Eyeing the gas gauge, Samson informed Az they were in need of gas. Az ripped out the map, searching for a way station that offers gas to travelers of the free zone. All they had to do was prove they were impartial, and they could buy or barter for gas. If they had any luck left, they would land in a station with bored attendants who would barely scan the cards they produced (very nice looking forgeries, if Lily did pat herself on the back) preferring instead to talk about what life was like "out there". They asked to see pictures, drawings, longed for the days of memory scans, anything to show them what they were missing. Az usually read them pretty well, and knew which ones wanted a grand painting, and which ones longed to believe it was a wasteland beyond their humble abode. Azrael aimed to please, anything it took to refuel and get the hell outta dodge. He wasn't comfortable in one place for too long; kick up enough dust and they can't trace your steps. And dust kicker was his middle name--well, not really, but if he had a middle name, that would be a good one.
"Okay, okay, let's see...if we go straight for another mile or two, then veer to the right, there should be a way station a quarter of a mile up that road," Az traced the path with his finger. "Yes, it should be right there. That's not too out of the way." He felt more like he was trying to convince himself, not Samson, who already surveyed the road ahead for the road to veer right on. Azrael glanced nervously back at Lily and the child, because that's what she was, just a child. She could be anyone's sister, best friend, daughter, out for a nice drive. Or that's what she should be. Instead the weight of the world, thousands of sad and lonely cries, all landed on her shoulders. He wondered at what exact moment she realized this, and how she felt about that revelation. He imagined her saying "Let's see, I'll have some Lucky Charms, wear those low rise flairs with the strategically placed rips, smile at Bradley, and oh yes! become an invincible psychic with hair as white as a ghost, and follow the yellow brick road to see the wizard, possibly getting back in time to have my hair done for the prom. All in a day's work." He stifled a laugh, knowing at this time it would be horribly and inexplicably misconstrued, and that's the last thing he needed.
The van jerked to the right, bouncing over pot holes, diving around rocks, all the while kicking up plenty of mud. Cover those tracks, Samson my good man. Gotta stay one foot ahead of the enemy, gotta make good time, gotta--the van suddenly skidded to a halt, Az barely able to stop his head from ramming the windshield. He shot Samson a dirty look, but was met with Samson pointing to where a way station used to be. It apparently had been blown to bits, by someone, or something.
"This is not good," Samson mumbled, while Mad was still stark raving and Lily looked at a loss for the right thing to do to comfort her. Her glazed eyes shifted from Sam to Az, back and forth like a pendulum sinking lower and lower sealing their fate. Funny how they were never at a loss for negative associations. And right now, the only thing positive was how positively screwed they were.