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Rain – Part 4

The next morning arrived, heralded only by a slight lightening of the grey sky above them. Wearily they took down the wind generator and water sail. The pool of condensate along its bottom edge had attracted its own eco-system already, but the mesh filter had kept the bugs out of the water itself. They drank greedily and then sealed as much water as they could carry into the pouch. Carefully they packed it into its backpack and stuffed the food down the sides. They pulled insect nets over their heads to protect themselves from the biting hoards that had flourished in the ruined climate. David tied the pack onto his back then looped the rope between Lisa and himself.
They each took a deep breath, pulled their goggles over their eyes and stepped out of the shelter of the rock. The wind tore at them as soon as they were exposed so that they almost lost their breath. Lisa stumbled under the onslaught but hurriedly collected herself, and began to walk. The wind battered furiously against them but did nothing to relieve the heat. David and Lisa repeatedly and futilely cleaned their goggles in an attempt to maintain some level of vision; but all they could realistically do was focus on a point no further than a meter or so ahead of them. They had to just keep taking bearings from one point to the next. The journey was probably only a few miles, but it even that could take them days, and their food supplies were severely limited.
After what seemed like hours, David suddenly pulled Lisa to the ground, muffling her startled cry with his hand and nodding towards a small group of people who had just become visible through the storm. Lisa tensed, flattening herself further to the ground as he released his grip on her.
“They aren’t heading this way,” she said in a low voice, “Besides, if they were from Lanscor they wouldn’t be on foot.”
“It isn’t just Lanscor that we need to worry about out here.” David reminded her. “There are a lot of desperate people in this world and we don’t have the L10 for protection any more. It will be best if we just stay away from other people until we reach the settlement.” Lisa sighed and then nodded. They lay, unmoving, for a long time after the group had passed out of sight and then hauled themselves back onto their feet, stretching and flexing in order to ease stiff muscles.

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