Children's Crusade
Chapter 7

Copyright© 2011 by carioca

Jenny looked at the bat. Her hands, pale from holding it so hard, shook if she let go. Deliberately she took a deep breath and held it a moment before she let it out, forcing herself to breath steadily. That most of the rest of the students, along with the only remaining teacher, were freaking out was no comfort. She'd thought she was different, more in control of her emotions. She looked at her little brother, calmly watching the collapse of civilization. He wasn't scared half to death, neither was Alex, and both of them were smart enough to know that if this problem was widespread, the world they had know was gone forever.

Bobbi-Jo on the other hand was terrified. Despite their differences, she was Jenny's closest friend. They went to church together, and had some of the same classes. They both read a lot too, but Bobbi-Jo was addicted to historical romances. She'd once confided that she wished she'd been born back in the old west when exiting things happened and men were so romantic. Jenny had kept her mouth under control for a change and didn't mention exciting things like dying in childbirth, starving after a failed harvest or just being raped and killed by whoever thought they could get away with it. She'd hoped at the time that her friend would never get a chance to find out just how exciting those things could be. She hoped now that all of them wouldn't find out. but she was afraid they would, they all would.

Bobbi-Jo drove the bus fairly well, all the practice she'd had on farm equipment must have helped. Her blonde hair cascaded down her back, and her long legs moved athletically when she shifted gears. All the boys adored her, and it wasn't just her legs or big boobs. She was nice to everyone, even Jenny's geeky little brother. Some of the other girls at school called her a slut behind her back, but Jenny knew she wasn't, even if they'd put out to date the cool guys, Bobbi-Jo wouldn't. One of them, he'd been a senior when Bobbi-Jo was a sophomore, had tried to force her. Not many people knew what had happened, or why he'd left town immediately after graduation, but Jenny did. She'd told the boy 'My father has six hundred acres and a backhoe, you'll never be missed.' Apparently he'd believed her, but was so angry he'd pushed her out of his car and driven away. Bobbi-Jo had walked to their house and Jenny's mom had given her a ride home, no questions asked. Jenny had only gotten the full story last summer, at Girl's Camp.

The bus slowed and weaved between cars abandoned on the road, then accelerated to pull away. Bobbi-Jo screamed and covered her eyes as the bus ran down one of the cannibals, crushing him under the wheels. Alex grabbed the wheel to keep them steady as Bobbi-Jo broke down, weeping. "I can't do this, I just can't."

Jenny helped her back to her seat. They had to dodge aside as Jeremy ran up the isle, a duffel bag in his hands. She made sure the older girl would be ok, and covered her with her boyfriend's letterman jacket. She didn't think much of Chuck, but at least he had the decency to hold her while she cried. It seemed to snap him out of his daze, and he whispered in her ear. "Everything's going to be alright. I'll take you to your house, we'll be safe there."

That much was true. If they made it to Bobbi-Jo's house, her father and older brother would keep the place as safe as anywhere could be, and they wouldn't turn Chuck out. His house, on the other hand, was a McMansion, a great big house on the smallest lot allowed by the zoning board. Both his parents worked in the city and neither one knew how to use, much less owned a gun. They'd moved in a last ditch effort to keep Chuck out of trouble, away from drugs and his old friends. It seemed to be working; the only drugs at last night's party, at least by Eileen's report, were alcohol and testosterone.

Back at the front of the bus, Jeremy jammed the duffel bag into the stairwell. He jumped on it to wedge it in tight, then tugged on the door experimentally. A pair of bloody hands smacked against the glass set into the folding steel door, leaving streaks of congealing blood behind. Dull lifeless eyes peered through the window, and the creature snarled. Jeremy jumped back with a curse.

She grabbed a pole to steady herself as Alex jammed the bus in gear with a grinding sound and they lurched into motion. "Watch your language."

"We could die today." Jeremy snapped back.

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