wormwood, pt. 28

The day still hadn't come some hours after Winston finally heard from Rosalind, but he was feeling in better spirits anyway. His companions had left the car and joined him on the roadside. They made a fire, and things almost felt normal for a while. He stopped worrying that everything would get even worse. He had a way out, companions, and he was reasonably certain Rosalind would actually come through. She usually did in the end.

They'd discovered a river running nearby, and Winston's companion had gone to investigate--their water supplies weren't running low, but it was never a bad thing to have more. It was at this moment that Rosalind finally called.

"Hey, it's about time."

"Yeah, okay. Did you stay put like I asked?"

"Where else would I go?"

"Well, good news. I did some recon. The freeway into town from your direction's collapsed, so even if there were patrols left they wouldn't be watching that way."

"Good news?"

"Drive on the surface streets. Go slow. There's no patrols left out there--you might even be able to loot some of their old checkpoints. Meet us at the docks. If your friend is actually trustworthy we should be able to get out of here as soon as he's ready."

Winston's companion returned at that point, holding a cup of some thick red liquid. He sat down opposite the fire and poured it out on the ground. His wife said, "What is it?"

"The river seems to have turned to blood."

Rosalind was saying, "Hello? Are you still there? Winston?"

Winston said, "I'm going to have to call you back." He hung up. "Let's drive. We've got to get out of here," he said, and he wished he believed that driving would help them accomplish that goal.

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