The next morning, I wake up and Rayla is fast asleep about 2 feet away from me, leaning against the tables. The dog hasn’t moved spots since last night, his eyes are open but he is laying there in a relaxed manner. I stand up onto my knees and look out the window. A lot of the freaks are laying outside, dead. There is blood all over the ground. I crawl over to Rayla and shake her awake.
“Rayla, wake up, there are a bunch of freaks outside!” I whisper loudly.
“How are they still out there after like 8 hours!” She says quietly, sitting up slowly.
“Maybe because they’re all dead,” I say still looking over at her.
“What!” She says out loud.
We both stand up and gaze out the windows, we grab our weapons and open the door and the dog follows us from afar.
“They’re all stab and slice wounds, and if it wasn’t us it had to be other survivors,” I say stepping over the bodies, “Hey, there are some footprints over here, they're out of the blood from the freaks. Let’s grab some gear and see if there's anything to follow them.”
“Wait a minute, we don’t know if they’re friendly or not,” Rayla says still in shock at the number of dead freaks.
“We won’t know unless we find them,” I say walking back inside.
“Fine, but let’s be quick, they have a big head start so we need to hustle,” Rayla says following me. “Amara, what about him?” She says looking over at the dog, as he gazes at us.
“We bring him with, that is if he wants to follow us,” I say looking over at him. “Do you want to come with us, buddy?” I say crouching down pulling out another piece of jerky.
He slowly inches his way over to where we’re standing. He sits down in front of us and takes the jerky cautiously.
“What are you going to call him?” Rayla asks still not pleased with my decision of wanting to keep him.
“Major suits him,” I say reaching out my hand to pet his head. He flinches slightly but doesn’t move away completely.
“Yeah, because he’s a Major pain in the ass,” Rayla says beginning to walk in the direction the footprints aimed.
“What’s your deal? You haven’t liked him from the first time you saw him,” I say turning my head back to Rayla, standing up and following her.
“He’s an animal! And you risked your life to get him inside and now he is your responsibility which means that you have to care for him with food, water, protection, and you need to train him!” Rayla yells, turning around towards me, her face turning red with rage.
“Yeah, he’s my responsibility, not yours, so why does it matter!” I yell back in response.
“It matters because I’ve had to watch out for you for years even before all of this. After Katie died, your mom became a mess and that had a huge effect on you! So it matters because even though he’s your responsibility, he’s my responsibility too because I have to watch out for you and make sure you don’t make any stupid decisions!” Rayla yells back pushing against my shoulders in anger, making me fall to the ground.
I let out a deep breath, attempting to calm myself, “I get that okay? I do, and I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me. But this is different! I need a sense of responsibility in my life aside from having to look after myself.”
“Alright, I’ll give you a pass but you really do need to start making a choice between your life and his,” Rayla says, whilst helping me off of the ground.
“Major, come on buddy,” I say, whistling for him to follow. He turns his head in slight confusion but follows behind me.
We’ve been walking for almost 8 hours and it’s starting to get dark out, and we’ve only stopped once, “I’m beginning to think that we went the wrong way and that we’re just following the rest of the horde.”
“Hang on,” Rayla says holding a hand up.
“What?” I ask in confusion.
“I smell smoke,” Rayla says, holding her head up in the air, attempting to get a whiff of the smell.
I look up on top of a hill and I see smoke coming from on top, it’s probably about a mile away. We’re currently walking through a street with some buildings on the side of it.
“There!” I point.
“Let’s go!” Rayla says excitedly, jogging ahead of me.
It takes us about half an hour before we begin to hear the voices. They have a low fire going and they have a with them, who seems to have a harness on and attached to a very small cart with some boxes and bags in it
“Shh, we need to be quiet. We just want to watch for a few minutes,” Rayla says holding me back by the arm.
Leaves move behind us followed by the snap of a twig, we turn around and see a group of freaks. Major goes after one and Rayla and I go after the others.
Out of nowhere, a guy maybe late 20s comes from the direction of the group and stabs all of the remaining freaks in the head. I rush over to Major and kill the one he has pinned down.
“Thank you,” I say to the man, whilst standing up from Major.
The man looks at both of us and drags us both by the arm with a death grip, and he brings us up to the campfire, throwing Rayla over to the side and me to the campfire.
“You little shits are going to get us all killed!” The guy yells towards us.
“Take it easy Grant, their just kids,” Another man says from the side, helping Rayla up. I try sitting up, away from the fire.
“I don’t care! They brought freaks with them! And they could’ve killed us!” Grant says kicking me back down, pressing his foot to my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe.
Major runs from the side of Grant and bites his leg, moving it from my chest. He bites down harder, causing blood to drip from Grant’s leg.
“Ow! Get him off of me!” Grant shouts, falling to the ground.
“Major, here buddy,” I say standing up from the ground, finally able to breathe. He releases his leg and comes back over to me.
“Grant! Are you okay?” A lady, possibly 25, shouts whilst running to Grant.
“I’m fine Lea,” Grant says taking off his belt from his pants and tying it above the bite wound from Major.
“Issac I hope to God you aren’t planning on bringing these 2 and their mutt back home,” Lea says looking from me and Issac.
“Well, let’s just think about this for a second, they’re also survivors, just like the rest of us, and they seem to be somewhat smart, I mean they are still alive,” Isaac says kneeling down next to Grant’s leg, “and besides, that dog can be useful.”
“Useful how?” I ask nervously.
“We can help you teach him how to hunt,” Isaac says in response.
“He already knows how to hunt, how do you think he isn’t dead yet,” I say slightly irritated at his comment.
“Alright, he can help us hunt then,” Isaac says standing up, helping Grant to his feet.
“Does that mean we can stick with you guys?” Rayla asks coming up from behind Isaac, walking past him and over to me.
“Yes, it does. We’ll arrive back home by tomorrow afternoon,” Isaac says smiling at Rayla.
I smile appreciatively, sitting down next to the fire, “Thank you, really, we appreciate it.”
“No worries,” Isaac replies.
Major and I sit next to the fire with my back against a log. Major lays his head on my lap. He lets out a deep sigh, “I know bud, finally we’ll be with other people and we’ll be safe.”
“No one in our camp will be safe with that rabid mutt inside,” Lea says from behind me, “Our leader will never allow it.”
“I’m sorry Lea, but is there a problem? Because if there is, let’s just be straight about it,” Rayla says standing up.
“Lea, that’s enough. Leave them alone,” Isaac says from another direction.
Lea scoffs in annoyance and disgust, “You’re just lucky he put you in charge on this mission. You’re like 5 years younger than Grant and I so one of us should be leaders.”
“Yeah but the difference between me and you, Lea, is that I care more about just making out with someone, and I actually make good decisions that benefit the whole group and not just myself,” Isaac says walking over towards me and Rayla. Lea turns and walks away.
“Just ignore her, she’s 90% bitch and 10% human,” Isaac says squatting down next to Rayla.
“It’s fine, it’s not my first rodeo with bitches,” I say, straight-faced, staring down at Major, as he rests next to me.
“Well, I’m on the first watch, so you guys can get some sleep. Grant takes the second watch,” Isaac says, standing up from the fire.
“Okay, thanks,” Rayla says watching him as he stands.
I lean over to Rayla and whisper, “He’s cute and so your type, I guess you've always had a thing for the hot nerds, which there never was a lot of, I always went for the jocks.”
“Well, aside from that one soccer player, he was always smart in Mr. Nelson’s class, I’m pretty sure all the jocks are dead, they were always morons,” Rayla whispers back, causing me to laugh.
“Guys shut the fuck up!” Grant hollers from behind us.
“Woops,” Rayla says softly.
“Well, I’m going to get some sleep,” I say laying down and resting my head on Major’s body.