My held breath escapes my lungs. It’s only Caesar and Brett. I press my palm against my heart, willing it to slow down. I’m about to stand and hope I don’t appear a complete fool for being so scared, but I halt my actions when I hear the next sentence.
“We gotta take care of Falk before we can move on Hannah.”
What did he just say?
I lower myself completely to the ground and continue to listen.
“We should be able to catch him off guard easily enough,” Brett says. “He doesn’t suspect anything.”
“Don’t underestimate him,” Caesar replies. “That guy knows his job. It might be two on one at the moment, but I wouldn’t bet against him unless I knew the odds were well stacked in our favor.”
“The problem is, we don’t have any support here.” Brett stops walking and turns to Caesar. “Once he’s out of the way, it will be easier. The others will fall in line.”
“This isn’t about whether or not we have support,” Caesar says. He places his hands on his hips and looks down at the younger man. “This is about the future. Think about it, Brett. Yeah, the world has changed, and we’re still struggling to figure it all out right now, but that won’t last forever. We already know of one other group of survivors, and they don’t have any women. At some point, we’re going to have to start trading for what we need.”
“And we have one thing that everyone is going to need.”
“Well, two, really, but yeah. Fresh water hasn’t been an issue yet, but it’s going to be—food as well. Just our small group has managed to use up what’s around here pretty quickly. When we come across other groups, we’ll be fighting for necessities.”
“But we have a major bargaining chip.”
“It’s not just about that, though.”
“No, it isn’t. This is also about retribution. She took from us, and Ty always said she was going to pay for it. I find it wonderfully ironic that she’s going to be the first in a new industry.”
Ty as in Tyler.
My body goes numb.
“You don’t have to tell me. I’ve been fighting hard to be nice to that bitch, and I still have the scar she left me with. I can’t wait to get her under me without any chance of escape. I am going to fuck that bitch raw.”
Caesar laughs quietly and reaches out to clasp Brett on the shoulder.
“You and me, both. That’s the best part of all of this—we get unlimited access. Eventually, she’s going to be our ticket to anything we want.”
“So what now? We’re back to plan A?”
“Plan A was to grab her at the airport,” he says. “I don’t think we had a post-apocalypse plan, but frankly, it makes the whole thing easier. We just need to get rid of Falk. Then we grab her and start collecting bids.”
I place my hand over my mouth to hold in the scream that wants to come out.
Slowly, I sink down to the ground and into a deep shadow. I close my eyes, praying that they won’t turn this way and see me. If they see me, they’ll know I’ve overheard them. If they know, they’re going to kill me on the spot.
No. No, they aren’t going to kill me. What they will do is much worse.
“At least we now know for sure that a murder doesn’t attract a lot of attention.” I hold my breath and keep my eyes closed as I listen to their footsteps come closer and then pass me by. I open my eyes just a little to watch them continue off toward the common area, still talking.
“I’m still floored by that,” Caesar says. “Once Beck was in the ground, no one said another fucking word about it. Even when I kept pressing the issue, no one seemed to care.”