He opened his eyes just as a bear went flying up on the windshield, causing a large crack and bounced off. Alistair braced himself as Troy tried to bring the vehicle safely to a stop. They swerved a little, but finally came to a halt.
“Everyone ok?” Troy looked in the rear-view mirror at Brielle and David.
“Yeah, we’re good.” David’s deep voice didn’t give any indication he was shook by everything, but Alistair couldn’t imagine he was truly calm. Bears didn’t exist anymore. At least they hadn’t found any. The wildlife had either been killed or turned too, from the virus, along with farm animals, pets, and any critter that walked the surface, flew in the air, or swam in the waters. The virus started with humans, but it didn’t end there. Anything critter they’d come across, they’d killed rather than be eaten themselves. The meat wasn’t safe to eat either, leaving nuts as their primary protein once the stored pre-virus meat was gone.
Alistair looked around, trying to find the animal they’d just hit. They had to make sure it was destroyed before it hurt someone. He wasn’t sure how it had managed to survive this long but they had to get rid of it. It took him a moment, but he spotted it on the side of the road, just laying there. They couldn’t have killed it, it wasn’t that easy. With the virus, a person or animal kept going even when they shouldn’t be able to. The only way to kill them was a shot to the head.
David nudged him from the backseat and handed him a gun. They would need weapons even if the bear appeared to be down. Cautiously, the group left the vehicle and headed towards the bear. It had to be destroyed now, or it would hurt one of them later.
They found the bear laying on its side, with its feet beginning to move. The bear grunted as they got closer and they stopped to see if it would jump up after them. It didn’t. Instead, it lifted it’s head off the ground and looked up at them. Something about this bear was different.
When they got closer, the bear stood up on four legs and shook it’s body, then trotted off towards the forest. The group looked at each other. “Should we just let it go?” Brielle was the first to speak.
“Is it a real bear?”
“Of course it’s a real bear, David. Don’t be stupid. “
He turned to face Troy. “You know what I mean!” It doesn’t seem to have the virus, or if it does, it’s not going after us.”
“That’s not possible. Everyone, everything has the virus.” Brielle’s voice was barely above a whisper.
“Well, obviously Dave, but I met everyone else does. All the animals did.”
“Or at least we thought they did.” Troy shifted his weapon on his shoulder.
Everyone turned to look at him. “What do you mean?” Alistair tried to keep his voice from sounding shaky.
Troy shifted his weapon again and pointed towards the woods. “You’re only saying that because all the critters we’ve come across until now were infected. There aren’t all that many of us. What if it’s the same with them? What if some survived, even though most died?” He paused and shifted his weapon again. “There could be a few out there, and we wouldn’t see them. There lots of woods around here, and if they aren’t seeking us because of the virus, we might never know they are there.”
The rest of the group stared at him. He had some good points. “But how do we prove it?” Brielle held her gun in one hand and had the other on her waist.
The group watched as the bear reached the woods, then stood on its hindlegs and growled in their direction. It didn’t charge them, but instead dropped to all fours and wandered off into the forest. Troy turned back to the group. “I think we just did.”