Commodity - Page 92

“Shh.” I hold my hand up to keep her back and out of sight. “Just want to watch a minute.”

She crouches behind me and looks over my shoulder into the distance. Someone has appeared near the edge of the common area, holding a compound bow. Even before I see the red beard, I know Chuck’s stature. He moves around to the fire and sets a couple of dead animals near it. I think they might be rabbits. I snicker softly.

“What is it?” Katrina asks.

“Never mind.” I shake my head and smile.

A moment later, Christine appears. She immediately starts yelling at him.

“Get those nasty things away from my pots!”

“We need the protein, babe!”

“And I said if you were going to cook them, you’re also going to clean them!”

“That’s what I was gonna do!”

“Not by my cooking pots, you aren’t!”

They continue to squabble as Marco and Sam appear on bicycles. They ride up the sidewalk and then into the grass, propping the bikes up against the trunk of a tree. They both have backpacks and start to empty their contents into large plastic containers close to the building.

“I hope you found toilet paper!” Christine says.

“No such luck,” Marco calls out, “but I got extra paper towels. They’re the soft kind!”

“The skin of my ass is already falling off from the last batch you said was soft!” she yells back at him.

“Stop cooking so many beans,” Chuck suggests, and Christine chases him and his rabbits off with a spoon.

Marco and Sam take a few additional supplies and duck inside one of the buildings.

“Hang back here,” I tell Katrina. “I’m going to make sure everything’s okay, then I’ll call you down if it’s safe.”

“I thought you knew all these people.”

“Not taking chances,” I say with a stern look. “You stay put.”

“Fine.” She drops onto her ass and glares at me.

I make

my way down the hill and around the side of the building. I stay at the corner, watching Christine for a moment, and then walk up to the fire. Christine is focused on her work but sees me a minute later.

“Falk?” Christine walks out from around the cooking fire, wiping her hands on a towel. “Holy fuck, that is you!”

She runs over and wraps her arms around my neck, practically choking me. I freeze for a moment, not sure what to do, then wrap one arm around her back and give her a quick hug. She pulls back, leaving her hands on my shoulders as she looks me over.

“Where’s Hannah?”

I actually feel my organs drop lower into my body when I hear her question. I close my eyes for a moment and try to keep myself together.

“Shit, Falk,” Christine whispers. “Is she dead?”

“I don’t know.” I take a step back, disengaging myself from her embrace. “I was hoping you might have some idea.”

“I haven’t heard anything about either of you since you left,” she says. “Honestly, I thought you were both dead.

“Ho-lee shit!” Chuck jogs over to us and smacks me on the shoulder. “Never thought I’d see you again.”

Tags: Shay Savage Science Fiction
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