After running for about 45 minutes, we finally reach the road to The Colony and begin hollering, “Open the gate!”
“Where were you guys!” Hunter says running over towards us.
“That doesn’t matter right now, I’ll explain later. Listen, there is a huge horde making its way in this direction. We need to put out the fire to limit the amount of smoke to avoid being seen,” Aaron explains quickly to Hunter.
“Alright, we’ll get it done, but then you two are explaining why you guys were gone all night, outside the wall might I add,” He says walking off.
“So, where were you guys last night?” Rayla says whilst walking up to me and Aaron.
“Well, Aaron followed me after I left and it was too dark to start making our way back here so we staked out in an old shed,” I reply.
“Oooh, you two overnight, together, alone?” She says mockingly.
“Stop it,” I say, giving her an annoyed look on my face.
“I’ll see you guys later, and also, Amara, you and I should go on a ride tomorrow sometime,” Aaron says, turning to walk away.
“Umm, yeah sure,” I reply nervously.
“Is that love in the air I smell?” she says putting her hands together and battering her eyelids.
I push on her arm and laugh slightly, “Come on, let’s go get something to eat, I’m starving.”
About half an hour later, Hunter announces that the horde is passing by on the road and that everyone needs to minimize the amount of noise they make.
I climb up the ladder on the wall and look down at the horde. There must be at least 300 freaks inside of it. “Big isn’t it,” a guy says from next to me.
“Yeah, it’s bigger than any other I’ve seen,” I reply, looking over at him.
“I’m Matt, what’s your name,” he says holding out his hand for me to shake.
“Amara, hey you’re friends with Isaac and Aaron right?” I ask releasing his hand.
“Yeah, we went to school together,” He answers.
“Really? Maybe I’m the only person who doesn’t know of any of my surviving classmates aside from Rayla.
“Hey, at least you won’t have to deal with them, because if they are or were anything like the other students at my school you would’ve been better off just dying,” Matt says laughing slightly.
“Well, the kids at my school were morons for the most part so I guess I got off lucky,” I say laughing along.
“Amara!” Kal calls from the bottom of the ladder, “I got your deer for you!”
“I’ll be down in just a second,” I say in reply.
“Well Matt, it was nice to meet you,” I say turning to climb down the ladder.
“Likewise,” Matt comments.
I climb down the ladder and Major meets me at the bottom. I walk over to my tent but before I zip it open, out of the corner of my eye, I see Rayla and Isaac kissing under a tree in the shadows.
“Having fun over there?” I blurt looking over at them with a huge grin on my face.
“Umm, we were just uh,” Isaac flusteredly tries to explain.
“No no, I can see what you guys are doing,” I say zipping open the tent and grabbing out a bottle of scotch.
Rayla walks over to me, “Would you mind not saying anything about this to anyone?”
“Mention what?” I say shrugging.
“Thanks,” She says giving me a hug.
“Just be careful okay?” I say hugging her back.
I walk over to Kal’s trailer and knock on his door, “Hey, thanks for this. Here is your scotch.” I hand him the bottle.
“Ooh, you even have the good stuff,” He says setting the bottle on the counter inside the trailer and handing me a large bag of venison.
“Did you take your portion?” I ask, grabbing the bag.
“Yeah, I took about 10 pounds of meat,” He comments whilst following me out of his trailer.
“Okay, sounds good, is it dried or will I need to keep it somewhere,” I ask.
“Yep, it’s all dried into strips. They shouldn’t be too tough.” He replies.
“Okay, thank you,” I say waving and walking back to my tent.
I set the bag back into the corner of the tent and pull out a few pieces. I take a bite of one and hand a piece to Major.
I walk out of my tent and see that someone relit the fire, I jog over and confront the guy standing there with a lighter, “Hey, Hunter specifically told all of us that we were supposed to leave the fire out until the coast was clear.”
“And what makes you think I care?” the guy says turning around crossing his arms.
“Well do you want to get us all killed,” I say mirroring him.
“If that means I don’t have to deal with you then hell yeah,” He replies.
“Back off Henry, just put it out,” Aaron blurts whilst walking up from behind him.
Henry turns to Aaron and just walks away from us. Aaron picks up a bucket and gets some water quickly, pouring over the fire, “Sorry he can be kind of a dick sometimes unless he’s drunk he is pretty much the biggest asshole in the group.”
“Henry, isn’t he the other guy that went to the get together last night?” I question watching him as he walks away.
“Yeah, he and Matt are kind of buddies, Henry is the fun drunk, and Matt is the ‘fun’ sober,” Aaron answers.
“I met Matt just a little bit ago,” I comment turning back to Aaron.
“Yeah, Matt is chill, but be careful, he’s kind of a playboy, he and Jamie were a thing a while back but he ended it. So he might try to hit on you,” He says sitting down on a log next to the fire-pit.
I sit down next to him, “Hey so yesterday when you and I were over by the horses, you told me that the white one, Paloma, was Kaila’s. What did you mean by was?”
He sighs deeply, “She was a friend, well more of a girlfriend but she went missing four months ago after going on a supply run. When they were out there, they were separated by a horde of freaks. Our best guess is that she wound up in enemy territory and they killed her. Before she left I never got to tell her that I didn’t want to be with her anymore, so I guess if you think about it I got off lucky.”
“Wow, I mean that’s kind of sad. Why did you want to break up with her?” I ask looking over at him.
“Well, how do I put this without sounding like an ass,” He questions, “Well I guess you could say she was more than a female dog than anything else.”
“A bitch?” I say smiling slightly.
“Well I guess yeah, I just didn’t want to offend you,” He replies beginning to laugh.
“Using the word bitch doesn’t affect me,” I say whilst laughing along.
We both continue to laugh and then it goes silent. “So, why don’t I go show you how to tack up bandit,” Aaron says standing up, breaking the silence.
“Sure,” I say standing up and following him.
We walk over to the pen and he leads out Milo and ties him to the fence and I do the same with Bandit. Aaron brings me my saddle and then goes back to get his.
He first starts to go over the main parts of the saddle as he puts his over the saddle pad on Milo, “This is the seat,” He says pointing to the largest part of the saddle, “and this is the girth,” He says lifting what seems like two large connected belts. “First make sure you make sure that the saddle is centered as much as you can and it’s right behind his shoulders. Then you take the girth and you clip it here,” He says adjusting the saddle. “After that, you take the stirrups and you bring them down to just before his belly and then you get on. If the stirrups are too far down we can shorten them,” He says turning to face me, “Sound good?”
“Yeah,” I say nodding.
We do the same thing to the saddle on Bandit’s back a few times before putting them back into the pen and putting the tack back.