WELCOME TO TWIN OAKS
There is no damn Twin Oaks on this map!
I glance back at the signpost that marks the border of the town. It says Twin Oaks; no doubt about that. It might be dark out but the letters are two feet high and fairly well illuminated by the headlights of the RV. I look back at the large map of California sprawled across the dashboard and drag my finger across the blue line of the I-15. We abandoned the freeway yesterday; we didn’t want to but the road was impossible to navigate with all the abandoned vehicles. It took us the better part of a day to clear a path to the exit, then spent a day and a half maneuvering through a mountain road.
The brown line through the hills; this is where we left the freeway. Up here is the fork where one half heads South and the other North East. The North East route ends after a quarter inch, but I don’t remember seeing any fork in the road. There should have been a turn somewhere leading back down the other side of the mo-
“Holy shit!” I squeal; I’m not ashamed of it. I nearly fly out the side window when a loud thunk smacks into the side of the RV. My head races with images of being torn to shreds and devoured by scabby faced cannibal lunatics in the woods. There is a second thunk, as something pounds on the door. I calm just a little as I realize it’s not a pounding; too rhythmic. It’s a knock.
“Holy…” I take a deep breath, rubbing my eyes with the palms of my hands. I haven’t slept in almost 22 hours so I’m probably just being jumpy. The knock comes again; it’s just a quiet rattle against the door but in the silence of the evening it sounded incredibly loud! I stand and step forward, reaching over the recliner to unlatch the door. John pulls it open and steps inside as I return to the driver’s seat.
“What’s going on?” John asks as he latches the door shut and collapses into the co-pilot chair.
John was one of the first decent people I had come across in a while; he was leading a small group North, out of San Diego. We had run into each other outside Los Angeles as we both set to pillage the same gas station. It was a tense moment at first, but when he realized I was no threat, he offered a mutually beneficial conjoining of parties.
John’s truck and Lucy’s van joined forces with RV to create a Zombie Survival Convoy… Ok, it’s not my RV, I kind of stole it. But! But, the end of the world had already been in full swing for almost 2 whole weeks before I snuck onto that lot, ferreted the keys, and drove off with a hundred thousand dollar luxury home on wheels.
Anyway, in exchange for their expertise (John was a fireman, lucy a construction worker, and Charlie, Lucy’s husband, used to build cars as a hobby) I would give more comfortable accommodations to the other two; Claire, a mid-20’s college girl, and Luke, a high-school dropout, probably around 18. I had space for eight people without having to share beds, so naturally, I said yes. The alternative was being murdered and letting them steal my RV anyway.
“Hey, Chase?” I blink in mild surprise and turn to John as he rests his hand on my shoulder and gives me a little shake. “Going off in your head again? I get it; the need to escape from all this, but let’s get this figured out so we can resupply and move on.
I smile up into his bright green eyes. John is so dreamy, always so kind and assuring!
Wait, wait… what?
“Sorry,” I say, shaking my head. I rub at my eyes again and lean over the map. “All this driving,” I offer a half-assed excuse. “Um… yeah, so. I can’t find this Twin Oaks anywhere.
We followed this route here but it dead ends here, with no towns for 80 miles in any direction. Either we’re nowhere near where I thought we were, or-“
“Or,” John interrupts me, poking the map where my finger was. “You’re over thinking this. It could simply be a place not listed on the map. Some roads aren’t on a GPS, some businesses not in a phone book.” He squeezes my shoulder and smiles. “It’s a population of 216. Don’t stress the details. Let’s just get in, resupply, and be on our way.” He pats my shoulder and turns back toward the door. “Besides, such a small, hidden place; for all we know it could be completely untouched.” He chuckles quietly at the concept of a safe-haven and I smirk for his benefit. He steps out, back into the night and toward his truck. I start the engine back up and shift into drive.