As I dash through the cornfield, my lungs are burning and my muscles are screaming in pain. Gabby said it would be best to split up in the field to lose Arvin and his bandits. She told me to head east and the safe-house will be next to an old diner, we should be safe there.
“Over there” yells a woman. A flashlight shines in my direction, I dart off in the opposite direction. Pumping my arms and legs as hard as I can. As I ran further, the voices started to fade, but then I faintly hear a muffle of an engine. I must be close to the dirt road. I decided to take the risk and run towards the car, maybe they can help. I trip and land in the road, coughing as I inhale dirt into my lungs. I look ahead and see an old decrepit truck with blinding headlights. My limbs feel paralyzed, I just want to rest, only for a few moments. I hear a car door open, followed by footsteps scuffing through the dirt. My eyes flutter shut.
I awoke with my head aching, hearing sounds of an engine underneath me. Slowly lifting my head, I see a silhouette of a man in the driver’s seat, I struggle to sit up.
“You’re awake” the man said in a calm voice. I slowly turned and met his eyes from the rearview mirror. The darkness devoured his face. How did I end up here? I brought my hand up to rub behind my neck. I decided to be quiet.
“Ya know it's not safe to be out here this late. When the sun goes down, the monsters come out. I would think a smart young man like yourself would know that. How old are ya, eighteen, nineteen” the man said concerned. I stayed quiet.
The man looked at me from the rearview mirror again.
“I’m sorry, where my manners. My name is Nick. Nick Crawford” he said with a grin.
“Rhett” I croak. My mind jolts,
“You need to let me out, I need to meet up with a friend, she is expecting me” I said sternly.
“No need, I’ll drive ya there. Where is it?” Nick questions. I'm hesitant, all I knew is that I would be dead before sunrise if I tried to walk out to the safe-house alone.
“But, how could I trust you to get me there in one piece” I question.
“You can’t” Nick chuckles, “So, where ya headed” he asks again.
“Well, it’s next to an old diner, I don’t-” I start to say
“Timmy’s! The only diner in the county. I will get ya there safe and sound” Nick assures andcontinues to drive without any further conversation. I decide to relax a little and lay my head back, letting the darkness consume me.
I heard an engine cut off. I lift my head and my eyes open in a sleepy manner. I look around and see the Timmy’s sign dull and broken.
“All right, we are here” Nick exhales as he opens his car door. I slowly open the door, grab my pack, and hop out. I dig through my bag and grab my pistol. I shut the door and look around, seeing an old building a block away.
“Thanks Nick for the ride, I owe you one” I say while offering a handshake. He accepts with a smile.
“Well, if ya wouldn’t mind, since ya owe me one, do ya mind if I stay with y'all tonight” Nick asks while loading his gun, “I’ll leave when the sun rises, it’s just too late to head back to my place” Nick said smoothly. It was the least I could do, Gabby will understand.
“Okay, I guess” I state hesitantly, rubbing the back of my neck with my hand.
“Lead the way” he said in a toothy grin. We start to walk towards the safe house, my eyes scanning the area. I quicken my pace, as soon as I saw movement beyond the trees.
“Is that the place” Nick said intrigued while pointing at the wooden house. I nod and ran up to the porch, opening the door, to see Gabby sitting in the kitchen.
“Rhett” Gabby exclaims in relief. She runs towards me, but stops halfway, her eyes widen and her stance stiffens, she is staring behind me. I look and see Nick in the doorway, creating a tall shadow in the moonlight.
“It’s okay. This is Nick. He helped me escape from Arvin and his bandits” I said as I lock eyes with Gabby, “In return of his generosity, Nick’s going to stay, only till the sun rises.” Gabby’s eyes furrow, I give her a look of reassurance. Nick walks into the moonlight, shutting the door behind him. Gabby meets my eyes, showing a flicker of worrisome, but quickly hardens her face and sits down on a stool in the kitchen.
“Thank you, I am forever in your debt” he said while looking at me. I look over to Gabby staring at Nick, who eventually sat on the couch to rest his eyes. I decide to sit across from him, there was something that gravitated me towards him. As I close my eyes, a voice interrupts.
“Out in this world, you got to look after yourself, and only yourself” Nick says quietly. I open my eyes and look over to Nick who was talking with his eyes still shut.
“Your friend will slow ya down, but when you’re by yourself, that is all ya have to worry about, only yourself” he sighs, “You remind me of me when I was your age, I relied on others too much, and trusted people too quickly. Then...someone...brought me back to reality, that in the end, you are the only person you can rely on” Nick continues with a harden tone. I close my eyes again, laying my head back and pondered Nick’s words.
Awakening from the sound of a window breaking. I fell onto the floor to a crouch. Through the the broken window, the sun was barely peeking out, quickly blocked by a woman crawling in. Another window breaks out of my sight, hearing a thud and a groan. I slowly work my way behind the couch. Startled, a high-pitched scream rang through the house. I look over to see Gabby in a headlock, looking at me with pleading eyes.
“Rhett” Gabby said through gritted teeth, as her legs spasm and her nails tore against the capturer’s face.
“All she’s going to do is slow ya down, kid” Nick said coldly as he walks out of the door into the darkness. I shut my eyes hard, thinking over his words, shouting filling my ears. I put my head down and press my hands on the back of my neck, instantly feeling sick to my stomach.
Later that morning “You did the right thing, kiddo” Nick assured. It was only a couple of hours ago when I abandoned Gabby at the safe-house. Wouldn’t she have done the same thing? I realize I was the only one walking, I stop to look behind me to see a gun barrel an inch from my face.
“Get on the ground, kid” Nick snarled. His tone drastically changes and his stance turns stiff. I slowly got on the ground, my cheek pushed against the hot cement, pain struck as he shoves his shoe against my mid-back.
“I got one of ‘em Arvin. What do you want me to do with him” he questions into a communication device.
A voice cackles through the speaker. A shiver went down my spine once I felt a cold piece of metal against the back of my head.
“Your a monster” I spat out.
“Me? I wasn’t the one who left my friend to die” he hisses into my ear. BANG. My eyes close shut, but I feel no pain. I look up and see Nick lying on the cement, as I peek over him I see someone covered in dirt and blood, holding a shotgun.
“Gabby” I croak.