(This is Part 1 of a story idea that I created during Camp NaNoWriMo. My goal was to come up with ideas that I could develop at a later date. Comments are always welcomed. Part 2 will be posted on Friday.)
I looked at Chloe as she stood in the doorway of the store. I haven’t seen her this excited in ages. “Come on!” she shouted and ran inside. I glanced around and followed her in.
Looking at what was left of the electronics store, she cautiously stepped over the remains of a computer workstation, all the while muttering something about hell and snowballs and some calculation something or other. We are quite the pair. I’m the muscle, she’s the tech. I break, she fixes. I’m no “dumb blonde”, but I’m nowhere near her level of smarts. I took a quick look around. Like everywhere else, this place was a pile of scrap, dust and memories. I didn’t see a point of staying, but Chloe couldn’t resist. After all, this place used to be one of the biggest and most popular electronics stores around. She wanted to build a radio (I have no idea how), so that we could find other survivors. She was always the optimist. She disappeared for a minute, until I heard her rummaging around in what had been the computer department. I wandered over, keeping an eye out…you know…just in case. “So, you got this then?” I leaned over the pile of smashed computers at her crouching form, which at this point was holding a circuit board. The swearing told me that she was focused on her task and forgot that I was even here. I startled her and her blue eyes looked at me the same way that a cat does when you spook it.
I miss cats.
She sighed and nodded, then sat down on the floor, pushing a stray black hair out of her face, and went back to work. “Good,” I replied, handing her my pistol. “I’ll go check out the rest of the place.” “Be careful Trace,” she said. I nodded. Baby sisters can be so overprotective. “Yell if you need me. We only have a few bullets left between us.” I said. And a few meant four in the pistol for her and four in the rifle for me. I threw the rifle on my shoulder as I headed to the other side of the store.
I don’t know why Chloe thinks she can make anything out of that damn equipment. Electronics can be found, but they’re usually busted. We haven’t seen a living soul in three months, but that doesn’t mean that we’re alone. It’s been only a year. A year of fighting. Fighting what was once human. Yeah you’ve heard it all before. You played Resident Evil, watched The Walking Dead. So, did I and guess what? That stuff was nothing compared to the real thing. You don’t come across just one of these mutations. Instead, they travel in small packs, like dogs. They fight amongst themselves and have an alpha. Closest thing that I can relate it to is the zombies from Romero’s Land of the Dead. If they find you and they want you, they are relentless. At least until something more interesting comes along. They don’t just hunt to feed, but they collect. They can use the most basic of weapons…bats, knives, that sort of thing. They will fight you for something better, a rifle, a pistol, but can only use it if it’s loaded and ready to fire. Thankfully they haven’t figured out the rest yet.
So, we keep to the shadows. We cautiously venture through the city. We have been holed up in offices, cafés, even a closet for days, waiting them out. While many fled when things went south, Chloe and I stayed. I still don’t know if it was the best move. There’s more open space out there, but here, we know the area and can hide and find supplies. Out there, well…it doesn’t matter. What’s done is done.
I knew Patient Zero. Thanks to us, she hasn’t been seen since the virus started to spread. I know that they haven’t stopped looking for her. She was just a carrier, immune to the virus’ effects. For the rest of us, if you got ANY fluids from these things in your system, well, it was nice to know you. Chloe made me promise that I wouldn’t hesitate if it ever happened to her. I’ve seen what it does to the body. With all of the bleeding out, it almost appears to be melting you from the inside, no wonder you go insane before it’s all over. But you don’t die, you mutate. That’s why your head still works.
Think high-functioning zombie. Yipp-friggin’-ee.
I found a vending machine in the employees’ area at the back. Lacking any spare change, I didn’t think anyone would mind that I used the butt end of the rifle to help myself to the contents. Chocolate bars and chips are not exactly health foods, but I’m not too concerned about my calorie count at this point. We both looked like we could use a good meal, and junk food was better than nothing.
I was tearing into a Mars bar when Chloe screamed.
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