After the Apocalypse
Chapter 21: ...There's Fire

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

To the small group of Girl Scouts and leaders who'd been maintaining a signal fire with no clear knowledge of what was going on in the world or whether anyone else was nearby, Milon's horn was welcome music.

Katie White, the de facto leader of the encampment, was monitoring the fire pit when the horn split the still twilight air. She quickly assembled everyone who was nearby to load up the fire with green branches and increase the density of the smoke. This was the first time they'd had any contact, of any kind, with the world outside camp since the two lost strangers had stumbled into camp the previous evening. That, however, had been before the power had cut out, and now that the bus that had brought her crew to camp had failed to return as scheduled, she had begun to worry. Unlike the Winter Camp crew, the Girl Scouts' Tundra Stomp had no tradition of deluxe camping, nor yet the supplies for an extended stay in the woods.

The Tundra Stomp was in its seventh year, a holiday weekend of fellowship created by the Michigan Metro Council to serve as a reunion for college-age Girl Scouts and a means of keeping Scouting alumnae active in the council. Fifteen people-former Scouts and active leaders-had turned out for the 2001 trip, but Katie was beginning to think that that was fourteen more than she'd be able to handle if they were stranded at camp for any length of time.

The horn and the possibility that someone-anyone-was on the way made a huge difference. Word quickly spread through the campsite, and everyone began milling about, eager to catch the first glimpse of whoever might be approaching.

Dave and Tim, meanwhile, found the unfamiliar roads tough to navigate. They knew D-A's layout like the backs of their hands, but this was the first time either of them had been to Camp Metamora. The snow cover and the gathering darkness made the going even more challenging, but Dave's jeep proved up to the task. After considerable driving and trips into a couple of dead ends, they rounded a curve and saw the entire group awaiting their arrival.

Tim's attention, however, was drawn away from the gathered women toward the one vehicle in the parking lot.

"That-that's Lori's car!" he sputtered, barely able to get the words out. "She must be here!" He leapt from the passenger seat before Dave had stopped the car.

"Lori!!" he shouted.

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