“We didn’t get very far in our game.” I remark pulling up the bottom of my mask.
“Well that’s one way to start a conversation, what game exactly?” Mia questions tipping some of the contents of her can into her mouth.
“The game where we ask questions about each other. I guess you could call it awkward small talk if you’d like.” I clarify grabbing a peach piece from my can and popping it into my mouth.
“Ah, yes our awkward small talk,” Mia manages through the food in her mouth.
“Mhm,” I nod swallowing, “and I believe it was my turn to ask a question.”
“Oh, was it now?” Mia asks quizzically, dumping a good portion of her can into her mouth.
“It was, so what did you used to do? Like what was your job, before all this?” I ask shoving more food into my face.
“I don’t see how that matters anymore,” Mia sighs swallowing her mouthful. “I was taking time off, if you must know.”
“Okay yeah, but that doesn’t really answer my question,” I complain, shrugging my shoulders angrily.
“Did you have any siblings?” Mia asks, avoiding my question all together.
“No I’m an only child. Now if you won’t answer that question I have another. Why did you help me?”
“Okay now, what kind of question is that?” Mia gripes, gesturing to me in frustration.
“Not your turn to ask a question,” I remind snarkily.
“If I was forced to answer, which I am… I guess it would be because you looked so… vulnerable.” Mia shrugs with her answer, finishing off the last of her can and starting in on the third.
“What does looking vulnerable have to do with anything? The first thing you did was boss me around,” I point out, setting my can down next to me.
“You’re the one who asked the question, just because you don’t like the answer doesn’t mean you can get angry with me.”
“I think that’s exactly what I’m allowed to do!” I exclaim, roughly shoving my hand into my chest. “I was the one lying next to the burned down heap that was my house! I was the one who had no idea what to do next! I didn’t ask for your help!”
“Well that doesn’t change the fact that you needed it!” Mia yells back at me, roughly slamming her can on the ground.
“Oh that’s rich coming from you,” I scoff, crossing my arms in front of me.
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Mia asks, glaring daggers at me.
“You were the one who said, what was it ‘It’s the only help you’re going to get from me’ after you tied a bandana around my hand.”
“What’s your point?” Mia demands, obviously getting impatient.
“My point is what are you still doing here? What am I still doing here?! What are we even doing?!” I yell, throwing my hands in the air exhausted.
“I don’t know! I don’t have all the answers!”
“Well why don’t you!” I argue back, my shoulders shaking.
“Do you even hear yourself right now? You sound like a five year old asking their mom why they can’t have ice cream for every meal.”
We sit there for a bit, neither one of us talking, just letting ourselves cool down. I shiver again, rubbing my arms in an attempt to warm them up. The sun only went down a little while ago, but it feels like a lot longer than that.
“Look, I saw the wedding ring on your finger. It’s okay to be upset, we’ve all lost people.” Mia takes a deep breath, looking straight at me before continuing, “And losing someone that close to you hurts, I know. But that doesn’t mean- are you laughing?” Mia stops, staring at me.
“No no no I would never- I would never laugh at you,” I manage through the giggles making it passed my lips.
“I’m trying to be nice to you and you laugh at me,” Mia points out, annoyed.
“No it’s not that.” I point out quickly, forcing back my laughter. “It’s just that the wedding ring you saw, it was my mother’s.” I pause, laughter finding its way to the surface again.
“And?” Mia prompts, only managing to make my laughter wose.
“That’s it. It was her’s and I took it to remember her by. I was never married, hell I’ve never been in a serious relationship before.” Mia sits there, deflated as my laughter gets the better of me. I don’t know why but just the simple fact that she thought I was married, makes me giggle.
“Hand me the blanket, I’m tired.” Mia commands holding her hand out.
I pick the blanket up from where I shoved it off in my haste last night, putting it in her waiting hand.
“Why do you want this blanket anyway?” I ask, my laughter dying out as Mia scoots closer to me our shoulders against one another’s.
“It’s the only blanket I have,” She answers draping the cloth over both of us before laying her head on my shoulder.
“Um?” I question awkwardly as she settles next to me, the warmth of her cheek seeping through her gas mask.
“In case you haven’t noticed it gets cold at night and I’d like not to freeze to death. You were shivering, and if you kept it up I wouldn’t be able to get any sleep.” Mia answers as she curls closer to me, making herself as small as possible in this position.
“Okay.” And that’s all I can manage to get passed my lips.
By the time she’s settled next to me, her head ends up resting peacefully on my shoulder with the blanket wrapped neatly around her neck. I don’t know how it managed to stay there with her arms and legs wrapped so tightly into her torso. It only took a few minutes before she was out completely, exhaustion clearly catching up with her. I haven’t learned much these last few days, but I have learned three things. One: I can’t just sit around and wait for things to get better. Two: you can’t trust what anyone says anymore. You can only judge them by their actions. Three: I can trust Mia. Even though I hardly know anything about her besides the fact she’s 23, something tells me that I can trust her. She didn’t leave me to die when she saved me from Hunter. For that matter, she didn’t need to save me at all. I don’t understand her, or why she does what she does, but I trust her. She’s honest in the things she does, and doesn’t keep secrets, as far as I know. I look to Mia’s sleeping form as I relax my head against the cabinets. I watch her chest rise and fall. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone sleep so soundly, so she must trust me at least on some level.
“If she trusts me, then I can trust her.” I whisper as I close my eyes
“Get up we have to move,” Mia whispers shaking my shoulder.
“Wha-?” I mumble opening my eyes.
“There’s no time we have to move now,” Mia commands voice strained. She has her bag on and the blanket is sticking awkwardly out of the top. It’s too dark to see her eyes, but by her tone I know they would be panicked.
Mia offers me a hand, I grab it and wrench myself up off the ground, my side throbbing in protest. That ache is quickly drowned out by the shooting pains that are running through my feet. I grunt in pain loud enough that Mia shushes me, barely above a whisper. Then I hear it. The low growl that sounds as though it could be from a drowning dog. It sounds anything but ordinary and my blood freezes, pain forgotten in my panic. She pulls me with her and I follow without another word trusting that she knows what’s she doing, because I sure as hell don’t. With every step my heartbeat grows louder in my ears until it’s all that I can hear, or even think about. We come to a stop at the gaping hole in the side of the building. Mia’s hand gently resting on my chest signaling the stop. I glue my eyes to her back, not wanting... or unwilling, to see what grotesque monster is making the sounds that will undoubtedly stick with me for the rest of my life. That’s when I notice her trembling. Despite how she tries to hide it, I can see the way her whole body shakes as she leans forward, desperately searching for a way out.
“Don’t move,” She commands, her voice barely audible. “It’s right outside.” Her whole body is frozen, her every muscle tensed for the worst. It’s right outside and there’s no way around it. We’re trapped.