They sat in silence while they finished smoking. A blue haze filled the room, and definitely didn’t smell good. The skunky aroma of the marijuana, mixed with the stench of the burning tobacco, didn’t make for an appetizing smell.
Mike walked over to one of the coolers and pulled out two bottles of water. He walked back over to Roger and tossed him one of the lukewarm bottles. They both drank deeply to ease their burning throats.
Mike finished eating, but he knew he was wasting time. His intention was to stop for something to eat and find a new vehicle. One of the items could be checked off his list, but it was time to move on and finish his task. He just felt comforted by the fact people were still alive; something he thought would be impossible.
“Let me ask you, Roger, do you have a car? With fuel?”
“Of course I do, man. It’s got a little more than half left in the tank.” He could see that this question made the boy anxious. “Why, man?”
“You can settle down, Roger.” He chuckled. “I have no intention of stealing your car.”
“Oh yeah, you showed up in an SUV. Why are you asking then?”
“Well that’s just it. My car is nearly out of gas, and with no power, I have no way to fill it up. I was going to ask you if you could give me a ride to Waterton Canyon, that is if you have nothing else going on?” Mike chuckled knowing full well that Roger more than likely had nothing else to do.
Roger considered the proposition. “Of course, man. But why do you want to go to the canyon? There’s nothing there. It’s just a recreational area. Unless…you’re going there to escape whatever it is that’s going on here, aren’t you? I will take you but you have to keep me with you. I don’t want whatever is out there to get me. And we can stock up on provisions right here, man.” Roger started grabbing as much as he could carry from the shelves.
“It’s not exactly that, Roger. Everything that is happening is kind of my fault.” He could see the anger on Roger’s face. He must have lost a lot of friends and maybe some family members. “I am actually heading southwest of Wateron Canyon. There is a top secret military base hidden deep in the mountains. That is where I need to go.”
“This is all your fault? You’re a monster.” He said between gritted teeth.
Mike tried to approach Roger. “Calm down. I said this was my fault, not that I slaughtered all of these people. Now I need to ensure that I put an end to it. I can take one of the cars in the parking lot, but I have come to enjoy your company. Considering I am going to die soon, and more than likely you will too, I figured it might be nice to have some company for our last hours.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, man. I never agreed to a suicide mission. I’m not looking to die,”
Mike pulled out the pack of cigarettes and lit another one, taking a long drag. “I hate to break it to you, Roger, but at this point you are going to die. Not by a gunshot or in a similar manner as those poor innocent souls out there, but by what I have to do when I arrive back at the base. It’s the only way and it has to be done.”
“You’re crazy, man. I don’t like the way you’re talking. None of us are going to die. Whatever did this has moved on.”
Mike rubbed his hand on his forehead. “You’re not listening, Roger. Look, let me just tell you what happened and what I have to do, and you can consider whether or not you want to help me. Can you agree to that?”
Roger considered what was being asked for a moment. “I suppose I could do that. But I don’t think I will go along with whatever you have in mind.”
Mike took another drag. “We will see about that. This all started yesterday when I arrived on base. See my main purpose was to study and understand something. For fifteen years I have been doing this, and I finally thought I had cracked the code. For the last week we put a plan in place, with safety protocols mind you, but we weren’t prepared for what happened…”