[Author’s note. Oh boy! Only 2 more chapters left! Will Corbin survive? If you’ve never read Oasis before, start with Chapter 1. And don’t you worry, when Oasis is over, I wont leave you high and dry. I’ve got lots of stuff planned.]
Beth opened the door to come in and the doctor brushed her out of his way.
“What’s his problem?”
I stood up. “Not sure, but it doesn’t sound good.”
She tossed a small pile of clothes on the bed. “The water’s out.”
It sank in. I was sweating, but my blood froze. Without water, we’d die within just a few days. Plus, it’d cause a frenzy in here.
“I know. That’s why the mad doctor just took off. He said it ‘wasn’t supposed to happen yet.'”
She stepped closer. “What does that mean?”
I looked straight at her and shrugged. “It means he knew this was coming.”
She tilted her head. “Yeah, but why…”
“Wish I knew.”
She closed the distance with a final step and threw her arms around me. “What are we going to do?”
I didn’t have an answer, so I didn’t even bother opening my mouth. I just stood there and embraced her.
I realized I was still in a hospital gown.
I let go. “Maybe I should put on some clothes.”
Beth smiled. “I suppose.”
I pulled the privacy curtain in between Beth and me and started dressing.
I couldn’t help but think of the water situation.
The pumps that brought in most of the water for Oasis were housed miles and miles away. There was no reason for them to have stopped working. Unless someone had shut them down.
But why shut them down now?
Out in the hall, commotion was picking up. Probably over the lack of water.
I tugged on my shirt and pulled away the curtain.
Kevin burst back into the room. “Hey guys, the water’s off. Everyone’s freaking out.”
I patted the cargo pocket on my right pant leg. “Did you take my gun?”
Beth shrugged. “What gun?”
Kevin pointed a thumb behind him. “I think Linda has it.”
I had almost forgotten about Linda. “How’s she…”
Kevin looked down at his red shoes. “She’s, you know… I think she’s… I don’t know. Now that Samson’s… well… now that he’s gone…”
His words dug in like a knife. Samson was gone, and it was my fault. He had saved me. I had been lifted free. He had fallen. The whole unfairness of it all just made me shake with anger, guilt, and fear all at once.
Beth put a hand on my arm. “You OK?”
I reached up and touched her hand. “Do you hear that?”
I could hear some sort of whistling roar somewhere in the distance.
Kevin ran to the window. “That sounds like a jet.”
The noise grew louder. Windows rattled. A small wind-up clock fell off a shelf as the noise passed.
Kevin’s eyes were huge. “I think it was a…”
An explosion shook the ground.
I raced to the window.
Beth was right behind me.
A column of smoke billowed up from the far end of town.
I glanced at Kevin. “Did that…”
“It was the jet.”
Beth shook her head. “That doesn’t make any sense. Why would the military…”
I stared back at the smoke. “Maybe they think we’re all already infected.”
The yelling in the hall intensified. We all knew what was going to happen.
Over everything else, I could hear the whistling roar again.
Again it grew louder. Again the windows rattled. Again it passed by.
A black speck sped through the sky. There was first a flash up high, and then another explosion close to the smoke. The sound of the explosion hit a second or two later. Dust, debris, and more smoke belched upward and outward.
A pit opened up in my stomach. I didn’t want to believe what I had just seen.
I bit my lip. “We’ve got to get moving.”
Kevin didn’t look away. “Do you think?”
I turned to Beth. “You’d better go find your dad.”
She nodded. “Corbin, I…”
She couldn’t finish the sentence. Her breathing was unsteady. Tears welled up in her eyes.
I didn’t know what to feel. Even with everything that was going on, I was attracted to her. I reached out and cupped the side of her face in my hand.
No use being a coward now.
I leaned in and touched my lips to hers.
She closed her eyes and kissed back.
The kiss was short but perfect. It was a moment away from the chaos. Probably the last such moment I would ever experience.
She pulled back and opened her eyes.
I didn’t say anything as she left the room.
Neither did she.
We didn’t have to.
The whistling roar returned.
The noise brought me back to reality. I looked back to Kevin and then the window.
Kevin still just stared outside.
He probably didn’t even notice the kiss.
Again a jet flew by. Again an explosion shook the city.
They’re going to bomb the whole city to the ground. I looked to the parking lot around the hospital.
The zombies were scattered. Many of them still gathered around the smoldering remains of the trailers and grocery store. Hundreds had wandered off. Several were headed in the direction of the explosions.
That would make it easier for us to get out of the hospital, but worse for us once we got into the streets. Not that we could stay there long, anyway. The military was seeing to that.
“Kevin, let’s go.”
I grabbed his arm and gave a tug.
He stepped back but didn’t turn from the window. He was in total shock.
I pulled again. “Kevin. Come on.”
“Yeah.” He nodded and started moving on his own.
Every survivor in the hospital was gathering down by the door to the stairway. There was maybe a hundred people total.
I recognized folks from the hotel, and a few who had worked at the hospital. In the mess, I couldn’t tell where Linda was, or Beth or her dad.
Someone yelled, “Let’s go!” and the door opened.
The crowd started pushing into the stairwell.
I gave Kevin a push. “Go. I’ll be right behind you. I’m just going to make sure the rooms on this floor are empty.”
Kevin didn’t argue. I think he was just glad to have some kind of direction.
I ducked in a couple of rooms.
All empty, and nothing terribly useful in any of them.
I gave up and decided to head after the group.
I spun around.
Down the hall was the short doctor. He was holding two metal thermos-looking objects.
I wasn’t happy to see him. I suppose on some level I was grateful, but still. He just seemed so underhanded.
“What do you want?”
He handed me one of the canisters and smirked. “Come with me.”
“I think I’d rather go with everybody else.”
He reached in his pocket. “Doesn’t matter.”
I clenched my free fist. “Yeah?”
He pulled a gun out of his pocket. “Let’s just go.”
Now what does the mad doctor want? Keep reading to see!
Thanks for reading. Tell all your friends about Oasis. And neighbors. And if you know Hollywood, have her give me a call. I’d like to see Oasis on the silver screen.
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