“What the fuck was that?” Brian asked when he heard the sticks cracking outside.
“Did you just….wow, B. Never thought I’d hear an F bomb from-” AJ commented. Kevin hit him, wincing at the sudden pain shooting up his leg.
“Never mind that, you idiot. Something is out there.”
AJ looked towards the cave opening, shivering again. He may have been looking like a bad ass lately but in reality he was a big chicken. Brian and Kevin both looked at him as if to tell him to check things out.
“I am injured and so is Brian. You’re the healthiest….” Kevin reasoned. Something was definitely moving around outside and his heart beat faster, hoping they weren’t about to be eaten by a grizzly bear or a mountain lion.
“What if it eats me?” AJ asked. Whatever the creature was grunted.
“Just go and check it out….” Brian argued, rolling his eyes.
AJ took cautious steps towards the cave opening, listening for any signs of a large animal…but all he heard was the rain. He took a step outside the cave and his eyes scanned the ground, but because it was so dark it was difficult to make anything out.
“There isn’t anything out here. It was probably a racoon or some shit.” AJ called, turning to go back in when something grabbed his leg.
“He’s been gone too long.” Brian commented after a little time had gone by. Kevin nodded, inspecting his leg again. It was hurting more now that he had stopped moving around on it, not to mention he had nothing to elevate it with.
“I’m sure he is fine, I wish it wasn’t so dark, we could look for Nick. You know he doesn’t like being alone. What if he is with Russell?” Kevin said.
“I have a bad feeling he was trying to hurt us. If that was the case, I don’t want Nick to be with him. I really hope he made it out of the bus.”
Brian couldn’t stop thinking about the bus exploding and the possibility of Nick’s charred remains scattered in the woods, it made him sick to his stomach. AJ screaming broke him from his thoughts and his head shot up. Even though Kevin was begging him not to, he had to go and look. AJ stopped yelling and wasn’t in the cave anymore.
“Brian, help me. It’s Nick.” AJ whispered urgently. Brian couldn’t see but he found a body laying at his feet, and he could smell blood. The rain seemed to be finally letting up as they managed to get Nick inside. Brian cried out at his wrist and dropped him once but they made it to the others.
AJ flicked the lighter open so he could see better. It was definitely Nick…..now unconscious but still breathing. Dried blood was at the corners of his mouth and down his face from a gash on his head, and he was very pale.
“See, I told you he made it.” AJ said. Brian sat down next to him, touching Nick’s face gently and noticing he felt cold. They heard a soft moan from behind them, Howie was stirring.
“Howie!” AJ exclaimed, his voice echoing as he ran to him. He had closed the lighter but found him nonetheless, crying from happiness.
“Where….where are we?” Howie whispered,.fear in his voice. He sounded hoarse….they all did from not having water for quite some time. Howie didn’t remember anything having been asleep when the bus started to shake which he felt lucky for. The cave was dark and cold, all of them huddled near each other for warmth.
“Don’t worry about that, we are just happy to hear your voice again, D.” AJ said, kissing his forehead.
“I really wish we had some light, so we could see better. I’m so tired.” Brian pointed out. AJ knew the lighter could help with that but there was nothing dry to make a fire with, everything outside the cave was wet. Kevin ended up suggesting for them all to sleep, so they got as close to each other as they could, resting on each other’s shoulders. Nick’s head lay in Brian’s lap so Brian could keep an eye on him better.
“One of us should stay awake to keep watch. That guy is still out there.” Kevin said. AJ almost protested that he was too tired, but that would have been a lie. These guys needed him.
“I’ll do it, I guess.” AJ offered, knowing he was the strongest as Brian put it. Growing up in the group, AJ never really relied on anyone for help.and now they all relied on him, he was just worried about letting them down.
Russell was thankful the rain had let up, sitting by a small creek. He had spent some time tracking Nick down by just listening for his coughing, the coughing had stopped long ago so he stopped for rest. Russell had experience in hunting, he figured his prey had either passed out from exhaustion or found a hiding place…but he didn’t worry. Dawn was in a few hours and the real challenge would begin. As he patted his gun in his pocket, he smiled.
He would get his revenge, one way or another.