Colony East

Free Colony East by Scott Cramer

Book: Colony East by Scott Cramer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Scott Cramer
weakened them—the illness, a lack of sleep, chasing Mel over half the city—but that only made them more dangerous. They would stop at nothing to get the pills, which of course, neither she nor Mel had.
    “What can they do to us?” Abby whispered.
    “Run,” Mel cried and bolted.
    Abby dropped her sack and ran after her friend. In a blur of thoughts, one cut the deepest. It was incredibly stupid to have dropped the bag. They needed those supplies, but it was too late to go back. She tightened her grip on the thermos.
    Pumping her arms and lifting her knees, she dodged a kid on a skateboard, hopped over a corpse, and veered around a group of kids that were milling about. She felt the first drops of rain.
    When the downpour started, many on the street and sidewalk scurried to their plywood shelters. It was now possible to run in a straight line, but Brad enjoyed the same advantage. Abby turned and saw that he was gaining on her. The drumbeat of his plodding feet grew louder. She expected him to pounce at any moment. If he tackled her, she’d try to gouge his eyes out. She’d have to fight him and his gang alone because Mel had just disappeared from view. Any fight would probably end quickly and not in her favor.
    Abby huffed through her mouth, sucking in as much air as possible and then blowing out hard. In. Out. In. Out. Gulping oxygen, she inhaled until her lungs inflated to capacity and it felt like they were about to explode in her chest. Then she forcefully expelled the air out until her lungs felt as empty as shredded balloons.
    Her pace slowed as the effort to lift her legs increased with every stride. On the Museum of Science grounds, she stumbled from a spasm in her right thigh. Immediately, she felt the spasm jump to her left thigh so both were trembling, a warning that she was about to collapse. Hobbling, she moved more and more slowly. She stumbled again, caught herself, and continued awkwardly.
    Abby lost her footing on the slick pavement, and this time, she didn’t think she could recover. Pitching forward, she turned an ankle. She cried out and tensed up for a crash landing on the grass.
    Mel appeared out of nowhere and caught her in her arms. Long strands of hair plastered Mel’s face, and water trickled off her chin and nose. She was a mess, but Abby had never been so happy to be face to face with a friend impersonating a drowning rat.
    Abby gasped for breath. “Mel, slow down!”
    “Sorry.”
    Abby turned around to see a beautiful sight. The gang had also stopped. They had lost ground, too, though they were still dangerously close. Brad was wheezing. The other boy was on one knee, holding his sides. One of the girls was puking. The one with a baseball cap was hugging a light post.
    Abby and Mel locked arms and continued. Abby was limping for real now. The gang immediately followed them at the same pace. It was now a race among turtles.
    They crossed the McGrath-O’Brien Highway. Cars and trucks, all with skeletons behind their wheels, sat where they had crashed and come to rest a little over a year ago.
    “Mel, I’m going to tell you how to find the yacht club. If I can’t make it…”
    “Abby, shut up.”
    “Seriously,” Abby said.
    “Shut. Up.”
    In a muddy lot, Mel scooped up two fist-sized rocks. “I’m going to kill them if I get a chance.”
    “Mel, shut up.”
    Mel held out one of the rocks. Abby accepted it reluctantly.
    They took turns looking back. Coming down like liquid drills, raindrops smashed the pavement and splattered up, obscuring the view. Abby thought their chance of losing the gang completely was getting better when one of the girls fell behind and then stopped. Brad slumped over, half running, half walking in an erratic zigzag pattern.
    A moment later, Mel tugged at her arm. “Faster!”
    Abby turned to see that, incredibly, Brad was gaining on them again. Water exploded from the puddles that he stepped into. She tried to speed up, but she felt as if she were

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