The aching in my knee woke me, the all too familiar pain leaking into my dream. It was more of a nightmare, the same one I’d had for months. There was only one thing I was afraid of now, and my unconscious mind wouldn’t let me forget it. Every time I closed my eyes, all I would see was her cold, dead eyes staring at me.
It was late autumn, a light frost covered the grass, and there was an increasing chill in the wind. The sky was a shade darker with each passing day, like black mold growing in the sky. Already, the cold was noticeable during the day, and we had to bundle up during the night. I didn’t even want to think about what would happen if we got snow again. The last time the little white puffs came down here was a couple years go, but you just never knew anymore. The cold, wet precipitation would slows us down.
Maxine turn over, her eyes barely opening. “Your knee again?” Not waiting for an answer, she rolled over on her stomach and reached for the icepack on the dashboard.
I silently cursed myself for waking her, but she seemed to always knew when my knee was acting up. She had a sixth sense about it, she called it her superpower. More of a curse, if you ask me, it was a burden on her.
The pack touched my skin, the cold bit into my knee, sending a fresh wave of pain up my leg. The first couple second where the hardest, but Maxine knew how to comfort me. She let me squeeze her hand as hard as I could. I worried about hurting her but she assured me it didn’t bother her.
The burden of taking care of me and dragging us both to the coast was great. She
might as well be carrying a ring to drop into an active volcano. Well, at least we didn’t have hordes of creates on our tails trying to stop us at every turn.
When the ice pack ran warm, she place it on the dashboard again, it would refreeze soon enough. After Maxine had cut me off the pain killers, the ice pack was the only thing that made the aching go away. I’m glad she cut me off, I was starting to feel depended on those pills. They took away more than the ache in my knee.
Maxine didn’t lay down for a while, she just sat up on the makeshift bed, hugging her knees. I wanted to ask her what was on her mind, but it went to dark places at night. There was something about the dark that made her face contort, like she was in physical pain. The pain wasn’t physical, I off all people knew what she was mulling over in her head and it was not something we could talk about so easily. I placed a hand on her cold, boney shoulder and tried to get her to lay down again.
“It will be winter soon. What if your knee gets worse with the constant cold?.” A tear rolled down her pale cheek. Knowing she worried as much as did about me made me feel guilty. She’d been taking care of me for months now. I should have been the one taking care of her, specially now. But we were both broken, in more ways then one. Physical, emotional, we both knew we wouldn’t last much longer with the stress.
I sat up too, ignoring the discomfort it brought my knee. “We’re close, we’ll be there before winter hits. I promise.” I was in no position to promise anything, but I wanted to be the one doing the comforting for once. The thought of salvation once we hit the coast was the only thing keeping us going. We had to trust her brother would be there.
Jasper, Maxine’s brother, had promised to be off the coast of Plymouth on the 17th of December. He was our way out of the country and into the safety of the U.S. Navy. Well, a mutinous U.S. Navy ship. Jasper, the captain of USS Nimitz, and a hand picked skeleton crew had committed mutiny. The USS Nimitz was sailing the word to pick up its loved ones.
It had been Jasper who warned Maxine’s father about the upcoming events that changed the world. Her dad had built a military grade bunker under their home in Bristol in response to Jasper’s warning. We would be dead if Maxine’s dad hadn’t bee the over protective father he was. I just wish he had made it in time to be sharing the trip with us.
There was a lot of things I wished for. I wished my mom hadn’t been called into work that afternoon. I wish I had’t gotten into a fight with those jerk in that shop. I wish this whole thing wasn’t happening. But it was, and no amount of wishing would take it back.
Maxine turned towards me, hugging me. It was out of character for her. She’d always been the though girl growing up and I knew how hard it was for her to admit vulnerability. I guess that was one of the many reasons why I loved her so much, she just refused to admit defeat.
Hugging her back, tightly as I could, I kissed the top of her head. I feel asleep imagining what our life would have been if North Korea hadn’t grown a pair and nuked the United States, causing World War 3.