Max was ready to try the light rail tracks. Anything to get home to his wife and kids. Juan and Hank were going to take the doctor and nurse up to the warehouse store where their own family and friends were holed up and form some sort of an enclave to protect themselves. At first they were insistent that Max go with them, but eventually they understood that he had to go find out about his family. As for the warrior kids, they too, had their own way to go and nothing any of the adults could say would deter them. From Max’s point of view they kids wanted to do the same thing he did; check on their families, save them if they could. Stewart let Michael keep the revolver Max had taken off the man from the apartment, Tom handed his pistol over to another one of the kids as well. With two guns and their hand to hand weapons the kids at least stood a chance, plus they had experience going for them, they knew what to expect. Max and his group would be leaving first, today in fact to try and make it to Max’s house by the evening, the rest, well it was obvious to everyone that the wounded boy, Jacob, was going to die. Nothing the doctor did for him worked. The rest of the group was simply waiting on death to collect yet another soul before they moved on.
Once Stewart had the car loaded and ready to go, with another spare taken from a compatible car, the two groups looked at each other and said their goodbyes.
“Hank, Juan, we will try to make our way to your warehouse once we get my wife, we know where you are holed up at.” Hank, nodded.
Juan, answered with his characteristic ‘Si’, his face full of worry he added, “Vaya con dios.” And made a sort of cross in the air over Max.
Turning to Michael and Whitney, Max said, “You guys stay safe, there is not much I can say to you, just stay safe and keep the kids safe. I know you will so this is useless advice.” Max shrugged, “Pointless huh? I wish we could all stay together, we can’t though; everything needs to be done right now, so we can salvage what we can.” Looking at everyone they were leaving behind Max wondered if he would see any of them again. He had a strong urge to give up going after his family and just join with the group, guilt at that thought forced him to smile and get in the car. As he waved goodbye to the others he thought of something he had heard not too long ago, ‘Duty compels’. All the people involved seemed to have a duty of some sort to attend to and they were all doing it until it was proven to each of them that their obligations no longer existed.
Tom, Stewart and even Steve were going to go with Max, they vowed to see this through to the end, and to the end they would see it.
“You know,” Max began as Stewart drove to the closest light rail station, “I feel like I am making a bad decision here, maybe we should stay?”
Steve laughed, “Not hardly. You know how pissed off Sarah would be if you did not come to get her? I have had to listen to you vent about her spats of anger the last three years, something like this, well Max, it could destroy a marriage.” Tom and Stewart, simply added their “no’s” to staying, agreeing that they had to see it through, with Stewart adding, “We can always come back, if this works out it won’t be that hard to get back here. Besides I think we might need Hank’s help to get those plows at some point anyway. I am more worried about Michael and Whitney.”
Max turned his face to the window and said softly, “Yeah, me too.”
The light rail was a good idea, the group made more progress in an hour than they had the previous day. They came across a problem only a half hour into their trip there were numerous bridges over streams, roads and bike paths, which the car could naviagte, but over the Platte river there was a problem. The bridge was fine, however a light rail car sat upon it, and there were people in the car. It looked like they were human, they had one door forced open and were using it to go in and out as Max watched. They carefully edged along the tracks, thirty feet above the river below and approached the police car. One man approached while three others looked around for zombies and covered him, all the men had rifles. As the man got near the car he called out, “What do you think you are doing?”
Stewart, who had rolled her window down, called back, “We are trying to get through to the station in Arvada.”
“Power’s off, the cars don’t move anymore, we pushed this one up here after disabling the brakes. The zombies have a hard time getting to us, we can see the better ones and pick them off, the slower ones tend to fall into the river.”
“Yeah, good thinking, the heat has to be killing you though. We’ll go around, take a side street back over to get rail line.” said Stewart.
“There is another cross-over in about two blocks, if you can get to the rail beyond us anyway. That bridge is pretty clear.” here the main pointed at a nearby traffic bridge, “Can you get the car off the tracks?”
“Ah, yeah probably.” turning to Tom and Steve, Stewart said, “Could you guys get out and pile gravel up alongside the tracks so we can hop the car over them easier? Max you stay in the car with your gun drawn, in case these guys are not so friendly as they look.”
The man with the rifle stayed about twenty feet away and watched as Steve, Tom and eventually Stewart shifted the heavy rail road rocks up along the tracks, making an impromptu crossing, eventually satisfied Stewart was able drive the squad car off the rail lines, over a curb and onto the street. Once Steve and Tom were back in the car, they merely waved to the men with the rifles and headed towards the bridge. A few blocks up they were able to get back onto the tracks where they crossed a road, resuming their bumpy trip.
Along the way Max asked about Steve's sister, she was the next person they were supposed to have gone after.
“We checked yesterday while you were out. Nobody.” said Steve curtly.
“Nobody? That is good, it means she got away.”
“Well her house was empty, not broken into or anything, she might have made it.”
Tom, riding in back with Max leaned over and whispered in his ear, “Steve's upset. She didn't call him or anything, so either she is dead or she didn't give enough of a shit about him to check on him. Either way...” Tom let his sentence trail off. Steve looked ahead stonily, not indicating he had heard anything.
Max thought about it for a moment and decided that there really was not anything he could say that wouldn't make things worse, so he kept his mouth shut and watched the houses for zombies.
The rest of the trip was easier going, in fact Max was growing more anxious, they could have made the trip the first day if he hadn't been shot! Stewart had opted not to follow the light rail into Arvada, but then the street started looking more clear so she pulled off onto one where the street crossed over the light rail. This turned out to be a good decision, the back streets were passable and they made better time in the early morning light. Along the way they spotted several zombies near the road and Max had the impression more were hidden among the strip malls and convenience stores they passed. He felt like he was sensing them where they remained hidden and could tell when their eyes were upon him. Soon enough the group was turning onto the street that led to Max’s house.