Drops in the Sky

One foot in front of the other. That's all I knew. Just keep walking. Get water when you can. Get food when you can. Just keep walking. For 92 days, that's all I knew. And then, I met Amber Jeffries. And, by God, that girl became all I knew. All I wanted to know. But the War was all that mattered. Fighting is all that matters.

In World War Four, 10 billion people were killed. I'm one of the lucky two billion that survived. So was Amber Jeffries. Unfortunately, 1.9 billion people live in Europe. Mostly France, and a couple areas just outside of it. I'm in the hundred million left in what used to be the United States, which is currently in the midst of a Civil War. And I'm right in the middle of it.

We're kind of a mess. My life's messy. But Amber... She keeps everything together.

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9. nine

Thompson leads us through the camp. We leave the main building and cross the property to the bunkers, which are across a large courtyard. He points out the cafeteria. We're lead through the concrete cabins, sitting in neat rows like obedient little schoolchildren. Thompson points to one cabin. 

"You're all in there," he says. "Boys in one row, girls in the other." 

I glance around and see an equal number of boys and girls. Huh. They must've evened it out when they kicked people out

"Dinner's at six," he says. We nod, and file into the spacious cabin. 

I find a cot in the center of the room, with the head against a wall. There are probably twenty other kids in the room. Amber chooses a cot that's nestled in the farthest corner of the room from the main door. She catches my gaze from across the room and grins. 

I raise an eyebrow. What's she smiling about? She answers my question by pointing to a trunk at the foot of her bed. 

I walk over to the foot of my bed and see an identical one. I open it up and see... clothes! 

God, it'll be nice to wear a shirt that isn't two sizes too small. Or, as she says, a 'tad' small. 

I whip my head up as I hear someone yell. Everyone else turns to the source of the voice. 

"Showers!" He yells again, excitedly. I feel a smile spread from ear to ear. It's been so long! Oh, God. I must smell terrible. I cringe at the thought that the entire time Amber's known me, I've smelled like a boy's locker room. Myself and another dozen kids rush towards the bathroom. 

I frown when I see there are only five showers. 

Everyone glances at each other before we all come to a mutual understanding. Everyone rushes towards the showers immediately, until one person is left standing in each shower, panting, clothes on. Everyone else groans in disappointment. Guess I'll be waiting

I turn to see Amber leaning against the doorframe, an amused glint in her eye. 

I trudge out of the bathroom. Whatever. I decide to wait to change out of my sweaty clothes until after I can shower; no use wasting a clean shirt, right? 

I sit on the edge of my cot, trying to sort through the clothes in my trunk. I feel the mattress next to me sink down, and look up to see Amber sitting next to me. 

I try to keep myself from smiling. I fail. 

"We did it!" I say. She stares at me and shrugs. 

"Guess so." 

"Nice fighting," I say awkwardly. 

"Thanks," she mutters. "You, too." 

"How'd you get so good at shooting a gun?" 

She shrugs. "Same way I learned how to fight. Practice." 

My eyes widen. "At people?" 

She rolls her eyes. "At trees, idiot."

"Oh," I say simply. 

"Hey, princess!" A rough voice calls from the bathroom. All the girls, save Amber, turn their head. "Blondie!" Amber rolls her eyes and turns her head, and sees that his eyes are trained directly at her. I notice it's the same guy who tried to talk to Amber earlier, who she hit. 

"What?" She spits out, her eyes not bothering to hide their fire. 

"Shower's open." 

The girls in the room roll their eyes and go back to what they were doing. 

"Dude, take the shower!" I say. A shower's a shower, even if it was offered by an ass. She rolls her eyes, and makes her way over to her bed. She grabs some clothes. 

"Thanks," she mutters to the ass before entering the bathroom. He walks back into the room smirking, wearing only a pair of black sweatpants. 

Can't say I don't resent the guy. All the other girls in the room look to him, glance at his body, and either turn away blushing, or continue staring. Amber walks right past him. 

A flash of disappointment zips through his eyes, but it's gone within a second. He makes his way over to my bed and sits down next to me. 

"What's her problem?" He says with a laugh. 

I raise my eyebrow. "Hate to break it to you, man, but she's not interested." 

He glares at me. "And how would you know that?"

"Uh- because I'm her... friend," I stutter. 

He laughs. "Sheesh," he mutters. "No need to get jealous." 

I glare at him. "You're on my bed," I accuse. 

Way to state the obvious, Justin!

He rolls his eyes and walks away. 

~~~

Five minutes later, Amber walks out of the restroom, wearing clean clothes. Her blonde hair drips water, forming a wet patch on her shirt. She looks at me and points at the shower. 

"Thanks," I say. 

"No problem." 

I grab a pair of sweatpants and a white tee shirt. As I walk past her, I notice that she smells good. Really good. 

Since when did I become the type of person who pays attention to how a girl smells? 

Five minutes, a bunch of hot water, and half a bottle of body wash later, I step out of the shower. It feels so good to be fresh and clean... I don't even want to think about how long it's been since my last shower. I quickly pull on my sweatpants and t-shirt and attempt to towel-dry my hair. I only succeed in, I assume, making it stand up in every direction. 

That reminds me... 

I step towards the mirror and gape at myself. 

Oh. My. God. 

My hair, as predicted, stands up straight. My eyes are weary, my skin has been vastly darkened by the sun since the last time I've seen my face. I'm covered in freckles, from being in the desert. The skin on my shoulders is dry and flakey. My lip is still swollen and bloody from my two fights. 

Oh, God. I guess it's for the best that I haven't seen my reflection in several months. 

I walk into the room. 

"Oh, boy," I groan at what I see. 

"I told you to leave me alone!" Amber yells at Mr. Ass. 

"Come on, baby, give me a shot!" He says with a smirk. I feel my face get hot with anger. He inches towards her, attempting to pin her against the wall. Everyone else in the room just watches. 

"Get the fuck off of me," she mutters. 

"Why would I do it, when you're enjoying it so much?" 

She looks at him, the fire gone from all her eyes. All that's there is amusement and a mischievous glint. That can't be good. "I'm enjoying it?" 

He nods. "You know you are, Princess." 

"Enjoy this," she spits. 

"Enjoy what?" 

She knees him in the crotch. He falls to the ground. I wince, sympathizing for my fallen partner, then laugh, remembering that he's an ass. 

She turns to me with a glint in her eye. 

"Have a nice shower?" 

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