I wake up the next morning and it’s still dark out. The fire is at soft embers. I reach over and grab a small piece of wood and put it on top, trying to bring the fire back to life. I look around and see that all but myself and one other person is asleep. The one other person that’s awake is sitting over on the cart and is staring at me. I squint my eyes to see that it’s Grant and turn my eyes back to the fire. After a few minutes, I stand up and go over to the woods and grab a somewhat straight branch and bring it back to the fire. Once I get back into the light a little, Major turns his head and begins lashing out, barking and growling. I stop in my tracks and slowly put the stick down, “Easy Major, you’re okay, I’m not going to hurt you.” Major continues to growl and bark.
“Would you shut that damn mutt up!” Grant says whilst jumping off of the cart, “he’s going to attract freaks”
“Grant I’m aware, but you need to stay out of it!” I say as intimidating as I can without making Major feel threatened.
Major finally calms down, realizing that it’s me, “Good boy.”
“Good, now keep him that way,” Grant says turning around, walking back to the cart.
I walk swiftly in Grant’s direction, grabbing my knife from my belt and pushing him against the cart with his back against it, “Listen up Grant because I’m only saying this once, I don’t know what your problem is with Major and me, but I have tried my hardest to be nice to you. If you don’t get your problems in check, we will be back here and I will not be as nice because believe me when I say I can beat your ass a lot easier than you think, got it!”
“Amara calm down!” Isaac says coming up from behind me, attempting to pull me off of Grant.
I shake Isaac’s grip from my shoulders and push back into Grant’s throat with my knife, just enough to not cut him.
“I said, got it!” I shout as a flash of fear enters Grant’s eyes for a quick second but quickly disappears.
“Got it,” He says staring me in the eyes.
“Good,” I say, releasing him.
“Amara, I know you don’t like him but if you act like this when I introduce you to our leader, you won’t be staying very long,” Isaac comments
“That’s a problem for another day until then, let’s not worry about it,” I say walking back to my spot near the fire. I poke the fire’s embers, getting lost in the silence.
After a while, I look up from the fire and see that the lighting around me has changed drastically, everyone was awake, including Rayla. I stand up, brushing the dirt off of the back of my legs. Rayla is over by the horse and cart with Isaac. They seem to be having a good time. I go over to my pack and grab my notebook. It’s already full from cover to cover both sides of each sheet but there tends to be a little bit of empty space between paragraphs and doodles. I grab my pencil and walk back over to the fire. Major is still sitting down at the fire so I sit next to him. He lays his head on the ground next to me. I find an open space on one of the pages and begin roughly sketching the outline of Major.
After about 20 minutes, I finish the drawing of Major just in time for Isaac to announce something to the group.
“Alright everyone, pack up your things, we leave in five. It will take us about three hours to make it back home and we’re only stopping once. For those of you who do not want to walk the entire way or do not want to carry your bags the entire time, feel free to hop into the cart. A maximum of four people and six bags,” Isaac directs.
I stand up and put my stuff back into my bag. I walk over to Rayla, she is currently packing her things, putting her food and water canteen into her backpack.
“Hey, I saw you and Isaac talking, what’s going on there?” I ask nudging her slightly.
“Well actually, we were talking about you.” She says standing up from her bag, swinging it over her shoulders.
“What about me?” I question curiously.
“He told me about this morning, between you and Grant?” She comments worriedly, “What were you thinking, I mean we finally find another group of people, and as soon as you cross paths with someone you don’t like you threaten him? I mean we’re lucky we can still stay with them!”
“He’s the one with the problem, he was asking for it,” I comment brushing it off.
“It doesn’t matter! You can’t do that now! I mean for all you and I know that can be the deciding factor if we can stay with them or not!” Rayla says, beginning to raise her voice.
“Don’t treat me like I’m an idiot Rayla! I know you’re only telling me this because of what I did to Katie’s dad!” I shout back.
“And what makes you think that?” Rayla questions lowering her voice.
“Because I know that you know that he reminds me of him,” I reply with tears streaming down my face, “I just can’t help but want to beat his ass, because if I had only tried harder with trying to stop him, she would still be here.”
“Mar,” Rayla says pulling me into a hug. I cry into her shoulder, having a hard time breathing from the fear and anger.
“You guys okay?” Isaac asks coming up from behind us.
I quickly move away from Rayla, wiping my face, “Yep, it’s all good.”
“You sure?” He questions concerned.
“Yep, just venting a little bit,” I say reassuringly.
“Okay, well we’re heading out,” Isaac says gesturing for us to follow him.
As we begin walking, Rayla, Major, Isaac, and I are on the right front side of the cart and Lea and Grant are on the left, every now and then, I glance over at them and I immediately get the death stare from Lea. Grant is constantly avoiding eye contact with me.
We’ve been walking for about two hours, everyone seems to be pretty exhausted, tired, and seem to need a break. We all stop for about 15 minutes, letting us all get a drink of water and go to the bathroom. I go over to a nearby bush and use it to take a pee break. Once the stop break is over we continue to move.
After walking for about another hour or so, we walk past a forest and enter into a clearing. As we walk further past the trees, we come across a large wooden and metal wall.
“Rayla, Amara, welcome to the Colony,” Isaac says as we turn and walk up the road leading to the gate.
“Yeah, no kidding,” I say in awe.