“Okay, wait.  Do you mean, like, 28 Days Later zombies or Romero’s?”  Cissy asked as the wind toyed with her long, blonde hair.

Joe shifted gears in their beat up hatchback then flicked his cigarette out the window as they sped down the highway.

“Both.” He replied.

“Oh, God.” Cissy said, picturing all that undead flesh, “I guess – wait, can I have a shotgun instead of a 9mm?”

“Sure, but that means your SUV only has a quarter tank of gas in it.”  Joe smiled.

“Fine.  Well, I guess I’d blast my way out of the – this is stupid.  No way would I have gone to the library during a zombie apocalypse!”

“You hadn’t heard the news.” Joe said, after thinking for a second.

“Then why the hell would I be wandering the streets with a shotgun?” Cissy asked incredulously, “What kinda scary-ass library is this?”

“Yeah,” Joe admitted, “I didn’t think this question through very well.  My brain’s getting tired.” He said through a yawn.

“Well, we’ve been playing since Oklahoma.  We can take a break.” Cissy said, rolling her window up, “Want me to drive for a bit?”

“Sure.” Joe said, pulling over to the side of the highway.  “Just let me get a few hours’ sleep and then I’ll take back over.”

While Joe came around from the driver’s side, Cissy got out and stretched, looking up at the desert moon.  The night air had gotten chilly, making Cissy regret her wardrobe choice of a t-shirt and shorts.

“I’m going to get in my bag really quick, grab some sweats.”  Cissy said, climbing into the back seat.

“Okay.  Hey, will you grab my –”

“Grab what?” Cissy asked, looking up.  She inhaled sharply.  What looked to Cissy to be a large, black dog was standing in the light from their headlights, staring at them.  “Is that a wolf?”  Cissy whispered.

“Stay in the car and shut the door.” Joe whispered back.

Cissy did as Joe said and shut her door just as he shut his.

Is it a wolf, Joe?”

“Do they even have wolves in the desert?  I dunno.” Joe said as the creature moved closer toward them, staying in the headlights.  “It looks hungry.”

“Joe, let’s just go.” Cissy shook his shoulder.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea.” Joe climbed over the middle console back into the driver’s seat, “I’m wide awake now.”

“Joe!” Cissy grabbed his arm, “Where’d the wolf go?”

Joe peered through the window but didn’t see the wolf anymore.  It wasn’t out the front window or either side.  He climbed back over and looked out the passenger side window.  The animal, whatever it was, had simply vanished into the night.

“I don’t see it anywhere.” Joe said.

“Let’s go.” Cissy shivered.  She told herself it was because she was cold.

Joe got them going down the highway again.  They sat in silence for a long while, both lost in thought.  Eventually, Cissy dozed off.  As she slept, she dreamed.

She dreamt of long pathways cut in sand and framed in stone.  She was being chased.  She could hear her heart beating faster; her breathing, heavier.  Only, it wasn’t her breathing.  It belonged to whoever hunted her.  It was close.


Cissy came to a cliff in her dream.  There, at the cliff’s edge, stood her pursuer.  A black wolf with an oddly human face.  As the man’s face on the wolf’s body circled Cissy, it spoke:

Thanks for the lift.”

And then it jumped at her.

Cissy woke up screaming.

Joe shook her by the arm.

“Are you okay?”  Joe asked.

“Yeah.” Cissy took a swig of water to steady herself.  “I’m good. Bad dream.”

“Sounded like it.” Joe said, “Well, we’re almost in the clear.  Twenty-four more miles and we’re out of the desert.”

Cissy sat quietly.  She couldn’t explain why, but something about being free from the desert made her smile.