Everyone was miserable and shocked after that, my mother, who even though it all had tried to be happy, slowly slipped into despondency. She didn’t speak to anyone in days. Geoff was the least affected but, he was still depressed because it reminded him of his parents, and also mostly preoccupied looking after his ear, or what was left of it. I was still in shock, I couldn’t comprehend it. But, worst of all was Alice just kept asking us where daddy was, no one had the heart to tell her. We buried him when she was asleep. We camped there for a few day before we decided to head off, funny thing was that it wasn’t much of a decision, we just all started packing up, mum packing Alice’s stuff and so on. I think it was Geoff who checked the map and started walking. We all followed, I’m not sure about details from there on because it was just a blur, but eventually we made it to the ranger’s camp. It was occupied, there were at least 7 or 8 people there, and by the looks of them 3 or 4 we’re rangers, one was a cop and there was another family, a single mother with 2 daughters, 8 and 12 by the looks of them. They had set up a kind of shanty town around the hut from tents and makeshift shelters. How strange we must have looked walking in from the woods, two teenage boys, one with a bandage around his head, the other covered in dirt and mud, a middle aged brunette woman carrying a young girl of 5. All looking like they had walked through hell and back. We felt like it too. They all turned when they heard us coming, a few of the men aiming their guns. They lowered them again when they saw us. Two of them ran over to help us with our stuff. The first was one of the rangers still in uniform, he looked mid 30’s with dirty blonde hair, and he had a slight Irish accent. He introduced himself as Terry and told us that this was his Ranger’s station before the apocalypse and that they set up camp here, safety in numbers and all that. The other man he introduced as Roger, who was a cop, he was younger maybe 25-26 with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. They helped us carry our packs over and settled us in setting up our tents and sleeping bags for us. I’m not too sure about the others but I just went straight to sleep. That was about mid-afternoon about 3-4ish. I woke up later that night; everyone was talking around the campfire. I saw Geoff was already awake. Everyone stopped talking as I walked over and sat down. Terry broke the silence saying “Geoff here was just telling us about how you got here and your encounter with two Chupracabra.”
“Chupra whatra?” I replied.
“Chupracabra”, Geoff interrupted “That’s what those monsters that we saw are.”
“Monster is right”, Terry said “People used to think they didn’t exist, until now and even then I’m not sure how many people know about them.”
There was silence again, till Terry broke it for the second time. “But we can talk about that later, let me introduce everyone else. This is Maria.” He said motioning to the mother, “And these are her two girls, Belle and Jennifer”, Doing the same to the girls, first the younger than the older.
“Hello”, Maria said. She had a very strong Hispanic accent.
“Roger, you have met, and these are my fellow Forest Rangers. Rodriguez, though, you can call him Rod, we all do. Peter and Vera”, He continued showing my attention to the other two sitting by the fire, one was a rather big man, with no hair. The other was African American woman with curly hair.
“Hi”, they all said in turn.
“Hello”, I said in reply.
“And you are?” Terry asked.
I was amazed Geoff hadn’t told them our names, “Will” I said, “and my mum, Julia and my sister Alice sleeping over there. And I can see you have met my best friend Geoff.”
“We have indeed, well it’s getting late and we should be heading in. Rod, you and Peter are on first watch tonight, wake me and Vera when you want to be relieved. The rest of you, into bed”, Terry told us. He seemed to have authority. We said our goodnights and went off to our respective shelters.