We’ll have a few hours of nice cozy sleep.”

Running her hand lightly down the side of his face, she smiled. “Hurry back.”

“I will.” Travis leaned down and kissed her lips softly. “Love you.”

She snuggled into her pillow. “Send Curtis my love.”

After one last kiss on her brow, he straightened the covers around her then moved toward the door. A quick, sudden chill flowed over his body and he froze. He literally felt the hair on his head stand up on end.

Turning quickly, he saw Katie already asleep in their bed, the lamp next to the bed illuminating her hair into a halo. Rubbing his hand over his chest, he could feel his heart beating a little faster and he swallowed hard. He had no idea what had just happened to him, but it frightened him.

Taking a deep breath once more, he opened the door and stepped out.

* * * * * It had been awhile since justice had been dealt out at the fort. A long time.

In those months, the Vigilante had watched and waited to see what the so called leaders of the fort would do or say.

The Vigilante had not been very satisfied. It had been hard to withhold the hand of justice, but the time had come once more. The Vigilante would deal out justice to those who were weak and a burden to the fort.

Yes, the time had come.

Walking down the hallway, the Vigilante hesitated before the communication center where Curtis could usually be found and looked in the glass window set in the door. Smiling, the vigilante studied Curtis’ features. He had obviously been crying.

But the Vigilante was strong.

It was time for justice.

5. Between Two Worlds “I always loved to watch you sleep,” Lydia’s voice whispered.

Katie stirred slightly, her eyelashes fluttering, then she was still.

Lydia’s apparition moved into the light next to the bed and stood silently.

Her expression was full of love and yet it was sad. Slowly, she sat down on the edge of the bed and folded her long hands on her lap..

“The veil is so thin now I can almost touch you,” she said softly. Slowly, she rested her almost corporeal hand on Katie’s stomach. “I miss touching you so much.”

Katie let out a soft sigh and rolled completely onto her back, her hand resting against her stomach.

“I love seeing you this way. In all our years together, I never saw you as a motherly woman. But seeing you like this now, it touches my heart so deeply. It makes me happy.” Lydia smiled softly. “We had so many plans, you and I. Happy with our family of two. If none of this had happened, I never would have seen you as I do now. Full of life and glowing. A mother to be.”

Lydia sat in silent repose, then laid her hand ever so gently on Katie’s hand. “Strange how all that happened has been a curse, yet a gift. I miss you. I do, Katie. But you have moved on in away that makes me so proud.

I love you and I want you to be happy. But I do fear for you. I have done all I can to help you and yours. And now...” Lydia sighed. “Now there is nothing more I can do. It’s time for us to move on. All those still lingering between the two worlds. We’ve done what we can and now the world will change again. It is time for us to leave you to do what you must. After tonight, I will no longer return to you as I have. My time here is done.”

Tears in her eyes, Lydia pressed a hand to her slim throat composing herself. “You are all standing on the brink of a new world. Whether the dead or the living rule will be decided. I know you think of yourselves as just survivors, but you are more than that. You are the new Eden. You are the new beginning. There are other enclaves of survivors, but none are as important as this one. This is the place that was chosen to give birth to a new world. The choices you make tomorrow will have ramifications far beyond what you understand or see.”

Leaning down, Lydia kissed Katie’s hand and pressed her cheek to her knuckles. Gazing into her face, she smiled softly. “We lived in a world that was black and white. Reality was so sharp and clear. We never realized how deep, wondrous and how frightening the roots of our world truly are.

I’ve stood in the center of the veil and seen the world of your reality and the world of my new life. I have seen wonder and I have seen horrors. I have seen many possible futures and many possible pasts. But tomorrow is the one point in time that can change everything.”

Rising up, Lydia straightened her long skirt, then tucked her hair back behind her delicate ears. Composing herself, she leaned over Katie one last time.

“I pray that you live. But if not...” Lydia gently touched Katie’s cheek. “I will be waiting for you.”

Katie rolled over, tucking the pillow under her head. Feeling more alone than she had in a very long time, she closed her eyes and fell back to sleep.

Travis walked up the stairs to the wall feeling weary in every way possible.

The earlier storms had managed to dissipate the heat, but the humidity hung in the air making him feel sticky.

Looking around, he was a little discomforted by the fact Curtis had picked the most isolated area on the wall. Thinking about Katie standing out here with Curtis made him feel leery although he really wasn’t sure why. He rubbed his chin and looked around thoughtfully.

This area of the wall was tucked between the hotel and another building across Main street. It was basically a dead end alleyway next to the huge wall that encircled the front of the hotel. It had been decided to leave access to the loading dock off the kitchens. The loading doors were heavily reinforced and they had added an additional entry with metal doors to thwart any breach. As another measure, a catapult had been built right next to the wall. It had a shorter range than the ones built along the wall and was intended to smash any zombies entering the alleyway leading up to the wall.

Looking to one side, Travis could see the the large pile of junk collected to load onto the catapult. It was mostly broken TVs and other large appliances. It was a very impressive stack. Strange how the most common household items could be transformed into weapons.

Standing in the warm night air, he was awed at how peaceful the world felt. After days of hard work and desperate planning, it seemed as if the world was enveloped in chaos. Yet here he stood feeling the comfort of the warm night. Nothing in the world made sense to him anymore other than Katie and the baby.

He heard a step on the catwalk and turned to see Curtis moving through the darkness toward him.

“Oh, Travis! Hi,” the younger man said awkwardly. Looking around swiftly, Curtis shifted uncomfortably on his feet. “I..uh...”

“Katie’s asleep, Curtis. She’s real tired with all the hard work and the baby is tiring her out. I told her I would come out and offer you a sounding board. I know this is a really rough time for you.”

Curtis looked extremely uncomfortable as he drew near. “Yeah. It is. I guess for everyone. I just--today was rough. I thought Katie could give me some good advice. I didn’t know who else to go to. With Bill...you know...”

“I know,” Travis answered. “It has hit all of us profoundly.”

“Really?” Curtis said. “You seem not to be affected by too much going on around us.”

Travis looked up sharply at the tone in Curtis’ voice. It was an odd inflection on top of an odd comment. “Of course, I’m affected.”

“Oh,” Curtis answered. “I guess you’re just good at hiding things. I’m, you know, just too emotional.”

“We’re just different people,” Travis answered with a wry smile. “We just deal with things differently.”

She dreamed of Lydia. She dreamed of the first days. She dreamed of the oncoming zombies. She dreamed of her child. She dreamed of Travis.

It was one of those horrible nightmares where you dream you wake up and the world is dark and frightening. In her dream, she sat up in the bed, the covers falling around her waist. Instinctively, she knew she was not alone and looked around the darkened room, trying to see into every shadow.

Her heart began to beat harder as she heard a soft noise near the corner of the blackened room. She stretched out her hand to turn on the lamp.

Again she heard a noise, like a footstep or a shuffle, and her fingers strained to find the knob to turn on the lamp.

Breathing harshly, she leaned sideways off the bed, trying to find the lamp on the stand next to it. Desperate to fill the room with light, she groped blindly in the darkness as her heart beat harshly in her ears.