Sammi didn’t look very good. Her skin tone had a grayish hue. Her eyes were jaundiced, her lips were bloody from being too chapped and her hair was stringy and oily. She looked like a walking corpse.
Not even a full 72 hours sprung from Spectrum, and Sammi found them on a train from New Houston, TX to Burbank, CA.
Of all the modes of transportation, Elle and Milo had never taken a train before. All three of them were in the dining area, blending in as a normal family. When Mara got up to go to the bathroom, she was gone longer than five minutes. Worried, Elle and Milo got up to go check on her.
Sure enough, in the next cart, in the lodging cabin, Milo and Elle found Zombie Sammi fighting Mara. Mara was winning, holding Sammi in a submission headlock on top of the bed.
“She must have run out of our blood for her daily transfusion.” Milo said staring at the sickly Sammi, who now was passed out, face down on the bed.
“What?” Elle and Mara asked in unison.
Mara got up, and fixed her hair, redoing her ponytail. She pulled her blouse down, which rose exposing her belly during the fight. She took a moment to retouch her makeup to hide the scraps and bruises Sammi put on her face.
Together, Mara and Elle tied up Sammi so she couldn’t come after them. They all suspected she wasn’t on this train without backup.
“How’d they find us so quickly? We removed Arielle’s tracker back at Zave’s house.” Mara tried to deduce how Spectrum found them.
“Did I forget to mention that I have a tracking chip fused to my spine?” Milo confessed.
“Well, that isn’t conveniently fixable at the moment.” Mara looked down at the ground biting her bottom lip. She was trying to think of a solution that wasn’t the obvious, easiest, yet hardest choice.
Right as Mara said, “We’re gonna have to leave him,” Milo said, “You’re gonna have to leave me behind.” They nearly spoke in sync.
“No!” Elle objected.
“They won’t kill me… plus, I won’t listen to any of their orders, because you’re not around… I’ll be okay.” Milo said assuredly.
“No, if Milo stays, I stay.” Elle said.
Her bond with Milo was deep. He may be imprinted to her as his handler, but she bonded to him too. He was the closest thing she knew as family and she wasn’t abandoning him just to get to know her mother.
Mara squatted low to face Milo eye to eye, and then she asked, “Is there a way to clone your tracking signal?”
He nodded his head, “I just need a smartphone or a smartwatch.”
Mara stood up sighing.
“No, we’re not splitting up!” Elle snapped.
“We don’t have a choice.” Mara said.
*Edited by Kristen Wenneborg