The Outpost

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  1. [​IMG]

    September 1st, 20xx, 5:22AM
    Somewhere in Milwaukee, 127 miles from Chicago

    Dean, with as much optimism as possible, admired the sunlight that made its way past the sea of forest that surrounded the highway. His two-door pickup truck passed thousands of trees every second as he zoomed down the road at sixty five miles per hour, which was one of many unusual instances that took place. The drive was surreal, for many reasons, and that worried the boy as he gazed at the branches rocking back and forth rather than the road before him.

    For one, he had made it a rule for himself to never exceed fifty on the speedometer whilst traveling. There were a lot of rules, that one being one of the most vital to him since crashing his previous car into a crowd of monsters in the dead of night.

    Secondly, Dean was calm. Almost relaxed, and this worried him the most. It was quiet, or at least felt so. The howling winds could not be heard, the roaring engine, not so roaring. It was strange. He had months of traveling under his belt, and even more spent in isolated protection, and yet, this particular morning felt like it was to be a special one. He hoped this to be a good thing, but that didn't seem like the case.

    More importantly, what truly worried Dean wasn't his calm, relaxed state, but how he had managed to get to this point as he stared into his trucks mirror, watching as a Berserker sprinted down the highway on all fours just a short distance from the bed of his truck.

    Berserks, that's what he called this variation of mutant. Its skin, soft and mushy as if it had been submerged in water for days. Crystals were riddled throughout every limb of its body like armor. Its legs and arms were horrifyingly bulky, yet slim at the same time, much like a cheetah. Its mouth and eyes trembling in an unholy frenzy for blood.

    Dean had witnessed a single Berserker slaughter twelve, thirteen, fourteen people? Watching as they all unloaded every bullet in in their inventory on the creature to no avail. He had only managed to slay two of this variation, and that was with the help of others. The only known method of slaying a Berserker, at least to the boy, was to impale the base of its neck, severing its spine. It's evident that this process is much easier said than done.

    And yet still, the young man remained calm. With less than half a tank to keep him going, there was no escaping the Berserkers sights. He would have to take action, quickly.
    #1 Gossamer, Apr 11, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2016
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  2. [​IMG]

    September 1st, 20--, 5:30am
    (Probably) lost, by a lakeside, somewhere on the way to Chicago

    The idea to make a detour from her carefully chosen route over small roads far off from the big cities, or more like any kind of city, had sounded much better during the night, when she had been tired not just in general or of driving, but of feeling grimey and and unwashed. She made an effort to clean up every day, but there was only so much you could do if you didn't want to waste maybe-in-the-near-future-precious water and had no intention to risk going anywhere that might house the Creatures that made up most of the world's population now.

    So when she'd looked at the map that had come with the car and noticed how close she was to an opportunity to really, properly wash up, she hadn't allowed herself to doubt the impulse and had turned off the road she had formerly planned to stay on a while longer. She figured she would eventually find a way back and, with a glance at the back of her car as well as the fuel gauge, decided she had enough provisions to to survive even if the detour cost her a few days.

    Takiko had expected to start worrying much sooner than she did. She wasn't one to be careless and she certainly wasn't one to make decisions like this on a whim, especially not since the world had gone to hell.

    But when she woke up sometime around dawn and pushed aside her make-shift curtains to look out of the back of the car, she felt strangely calm. After a quick look around, she grabbed the gun that was always close-by these days and gently opened the door, climbing outside and doing a thurough survey of her surroundings.

    All was quiet. Nothing moved between the trees. She stood there for a moment longer, concentrating on any sounds that would tell her she should get back in the care and get out of there, but nothing happened. She relaxed, just a fraction but more than she had in a while outside of her car. Her eyes turned to the water. It looked extremely cold, but it was clear and that was more than she had expected.

    It might be best, Takiko decided, to be as quick as possible about this. So after another look around she leaned back into the car and grabbed a change of clothes, a towel and soap and hurried the few feet to the waterside and got to work, movements quick and efficient despite the chilling cold, gun always at hand.

    At the end of it, she was freezing, teeth chattering with the cold that seemed to seep into her bones, but she for the first time in what felt like forever she felt clean. She ruffled her hair and put it back into the messy bun she taken to putting it up in, grabbed the grubby clothes she had tried to clean a bit as well and laid them out in the back of the car together with the wet towel in hopes of getting it dry somehow.

    Her stomach rumbled, reminding her that she had forgone eating in favour of washing and she sat down in the passenger seat, legs dangling out the open door and wrapped a blanket around her shoulders as she ate a randomly chosen can of something that vaguely tasted of much too sweet fruit while keeping an eye on her surroundings.
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  3. It was a straight shot to Chicago, that much was clear. There wasn't a town or city in-between that Dean knew of, and he had made sure of that, although in hindsight he began to regret the idea. If he didn't act soon, he was going to drive right past the nearest gas station, leaving him less than an hour before his tank was empty. Still, the boy remained calm.

    "Maybe I'm ready to die." He pondered. It was an ugly thought, but one that came naturally, which only encouraged the idea. By now, the forest was beginning to clear, and a heavy fog began to set in, hiding the numerous mountains that surrounded the area. As carefully as possible, Dean reached into his backpack, pulling out one of many maps he had procured over-time, this one being a traveling map for the state of Milwaukee.

    He pressed the map into the steering wheel, his eyes shooting back and forth between it and the road. There were numerous back roads within the area, presumably for hiking or something of the like. Hiking; the idea was nice, but nothing more than a waste of time at this point for those that valued survival.

    Only now did he realize the beauty that surrounded him in contrast to what could be found within cities across the nation, maybe across the world. He wasn't sure. He had been disconnected from society for so long, it was easy to feel like the last man on earth at times.

    He had learned something from all this, and that was the fact that Berserkers seemed to have endless energy. The creature had been chasing him for miles upon miles without letting up. He assumed this had something to do with the fact that it was hunting, as most of the monsters he encountered seemed to sport a burst of ferocious energy the moment they came within sight of anything living.

    With nothing in his arsenal to combat the Berserker on the road, it was clear a plan of action was required, one that would be the difference between life and death. And yet, this fact still didn't phase him, at least not presently. Numerous travel signs began to fly by as Dean pressed onward down the highway, encouraging the world before to stop and enjoy the many sights within the area,

    one of them being a lake.

    Before hesitation got the best of him, a feeling in the boys gut encouraged the boy to take action, and quickly. As he pressed his foot onto the brake, reality seemed to rush back all at once. The howling winds, the roaring engine, the screaming Berserker, it all grasped his every thought at once, only stimulating his focus and will to live, or lack thereof.

    With a glock in his right hand, Dean drifted to the road, facing a clearing that lead to a dirt road into the woods. He glared at the Berserker from out the right window, watching as it closed in on him every second the truck stood still on the highway. The beast would've rammed him, if not for the grenade that detonated just below it, no more than fifteen yards from the boys position.

    Dean slammed his foot onto the gas pedal the moment the Berserker collided into the nearest tree. He had dropped the grenade out the window the moment he hit the brakes, pulling the pin just moments before that. He genuinely didn't expect the diversion to work, albeit, he didn't expect to run into a Berserker either.

    As fast as the pickup truck allowed him, Dean sped through the woods, all the while strategizing his next attack.
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  4. Takiko finished her meal quickly, not that there was much to dawdle about. At this point, she would kill for actual fresh fruit instead of this canned stuff that she had grown sick couple times over already. But well, as the saying went, beggars can't be chosers. And although the term beggar wasn't exactly the right term for her situation, the situation left her in comparable situation.

    She glanced back into the car, taking stock again. Enough water to last another week. Enough food to make it to two, if she rationed it properly. She couldn't possibly get much skinnier than she already was. The fact that this 'active' kind of 'lifestyle', namely running from horrendously ugly creatures with huge appetites, had given her more muscles than she'd ever cared to have was probably the only reason she looked halway healthy.

    With a sigh, she snatched the open water bottle from beside the driver's door and grabbed the map she ahd discarded into the glove compartment and went to work and figuring out where exactly she'd ended up at while taking a few sips. It wasn't helping that her sense of direction had always been horrid. At least as long as she followed the map, she didn't get so lost that her provisions wouldn't be enough until she managed to find her way again. Not that she hadn't come close to that, in the beginning of this whole thing.

    She'd had barely anything to eat or drink back then. Hadn't exactly expected a Resident Evil like Apocalypse.

    Takiko perked up, abandoning any thoughts that would distract her from concentrating on her surroundings. Had she heard something? It had been distant, but she could swear... There. A detonation if she'd ever heard one. She put the map away and screwed the water bottle shut to lob it into the back of her Jeep, barely noticing it landing somewhere by the wet towel and clothes.

    She had her gun in hand in a matter of seconds, kicked the door shut behind her without a second look and slowly, silently crept around the vehicle to the driver's door, intently listening for any other sounds. Willing her heart to beat slower and not making her blood rush in her ears, she squinted into the surrounding woods.

    The surrounding trees seemed to swallow all sound, making it eerily quiet in a way Takiko hadn't noticed before. Fog had started creeping over the lake and through the trees, illuminated by the early morning sun.

    She waited, not sure what exactly she was waiting for. Everything seemed like a bad idea. Getting into the car and driving on down the dirt road? She might never find her way back, if the road didn't just vanish in the middle of nowhere. Driving back the way she had come? If she wasn't mistaken, that had vaguely been the direction she'd heard the noises from. She'd risk running into who or whatever had been responsible. But staying where she was didn't feel right either. That kind of noise tended to attract other Creatures. At least those still capable of hearing. Or something like feeling vibrations. Takiko wasn't quite sure how those things worked. She didn't care to get a closer look either though.

    Indecisive, she staid and waited, ready to jump into the car and gun the engine.
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  5. In hindsight, maybe barreling through the forest had been a bad idea. Dean tried his best to avoid thinking in that manner, as second-guessing himself would only distract him from the task at hand, which at the moment was still horrifyingly unclear. The truck shook incessantly, simply letting go of the wheel could result in a fatal crash. Trees, thick and tall, whizzed by with each passing second. The trail Dean followed was thin, and was beginning to lead downhill, which worried him. All in all, however, there was one good thing to come from all the chaos; the Berserker could hardly keep up with Dean now. Scarcely the boy could afford to glance at his rearview mirror, watching as the creature constantly tripped over itself.

    Dean kept a vice grip on the wheel. His inventory flew all over the truck; bags, maps, bottles, empty magazines, books. His pistol was not in immediate sight, and this filled him with dread. If it were stuck under the seat or lodged in a corner, he could die before it was found if things got worse.

    And then, without warning, Dean was flying. He was unaware how fast the truck had been barreling downhill, until a wall of leaves blocked the end of the trail that lead upwards like a ramp. Behind the wall of leaves and completely out of the boys sight was the aforementioned lake. He was completely oblivious to its presence until the moment he was gliding over the water within the truck. Once more, the howling winds ceased, the roaring engine went quiet. There was another brief moment of arrant silence in which Dean took and held the largest breath of air possible before the truck plowed headfirst into the lake, a significant distance from the shore. Without hesitation, the Berserker burst from behind the wall of leaves and into the lake. It now swam with vigor towards the sinking truck.

    The truck itself was a bit old, but reliable. All of the windows had been rolled up, and water began to pour in through the smallest openings at a slow rate, giving Dean more than enough time to get together his belongings. With haste he unbuckled himself and climbed up (the trucks front was facing downward as it sank) using the drivers seat to pull himself up and into the back where a large forest green duffle bag lay wedged in-between the seat and the floor. As fast as he could possibly move, Dean began to fill the bag with anything important within sight.

    A sudden but soft knock could be heard from above. Dean looked upwards, watching as the Berserker gripped the rear window of the truck and began an unceasing effort of slamming its crystallized fist into the glass. Being underwater prevented the Berserker from utilizing its full speed and strength, another silver lining to this rather horrid plan. After the last of his items had been stored away, Dean zipped the duffle bag closed and dropped it to the floor. His eyes had caught his pistol from earlier, hiding in the corner floor of the truck, still loaded. He gripped the weapon and leaned against the dashboard which pressed against his back. The truck was still facing downwards as it continued to sink. It was like gravity had shifted. Dean could only watch as the sunlight continued to fade away the closer the truck sank to the bottom. There was now a notable amount of water rising in the truck itself. The boy locked eyes with the raging Berserker as it continued to thrash against the rear window of the truck that served as more of a ceiling from the angle the truck now found itself at.

    If he was going to die, this certainly seemed like it'd be the way to go, Dean thought. There was a glimmer in the boys eyes, a glimmer of light and life. He would not go gentle into the dying of the light, and with newfound purpose, decided to bring the Berserker down with him. He wanted the two of them to go hand in hand together, and perish at the bottom of this lake, their remains trapped here for the rest of the hellish eternity that engulfed the world.

    The window began to crack as the Berserker continued to slam its fists against it, the crystals in its hand only amplifying the power of each hit. Every strike caused the cracks to grow like vines on a jungle tree. Not wanting to give the Berserker the satisfaction, Dean aimed his pistol directly at the Berserker and fired.

    Water came rushing into the truck like a tsunami, bringing with it a monster more terrifying than any natural disaster. The Berserker collided into Dean, the momentum of the water shoving the creature into the boy without balance or direction. A struggle ensued as Dean began to wrestle the horrific being before him. The water proved to be in the boys favor, as the Berserker was in too much of a frenzy to properly utilize its inhuman strength. The creature flailed about, and unlike Dean could not relax its muscles or focus. Dean managed to position himself behind the creature during the scuffle. He put the Berserker in a headlock using his right arm, and with his left reached for a seatbelt, wrapping the fabric around its neck and tying it in a similar knot like the ones he had learned in his years as a boy scout.

    With as much haste as the water allowed him, Dean moved to tie the rest of the Berserkers limbs in a knot using the other seatbelts provided. Its arms and neck were practically chained to the trucks seat. Deans pistol floated above him in the water. He almost wanted to smile as he grabbed the gun, pressed it into the base of the Berserkers neck, and unloaded every bullet into the creatures spine.

    Unbeknownst to Dean, the entire struggle had caused him to lose a significant amount of air, and his vision had gradually become blurry with each passing second. The Berserker was still, and floated in place in its newfound grave. This was the last thing Dean saw before he blacked out, his body floating in place just beside the Berserker as a result of his foot being caught in the steering wheel.

    Gently, the truck continued to descend towards the bottom of the lake.
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  6. It was a car. Not that that was a surprise at this point. What was a surprise, was that it seemed to be barreling through the forest at neck-breaking speed though, and headed straight down one of the dirt roads crossing the one Takiko had taken, that seemed to be coming from the main road. Or at least the vague direction of it, as far as she could tell.

    It was far enough away that she wouldn't even have been able to see the whole thing if the forest were just a little denser. It wasn't though and she stood there, watching with growing dread as the pickup truck went right towards the lake. If Takiko hadn't been so shocked that this was even happening, because really, what where the chances of meeting another human being out here, then she might have called out a warning. Not that that would have done much either, the driver didn't seem aware of the direction he was heading in and at that speed chances were slim he would have been able to turn around on the wet dirt road anyway.

    Not to mention the huge, ugly creature that came crashing through the woods right after him. She had never seen one like it. And given the way it was coming after it's prey, she was pretty sure she wouldn't have survived it if she had. There were few kinds of creatures that would actually make any effort to follow you at all, not to mention run after a moving vehicle and keeping up with it at full speed.

    She was speechless when she watched the car hit the water, the creature not hesitating a second to follow into the lake. And just like that it was quiet again. No wheels on dirt, no cracking twigs and crushing leaves, a whining engine and that strange panting-sound of something that should have died months ago.

    No sign of the driver either, Takiko realized after a moment. Her breath caught and she jogged over to the side of the lake, peering out into where the vehicle had sunk into the water. There were bubbles of air rushing to the surface. A lot, at first, then steadily less and Takiko began to panic when they stopped and the driver of the car still hadn't surfaced.

    She glanced back at her car, the instinct to flee fighting with her instinct to save whoever was in that water. She hadn't seen a human soul in over a month. She was alone, partly because you couldn't trust anyone these days, humans did a lot of things to survive and survival was becoming tougher with every passing week now. There was no way for her to know that if she saved this one, they wouldn't turn on her and kill her to get to her food or car or weapons.

    She had never finished her medical degree. She had never had any actual patients. But being a doctor had been a dream for her for the longest time. To help people, to safe them. And right then, she could do it. She had the chance. She could safe someone and even if she died because of it, it wasn't like there was a lot left to lose after the world had ended the way it did.

    So Takiko toed her boots off, tugged both her jacket and hoodie off as well and topped the pile off with her glasses. They wouldn't do her any good underwater anyway.

    The water of the lake was just as cold as before but she ignored it in favour of swimming over to where the car had gone under in long, even strokes. Just before she reached the general area, she took a deep breath and dove in. Her vision swam for a moment, despite the relatively clear water, but she kept going deeper and eventually, it cleared up and she could make out a dark shape a good way down. So she went for it. The shape quickly became the car, sinking slowly with the rear window facing upwards. The closer she got, the more she could make out and when her eyes recognized the shape of two bodys in the dim interior of the car, her heart skipped a beat. Neither of them was moving.

    Takiko pushed herself to go faster, the lack of air already starting to make her lungs protest. She grabbed onto the car as soon as she got closed and pulled herself forward, eyes taking in the scene before her. There was the creature, bound by seatbelts and apparently dead. Next to it was what Takiko presumed to be the driver, floating gently right alongside the creature, facing upwards, eyes closed and not moving. He seemed to have gotten caught on something with his foot.

    Thinking quickly, she decided against trying to share her air, he seemed out for the count and if he didn't respond because of it, she'd just have wasted time and breath she could have used to get them out of there. So she passed him by, went further down, searching for a way to free him. It was surprisingly easy. His foot had gotten caught in the steering wheel, presumably during the fight. He must have simply not had enough air left to get himself out of it on his own. Takiko got the limb free in a matter of seconds and then she hurried to grab onto the man and pushed herself off the car with both feet, rushing them both towards the surface.

    She struglled briefly to get a good hold on the limp body, but ultimately she knew how to get someone out of the water and she was heading towards land urgently. She fought to swim back to the shore on her back, both arms tightly hold onto the man's shoulders, making sure to keep his head above water. It seemd to take forever. Unsurprisingly, it was even harder to drag the man out of the water, the soaking wet clothes and dead weight of an unconscious person making things difficult.

    Once she out him down though, training kicked in. She might not have made it far enough to be a doctor, but she knew how to do CPR. Takiko ducked down, forced her breath into the young man's lungs and pushed on his chest with all her weight, checking on him in between, to make sure his airways were open and free and look for any kind of reaction that it was working. "Come on.." she whispered breathlessly. "Come on, come on, come on!"
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  7. The light was beginning to fade. Hazy visions of a dark figured outlined by the sunlight pouring from above ran through the boys head. Somewhere in his mind, he could only assume an angel was lifting him up towards heaven. The thought ruined him at first.

    For an angel to come and save him only after the world had been reduced to a hellish state was maddening. And yet, gradually, these callous thoughts began to fade as the idea of finally moving onwards to a better place filled him with a somber warmth. Maybe his family and friends were waiting for him. Maybe he could just look back to the past year to be nothing more than a nightmare.

    And then, coughing. A lot of coughing. And shivering. Dean was freezing, he couldn't regulate his breath, his lips trembled relentlessly against his will. Although he was filled to the brim with confusion at first, he was instantly certain of one thing; he was alive, and that was a bittersweet realization.

    It was quite obvious who was responsible for Deans rescue, but the boy wasn't entirely good with people. He avoided eye-contact, unsure what to say. Instead he focused on steadying his breathing, and could only think about how cold he was. He couldn't even begin to imagine how this girl had not only managed to pull him out of the truck, through the lake and onto shore. She had come from out of nowhere. She was a miracle.

    The most mysterious aspect of this all was not only how, but why she would go out of her way just to save him. Even in the world before you couldn't always rely on the kindness of strangers. Dean was awestruck. His mind always assumed the worst, but he could imagine no harm that came from the girl having saved him. She looked just as innocent as he.

    "Why?" Dean asked. It was all he could think to say, as it was the biggest question on his mind.
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  8. Takiko moved back when the boy started coughing, sinking back onto her heels with a deep sigh of relief while she kept an eye on him to make sure he really was coughing and not chocking. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she closed her eyes for a second, consciously regulating her breathing to calm her heart down enough to stop the blood from unpleasantly rushing in her ears.

    The second she calmed down, she noticed she was soaking wet and shivering in her clothes drenched in ice cold water. Her eyes opened and went back to the boy still lying on the ground in front of her. If she was this cold, he had to be freezing. She took in the slight trembling of his lips, telling her she'd assumed correctly. Then noticed the way he was concentrating on breathing steadily and although she noticed he was aware of her and had apparently gotten a good enough look that he'd deemed her to not be a threat for the time being, wasn't actually looking her anywhere close to in the eyes.

    She waited, patiently, figuring there wasn't really any normal way or guideline on how to behave in this kind of situation. Those particular concepts had, in fact, been one of the first things to go when the world had become the hell it was now.

    "Why?" he asked eventually and that honestly wasn't a question Takiko had expected. Then again, after everything that had happened and still happened on a daily basis, it was probably a legit question after all.

    "I..." she started, one hand reaching up to swipe some dripping wet hair out of her face. Her hands were warm in contrast to the icy water clinging tothe rest of her and the contrast distracted her for the barest of seconds. She cleared her throat and forced herself to focus again. "I don't know. The 'Why Not's weren't convincing enough, I guess." she replied after a second's thought. "Way too many people died already. Maybe I couldn't let myself stand by and do nothing while knowing that for once, I could have done something."

    A shiver wrecked her body and she frowned, rubbing her hands over her arms against the cold. It didn't exactly work as it was supposed to, considering she was still wet all over and her clothes were clinging to her rather uncomortably. She got up and looked around. They weren't too far from where she'd jumped into the lake, she could make out her clothes on the ground and beyond that her car through the trees.

    She turned back around and held out a hand to help him up. "Let's get dry, and if at all possible, warm for now. Wouldn't want to get hypthermia after all this." she suggested, desperately wishing for a hot shower at that moment.
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  9. Dean listened to the girls answer, although it didn't seem convincing enough to cease his disbelief. Just the fact alone that the girl was willing to risk her own life was one thing. Saving his in the process just made everything that much more surreal to the point where he was dumbfounded and couldn't seem to figure out what should be done next. He did not even want to begin thinking of the repercussions his own actions held. That truck and all of its contents were not only vital to the young man but his very survival as well. If he had known he would've survived, maybe he wouldn't have driven headfirst into a lake in the first place.

    The girl suggested they get dry, and only then did Deans disbelief diminish enough for him to realize the shivering state he now found himself in. "O-kay." Was all he managed to say through trembling lips. His entire body was shaking. Dean stood up, only for a wave of dizziness to wash over him, disrupting his balance, forcing him down to one knee. "I can barely move." He confessed, stuttering as he spoke.
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  10. Takiko moved in instantly, going down on one knee as well, to pull one of the boy's arms over her shoulder and hook her own firmly around his waist. Catching him before he could keel over completely. "My car is just over there, not far at all." she told him, still breathless, nodding towards it before she took a deep breath and pulled him up to stand alongside her. She wasn't sure how long she'd be able to do this, since it wasn't only his weight, but also that of both their soaking wet clothes pulling them down and she was pretty sure she herself was mostly running on adrenaline at this point. At least the exercise was pushing back the cold a bit.

    She could tell that the boy wasn't convinced by her words, hell, she wasn't sure if what she'd said would convince herself if someone else had said it to her. Help wasn't for free anymore, hadn't been for a long time in this world and that also meant people didn't do stupidly risky stuff like jumping into a lake to pull out a boy who'd gone under in his car while being chased by a very fast, very deadly looking creature. Takiko was sure, if it had been anyone else watching, the only reason they might have jumped into the water would have been to scavenge anything the guy might have carried with him.

    And while she was well aware of that, she wasn't about to explain herself any further for now. Partly, because it was a rather private topic and she wasn't about to discuss her past with a total stranger, and partly because even if she had any inclination to do so, this really wasn't the time or place. It would have to do for now, until they were dry and in her car and getting away from this place. Because there was no way all the noise from before hadn't attracted more of those creatures crawling around somewhere nearby.

    "Think you can make it that far if you lean on me?" she asked him, turning to study his face and ignoring the way her arms and legs were starting to quiver with the strain and slowly fading adrenaline.
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