mud dried, my skin and scalp itching underneath it. We were still alive, though, and that was all that mattered.
Through the tattered drapes, the sun lowered and then disappeared. It was a new moon, which meant the interior was all but pitch black. Outside, the yard had grown silent, much to my relief. As the minutes passed by, I had to wonder if the zombies were gone, or if they were just watching and waiting.
Stealthily, Kellan got to his feet. He was so quiet, I wouldn't have known, had I not been seated beside him. I held my breath as he walked to the door. He moved the blanket just enough to peek out, but he didn't speak. After a moment, he left it fall back into place before walking back to us.
“I didn't see any zombies,” Kellan told us, his voice still low. “But that doesn't mean they aren't still out there. It should be safe enough for you to stand up and stretch your legs, though. Just keep your voices down.”
I struggled to my feet, my body stiff after all those hours spent on the floor. The shack was still hot, even though the sun was gone. I was thirsty, muddy, sweaty, and miserable... And on top of that, nature was calling.
“Do you think it's safe enough to leave?” I asked, with a desperate note in my voice. His home was like heaven, compared to the hellish shack we were in.
He shook his head. “No, not yet. I'm willing to bet that there are still plenty of zombies in the woods. Even if we made it to the Suburban, the engine and the headlights would be like a beacon to them. We'll wait till morning. It's going to be a miserable night, but we have no choice.”
Jayden softly grunted as he stood next to me, but that was all he had for a response.
“I've got to go,” I said, and I didn't mean out to the Suburban.
Kellan got my meaning, He bent over to pick up something at the edge of the couch. When he held it out to me, I saw it was an ice cream bucket. I took it from his hand. It was the large size, meaning it could hold a gallon. With the way my bladder felt, though, I could only hope it was big enough.
There was no way I was using it in front of them, zombies or not. Quietly, I made my way from the living room and into the bedroom, but I didn't risk closing the creaky door. Knowing my luck, it would fall off and alert every zombie in the area. I hated peeing so close to them, it was even worse than using the outhouse. They'd be able to hear me, and despite the horror of our circumstances, that bothered me, a lot.
I did my business. I had no choice. It's one of those things in life that you have to do, whether you want to or not. Kellan and Jayden did too, if the sounds I heard were any indicator. Zipping my pants back up, I set the bucket on the floor in the tiny closet. In a shack with no toilet, there were only so many places to put it. I didn't even want to think about what Jayden and Kellan had found to use.
Zombies. They drew people together in the weirdest ways.
I eased back into the living room. Kellan was at the door, staring out into the dark night, but Jayden was at the window. I sat on the couch. The seating was limited.
After several minutes, Kellan turned around and straddled the arm. “I think it's safe enough to talk, if we continue to keep our voices low.”
Jayden left the window. He tentatively sat beside me, his body poised and ready to leap back up at a moment's notice. Smart man. The couch had some bare springs that could easily cause some serious damage, if sat on the wrong way.
“I can't stop thinking about what we saw at the Arkansas border,” Jayden whispered, his voice hoarse. He was probably thirsty. None of us had drank anything since coming into the shack. I wondered what Kellan was waiting on. Why bring coolers if you weren't planning on using the contents inside?
“It looked like someone came along and simply tore Louisiana off,” he continued. “What do you think happened? Was
Aaron Hillegass, Joe Conway