Alistair paced the back porch. Dayken and Brody should have returned hours ago, but they were still gone and there was no word from them. Kyrie lay on a swing on the back porch, asleep. She hadn’t wanted to go inside and leave him, but the teen was tired and needed to rest. Sleep didn’t come easy for any of them these days.
He drew in a deep breath. The days were long and the nights short, and the thought of losing even more people stressed him out further. They couldn’t be gone, they just couldn’t. Dayken was one of their strongest leaders, just below Ethan and George. They needed him now more than ever before.
As for Brody, he was young and cocky but full of energy. Ethan had insisted Dayken go with him on a supply run to keep him in line, but Alistair was sure the young man had still taken risks. Perhaps he had taken one too many this time, and gotten them into trouble.
When they still hadn’t returned for several hours, Alistair gently woke Kyrie and headed back into the house to talk to Ethan. It was time they did something. He couldn’t just sit still and do nothing.
He found Ethan in the tiny room they called main base, attempting to radio the two men on the supply run. There was no answer. Cell phone technology had been down for several months, but they managed to find CB radios for both the truck and base to communicate. It wasn’t ideal, since not every vehicle had one, and they didn’t have anything portable for the walks to the river, but it was better than nothing. They didn’t bother taking the vehicles to the river. There were only three of them, two trucks and an SUV, and it wasn’t worth the gas or the noise they made to get there. They could go quietly on foot and not have to worry about wasting gas that way.
The supply runs were different. They had to go further and further just to find supplies, so a vehicle made more sense for that. Two people could get to a nearby town and back in a few hours, with a truck full of supplies. They ransacked stores and empty houses, grabbing whatever they could to hold them for as long as possible before the next run.
It had been over seven hours now though, and they should have returned. Something was wrong. Alistair could feel it in his gut. “General McClain?”
The middle-aged General looked up at him. Ethan McClain had served in the army with his father before the virus hit, and he treated Alistair and Kyrie like his own children. “Son? Shouldn’t you be out guarding the yard, like I asked?”
Alistair nodded. “Yes, sir. It’s just…” he paused, trying to carefully word what he wanted to say.
“Spit it out, boy! I don’t have time for this. What is it?”
“I’m just worried about Brody and Dayken, sir. They’ve been gone awhile.”
The General looked down at his watch. “I guess you’re right. I didn’t realize how late it was getting.” He motioned towards the door. “Take Brielle, Troy and David with you. Take the Expedition and go find them.”
He shifted his feet nervously. “My sister, sir. I can’t just leave her.” He didn’t want to say the unspoken words. He might not make it back. Someone would need to care for her if he didn’t. He couldn’t just leave her to fend for herself, he owed his parents that much.
The older man nodded. “Leave her with Rachel. She’ll take care of her until you return.”
Alistair forced a slight smile. “Thank you sir.” He turned and headed back out to find his sister. Rachel was Ethan’s wife, so he could be guaranteed his sister would be in good hands. The McClain’s were good people. Once he’d located Kyrie and then Rachel, he hugged his sister goodbye and went to find the group who would go with him. The house was small, too small for their group really, but it was home for now.
In a few minutes, he’d located Brielle and the two men who would go with him and they were on their way. Heading to the last known location the men had communicated over the radio, they road in silence. Alistair tried to calm his racing heart while they traveled, but his mind was on the men still out there somewhere, and on his father. They had to find them. They just had to. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing more people. Watching the trees fly by out the passenger window of the front seat, he laid his head against the window and began to feel himself drifting off. He fought it, but it was no use. Safe for now inside the vehicle, he fell into a restless sleep. It wasn’t until Brielle began to scream, and the tires began to squeal that he awoke.