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**Authors Note:  This chapter contains rough language.

New to the story? Start reading here: Chapter 1

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July 30, 2012 0830

People are looking at me like I’m a freak.  Meagan told me I passed out again.  I love her so much.  She won’t leave my side.  Makes me feel better actually.  I get accused of being a chauvinist, but I’m really not.  I just get sidetracked and forget the important things in my life sometimes.

Brother Nathan is here.  He is sitting write across from me, watching as I write my thoughts and notes in this journal.  I feel like he knows something more than he is admitting.  Like I’m responsible for this.  Or where we are going.  Everyone has played their cards close to their vest on this one.  No extra talk around him.  Guards nearby but not in his face, ready to act if something wonky happens.

He just asked me if I was ready.  Ready for what? I nodded.  I have no clue what this man has up his sleeve.  I just know we don’t have much of a choice.  The four of us need to prevent this from happening again.  If what he says is true and any whining sound similar to that sound is going to cause a problem, we need help.

July 30, 2012 1400

I feel like I’ve been run over but also oddly at peace with myself.  The four of us woke up about an hour ago.  We all feel rough but the weird thing is we don’t have that haunted feeling anymore.

When we went to stand, hands forced us back on the ground and I found my wife’s eyes looking into mine.  Guards were running around the camp with weapons drawn like we were being invaded by some unseen force.  Meagan told me that Brother Nathan just disappeared.  One second he was there, the next he wasn’t.  Everyone is freaking because they think we have been compromised.  I’m pretty sure we haven’t been even though all signs pointed towards it.

Meagan said he was using what looked like hypnosis on the four of us but everything is pretty hazy to her.  Shelley said the same thing.  Hypnosis but she can’t remember what happened.  I know if I meet up with Brother Nathan again we are going to have a long unpleasant talk.

I’ve got to get everybody calmed down.  We can’t operate like this.  Our goals and , for lack of a better term, mission have gotten lost.

What a joke.  Can I lead these people.  I read what I just put down with my own hand and doubt my abilities.  I doubt ours.  I’m going to get these people killed for nothing.  We have travelled to the edge of Indiana and already I think I’ve screwed up.  I shouldn’t be in charge.  I’ve forced my pipe dream on others and we are going to

July 30, 2012 1800

Die is what I was going to say.  That is until Tyler slapped me silly.  He has a hell of a right cross.  My chin still hurts and it’s starting to bruise up nicely.

He grabbed me by my collar and dragged to the closest box truck like a drunk in a bar, threw me in the back, closed the door partway and tossed me a fifth and a pack of smokes.  I heard him click a button and set something on the floor of the van.

~Begin recorder playback

“It’s a digital recorder, you insufferable ass,”  he shouted at me,”Use this instead of that damn journal.  We can find someone to transcribe it.”

I just sat there in the dark confused.

“It’s time for you to do the job that we elected you for.  Lead us.  Get us the New Mexico.  Be the person I know you are instead of trying to be some general that you aren’t.  You are going to fuck up Grey.  There is no way around it.  That is the nature of our trip.  Your problem is you are afraid to fuck up and that is what’s going to get us dead.”

“But…,” I muttered under my breath, unsure of what to say.

“But nothing.  We all look to you.  The one we chose.  Yeah, I’m pissed about Terre Haute.  I’m pissed at you because you are the only one I have to pissed at.  We don’t know who started this.  Or caused those things to live like that.  Or disrupted our lives.  Yanked our children from a decent existence into this hellish world.  But that doesn’t mean shit right now.  Your job and ours is to survive.  We must survive.  If we do, we win.”

“Tell me that when I get your wife killed and your children have no mother.  Tell me that when our children are killed because I made the wrong choice in which road to take.  Tell me that when you are in my shoes and have all these peoples lives in your hands,” I shouted back.

“Shut the fuck up,” he screamed.

“We are here because we CHOSE to be.  This has nothing to do with you.  If you don’t trust us to tell you when you are fucking up then maybe we should leave you here.”

“What do you want me to do,” I enquired, defeat resounding in my voice.

“Stop beating yourself up.  Stand up and be Grey Alexander, you dumbass.  Get us to New Mexico.  Lead by example.  You keep treating yourself like a pussy and everyone will see it.  Then they have doubts.  There can be NO doubt.”

~End recorder playback

After his last comment he clicked off the recorder, stood up with it in his hand, opened the door and dropped the recorder in my lap.

I’m still sitting in the truck and I’ve listened to that recording four times.  Tyler is right.  We need to move.  We need to get Terre Haute behind us.  Leave the mysterious Brother Nathan behind and get our asses to New Mexico.  Everyday we spend on the road is another day of danger.  The group needs to be located in one spot for awhile.  Everyday we are on the road the peril increases.  The gangs will be more active.  The radiation will drift.

Tyler made one comment that scared the absolute shit out of me.

“Watch out for Gordon Janeway.  He wants to take control and you can’t let him.”

Who knows what the hell else lies in wait for us out there.  But the one thing I’m one hundred percent sure of is, that we need to find out and move on.


Chapter 19

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