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AJ & Madiline

I'd rather walk with you than walk alone

By Leah DeweyPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
AJ & Madiline
Photo by Vincent Sanga on Unsplash

“How are we even still friends?” I asked, scoffing a bit under my breath. I knew she hadn’t meant to be irritating but I guess that’s what I got when I asked an overly logical person to get creative with me. She laughed a bit but I could hear she was offended by my question.

“Why would you ask that?” She barked back.

I shifted the weight of my backpack on my shoulder and looked up into the clear sky. Without all the city’s light pollution the stars were like a magnificent night light guiding our path.

“Sometimes it feels like we remain friends only because we’ve been friends for so long,” I muttered quietly into the dark. She huffed. She was quiet for long enough that I thought maybe she wasn’t going to respond. But she took a deep breath and replied:

“Do you not want to be friends?”

I should have known that would be her next thought. I heard a sharp noise to my left and reached out for her hand while trying to see the movement in the dark. But only silence followed. I let go of her hand gently.

“Sometimes I think that. Well,” I corrected, “no, sometimes I just wonder how we’ve stayed friends. Nothing holds us together except our stubborn determination to maintain. But no, I don’t want to not be friends. I don’t think I could survive without you now.”

Her body shifted beside me. I could feel the conflict within her.

“Sometimes I feel like you’re rather I just left and never bothered you again,” she whispered.

I nodded and pursed my lips. I didn’t like that she thought that but I couldn’t really blame her either. Even before the change I knew I could be cold and unfeeling. I demanded sensitivity and understanding from my friends but I couldn’t always reciprocate.

“I don’t feel that way. I’m glad we are friends, especially now I’m glad you’re with me. Out of all the people I had in my life I’m glad it’s you I’m walking with right now.” I found my own answer somewhat surprising but it was certainly true. She sighed next to me and switched her back into her right hand.

“We should look for a place to stop and get some food soon,” she replied. Cool, confident and quickly changing the subject. I did like that she was always consistent.

“How much farther do you think we are from the city border?” I asked, trying to recognize where we were. It was different seeing the streets while walking slowly in the dark as opposed to before when we would speed past these seemingly boring areas of land. It didn’t help that the area had changed so much, everything was different.

“Probably another quarter mile or so, so probably another 20 minutes before we find more than just corn fields,” she replied, keeping her serious monotone.

“I’m sorry if I upset you. I didn’t mean to offend you or make you think I didn’t want to be friends,” I whispered, lowering my head. These conversations were part of what always brought me back to that nagging question. We always communicated, we never stopped communicating. Even before she was the only one I would text every day. But it’s like even through all our communicating we can seem to understand each other. I sighed out a bit of frustration.

“I know, it’s okay.” Monotone. Great. I reached out to take her hand and remembered she had moved the bag but I didn’t stop pushing my hand into her hand until she moved the back back into her left hand. I squeezed tightly.

“I don’t want you to leave and you don’t have to worry about me leaving. Besides,” I said with a laugh to try to help her see I was just joking, even after all these years even jokes didn’t always translate, “once we find her you’ll be the one leaving me. You won’t need me anymore.”

She let out a real laugh before cutting short as both our heads turned on a swivel. Nothing.

“You think I’d leave you once we found her? I don’t want to have her all by myself. You have to stick around to help me with that!” She continued to laugh but much quieter now.

“You got it,” I said, chuckling a little under my breath as well. We walked in silence for a while, shifting the weight of our bags and slowing down to take conservative sips of water from our canteen. We paused for a moment in front of the sign:


She stiffened next to me and squeezed my hand harder.

“What if we don’t find her? Or worse, what if when we find her… she’s already one of them?”

I didn’t have an answer for her, at least one one she’d want to hear. Her fears were not only legitimate but probable. I squeezed back.

“We’ll take it step at a time. First, we need to find her and we’ll deal with whatever comes.”

Slowly, we stepped into the dulling lights of the city where the monsters roamed and our worst fears could be realized.


About the Creator

Leah Dewey

Hello. Welcome to my page. I have been writing for over ten years & have been published in several different formats including magazine articles, poems & full length novels. I have a BA in English Literature & a Masters in Psychology.

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