The ride back to the ranch stayed sedate, despite the unprecedented amount of firearms and ammunitions Devon’s new team had gathered. Devon and Emily rode in the front with his acquired hummer. Dells and Fosters followed close. After Becca’s death, Dells had acted like he might not be balanced. Devon has half expected the Land Rover to pull off into the burning desert, but such did not occur.
They found a few stray zombies along the way and Devon insisted they all be put down. If they were heading toward their ranch, he’d rather try to minimalize any random surprises. What had taken Emily and him hours, took the vehicles a surprisingly short time and before the sun had started its decent, Devon found himself approaching the ranch.
As they drove into the compound, Emily and Devon shared a look that made words unnecessary.
Almost all their vehicles were gone. Strangely, one of the only vehicles left was the monster sized ford that Devon had claimed for himself. “It’s almost like they left it for me,” he whispered to himself.”
Moments later, the four of them were standing outside of their rides. “Not quite the warmest welcome I’ve ever had,” Fosters said, while taking in their home.
“This doesn’t make sense,” Dells added, his anger still evident in every word. “I thought you said you had a huge group of survivors. And where the hell is Haeds? I was hoping to take several years of hell out on his face.”
“Remember, he could be our only hope of finding a cure for the plague.”
“You’ll need blood for tests, right?” Dells sneered. “When we find him, I’ll make sure you get plenty of it.”
“Screw all that for now,” Emily said. “Where the fuck is my brother and everyone else? There aren’t even any dead Walkers here!”
As if in a conscious effort to refute what Emily had said, a single moaning zombie appeared from behind the barn and lurched toward them. “Shut the hell up,” Emily said and then put a well-placed bullet through its eye. A few more showed up, most of them looking like weaker undead with minor injuries and bodies full of cactus thorns.
Once the zombies were dispatched, Devon looked over at his allies. “Alright let’s think about this logically. Your brother knew that four hundred walkers were heading this way. Despite their unexpected departure, it appears that our friends had decided to retreat and the zombies have obviously followed them. I guess the real question is where did they go?”
“This just doesn’t seem like something Spencer would do.”
“Why is he stupid?” Dells said. Emily whirled on him. The sheriff raised his hands. “Hold on. Maybe he thought he was doing us a favor. He still thinks that there will just be the two of you. I doubt he’d want you to return to a camp full of these pukes,” he indicated a fallen zombie with the business end of his M-4.
“Dells is right,” Devon said. “Knowing Spencer and Brown, they’re trying to set up traps or figure out some way to waste Haeds’ army in a strategic spot and they just took the rest of the people along with them to make sure they’re safe.”
Emily fumed for another minute. “I never should have, errrr—okay so what are we going to do now?”
“I wish could relax and get some sleep, I feel like I’ve been up for days, but the obvious answer is-”
“Excuse me for interrupting, but it looks like countless footprints continue on down Reddington pass toward Tucson,” Fosters said.
Devon stepped forward. “Alright, we are already locked and loaded. Let’s give this place a quick once over for any other clues or info and then head after them.”
“I just hope they didn’t head into Tucson,” Emily said.
“Devon gave her a one armed hug. “Me too, Emily. Me too.”