(2016-08-12) Searching for Hope
Searching for Hope
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It had been a long three and a half days. Long, lonely and frustrating. The only sign on any humans were some bandits that Kayla had narrowly escaped from. Luck was on her side at that moment. She saw them before they saw her, and she managed to get her and her horse to a hiding spot.

The sun was a couple hours from setting when she reached the spot where team Rescue Quinton had left the truck on their previous visit. The truck was long gone though, the only sign it had even been there was the contents strewn across the ground. Including one of Quinton's sweaters. Piper had been wearing it but had taken it off because she didn't want it to get snagged as they traveled through the woods on the way to the camp proper. Other than the sounds of birds and other wildlife all is quiet here. it is still a good 1\2 mile to the Admin area of the camp where they had found the mind altered Quinton.

Kayla stops long enough to pick up the sweater – her brother had so few things he truly liked (and wasn’t just hording) that she almost feels compelled to do it. Tying it around her waist, she takes the lead of the horse and begins to walk. A half mile isn’t so far, and she’d rather be able to send the horse running if she had to for some reason.

She’s tired like she hasn’t been since before she first came upon Camp Hope, Kayla looks quite ragged. If Quinton isn’t here, she doesn’t know where she’ll look next. But she will look – she’s promised herself that. She won’t abandon her brother – she did that once (unintentionally, when he’d been sick and she’d gotten caught by thugs while looking for medicine), she wouldn’t do it again.

The walk through the woods toward the Administration Area of the camp is quiet and peaceful and the shade the trees overhead provide is a welcome break from the hot summer sun beating down. Nothing has really changed since Kayla was here last. It hasn't even changed much in the ten months that they have lived in Texas. The buildings are a bit dustier and there is a broken window or two, but the buildings are there, standing vigil, almost like they are waiting.

It is easy to find the tracks the truck left behind as the group speed off in it as they escaped with Quinton, but they are criss-crossed with animal tracks. Foot prints can't be found. Not around the buildings or along the road or trails that lead to and from the admin area. No signs of life here. The buildings are empty save what was left behind when the group living their all those months ago left.

Kayla doesn’t give up easily. She does tie her horse, loosely, near the administration building. He can break free if he needs to to run, but he won’t just casually run off now. She goes into each building, checking for any signs – fire, food that isn’t rotten, bedding that looks used, anything. It isn’t until she has looked everywhere that she actually gives into the growing pit of hollow despair in her stomach. She drops to the ground, elbows finding her knees and head resting on her hands. The tears start, and start hard. It isn’t long before she is fully absorbed in gut-wrenching, breath stealing sobs that wrack her whole body.

No one is around to see, so what does it matter? She doesn’t try to stop the fit; it easily lasts nearly ten minutes before she has no more tears to shed (for now). What energy reserves she had are depleted by the crying spell, her muscles left feeling week and her insides hollow.

Nothing looks to have been touched for weeks and in some cases months and months. If Quinton returned here it was only briefly to find the place empty as well. There are other places in the camp that would be just as suitable as the admin area for staying, but the chance that either her brother or Devon is there is slim as well. By the time she is done with all the looking around and crying the sun has inched down even further, soon it will be dark and impossible to find anything or anyone.

Once she has drained herself, Kayla will drag herself to her feet and move off to her horse. She moves off into the woods slightly outside of the camp to make her own camp for the night. Tonight, she will sleep, and probably cry some more – in the morning, she’ll figure out where she’s going next. Back to Texas? She doesn’t know where else Quinton might have headed to, and wandering the countryside is a dumb idea anyways.

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