But not the end of Lezvie and Angela, don’t worry.
The trio managed to get into the shelter of a nearby cave just before night fell. Lezvie, despite his initial bravado, slipped into delirium as the pain and blood loss overtook him. It was a long night, with Angela and Tabitha trying to keep him cool and comfortable.
In the morning, he had regained consciousness, but still only had a fraction of his strength. “We need… to go to the Bunker.”
“The Bunker?” Tabitha looked at Angela. “What’s that?”
“I dunno…” She looked down at Lezvie. “Nearly two months we’ve been together and you’ve never mentioned it. Where is it? How can it help?”
“There are more people there… Good people… I’ve never told you… because I don’t like being in one place…”
“It’s a refuge? And you thought if you took me there I’d want to stay.” Angela grinned, brushing a lock of dirty blonde hair out of her eyes. “You don’t know me all that well. Which way to the bunker?”
He pushed his sleeve up on his arm, exposing his wristwatch. The press of one of the buttons switched the display to a compass, with a blue arrow pointing off into the distance. “Twenty six degrees northwest, about thirty miles from here.”
Angela nodded, then paused, eyeing him. “Can you walk at all? Because I don’t think Tabitha and I can carry you.”
Lezvie nodded. “Help me up?”
Tabitha and Angela got on either side of him, and he got to his feet, swaying, leaning on the two girls. “Lucky… That we… travel light…” He panted from the exertion of talking and standing at the same time, the wound in his chest sending sharp pains through him with every breath.
“Shut up and walk,” Angela said, supporting him as best she could. The three of them began to make their way across the wasteland, towards the Bunker.
They couldn’t keep moving for long. After only half an hour, Lezvie collapsed, cold sweat on his brow.
“Lezvie!” Angela grabbed him tighter, cushioning his fall. “Lezvie, are you all right?”
He groaned, clutching his wound. “Can’t… Go on…”
“We have to! We have to get you to the Bunker!”
“Back… pocket… of my cloak…”
Angela looked for the pocket, and, finding it, pulled out a small silver cube.
“Take it… and go…” He coughed a few times, blood flecking his lips. “If you get… within ten miles… squeeze it… and they’ll come…”
“And they can come get you then?”
He nodded. “Go. Fly, little bird…”
His pet name for her made a tear run down Angela’s cheek as she considered the possibility that Lezvie might die. She looked over at Tabitha, squeezing the other girl’s hand. “Take care of him.” At Tabitha’s nod, Angela took off, glancing at her compass now and again to make sure she stayed on the right heading.
She ran like the wind, making every effort to live up to Lezvie’s nickname for her. Her side cramped painfully, and her breath burned painfully in her lungs, but she didn’t dare stop. Every second that ticked by was another second that could mean Lezvie’s death.
Just when she thought she had reached the limits of her stamina, the cube started buzzing. She fell to her knees, the air sucking into her lungs painfully. “Oh, I hope that means I’m in range…” She squeezed the cube with all her might.
Long moments passed. Nothing happened. Tears stung her eyes as she contemplated having to get up and keep running. She slowly dragged herself to her feet, looking in the direction of the Bunker. A small black speck, moving across the sky, drew her attention.
“Not a bird… Too big… Too steady…”
As she kept watching it, it grew larger, and she could hear a faint whirring sound. “A helicopter?”
The large aircraft drew closer, something like a cross between a helicopter and an airplane, with a large rotor on top of each wing. It set down near her, and two men in patchwork survivalist armor disembarked, jogging towards her.
“Who are you?” the larger one demanded, taking the cube from her, “and how did you get Lezvie’s emergency beacon?”
“He sent me… He’s been hurt. Shot. That way.” She tried to fight her fatigue, gesturing in the direction she had come from. “He needs you to get him.”
“Lezvie’s been shot?” The man grabbed her arm and rushed her back to the aircraft. “C’mon, we’ll get him.”
She let him drag her, too tired to resist him, even had she wanted to. When they got on board, she pointed them in the direction of Lezvie and Tabitha. The two-hour run took less than ten minutes in the aircraft.
“There he is!” Angela pointed out the tree she had left Lezvie under. The pilot set down close to him, and then the pilot and his partner and Angela rushed out. The men picked up Lezvie and carried him to the aircraft, and Angela pulled Tabitha along with them.
“How is he?” Angela asked the other girl as they took off again, squeezing her hand.
“He passed out about twenty minutes ago, but he was still coherent then.” Tabitha collapsed into a seat, shaking. “I thought you wouldn’t make it for a while, there…”
Angela hugged her tightly, taking comfort in comforting her. “They can save him. He wouldn’t have had us go to them if they couldn’t pull it off.”
Tabitha nodded. They flew in silence, holding each other for comfort, while the smaller of the two men examined Lezvie’s wound. The pilot flew the aircraft in through a hole in the top of the mountain, landing it on a concealed platform inside.
As soon as the door opened, a man and a woman with a stretcher whisked Lezvie inside and away. Angela and Tabitha tried to follow, but the pilot stopped them, directing them to a small room with three chairs and a table. Once they were seated, he sat across from them.
“My name’s Jack. I lead the Remnant.” He leaned forward, his eyes dangerous. “Now who are you? I get no word from Lezvie for nearly four months, and all of a sudden you show up with his beacon, and tell me he’s been shot. There’s a rather interesting story in there somewhere, and I will hear it now.”