A/N: I wrote a quick one-shot of Nate's POV of Chapters 3 & 4 of this story called "I Thought Gingers Didn't Have Souls?" because I couldn't find inspiration for this chapter and couldn't get that out of my head, so I wrote it instead... Anyway, it's on my profile or you can find it in The Host category.
We were quickly approaching the road where we would turn west to continue our journey toward Estes Park. Though we could continue on the road we were on and get there much more quickly, we had all agreed that it would be safer, despite the hazardous road, to avoid Seekers if at all possible. We could not continue to escape them if we remained so clearly in view and the side road was so obscure that we had a much better chance of getting through unseen.
The radio Rob had tossed in my lap was a fairly basic looking, fitting in the palm of my hand. We had several of them that we used on the grounds crew at CU, so I had a good idea of how to work this one. I turned the knob at the top and began to flip through the channels. Static, static, and more static. I turned it off, wanting to save the battery and knowing we were too far up in the mountains for a good signal to come through unless we were close enough to another radio to see the person carrying it.
Instead of wasting more time with the radio, I pulled out the map and began to look ahead for the turnoff. I was not the best at reading maps, but I was fairly certain we were approaching the left-hand turn soon.
After two very harsh winding corners, I pushed the map toward Rob, "Do you think we've missed the turnoff? I think we're here," I pointed, "and the map puts the road that we wanted to turn off onto back here." I motioned to another spot, further back on the road we had just driven.
Rob glanced quickly at the map and then pulled over to the side of the road. He grabbed the map from my hands and examined it more carefully. "You're right. We missed it. Better turn around."
He eased the large vehicle into a U and we retraced our route, this time keeping our eyes peeled for the road that we had missed the first time. Rob was the one that spotted it. On the right hand side of the road, just where it was supposed to be, the turn off appeared. The fencing that lined the road was unbroken, but beyond it was a path, it could hardly be called a road, that disappeared into the trees. There were no tracks to mar the snow and large rocks jutted out occasionally to break the soft winter wonderland. Rob pulled the Hummer off to the side of the road and gave me an exasperated look.
"We're going to have to break apart the fence, drive up a ways, and then come back and clear our tracks. It's not going to be easy."
I nodded. It would certainly take time, but we had all decided this was the best course of action, there was no going back on it now. I opened my door and hopped out. The fence was barbed wire and while I approached it, Rob rummaged around in the car for some of his tools. I got to the metal post that the wires and examined it and was surprised by what I saw. There were two posts side by side made to look as one. Tentatively, I reached out and grabbed one of them. It was a bit loose—not enough to fall over, certainly, but enough that I could move it with my hand. I got a firmer grip and pulled, and even with the frozen ground, the post came out. Rolling the wire around the post as I went, I walked over to the other side of the road and left it there. Our way was clear. Clearly, someone had done this before and had left it like this on purpose.
Rob had finally found all his wire-cutting tools and had joined me and I took great satisfaction in giving him a smug smile. He had no expression on his face as he turned around to return his tools to the Hummer. I joined him and we drove the H3 up the rough road about 100 feet until the tracks would not be visible. The rough ride woke Nate up and he blinked at me sleepily while I quickly filled him in before jumping out with Rob to cover up our tracks.
First we closed off the fencing again and then, using pine boughs, we primitively covered what we could of our tracks. We were counting on snow blindness and Soul obliviousness to get us through this. Hopefully they would not notice our trail for a few more hours.
Rob and I had completed our tasks in silence, both lost in thought. When we approached the Hummer, I could hear music pouring out of it and I was heartened to know that Nate was feeling a bit better.
Rob got to the Hummer first and when he opened the door, I could hear Nate singing along to the radio at the top of his lungs,
"Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free-yeah, to feel the way I feel. Man! I feel like a woman!"
When I opened my door, I found Rob staring awkwardly at Nate, who was sitting in the backseat using one of the bottles of Sleep from the first aide kit as a microphone. I smiled to myself; it was good to have the old Nate back. I climbed in and looked at Rob meaningfully. I wanted to get out of here, we had wasted enough time already. Rob put the Hummer in drive and we continued on our way while Nate sang over our shoulders,
"I get totally crazy. Can you feel it! Come, come, come on baby! I feel like a woman!"
We got bumped and slammed and jarred for a good hour as we made our way along the road that Google had no record of. Rob's face was stony and his knuckles white as he did his best to keep us on the road. Nate was still singing along to the girly country mix that was in the CD player, and I was getting more anxious by the minute. We were nowhere near safe and so many people were counting on me. I was so caught up in my own little world that Rob had to hit my arm twice to get my attention.
"Look. We might have trouble. But maybe not."
Up ahead was a tiny cabin, and there was smoke coming out of the chimney.