wormwood, pt. 18

Can I get you some more wormwood or something?

The panic at the library never quite stopped, even with reassurances that now that the storm had died the firefighters could try to stop the spread of the fire. Some semblance of order returned when the police arrived and barked instructions--the citizens were to be evacuated and brought to one of FEMA's refugee camps.

Winston took the opportunity of the distraction to slip out what should have been an alarmed fire exit, and hurried to his car. The windshield was shattered and the entire body of the car was beat up, but after brushing the worst of the glass from the seat it started up just fine.

He would have fled the parking lot immediately, but a man and a woman stood in his way. "Going somewhere?"

Winston hesitated, then opted for honesty. "Don't know. Apparently the city's on fire too. I just don't want to rely on FEMA for my food and shelter."

"Yeah. I saw you make a pretty quick exit from that library, so we figured you might have a way out." The man smiled. "Tell you what. Let us ride with you and I'll take you somewhere I know won't be on fire."

"Where's that?"

"Middle of the ocean. Sound good?"

Winston glanced at the library. So far the police were still inside, but he didn't know how long that would last. Probably until they could gather up the library's emergency supplies. There wasn't time to make a proper decision, and this seemed like the best option available. "Yeah, all right."

"That's the spirit, kid. Let's drive."

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