I wait. And wait. Ten minutes pass, twenty, half an hour. There's no sign of anyone following me. At last, after what feels like an hour, I allow myself to relax.
In the aftermath of the adrenaline, a black mood washes over me. I've lost a day's food and water. I almost got killed. I thought I was safe, but I was wrong. Nothing's right. Nothing good is left anymore. Even people are turning against each other.
All the optimism that's built up inside of me since meeting Lisa seems to drain away in a sudden flood. I feel sick and poisonous. I feel the way I did in the days after losing Sharon, when I still was wandering, when the world was still full of smoke.
Walking quickly and sticking close to cover I start to make my way back to the clinic. I'm only vaguely sure of where I am, and I have to retrace my steps a long way before I find a street I recognise. By the time the building comes into view darkness is starting to fall. On the route I've made a few half-hearted attempts to search for supplies, but all I have is a single bottle of water. I know, if I'm honest, that I haven't really been trying.
You shouldn't let it affect you, I tell myself sternly. There are going to be bad days. Today's one of them. But you're alive. And Lisa's alive. And you have a place to stay, and food to eat. You have to be strong.
It doesn't help.
I stop just inside the door to the clinic and try and take control of my feelings again, but it's hopeless. I stamp upstairs, to find Lisa leaning over the balcony on the second floor, peering down. The rifle is nowhere in sight. As soon as she sees me, she smiles, but then her smile falters at my expression.
"What's wrong?" she says.
But right then the last thing I want to do is relay to her the story of my carelessness, my failure.
"Where's the rifle?" I say, ignoring her question altogether.
"It's in the office. David, what's wrong?"
"I told you, you have to keep it with you. All the time. I know you don't like it, but I could have been anyone. I told you. God..."
She recoils a little, a hurt expression crossing her face. "I...I..." she stammers. I don't care. Even after all she's been through she doesn't realise just how dangerous things are. While I'm out there risking my neck...
I chuck the bottle of water past her into a corner. "I almost got killed today," I say bluntly.
"What? David, I don't..."
"Some men. I ran into them on my way back here. They had guns. I had to drop everything." As I speak I realise quite clearly that I'm taking out my anger on Lisa. I fall silent, embarrassed. The black feeling in my gut seems to deepen another few notches. I look up, and find that she's staring at me with real hurt and fear in her eyes.
I sigh. "I'm sorry. Really, I'm sorry. I...It was just scary, is all. I didn't mean to behave like that."
Lisa doesn't say anything.
"Lisa?" I try. "Please, I'm sorry. I just...I feel like shit, okay? Shall we eat?" It's our usual routine to eat a meal when I get back from scavenging. Lisa nods dully, but I notice that as we walk through to the office she's a little more tense that usual, keeping herself just a little more distant.