It was quiet walking with Charlie. I heard each and every crunch of the leaves. Every crack of a tree limb, every scrape of wood against wood.
We hauled firewood to the pile, then back to the forest to get more wood, then back to the pile. Down and back. Not even a grunt escaped our lips. To think, I had total control over this killer. I was a higher being. Now we were equals. I hated the thought.
It was starting to get chillier. The trees swayed with the wind, the birds stopped singing, animals scattered back into their little homes. It was getting dark, and we needed to go back. But before we caught up with Holly and Will, I needed to ask something.
“Can I trust you?”
Charlie stopped in the middle of breaking a branch. He turned to me.
“What do you mean?”
It was a stupid question, dying to hear a stupid answer. This was not the time to start questioning our survival-mates. All I could do was sit and hope that he doesn’t try anything. I mean if he wanted to, he could, without being noticed. We were right smack in the middle of the woods.
I think Charlie got the gist of what I was trying to say, though, because he didn’t ask me what I meant after that.
By the time we had gotten back to the pile, we were shaking. Half because of the cold, northern, weather and half of just being exhausted. Our hands were cut from breaking branches continuously. Our rapid breaths floated into the air. It was so cold we weren’t sweating.
“That’s it. That should last us for the night,” Charlie said as we flung the last batch of branches toward the pile. Holly and Will were sitting. Holly was sitting on a log, her body all curled up. Her body was with us, but her mind seemed to be somewhere far.
Will stood up and revealed a pile of clothes. Bloody, brown clothes.
“Will? Where’d you get this from?” asked Charlie, eyeing the pile.
“From the plane.”
My heart sunk. This, and the dying fire, would be the only thing keeping us warm through these long nights. But we all knew that people, who were once alive, were wearing this just a couple hours ago.
“Will! That’s disgusting!” Holly wailed, all of a sudden. Her scream caught us by surprise.
“Well, that’s the only thing that’s gonna’ keep us alive!” Will barked back.
Holly quieted down immediately after, curling back up in her little ball. Will was right. No matter how gross it is. We had to wear it. There’s going to be grosser things than this. I thought to myself, the thought looming in the pit of my stomach. ns188.8.131.52da2