10 Chapter 9: Well Leader...What do we do Now?
Joshua headed over towards the group of people that were gathering at the location he had given out over the speaker. Along the way he could see some of them skirting around the edge of the fog as they made their way in the same direction. Some looked surprised and happy they were still alive. Some looked like they just went through hell and didn't know what to do next. From those who were already gathering there were at least forty people grouping up together. The amount gave Joshua a good feeling knowing that if he had tried to go around saving people single-handedly there would have been no way he would have been able to save that amount.
Among the people he could make out, the group he had left behind at the police office were all safe and sound alongside the mayor and that bloated bastard George. Even with a rather large distance between them Joshua could still see the glare of hate the man was sending his direction, but the bloated pig seemed rather subdued with the old policeman and the Carsen brothers around managing everyone. It didn't really matter to Joshua, if the man kept causing trouble he had no problem with kicking him out of the group to fend for himself.
Joshua picked up the pace and jogged over to the group and was welcomed with looks of relief from most of them. "I'm glad you all made it out of there. I hope me luring them all towards the mayor's office made it easier on you guys." He said with a bright smile.
"Yeah, it was a hell of a lot easier making our way out thanks to your efforts young man." The older police officer said as he gave Joshua a hard pat on the back while grinning at him. "We were even able to help a few people along the way sense there weren't as many of those monsters around."
"It wasn't half as bad getting out as it was going in Josh. Most of the things just flat out ignored us and headed towards the music." Nathan replied.
"That's good to hear, I don't think saving so many people would have been possible any other way." Joshua said letting out a sigh of relief as he looked over the people gathering. One thing he did notice was that outside of Madalyn, Laura, and Natalie there were no other women in the large group of people. In fact everyone gathered there looked to be of age able bodied men from around near college age to maybe there late forties at the most. There were no children, not many women, or any elderly at all in the group. He put the thought to the back of his mind to bring up later as he heard someone grumbling something negative.
"We should have just headed to the farm like I said before. Who knows what other crap might happen while we're here." George mumbled under his breath. As his words started to register in everyone's mind people started to glare at him in fury at his insinuation. George took notice of this, but instead of cowering at the glares he puffed his self-up like a kitten trying to be a lion. "I didn't stutter. Who knows what else is around here and were supposed to just wait around for others and put ourselves in danger all over again? Hell no, I made it out of that mess and I don't plan on waiting around for something worse to happen."
"Oh shut up already you stupid coward." Dave said in outrage at the man. "You would probably still be cowering under some table right now if Joshua didn't save your ass. I don't want to hear you complaining about helping others, this is our town and we stick together. Especially in a horrid situation like this. If you got a problem with that you fat bastard than kiss my ass and head on off by yourself. Otherwise shut up."
"Damn Dave, you didn't have to blow a gasket over something like that." Dillon said while lightly punching his brother playfully in the shoulder.
"Yeah relax, this fool will probably get what's coming to him eventually. That's usually how life works at least for little folks like us." Devin said before letting out a yawn. Dave glared at the both of his brothers for a second before huffing and giving one last glare to the enraged George.
"There right George, we're supposed to stick together in a situation like this not stab the nearest person in the back. A small community like this has to stand together when things go bad not fall apart." The mayor said trying to calm the situation down. Most of the people around nodded in reply after giving George one last look of disapproval.
"So what do we do now?" Nathan let the question out in the open as everyone looked from one to another with low sounds of chatter filling the area. After a few moments of talk people started to quiet down before looking towards Joshua which surprised him.
"Why are you looking at me? You've got a mayor and a policeman right there." Joshua replied in surprise.
"Well you've been leading the way so far and this isn't exactly a political race here, I know just about as much about surviving these circumstances as I know about cooking. The last time I tried that I nearly set my kitchen on fire." The Mayor replied causing some people in the group to chuckle.
"I'm also not much of a leader personally. If I were maybe I could have saved David." Thomas said with a guilt ridden voice. His partner Natalie also looked down in sorrow for a moment before regaining herself at the comment.
"I don't exactly know much about the area around here and I've never really been put in this type of position before." Joshua replied.
"Some people are just natural leaders kid." Thomas said before tapping his shoulder. "You just happen to be one of them. If it weren't for your quick thinking and willingness to help on multiple occasions most of us wouldn't be here." His words got a bunch of nods in response from all the people around. Even the standoffish Laura tilted her head in approval.
"Alright fine, I'll be the best leader I can be. As long as you listen to me I'll do everything I possibly can to make sure everyone stays safe, but if you decide to go off and do your own thing…" Joshua paused for a moment as he turned to look towards George and stared at him for a moment just to let everyone know who the statement was for. "Then you better not expect any help from me or anyone else here. We are a group that needs to work together and not look out for number one. Does everyone understand?" Everyone nodded affirmatively at his question, even George relented and accepted the situation.
"So…what exactly do we do now?" Nathan asked the same question again, but directed it towards Joshua this time around.
"For now we'll wait here for another hour or so to let as many people get the chance to gather up. If they can't get over here in that amount of time then they're most likely dead or gone." Joshua replied. Nathan looked a little saddened at the fact that his friends were probably in the latter group and had disappeared when everyone was unconscious, but was also relieved that there was still a chance they were all alive.
"Then what? We going to look for a base or something?" Dave asked while scratching his beard.
"Yep, we'll head on over to the farm the mayor was talking about earlier. The large one about twenty miles away." Joshua said.
"You mean the Moran's farm? It is quite a big place, and has a lot of wide open fields and food for a large group like us." Thomas joined in with his approval to the idea.
"It will be a bit of a trek, but we should be able to get their before it gets dark." Joshua said as he looked at his phone to check the time. "It was hard to tell from within the haze, but we must have all been knocked out for quite a while sense it's not night time at the moment. When I drove in to town it was already nine at night."
"I guess so." Dave said as he also realized that at least a night must have passed while they were knocked out inside the town.
"Well rest up guys and be ready for a long walk in an hour." Joshua said before moving off to the side of the road and finding a good spot to sit and wait. As they waited slowly more people started to trickle in for the next half an hour or so and were happy to meet up with others they knew and were worried about. Joshua made sure to check out each and every person that came over for any signs of tendrils on their bodies. He wasn't sure how long it took for the infection to spread, but he was sure that tendrils would have formed by now on anyone who was bitten.
For the next twenty minutes or so there were no more people coming from the town. In the end there were around sixty people that had made their way out of the town and not a single one of the newcomers was a women. That fact was starting to feed in to Joshua's suspicions and he would have to face that topic soon enough, but for now it was time to make their way to the farm. Joshua got up and signaled everyone it was time to get moving. Some of the people were saddened at the fact that someone they knew was missing while others were more than eager enough to get as far away from the horrible situation as possible.
Joshua had the mayor lead the way sense he was probably the slowest of the group, and he didn't want to put much of a strain on him in forcing him to keep up with his pace. The long trip gave Joshua plenty of time to think for a bit as the people around him were either silent or having small conversations between friends. There were so many things going on that he took a breath to arrange the things he knew in his head.
In the end he came to the conclusion that he needed more information. He needed to know what that egg was and if it would hatch and become an even bigger problem. He needed to know if people that died from infection would come back and become a whole new problem to deal with. Finally he needed to know if this was just something local or was this change on a global scale. For all the questions he had there were only three people here that could sate his curiosity.
Back when he was at the police office he was able to see how abnormal the women that were in the group were. There were only four women in the entire town, two of which looked like they came straight out of a big city and not the small farm town that this was. He couldn't ask the now dead blonde, but he could ask Laura about how she ended up here and why they had powers. He looked over towards the girl who walked a little bit off to the side of the group. She didn't seem like she was paying attention to anyone else, but every so often he could see her glance to the other two girls around with a tense feeling about her.
When he looked towards Madalyn she was still walking alongside her husband with her head down as the two stayed away from everyone else. At first you would think she was cowering beside him as if she was afraid, but Joshua was starting to doubt that was the truth of the matter. When they were moving through town Madalyn was far too calm and collected compared to the facade he was seeing now. In fact there was something he noticed about all the girls he had seen fight so far that was the same. They all seemed to grow stronger as they fought. It wasn't anything big like the difference from being able to bench hundred extra pounds or so, but it was enough to make their efficiency in killing improve with each fight.
The last girl of the group, Natalie, was walking alongside Thomas as they seemed to be having a somber conversation. Joshua didn't know much about her, but he felt bad for her sense she lost someone she cared about. If he had lost either a member of his family or any of his close friends he wasn't sure exactly how he would react, but it wouldn't go over well. Just as he started to think about how he might be able to cheer her up she turned to look directly at him before giving him a bright smile and slightly bowing towards him.
Surprised at the sudden display Joshua just nodded in return before walking ahead. 'Anyways, no matter what I'm going to have to talk to them soon if I want to get a better picture of what's going on.' He thought as he started to look over the landscape around him filled with rows of corn stock and other large fields of crops.
"So Josh, did you really have to play that song for your big escape?" Nathan asked as he walked alongside him. He started to grin letting Joshua know he knew exactly where he got it from.
"Hey it's a classic. Besides it's got that feeling of a countdown you know. I was hoping it would urge everyone to get a move on." Joshua replied as he scratched the back of his head with a big goofy smile on his face. The two talked back and forth on some of their interest during the long trek up to the farm. Through the conversations Joshua was able to learn how much of a nerd Nathan was and about how much he was into programming. Joshua told him about his time studying to get into medical school along with some of his fights his father signed him up for.
It took them a couple of hours to get within sight of the farm, but when they got near, it was fairly obvious. It looked more like a mansion surrounded by acres and acres of land filled with crops. The whole place was a beautiful site and for now it would be the place that they settled in.