Children's Crusade
Chapter 16

Copyright© 2011 by carioca

Everyone stared at Alex expectantly, like they wanted him to tell them what to do. He cleared his throat and swallowed. "Let's just see where we stand, who wants to stick together and find someplace safe to stay?" The Johnson's hands snapped up, so did Bobbi-Jo's, Larry and his brother, and Becky Shenke, one of the seventh graders. Her older sister raised her hand, so did Chuck, then Miss Simpkins slowly lifted hers. The kids in her class all did too. It was like a chain reaction, kids saw the others raising their hands, so they did. Others saw them, and so on. Soon, everyone on the bus had a hand raised. It was probably due to the way he'd phrased the question, more than anything else, but it was unanimous. Everybody wanted to find somewhere safe.

Jenny stood up next to him. "If we have an emergency, we need someone to decide fast what we're going to do. I think we should let Alex decide." Hands went up again, but slower this time, and Chuck was last, a scowl on his face.

Alex leaned back and looked at Bobbi-Jo. "Lets get moving, nice and slow, back the way we came." A sudden thought struck him as the engine roared to life. "How much gas do we have?"

"Less than half a tank, I don't know how much we'll need."

"More than that," He thought for a moment. "Anyone have a credit card?" Miss Simpkins did, so did Chuck. "Ok, lets get some gas, then we'll head up into the mountains. If we can't stay at the mine, there's lots of other places." He turned to Bobbi-Jo and spoke in a normal voice. "When you get back to the main road, turn left, there is a gas station before the highway that has diesel pumps."

What else, what else? The responsibility was frightening. He looked at Jeremy, asking the question with his eyes. In response, Jeremy lifted his bat and pointed to the back of the bus. Yeah. He walked back and gestured for Larry to follow him. "Pass these out." He said pointing at the hammers. "anything that can be used as a weapon, try to find something for everyone." He picked up a crowbar and ran back up to hand it to Chuck. "Give Bobbi-Jo your bat, just in case."

Chuck looked doubtful, but passed it over. "We need guns."

"I think I know where we can get some." Jeremy said. "I know a place back by that hospital."

Jenny shook her head, "They were emptying that place out, they probably took everything."

"No, not there, there's another place down a side street closer to the middle of town. I went there once with dad. I saw it today, the shutters were down, the one over the door too. With the bigger store so close, they probably didn't think to check." His face lit up. "It's a three story building. It will probably be safe for tonight if we block the stairs. We won't even have to open the bus door, I bet we can reach the balconies and get in that way."

It sounded reasonable, Alex certainly didn't look forward to leaving the safety of the bus, but Jeremy sounded so confident. He looked at the others. Chuck snorted and looked away, Bobbi-Jo only shrugged. Jenny nodded, "Guns would help, a lot. The cannibals can't bite us if we shoot them first."

"Yeah." Alex turned to Miss Simpkins, but her eyes were unfocused, staring at nothing. He looked instead to the rest of the kids, feeling their questioning eyes on him. "Ok, We're going to get gas, then find a place to stay for tonight. Anyone got a better idea?" A few of them shook their heads, but that was all the response he got.

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