Apocalypse origins, p.20
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       Apocalypse Origins, p.20

           R.A. Neely
 

  ***

  Byron drove as fast as he dared. Fortunately, the roads were clear so there wasn't much to worry about. He just hoped they reached Greg in time for their warning to be of any use. Overall, he was kind of relived. All of the campers had elected to stay behind. They probably didn't see the point of going on the road when there was plenty of food at hand. He was still upset about having to leave his place, and who knew what kind of condition those campers would leave it in? But, he was taking Kelly somewhere safe and that meant everything. 

   

   

   

   

   

  14 Camp, Wisconsin

   

  Late in the day they reached Greg's caravan. The vehicles were pulled over to the side and tents were pitched in the grass. A guard waved them down and Byron quickly pulled over. "I need to talk with Greg," he explained when the guard came to his door. The guard escorted him to Greg’s tent and he wasted no time relating the morning’s events.

  "I'm sorry you had to leave like that," Greg said as Byron finished his story.

  Byron nodded, "It's just not safe anymore. How long 'til someone else shows up?"

  "I guess that's true," Greg replied. "I'm happy to have you here though. The thought of regular fresh meat sounds pretty good."

  "It's no problem," Byron said, "it's the least I can do."

  "We're were about to have dinner," Greg said. "Why don't you join us? It won't beat your table but it'll be filling."

  "That sounds great," Byron replied, "we haven't eaten since breakfast this morning."

  Greg led the way to where a folding table was set up. The rest of the group was already there. "Hey guys," Greg said as they seated themselves. "We've got some news."

  "What's going on," James asked.

  "Byron had some visitors this morning," Greg explained. "The short version is that someone's looking for Shirley."

  Jackson narrowed his eyes, "I have an idea. Pasty looking fellow? Weak chin?"

  Byron nodded, "That's him. Shifty fellow but he didn't seem like that much of a threat on his own. The guys with him though, they seemed dangerous."

  Jackson sighed, "Should've dealt with him when I had the chance."

  Shirley laid a comforting hand on his shoulder, "It's alright. You couldn't have known."

  "What happened?" Carol asked.

  Shirley shrugged, "There isn't much to tell. Jeremy and I were engaged. He was the city's favored son and I was an up and coming star. The Collapse showed me the kind of man he really was so I ended it. He didn't take it too well."

  Laura smiled sympathetically, "Why is he coming after you?"

  Shirley shrugged again, "He's entitled, used to getting what he wants. He had the mistaken belief that I belonged to him. I thought I'd dissuaded him of that. If I see him again we'll revisit that convo with a bullet," she finished fiercely.

  "That's if I don't get to him first," Jackson said.

  "Alright," Greg said with a glance towards James. "I want a guard on each of them."

  "That's not necessary," Jackson protested. "I'll stay close to her. We'll handle Jeremy if he shows up."

  "I'm not really worried about Jeremy," Greg replied. "These other guys though, they might be a problem. I don't want to underestimate them."

  Jackson nodded grudgingly, clearly not liking the arrangement. "I'm sorry," Shirley said sadly. I thought I was done with him. I didn't think I'd ever see him again. I don't mean to bring this to your doorstep."

  "Nonsense," Laura said, "you're family."

  "That's right," Carol said with a smile, "we'll deal with this together."

  "Let's increase patrols," Greg said, "I don't want to make getting in here easy for them."

  James nodded, "I'll take care of it."
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