When I awoke the next morning, I was disoriented again. I couldn't remember where I was, why I was there, or how I even got there. The recurring nightmare of my past had haunted me yet again the night before.
I stared up at the ceiling of the pub for a few moments before the sound of Logan's movements brought me back to reality.
"You awake?" I heard him say with a raspy voice.
With that, I watched Logan roll out of our pathetic excuse for a bed, throw on his backpack and wait for me at the door.
When I didn't move, he gave me an impatient look.
"Are you coming? You know we don't have that many hours of daylight. We got a lot of ground to cover," he said.
"Yes I know," I replied. "But why today? We were lucky enough to find this place still in one piece. Don't you think we could just hang out here for another night?" I pleaded.
It's not that I had an attachment to the pub... I just didn't like the idea of going back out into the world to look over our shoulder every couple seconds.
"Holly, I know you're tired of going from place to place. Heck, we've been moving nonstop for the past 6 months. But we can't stay here. There isn't anything for us here. I raided every crack and crevice in this place yesterday... and nothing."
I knew my brother was right. I just couldn't bring myself to accept it.
I thought about it for a moment, then stood up and packed the blanket and cushions into my backpack. I took one last look at the pub and then left it on the corner of the street.
As we walked away from it, I couldn't help but notice the streetlight. Guess we didn't need it after all.
We stopped on the sidewalk. Logan reached into his pocket and pulled out a road map. He had been X-ing out all the areas that we had already been.
"I've been thinking, Logan..." I started.
He didn't look up from his map but I knew he was listening.
I took a deep breath. "I think we should take the highway into the city."
When my brother heard those words, he looked up at me as if i just threatened to kill him.
"Are you crazy?" Is all he said. He shook me off and began walking down the road.
"No, just hear me out," I said while picking up my pace to catch up to him.
"I know we would be backtracking, but the city is the best place to look for supplies. There has got to be a ton of untouched stuff there. Food, water, medicine..."
Logan stopped walking and cut me off.
"Holly. Don't you remember how it was when we left it? We promised that we would never go back. It's a death sentence. We stick with the plan."
With that, Logan began walking again. But I wasn't done yet.
"Plan? Last time I checked, we don't have a plan. All we have is a map with X's on it," I replied sternly.
"The plan is to move forward. Not backward," Logan said calmly.
"Logan," I pleaded and stopped moving. When I said his name, I stomped my foot as if I was pouting.
He stopped and turned around to face me. He didn't say anything so I knew he was waiting for me to finish pleading my case.
"The city, Logan." I paused. "It could be so much better than you think it is. And if it is, then it would be the difference between life and death. Out here... we'll die. Without food... or water... or medicine... we'll die. But not if we can make bank in the city. And I say we should at least try. It's not like we got anything to lose..."
I let my words trail off.
Logan looked at me long and hard before making a sound.
"You really think we should do this?" He asked.
I gave a sad smile and nodded.
My brother sighed loudly. Then he put his map back in his pocket, picked up his backpack, and began to walk in the direction that we came. I followed him proudly.
For miles and miles we walked. We knew it would take a few days to get to the city. We followed the highway for most of the time.
The highway was an interesting sight. Lots of cars all lined up in a crash sequence that lasted for miles. In some cases, we had to plug our noses to avoid the smell of the rotting bodies that populated the cars.
It was a quiet walk for the most part. Logan and I didn't talk much. Only the occasional times when I asked him if we could stop to rest.
When we reached the end of the highway, we passed a few neighborhood roads. We spent the night in one of the houses and raided the kitchen for food. We found a few cans of beans. Some had already gone bad, but we eagerly shared the one can that hadn't.
We took the water bottles left in the fridge and left early the next morning.
Soon enough, we had reached the edge of the city. It was quiet where we were standing, at the beginning of the home stretch. Lots of cars were piled up there. We could see that before long, the 4-lane road would turn into one.
But before we started the last walk into the heart of the city, we stood and stared into it.
"I don't hear any groans. That's a good sign," I pointed out. "Maybe that means it really is better in there." My voice was shaky.
Logan took a deep breath.
"There's only one way to find out."