Starting Anew by Nathan Jones (Isolation 3)
English | 2020| Post-Apocalyptic | ePUB | 3.4 MB
Ellie has finally reunited with her family, finding them safe and sound in the small town of Stanberry. The place looks safe and peaceful, an ideal location for a new start. Especially with the scavenging work Nick’s been doing for the town, gathering enough supplies to last their family until the Zolos crisis is over. They hope. But things aren’t all perfect, even in such an isolated location. People fleeing their homes have been pouring in, seeking aid from the Stanberry quarantine camp, and conditions there are less than ideal. She wonders if she can in good conscience sit by, when her management skills and familiarity with the Colorado Springs quarantine camp could make a difference. Then there’s the fact that the world is still in chaos from the pandemic, and Stanberry might not be as safe and isolated as they think.
Meanwhile, in just a bit over a week she’d be reunited with Ricky, and she was insisting on arrangements to be reunited with Tallie, too. It felt selfish, but at the same time having their daughter go along with Nick’s scavenging was needlessly dangerous, which he readily agreed.
It would be hard for him, but this had to happen.
“Good, then I’ll visit your camp bright and early and we can get going on it,” Ellie said firmly.
That seemed to be a good breaking point for the conversation, but as she was raising her hand to wave good night her ex-husband cleared his throat. “I hate to say it, but with all of us having to stay so far apart for safety, it’s sometimes hard not to overhear things.”
She bit back a sigh. “You mean the discussion about Hal.”
“Yeah.” His silhouette shifted awkwardly. “I can talk to Ricky about it too, reinforce that we’re not together anymore and both of us going on with our lives means we’ll be bringing new people into our lives.”
“I’d like to take another crack at it first.” Ellie hesitated. “How did he react to you and Gen getting together?”
Nick jumped slightly, and when he spoke he sounded sheepish. “Oh. Well, we’re not really officially together, and I haven’t really talked to him about it.”
She tried not to roll her eyes. “Well, maybe you can focus on that conversation with our son.”
“Yeah.” He sighed, sounding almost morose. “It’s hard to jump into a relationship when I can’t get closer than fifteen feet to her. I know things are going that way, but I feel like bringing it up would be hasty since I don’t even know how long we’d have to wait before it’s safe to be with her.”
Ellie did some shifting of her own. She could admit that listening to her ex-husband talk about the challenges with his new girlfriend was making her a bit uncomfortable. Something to consider when she was tempted to talk to him about Hal, she supposed.
“Don’t take this the wrong way,” she said gently, “but maybe the woman you recently divorced isn’t the most tactful person to go to for relationship advice.”
There was a brief, very awkward silence. “Right, yeah.” He chuckled ruefully.
She gave him a conciliatory smile he couldn’t see and waved. “Good night, Nick. See you in the morning.”
“Good night, Ellie. I’m glad you made it here.”
Ellie made her way back to her new camp, tucked into the same thicket Nick’s scavengers were in but farther along, closer to Ricky’s tent. Hal was the only one still up, seated by the dying fire on a log that was far too small and had to be uncomfortable.