When Worlds Fall

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Finally...

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351Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Sun 20 Dec 2015 - 17:56

"Of course," I nod, patting the seat before I pull my hand back to wrap in the blanket. We fall into a comfortable silence, thankfully, as we leave the rest top in the rear view mirror. Driving on the high ways is pleasant - the truck requiring little effort on my part to get us where we're going. After nearly an hour of nothing but the sound of the road, Marnin points out that the truck should have a radio, and I find myself fiddling with it as we go. 

Most of the channels are static, but a few manage to work. Radio towers across the country still stand from the pre-war era, and the ones in some of the larger cities even still function. Radio DJs relay news across the land, mixing in tracks from before the world fell apart. I've always loved the music that played, perhaps because it's a taste of what the world used to be while still remaining gloriously relateable. Listening to the radio play songs from centuries ago used to be Maja's and mine's favorite pastime, a pastime passed down from our childhood home. 

The static and music makes the miles pass much quicker, and the sun is already starting to set. The small heater he'd found has made the cabin of the truck a comfortable temperature, and I find myself yawning a bit. Glancing over, it appears as though Marnin has settled into his corner and fallen asleep, something that brings a grin to my face. I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather be making this trip with, even if the end doesn't play out as cleanly as I'd hope. The journey should be enjoyable, at least. 

Cutting the music up a bit louder to battle the urge to sleep, I settle back and stare absently out the windshield. The awe of the road has worn off, the same snow-covered landscape having lost it's wonder several hours ago, and with the sun setting the urge to sleep is almost unbearable. 

A familiar song come on the radio - an old favorite of my sister and mine - and without even realizing, I'm singing along. It's pleasant, I haven't sung much since she passed and it was such an outlet for me before. It's easy to do in the truck, Marnin sound asleep beside me, with the wind whipping around us as we drive. Almost too easy, and I find myself getting really into the song when the truck's engine begin to chug and jerk a bit. 

Cutting the radio off, I try to listen to whatever is making the noise when the truck seems to jerk again, our speed slowing as the engine tries to rev and keep up with the gear we're in. 

"Hey," I say sharply, realizing Marnin is already awake as I put the truck in neutral as we coast down the road, "What did I do? What's happening?"

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352Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 0:20

My heart sinks at the familiar sound as my mind races back to the rest stop. Groaning heavily, I feel my shoulders sag as I drag a hand across my face. 

"Did you get gas while we were at the rest stop?" I ask with a feeling of dread sitting in the pit of my stomach.

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353Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 0:34

"Did I get... what?" I frown, steering the truck off to the shoulder as it gradually slows to a stop.

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354Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 0:38

"Fuck," I groan as the truck rolls to a complete stop. The cold is already creeping into the truck without the motor running to keep the heater on. I unbuckle quickly, practically crawling into Ljuba's lap without warning as I fumble for the switch to shut off the lights.

"Shut the lights off!" I hiss, my muscles tensing as I give up and sit back to listen to the unnatural silence left by the quiet of the truck.

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355Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 0:55

My stomach leaps into my throat as Marnin sits practically on top of me, my chest tightening painfully until he moves back to his seat. My hands are shaking as I reach up to mess with the switches and knobs for the lights, turning each and every one off before I sink back and look out the window anxiously. 

"I'm sorry..."

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356Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 0:58

"We have to get the truck off the road," I say, my heart resting in the pit of my stomach as I hold the armrest of the door tightly. I can't bring myself to open the door, or even acknowledge the guilty feeling at making Ljuba upset as I clench my teeth and continue to listen to the darkness.

"Do you have your gun?" I ask after a moment as I glance back at her.

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357Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 1:04

"It's in my bag..." I frown, pulling the keys from the ignition as I set them in the seat beside me before sitting up to look out over the hood nervously.

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358Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 1:10

"Do you know how to shoot it?" I ask seriously as I dig into my own bag for the small pistol I'd acquired from Jessica, the loose bullets jangling as I fish them out as well to load it. "It's not safe at night, especially in the In-Between. Frankly, we shouldn't get out of the truck at all until sunrise, but we're sitting ducks on the side of the road. We need to get off the road and disguise the truck somehow. If you see anything, shoot it."

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359Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 1:27

"What?" I frown, looking over at him as I twist in my seat to look his direction. "Are you serious? There's nothing out there for miles other than snow and what's left of the trees."

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360Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 1:30

"Lju-," I start, my teeth grinding as I stop myself from letting my own fears her the better of me. "Just indulge me, okay? Keep your gun nearby. I could be paranoid, but paranoid is what keeps you alive out here."

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361Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 1:34

I sigh as I grab the keys, shoving my door open so I can head back around to the bed of the truck to crawl up towards the toolbox. The cold air took my breath as soon as it hit me, and I'm shaking from head to toe as I struggle to get the keys into the lock so I can get to my gun.

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362Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 1:49

My ears are peeled as I listen for anything moving in the distance. So intent am I on catching the slightest sound of something or someone approaching, I nearly jump out of my skin when Ljuba manages to get the half-frozen toolbox to pop open with a shrill squeak.

"Okay, maybe I lied," I say sheepishly after she's procured her gun. "Maybe we should just do what we can to hunker down for the night and then we can try to walk to the next checkpoint in the morning. With all the noise we've made, anything that might be out there already knows we're here, and if we waste our time trying to get the truck off the road, we may never get it back out again."

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363Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 3:07

"WHAT?" I call through the closed back window, slamming the toolbox closed again before I begin messing with the locks. The trembling has gotten out of control, and it takes me nearly a dozen tries before I can get the key into the first lock. After a few minutes, I'm crawling back into the driver's side of the truck, cursing myself silently for not getting my coat and hooded sweater out of the back. I don't know what I was thinking, the lone sweater I'm wearing now doing little to keep me warm.

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364Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 21:26

"I said," I say after she's gotten into the truck, a heavy sigh falling from my lips as I shake my head at her shivering. "Just get comfortable and forget moving the truck. We'll never get it out again if we push it into the ditch."

After loading my own pistol, I reach down into my bag to dig around for something to bundle up with. "I'm going to go grab some brush and scraps to try to disguise the outline of the truck. Watch my back, will you? And please don't shoot in my direction unless you're sure you know how to use that thing. I'll make you dig the bullets out of my ass, don't even test me."

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365Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 22:12

I frown as he heads for the door, the shivering more out of fear than anything as I reach out and grab his arm.

"Please-" I start, inhaling sharply as I squeeze his arm, "Don't leave."

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366Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Mon 21 Dec 2015 - 22:18

"Lju," I frown, my hand on the door as I cock my head back toward her. I can hear her heart hammering in her chest, her pulse almost palpably thudding against my arm as she squeezes it. Sighing, I lock the door rather than opening it before nodding toward hers for her to do the same.

"So what do you want to do?" I ask as casually as though we were spending a night drinking a couple of beers together and watching the static on her television.

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367Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 0:38

I shrug a bit lamely, looking down at the gun in my lap as I frown. 

"I didn't know to get gas, Marn-" I say softly, "I really fucked this up, didn't I?"

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368Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 0:41

"It was my fault," I say quickly, half cutting her off as I shake my head and reach over to squeeze the seat between us as though the seat were somehow an analog of her leg. "I forgot to tell you to gas up. Didn't even cross my mind, really. I'm so used to riding with one of the scavengers, I forgot that you hadn't really driven all that much."

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369Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 0:54

"Still, cars need gas. I mean, everyone knows that. How stupid could I be?" I groan, knocking my head back against the glass a couple times before I move the gun to the center of the bench seat and lean forward to rest against the steering wheel. 

"We're going to freeze to death because I'm an idiot."

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370Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 1:13

"No, we're not," I say as I shake my blanket and nod toward hers. "We have shelter - wind-proof shelter, no less - blankets, several things of clothes to lay with, and the body heat of two people warming the cab. We'll be alright. It won't be pleasant, but it could be far worse. You should have been there when Darryl forgot to replace the spare when we were in raider territory. That was a disaster of a trip."

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371Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 1:15

"What's a spare..?" I ask with wide eyes as I raise my head to look at him, "Did I forget that, too?"

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372Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 1:17

"No, it's under the truck," I laugh, shaking my head. "It's the spare tire for replacing a flat. Don't worry, I made sure the truck was in good working order before we left. And Curtis takes such good care of it. That's why I took it."

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373Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 1:23

"Oh," I nod weakly, resting my forehead back against my hands gripping the wheel. My shoulders shake as I breathe unsteadily, fighting the urge to cry.

"Talk about something." I say thickly, "Anything. Distract me."

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374Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 1:27

"Um," I say, pausing uncertainly as I start pulling blankets and jackets into my lap to trap in what warmth I have before the cold can sink in. "I heard you singing. It was nice."

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375Finally... - Page 15 Empty Re: Finally... on Tue 22 Dec 2015 - 1:28

"You heard that?" I ask, a bit surprised as I look up at him, "I thought you were asleep..."

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