jacket up over that and picked up my boots, set on lacing them back up when I heard scuffling behind me. I spun around, ready to use the heel of my boot as a weapon.
“Sorry!” Olivia cried, holding her hands up protectively over her head.
“It’s alright,” I told her, trying not to sound pissed. The girl reminded me of an abused dog; as soon as someone raised their hands, she assumed she was going to get hit. “What are you doing?”
“I got scared out there. I left the truck running though, just in case.”
“Oh, ok. While you’re here, quickly get something to wear. I’m gonna look for a map or something.”
I searched the whole store but didn’t find a map. When I returned to Olivia, she had put on a pair of dark jeans, a Harley Davidson hooded sweatshirt, and biker boots. She wobbled when she walked in the low wedge heels.
“Not used to wearing heels?” I stated the obvious.
“No. I’ve never worn them before,” she admitted. She tripped, nearly twisting her ankle.
“What shoe size are you?” I asked, thinking I couldn’t have her slowing me down any more than she was bound to.
“Eight and a half.”
“Try these,” I said, sitting down to unlace my boots. “They’re a nine, so they might be a little big, but it’s better than the heels. I need you to be able to run if need be.”
I exchanged my boots for another pair of motorcycle boots. They looked better with the leather pants anyway. I grabbed a pair of gloves for each of us before going back into the parking lot. A silver SUV caught my attention. I told Olivia to get in the truck and wait while I raced back inside the store. I emerged with tools and a devious smile.
“You’re kinda scary,” Olivia told me with just a hint of awe in her voice after I hotwired the SUV.
“Aren’t you glad?” I asked, straightening up. “Let it run for a few minutes before we get in.” I pulled down the visor and looked in the glove box. “Yes!” I said out loud when I pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.
“Ew, no way. But this,” I held up the lighter. “Can come in handy.” We let the SUV run for over five minutes before turning on the heater. Another five passed and the car was filling with warm air. Declaring it good enough, I went back into the shop one last time.
I ripped the hem off of the horrible dress I was forced to wear and shoved it inside the gas tank of Del’s truck. I drove the truck into the middle of the road, got out, lit the dress on fire and walked away. I didn’t even look back when it exploded. Olivia gapped at me for the next thirty miles, unable to believe everything I had done.
“I feel safe with you,” she told me, her green eyes shining. Suddenly, an image of Zoe flashed through my brain. I pushed it away, but not before it could affect me.
No matter what, I was going to take care of Olivia.
I pulled into a parking lot of a grocery store. I assured Olivia that I had no intentions of going in. A few gummies milled about. I struck one in the head with the flashlight and he dropped, his mushy brains leaking out onto the pavement. I smashed car windows, setting off an alarm on two, in search for an atlas. I found it in car number six.
We were in southern Iowa and I judged our time away from the compound to only be eight hours or less. My heart fluttered and my stomach did that stupid flip-flop when I thought of seeing Hayden. Then I thought of Raeya and Padraic and how happy I was going to be when I saw them again.
After three hours of problem free driving, we ran into a pile up. Going on past experiences, I didn’t want to chance it. But, we were hungry and running low on fuel. If I could find something to eat or a gas can, then it would be worth it.
“Stay here and keep your eyes peeled, ok?” I instructed.
“I mean it. If something comes, honk and I’ll come running. As soon as I’m in, drive. Got it?”
“Yes, got it,” she promised.