I sat next to Bass on top of an old yacht rolling my ankle and saying "ow" every time I hit the spot that hurt. "This is stupid, we're wasting time," I said eventually.
"Miles told us to wait here," Aaron said. "They'll be here."
"We don't even know if they're alive," Bass said.
"The Patriots were waiting on you, they probably knew where to find Miles too," I added. "The longer we sit here the more likely it is that the Patriots will find us." I glanced over my shoulder at Cynthia, who was sitting in the cabin. "She doesn't know how to fight, Bass isn't exactly in prime condition, and my ankle is killing me."
"Hey, I'm doing just fine," Bass told me.
"In the event of an attack we'd basically be relying on your spontaneous combustion thing," I told Aaron, ignoring Bass.
"We're waiting here," Aaron said.
I groaned. "Fine, if we all die, you can't blame me."
We waited. And waited. And waited some more.
All day we sat on top of that stupid boat waiting for Miles to find us. "I can't take this anymore, I'm going back to town. I need to know if they're alive."
"You're not going back there alone," Bass told me.
"I'll be fine. My ankle feels much better after sitting here on my ass all day," I assured him. "Anyway, you can't go back there, they'll kill you."
"Only if the find me." He stood up and offered a hand to pull me to my feet.
"One day you're going to get yourself killed."
"I've managed to avoid death a few times, I'm not worried." We both ducked under the boat's rails and hopped to the ground.
"Where are the two of you going?" Aaron asked jogging after us.
"We're going to find Miles, we can't wait around here any longer," I told him.
"It's been a day."
"Miles has some information that I need," Bass said. "I held up my end of the bargain, now it's his turn."
Through the trees I saw lights and pulled Aaron and Bass down behind one of the boats. "I told you we should have left earlier," I hissed.
There was a noise behind us and we turned to see a Patriot walking towards us, Bass stood up and slit the guys throat before he had time to call for help. I grabbed his gun so I was prepared for the rest of them. The group in the trees was getting closer and Bass climbed on top of one of the other boats so he could jump down on them. I ducked and waited for my moment. As soon as I heard them, I stepped out from behind the boat and started shooting at the men.
"There's more," I told him.
"You they won't kill," Bass told Aaron. "But me they definitely want dead." He glanced at me and nodded for him to follow him.
"Hey, where are you going?" Aaron called after us.
We headed towards the tree line and I glanced back over my shoulder. Cynthia was screaming and I felt guilty for abandoning her. But, Patriots had swarmed the area; if we had stayed to help we never would have gotten away.
"Why is it so damn foggy? I can't see anything," I mumbled as we trudged through the woods slowly. Bass grabbed my arm to stop me. A group of Patriots walked past us. "How are we supposed to find Miles in this? I can't even see my own feet." The sound of a gunshot in the distance prevented me from saying anything else.
"This way," Bass said. I followed him through the woods, almost running right into a few trees. Finally the fog thinned enough for me to see Miles, Rachel and Charlie up ahead. There were two Patriots between us and them and Bass quickly disposed of them.
"Come on, there's more!" I motioned for them to follow me back the way that we'd just come. After we'd put some distance between the woods, and us Bass pointed out a barn with a cellar and we ushered the others in.
"What the hell happened?" Miles asked. "Where's Aaron?"
"We were sitting ducks waiting for you to show up, we had to get out of there," I told him.
"We have to find him."
"No, screw your fat friend. The reason I saved you back there was so you could tell me where to find me son," Bass said. Miles motioned for us to step into the corner away from Rachel and Charlie's prying eyes. He rolled up his sleeve, grimacing. "Holy hell."
"Clearly," I murmured. "You need help."
"From who? They have Rachel's dad," Miles told me. To Bass he said, "Look, I'm having a hard time swinging a sword, I need your help."
"Aaron is not worth dying for," Bass told Miles.
"Is this about Rachel? Do you feel like you have to prove something to her? Show her you're a good guy or whatever?" I asked.
"Just help me find Aaron and I'll tell you where he is," Miles told us.
"Fine, I'll help," I told him.
"This is not my problem," Bass said.
"Yes, it is. If you don't help, I'll never tell you where your kid is," Miles told him.
They stared at each other for a moment. "Fine, what are we waiting for?"
We headed back to where we'd last seen the Patriots. "They went this way," Charlie told us, motioning towards some footprints. We followed them through the trees till we reached what used to be Willoughby's high school. "Come on, let's go find Aaron."
Inside the halls were deserted. "Split up," Miles ordered us. He and Rachel went one way while Bass, Charlie and I went the other. We checked each classroom on the hall but Aaron and Cynthia were nowhere to be found. Scraping metal, followed by the sound of boots on tile stopped us in our tracks. Bass and I ducked around the corner and Charlie slid into the room next to her.
In front of me was a door marked with an emergency exit sign. My self-preservation instincts kicked in and I pushed through the door without looking to see if anyone was with me. Before the door closed someone caught it and I turned to see Bass following me.
"Charlie can't get across the hall without them seeing her," he told me.
I shrugged. "Ok."
"You just want to leave her there?" He asked.
"Why not?" It was his turn to shrug. I turned towards the outside door. "Come on, Charlie can take care of herself. Let's find Aaron." I started to push the door and then hesitated. "You have this way of making me feel bad about things, even when I'm not doing anything wrong."
"I didn't say anything."
"I know. But you seem to think I'm a better person than you, and that's a lot of pressure to put on a girl who just wants to live to see tomorrow." I sighed. "I can't leave Charlie alone."
I turned back around and walked back into the hall. A Patriot soldier grabbed Charlie and threw her against the wall. He held her there at gunpoint and another soldier stood directly in front of us. Bass slit his throat and Charlie took care of the other one.
"You came back," Charlie said.
"We need to move, there's more where those two came from," I said.
I could hear voices around the corner. "Go, go," Bass said, pushing Charlie and I down the hall in front of him. We ran up in what used to be the gym with the Patriots right behind us. I vaulted over some debris and used it as a barricade to shoot at the soldiers. The shooting continued for a few moments when suddenly the Patriots burst into flames.
"Well, that's convenient."
We met Rachel outside the school. She was dragging an unconscious Miles alongside her. "Stupid bastard," Bass mumbled. He helped Rachel hold him up.
"He needs help," Rachel said. "We need my father."
"I'll go find him," Charlie said. "I'll take Monroe with me." He nodded and I took his place holding Miles up.
"Hurry up, he doesn't look like he has a lot of time," I told them. They took off just as Aaron came out of the school. His hands were shaking and he looked terrified.
"Is he ok?" He asked.
"No, not really. Are you?" I asked.
"Cynthia is dead."
"Aaron, I'm so sorry," Rachel said.
"Not to be insensitive but Miles is heavy, can we get out of here?"
Rachel nodded and we made the trek back through the woods to the barn cellar. Aaron opened the doors for us and helped us get Miles down the stairs and into the other room. Rachel rolled up Miles's sleeve, the infection looked even worse than it had before. "He's going to be ok, right?"
"I hope so."
It seemed like Rachel and I had been sitting with Miles forever. Finally the cellar doors were flung open and Bass and Charlie came in followed by Gene. Rachel and I both hopped to our feet. She hugged her father. "Can you fix him?" I asked.
Gene stepped into the room and took a look at Miles. He nodded. "I'm going to need some things."
Charlie and I sat with Miles until Rachel and Gene came back. "You girls should go to sleep, you need your rest," Rachel told us. We were reluctant to get up but slowly we made our way into the other room.
I knew that I needed Miles to find my cousin, but he had also been like family to me since I was little and I couldn't imagine life without him.
"He's going to be ok," Charlie told me, as if she'd been reading my mind.
"Yeah, he's tough."
The next morning Charlie and I were awake early and waiting by Miles's side when he woke up. Charlie handed him some water and he coughed when he took a drink of it. "Bring me some whisky, you know water makes me sick."
I hit him on the shoulder. "You are such an idiot, Miles."
"Hey, be nice, I'm injured."
Rachel appeared in the doorway and smiled at him. "You scared the hell out of me." She came and sat next to him.
"Don't make this all about you, Rachel," he told her, but he smiled back at her. Charlie and I shared a look.
Bass came down stairs next. "Where is he, Miles?"
"Not now, Bass," Rachel said.
Miles sighed. "Give us a minute." I stepped out into the hall with Charlie even though I knew I wasn't the one being asked to leave. We sat down outside the door while we waited for them to talk.
"Do you remember your cousin?" She asked.
"Not really, the last time I saw him he was four. Nine year olds don't really pay attention to little kids. I do remember that I was forced to watch hours of stupid kid shows while our mothers talked. Kids are annoying." Charlie laughed.
The door opened and Bass stepped out. "Miles is taking us to Connor."
Miles and Rachel came upstairs where Charlie was helping me saddle horses for us. "You think you'll find him?" Charlie asked.
"I hope so, but who knows? It's probably been years since Miles took him wherever he did, maybe he's moved on by now."
"You think you're going to find him."
I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye. "I have a good feeling about this. It's been awhile since I've had one of those."
She smiled slightly. "You know the only reason Miles is going with you is so Bass will come back."
"I know, but I would have made him come back anyway."
"Really?" Charlie asked skeptically.
"You guys are hopeless without us."
"Oh shut up."
"Good to see the two of you getting along," Miles said, behind us. Charlie and I harrumphed at the same time. "Rachel's coming with us."
"Don't act so excited, Ciara. Someone might actually think you like us," Miles said.
"We don't need her," I protested.
"No, but I want her to come with us."
"It's not your decision," he told me. Rachel came upstairs and nodded that she was ready. "Alright, saddle up, let's get this over with." I pulled myself up into the saddle and waited while the others did the same.
"Have fun," Charlie said wryly.
Miles and Bass turned their horses around and took off at a canter. "Oh it'll be like just like going to Disney World."