Xavier studies the area and comes to the conclusion that we’re in Oklahoma. Probably close to Oklahoma City. That’s a bad place to be. Oklahoma City is full of Odies. We are close to the wall however, which is a good thing. People are suddenly rushing toward us, so we all begin to mount the fence. Xavier is the first over. He set down Jessie so he could help everyone over the wall. Kyle and I help to push Jessie over the wall. It’s at that moment that I realize Jessie’s breathing has shallowed.
Jessie is over and Talia is next. Talia is regained slight consciousness, but she still isn’t awake whatsoever. Next, Kyle goes over so he and Xavier can both help us get over. The Odies are getting closer, their footsteps grow louder. Kyle hauls me over, though I still do most of the work. Xavier pulls Becca over and we run. We run as fast as we can and we don’t stop.
We’re about a mile away from the fence before Kyle and Xavier have to take a break. We sit at the base of a tree. This is my first time truly taking in the beauty of the Shades. There isn’t a single place where a tree doesn’t loom over your head from high above. The grass is thick and plentiful. Flowers have bloomed and the scent of them lingers in my nose.
“Where are we going?”I ask, out of breath.
“Choctaw. That’s where the others will be.” Xavier explains, holding Jessie in his lap. I think Jessie and him have a thing for each other.
“How long until we’re there if we just walk?” I find my heart slowing.
“Maybe two or three hours walking.” Xavier is examining Jessie still. I can tell he and Kyle are both worried about Jessie. She’s not breathing all that well.
Talia has her eyes open now and is rubbing her head. “Where… what?”
“We escaped Tal. You’re okay. We’re going to Choctaw Oklahoma.” I explain slowly.
“Where’s Claire?” Talia is still rubbing her head, which is bruised badly.
“I’m sure she’s in Choctaw with the others.” I say confused as to why she didn’t ask about Madi, but she did Claire.
“No. She,” Talia takes a few more breaths before continuing, “came in with me.”
We all exchanged petrified looks. We left Claire. The man lied, and we left Claire back at that horrible place. I had no clue what to do. Jessie would know what to do, and she would already have a plan. I tried to think, what would Jessie do?
“We’re going back for her.” I state absolutely.
“No! That’s suicide!” Xavier yelled.
“Claire is a part of this group, we aren’t going to leave her! Jessie would want us to go get her!” I shot back.
“You don’t know crap about Jessie!” Xavier caught me off-guard.
“Look, you take Jessie and Talia to Choctaw, and the rest of us will go back for Claire.” I offer.
“Charlotte, I know you want to save everyone, but that’s not how it works sometimes. Just let it go okay?” Kyle rubbed me on the back, but I rudely scooted away.
“You guys go to Choctaw, I’m going to get Claire. If anyone wants to join me, great. If not, stay out of my way.” I added, “And I need one of your pistols Xavier.”
Xavier reluctantly handed me his pistol. I started to walk off, silently hoping at least one person would change their mind and come. To my luck Kyle got up and stood by me. I gave him a small kiss on the cheek. Becca came to my side too. I knew Xavier and Talia wouldn’t come, so us three just started jogging back to the facility. I hoped Claire was still okay, and that we all would be after it was over. I knew that probably wouldn’t be the case though.