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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 6)

 
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Fortunately, three of the four white furred canines had their heads down busily tearing at something on the ground. The fourth, however, was staring interestedly at the approach desert.

Finny dropped into a squat immediately, instantly followed by the others. Taken by surprise and not sure what to do, Finny gaped in panic as options flicked through her thoughts. Run? Fight? Shoot…?

“Gimme the sack!” She hissed.

Casper held the burlap bag out and Finny snatched it out of his hand, hoping she wasn’t looking as terrified as her friend did.

“You gonna shoot them Finn?” It was Onetooth behind her.

“Nuhuh. Too many.” She tipped the sack upside down as she was talking. Quickly scooping the bottles of water back into the bag, Finny tossed it back to Casper. Then she took the big pistol in two hands and used both thumbs to cock the hammer. Still squatting, and not taking her eyes off the long grass that separated them from the coyotes, Finny began to waddle backwards down the slope towards the flat concrete roof they had just left. “Back away, don’t let them see you.”

Like ungainly beetles the four kids backed away from the hillcrest. After a few feet Finny directed them to the left where the slope was steeper and would better hid them from view.

They had not gone far when the first coyote appeared, bobbing its head cautiously, just above where they had been. Immediately, it caught the aroma for cheese and the bacon fillings of the discarded sandwiches. Human prey temporarily forgotten the coyote set to, wolfing down of the irresistible snack before its brothers arrived. When they did appear a couple of seconds later a snarling, snapping argument broke out over the tasty treats.

Just out of sight around the hill Finny looked for and found the building signified by a large ‘G’ on her map. Now she moved out of the crouch and set off in a hunched run towards the distant garage and what she hoped would be safety.

“C’mon. Quick. Stay down.”

The others cottoned on quickly and set off after her. After a dozen more metres was put between them and the coyotes Finny glanced backwards. The coyotes were seemingly still more interested in fighting over the bacon than they were in chasing after them but Finny doubted it would last. She shifted out of the hunch and beckoned the others on towards the garage.

“Peg it!”

The boys leaped into top speed. Finny cast one more glance behind and, holding the gun tight to her chest, did the same.

After a hundred metres or so Worms and Onetooth started to flag. Encouraging them to keep going, Finny looked around for somewhere to hide. There was a depression in the ground near one of the crumbling legs that held up a section of broken flyover. It wasn’t much but it would have to do.

She called a halt. Still holding the gun, Finny kept an eye open over the lip of the shallow fold in the ground they were sitting in. As she watched, a single white head appeared over the rise they had fled from and seemed to pause and sniff the air. Finny held her breath but a couple of seconds later the head disappeared again. She didn’t know why, and didn’t really care but it looked like the coyotes had lost interest in them. Even so, she stayed alert just in case.

The little break lasted a minute, long enough for them all to get their breath back. After checking one last time Finny uncocked the pistol.

“Ok. We better get going again.”

Fully aware now that danger really did lurk absolutely anywhere in the long grass and the uneven undulating ground, the group set off at a vigilant walk towards the garage. They had covered about half the distance before Finny started to learn what having just over a kilogramme of steel hanging off the end of your arm felt like. Swopping the pistol from hand to hand only worked for a while before her arms and then her shoulders started to ache. She thought about putting it back in the bag and slinging it over her shoulder but they had been lucky with the coyotes, they might not have that time if something else attacked them.

Eventually though they came close enough to the little outcrop of buildings to see that there was more than just a garage there. Just off to one side was the low, squat shape of a LifeNet bunker and, unlike the bunker in Flag, there was no one keeping guard.

What went on in the bunkers, even what was in them, was a mystery to anyone who did not wear collar… Especially kids, who were quickly shooed away from the steps. But here was a bunker with nobody to chase them off. Like ants to spilled sugar Finny and her friends were drawn inexorably towards the forbidden doors.

“Hey! You kids!”



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