We sit and eat in silence. It's tense at first, but after a while I can sense the air between us softening. It's only once we're done that we look at each other again, and I say, "Listen, I'm sorry about that..."
Lisa shakes her head. "It's okay. I'm just glad you're not hurt. And I'm sorry too. About the rifle. I should..."
"No, don't be..." We both stop talking again, looking at each other. I know that neither of us wants to be mad at each other. We need each other too much for that. A moment passes, and then to my immense relief, Lisa gives a little laugh. With that sound, the tension that remains seems to drop away, and we're back to our ordinary selves. Maybe it's just the food, or being back at the clinic, but my mood has lifted a bit as well. Not completely, but I feel a lot better than I did.
"It is scary though," says Lisa. "Things are bad enough without people fighting other people."
"I know," I say. "But..." I hesitate here, not wanting to risk scaring Lisa, or bringing back my dark mood. "But, I think it's only going to get worse as time goes on."
Lisa nods glumly. I carry on.
"I think, maybe we ought to move. Get out of the city. Travel. See if we can find a place where things aren't so bad."
Lisa nods again. "I've been thinking the same thing. I can't stand it here. At night, hearing the Creatures calling. Or screams." She shudders a little. "I think we should try and get away...but..."
She pauses for a long time. "But what?" I say gently.
Lisa seems to be struggling to find the words. "But...what if we go and there's nothing? Nobody? What if there's nowhere we can go that's safe? At least here..." She seems to be struggling for words again. "David, what if it's like this everywhere?"
I don't know what to say. It's a fear that's kept me awake at night too many times. I can just imagine it. But I know the answer as well. Even if I don't want to say it out loud, I do know.
"I've thought about this before," I say. "And...well, ever since...ever since that day I've not seen a plane in the sky. No helicopters. No fighter jets. No rescue planes. And it seems to me that means that this isn't a small thing. It isn't just here: it's everywhere. I know that's hard..." Even as I speak my voice is almost cracking. It's too big to think of, the destruction I see in this city spread all over the world. "...but maybe that's just what we've got to accept."
Lisa is biting her lip, not quite looking at me. "But that means that we're as well off here as we are out there." There's anguish in her voice. I put a hand on her shoulder.
"No, that's not right. We're worse off here, because of those men. I...I don't think they're the only bad lot. I didn't tell you before, but before I met you I saw some people..." I tell her briefly about the grey-clad figures I saw picking through the rubble. The ones with blood on their clothes--blood that wasn't theirs.
Lisa looks horrified. "Oh, God, David. That's sick. I don't understand how people can...can do this..."
"But listen," I say. "We know that there are bad people out there, so at the moment everything's against us. We have the Creatures at night and the crazies and the gangs during the day. But if we got away from here, went somewhere quiet, somewhere safe and remote, maybe then we'd only have the Creatures to worry about." Even as I speak another idea occurs to me. "And perhaps even they wouldn't be so bad. The cities are where most people are going to be, and so that's where the Creatures will hunt. Maybe if we find somewhere remote enough we'll be safe."
Lisa bites her lip again. It looks like she's thinking, a worried, tired frown on her face. Then she nods. "You're right," she says. "We have to get out of here."