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Rain – Part 5

They slogged through the storm for the rest of the day until the weak sunlight began to fade completely. They were passing through what looked like an old farm and the shadows of what could be abandoned barns loomed nearby through the murk. They approached cautiously and checked all of the buildings before finally allowing themselves to take cover.
“I think we should eat first.” Lisa announced, tearing open a food pack as David reached for one of his own.
“It doesn’t seem to be letting up” David commented as the wind howled at them from outside their shelter. “It is going to be hard going if it’s like this all the way to the settlement. I don’t suppose we made much progress at all today in these conditions.” Lisa put her food to one side and searched through her bag for a map which she spread out in front of them.
“Trust L to think of a map” she grinned, “It’ll be way out of date but this place looks like it was here long before it all went wrong. We might be able to get our bearings.”
“We might not want to though,” David grinned back, “ignorance sometimes really is bliss!”
“Not if we wander off course and miss the pass through to the next mountain” Lisa mumbled distractedly, poring over the map as she forked food into her mouth. “Look, this must be us. We’ve not done quite as badly as I thought but it is going to take us days to get there.”
“It’s not a bad start, then” David commented as he moved to see where she was pointing. “You never know, the storm might burn itself out tonight, but if we really have made it that far, it’s possible that we could make the pass tomorrow anyway.” They lapsed into silence after that and sat companionably, eating and contemplating the map.
“You know,” David interrupted eventually, “we’ve been eating these packs for the last three years. Do you think that when we get to the settlement there will be proper food?” he sighed. “I hate this stuff.”
“Tasteless isn’t it?” grinned Lisa, “But I wouldn’t swap the chance to do the research we’ve done just for some fine dining.”
“I know, I know. I just don’t like this stuff that’s all. I used to enjoy food that tasted of something.”
Lisa laughed. “It’s terrible, the sacrifices you’ve made. Just think; you might even get to cook at the settlement if you’re a really lucky boy.”
“Don’t tease me.” He said wistfully as he stood up to get on with the business of setting up camp for the night. The wind was still tearing at everything outside so they had to erect the water sail within the shelter of the barn. It was unlikely to gather enough condensate indoors to get them comfortably through tomorrow, but they could live with that. They would just have to be careful with whatever water they did get and hope that they found a better position to site it in soon. They decided that they should take it in turns to sleep. They spent the night huddled together for warmth under their insect nets and when their turn came, they slept the deep, catatonic sleep of the exhausted. In the morning they ate in silence.

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