Tue, 3 March 2009 - 8:03 pm

Reunited

We made it to the boat today. It was such a relief – we might have heard them on the radio, but I couldn’t relax until I’d seen them for myself. Even Masterson with his weasely looks.

Sax looks better – brighter – and even gave me a hug when we arrived. Maybe it’s because his head has had a chance to heal, or maybe it’s something else. Perhaps I’m being unkind – he might have just been glad to see us. I know I missed his presence while we were away.

Even Sally seemed pleased to see us; I haven’t seen her smile like that in a long time. She has a bandaged arm now – the rain came before they had all the hatches closed and she caught the acid across her forearm trying to fasten it. She says it doesn’t bother her much, though – Masterson patched her up.

The doctor didn’t seem overjoyed by our return, but I think he’s had things a bit easier in our absence. No-one to rag on him, no-one to keep him in line. He hasn’t said much yet, and that’s probably a good thing.

 

I talked to Dillon about Alice. She’s a couple of years older than him, and lived down the street from his family. They pretty much grew up together – he stole the heads off her Barbies; she put lipstick on his toy cars.

She was out scouting for supplies when we found her – she has a group, but she says that they’ve been getting sick. That was why she was out on her own. She knew about the cockroaches – they call themselves the Northsiders, claiming everything north of the river as their own. Everything they can get their hands on, anyway, and they are running in wider and wider circles.

I made the doctor look at her. She didn’t want it, and he didn’t want to do it, but I was very determined. For some reason, that was enough to make them both do as they were told. Masterson said that she wasn’t sick, but the acid took the side of her face, along with her right eye; that’s why she keeps it bandaged. Poor kid. I can’t even imagine what that feels like.

I asked Dillon if she was going back to her group, but he didn’t know. I didn’t like the idea of leaving her there, not with those Northsiders running around, but if she had her own group, then I couldn’t stop her staying with them. Could I?

With the speed that the cockroaches seem to move, we didn’t want to hang around on the riverside. Once our gear was all packed into the boat and the doctor was done looking at Alice, it was time to go. She said goodbye, opting to go back to her group. I can’t blame her, though it’s a dangerous gamble. I wasn’t the only one unhappy with leaving the girl on the pier.

Dillon tried to convince her to come. He wanted to have his friend stay with us, he wanted to keep that bit of his life close. The same way that I was determined to have Matt stay with us when we first got on the boat. But this was her choice and we couldn’t fight that, not even Dillon.

We told her where we were headed in case she changed her mind. Then we packed ourselves into the boat again and headed out onto the river for another hellish journey.

 

We were a short way down the river when we heard the Northsiders’ whooping. I hope it wasn’t in pursuit of Alice. We couldn’t see her by then – she didn’t hang around to see us off.

Good luck, kid. I hope you’re all right, and so does Dillon. 

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