If the world was crashing down around you, who would you save? How far would you go for them? How long would you wait until you gave up hope? And who could you bear to lose?
Chasing Light webpage
Everyone knows that fossil fuels are finite, and when the United States begins to run low, scientists scramble to find an alternate fuel. The Green Treaty to share resources with the Middle East didn't work out, and so an alternative was needed. What scientists came up with was apocomium, a man-made fuel that will never run low or become extinct. However, nobody expected a rat to accidentally ingest apocomium and contract a new disease, called the Corpus virus. What begins as a dehydration problem turns for the worse when its victims begin to thirst for human flesh. Quasi-zombies run rampant throughout the nation as four teenagers try to find refuge in the only known haven: New York City. Little do they know that one of the four is carrying a secret with him that could put a stop to the apocalyptic nightmare beginning to take hold.
A dark shape loomed on the horizon. At first, Riley panicked as she looked on at it. Against the night sky, lit up by the moon and the stars, the shape was a foreboding message, warning the group to keep away. It was just a large mass of darkness, growing ever so much larger as the mopeds drew closer. Riley's first fear was a horde of the Morus heading their way, or maybe a mob, like the one coming up from Montpelier. The cold nighttime wind whipped harder against Riley's face then, and she had to bury it into Danny's back, to find shelter in his electric blue jacket. She could still, however, feel her ears chill and turn red from exposure. She waited silently for a few seconds, listening only to the hum of the mopeds and the wind in her ears before she decided to chance another look at the mysterious dark shape. It took Riley a moment to recognize it as a gas station.
"Pull into the lot!" Brandon shouted from ahead of them, before he sped up his moped with Keefe clinging desperately to his back.
Danny also picked up the pace. Riley glanced at the back of his head jealously. He was wearing a professional helmet; it wrapped all around his face and head, and even had a glass piece covering his eyes to shield him from the wind. Riley's helmet, on the other hand, was one that would fit well with a regular bicycle. It only protected the top of her head and had a buckle underneath her chin. Danny, because of his protective headgear, seemed completely unperturbed with the night air flying into them. Riley silently yearned for his helmet, and then almost smacked herself. They had far worse problems at the moment, and this was not the time for a little indulgence. Although, Riley reasoned that she might be in a more agreeable mood if her face wasn't constantly getting whipped at.
Riley watched as Brandon's red taillight slowly waned, telling her that he made the left turn that led into the gas station's parking lot. It was only a few seconds before Danny made the same turn, tipping precariously to the side as he did so. Riley squeezed Danny's waist tighter, but soon found out that they had stopped moving. Danny had parked the moped right at the entrance next to Brandon and Keefe, who were both already dismounting their bike.
"You can stop trying to crush my ribcage now," Danny choked out, knocking down the kickstand and yanking his helmet off.
Riley almost hung onto him longer, just to annoy him, but she reminded herself that there was a time and place for joking around and now wasn't it. She uncoiled herself from around him and scampered off the moped as fast as she could. In her haste, she landed flat on her butt with an "oomf" sound.
"It's not funny," she scowled as the three boys chuckled. She unclipped her helmet and flung it at Brandon, where it caught him in the shin. He howled in pain and clutched his leg.
"That was uncalled for!" he cried out.
Riley didn't answer him but merely folded her legs Indian style on the pavement as she looked at their surroundings. It was an old Sunoco station that looked like it had been abandoned years ago. Vines and moss grew over the gas pumps, coating them in green leaves and slime. The little snack store across the pavement was dark inside, but Riley could make out some cracks in the glass windows. A huge glass pane of the door was also missing, allowing Riley to see clearly inside without the grime and crust covering the glass. The only thing she could make out was a few bags of chips scattered across the floor.
"Wow. This place is really deserted," Riley commented, trying to be sarcastically obvious.
Brandon sat down on the rough, black pavement across from her and replied, "Good. Maybe now we'll get some peace and quiet so Keefe can explain everything."
Keefe paled at the realization that he did indeed have a lot to tell them. It wasn't that he did not want to share what he knew. The only thing hindering him from opening his mouth was the fear that whatever he had to say might scare them off to go home to Eden, only to be attacked by the Morus along the way. He refused to let himself be abandoned, of course, but even bigger was his resolve not to let anything happen to his friends, including the new kid, Danny Scott. Although Keefe was never really best friends with any of them, they were now stuck together and had to take care of each other. Keefe did not want to tell his story and then heighten their sense of fright; they looked terrified as it was.
Even now as Keefe contemplated on how to begin, Danny strode over to where he stood and clapped him on the back reassuringly. Keefe winced at the contact but said nothing against it.
"You ready for story time?" Danny asked.
"As ready as I'll ever be," Keefe sighed before sitting between Riley and Brandon.
Danny sat in the remaining empty seat. Riley looked around at everyone's faces, all of them eager except for Keefe's. She took a deep breath, as if trying to calm herself down for whatever information Keefe was about to divulge.
Keefe looked up after hearing her intake of breath and mumbled, "This is your choice. If you don't want to hear any of this, you don't have to."
Riley still did not believe that ignorance was bliss. Instead, she nodded firmly, a grim yet determined expression on her face.
"Let's hear it," she demanded, and leaned forward as Keefe began to talk.