There are four of them; Alexis, Charlie, and the Brothers. I don’t really know all that much about them besides the fact they’re what you’d call runners, and that now it seems we are too. We’ve only known them for a few days... we met Alexis first. Encountered her in the restaurant where we were celebrating, see we’d just finally arrived. We’d driven on out to Roanoke because, well if we do end up disappearing from the face of the Earth I figure Roanoke is a pretty fitting place for it. Anyhow, it was the end of our big long and basically pointless journey and we’d squandered a lot of cash on hotels and gasoline along the way, had to pick up a bunch of other random shit like extra changes of clothes too. I didn’t really think about what I was grabbing when we rushed from the apartment and as a result we didn’t have much besides a small pile of dirty clothes and various electronics that are all but useless when you’re on a cross country trip with no real concrete destination. Celebrating probably wasn’t our best idea, but it felt damn well deserved after so much driving.
Between our tired and wore appearances, Henry’s jumpiness, and Sara’s peculiar state I’m not amazed we drew her attention. It’s actually pretty funny looking back; we were so surprised to have this cute blond girl make her way to our table from her nearby barstool. And then when she started to ask us questions and tell us about her own experience, when we saw an all too familiar symbol stitched into her sleeve… well what the hell were the chances of that?
We were cautious, skeptical even, but eventually decided to meet them. Henry and I just can’t do this alone… I mean he’s still not quite stable and taking care of a basically comatose 7 year old girl would be hard enough without having to protect her too. You know on our way down here I woke up one morning to long black vines trying to worm their way in through the car’s doors and windshield? Hell of a thing to wake up to, that. Threw the car in reverse and sped off as quick as I could. There have been other instances like that too, so yeah we went and met them.
She led us out of the restaurant and into a parking structure a few blocks away to meet the others. We found them two levels down and tucked into a corner, a pair of boys sitting in the back of a dirty minivan. They were the brothers, Thomas and JD. Thomas, the older brother sat with the tailgate open and his legs hanging over the side. From one ear dangled a pair of headphones which seemed to occupy him at least slightly, but you could tell from his posture that he was on guard for something. He noticed us quickly and stood up from the open lift gate making his way to greet us. In the vehicle still was his younger brother JD, staring intently at his PSP with an aluminum bat close by his side. JD looked much younger than his brother, and was much less interested in our intrusion into their little lair. Thomas was nice enough, he got up and introduced himself, but all the while something felt off. This wasn’t just a friendly meeting, he was definitely scoping us out… it was his eyes, they were suspicious even if his tone welcoming. But all the same we stood and talked while Alexis went up to find Charlie, the last member of their little gang.
Charlie was… well the idea of adding more people to their group didn’t sit well with him. Charlie is easily not the most social individual I’ve ever met, nor is he the most understanding. He seems to have a concept of how things should go and when things don’t go that way he doesn’t respond well. And this, so far as I can tell, is why he tends to spend his time up on the third level and higher. Why his and to some degree Alexis’ clothes are adorned with operator signs, and why he was apparently already unhappy with the size of their group before the three us showed up. He idolizes M, takes his every word as fact and ignores any evidence contrary to what he’s read. The only person who can reason with him seems to be Alexis. Unlike the others I don’t know much of his story besides the fact that he knew Alexis before all this. The way they interact I’d have to guess they dated before or maybe still are, but whatever the extent of their relationship was, it’s now very obviously strained.
Alexis herself is much more pleasant to be around, though a lot of the time she’ll be trying to get Charlie to socialize with everyone and so we don’t see that much of her. She’s always trying to bring him down from the 3rd level where he compulsively resides, doesn’t like him there all alone. She’s approachable and seems to enjoy talking, and is a nice girl if a little blunt. I talk with her about old tv shows on occasion but uhh… well when she’s not off dealing with Charlie she’ll be off finding a drink somewhere so our conversations are rather infrequent.
And then there are the brothers Thomas and JD who I mentioned before. Thomas is a nice kid, he’s only 17 despite all appearances, and his brother’s 12, but… but I can relate to him. He just wants to keep his brother safe. I’ve been talking with him a lot since Henry and I fell in with their little group, we generally talk about just how fucked up all this is, about how we all got involved in this, why we’re running, what we’ve seen done and experienced. They lost their mom to this shit, happened right in front of JD, left him pretty fucked up for a while. But now… well Thomas is just concerned for his brother and that’s something I can easily understand. He’s got fucking awful taste in music though.
As for JD, well he’s hard to approach. He doesn’t want to be around all these people, just plays his PSP and ignores you if you try to talk with him. I’ve tried engaging about games and books and television and just about anything else but no dice. Whatever, maybe he’ll be more communicative in time, or maybe not, either way he’s still less hostile then Charlie.
Oh and more good news. As you’ve no doubt noticed Damien and Arkady are both alive and well. I can really honestly say that that’s one weight on my conscience I’m glad to be rid of.
Hopefully distancing myself from them will help them stay safe.