Watching them didn’t take as long as I thought. They have grown so powerful it’s made them sloppy. Raider trucks have been coming at such a steady clip; they are given access inside the walls barely inspected. Those trucks are my way in. I have to act soon, no telling when the raids will slow down. Eventually, there will be nothing left to steal.
I’m finding comfort in this abandoned studio, and it’s only been one day. Staying still makes me weak. I dread having to pick up my backpack again. I miss having a home. This apartment isn’t much and has been vandalized ten times over, but this is the first time I’ve felt anything close to safe in years. Kind of crazy considering how close I am to what’s wrong with the world. Hunters. Thieves. Murderers. Raiders. They tore holes in the world and built their cities inside. The danger is everywhere.
At this, I stand up. It would be foolish to sit for too long. Safety isn’t possible, and thinking so is dangerous. People either figure out how to survive, or they don’t. There are two kinds of survivors: those who remain faithful to themselves and those who give into the destruction and chaos. I refuse to abandon being decent to survive. The people I used to travel with believed the same. We got on for awhile fine, and then we got sloppy. I forgot the importance of listening to my gut feeling. I shook it away to make others happy. I was wrong to do that. There is no time to relax. Finding comfort in this world is a death sentence. I have to get inside those fences and save Peter.
I pull a ski mask over my face. If I fail and need to retreat temporarily, no one will know who I am. This is my big show. I will become one with the shadows. I will remain unseen.
I glare at my worn pack; then I slide it onto my back. I cast my eyes across the room. I stare at my own painted words, “Paige will survive this.” The closed door taunts me. I’m scared. There is no way around it. I suck in a heavy breath and charge forward.
Going down the stairs feels worlds different from going up them. When I walked up, I could hope to find somewhere to see. Coming down, I wish I didn’t see what I knew I would. Dread and fear run in my veins with my blood.
Voices come from outside. Raiders are close. I’ve heard they can smell fear. I press my back against the wall as soon I reach the ground floor. Faint headlights brighten up spots of the weathered road. My heart pounds in my chest.
I sneak along the wall, never taking my back from the scratchy concrete blocks. Breaks screech to a halt. Hurried footsteps splash through the rain puddles. A gun cocks on the other ride of the wall. Are they aware of me? Probably not. I haven’t made one sound. A door opens and closes. My ears are painting the picture. It’s hard to gauge when to step outside.