Huddled Together Ch. 10byWritersUnblock©
Chapter 10 -- Abandon.
Fear rose in John's chest; "We have to get home."
John and Mira threw their backpacks on, and headed off into the bush. John stole one last look back at Tom's place before it went out of view; at the location where such horror had taken place the last couple of days. With a quiet sigh, he turned his focus back to getting home.
Dry gum leaves and sticks crunched under foot as they ran; they were running through a landscape of fuel.
His name came floating on the breeze and hit his ears; it was Anny's voice. He scanned through the few remaining trees to the wall; spotting her at the top of the wall with one of the spare rifles, her spare hand waving him in. She dropped the rope ladder over the side of the wall, and was jumping on the spot as she waited for their arrival. John picked up the pace, and the wall got larger and larger before him. He could hear Mira's footsteps close behind him; and could now see the confusion and fear on Anny's face at seeing his new companion and the lack of Tom and Merry.
The two reached the wall and John let Mira go up first, covering her with his rifle in case they had been followed. Nothing moved on the tree line, so John clambered up directly after her. He reached the top and was instantly embraced by Anny. Mira stood to the side while the two tried to hold each other more closely than their arms could manage.
"We've been so worried!" Anny said through soft tears, "Where are the others?"
John had been dreading this moment, and could hear Anny's voice trail off with the question that she already knew the answer to; he could tell she didn't want it to be true. Skye had coming running down from the house by now and was looking up at the group on the wall with the same worried look on her face.
"They..." John swallowed the lump in his throat, "They're dead."
John did the best he could to console them both; tucking each woman into a shoulder of his with an arm around them to hold them close. Anny was very sad, and crying into him; but Skye was much more distraught. John huddled them all up inside the house; stealing a look over his shoulder before they entered at the wall of smoke on the horizon.
Once they were seated in the lounge room, he proceeded to tell them what happened over the last couple of days. When he got to the part where Mira had saved him, his eyes pleaded into hers; silently begging her not to reveal what she had found the men doing to him. She stayed silent as John told his modified version of his rescue; nodding along as he spoke. Anny and Merry broke their hugs with John to hug her in thanks for saving John's life; tears still streaming down their faces. As sad as Anny and Skye were, John had to move the conversation to the pressing matter of the bushfire that might be coming their way.
"We didn't know what we were going to do!" Anny said. "We prepared five backpacks full of supplies ready to go this morning when we saw the smoke. We were hoping and praying for you all to come back today before we had to flee..." Anny trailed off as she was obviously remembering that Tom and Merry wouldn't be joining them ever again.
John summed up their discussion; "Well we don't have a choice, we have to leave. The smoke is definitely getting closer since we left this morning. I know of somewhere we can go. We'll have to leave our home and hope that it survives if the bushfire comes this way."
Everyone nodded in agreement, and headed to grab a full backpack each; one pack left on the table to wait for an owner that wouldn't come. John grabbed a large torch from the top of the fridge and stowed it into the top of his bag, then quickly grabbed a smaller torch from the second drawer in the kitchen and jammed it in his pocket. Mira had already started leading the women outside, when John heard his named being screamed out for the second time today. He raced out to join them on the veranda.
"Holy shit..." he let out in shock, his mouth dropping open.
The horizon was being licked by flames.
"Let's get the fuck out of here!" John shouted.
The group hurried around the back of the house and ran up to the rear gate in the wall. They all helped to move the logs away that were keeping the gates closed. John led them out with only the briefest of checks to see if the coast was clear; they didn't have time for more. The air got warmer and warmer as they ran. The breeze was coming from directly behind them, which aided their running; it was also helping the flame front rush towards them.
John's breathing was heavy from running as they reached the top of the first hill. He turned around briefly to make sure the others were still with him. They were, and he could also see a huge wall of flames licking at the far wall of their fortress.
"Come on!" John yelled out, trying to renew everyone's effort.
They started down the side of the hill and John felt the temperature drop slightly as the hill came between them and the fire front.
"It's going to catch us John!" Mira called out breathlessly.
He feared she was right. The cave was three hills beyond them and he didn't know how they were going to make it. It was an hour trek on a calm day without carrying the heavy packs. Running for their lives with them on would be a very hard task, but surviving without supplies would be even more so.
There was nothing they could do but keep running.
That was the sound of my poor old Camry exploding, John thought; the fire had obviously reached the house now.
They reached the first gully and started up the other side of the hill. Suddenly lady luck smiled on them; the wind snapped around and hit John's face hard. It laboured his pace down noticeably, but it was a life-saving gift that nature had given them. The high force of the wind would now be slowing the roaring pace of the fire. They still had a shot.
"Ha-ha!" John screamed out about the wind, "We still have a chance! Come on!"
As they started up the next hill, a Walker shuffled out from behind a large tree, drawn by John's shout; his face twisted in hungry horror, eyes crazed, one arm missing at the shoulder, and blood caked down its side. John hurriedly signalled the group behind him to stop, raised his pistol, and shot the Walker in its face, dropping it to the ground in a heap.
"If there are more of them nearby, they will have heard that shot. Let's get moving!" He called back to the others.
The longest and hardest hours of John's life commenced - constant running with a full backpack; the roar of the bush fire behind them; the air filling with ash and heat; the occasional Walker to shoot dead; all while watching out that everyone behind him weren't falling behind.
With his legs feeling like they were burning hotter than the fire behind them, John finally saw what he was looking for. Near the top of the hill they were climbing was the grand old ghost gum; towering into the sky proudly even though life had long since left its branches. John knew that hidden at its base amongst the boulders that littered the hillside, was the entrance to the cave.
John led them past the gum and into the seeming maze of giant boulders. Even though more than a decade had passed since he'd been here last, John could never forget how to get to the secret cave; a good thing since they were in the race of their lives to the only shelter that could save them.
After running left and right around a series of boulders, there stood the entrance. John didn't stop to check the situation behind or in front of them. Any possible dangers inside the cave were secondary to the real dangers of the heating air around them and the fire's relentless advance toward them.
The air shifted and started blowing from behind them again; it got much warmer and drier. John stole a glance towards the sky he could see framed by the boulders; embers were drifting above them like an alien invading force. They finally reached the mouth of the cave. The light from the flames cresting the hill behind them penetrated a short distance beyond the entrance. John quickly reached for the torch that he had thrown in his pocket, and led them all deeper inside as fast as they could move. The cave went straight into the hillside for 30 metres, and then began winding left and right. The air was exhaling out of the cave past them to be fed into the fire; as if the cave itself was trying to blow a giant birthday candle out.
The air started to roar louder and louder around them as the fire came across the cave's entrance. The wind was so strong in their faces John couldn't see where they were going. He reached backwards and pulled Anny down to the side of the cave, screaming to the others to follow suit. They all huddled together while the air rushed around them, sucked out by the hungry flames. John hoped they were deep enough that they wouldn't be burned alive or suffocated.
The immense roar lasted for long minutes, before slowly dying off as the fire front passed by them. As the wind calmed down from its great escape, John rummaged in his backpack and pulled out the larger torch. He checked everyone was okay, then helped them up and started leading them farther into the depths of the hill. The cave was dry, save for a few places where water was leaking down the walls into puddles. After a good 20 minutes of walking down the passage, they met a natural 'V' in the tunnel.
"This is as far as we ever got when we were kids." John whispered to the others as they joined him at the fork.
John moved his torch light down each tunnel; they both looked the same to him.
"There!" Mira whispered out excitedly, pointing her finger to the left hand tunnel. "On the wall, there!"
John moved closer with his torch for a look; a crude directional arrow was carved into the stone.
"Someone's been down here, and marked a path." He whispered back to the others. "I think we should follow it."
The others were nervous about the decision, but agreed. John made sure everyone had their weapons at the ready. He and Mira had the handguns, Anny and Skye had their axes. John led the way.
They walked carefully and slowly for about half an hour, meeting at least six or seven more 'V's in the path, all of which had markers for the direction to take. John started guessing that there was someone local who had known about the cave's existence and taken refuge inside during the zombie infestation outside.
They took the journey as quietly as possible, concerned for what may lay ahead. As they delved deeper and deeper into the cave, John could feel the apprehension growing more oppressive than the tonnes of rock above them. John stopped dead in his tracks and held his hand up to stop the others. He could see something lying on the ground, just coming into view around a bend of the tunnel.
Holding his gun up with his torch, he suddenly realised that if there was danger, firing off a round was probably more dangerous than whatever he was trying to kill; who knows if the sound would cause a cave in...
He quickly switched to his axe, and whispered out; "Hello? Hello, is anyone there?"
Weapon in one hand, torch in the other, John eased around the corner. It was a blanket on the ground that had caught his eye. A small, shallow room came into view; it was a dead end. Someone had been living there, but John couldn't see any signs of life, death or deathly aliveness...
After he had scouted the dead end for danger, he whispered for the others to join him. Once they had, John got Mira to cover their only way in or out while they looked around. There were a couple of blankets and pillows; some cans of food that were still in date; some candles, matches, and clothes. It looked like a couple of people must have been living there, but there was no sign of a struggle or other indication to tell where they might be now.
John guessed the occupants must have been outside and couldn't return due to the fire, and if so, they would at least not be returning until it was over. Completely exhausted from their harrowing, headlong run to get here, they decided they would sleep the night and work out what to do in the morning.
The dead end meant they only needed one person at a time to cover the tunnel. Mira volunteered for the first watch, and lit one of the candles to save her torch's battery. The bedding would provide a comfortable sleep as they rotated off the watch; and John, Anny, and Skye snuggled down near each other with it at the end of the cave.
The cave was cool, but not overly cold; a light sheet and Anny's body warmth against John's was more than enough to make him comfortable. He reclined onto his backpack against the cave wall. Anny hugged Skye as she felt her friend begin to tremble; the best she could offer her to comfort her tears. Skye's breathing eventually changed to shallow slow breaths as she drifted into sleep.
Anny rolled over and snuggled down under John's arm, hugging his chest tightly for safety, security, and to tell him she could never let him go again; John tightened his arm around her. He could see dancing shadows on the cave wall as the candle Mira was using in the entrance moved with a slight breeze, and her silhouette watching down the cave for any intruders, her axe by her side ready to be relied upon for its support.
John rested there with his eyes closed for a long time. He couldn't get to sleep however; the day had been too eventful for his mind to calm down enough. As Anny's body lay wrapped against his, he could sense that she wasn't sleeping either.
Anny's fingers started light drawings across his chest, making small 'love heart' shapes. She nuzzled her head into him, silently asking if he was awake. John responded by giving her a slight squeeze with his arm and bringing his head forward to place a gentle kisses on the top of her head.
She looked up at him and paused, watching his eyes as he gazed down at her, soaking in her features. She brought her face up slowly to his, eventually locking them together into a long, gentle kiss; tongues entwining around each other's in a magically sensual dance. John brought Anny's body closer with the arm he had wrapped around her, and she shifted her weight and with one gentle movement lifted her leg over him so that she straddled his lap.
As they kissed, they embraced; their bodies melting into each other as they tried in vain to be closer than was physically possible. John's hands roamed over Anny's back, his touch saying all that needed to be said. Anny slid one hand around the back of John's head and wove her fingers into his hair; the other caressed the back of his neck, as they continued their lover's dance.
John pulled their sheet over their heads causing the sheet to glow from the dim candlelight; soft light fell down upon them. Now that they had a little privacy inside their makeshift tent, Anny reached down and unzipped John's fly; their breaths now low and shallow with need. John's cock was wrapped by her fingers as she pulled it free of its material confines. Anny released his cock from her grip, made a slight shift of her panties, and then eased her hips down so that he was at her entrance. It was very clear that she wanted him without delay.
John wrapped his arms along her spine, and holding her tightly against him started easing her down onto his throbbing manhood. Anny left out a soft moan, her mouth opening over his as he felt her outer lips parting around his shaft; her moistness warm and inviting.
They were completely caught up in their task of joining together. He could feel Anny slowly opening around him as she descended; the silkiness of her warmth encompassing him. Once he was completely inside her they held there, still kissing passionately, pulling their bodies as close together as they could get.
It was more than sex; it was complete coupling of two beings into one.
The air under the sheet was starting to heat from their presence, only adding more intensity to the passion they were sharing.
John looked up into his soul mate's eyes, finding them gazing straight back into his.
Anny started gently raising her hips up only an inch or so, then back down again; her womb not wanting to lose the sensation of being completely filled by her lover. John could feel Anny's deep internal massage as he lay completely enclosed inside her; he could tell that she never wanted to let him go. Warm juices started escaping her, falling down onto John body; as the slow lovemaking continued.
The sensations between them were piercing; the air charged with lust and yearning. They stayed locked together in this slow sexual dance for what seemed all of time, completely wrapped in each other. Their bodies broke out in a thin sheen of sweat, as they toiled.
John was reading Anny's body as if it were his own; she was approaching the sweet release of orgasm. Her body pleaded with his, inviting it to help get her to that magical place that is only reached by true lovers. John's body responded; running his nails at varying strengths into her skin, over her legs, along her hips; up her back and through her hair; his shaft grinding into places he knew would help bring her release.
The air was thick with heat, their minds thick with chemicals, their body's thick with lust.
Anny involuntarily shuddered as the build-up neared completion. John changed their motions to rock back and forth, pivoting at the hot, slick junction of their sexes. He felt the changes in Anny's body as she started her release; her mind now helpless. A slight shake started deep inside her legs, her fingernails involuntarily changing pressure into his back and neck, the slight pauses in her deep laboured breath, and finally her most inner muscles started to spasm as they thanked her lover's invader for being there.
Orgasm flowed through Anny's body, and it surged into John's; he was now helpless to avoid joining her in the sensations. John and Anny's sexes danced in rippling unison as they came around each other; swells and contractions, seed and acceptance.
Their bodies slowed to stop and their breathing eased as their conscious selves returned to the land of the living. Anny held her lover with all she could, her arms, her legs, and her being. John remained inside her as his cock slowly relaxed; his arms cradled her into his body. After a time, he could feel his seed escape from Anny as they lay; the warm essence dripping down over his thighs.
They remained wrapped around each other for a long time. John thought they would fall asleep that way, each unwilling to disturb the blissful peace they had been able to find. Anny eventually picked her head up from John's chest and rested it on his shoulder. She paused as if in thought, then with her courage gathered whispered in his ear;
"John, I'm pregnant."