Making Plans: Ben
Longer trails will follow you, if you take the shorter path. I think I read that on a fortune cookie once, and I finally figured out what it meant.
Back in med school, one of the things I learned was to be quick on my feet, but patient with what I was doing. Acting too fast could cause something fatal to happen, while not reacting quick enough would mean the same thing.
I was beginning to wonder if I’d acted too fast this time.
There had been no note for my landlord, no leave from my job, the only preparation I had made for this vast unplanned trip was a backpack of clothes and some registry papers. I was basically throwing my life away, and for what? To help out people I barely knew? Every time I saw an exit sign ahead, I had the internal debate to turn around, go back to my life, but then their scared faces would pop right back to mind, and her little body would be lying there.
I’d seen death, I’d seen violent deaths, but I had never witnessed murder.
That was what kept me spurred on, what kept my foot on the gas and instead had me keeping an eye out for the exit that would lead to the little town I’d suggested they take temporary refuge in. I made it there after it got dark, but this didn’t concern me as I found where they were staying and knocked.
Shara answered, and the dark circles under her eyes didn’t bode well. I cleared my throat with unease, but she quickly stepped aside and waved, muttering “come in, please.”
I stepped inside, glancing around at the beige walls and single bed with only one occupant, there was a TV on mute in the background, a news station, and it was showing our footage on replay.
“You like it?” Al called, his arm tossed over his eyes, he looked passed out on the bed. “It’s our handy work, why shouldn’t you?”
I cocked a brow in surprise, noting more than anything the flat, almost dead tone to his voice, and looked at her in some sort of answer. She merely shrugged and closed the door.
It occurred to me then just how little I knew about these sudden traveling companions.
Swallowing hard, I dropped my bag to the ground and sat on the window edge, eyeing the pair warily as Shara made her way back over to him and eased down beside her husband.
“So, did we actually have a plan past getting here, or are we making this up as we go along?” Shara spoke up when the silence continued dragging on.
Nodding quickly now and forcing past the awkwardness, I dug around at the bag in my feet and found what I was looking for. “Right yeah, so I figured despite the government’s obvious attempt to cover this up as a wild animal attacks, our own kind’s going to know what happened right? So I was going to pitch the idea that we go find the...aha!” I finally found the scrap of paper I’d been given years ago. Of course I’d memorized the number long before he’d ever put it to paper, but I’d always kept it on hand in case of emergencies, like this I guess. Brandishing it with triumph, we then spent the rest of the night hashing out how best to get there. Amazingly the two of them didn’t protest the idea, though at this point it didn’t seem like they had a lot of other options.