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Prudence watched the car trail off in the distant. His eyes furrowed intensely, as the fire behind him grew with the anger inside him.

Before he burst in rage, Prudence took a breath and calmed himself."They will not get far...soon all the sins they are chasing, will come into the light."He said as he trailed off into the city, followed by his men. He walked into what used to be the cities bar, and inside he found the man he was looking for, a tall and stout man wearing a black denim jacket, and pants, chains and metal studs all over. His face was obscured by a dark motorcycle helmet, with a skull design hiding his features.

"Biker, Lance just drove off with some friends...make sure this is the last time we have to deal with the pest."Prudence said sternly.

Biker looked up at Prudence, as he pilfered drinks from behind the counter. He simply nodded at him and walked past him. He approached a old chopper bike, and revved it to life.

"Biker! The women that are with him, have yet to prove their souls dark like Lances. Kill the sinner, but bring them to me if you can, I feel as though I can change their hearts..."

Biker nodded in acknowledgment and sped down the streets, passing the burning wreckage, and fading away in the night

Jones's gaze was seething, but she was trying to smother it, even as she made eye contact with Lance through the rear-view mirror.

The situation was bigger than ever, and it seemed the group could only travel down the spiraling road to hell. No choice seemed like the right one; everything was risky and Jones hated being out of control. Regardless if she stayed with Lance or ventured off with her mother, Prudence and his cult knew her face-- they would hunt her down.

It would only be a matter of time, all they could do was run away, fight, and hope to delay the inevitable.

Jones didn't respond to Lance's apology, but she listened closely to what he said. She perked when he brought up a safe haven far north in a land called Canada. Jones had never heard of it, but the man spoke fondly of it, clearly having experienced the place once upon a time. Grass and trees, ones that were green; Jones could never imagine trees with healthy leaves, for all that remained in the wastelands were haggard, blackened silhouettes of nuked plants.

Jones wasn't sure how happy the place could make her or her mother, but if it could safe-guard them from the cults until they could get back on their feet, it was an option worth taking.

She let her anger soften, though it was barely noticeable on her features.

She pondered on the man's actions. Lance's hospitality was strange, though not unwelcomed if he would help get them to the facility safely. Jones had never met someone who seemed to care so much, and to some extent, it raised red-flags in her brain; though it shouldn't have. Human to human decency was not a normal thing anymore, and hardly anyone practiced it, including Jones. She wasn't ready to forgive him, but she felt...wrong if she decided to ignore him-- ignore his efforts to redeem himself in the eyes of people whom he barely knew, and who barely knew him.

"If you truly believe this place is safe for us...right for us... then we'll need you to take us to it, like you suggested..."

Jones looked at the rear-view again, catching Lance's gaze, "Maybe..." She hesitated, "Maybe I will be able to...forgive you. If that's what you want in return."

She didn't understand exactly why he seeked their forgiveness. It was common for the people of the wastelands to get into arguments, fights, and feuds that never ended-- at least, not with an act of compassion. And no one ever apologized, no one gave any sympathy: it's a dog-eat-dog world.

Jones guessed the desire was taught to Lance-- old world tradition passed down from his parents and onto him. He was probably one of the few, if not the only wasteland dweller with those manners, because even Farrah tried instilling such things into Jones. It never stuck with the young woman; she was fighting ever since she was small, there was no room for old world shenanigans.

As if reading the topic in Jones's head, Farrah leaned in her seat and gave a short, "Thank you," to Lance.

Jones pushed her back deep into the seat and resigned, looking outside of her window with only the darkness to greet her...

Lance felt almost relieved that she excepted his offer. He settled in his seat and sighed."Then get ready...we have a long bumpy road ahead..."He started his car again and laid his foot on the peddle and sped off."When I find a good spot we can rest...I know you two must be tired...I know I am."He said adding a sigh at the end.

He looked ahead of him at the endless abyss of darkness. The night sky was beautiful, without any lights on the ground covering the stars, it shone brighter then ever in the old world. Small things like that add beauty to an otherwise bleak world.

He felt a sudden weight on his shoulders like he never had before. He never had to try to take care of anyone like this before, he never had any partners or anyone to stick with him longer then a day or two. Part of him was almost happy, he had not been in such company since his family died, but another part of him could feel the heat from Jones anger from where he sat. He could already tell that getting her to warm up any would probably be near impossible, and Lances social skills where not going to help the situation any.

As they drove Lance caught eyes of a run down motel off the road. He slowed the car down and pulled it into the Motels garage, where they used to do a tune up on your car for a little extra cash. He shut the engine off and turned off the lights and reached around the back, avoiding getting in Jones personal bubble as he grabbed a lantern."These old motels are always a good place to stay the night I think...you guys can pick out a room if you like, I am going to search around this place for anything useful."He said as he sparked the flame in the lantern and handed it to Farrah."There you go miss."He said as he reached into his jackets pocked and pulled out a head lamp and tied it around his head."And dont worry about sleeping with one eye open...I will stay up for a while and make sure everything quite."He told them while he opened his door.

The night was still and quite, which never seemed right. When its quite like this, its almost like it puts you far on edge, like you are just waiting to hear that bump in the night. You could hear every footstep in great detail as Lance stepped on the dusty concrete. There was no white noise to ease anyone to sleep, just the stillness of the night.

When Jones stepped out of the car she was greeted by the cold night air, and a gently creeping silence that hovered above the group like a cloud.

They stopped in an old withering husk of what used to be a motel, and Jones eyed the area wearily. It wasn't normal to find standing buildings after the war, not unless they were reconstructed by the dwellers-- this place was like an anomaly...or a blessing.

Jones crossed her arms, feeling the wind raise goosebumps across her skin just before her mother prodded her side, holding a flame lit lantern in her hand. “Let's scope out the rooms,” Farrah spoke, and her voice was low and tired, not unlike everyone else.

Jones looked at the older woman for a moment before glancing over her shoulder, catching glimpse of Lance wandering off with a light upon his forehead. “That safe haven…” the young woman started as she and her mother trailed off toward the stairs.

Farrah glanced at her with an eyebrow cocked, “what about it?”

Jones let her eyes wander, while the rusted steps rattled and groaned like old men under her boots, “What… what do you think of it?”

Her mother shrugged, “It sounds safe.”

“I know what it sounds like,” Jones strained, “it's just-- can a place like that really exist?”

Farrah raised her arm that held the lantern, waving it in Jones’s face and nearly blinding her, “Why can't it? Lance seems to know what he's talking about,” Farrah looked at her daughter slyly, “Is he lying? Is that what you're thinking, Jonell?”

Jones shook her head and batted her mother away in frustration.

That’s when they reached the top floor of the motel and Jones tried the first door. Locked… She fiddled with the rickety old handle.

Is that what you're thinking?” Farrah’s voice came from behind the young woman, still pestering her with the question. Jones furrowed her brow, “That's not it,” she shook the handle, hoping the rusted piece of junk would just fall off, but it was sturdier than it looked.

“I don't think he's lying, I'm just asking…” a frustrated kiss of her teeth interrupted her words as her attempts failed, “-can that place still be there? How- how can a safe haven survive in this--” she kicked the door knob once, twice, three times and it flew open with an angry slam, “--shit-hole?” She finished with a curse.

Dust and specks of wood floated from the abused door, and broken hinges now hung limply from the threshold of the entrance. The women peered inside the room. It was dark, darker than the night sky, and the atmosphere was dank-- murky like tainted water.

The conversation ceased once they stepped inside, as all train of thought became lost while the two inspected the area.

Jones followed Farrah, staying just a few paces in front of her, while her hand hovered over the pocket that hid her shiv. Something seemed off about the motel room, and it was quite obvious the moment a rank stench hit Jones's nostrils. Farrah had already covered her nose with the hem of her shirt, and Jones followed in suit while her face contorted at the offensive smell.

“Something’s dead...” her mother rasped, and Jones nodded stiffly before pointing at something on the floor. The gloomy amber light from the lantern revealed it just barely, and the young woman knelt down to inspect what it was closely.

Thick, brown, bushels of hair were scattered across the carpet in haphazardous clumps. The largest pile was soaked in a thick, black, substance that had dried into the carpet long ago.

Jones couldn't make heads or tails of it, but her mother muttered, “Radiation…” Jones looked at the woman and stood. They looked at each other, “It's radiation poisoning,” The older woman went on, “this...this must've happened a long time ago. This person died long ago.”

“But they're still in here,” Jones remarked, squeezing her nose as emphasis. Farrah made a face, like she was sickened by something, but her shirt covered her mouth and her nose, so Jones couldn't tell so much.

“I don't want to be in here,” The older woman said suddenly, “Let's find another room…”

Jones made a noise while her brows lowered and her forehead wrinkled with confusion. “We're already here,” She protested, “We can just-”,

“I'm not looking for that body, Jonell… If you wanna be in here then fine, I'm not doin’ it.” Farrah snapped. Jones looked at her mother, but she didn't get angry; instead, a tired sigh left the young woman as she held out her hand, “I'll be quick.”

Farrah scowled, “I can't believe you,” She seethed, but she gave Jones the lantern regardless.

"It's not the first time we've had to move a body, mum..."

"...That doesn't make it any easier...you know that."

Jones turned away, venturing further into the small room, trying not to think too hard about her mother's words. She followed her nose, wrapping the cloth of her shirt around her face tightly as the smell quickly became stronger. Her eyes followed the dim light from the fire as it illuminated the source of the stench. It came from behind the cracked door of the bathroom, whisking out foul odors of death, but Jones pushed it open.

Like a heat wave-- hot, muggy air, condensed with the putrid stink of decay came flooding out from the bathroom, choking Jones. Every breath was an inhale of reeking spoil, and the young woman had to harden her will to push past the threshold. She stepped inside, her boots clicking timidly across the tile as she shined her light and let her eyes settle on a pitiful display.

The petrified corpse, of what barely resembled a human being, laid naked on the floor of the bath tub, shriveled and smelly from decay, and bloated stiff with rigor mortis. There was no way to tell if they were a man or woman, young or old; they were simply a wretched carcass now. Jones frowned softly, reaching over to move the shower curtains when a scattering movement stopped her.

She wrenched her arm away, and her senses were set ablaze as she stepped back.

She shined the lantern, only to have whatever creature that was present cower in the corner of the tub, hiding behind the body. Jones pulled a face with several emotions mixed into one as she managed to strangle out, "Sick..."

The creature...was a dog, though it looked more or less like a rat. It was a scrawny, hairless, skeletal form of an old world mutt that shook like an earthquake was rocking through the building. Jones was amazed that the thing was still alive, but from the telltale chips and chunks of human remains scattered in the tub, she could guess how it managed...

"Man's best friend..." Jones recalled her mother saying, as she looked at the miserable creature that cowered behind its former owner; its daily snack. She pressed her palm against her face, trying not to let the disgust, the shock, or the grief set in as she took a long choked breath of the deathly air, and returned to Farrah.

"A different room... Let's-- let's find a different one."

(funny you did that with the dog, leads perfectly into what I was about to do lol)

Lance watched them walk off into the motel, keeping a watchful eye for a moment, to see any movement other then their own. His eyes shifted back to the garage in front of them. It was amazing to him as well that everything was able to stay intact, though this was not too uncommon, if the structure was strong enough, or far enough from one of the blast, it would normally still stand.

He stepped around the garage, his footsteps disturbing the dirt and glass along the ground, making slight crunchy noises as he walked. He saw a old tool box against a wall, and approached it to get a closer look. He grabbed the handle and tried to pull a cabinet open but it didn't budge. His eyes furrowed a little as he went for his knife to try and pry it open, until he conveniently noticed a key on the top of the box. He looked at it for a moment, before picking it up and using it on the lock. It popped right open.

"Whats the use of locking it if you're just gonna leave the key there...."He said to himself.

As the door opened several bugs crawled out, cockraoches and spiders, but nothing to harmful. He pointed his light down into the box, where he saw several things of use to him, a couple of spark plugs, some old wrenches, and a few fuzes, all of which seemed in reasonable condition. He pocketed what he could and stepped outside.

He looked around the motel and saw the building out front of the motel, with the sign Shepherds Motel on the top. and back at Farrah and Jones on the top floor."If you need me Im going to be in the uh...."He said as he looked at the sign hanging on the door."Welcoming....center....It has a pretty good view of the place. Ill let you two sleep in your rooms, and I will keep watch in here. If you hear footsteps in the night, hollar, because as long as I am in there, you shouldnt hear none."He said to them."Try and sleep well, hopefully we can make some ground tomorrow."He called to them before he tried out the door. Of course it was locked.

He examined the door for a moment, and noticed the window was broken, so he simply just stuck his hand through the broken window frame and unlocked it from the other side, and opened the door. As he walked in and moved his headlamp around, he saw he was in some sort of lounge area, with ripped up couches and chairs, a TV on a entertainment center, and vending machines, with food that is no doubt way past the fresh date. And oddly enough on the floor, there where a bunch of dog food bags ripped open, and food pellets along the floor."Hmpf...'He mouthed to himself as he walked further in. Lance saw the receptionist desk and cautiously stepped behind the counter. Under the desk he saw a dog, which was almost not surprising to him after seeing the food. The dog was a sleep but its ear perked up as he stepped around the corner and it quickly rose to his feet and growled at Lance. Lance looked down at the dog, unfazed. The animal actually looked rather healthy, it seemed like he found himself a supply of food that he has been keeping himself fed with, and he has been stuck in here with no way out, so his fur was fine, as he was sheltered from the elements. The dog looked like a blue healer, though Lance would not know that as he a dog is just a dog by his knowledge. The frightened creature gnarled its teeth and moved around lance slowly with its tail tucked under its legs. Lance rose his shoulders and growled viciously back at the dog, lunging forward a little as he did. The dog whimpered and scurried off out of Lances view.

Lance gave a sigh as the dog left. Part of him hopped it would be fine wherever it went. He saw a door behind the counter, with a label that said, storage. Eager to see what he could find in there he quickly rushed to the door, almost like a child excited to go into a candy store. The door was again, locked. But he didnt let that stop him this time as he stepped back a little and rammed his shoulder into the feeble wooden door. The door collapsed under his weight, making Lance stumble forward a little as he entered the room

He moved his headlamp around the room seeing what he could find, there was a bunch of food laying around, but all of it was rotten, or radiated, and the putrefied and musky smell helped prove that. He raised his bandanna over his nose to help cope with the smell as he searched around. There where plenty of shelves each dedicated to its own thing, but nothing of use. However Lance caught eye of a small shelf labeled, nonperishable. Lance very well knew what that word meant, as nonperishable foods where like the holy grail in these trying times. And he found pleanty of things in here, food that picky eaters back in the day would not normally go to, there fore leaving plenty for him and the others. Among the items he found, was Peanut butter crackers, Beef jerky Fruit cups, Granola and Cereal bars, something called a spaghetti-os, some Ramen noodles, Trail mix and Fruit snacks, Macaroni and cheese, Lances favorite, some Boxed drinks and juices, a couple cans of Vienna sausages, a strange square looking thing called Pop tarts, and cans of beans.

Lance grinned widely at the find, thankful no one else pillaged this place before them. He gathered everything off the shelf, and dumped it in his bag, leaving a can of beans out for himself. The girls would surly be happy to see this, but he was wanted to let them rest, so he would present it to them tomorrow morning.

He tossed the bag over his shoulder and began walking out before another thing caught his eye, boxes with names of something on them, kind of like books. He reached for the boxes to examine them, and picked out one titled, 2001, A Space Odyssey. He looked into the case, and noticed it was not a book, but something he had seen before in his travels, a VHS tape.

He loved the old relics from the days before the flash, and often collected them, so he put it in his bag as well, even if he would never be able to see it. However
before he walked out he noticed yet another thing along the wall, a fuze box. His eyes looked at it a little curiously, he remembered watching his father flip the switch on one of these before, and it caused the whole house to light up and come to life, like it once was long ago. Eager to test this out, he flipped the switch on the side. Unfortunately, nothing happened. Lances shoulders sank slightly and he sighed to himself as he turned around to the door.

He stepped forward a couple times before stopping and turning back around. He thought to himself that he might as well take a look inside it to see if he could fix anything, so he approached it again, and jammed his knife in the panel and pried it open. The panel creaked slightly before pinging open.

He closely examined all the parts inside it, not really knowing what anything was. However he noticed a couple of fuzes, much like the one he found, but one of them was busted open."Well might as well give this a shot..."He mumbled to himself as he grabbed the broken fuze. It took him a moment to figure out how to get out but after a few twist and turns he managed to work its way out.

He dug the fuze out his bag and replaced the one he removed. After making sure everything seemed in place, he pulled the switch again.

To his surprise, the motel shot into life, light switches left on flickered on and refrigerators hummed with their life being breathed back into them, and all across the motel there was a subtle hum from the electricity coursing through the generator. He thought for sure that the electricity would be gone for good, but this place has just been one miracle after another.

Lance smiled to himself, happy with everything he found and accomplished in this place. Part of him almost wished he could stay now, though he knew that would not at all be possible. Even though he had worked to just get the lights on, he quickly turned the lights in the room he was in back off, so he didnt gather too much attention. He stepped back into the lounge, and noticed the TV in there was on, with a logo saying SONY bouncing around the screen. Lance stared it, mesmerized by the visual. He stepped a little closer to it and sat on the couch in front of it, just staring at it in awe. His eyes wondered around the device, and noticed some kind of port with a plastic flap over it in the bottom of it for something. Lances father used to carry a cassette player with him, playing music as they traveled, and this device seemed the same, only bigger.

Lances knocked around his brain for a moment trying to figure out what it could be, until his mind clicked about the VHS tape he found moments ago. He retrieve from his bag and examined its width and height, seemed like a perfect fit. He took the tape and inserted it into the slot, and the machine took it eagerly from him. Lance watched as the screen cut to black and was quite for a moment, before the screen opened back up, and started listing names on the screens, before showing the movie.

Lance was lost in wonder, joy, excitement, and man other things as he watched the movie. He heard about these, but never thought he would see one in his life. The visuals where breath taking, and each scene seemed better then the last. Lance popped open his can of beans and watched the movie intently as he ate from the can.

A little while passed as he watched the movie, and the dog from before returned to him. Despite their previous encounter, he keeled on the floor below him, begging for the food he had. Lance looked down at the dog, not sure what to make of him. He lowered the can down and let the dog eat a couple of his beans. The dog perked up as the can was brought to him, and he eagerly ate as man beans as he could before the can was pulled away."Are you okay now boy?"Lance asked the dog. The dog hopped onto the couch with him and curled up next to him and rested its head."Funny how quick a dog can be to trust someone...I guess we have some things in common."Lance said as he patted the dogs head and continued watching the movie.

As the night dragged on, Lance kept rewinding the tape every time it finished, and watching the movie again, until he could not keep his eyes open anymore, and drifted to sleep, with only about an hour or two before sunrise, and there journey would begin.

Jones crossed her arms, holding them to comfort herself and to forget about the stench of death that plagued the room. She shut the door as much as she could, but it slowly crept open seeing as how she had broke the hinges. Her mother was looking at her, a stern disapproval clear on her withered face as she began walking, taking the lantern back from the young woman.

"I told you we should've just found another room, I told you!"

Jones trailed behind her mother, "I know..." She said softly, and her mother only shook her head. "Now you went and saw something you shouldn't've," the woman looked back, "Right?" Jones peeked up at her mother and flattened her mouth sternly, "Yes."

They crossed over to the other units of the motel, trying each door before they found one that was relatively easy to pry open. The radiated doorknob practically crumpled to metallic dust as Farrah went to jiggle it, and she could easily remove the lock. The door opened up shyly, encouraged by Farrah's hand as she pushed it in and peered at the interior. It was dark, just like the previous room, with the silhouettes of a fully furnished bedroom: a bed, a lamppost, some cabinets, and a television set. They stepped inside, and just as they did, the lights turned on in a great, sudden flash, accompanied by a distinct buzzing noise. Electricity was still flowing.

Jones jumped in terror, caught completely off guard by the suddeness of the light, and whipping her head every which way. Even Farrah seemed a little shaken up by the surprise as she froze up just a bit, before they both realized there was no threat. Jones let out a sigh, a quiet breath of relief, while her mother looked at her and chuckled. The young woman furrowed her brows with a slight pout, "You got scared too." She pointed out in assumption, but her mother only laughed more, "I-I'm really laughin' at the both of us." Jones rose a brow, and closed the door while her mother set the lantern on a dusty, dry-rotting cabinet top.

"What's funny about us?"

Farrah let her chuckles die with a cough and a grunt to clear her throat, "Well, we're in here gettin' all spooked over some lights coming on... Like we've never seen it before!" She laughed again, and covered her mouth to muffle the noise. Jones couldn't help but feel an awkward smile make its way onto her mouth as she watched her mother's mood switch so suddenly. It was nice, but unexpected. She looked around the room and her eyes fell on the bathroom door, which was wide open.

"Let's check this place out, mum," Jones instructed, but the woman questioned with a slowly dying laugh, "Why? I don't smell any rot, or see any hair. Wouldn't it be better to just sleep?"

"We can't overlook anything--" "I know, hun. I know, trust me, I made the rules..." Farrah reassured calmly, somehow maintaining her smile. Jones pursed her mouth in slight annoyance, "...You don't act like it..." she said, but Farrah caught the last bit of Jones's mumbling and gave a slight glare, "What did you say?"

Jones escaped toward the bathroom, "I said, let's check the rooms."

"Sure you did,"

"I did."

The young woman smiled before walking into the bathroom, instinctively glancing at the bath tub. There was nothing in there but dust, and the young woman was grateful for not having to experience something like the other room again. Really there was nothing of great importance in the bathroom, but just as Jones was going to turn and leave, she saw something move in the corner of her eye. She turned her head and to her surprise, she saw her reflection looking back at her. Her eyes widened and the young woman was entrapped by the sight, having her legs move on their own as she went closer to her reflection. Her hand was already moving out to touch the glass, to inspect it and feel the material under her fingertips.

She looked at the square shaped glass, studying herself closely in awe. It wasn't the first time she had seen herself, or even a mirror, but for her to have found one so big, and it wasn't cracked or shattered! She had never seen anything in such perfect and preserved condition. Jones made eye contact with her reflection, studying the features of her face intensly because she knew she would likely never see it so clearly again. Nothing much had changed since the last time she had checked, except she looked older...tired. There was smudges of dirt on her cheeks; probably from the explosions; and she swiped them off with a thumb. Then she spotted the soft skin of her busted lip trying to put itself together again, covering itself with a thin scab. She touched it gently.

"You find something in there, Jonell?" She could Farrah call from the other room. Jones let her eyes cut away from her face, looking at the bathroom door as she answered, "No, everything's fine in here."

"Same out here! Checked the bed for critters, and I think we're okay for tonight."

Jones gave a weak smile and glanced at her reflection one last time before exiting the bathroom. She found her mother flinging the bed sheets, letting them air out before resting them back on the mattress and making the bed again. Jones sat on the bed once the woman was finished, and her mother did the same, rocking the bed as she plopped down with excessive force. "It's nice to have a bed again, eh?" Farrah asked, though her back was facing her daughter. Jones fiddled with the sheets, "I don't remember," she mumbled and Farrah sighed, "Right..."

"Well, at least we have light...that's something," the woman tried lamely, and Jones nodded in agreement before laying on her back, comforted by the unusual feel of a pillow under her head. "Take your shoes off if you're going to sleep," her mother chided and Jones moaned something under her breath before sitting up. She unlaced her boots and slipped them off one by one, setting them side by side at the foot of the bed. She laid down again and closed her eyes. "Could you get the lights, mum?" She mumbled. The bed shifted, then eased, and the lights flickered off, leaving the two in complete darkness. Jones could feel Farrah return and lay down beside her. Their arms brushed due to how small the bed was for two grown women, but neither of them were bothered.

"What did you see in that room, Jonell?" Her mother asked suddenly, breaking the long minutes of silence. Jones wanted to pretend she was asleep, but her mother nudged her side with a mean force. "What you would expect..."

"What was it?"

The young woman shifted uncomfortably, trying to reposition her pillow and stall her answer for a bit. Farrah nudged her again, and it hurt this time. "I found a body...just like you knew," Jones groaned, and she licked her scabbing lip, "and...there was a dog with it." Her mother didn't say anything but Jones decided to continue, "The thing was scraggly, all bones and no meat. But it was in there with the body, still alive, and-- feeding on it..."

Jones opened her eyes, soaking in the blackness of the room while her mother laid still on her back. It was quiet.

"I wish you didn't have to see things like that..."

The young woman shut her eyes, deciding not to speak again and she turned on her left, pushing her face deep into the pillow-- ignoring its old, musty smell. It was a long time before she fell asleep, and even still, her rest was unpleasant and disturbed.

The next morning, Jones awoke with a start as she sat up in the bed and glanced around with tired eyes. Her mother had gone from the room, which was evident from the slightly opened door, and the fact that the woman was walking inside right now. They looked at each other before Farrah greeted, "Good morning." "Where did you go?" Jones demanded while hopping off the bed.

"Why don't you take a wild guess, Jones?"

The young woman made a face before shaking her head, slipping her boots on and tying the laces. "Why don't you go look for Lance? Haven't seen him in a while." Jones stood up, "Y'know, I'm sure he's busy," Farrah shrugged and swayed her hands like she were weighing something, "Maybe, maybe not. Go check on him." Jones tightened her jaw, "I just woke up. Why didn't you look for him while you were down there?" "Just do as I say, Jonell."

The young woman sighed and let her head sag in defeat for a quick second before turning to the door. She pushed the handle-less door open, but before she stepped outside, her mother stopped her. She looked at Farrah, unimpressed as the woman approached her holding something around her hand. "Last thing before you go," Farrah said before motioning for her daughter to turn around. Jones groaned in complaint, but did so anyways, facing her back to her mother. "I found this while I was out. It'll keep your hair in place." Her mother said as she put Jones's hair up with a hair tie. When she finished, she turned Jones around and looked at her daughter, "See? You look nice and neat now."

Jones pursed her lips, tempted to go back to the bathroom and look at herself, but quickly deciding against it.

"I can't see it so..." Jones trailed off and her mother laughed, "You know what I mean, get going now." Jones shook her head, but turned away and left down the stairs. When she got to the ground level, she remembered that Lance had called out to them last night to tell them where he would be. Jones let that be her lead as she walked to a smaller building adjacent to the motel, and opened the door.

She was greeted by the sight of Lance sleeping, and a dog of all things curled up right beside him. Jones eyed the dog, already feeling a strange anxiety build up as she wondered if the animal would too eat the dead. She ignored it and stepped inside, closing the door, and inspecting the details of the room before calling out to wake Lance up.

"Lance. Lance? Wake up..."

The TV was still on, playing the movie he had gotten to work the night before. As Jones called for Lance the dog perked its ears up and looked over the couch at her, he stared at her for a moment, seeming indifferent about her presence. However in some contrast ,when Lances name was called a gasp of air was heard escaping his lips and without much warning, he quickly rose from the couch, springing to his feet and swiftly turning to her with his fist raised over his face and his body hunched over in a boxers stance. He breathed a little heavy as his eyes pierced into Jones, his gaze obviously intense and filled with hints of paranoia.

Her tied hair made her look almost like a totally different person, and he almost did not realize it was her, until his brain woke up a little more, and studied her a little more. His eyes relaxed slowly and as did his body, as he let his shoulders and hands drop down. He gave a long sigh while he straightened himself back up, hoping he did not spook her any. The dog seemed a bit hyped from his sudden movement as it stood up on the couch, and bounced around a little, barking quietly at Lance.

"Calm down buddy..."Lance told the dog as he rustled the top of his head.
"Morning Jones...I hope you guys slept well..."He said while he ran his hand through his hair, making it settle back to its normal style after being messed up a little as he slept.

"I think you would be happy to know that last night I found a stock pile of food, the kind that never goes bad...so for a moment we should be okay on food...lets just make sure to keep it regulated, because as much food as I found, with three of us, it will go away quicker then you may think..."He said with a tired smile. He only had about 2 hours of rest, but he could manage with it for a bit.

He scratched his scruffy beard as he looked back at the TV seeing the movie still playing."I had a once in a life time experience last night...I found this thing called a movie and managed to get it to work...I was tempted to invite you two to watch it, but I didnt want to bother you...maybe if we can ever somehow find another working TV you can see it..."He said as he bent down to the VHS player, and fumbled around with the buttons for a moment trying to find out how to eject it, rewinding, turning the volume up and down, and pulling up the settings menu in the process.

"Well if you guys want to start getting your stuff ready we-"As he talked the dog he had spent the night with started growling at something for whatever reason. Lance looked over at the pup with a raised eyebrow."...What?"He asked it. A moment passed as Lance started hearing a loud roaring engine coming far from the road behind them.

Lances eyes widened and his face cracked from his happy attitude into a far more serious one. He looked at Jones with a raised finger as he tried to collect his thoughts, and snap the tired out of his body."Get your things and get in the car, keep your heads low. Dont waste any time!"He said a hurried voice to her

Lance grabbed his bag and tossed it over his shoulders and opened the door and looked off in the horizon. He could see a cloud of dust from one vehicle being kicked up far from them."I think you have about 3 minutes, GO."He told her urgently.

He was wishing that they could have gone this morning, and this day without any confrontation. Partly because he did not want anything to remind Jones of what made her angry at him.

The dog sprung from the couch and rushed to Lances side, looking out the door with him."What...you wanna join in?"He said to the dog. It may be strange the way he kept talking to the dog, as if it understood him, Lance himself did not even know why he did it, it just felt natural to empathize with the it.

"Well do what you want I wont stop you..."He told the dog before he quickly paced outside. His eyes looked all around the Motels exterior as if he was looking for something. He was working out in his mind, every possible way he could deal with this foe before they got to them. He quickly thought of some things to subtly prepare for in case he was about to be in a fight.

He saw a wire stringed down from a pylon near the outside of the building he was in, and he took out his knife and quickly spliced it open, his handle negated any electricity that may run from the blade to his hand. The exposed wire would make for a great way to send several hundred volts of electricity into the victims body if need be.

Next, he realized his bat and gun where in the car, and if he where to retrieve it he would risk exposing Jones and Farrah's hiding, so he needed a weapon quick, for he knew whoever was coming would more then likely be equipped with something. He quickly paced around the building, looking for anything he could use, the dog frantically pacing behind him trying to keep up with his erratic movements. A small moment passed before he found some galvanized steel pipes outside the wall that was once apart of the buildings plumbing, which where hardly rusted thanks to the engineering that went into making the steel as long lasting as possible. If there was some way to time travel, plumbing companies would be happy to know that their products can even survive nuclear wars. Lance rushed to the pipes and grabbed one of the more lose pipes, and with a couple good pulls he was able to yank it out of the wall.

Lance preferred the element of surprise, and not let people know how he was going to approach them, so he laid the pipe in a discreet location, to use later if need be. His knife would serve as a good protector until then.

Lance listened for the motor and heard it getting dangerously closer. He hoped Jones and her mother would be able to make it into the car, or at least some kind of hiding spot quickly, as they should not have to deal with any confrontation. While he could tell they where very capable of handling Themistocles, he gave his promise to protect them.

A promise he hopped he would not end up regretting.

Jones couldn't help but flinch when Lance sprung up-- his fists clenched and looking ready for a brawl. Her hand went to touch her shiv on instinct, but it wasn't there. She kissed her teeth and watched the man with caution. When their eyes met, Lance seemed to wake up a bit more, but Jones didn't relax until he did. The dog, who was once sleeping peacefully, now stood on the couch as it bounced and barked at the man, only quieting when Lance patted its head-- easing the tension. The young woman stared at the animal, curious yet cautious, and crossed her arms, "...Good morning..." She muttered in response to Lance. She let her eyes wander around the room, taking in the entirety of it and studying its layout while the man spoke of his findings.

Food and a movie? Jones turned to the man who was playing around with the VHS controls. "Sounds like you had a good time in here," she mumbled half-heartedly. She was beginning to poke around, curious to where the food was, when the dog began barking, and a sound once unknown to them became apparent. It was the growl of an engine.

Lance didn't even have to speak, and Jones already knew what to do. She did away with her curious prodding and thoughts of eating as they both raced to the door, peering out at the road behind them. If it wasn't dead obvious from the sound, the sight of dust flying from the road was enough to clear anyone's doubts. Someone was coming, and Jones had no desire to see who. The young woman clenched her jaw, feeling frustrated and antsy now. 3 minutes, Lance had said. Jones wasn't sure that was enough time, she still had to get Farrah.

She looked at the top unit and set her mind to grabbing her mother and getting to the car. Feelings, emotions, and hunger could wait until they were safe and out of this motel. While Lance and his new-found companion rushed off, Jones did the same. She bolted from the room, and sprinted across the lot until she reached the stairway. By then she was breathing hard, but she was far from tired as she raced up the stairs and opened the door to their room.

Farrah was kneeling on the carpet, shuffling through the drawers when Jones came in, huffing and puffing like a bull. The woman turned to her daughter, confusion on her face, yet it was accompanied by a smile. "Jonell, look at what I've found-" Jones sped over to her mother and took the older woman by the hand while unease ruffled her voice as she strained, "Someone's coming here."

"Wha-what?" Her mother garbled, "No, I-I thought we'd at least have another...day?"

Jones helped Farrah up with a shake of her head, "Yeah, I think we all did... but I'm sure they're coming for us so we have to go. Now." The young woman urged, getting her mother to pick up the pace.

They came out from the room, cautious and quick, like frightened animals. The howling engine grew louder and louder, until it sounded like the vehicle was right on top of them. Then Jones saw it. A rat black motorcycle grumbled up to the motel lot, just opposite of the car, but dangerously near to where the group was staying.

"Sh**, hide..." Jones urged, nudging Farrah from sight as they backpedaled into the first room they had opened. It was too late for them to go down the steps, not without the clear chance of being seen. Jones cursed as she hid behind the door, spying on the biker down below who seemed to be more than your average traveller, as they wandered around the motel lot with clear intention. Jones narrowed her eyes, angry at herself for forgetting her shiv, before standing up and searching around the room blindingly for any object she could use for defense.

Her mind didn't settle for a moment, and like old times, Jones felt as though it was only she and her mother. As it was now, there was no one but each other who could truly help; no one but them, who could truly make Jones feel safe.

The air grew stiff as the dirt kicked up from the bike fluttered in the wind, making the sun split through the clouds of dust in the air. The biker stopped his bike in the middle of the motel, the motor still growling before he shut it off. Everything was quite for a moment, as Lance stood about 6 yards from the biker.

He watched as the man, covered by his helmet, slowly lifted his leg over the bike, and planted his feet on the ground. He stepped a little closer to Lance, each footstep making a clinging sound of metal. The air was still once more, as the two stared at each other for a moment with no words. The biker was a tall stocky figure, while Lance was tall himself, Biker easily had at least 5 more inches on him.

"What do you want..."Lance asked

"Where are they."The biker asked, his voice dark and sounded like someone scrubbing a pan with a wire brush.

"They ran off without me. Do you really think they would bother to keep me company?"He responded to him.

"If you just hand them over, I will act like I never seen you Lance."Biker said to him as he positioned himself closer to Lance.

It was odd, how he called him out by name, and so casually, as if they where long time business partners trying to make a deal.

"Aint gonna happen...you might as well just turn around."Lance told him. His shoulders raised a little along with his fist balling up.

"Do you want what happened to Oscar to happen again? Dont play with fire again Lance."The Biker said in a almost mocking tone.

Lance jerked a little at the mention of Oscar. His fist balled and he brought a foot forward."I said TURN AROUND!"Lance shouted at the man with a lion like roar.

Biker started to slowly walk to Lance, taking a slight combat stance in his approach."Dont make me do this..."He said with a quite growl.

Before any more talking could be, the two titanic men jumped at each other, locking arms, sending them into a power struggle with each other, as the two tried to throw each other off balance. Slowly, Lance started to overcome him, both their bodies straining and shaking as the excreted all the strength they had. Biker slowly started to get pushed back, his body twisting slightly under Lances pressure, but he tightened his grip around Lances arm, digging into the wounds left by the explosion days ago. Lance gave a few conserved grunts of pain, and his eyes shifted to that of agony, as he slowly started to lose the power struggle, the pain from his wounds being gripped and twisted proving to be too much for him. Biker quickly overtook Lance, and powerfully slammed him into the ground, and pressed his weight down on top of him

Lance struggled to regain control of the situation, but he was fighting an uphill battle, as Biker toppled himself over Lance, his mass making it nearly impossible to move, or breath. He raised his fist in the air, a fist with a leather glove padded with metal knuckles, and railed it across Lance's face. A meaty crunch echoed over the motel, and Lance's head jerked to the side, with his eyes in a daze as his brain tried to recollect itself, before another fist knocked his head to the otherside, splattering blood from his mouth on the ground bellow.

Another blow felt like it would cave his skull in, and Biker intended to just that, until a loud bark was heard before the dog pounced on Biker, and started digging his vice grip like jaws into his arm. Biker shouted,"What the ****! Get off me you mutt!"

It took Lance a moment to regain his surroundings, and to notice that Biker had lost his momentum thanks to his companion. Lance took back control of his arms, and clenched his hands around Bikers neck, pressing his thumbs into his throat. Bikers shouts turned to gurgles, and desperate attempts to gasp for air. Lance worked his knee under Bikers stomach and with a harsh shove, tossed him over to the side.

The dog pounced on Biker again, keeping pressure on him as Lance quickly rose back to his feet, and ran to the pipe he had laid out earlier. Biker tossed and turned with the dog, and managed to throw him off, effectively slam him to the ground by him, the dog giving a painful whine as he did so.

Biker got himself back on his feet, and looked up to see Lance in the middle of swinging the pipe into his head. Biker had little time to react as the the pipe crashed against his helmet, sending a loud clash of metal ringing through everyone's ears. Of course due to his helmet he was protected a little from the blow, but it didnt stop his body from falling to the side from the impact.

Lance rested his hand over his head as he felt the dizziness from the impacts of his fist clouding his vision a little. Blood steadily ran down the side of his face. He shook his head a little, trying to get his focus straight for a moment.

His hands shuffled around for a second in his pocket and grabbed the keys to his car, and while Biker was looking to the ground, he tossed them over to the balcony for Jones and her mother to grab, and hopefully sneak off to the car. He wanted them to get it started it up so they could make a fast escape, and hell maybe even run the guy over if they could. And if they needed to, they could drive off without him. Though he hoped it would not come to that.

He looked back down to Biker who was regaining himself, and he raised the pipe up for another swing, and cruised it down to his head before feeling it stop abruptly. Biker was able to catch the blow before it hit him, stopping the pipe from colliding with him again. Even though you could not see bikers face, he had a feel like he knew the momentum was back on his side, as he slowly raised himself back up with his hand firm on the pipe.

Lance tried yanking the pipe back to him, and as did Biker, and the two started battling over the weapon, pushing each other back and forth using the pipe as leverage, both the titanic men struggling against each others strength, battling for dominance over the field.

After a few moments of intense struggle, Lance felt his grip loosen as the pipe was yanked from his hands, causing him to fall back from the shift in motion. His eyes where dazed and fixed on the sky for a moment as he looked back to Biker, just as he was crashing the pipe down to his skull.

Lances eyes widened, and he quickly rolled to the side as the pipe hit the dirt next to him. Biker grunted in frustration, and swung again at him. Lance quickly rolled again to the side, this time feeling the pipe barley brush against his ear.

"You son of a...Stay still!"Biker shouted at him as he clenched his meaty fingers around Lances throat. Biker raised the pipe in the air, ready to make his decisive blow, and after the pummeling he took earlier, he knew he would not be able to make another hit. Lances throat gasped for air as Bikers grip kept any hopes of oxygen getting into his body, and his eyes frantically shifted around looking for something to help, his dog was still recovering from earlier, Jones needed to get as far as way from him as possible, and the
wire he cut was laying within reaching distance from him. The wire! Lance was never more happy to of done impromptu electric work in his life, as he quickly snagged the wire, and shoved it into Bikers wrist.

Biker attempted to make a painful shout but his jaw was locked as the volts coursed through his veins, and unfortunately for Lance, as Biker had his grip around his neck, he felt the voltage go through him too. The two shook and jittered from the shock, before Biker fell over to the side of Lance silently. Lance gasped for air and stared at the sky a moment, as his body tried to bring itself back after being shocked, thankfully it doesn't seem like he got shocked as bad as Biker.

Lance slowly got up, blood running from his forehead, and a slight electrical burn mark around his neck. He rested a hand on Bikers neck, and felt a pulse. It would be ideal to kill him right now, but for whatever reason he didnt.

He slowly and weakly picked himself up. And looked to the car. He could not tell at the moment if they had made it to the car and started it, drove off, or where waiting to see how the fight went, or any other possibilities, but he still found himself walking to where he knew the car was.

"Come on...lets get out of he..."He said as he rested a hand on his head as his vision blurred a little, and he felt a sick feeling his stomach."Farrah I think...maybe you should dr...Oh my go..."He was saying before he crashed down to the ground bellow him, falling unconsciousness.

The dog had regained himself and paced over to Lance, curious and worried about what happened to him, and keeping a watchful eye over him, hoping help would come.

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