“So, you go to all the trouble of getting an untraceable, non-electronic message to me from the other side of this dead-ass country… and all you wanted to do was trek through a ghost town?” The pink paper was still in his hand, pressed between his finger and thumb.
“Mostly. Speaking of,” I nodded towards his hand and the paper it held. “Did Terry get that to you on time?”
He scoffed and leaned his head back, looking towards the sky in mock exasperation. “Hell no he didn’t, got it to me three days late. Which means I had to get here three days quicker.” Holding the note in front of his eyes, he read aloud “I-80 east to 219, 219 north to 6, 6 east to the land between the pines. Exit ramp, north, Sinclair.”
I was never convinced that Anderson would see the note, much less understand it. I hadn’t even been sure that there was anything left to indicate that the old convenience store was once a Sinclair station. “I’m surprised you ever got it. And I’m surprised that you… got it.”
Anderson’s mouth was pulled up at the corners by a momentary smile, but it quickly dissolved. “Yeah, I got it, and I even managed to get it. Now, where the hell are we going?”
Anderson’s face betrayed a moment of surprise. “Now, when you say hospital, I assume you mean a big empty building with some old medical waste and skeletal corpses inside, right?” I smiled, it was hard not to.
“So tell me, what inside this hospital do you find so interesting?”
“If everything goes to plan, my medical record.”
Anderson stopped walking, and looked at me with raised eye brows. Pointing emphatically at the ground, he said, “So this is it. THIS-” he threw his arms out as if to encompass the whole town- “is Chalice Hold, Pennsylvania. Population zero, unless you count the two idiots strolling in. This is the place you told me about in prison?” He stared at me with wide eyes and let his arms hang straight out on either side.
“Yeah, this is it.” He looked around as we walked, mostly speechless. I couldn’t tell if he was impressed or disappointed.
The sun was now higher in the sky and the clouds had further dissipated. The weather was beautiful, but without a single pair of living eyes to reflect the sunlight, the surrounding buildings were only ruins. We had made our way into the residential neighborhood and were now surrounded by crumbling houses with dusty, usually broken into SUVs and sedans in front and along the street.
Anderson had been silently scratching his head for a few minutes. He finally spoke, “So, let’s just say, for the sake of your stupid argument, that you do find your medical records.”
“Okay. We can say that.”
He sighed. “Alright… so, you find your medical records, and you’re ecstatic that they weren’t destroyed in a fire or confiscated by the government and incinerated or found by a bunch of marines during the Purge and used to start a fire… basically, you’re motherf**kin’ glad this thing isn’t carbon.”
“Uh… okay.” I was still following him, although I wasn’t sure how important the fire thing was. I tried not to focus on it.
“So, you find your records and your parents’ records, too. You find out that your dad couldn’t eat fish and your mom was at risk for type-two diabetes. Your birth took 27 hours. Oh, and there’s a detail somewhere on the sheet that reveals why you were immune to the Purge. Is that more or less what you’re expecting?” His voice was not malevolent, nor was it condescending. It was merely tinged with the gentle sarcasm reserved for those that must be told what they should already know.
1 2 3 4