Chapter five

Jerome swung his rifle at the old man’s face and held his finger on the trigger. “What you say, Trump?”
“Calm down, J!” Luis and Arjun jumped in front of him to block him. “Relax.”
“Tell my mans to relax,” Jerome spat, still aiming the rifle over Luis’ shoulder. “He the one startin’ fights. Talkin’ ’bout “you people”. Your people the ones out here eatin’ everybody!”
“Don’t pay him any mind, J,” Luis said, shifting side to side to keep blocking the barrel of the rifle. “He doesn’t know what he’s saying. Just calm down, bro.” He and Arjun stood their ground between him and the white man and stared Jerome down until he eventually scoffed, lowered his rifle, and turned his back on everyone.
Luis and Arjun breathed heavy sighs of relief.
“I’m really sorry about him,” the brunette said to them. She had picked up the jacket when Arjun jumped up and was applying pressure onto the man’s wound now. “I was helping him, but I’m not with him.” She looked over at Jerome, who’s back was still turned. “I agree with you—this is our fault. I don’t know what we did or how this happened, but we’re the ones killing everyone. And I understand if you wanna leave us. I don’t blame you. But I wanna do anything I can to help.”
There was a silence as everyone looked at each other.
“We’re not gonna leave you,” Luis said. “We’re gonna figure something out. I’m Luis.”
The brunette stared back and took a second before slowly smiling back. “I’m Lisa.” She looked back down at the old white man. “His name is Daniel. Daniel Thompson.”
“But I’m Mr. Thompson to you,” the white man said, waving his nose at the rest of them. “Learn some respect.”
“Ain’t nobody puttin’ respek on your name,” Jerome scoffed. “We callin’ you Trump.”
Mr. Thompson chuckled. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“Yo, let me shoot him one time,” Jerome pleaded with Luis. “Just once. In his balls. Please.”
Luis looked back and forth from Lisa to Mr. Thompson then at Jerome. Then he nodded to Arjun and Tiana and walked a few feet away with them. “I think we should help them.”
“Bro,” Jerome said. “You’re not Superman. Leave them. They get bit one time, they turn, and they kill us. It’s that simple. What don’t you understand?”
“I think we should take Lisa,” Tiana suggested. “And leave Mr. Thompson.”
Arjun shook his head. “We need to take the two of them. We might need both their blood to make the vaccine.”
“No vaccine is gonna help this,” Jerome said, waving his arm over the fallen bookshelves around them. “You see this? You think you could just whip up something in a lab, sprinkle some Chemical X and turn these jokers into Powerpuff Girls? This ain’t a cartoon, bro. They. Are. The enemy. Leave them. We get guns. We get gas. And we drive to Mexico.”
“And what do we do when they follow us down there?” Tiana asked.
“We keep driving, Latisha! We got a better chance of outrunning them than figuring out some potion to turn Trump Thompson into Mr. Rogers. We get guns. We get gas. We—”
“We get it!” Luis said, holding his hand up. “But they’re not all turned yet, J. Look at Lisa.”
“I’m looking at her, my dude,” Jerome said, facing the brunette. “I’m looking at her. And I ain’t gonna lie. She real fine. But you know who else was fine? My man’s fiancé before she went Thriller on his behind.”
Arjun’s nose flared up and he jumped into Jerome’s face. “You watch what you say!”
“J!” Luis jumped in and split them up, facing his best friend. “Too soon, bro. Too soon.”
Jerome slowly backed away as Arjun stared him down..
There was a long silence as they thought the situation over.
“We don’t know how many other places have been hit,” Luis finally said. “What if we go to Mexico and there are zombies there too?”
“There are no white people in Mexico,” Jerome sucked his teeth.
Luis held his hands up in defeat. “You’re ignorant. And I don’t know why I listen to you.”
“Whatever we do, we gotta do it fast,” Arjun jumped in. “The last we checked, the whole west coast was turned.”
The group paused and turned to him.
“What are you saying?” Luis asked him.
Arjun looked over his shoulder back at Lisa and Mr. Thompson. “At this rate, they might be the last white people alive in the country.”

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