Children's Crusade
Chapter 23

Copyright© 2011 by carioca

Alex stared numbly at the blue screen until Jenny nudged him. "See if there's anything else, I'm going to help Bobbi-Jo with dinner." He nodded to show he'd heard and pointed the remote at the TV. She squeezed his arm. "I'll bring you guys some when it's ready."

A couple of premium movie stations were still running, and a few of the others were still running regular programming, commercials and all. He thought he'd found another one of the latter and was about to change it when he noticed it was a program on how to purify water. A scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen read 'Stay in your homes'. He left it on and went over to where several others were gathered around Jeremy's laptop. He must have found something. "What you got?" he asked.

"The website from the news." Jeremy said. He pointed to the TV. "What station is that?"

"I think it's KBYU. Did you find anyone near us?"

Jeremy pointed to an entry. "Looks like, about forty miles away. The entry was made almost four hours ago, so if that station was on the same schedule, they put it up right after the last broadcast. They're at a ski resort, they have food, water and power, but no weapons. If the mine doesn't work out, we can try there." He stood up, nodding at the balcony. "Those things are attracted to light, we need to black out the windows before they get here. I'm going downstairs to get some stuff and turn off the lights, want to come?"

Alex looked at the windows, then at the kids watching TV or waiting for dinner. "No, I'm going to get started up here. Take somebody with you though." Jeremy nodded and called his brother over. Alex grabbed a hammer and box of roofing nails from the pile of tools they'd brought up from the bus and called Chuck over to help him.

He found some blankets in the closet, and they cut them to fit, then nailed them up over the windows. He didn't say anything more than necessary, instead, he just worked. They were climbing the stairs to the third floor when Chuck broke the silence. "I couldn't shoot without hitting one of you guys." Alex didn't say anything, just kept climbing. "I wasn't scared, I just didn't want to hit you."

If Chuck hadn't been scared, then he was an idiot. Alex didn't say it out loud but something must have shown on his face, because Chuck flushed and pushed open the door to the first apartment. They found some more blankets and Chuck held one up to the sliding glass door while Alex hammered. "Just get it together," he told the older boy. "Bobbi-Jo needs you." It was the best he could think of. If he said what he really thought, it might push Chuck into doing something stupid.

"I've got it together." Chuck insisted. "I just need some practice with the guns is all. After all, I made it to all the practices last year, that's why I was MVP in football. I just need some practice and I'll be the best at this too."

Alex muttered something noncommittal and moved on to the window. It was getting dark fast outside, now that the sun was down behind the mountains. They finished up with the apartment and started on the next.

Chuck lifted another blanket and paused, staring out the glass door. "I see somebody." He gestured with the corner of the down comforter in his hand. "Over there, on the roof."

Alex followed his gesture. Four people stood on the roof of a fast food restaurant, waving. The building was surrounded by cannibals, or ghouls or whatever they were called. Alec couldn't hear the people, but they must have been yelling, because the cannibals wandering in the street turned toward them, joining the crowd around the building. He waved back, then hefted the hammer. "Let's finish this first, then we'll see what we can do for them."

Chuck held the blanket up so he could nail it in. "Okay, what can we do, anyway?" When Alex finished nailing, he held a piece of another blanket over a window. "We want to stay off the street, right? That's what you guys said."

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