I offered her my cup of water, which she quickly accepted and guzzled down in mere moments. I then realized that she probably had not had anything to drink in some time, as her lips were chapped and her skin was a blistery red from being in direct sunlight for what might have been days.
After her attack on my cup of water she leaned back against the tree and seemed to go to sleep. She let her head drop to her chest, allowing her ungroomed blond hair to fall down over her face. However, I could see her crystal blue eyes gazing at me from beneath the golden locks. We stared at each other for a few moments in silence, until she introduced herself as Renee.
Slowly, she went on to tell me that she had lived in Airepseh for most of her life and that after the sickness hit, the majority of her family had ventured off to find the City of HAVEN, but she stayed behind to tend to her dying fianc¨¦. A month later, after his passing, she found herself alone and out of food and water. She went out in search of sustenance and a few days later she found herself at Airepseh Lake.
There she found everything she needed; drinkable water from the lake and plenty of fish to eat. Despite being lonely, she said it was a peaceful place to live. To her, it felt as if she were a queen of her own land.
Renee said that she had lived there for about thirteen months before she encountered any Unlucky Survivors. It was the beginning of summer and on that particular day, she remembered looking at an old outside thermometer and it read one hundred and fifteen degrees. She shed all her clothes except her undershirt and tried to fall asleep under the shade of a large oak tree, but the heat was to intense so she could only doze, fitfully on a bed of leaves.
Sometime later, she was awakened by a wicked cackle of laughter. As she quickly came up from her resting place, she realized that she was surrounded by what seemed to be a small handful of Unluckys. They chased her up to a stream and not knowing anything else to do, she dove in. The current pulled her some eight miles down stream. Once she was able to get free of the current, she found herself about a three day walk from the city. Hoping to find another life, she headed to Airepseh, but shortly after she arrived, she was discovered by four salvaging Unluckys, which chased her into the old abandoned supermarket.
Renee stated quietly that at that moment, she honestly thought she was as good as dead. That was until she heard the gun shots and realized that someone else was there, to perhaps help her. She paused for a moment and looked up from behind her hair with those blue eyes of hers. Without saying a word she leaned over and gave me a small kiss on the cheek. As she pulled away, she simply said, ' Thank you for saving my life.'
We sat there for a few moments feeling kind of awkward, or in my case floored, until I asked her to follow me. We walked over to the back of the SUV and I pulled out some of Maria's clothes. I told her that I believed she and my daughter were about the same size.