I wonder who stocked this room so well. Was it the zombie? Had he locked himself in here and then turned? Or had a zombie gotten him, and he’d been able to trap it in here before wandering off himself?
I’m thinking about turning the monitors on when Cassie bounces back into the room.
“Hey,” she says. She’s shining with happiness and holds something small and black in her hand.
She opens her hand, revealing a PSP. I can’t help but smile. “Something else you were forbidden?”
“No,” she shakes her head. “I was going to get one if my final grades were good enough.”
“Were they?” I ask.
She rolls her eyes.
“Plug it in and get it charging.”
“I can’t play it right away?”
“No, it’s got to charge for a while.”
“Oh.” The shine leaves her, sinking down like a balloon when the air’s being let out.
“Let’s stay long enough to make sure you can play for a while.”
She grins at me. “Thanks!”
I close the door, making sure to keep the generator going, and lock it. When I turn around Cassie has her head in the fridge.
“We should have had dinner here,” she says. “Ooh, Delilah, ice cream!”
“Really?” I peer around her shoulder.
“Yeah,” she grabs an orange sherbet push-up and wisely gets out of my way.
“Oh, you’re right.” The freezer portion of the fridge has push-ups, ice cream sandwiches and popsicles. I really like whoever stocked this room.
I grab an ice cream sandwich and sit on the floor, and then I think of something. I reach into my pocket and pull out my best Christmas gift ever – my own cell phone chock full of my favorite music. I turn it on – it will still play without service – because now it doesn’t matter if the batteries run low, I’ll just juice it up tomorrow before we leave. I set the music to play randomly.
“Ahhh,” I say as Fergie’s voice fills the room. Cassie laughs. I peel back the paper on my sandwich, then slowly lick the sides, savoring the cold vanilla. I close my eyes, eating the vanilla and chocolate so slowly that bits of vanilla ice cream run down my hand. I open my eyes and lick my hand, enjoying every last drop.
Then I notice Cassie staring at me.
“What?” I ask.
She giggles. “You’re acting like a cat.”
A part of me freezes up – will she make fun of me now – but instead I try to act all cool. I smile and shrug, saying – “It’s good.”
“Let’s dance,” she puts her hand out as if to lift me up. “No, not with your sticky hand. Gross.”
I take her hand, but I do most of the lifting. I turn the music up and we dance.
Cassie dances like she doesn’t care that I’m there. She whoops and whirls through the room, just totally enjoying herself. Me, I can dance a bit, but I don’t act like that.
“You’re a good dancer,” I tell her.
Cassie actually blushes a bit. Wow, I can make her blush.
“Thanks,” she says. “I like it. Like you like running.”
I think about it, swinging my arms in time to the music, and I realize she’s right. When I run, it feels so good that I don’t think about anyone else. Then I think about it – oh no, were people making fun of me while I ran? Did I look funny?
Then a good part comes on, and I dance crazy with Cassie, just enjoying the sound of the music.
Eventually we tire out and decide to go to sleep. Neither of us wants to take the empty bed, so we spread out sleeping bags on the floor. I keep one very dim light on not because I need it, but because it’s nice to have.
I wait until Cassie falls asleep, and then quietly reach into my bag nearby. I picked it up this afternoon when we were apart. Carefully I watch her as I slip it into my sleeping bag, but thankfully she doesn’t stir. It would be really embarrassing for a little kid like Cassie to find out that I’m sleeping with a teddy bear. But it’s so nice and soft, it’s brown all over with black button eyes, and its open arms hug me. I hug it back and hunker down into my bag, closing my eyes. Eventually I drift off to sleep.
I wake up screaming.