Day 121 – In Virginia, they – part n, where n is an integer > 1

Well this is me one third of the way through this project.

 

 

Word count: 791

 

Crickets leapt through the long grass as they rustled through it in single file, a red moon rising above the forest to the right of them. A cold breeze swept in from the coast, goosebumps formed on Jerry’s arms. Above them, light blue clouds were forming, shielding the stars from view. All else was still. The highway was too far to be heard and the nearest town had been taken over by tomato-slaves.

 

“How much further is it?” Jerry asked, panting. They had been walked for what seemed like hours. Sweat was dripping down his forehead; he was not used to this kind of exertion at his local gym. He would usually crank it up to setting five on the walking treadmill if he wanted a really good work out. Out here, there was mud and slime and grass and scratchy twigs and rocks and uphills and downhills and tricky footings and the possibility of tomato-zombie-slaves coming out of the darkness at any second.

“It’s not far now, but quiet! I think we’re being watched.” Karin whispered back at Jerry, throwing up a hand to signal them to stop.

Jerry’s animal instincts kicked in. He felt the back of his neck tingle as thousands of imaginary eyes watched him from the bushes, from the sky, behind rocks and just behind him.

“What? How do you know? Why have we stopped?” Jerry imagined several thousand of them lurking just beyond his scope of vision. Any moment now they could erupt into a torrent of evil townsfolk.

“Shush! Jerry, don’t move a muscle.”

Whilst Tanya was keeping her cool and following Karin’s every instruction, Jerry was close to having a heart attack. A tingly sensation came over the back of his neck, like someone was breathing lightly on him. He jumped up and yelped. But there was no one there at all.

“Dammit, Jerry – silence!” Tanya cried angrily.

“It’s too late….” Karin began, “Run…..”

Karin sprinted off first, leaping over unseen obstacles and taking off like a gazelle being hunted. Tanya quickly followed, but Jerry lingered for just a second too long. From out of the darkness he heard them first; the rustling of grass being bent by running feet. Then, as if seeing them through a mist or a fog, their bodies came into view. They were ghostly, unearthly. Jerry bolted, heart working double time in an effort to catch up with the girls.

Jerry could feel them on their tail. Whether or not they were gaining on them was another matter. To his surprise he had managed to catch up with Tanya pretty quickly. His adrenaline was compensating for years of physical neglect.

“Where are we going?”

“Through the trees! They’ll lose us more easily in there!”

They ran into the forest – and were met with a more intense darkness. The wood blocked almost all moonlight. Jerry could only just make out the girls’ figures. Karin was dodging the trees in an ffort to elude the tomato-zombie-slaves. Jerry was dashing from tree to tree, alternating a stop at each one just to regain his breath. Tanya had stopped just ahead of him, and turned round. Jerry saw the look of horror in her eyes. Tanya, the strong one who had survived in the cellar; who was immune to the disease; whose father created this all: scared to death. Jerry knew if she stayed there too long she wouldn’t be able to pick up enough speed in time to outrun them. He threw himself in her direction and tore her from her terrifying encapsulation.

“Come on, Tanya, we have to keep moving!”

Jerry grabbed her hand and they ran through the rest of the forest together; not stopping once for breath, but feeding off each other’s stamina and energy. Soon they had reached the other side. Splashing through a shallow stream, they made it to a peaceful plain, where Karin was standing, waiting for them.

“They won’t come this far, I’ve seen them. They’ll just stand there on the other side. They won’t cross.

“Alright, I believe you… I don’t want to hang around here waiting for you to be proven wrong.”

“Okay, follow me,” Karin said, and starting jogging again.

They skirted the circumference of the forest, making sure to keep well out of sight from the stream. Fortunately they entered another field of long grass, which covered their presence well. At the end of it, Karin broke apart the grass and revealed a small little haven. Though the lights were not currently on, Jerry could imagine a brilliant fire burning here in winter, a cosy smoke billowing from the chimney of the old little country farm house.

“My home, guys. Safest place in Cheapside, Virginia.”

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~ by S.G. Mark on February 5, 2012.

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