Author's Note: Hi everyone, glad your enjoying the series. This part took me a while and I still feel it just isn't perfect but I needed to keep the story going so I couldn't spend anymore time on it. This was a tough one to write and I'm sure you'll see why, it caused me to rememeber things I'd forgotten and just from writing it, I think about a few things differently and some things I've taken for granted. I really enjoyed writing this part and I hope you all enjoy. Please like and comment
“We should have just left them, how do we know we can trust them!?” Daire shouted
“How do we know we can trust you?” I replied, I saw Daire’s hand move back towards his holstered pistol, a hand grabbed his forearm and held it still. “Daire!” A woman said, she was roughly twenty two. She had long blonde hair in a ponytail and had colourful green eyes, her complexion was perfect and she had a pale skin tone that looked like … perfection. I watched as her and Daire shot each other a look, their eyes locked on each other until he pulled his arm out of her grip, she turned and looked at me and our eyes glanced at each other for a second. It felt longer. A few strands of long blonde hair swooped from her fringe and over her right eye. She wore a long sleeved right t-shirt which had the sleeves rolled up and a red body warmer on top of it, her jeans were pale denim and she had muddy white converse on. She’s stunning.
She looked back at Daire, “Maybe you should calm down”
“Oh fuck off Kirsten” he replied, in a second the older man who looked in his forties had grabbed Daire’s right arm and pulled it up Daire’s back. Daire’s face winced in pain. “Watch your language, boy” The man said.
“Shi… Sorry John” Daire replied, when he let go off Daire he pushed him forward, almost knocking Daire to the ground. Daire sulked off into the church. “It’s not always this bad” A voice said, I turned to face a man who was in his thirties and had short brown hair which looked like it had been spiked but was now messy, he had glasses and a slight stubble. He wore a green t shirt, denim jeans, an old pair of trousers and a fancy watch. “Name’s Alistair by the way”
“Alex” I said as I shook his hand
“I know, I was there when this little missy came running”
“No worries, the good thing is, your still standing… and breathing” he laughed a bit, I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to face John. “Your welcome here, Alex. I would like to talk to you about your situation but it can wait until tomorrow for now all you need to know is your safe here. My name’s John, John Nesbitt. Not much to tell really, I’m a farmer from out of town and was out for dinner when… well when this happened. I’ll let the rest introduce themselves” John was bald and had grey eyes, he looked exhausted most of the time. His stare was unnerving as he hardly ever blinked, he just stared. He was dressed in a dirty, bloody white shirt, black trousers and black shoes. He looks like a real family man.
“As I told you, the names Alistair and don’t worry about Daire he’s just a grump, no one listens to him half the time. You’ll get used to him, not much to tell really. I live round the corner, no family and I when I saw the report, I sat in my house. I left to get supplies, like you and I met the rest of the group. Don’t worry about Daire, I got your back.” Alistair shook my hand again and walked away “Night guys, don’t stay up too late” he said as he walked towards the pews.
A Young woman approach, with long black hair that was tied back in a plait and had a small fringe on one side, she was dressed in a black vest and a black water proof jacket which was unzipped, she had tight jeans on which were a faded brown colour and had black boots on. She had a pistol holstered to each leg. “Name’s Lara, I’m twenty and was training to join the military. Back home on leave.” She removed a pistol and handed it to me, “Your gonna need this”
“Thanks?” I asked
“Just don’t die” Lara turned quickly on her heels and walked away, I felt a hand on my shoulder and saw a younger girl approach. “Sorry bout her, she’s a bit … strict. The name’s Rebecca, I’m a nurse in the city hospital when the outbreak happened, Lara came and found me. She’s my cousin, I hope you stay longer than a day, we could use more people” She leaned down to Abigail. “I believe you’re the hero of the day… What’s your name?”
“That’s a beautiful name” Abigail looked and her and smiled. They both sat on a pew and began to talk. Abigail was wearing a white vest top and a denim jacket, with tight jeans and boots that looked vintage boots, The kind that were pulled out of lakes by fishing rods in cartoons. I don’t know much about fashion but they were the “thing” at the moment. I looked to see if there was anyone else and saw a young man about eighteen sleeping on one of the pews, he was wearing a baseball shirt with a white torso and black sleeves, jeans and trainers. He had blonde hair and wore a plain black baseball cap.
“So… Alex, right?” a voice said, I turned and faced Kirsten.
“How’d you meet the girl?”
“I’m her uncle”
“And her parents—“
“Sorry… I was just wondering”
“So what’s your story?”
“Not much to tell, I was babysitting her when we were attacked. I killed it but I didn’t know what it was at the time.”
“You thought it was human?”
“At first, yea—“
“Why’d you kill it if you thought it wasn’t infected?”
“I had no choice when it attacked”
“Sorry, obviously that’s why”
“What’s your story?”
“Journalist, and the world’s my story, I was here for the new year’s celebration… quite the story”
“Sorry if it seems like I’m asking a lot, it’s the job. It never stops my brain from ticking”
“Don’t worry, you don’t have to apologise” She was nice, a bit awkward in conversation however but she intrigued me.
“Thanks but people usually hate me for it.”
“It takes all kinds to make a world” she smiled when I said that “Thanks, my grandfather used to say stuff like that”
“Mine too” I replied, I couldn’t keep her eye contact, I don’t know why she had this gaze that was just… indescribable. There was a pause in the conversation before she broke the silence, “So when do you think it will all be over?” She asked me
“I don’t know”
“Do you think it will ever end?” I felt the world stop as I thought about this question and I didn’t have an answer, she was waiting for one. I could tell by the way she was looking at me, she was waiting for an answer so I gave her one. “Yeah, it’ll end”
“You think so?”
“Why?” she asked
“What’s the point in living if we don’t have hope for the future, without hope we have no reason, without reason why even bother living.” She looked shocked at my answer, I was too. It was probably the smartest thing I’d ever said and yet I don’t know where it came from. The silence dragged on for what felt like minutes. “Sorry, wasn’t expecting something so—“
“—Smart?” I interrupted
“No it’s just –“
“Neither was I to be honest” I chuckled at the awkwardness of the conversation. She laughed at my response “C’mon, I’ll get some things for you to sleep on” We walked off together and picked up a few cushions and a blanket and laid them on top of a pew, Abigail came up and shared the pew with me, the pews were incredibly long and fit both of us lying on it, she lay on the right side and I lay on the left with our feet towards the edge and our heads in the middle.
“Alex?” She asked
“Do we have to go back to the house? Can’t we leave a note to meet us here? I mean they’ll find us right”
“Yeah we’ll leave a note and I’m sure they’ll find us, don’t you worry about it. Abigail, they mightn’t find us for a whi—“
“I’m not stupid Alex, I know it might take a while but they will find us. I know it, Were going to see them again”
“Yes… Yes, we are.”
4th January 2013 9am
“Hey sleepy head” A voice said
“Do I look like a nine year old girl?” The voice said, I opened my eyes and saw one of the women from yesterday she was about twenty. “Sorry it’s um—“
“Lara, yeah I knew that” I lied, it was rather obvious and I felt like such and idiot for trying to lie.
“Smooth Ace, Smooth. C’mon were talking over the plan”
“You’ll see, c’mon” she grabbed my arm and pulled me up, when she pulled I could see the muscles on her arm, she had some amount of strength. Note to self, do not ask her for an arm wrestle.
We walked towards the alter and sat on the pew, everyone was up even Abigail. She ran over to me and sat on my knee. “We’re safe here” Rebecca said
“Don’t be a fool, Rebecca. Were in a city crawling with them” Lara said
“Lara’s right, we can’t stay here. We have to go along with the plan” John replied
“I second Rebecca, I like it here. Fuck knows I’d rather be in here than out there” The young man who had been sleeping said.
“And what happens when we run out of food then, Jack?” Kirsten said
“Shit, I dunno… Could be like that movie Alive were they eat each other and shit” Jack said
“Then how are we different than them?” Kirsten replied
“Oooh Racist much, Kirsten?” Jack looked around for a laugh, there was none. “Well, it’s ironic then isn’t it.”
“Ok, I’m fed up of this” John said “Were going if you disagree then you stay behind. Who’s in?” Everyone agreed with John, Jack and Rebecca reluctantly. “Look does anyone mind filling me in here?” I asked
“Were not staying here Alex, were getting out of the city. It’s hell, their everywhere and the city’s tapped, there’s nothing left. We have to get up and go. We’re going to get to the countryside away from all this shit” he looked at Abigail… “Sorry… It’s our only hope”
“Where will we get food?” Abigail said
“That’s what I meant to say, well kinda” Jack said
“There’s a hotel, on the way, it was stocked just before the apocalypse. It’s our best bet.”
“Why didn’t you go there yet?” I asked
“It’s on the outskirts, and it’s got a lot of night life around it. It’s also the place where I… where we think the infection began its growth in the city.”
“So it’s suicidal?”
“And Staying here isn’t”
“If we stay here we just delay the inevitable”
“Alex… We’re going, you should come to but if you don’t want to. Your welcome to stay here” Kirsten added
“What hotel?” Abigail asked
“The Jackman” Kirsten said
“Alex… That’s the hotel my parents were staying at! We might be able to find them!” The room fell silent and eyes crossed the room as several of the group stared at me.
“We’ll look Abigail, I promise”
“Look there most likely –“ Daire began to speak
“Leave it” I replied
“You haven’t told her” he laughed
“I said … Leave it”
“That area is crawling with them, there is no chance—“ I grabbed Lara’s pistol from her holster stood up and aimed it, within the moment I started moving, John had his gun aimed at the side of my head. “You want to finish your sentence” I said, Daire laughed. I felt my hands moisten and gripped the gun. “Alex, calm down and lower the gun” I didn’t listen, I didn’t even hear him. “Alex… lower the gun” I blanked his voice, it was a different noise that caught my attention. The sound of crying. Abigail. My arm untensed and I felt Lara pull the gun off me as I turned to face Abigail. Her head sunk in her hands. I knelt down and hugged her. “Sssh It’s ok, it’s ok”
“Too cut—“ Daire had begun to say before Kirsten’s fist slammed into the side of his face. “If you don’t shut the fuck up, I’ll put a bullet in your head.” Kirsten stared at him with a face of hatred as he held his check. “Ok everyone, calm down… Alex I have to know now, are you in or out? We’re leaving now with everything we have. Are you coming?” I turned to face Daire “Yeah, were coming” I replied, I looked at Kirsten who had a small smile on her face, and her eyes glistened. “Good to hear, Alex” Alistair said “Don’t let Daire get to you, he’s a useless sack of shit anyway”
“Oh fuck off, boy scout” Daire said as he spat on the floor.
“Men! Stop the swearing! Daire if you spit on that floor again, you’ll be on your own. This ground is holy ground” John said
“Sorry, I’m sorry” Daire said with a smirk. The group split up to get ready I stood with Abigail, Kirsten and Alistair. “Why does he even keep him around anyway?” I asked
“Daire is John’s Nephew” Alistair said
“The only member of family John has left” Kirsten added.
“Shit” I replied
“John say’s that Daire’s just acting up after watching his mother die” Alistair added
“There’s a difference between acting up and being a…” she looked to Abigail and covered her ears “complete fucking asshole” she removed her hands from her ears and smiled. “Anyway” Alistair said. “Let’s get sorted”.
We headed over to a small room in the back, I wasn’t sure what type of room it was. Must be like a minister’s quarters or something I thought to myself. Kirsten, Alistair and I were the only ones left to get out stuff the rest had left. We entered the room and John stood there, he handed me two metallic things. I looked at them wondering what they were, the others turned to look at me. Shit, Alex. You’ve seen this type of thing before from … Think Alex, don’t look stupider than you already are. CALL OF DUTY! That was it. “Thanks for the shells but uh where’s the shotgun?”
“Shotgun?” Kirsten asked
“Yeah, you know” I imitated firing a shot gun “Bang Bang”
“That’s pistol ammo” John said
“That’s for a pistol” Alistair added
“Yeah… I knew that, I was just um… yeah I haven’t shot before”
“don’t worry, Alistair will give you the basics, I filled more stuff into your bag, take it. Just remember, every supply. No matter how big or small matters now, without it we will die.” John said
“C’mon Alex. I’ll give you the basics.”
Alistair and I headed out and discussed killing the infected but before long John entered the main room and told us it was time to head out. We left the church, we didn’t walk in a straight line but more in huddles of groups. All close together and each watching a different “flank” as Lara and John used to describe it. Abigail held my left hand and I carried the gun with my other, I walked with Alistair and Kirsten, John walked with Daire, Rebecca with Jack and Lara on her own guarding our backs. “Hold your breath as well, that helps me” Kirsten said
“Thanks, will do”
“Main thing to remember is don’t use the gun unless you have no choice, you’ve got that cricket bat, if you can do it silently do it. John and Lara have silencer’s so they’ll usually take the first shot.” Alistair said
“Where’d you get the guns?” Abigail asked
“Lara worked at the military base and grabbed as many as she could with as many clips… Don’t think she expected to be in a group this large. She brought spares with her and her group. There were three soldiers and her. She was the only survivor.” Kirsten replied
“Alistair” Lara called, “Stop the chit chat, wouldn’t mind a bit of help down here”
“Got yah, Lara. Talk to you guys when were off these streets. Alistair went beside Lara and helped her defend the rear. Kirsten, Abigail and I kept talking, I learnt a lot. Kirsten was a journalist from the local newspaper who used to work for a big time city newspaper but quit when her mother lost her sight. Kirsten was replaced and began working at a small time local newspaper so she could get her name out there but they never gave her a good story. She was in the city centre when the infection took over the city. She took some crazy vivid pictures, Abigail asked her why she didn’t help but she didn’t respond. “I took the picture first” she replied after a while
“Why?” Abigail asked
“I don’t know” She replied, there was a silence “I thought that it wasn’t that bad or dangerous, I thought that… it was a good story.”
“But they were people who needed help?” Abigail questioned
“She knows Abigail, drop it” I interrupted
“Thanks Alex” Kirsten said.
“Abigail” Rebecca called, Abigail ran over to Rebecca and the two began talking, they had become best friends in the small time they had known each other. “Sorry about her” I said
“It’s alright… Am I a horrible human being? I could have helped them”
“You couldn’t have, it doesn’t matter now. Even if you had they would have been infected anyway”
“I suppose but I just think –“
“—Kirsten, what’s done is done. You can’t change what happened, you just have to move on and either accept it or forget it. When you look back, it feels like you had a choice but at the time, there was no choice or time you did what you had too—“
“—You don’t know that”
“Maybe not… I’m sorry I—“
“Were just trying to make me feel better?”
“You don’t have too, I made my choice. I have to live with it.”
“You weren’t there, I could have…” her eyes began to water and her voice cracked “I could have helped them” I put my arm around her.
“Kirsten… I … You can’t change what happened then, it’s happened but look where you are now. Who your with, you can help these people and I know it’s … not perfect but this is the world right now. We have to pull together and work together.” She looked up at me.
“Everytime I think I know who you are or what your like, you say something like that”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m a rep… I was a reporter, I knew what people were like by appearance and body language but your different… You look after a child that’s not even yours and you say things so smart and inspirational and you don’t even realise it.”
“Trust me… I’m really trying right now” I said and she laughed.
“Well you did great, consider me officially cheered up”
“I can’t think about my previous mistakes, if we did that about everything we wouldn’t be able to do anything, we’d be too busy worrying about past mistakes. I have to put it behind me and make the best of what I can.”
The group stopped and I looked forward to see everyone staring forward, John stood at the front with a pair of binoculars. “What is it?” Lara asked
“We’ve found the horde” John replied “Ok everyone, the road isn’t so straight forward now, we have to work around the infected.”
“How far are we from the hotel?” Alistair asked
“We’re close, I can’t be specific. I’ve taken us the long way to avoid as many infected as possible but to get to the hotel we need to go through the bulk”
“How did you know where the majority of infected where?” I asked
“I looked at the map and talked to people how’ve lived here for years and discussed less interesting streets and less visited places with lower populous and went that way”
“Nice plan” said Jack
“I know” said John
“We could just killed them all though” said Jack
“Go for it… Rambo” Daire added
“No arguments” John said “we work together now and we survive, we argue and we die”
“We’re fucking screwed” Jack said, we’d spent the last ten minutes trying to discuss a plan.
“Don’t be such a downer!” Abigail said “Mum always said when people work together, anything is possible”
“Yeah but she’s –“ Daire begun
“Shut it” I interrupted
“What?” Abigail asked
“Not here right now” Alistair added.
“I still think it’s our only option” Kirsten said
“Not this again” Daire said
“Have you got a better idea?” Lara asked
“Lara, it’s suicide” Rebecca said
“No, it’s an option. The best we have at the moment” replied Lara
“Let me get this straight, you want us to get to the top of this building and then what?” Jack said pointing to the building to our left
“There’s a billboard, there could be a ladder close by we could use it to move between buildings and circle round to the hotel.” Kirsten added
“Or we try the subway?” John said
“Fuck no” Daire said
“I agree with Kirsten, the roof is the only option” I said
“And if there’s no ladder?” John asked
“The roofs aren’t that far away unless you’re in the centre of the centre of the city. You said were not too far away, we can make it by using the roofs and fire exits.” I added
“It’s suicide” Rebecca said
“You got another option?” Alistair asked sarcastically
“I’m in” Lara said
“I’m in” John said
“—Are you guys fucking nuts” Jack said
“If you want to stay here and die, so be it. I’m not” I said
“We’re in!” Abigail said
“I’m in” Rebecca said
“Fuck it… I’m in” Daire said. I’d been hoping he wouldn’t have come
“I fucking hate you guys but no way in hell am I staying here” Jack said
“It’s decided then?” Alistair said
“Yeah, let’s move” John said.
We used the fire exit at the side of the building to climb to the roof and avoid any infected in the building. John too the lead and I took the rear. We made it too the roof, John was standing over a infected corpse with a bloody golf club. “Were clear” he said. The group moved in silence and looked around. There it was… it was roughly eight buildings away, they weren’t that far apart but it was some distance from the closest buildings, we’d need to find a way across. We checked the billboard but we couldn’t get the ladder loose. We walked to the western side of the building. Shit, now I know why they say don’t look down. I leaned to Abigail, “I know it’s not far but you get on my back and you hold on. You hear me, you don’t let go.” She nodded and I found a piece of rope and tied it around her waist and my waist as we all got ready to jump. The group was silence, we knew there was no choice and no one had the heart to speak. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.
I ran from about three metres away to build up speed and jumped. The world seemed to slow as I was propelled through the air, don’t look down! I felt the impact of my feet hitting the ground and finally breathed again. Thank God. One down, seven to go.
We jumped the rest of the buildings in complete silence, every jump I felt Abigail’s grip tighten and my heart skip a beat, so far we’d had no problems but now we were at the hotel and we couldn’t jump it. “Now what?” Alistair asked
“I… I don’t know” Kirsten said, the group were silent looking for ideas, roughly half an hour passed. “The windows” John said “The windows are almost level.”
“What’s that mean?” Jack asked
“If we get something to smash both windows and long enough to reach across we can get through that way” John replied
“We have the rope” I added
“Won’t work, we need someone across first to tie it, then we can use it.” Daire said
“It’s an apartment building” Kirsten added “We could find a wardrobe and use the doors or even a door.”
“It’s bigger than a two metre gap” Alistair added
“We need something long and sturdy, we need a ladder” John said
“This isn’t a ladder but it’s longer than two metres” Rebecca said holding a metal pole that looked like it had come from some scaffolding. “Someone will have to hang off it” Kirsten said
“I’d do it, make sure the windows are broken and put a good amount of it on the other side.” Lara said
“That’s really risky” Rebecca said
“Maybe but it’s our only chance right now.” Lara said
“Are you sure?” John said
“Yeah, I’m sure” she replied
“I’ll go after you then, we’ll need two holding the rope.” John said. We went down roughly two floors, my hands were sweating as I held Abigail’s hand, we’d been through a lot but for the first time we had to put our faith in others to protect our lives. We got to the window and smashed it and used the pole to smash the one opposite. The pole was just long enough but we couldn’t keep it still, this was dangerous beyond words. If either of them fell, they were dead. Lara went first, no words spoken just nods. She began moving across. John and I tried to hold the pole still but as she got further away it became almost impossible.
There was no sound, all I could hear was my heart beat and my skin stand on edge. She’d made it but it was John’s turn next and he took the other half of the rope. It was steadier this time as Lara held the other end but that didn’t help as he was heavier, Alistair and I did our best to stop it from moving and Lara did the same from the other side. He’d made it, he brought the pole over and lodged it in a door by putting it in vertically and turning it horizontally. He tied the rope to it and he and Lara held it as well. I tied the other side of the rope to a bed and the others held it. Kirsten went first, Rebecca, Daire and now it was Abigail’s turn. Her grip around my hand tightened and I looked at her, “You go across and you don’t let go ok? You don’t look down and you don’t look back… You can make this, ok? Abbie, I believe in you” I said as I wiped the tear from her face. “It can only get better, remember that” She smiled and went over to the rope and began making her way across. I could hardly watch as she slowly made her way across. I felt tears in my eyes as I wanted to cry from the overwhelming feeling of helplessness. She’d made it though, I couldn’t believe it. That’s my girl. Jack went next, then Alistair and finally it was my turn. I descended onto the rope and began pulling myself across. Don’t look down. I was roughly half way across when I felt the rope go limp and heard John shout “The bed! Alex! Hold on!” The rope dropped drastically until I heard the bed get stuck in the window, I couldn’t climb up to them I didn’t have the strength. I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead, what am I supposed to do now! “Alex, go through the lower window and scan the floor we’ll meet you at the bottom when you’re done. We’ll check the other floors and meet you in the lobby” I smashed the window and climbed into the lower window. “Alex, I’ll look after Abigail for you, meet you at the bottom” Alistair said leaning over the window. Then it was silent and I was all alone.
I held the pistol in my hand and began looking through the rooms, it was empty. Not all the rooms where but I took the infected out with the bat as they were scattered and few and easily killed when I had the element of surprise. The floor had twenty rooms and as I entered the twelve I saw a corpse on the floor, eaten and devoured but not reanimated. I looked closer and I realised something, I knew this man. I bent over the corpse and looked at his face. He had a bullet wound to the head, the poor soul had killed himself but where was his gun? I looked around and saw it on the floor away from him. That isn’t possible unless someone killed him… yet he doesn’t look infected. I looked at the face as I tried to remember who it was, I wiped some of the blood from his face. I pulled out my torch and shone a light on his face… I knew this man…
I stood up and heard a noise from the bathroom, I shone the light in the room and saw a figure sitting on the floor… No, please God tell me it’s not. I cleared my throat … “Dana?” I watched the figure as it turned to face me. It responded, is it alive? I shone my torch and saw the face stare back with lifeless eyes, the same eyes Abigail had. Dana.
“Dana… I’m so sorry, I’m so… fuck, what do I do? I just Dana, Abigail’s alright. I’m looking after her and I promise you that I’ll keep looking after her. Why? Why? Why!? Why didn’t you stop yourself becoming this, one of them. Unless, you used your last bullet on him, that selfish cunt… Sorry, I’m sorry Dana I… just never wanted to see you like this.” I cried and felt the tears streaming down my face as I watch her begin to stand. “Do you remember me? Dana? Please remember… please. We used to take the dogs for a walk, you taught me how to drive, you tried to teach me how to understand girls, you were there for me when no one else was and I wasn’t here for you when you needed me. This is… it’s all my fault, If I’d worried more about you I … I could have stopped this. I could have saved you… I failed you, I fail—“ I cried as watched her slowly stumble towards me as she groaned. "Why? God... Why... I'm so sorry, I should have... I should... This is all my fault, I promise you... I promise, I'll make it right, I will. No matter what happens. We'll stick together now." I raised the gun and begun to aim. “I don’t want to do this, but I can’t leave you here not like this… Not like this, it shouldn’t have had to end like this… I love you Dana, your my big sis and you were there for me when no one else was. I just wish I could have been here for you. I’ll look after Abigail now, don’t worry and… and I just … I just” I cried and took aim “I just want you to know how much I love you Dana and I’m… I’m” I took a deep breath “I’m doing this because I love you” I pulled the trigger and watched her body fall lifeless and hit the ground and yet I didn’t move, I didn’t blink or breath. I just stood there.
“I’ll never forget you”
To Be Continued
© Copyright 2016 Adam Williamson. All rights reserved.
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