll help.

"We still have a good supply. You'll need it for tomorrow. No, wait. Never mind, Carmine really needs that water. The water we have is becoming a little dirty. We need to find another filter. Think you'll be able to see if the warehouse still have some left?"

Amy gulped.

"The warehouse is gone mom, it collapsed two weeks ago."

"But what about the Ca-"

"They were caught."

A long pause drifted through the air, the only sounds of the subterranean passage was that of Jerk's panting, and the ringing of the flashlight.

"Come to the door; the new code is 'Orange'."

"New code? What happened?"

" We heard sounds while you were gone. We think that may have been them. We don't think 'Charter' will work anymore."

"…Alright. I'm on my way."

She cut off and placed the walkie talkie in her pouch. She beckoned the dog over. "C'mere Jerk. Come."

The dog immediately came to the girl's side, masking his limp with his speed. Giving the dog a rough pat on the head, she stood back up. After about a three-minute walk, she made it to the door she was searching for, light from the window pane illuminating the small area she was in. Taking a careful look out of both ways, she realized that she and Jerk were the only ones outside. "Orange"

She heard a series of locks jingle as she waited in front of the door.

A tall muscular middle-aged man, smelling strongly of cigarette smoke, towered over her, a smug look plastered on his face. "Took your damn time didn't ya'? Thought you'd be runnin' out and snatchin' from those kids up the road."

Amy snorted. " I got held up. Why didn't you tell me they came over?"

The man ran his burly hands through his curly stiff hair. "The misses didn' want ya' to worry. You've been uppity ever since the collapse. You've grown balls that day though. Don't know if that was a benefit we'd all want though. By the way, did you get a pack?"

She reached into the pouch and gave him an open pack of Marlboro cigarettes. "Go into the hallway; the habit's disgusting."

"Don't act like I've never smoked before kid, I-"

"I'm talking about around Carmine."

"Tsh! Goddard's son offered the bastard a cigarette."

"Mr. Goddard's dead."

"I said his son."

Amy narrowed her eyes and walked forward. "Gabriel, please don't smoke in here. I'm tired. Its past midnight. Shouldn't you be asleep?"

Gabriel frowned. "Carmine's been getting worse. Your mom says he doesn't have much time to live."

Amy stared at the man. "He'll pull through."

"You're the only one that thinks so."

"It's nice to have hope."

"Hope won't get you far kid."

"We're here, are we not?"

"Depends, 'here' is not where I want to be."

"So ungrateful."

The man pulled out a lighter from his jean pocket. "You're still a church girl. I can tell." Gabriel lit the end of his cigarette. "I haven't gone to church in years. I was raised a catholic. Last time I went was when the pastor died."

"Wasn't the pastor your best friend's father?"

"My best friend's uncle."

"Oh."

"Yeah, the guy had a cardiac arrest over night."

"Amy."

The girl looked behind and saw a frail elderly woman ahead of her, clutching a bag in her trembling hands. "Ration this for Carmine please. He says its making him sick at the moment."

Amy took the bag out of the woman's hand. "Ms. Gale, mom says you also have to eat. Your getting thinner every day."

The lady shook her head. "Dear, I lived in poverty when I was younger. I can go a few days on a little. I'll be fine. I'll eat when the time comes."

"But Ms. Gale, she s-"

"Tell her we have enough food here. We have some chicken noodle soup left from Peter's search. I'm pretty sure, we'll be good for the week."

Frowning, Amy looked down at the sandwich bag. She was startled when soft pale wrinkled hands engulfed hers. She looked up into the soft weary green eyes of the elderly woman. "We're so fortunate child. Compared to the others, we are so blessed. We have food, water, shelter. We're so fortunate. I can't tell you how grateful I am that you put yourself at risk day by day. You, Charlotte, Peter, Erin always go to the outside and get us older folk the stuff we need. "The gentle frown suddenly turned into a small frown. "But please be careful. Tell your mom I want you to limit yourself going out there. It's becoming more risky."

"Speaking of risky," Gabriel interrupted, "Where's your brother?"

"We lost contact with him and dad. Last time I heard of them, they were going to West Virginia."

"You mean they…"

"No, Dad said they had to lay low. They were going to the 'red marks' for a generator."

"Oh."

"Anyway, Here is the medicine for Carmine." She told them, pulling out several bottles of ibuprofen and Tylenol. She put it in Gabriel's hands, before withdrawing one out. "We need to keep a little Tylenol for ourselves."

"You said one of the neighbor's is catatonic, right? We'll save her ibuprofen when she hurts herself." Gale assured.

Amy smiled. "Thank you. We'll be down the hall."

Gale smiled. "No problem sweetie."

Gabriel brought two fingers to his mouth a whistled. The brown canine, that was lying down next to the table, perked up and got to his feet. "Jerk, go."

"He doesn't have to stay with me." Amy assured.

"He stinks. Carmine is getting worse. We have no choice. Have him keep watch since Pete's not here."

Amy sighed. "Alright."


"Jerk's staying with us?"

Amy took off her pouch and put it on the small table. "Yeah, Carmine's having breathing problems."

Her mother merely looked down at the dog before returning to assorting the available dishes.

Amy took off her shoes and sat on the small couch in the far corner, socked feet pressing against the wall. "What I'd do for television."

"What I'd do for a hot bath. It's been getting musky lately."

"No one's been washing. And Mr. Goddard's body is still in the hallway." Amy said, the monotone in her voice reflecting barely any sign of emotion. Glancing to her side, she noticed Jerk's snout on the edge of the couch. "Sit."

The dog obediently lowered his hindquarters as Amy reached over and grabbed a thick book on the floor next to the hole in the ground.

Without looking up, her mother replied, "You finished that book several times over."

Amy merely opened the book to where she had placed a folded up article cut out as a bookmark and licked her fingertips before going to the next page. "I like the Hitch Hiker's Guide."

"I read that book when I was in school."

Amy said nothing as she continued to read.

"You know. Carmine isn't doing well. He might not make it through the week."

"He'll get better."

"Where did you ever get that optimism from?"

"Ms. Gale said that's the thing that's holding us together."

"Amy. We'll have to go."

Amy paused and looked up from her book. "What?"

"We'll have to go. We can't stay here."

"But they haven't found us yet."

"They have."

"What do you mean?"

Her mother stopped assorting the plastic cutleries and her once amiable face turned to that of stone. "I'm confident Carmine won't make it through the week. Once he dies, we'll have to go. Earlier today, we heard the drilling. They know we're here." A long pause. "I don't think Peter and Charlotte are going to come back. Almost a week has passed and none of the neighbors said they've seen either of them. We'll have to pack."

"Mom…" Amy felt her lips quivering. Never had she heard her mother sound so cold. "How…how could…they'll be back. Just wait, they'll be back."

"Honey," her mother said, her voice becoming more sympathetic, "I'm sorry. I don't know what else to do anymore. I want to have hope. I just can't find it. We don't have many options. I'd like to believe Carmine is going to pull through. Maybe I could be wrong and Carmine get's all better and Peter and Charlotte return. But right now, it doesn't look too likely. But they're aware that we're here now. We're all in danger."

Amy's heart remained seized in her chest; the book had fallen onto her lap and closed without a marked section.

"I'm only human sweetie." Her mother said, taking a seat at the table, upset hands folded in front of her eyes in disappointment, "I'm only human…"

Jerk looked up into the depressed face of one of his human partners before leaping on her lap, head resting on her shoulder.

Her mother stood up and took the flashlight out of the black pouch. "We have three days. In that time, if they don't return, we'll have to leave them. I'll be going into the storage bunk. I have to see how much food we have left."

Her mother walked out the door, closing it behind her.

Amy listened as her mother's footsteps began to fade as she went further and further. Wrapping her arms around Jerk's neck in a gentle hug, she buried her face into his furry matted dorsal, letting warm tears stream out after so long from withholding them.


Okay, Are some of you confused a bit? Good. That was what I was aiming for. Anyway, I'm sorry for not updating for so long. I'll try to be more active in the future, and now that life has become much easier for me to deal with, I can take a breather and actually focus.

Anyway R/R would be very pleasant, and so would friendly criticism.