I swallowed hard, knowing then that we’d probably never meet again. He had to keep moving, and so did I. Canada was an awfully big place, and the odds of us running into each other were pretty slim.
“Sure,” I said, trying not to let him hear the doubt in my voice. “That sounds good, Lazlo.”
“It’s a plan then,” Lazlo said. “Over.”
“Is there anything we should know about?” I asked. “Are there any places we should avoid? Over.”
“Avoid the cities,” Lazlo said. “They’re really bad. And just… avoid zombies, I guess. Be careful. Over.”
“That militia base you found, did they have any guns?” I asked.
“Not a lot,” Lazlo said. “And we took what they had. Sorry. Over.”
“No, don’t be. You did what you should’ve done.” I held the mic away from my face for a minute and shook my head. “Listen, Lazlo, I should get going.”
“Will you have the CB with you?” Lazlo asked.
“No, I won’t. I won’t be able to radio anymore,” I said. I closed my eyes. This would probably be the last time I ever talked to him. “Take care of yourself, okay, Lazlo?”
“I will,” Lazlo said. “And you do the same. You have a date you have to go to in Canada, remember?”
“I won’t forget it.” I took a deep breath. “Bye, Lazlo. Over.”
“Bye, Remy.” There was a long pause. “Over.”
I handed the radio back to Boden, in case he could think of somebody he wanted to radio. Then I pulled myself all the way up onto the cab and stood up. I jumped from the cab to the trailer. When I was out in the middle, I sat down, dangling my legs over the edge.
From here, I had a view of everything, and the ground was flat and grassy, with no zombies in sight. Teddy was standing by the cab, and he looked like he’d been listening to me talking to Lazlo. Bishop was below me, setting up lunch. Max was playing with Stella, or at least trying to. She giggled some, but she still seemed freaked out.
Daniels and Nolita were at the end of the trailer, sitting on the tires and talking. Their voices were hushed, and they leaned into each other. I don’t know what they were saying, but Nolita’s hand was on Daniels’ thigh.
Ripley was quite a bit away from us, lying in the grass. She’d been following us, but she kept her distance. Her affection yesterday wasn’t her usual behavior. She usually preferred to have space between her and humans.
I looked at everyone around me and wondered how long it would be before they were dead. I tried so hard to protect Blue and Harlow, and they were both gone. I didn’t know where Lazlo was, or how long it would be until he was gone.
The zombies weren’t dying. It would only be a matter of time until they killed everyone, including me.
Boden’s boots on the trailer interrupted my thoughts, but I didn’t look over at him. Not until he shoved a piece of paper in my face.
“Here,” he said, so I took it from him, and he sat down next to me.
“What is it?” I asked, but I could already tell that it was a map.
“I got it from the glove box,” Boden explained. “It’s a map of North America. I figured we’d need that if you want to meet up with that guy in Canada.”
“I’m not really gonna meet up with him.” I set the map down between us. “Even if we make it to Canada, I’ll never find him. And the zombies are probably going to get us first.”
“It’s colder, and they hate the cold,” Boden said. “We’ll fare better up there than we will staying down here. It’s our best chance of surviving.”
“But for how long?” I asked him honestly. I turned to look at him, his soft gray eyes meeting mine. “How long can we really hope to survive?”
“As long as we can.” He smiled simply. “That’s our only option, Remy. Unless you want to give up and die here. That’s it.”
“No.” I sighed. “I don’t want to do that either. I just …”
“I know.” He stared out the storm clouds rumbling in the west. “It’s a hard life, but it’s the only life we have. And sometimes – ” he pointed to a bright flash of lightening, its jagged light stretching from the sky to the ground, “– it’s still beautiful. Sometimes you find something that makes this all worth it.
“And when you do, you hang onto for it as long as you can.” He turned to me, shrugging one shoulder. “That’s the best you can do.”
I looked down at Max, who’d gotten Stella to laugh. Boden was right. The zombies might end up winning this war anyway, but I’d fight for Max, and even Stella, for as long as I could. I’d go on until I couldn’t anymore. And that was the best I could do.
“Come on,” Boden said, getting up. “We should go eat before the rain comes.”
And the rain did come, sweeping across the land in sheets. At least it didn’t start until after we’d finished eating and packed up our things. We were on the move again, looking for shelter.
First the wind came up, turning icy when it had been warm. We were all rushing by then. So he could run faster, Teddy carried Stella on his back, her arms latched around his neck and her legs wrapped around his waist.
It started with a few scattered drops, but it turned into an all-out downpour within seconds. By the time we got out of the rain, we were all completely drenched.