“Carli, please come back here.”
She looked up and smiled. Renee marveled at Adam’s patience as he returned the smile. He'd worked with Carli for the last hour trying to teach her to shoot the small handgun he’d taken from a pawn shop. He hadn't accomplished much. Carli didn't refuse to learn outright, but she had her own devious ways of getting out of what she didn't want to do.
“Sorry,” she said and rejoined them.
Adam sighed as he handed her the unwanted Firestar. The small gun seemed massive in her tiny hands, but she held it steady as she pointed at the rusted cans lined up on a fallen log.
The log, with its collection of beer cans they'd found strewn all over the weed-choked ground, marked the edge of a wooded area. The trio stood in the foothills of the Virginia mountains.
Renee wrinkled her nose in distaste. The surroundings reminded her of too many redneck hovels back home. Behind them stood an unpainted ramshackle house, its boards gone silvery gray with time. A refrigerator perched on the porch, kept company by a torn, stained sofa. A dented school bus, its tires rotted and flat, rested by one side of the shack. Its shattered windshield glared in the bright sun. On the other side of the house a Buick crouched on cement blocks. Ivy invaded the car's interior; indeed the foliage worked to swallow it.
Nature triumphs over technology, Renee thought. Man is by no means guaranteed a footnote in time.
Adam's voice reclaimed her attention as he instructed Carli, and Renee noted how close he stood to the blonde. He'd shaved his beard, and as she’d suspected, a handsome face had emerged. Thus far, Carli maintained only a friendly sparring relationship with him.
Let it go, she advised herself. If she decides she wants to be with him, it's none of my business.
Newly edited version releasing end of July.