They left when the sun was up; the grey sky was filling with white glare. The woman, Rozina, was able to hobble along once Marshall had put together a pair of simple crutches. They progressed very slowly down the roadside, keeping under the shelter of the turnpikes and overpasses for as long as they could. They rested at an empty bus stop that stood at the edge of downtown. They then set out on one of the old interstate service roads. Warehouses, most of them old and dilapidated, shielded them from view most of the way. By mid-afternoon they reached some open areas, abandoned wheat fields. The white sun shone hot through the brownish smog of the industrial area. She had become very tired. It was obvious they couldn’t walk much further. But the woman insisted that they keep going. Towards the end of the day he carried her on his back. Her protests were feeble. Her leg was swollen and she was feverish. At nightfall they finally stopped and rested in a deserted field on the outskirts of Indianapolis – where they found tufts of thorny grasses and sage growing amongst piles of gravel and dry dirt.
“Where did you learn to make leg braces?” she asked as he re-wrapped her bandages.
“I was a medic in the Forces. Yeah. And that leg of yours needs to rest for a good couple of weeks before we start walking very far.”
“You’re right of course,” she said looking down and grimacing. “But I’m afraid that option is not an option for me.”
At this point Marshall suddenly turned aside to consider a thought, which had just flashed through his head. He thought it out. He could contact Mrs. Williams back in Indianapolis. Zina could recuperate at the old Foster home. The Securities would be looking for them out of town. Ah!!! He had another good idea.
“Listen,” he said. “I know a place where we could go. We could pose you as a “devi”, a deviant. We could stay there a while. It would be a safe place. Meanwhile, they’ll be looking for you to keep on going north, most likely.”
She didn’t respond, but simply looked at him and smiled.
Marshall pulled down his sleeve beamer and linked to Mrs. Williams. Hopefully, when they arrived at her home on the other side of Indianapolis, she would be there. If not, Marshall still knew good hiding places in the area from the old days.