All I said was, “You can’t wander off like that, Gray.”
Nothing more, nothing less. She just stared at me for a minute. I was angry, so I walked off.
I didn’t know that the next time I looked for her, she’d be gone for good.
You can try to raise them on the radio, check my story. They’ll say the same thing I said.
I got back with the supplies, she was waiting for me, and then she was gone like a ghost.
If I had to bet, she thought it was probably for the best. She killed that man on the beach. Only a court martial waiting for her back here.
If we’re still doing that.
But I don’t know. Maybe she thought I wouldn’t say anything about it. We’d had a firefight with the bandits earlier. It wasn’t like I was going to count the rounds she fired and compare them to what she had left or anything like that.
Or maybe she’d just had one journey out into the unknown. Maybe she wasn’t thinking about flying back to base and facing a debriefing. Maybe she was thinking about what came after, thinking about taking another trip out into this Godforsaken place and having to deal with the whole thing all over again.
But I’m off on a tangent, aren’t I?
It was other-worldly, being an outsider among people who’d spent months huddled together hiding from a virus. They didn’t know what to think of me, between the way they’d bonded together and my being a soldier from outside.
I had to ask around a while to find someone else willing to head back out to pick up the rest of the supplies with me.
We had to go quickly to get back before nightfall. He was an older guy and showing his age a bit.
About halfway to the warehouse, we bumped into another survivor. I saw her before she saw us, and I motioned for him to stay back.
Sometimes the bandits will do something like this, send someone ahead as a scout. Leave them mostly unarmed, maybe a gun in their waistband, but nothing you’d see from far off. Usually women, sometimes kids if they have ‘em.
Then the rest pop out from the woodworks and while you’re trying to fight them, your new friend turns on you.