The fire hadn’t gone down much since she got it going. Shelby poked and prodded it with a long stick hoping the stick wouldn’t catch on fire too. She needed coals to cook with and wasn’t seeing any. She had to cook today. There was nothing ready made. She hoped that she’d end up with something close to a pancake, but she’d scorch anything over this fire. She looked around nervously she hadn’t seen Ren who was supposed to keep watch last night and tend the fire. Obviously he’d been delayed on one of his rounds. There was very little chance that any scenario where he showed up in a few minutes unscathed was very slim. Kids were disappearing. It was probably his turn.
Her friend Sam and Tippy disappeared the day before while gathering and scavenging. They just didn’t come back. Ren and Shelby had followed their path, but hadn’t seen so much as a footprint anywhere along the path they usually took. A few days before that Lucille had disappeared while washing by the stream just below their camp. Shelby was the last one left if Ren didn’t return. Either way she was going with or without Ren. She pulled out more hot coals with the tongs Lucille had scavenged and piled them just outside the fire pit and placed the iron skillet on top and poured the lumpy batter into the pan. The smell of warm flour reminded her of home and she wished she could have the worst meal her mother used to make: tuna casserole. She’d eat it every meal if she could. She wished she had helped out more cooking. She didn’t know nearly enough to survive on her own, but she had a feeling she’d have to figure it out.