TWO YEARS LATER...
"What do you mean we are low on food? We had a months worth last week." Iris asked. Her left hand man Tryston was standing on the opposite end of the table. B was to the right, along with Kaveeta.
"We have a lot more people to feed since our last run."
"We couldn't just leave them to die B."
"I'm not saying that. We just need to make more supply runs. Maybe multiple parties from now on."
"How many people did we bring in since the last two runs?"
"Twenty." Tryston pitched in.
Iris took a deep breath. "Alright. I am going to take a group of people for the next run. We will plan out the route and keep every option open. Kaveeta, I need you to plan the trip and mark every escape route in case things go to shit."
"You got it."
"Iris." A woman with graying hair rushed in. "Sorry to interrupt, but we have three more that were attacked."
"Shit. Kaveeta, get on the route. Tryston, keep our people calm. It kills morale when this happens. B, you're with me."
The two girls left the tent and the sun hit their eyes, causing them to burn a little. Their camp was surrounded by tall, thick tree trunks that they put around the entire camp. Four sniper towers were on each corner with 360 degrees vantage points. A fire was going towards the back with what looked to be a pig being cooked. Iris looked around and saw all of her people busy at work. A few kids would run around and play, including Anya, however she was nowhere to be seen. "Amy!" Iris got a young girls attention. She had to be no older than eighteen.
"Go find Anya and see if she's okay. Make sure she eats too."
"Sure thing." She smiled and started looking.
They made it across the large camp and into the tent with a red cross spray painted on the front. It was larger than all the others. The smell of blood and bleach filled Iris' nostrils. Reminding her of the first time she experienced the horrible scent. It was when this all started. It felt like a century to her. "Who and how are they."
Jean was startled at first, but wiped the sweat from her forehead, leaving a trail of blood in its place. "Jeff, Becca and Jared. All three were shot. Jared was dead when he got here. Two shots to the head. Jeff is in critical condition, but holding on. Becca has sustained multiple shots to the leg. Probably because she ran. We aren't soldiers Iris. They didn't know what to do in a gun fight. We kill zombies, not people."
"Can I speak to Becca?"
"She is on some strong pain meds, but she should be alright for a few more minutes. Make it count."
"Thank you Jean." Iris motioned for B to stay put before going to the recovering side of the tent. She saw her friend Becca smile as soon as she entered. "Hey trooper."
"Hows the leg?"
"Jean says it will heal. Just very slowly."
"Good. Jean knows what she's doing. You're in good hands." It was silent for a few moments before Becca chuckled. "What?"
"I know that look."
"What look? There's no look."
"There is a look. That look you do when you need answers but you don't know if someone is ready to answer or not."
"Guess I'm not so mysteriously cool after all."
"Not one ounce of you is whatever you just said." She smiled before taking a deep breath. "We were trying to get food and heard footsteps outside. Thought they were just more dead people so we finished what we were doing. When we got outside, we were held at gunpoint. That's never happened to me before so I ran. That's when they shot me. Jared tried shooting back, but they killed him instantly. Jeff tried to stop them, but couldn't. They took all of the food and medical supplies that we fought for. They even laughed."
"I'm sorry Becca. I shouldn't have sent you out there. It was in a hot zone."
"It's alright. I'm okay. Besides, I'm gonna have a cool scar now."
Iris laughed at that. "Get some rest sweety. I'll visit you soon."
It was nightfall and Iris stood outside of her tent. Watching as people danced around the fire. Tryston was good at keeping this up beat with their group. "What did Becca say?" B asked as she walked up next to Iris.
"You don't think it's the same group from six months ago do you?"
"No. We took care of them. These people are new. Becca said they laughed after shooting them. We might have a big problem on our hands this time B."
"Hey." B said, trying to comfort her friend by putting a hand on her shoulder. "We'll make it through this. We always do."
"At what price though?"
"Look. You have had enough stress for one night. Why don't we go over there and actually try and have fun?"
"We have people that are dying and you want me to have fun?"
"These people don't know that. You are making this place a good and safe place where people want to be. That's rare in this world now. You've built this place from being nothing, to being a place called home."
"Don't cut yourself short. I couldn't do it without the others. Without you."
"Such a flatterer. Come on Iris, one dance?" Iris didn't know how her and B became friends, but she's glad they did. It made this hell a lot more livable. "Would it help if I said that I have alcohol?"
"Now you have my attention."
"Their back!" A man shouted as they opened the gates to let the truck through. Veda stood where they stopped and saw five full bags.
"How'd you get all of this so soon?"
"We had a little help." One of the raiders said with a smirk.
"What do you mean a little help?" She questioned.
"It was just a few punks. Don't worry, we took care of them."
"How many times do I have to tell you that we don't steal!" She shouted while grabbing the man by his dirty collar.
"All due respect ma'am, we can do whatever we want outside of those walls unless you're there with us. Those are the rules."
"That doesn't mean you kill people!"
"Take it easy boss. It wasn't a big deal. We got food for our people, be happy." He said while shrugging her off to be free. "You're welcome." He said bitterly.
She was about to shout, but was stopped by Finn. "Not worth your time. They know you're in charge."
"It sure as hell doesn't seem like it."
"He had a point Veda. Most of our people, especially the runners. Aren't good people. To keep them from doing something bad in here, you gotta let them loose out there."
She sighed. "I know your right, but it still isn't right."
"I know. Come on, diners gonna be cold if we don't hurry." They entered the warehouse before the large door shut behind them and the lights came on. Their camp has tripled since last month. Some were good people that helped out to keep the camp going. Other were people that only behaved because if they stepped out of line, they would have to be punished by Veda. It wasn't a camp that Veda was very proud of, but it was a camp. A survivors camp. Sometimes you have to do bad to things to survive. Veda thought as she joined everyone on their feast.
Iris woke up to a thumping headache and held her head to try and stop the roller coaster in her head. She saw that B was still asleep beside her. They weren't together, they were comfort and they both knew it. B and Iris both lost someone, but had to move on. Life was too short for a relationship. After she got washed up, B was already up and ready to go. "How do you never get a hangover?"
"What can I say? It's a gift." She smirked. "Are you ready? Today is the day."
"Have to be. Get everyone to the main tent. Weapons ready."