Annie and the End of the World 4

Annie sighed.

I seem to be doing a lot of that lately, she thought.

“What do you want to do?” Arthur’s voice interrupted her thoughts.

She sighed again. Annie knew she had to go after the kids, at least make sure they were doing alright. They looked healthy enough.  Yet, it was the right thing to do.

“Guess we got to go after them and check to see they are ok”


“What do you mean no?” She was a little annoyed at being told no.  “They are just kids.”

Arthur looked at her. “They may be bait for the eaters. You know, for some badass chick, you can be thick sometimes. I say let them alone. They looked healthy enough.”

Annie had been staring at where the children were. She turned and looked at Arthur.


“They use the kids to lure folks in. You go chasing at after them, then, bam, you get over the head with one of those bats and the whole nest of them eat well for a few days.”

“That’s disgusting. I am going to go check on them.”

Annie reached and grabbed one of Arthur’s arrows before he could stop her.  She used it to probe for more mouse traps and cleared a path for her to go over the mountain of sporting goods.  She reached the bottom and went into a crouch. Annie felt rather than heard Arthur come next her.  The lion had come as well; she could smell that odor that all cats seemed to have.  She stifled the urge to sneeze and listened.  The silence was resounding; there was nothing, not even the scurry of insects. It made Annie very nervous.  Nothing was ever as quiet as this place was.   As she was thinking it was a bad idea to continue, the mountain lion next to her sneezed. She jumped and twirled. Her blade was already out and she faced the lion, which looked at her like she had lost her mind.  Arthur made some weird whispering noise and lion went to him. Annie looked down at her hand holding the knife.

“He scared me” She offered as an apology.

Her companion did not reply just gave her a look and then silently started to explore the room. Annie went to join him. There were some cots with sleeping bags rolled up on the foot of them. There was a card table with 5 chairs and a camping table with cans of food. In the middle of the area was the shell of a camping stove that was being used as a fire pit. It was rather cozy.  Even in the dim light, the walls captivated Annie. There were drawings on almost every inch of the walls.  The bottom of the walls looked as if there were very young artists. Scribbles, people with huge round eyes and three fingers decorated the wall. Above that the art was a bit better.  Families were depicted, moms, dads, kids and dogs in front of houses with sunshine, trees and flowers.

Above that was some of the most amazing art Annie had seen. There depictions of dragons, flame shooting out their nostrils, engaged in battle with unicorns, knights and other fantasy characters.  The dragon looked so real, Annie thought it might come out of the wall and she put her hand on the flame expecting it to burn her.

She turned to see Arthur looking at another wall. There was a ladder with paint cans strewed around it. On the top of the wall, someone had painted the heavens. There were clouds angels and a half finished character one could assume was God. It was breathtaking.  She walked over the Indian. The brush laying on one of the paint can lids was still wet and dripping on the floor.  She looked at Arthur. He raised his eyebrows, and then he raised hand and gestured at the painting on the wall.  He turned and gestured towards the room. Annie knew what he meant. Where did they go?  There were no holes in the mountain of stuff big enough for kids to hide. There had to be another way out of here. Annie had been distracted by the art, amazing as it was; it wouldn’t help her find those kids who seemed to have magically disappeared. Or would it? She had been staring at the dragon with the flame. So entranced by the dragon she had failed to see the tiny lines that were camouflaged by the art. She motioned for Arthur to follow and walked over the wall.  She traced the line with her finger, it was definitely a door. She pushed.

The door opened in towards a hall. It was once the employee’s area of the store there were bathrooms, male and female on either side.  She pushed opened the female and Arthur pushed open the door of the males.  It was dark and musty in the rooms. No one had used them for a long time. They proceeded down the hall. There was a door on Annie’s side. Arthur silently notched an arrow and aimed at the door. Annie opened it. It was a janitor’s closet.  It had been used lately and there was a mop sitting in a bucket of water. Someone was cleaning. Annie thought maybe Arthur was right, kids didn’t clean. Grownups did.  She silently closed the door and they went further down the hall.  There was a room with door on Arthur’s side. It looked like it was the employee lounge. There was nothing in there, no tables, no chairs, nothing but a coffee pot and an unusable microwave sitting on counter with some cabinets underneath.  There was two d=fridges. Annie thought that was odd but what did she know? They might have employed a lot of people. Her own parents had two fridges. One was in the kitchen with the foodstuff and one on the back porch where they kept the beer, soda and wine in.

They reached the last door.  Manager it said proudly on a black name plate affixed it to it.  Annie quietly tried the door, it was locked.  She looked at Arthur who still had his bow at the ready. Annie took a deep breath and kicked the door.  Her foot hit the door and Annie bounced back and fell on her rear. Her foot hurt like the dickens and the door had not budged.  She got up and brushed herself off.  Arthur was grinning at her. She narrowed her eyes, smiled at him and indicated he should try.  He smiled back, put his bow on his back and steadied himself.  He kicked the door with much more force than Annie had and he too bounced back and fell on his rear.  Annie grinned.

“No, no. You can’t go in there ,there, bad, bad, bad. No, no.”

Both Annie and Arthur turned in surprised. There was a young man standing there. He looked to be about eighteen and he was looking at the floor.


Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

Chapter 5:

Chapter 6.

Chapter 7:

Chapter 8:

Chapter 9:

Chapter 10: