Follow the Herd

Hannah and Saint couldn’t help but stifle their laughter.

“River, the Children of the Corn is a horror novel about a town overrun by murderous children who sacrifice visitors in a cornfield. Probably not something you’d ever want to read.” Rafael wasn’t the best at picking up social cues, so of course, he had to go and spoil the running joke. But at least now River wouldn’t be so confused.

River gasped. “So someone WROTE about it? Are they still there? The cornfield sacrificing children?” River blinked wide-eyed. Given the situation, it couldn’t be helped that she thought they were real and someone wrote about it! Zombies were real right!

“Oh goodness, no muñequita, the story is fiction. It’s not real. Besides, I’d say sacrificial kids are a step down from our current challenges, no?” Rafael patted River on the shoulder, hoping to ease any anxiety he just imposed upon the poor girl.

“Just a book, they made it into a horror movie. Fiction, chica.” Rodrigo said helpfully.

“They said ZOMBIES weren’t real. How do you know for sure.” The young girl posed.

“We’re miles and miles out from any cornfield,” Devin promised.

“And we don’t know that these are “zombies”, Rio added in air quotes.

“They make valid points. Anyway, does anyone have a plan for the removal of the truck? If we are to walk, we should probably not go until tomorrow morning. Although I’m sure everyone here would much prefer to drive if they could.” Rafael offered a change in subject, as the discussing of serial killers didn’t exactly improve the mood. Though neither did a discussion about walking…

“Well problem is we don’t know if the truck has the torq to pull the truck and give us room to go around. If it had stuff in it … well … we’re Fu-” Saint was cut short with an elbow from Rio. “-Ow!”

Rio shot a look to his nephew to match the elbow. “Language mijo.” He nodded towards River and Bobby.

Rafael had started picking up on the dynamics within this group. Saint and Rio were clearly related. Brothers perhaps, though Rio did call Saint mijo despite not being anywhere near old enough to have fathered him. Rio was the dominant male, followed by Hannah as the dominant female though there seemed to be no romantic interaction between the two. Raff took special note of that. River was everyone’s mutual responsibility as the youngest of the group, second to Bobby who didn’t apparently have much to say. Devin had an aura of untapped genius about her, apparently a keen observer.

“Well if the average weight of an empty trailer is …” River paused thinking. “ … I don’t think our truck could budge it … buuuuuuttt the walks are made of aluminum right? With wood beams? And roof is stamped steel … maybe if we can cut a hole?” River suggested.

“We’re not fixed with many power tools,” Devin replied, regretting leaving a perfectly good tool kit complete with acetylene torch on the bus. “But it might be worth a shot, Rivs.”

“Might I suggest we just… turn around? Route 293 is less than 4 miles west of here. I came from that way and there was nothing blocking the road. There’s also a Kum & Go on the exit, perhaps we can find some things there.” Rafael attempted to offer a solution to their present conundrum. “Though I must say as far as I last new Kiryas Joel was overrun, so who knows if the cannibals have ventured east of the town yet.”

Hannah thought about it. “The last town we ran into there was a riot and gunfire. Also, there was nothing short of a tidal wave of those cannibals behind us. We go back we risk running into them.” She sighed. It would be easier but infinitely more dangerous. “Food’s up … whos hungry?”

“Starved.” Devin said, holding out a plate.

Rafael accepted a plate as well, eating slowly to savor what might be his last good meal in a long while. “Well, I don’t know how far back your cannibals were, but mine were all coming from the south and pushing north as far as I remember. Besides, if we’re to believe that they are in our way before Route 293, then walking should be out of the question entirely. If they don’t go down after multiple gunshot wounds I doubt they’d tire from a brief hike, unlike us. It’d take them less than a couple hours to catch up with us as it stands, and we only have about that much time before the sun sets. So what’s riskier?”

“Riskier would be talking about cannibals while eating hotdogs,” Devin snickered. “If we can’t move the truck….”

“We’ll try to get a signal, see if we catch any local news.” Rio interrupted. “This way we aren’t making it a crap shoot if we save the ride or not.”

"I guess that sounds like a plan." Rafael wasn't particularly agreeable, but he was new and clearly outnumbered. Though what's the old saying? Follow the herd and they might lead you off a cliff…

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