I Hold On
Dehydration and Doubt
Two days later, Ellie and Ariel found themselves heading down a long stretch of dirt road with wooden fences on either side of them. On both sides of the fence was nothing but farmland and swampy terrain. The past couple days the two sisters had been taking shelter where ever they could which included some vacant houses and old barns. They managed to find some canned goods in the most recent house they vacated along with a machete which Ellie was quick to give to her currently unarmed companion. The eldest didn't exactly have a weapon other then a black SOG military knife which was her fathers and her two empty Winchester pistols but she knew even with that she could manage.
"So you really think there could be more people out there like us Ellie?"
"I think so. I mean if a couple of rookie survivalists like us have made it this far, then think about all the others there could be. Who knows, maybe there could be a camp of people somewhere nearby."
"You think this camp would have food and water? I'm starving and really thirsty. If we don't find some water soon then I don't think we'll have to worry about the flesh eaters getting us. I think this heat may kill us first."
"Don't worry. We'll find some water soon. There has to be a well or something around here. Just look at all this farmland. There is bound to be some place to draw water from."
"Yeah, that is if it's safe to drink."
The redhead sighed and looked at her sister, wishing she wasn't being so hopeless. As it was though, Ariel was right. Both girls were sweating so much so that their clothes were sticking to them. The Georgia heat was becoming unbearable now that the sun was almost at it's highest point in the sky. It was a fact that if they didn't find a shady spot and some H2O in the next hour or so, they were going to bake and that in itself was a fate worse then being eaten.
"Let's just keep moving then Ariel. No sense in standing around melting to death. Keep your eyes open for a shady tree or a barn or some place we can use to get the hell out of this heat. Then we can work on our no water situation."
The younger of the two simply nodded and both began to head down the dirt path again, four green eyes searching for a place to take shelter. Sweat was still beading on their foreheads and Ellie found she was wiping the sweat off her brow with her forearm almost every two or three minutes. Before she knew it though her eyes went wide when they locked onto something about a half a mile away and the sisters both looked at each other after catching sight of the faded red barn in the distance. It was just sitting in the field all alone, doors open as if to say, come on in, it's mighty cool in here! That's when the sibling began to walk a bit faster, eager to get out of the sweltering heat and into the cool dark inside of that barn.
It took them another ten minutes of so before they reached it. Once close enough to see that the barn was in fact a real piece of architecture and not some mirage, Ellie couldn't help but grin, sweat dripping down her flushed cheeks and all.
"Well, looks like we aren't going to die of heat stroke just yet sis."
"Yeah, but we may die of dehydration Ellie. Or did you forget?"
"Why do you always gotta be so depressing? Did you forget how I took out all those God damn flesh eaters the other day or what?"
"No I didn't. I'm just saying, things are looking pretty grim today."
"Things look grim everyday. That's life. Hell, that was life even before all this zombie apocalypse shit started. Now let's just get in the barn. We can talk about how much our lives suck after I find us some water."
Ariel sighed, shook her head a bit and watched Ellie slowly approach the open doors of the barn. Looking inside there was nothing but empty overturned barrels and piles of hay scattered everywhere. It certainly looked as if there had been anything worth while taking that it was long gone by now. Ellie motioned for her sister to follow her inside as she took a few steps forward, still cautious about things that could be hiding in the hay or hiding behind some of the various barrels that were scattered all around. After scoping out the entire area, the eldest looked at her kin and nodded in approval that this place was indeed safe. Both girls took a seat on their own bale of hay, sitting across from each other.
Ellie peered up at her sister and took the small pack off of her back, unzipped it quickly and slipped her hand inside, feeling around for what cans of food they had left. She pulled out two cans, one of peaches and one of pears, both able to open without the use of a can opener.
She raised both cans up and Ariel slowly reached out, grabbing the can of pears.
"This isn't water Ellie."
"You're right. It's fruit. But fruit has juice in it and that will suffice for now. Besides, didn't you say you were hungry?"
The brunette flipped the top open with he pull ring and threw the metal lid on the floor, starring at the open can like there was nothing in it.
"What's wrong now?"
Ellie opened her can and threw her lid on the floor next to her sisters.
"Nothing. I just thought we'd of found more people like us by now."
The redhead took a sip of the peach juice. It tingled her taste buds because it was so sweet and made her smile but that faded to a frown after her sisters reply. Ariel continued to just stare into her can of pears.
"We gotta be patient Ariel. We'll find more people like us. Don't worry."
"No we won't. Just face it Ellie. We are the last ones. The rest of them are monsters who want to eat us."
Ellie put her half eaten can of peaches down and looked at her sister, feeling disheartened.
"Do you really think that? Because I don't. I've just got this feeling in my gut. We can't be the last ones. Humanity isn't dead."
"Tell that to the zombies."
The older of the two let out an annoyed sigh, wishing her sister wasn't being so pessimistic. It seemed like each day Ariel was getting worse and it was just getting harder for Ellie to keep it up with the optimism. It was like her sister was losing all hope and even Ellie couldn't blame her. It wasn't like they had much to live for other then to keep each other alive. Only if they could find people like them who still were clinging to what little time they had left to live then maybe, just maybe, Ariel would lighten up and be her old cheerful self again. That was something her sister was dying to see. She just wanted her to smile again.
After the two were finished eating, their cans laying down next to their lids, Ellie placed her pack on the floor next to the bale of hay Ariel was sitting on and got up. After looking around a bit and grabbing one of the small galvanized buckets that were once used for milking cows, she adjusted her knife that was hanging on her pants by it's sheath and looked at the dark haired girl with a smile.
"I'm going to go find us some water. You stay here, keep quiet and keep that machete close."
"But there isn't any water around here. You'll die of heat stroke if you go back out there."
"I'll be fine. Now like I said, you just sit tight 'till I come back."
"But what if you don't come back?"
"Don't worry, I will."
"Fine, tell you what? If I'm not back before sundown, you come find me. Until then, you wait here."
"Fine... I love you Ellie. Please stay safe."
"I love you too sis. Now stay here."
Ellie walked away, a small smile still playing on her lips and looked back only briefly to see her sister kicking at the cans on the floor. She gently closed the barn doors from the outside, lingering a bit to make sure Ariel didn't leave and to make sure the doors were secure. With that, Ellie walked back out into the hot Georgia heat, hoping she'd be able to find a well to draw water from. The woman smiled a bit and after making sure the doors were secure, she headed off, heading towards some of the other old farmhouse in the distance. It seemed as soon as she walked out, she started to sweat again and she couldn't help but curse at the feeling.
Her breathing became heavy after only ten minutes of walking. sweat battered her eyes an Ellie had all she could do to focus on walking. Crows cawed out in the distance and the low buzzing of bugs in the trees way out in the woods could be heard from miles away. The exhausted redhead looked up at the sun, noting how low it was getting. But even now it still felt like a thousand degrees out. Her legs burned and her chest heaved. She licked at her lips, trying her hardest to get that dry feeling out of them. It wasn't until she almost tripped on a stone in her path that she thought about turning back. That was when she saw it.
It was faint so the redhead was surprised she even saw it from where she was standing. Set upon a block of round cement on top of a small raise in the ground was a pump. An old iron pump with a lever. Ellie swore to God she was seeing things but if that barn had been real, so should this well. Her heart raced and a grin spread across her dry lips causing them to crack and sting but it was so worth it if that well hadn't run dry. She all but ran to the pump, arms waving, one clenched into a fist and the other grasping the bucket.
As soon as she reached the heavenly godsend, she placed the bucket under the pump and grabbed onto the level, unaware of her surroundings, only focusing on her task at hand. She cranked the pump again and again, muscles burning like her arms were going to fall off but she didn't care. All she could think about was the water that was buried down beneath her or possibly could be. After what seemed like hours, the pump made a low hissing sound and a gush of cool clean water rocketed out from the spout, spilling into the bucket and Ellie started to laugh hoarsely. She kneeled down and cupped her hands under the spout, letting the water flow into them and brought them to her mouth, drinking heavily like her life depended on it and it did.
Before long the bucket began to overflow and the water ceased coming out. With a toothy and proud grin, the woman slowly got up and went to grab a hold of the bucket, eager to get back to her dehydrated sister. before her fingertips could even reach the metal though, the sound of a gun being cocked back echoed in her ear, making her stand still out of complete fear.
"Where the hell you think you're goin' girl?"