Not one person sat in the truck could quite get a handle on how the situation at New Haven, a situation that had seemed so perfect, had gone awry so quickly. Less than a week ago it had been the ideal safe zone, a properly run and maintained community. Now it was about to fall, just like its corrupted leader, Mel, had. The military was bound to swoop in and take over. Nobody could have foreseen Mel’s true agenda. His virtuousness had been extremely convincing.
What they didn’t know was that Mel’s virtuousness had been wholly genuine and that the true enemy sat within their number. Ryan Lloyd, the memories of his atrocities fresh in his mind, rode in the truck with those fortunate few who’d escaped New Haven. He’d destroyed a harmonious setup simply to save his pride. Ryan was a bad man and nobody knew it. His actions had destroyed New Haven and were the reason that this twelve-strong band of militants and medical scientists was now on the road.
The truck pulled up in an abandoned country village about ten miles from New Haven. It would be only a quick stop to stretch their legs. They wanted to put at least double the distance between them and the doomed safe zone.
Ryan, with the assistance of Jay and Kas, quickly dispatched of any nearby lurchers before letting everyone out of the back of the truck—with the obvious exception of those still unconscious!
One of the first out was Georgina, who stormed up to Ryan. “What the fuck is going on?!”
“We had to get out of there because the military were on their way. Mel was only out to serve his own agenda. New Haven was a front.”
“A front for what?”
“He was looking to create a monopoly out of this apocalypse. He wanted to take over the safe zones one by one and ultimately have all the people still alive in this country work for him.”
“How do you know this?”
“I suspected it from the beginning, but he told me before I killed him. His plan was contained in a file that he burned before my eyes.”
“You killed Mel?!”
“I had to! I told you there was something dodgy about the bloke. If he’d had his way then we’d all have wound up as his slaves.”
Georgina looked sceptical. She wasn’t sure if to believe Ryan or not, which was par for the course. “So why have we had to leave New Haven? Couldn’t we have stayed and took over the running of the place from him?”
“Because the plan to take over the safe zone hit a snag and the military were onto us,” Jay cut in, lying on Ryan’s behalf. “You’re full of questions, sweetheart. You should be thanking this man for saving your arse! We’re all indebted to him. Thanks to Ryan, we get to live and fight another day.”
Georgina arched an eyebrow. “What about all the others in New Haven?”
“Oddly enough, I couldn’t fit hundreds of people in the truck,” Jay responded facetiously, causing a snigger from Ryan.
“They’ve been left there to deal with the military on their own?”
“Somebody obviously needs a reality check! Here I was thinking this was a fucking apocalypse!” Jay wandered away, having had about as much as he could stand of Georgina’s righteousness.
“Time was against us, George. We couldn’t get food, water, or sufficient weapons, let alone attempt to rescue everyone in New Haven,” Ryan reasoned. “Jay and Kas even wanted to leave you behind until I insisted they didn’t. I bargained that the medical guys could be useful and their research into your immunity might be something that could help us too.” The lies rolled of his tongue like butter in a hot pan. He’d had plenty of practice to refine the art.
“There are kids there, Ryan. What’s going to become of them?”
“Let’s hope that the military shows some humanity and spares the innocent. That’s all we can do right now. I’m sorry; our hands were tied. We had to make snap decisions.”
She sighed. “I understand. Maybe Jay is right. I need to get my head around the fact that this is an apocalypse and things are different now. I’m sorry for yelling at you and coming across ungrateful.” Leaning over, she kissed Ryan on his cheek. “Thank you for saving me.”
“You don’t need to thank me. I’ll never let anything bad happen to you. You can trust me.”
“In time, I’m sure I will.” With that, she walked away to take a breath of air.
Ryan watched her as she went, not even trying to suppress a conniving smirk. “Putty in my hands!”
Twenty minutes later, everybody was ushered back onto the truck. There’d been a little kafuffle with the scientists, apoplectic at having been taken against their will. They soon reined themselves in on realising who the ones with weapons were.
The engine was fired up and the truck carried on down the road. Where they were to go from there, Ryan didn’t know. All he knew was they had to find a place with provisions and fast. The fuel in the truck would only take them so far.
He cogitated over everything that had happened and wondered if he was doing the best thing in order to survive. New Haven had been a readymade home. Had it really been necessary for him to orchestrate its demise and condemn innocent people to death just to get one over on Mel?
That wasn’t important now. What was important was ensuring he carried on living. He’d use the resourceful people around him to make that so until they outlived their usefulness. The future was his to decide as long as he kept control of everyone in his company. Jay and Kas, the two toughest men he’d ever met, were under his spell already. The others would surely fall in line soon enough. He was in control here; he’d ensure he kept that control at all costs.
TO BE CONTINUED