After the Apocalypse
Chapter 18: Look To The South

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

As Dave and Tim approached M-24, things took a decided turn for the worst. The road was nearly destroyed and they could see a half-dozen wrecked cars on or near the road. Thankfully, none of them was Tim's, but the sight did little to ease his apprehension.

"Pull over, let's see what's going on," he said.

Dave managed to park the jeep near a light blue pick-up truck. The two of them approached the truck slowly, not quite sure what they'd find. From the outside, it was clear that the truck had crashed into the ditch by the side of the road before hitting a guardrail. When they looked inside, they saw that the driver, who had not been wearing her seat belt, was dead. Both of them turned away from the bloody corpse, thankfully, the chill winter air had spared them the smell of death. Steeling themselves against their grim discovery, they slowly checked the other five vehicles they could see. None of the passengers had survived.

A green Neon provided them with the clues they needed to understand what had happened. The airbag had deployed and neither passenger seemed to have suffered any severe trauma. Unfortunately, their blue lips and chalky skin told their tale. They'd frozen to death during the night, probably without ever regaining consciousness.

"What do you think caused all these accidents?" asked Tim.

"I'm not sure," said Dave. "I suppose if this was really some sort of nuclear attack, it's possible that the drivers were suddenly blinded in the aftermath of an explosion. That would explain why most of them have driven off the road."

"You don't think it could be radiation, do you?"

"I don't know. I think if it were powerful enough to kill them then we'd be dead too, but it's hard to be sure. Let's just look for Lori. I don't think I want to look at any more of these cars unless there's some sign of life."

"I agree," said Tim. "I just hope Lori wasn't caught in whatever this was."

"She should be fine," said Dave, trying to sound more certain of himself than he was. "After all, she wouldn't have been driving when we think the bombs hit."

"I hope not," said Tim with an air of solemnity.

The two of them walked back to Dave's jeep and started it up. Tim reached around to the back seat and grabbed the shotgun. He checked that it was loaded again, then laid it in his lap.

"Just to be safe," he said, when he noticed that Dave was looking at him.

"Sure," said Dave. Although he didn't say anything, he wondered where Tim's mind had gone. He knew that seeing those other drivers dead had to bother Tim and he just hoped they found Lori alive and soon. Tim was a decent guy, but he'd seen him go off the deep end before, and he definitely didn't want to be around if Tim went nuts while holding a shotgun; he'd seen Tim moved to violence with far less provocation than he'd had so far and it worried him.

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