I was laying on the couch that night. The TV gave off a faint light as some old movie played on a random channel that I was barely paying attention to. It was around three am and my step sister Lucy was asleep upstairs, but I had to stay awake. Natsu would be home soon and I had to give him his present. Finally, my hours of waiting paid off as I heard the familiar rumble of an old truck engine roll up the driveway.
Before the clock on the wall could tick, I shot up like a bullet and for the door. My dark blue hair bounced lightly on my back as I ran through down the hall to the front door. As I rounded the dark corner, the jingle of keys echoed outside. I halted myself, keeping to the shadows as the door swung open.
In stepped my two brothers, Natsu and Gajeel. They both were architects and sometimes worked long hours into the night to complete projects. But they weren't ready for my sneak attack! With a low growl, I sprung from my hiding spot, getting a couple of small curses as I glomped them both in a hug around the waist.
"What are you doin' up shorty?" my taller brother Gajeel asked ruffling my hair. I broke away as I looked Natsu in the eye. I produced the package I was holding the whole time in front of me. "Happy Birthday big brother!"
Natsu gave me a crooked smile as he took the gift from my hands "You shouldn't have, thanks!" He then tore the paper away and opened the black box under the wrapping. He stared at the metallic object that was a watch.
"You kept complaining about your watch being broken, so I got you that one." I gave him a proud grin as he gaped at it, putting it on. "Where did you get the money for this?" he asked after setting it. Turning up my nose, I simply stated "I sell hardcore drugs."
Gajeel chuckled "Then maybe you should start helping with the bills, bean sprout." Natsu also scoffed and admired the new piece of fancy hardware on his arm. But just as I was about to ask about their day, I yawned loudly while stretching out my stiff back. That's the last time I sit on the couch for five hours straight.
"Looks like you need to catch some sleep, Wendy." Natsu then handed the box to Gajeel and picked me up over his shoulder and raced around down the hall and up the stairs while I gave tired giggles, my mind already giving out on me.
When we got to my room, he opened the door and flopped me down on the bed. I was so tired, I just gave a tiny squeal. My pink haired sibling then placed the comforter up to my chin and turned on my night light. With one last smile, he leaned and kissed my forehead.
"Goodnight, my little dragon."
I grinned as my eyes drooped. "G'night, big brother dragon."
Natsu rubbed my head for good luck and left the room, switching off the main light on his way. But when the door closed, I heard him speaking to someone. By the sound of it, it was Gajeel.
"She's really grown up,huh?"
"Yeah, the years go by fast."
There was a pregnant pause before Gajeel spoke again, in a more grim tone that made Wendy's heart drop to her toes.
"...I heard that the virus is getting worse."
"What are we going to do?"
"...We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
And with that, I drifted into a dark and restless sleep. Full of twisted and muffled voices, the sound of an explosion, and someone shouting my name for me to run.
It must have only been an hour before I woke up to a door slamming shut. I reluctantly opened my brown eyes. It was still dark out and a bit too quiet. There was no wind, no sound of animals, nothing to fill the silence but the hum of electricity.
Deciding I wasn't falling asleep anytime soon, I got up and decided to see if Natsu was up. I walked out the door and looked down the upstairs hallway. The door to her said brother's room which he shared with his wife, Lucy, was slightly ajar. The light from the TV was also on which puzzled me. His door was almost always closed unless he was getting a snack or in the study at late hours.
But I still walked to his door and opened it. As I thought it was empty. Not even Lucy was there. The news was on, and by the sounds of it, something bad was happening. So I strood in and took a look.
On the screen was a reporter, standing in front of an electrical plant. Her words were incohearent and hard to hear, but I caught most of it.
"The virus has spread. Those affected show intense amount of aggression and vio-!"
"IT'S GONNA BLOW!"
"OH MY G-"
A loud 'BOOM!' resounded far away. It still rattled me as I looked where it came from out the window. From the house, I could see the smoke and flames. "What's going on?" I asked out loud, my voice almost catching in my throat.
After a moment of staring, I ran out of the room, flying down the stairs into the kitchen. I surveyed the area but no Natsu. She hadn't even seen Gajeel either. Was he with him? It didn't matter, she had to check the study next. It was the only other place they could be during a time like this.
I took off through the halls, passing pictures of family and friends as I went by. I remembered everyone of them like I knew how to breath. The time the three of us went fishing. The first dinner with Lucy and her late aunt Mrs. Sepeto. And even her an Natsu's wedding day! That was fun!
But I didn't have time to think of cake and dancing, I was almost to my brother's study. When I got to the glass double doors, I threw them open only to find the place empty. All that was there were charts, maps, supplies, and some random books laying about in a mess.
But before I could take two steps, two people sprung into the study through the glass door. The were ragged and panting from running and obviously shaken. And upon closer examination, it was Natsu and Gajeel.
"Where have you bee-?" but before I could finish, Gajeel rushed over to me. Not even trying to hide is favored gun, a Glock. "Wendy! Are you okay? Is anyone inside the house?"
I was confused. What did he mean by 'Anyone inside?'. "I'm okay, but what's goin-"
Before I could answer, something smashed against the glass door. It looked human, but it kept yelling and screaming and fighting to get in. My question was answered.
"DON'T LET HIM GET IN!" Gajeel yelled to Natsu. The later was carrying a loaded shotgun. The glass cracked as the person tried to get in. I heard Gajeel say "Damn it all!" as he scooped me up and shielded me with his arms.
The door soon stopped protecting us and the glass shattered with an explosive crash! The person stumbles and screeched into our study, heading for me and my older brother.
Before I could scream, a loud bang of a gun went off and some blood splattered me and Gajeel. The smell was awful. I couldn't speak or move in my brother's hold. When I did speak, I said one thing.
"Who was that?" I knew that my words were soft and weak. Natsu bowed his head. "It was or next door neighbor, Mr. Smith."
I could only stare at the body. He was right. The suit, the hair, even the glasses gave it away that it was Smith. "Y-you shot h-him?"
I shook as Natsu crossed the room. He simply stepped over the once level headed yet kind man he had killed. My brother had a distant and protective look in his eyes.
"Gajeel, we need to get out of here. Now." In silent agreement, Gajeel set me down and placed his hands on my shoulders, he expression grim with a hint of alertness.
"Wendy, go upstairs and change into your hiking clothes. Bring your flashlight too. We leave in five minutes."
We were leaving? But what about everyone else on our street? Would they be okay? What about school tomorrow? "What about Mr. Smith? Are we coming back?"
His face flashed a darker emotion I couldn't read. I didn't know if it was because of my young age or it was an adult thing, but I didn't get it. "Mr. Smith was sick. He didn't even know who he was attacking. And I don't know if we're coming back."
With that, he got up off the floor and left the study, heading in the direction of garage. Before my brain could tell what was next, I followed Gajeel's orders and dashed through the door, up the stairs and to my room.
I striped out of my night shirt and shorts, changing into my cargo capris and brown hunting shirt and black jacket. I also got my hiking backpack and filled it with an extra change of outdoor wear and socks. I also packed a thick book I couldn't read yet do to the difficulty level. It was called the Odyssey and was the last thing other then a couple of pictures of my birth mother.
As I left the room, I turned out my light and grabbed my cap and a hair tie. I put my hair up in a ponytail as I ran down the stairs. The smell from my neighbor's body was becoming very noticeable as I descended. I had to think of something else before I threw up.
I opted to think of what happened to Lucy. Was she safe? I hadn't seen her since she kissed me on the head before she went to bed. As I adjusted my hat to my head, Natsu came around the corner, shotgun slung over his shoulder and a pack on his back.
I simply followed behind him as he walked down the hall and out the front door. The truck sat there waiting in the dark, headlights on and Gajeel in the driver seat.
Natsu turned to me as I met his gaze. His face was heavy and serious. It wasn't a good look for his usually cheerful attitude. Finally with him paying attention, I asked him what was on my mind.
"Where's Lucy? Is she okay?"
After I asked, my brother smiled as best as he could. I knew it was forced, but it was better than his previous look he had on. "She's just fine. Lucy left the city before we did."
That was a huge weight off my shoulders. Though it wasn't always mentioned, no one in our family sugar coated anything. We also never lied when things were dour. I knew Lucy was waiting for us somewhere far from the city.
Me and Natsu lept into the truck. Gajeel backed out as soon as we buckled up, and drove down the dark street. I looked out the window and watched the trees rush by in the shadows of the night. But I also listened in as my brother's talked.
"Let's get out on I 24. We could meet her on the river road outside of the county lines."
"No, everyone will have the same idea. Let's take the back road Natsu. It's quicker and hardly anyone lives out there. Lucy also went that way. Besides, we won't run into one of those damn things."
"Okay, just hurry."
The night ran past my window as we went into the country. From afar, the city was lit up with fire. It scared when I watched to scene unfold before me. How many people were trapped in there? Would they be okay?
"Oh shit!" I heard Natsu say from the passenger seat. I looked from my view of the flames up through the dashboard window. Up ahead, there was a line of cars and a light from a makeshift white tent.
"Let's go back and find ano-"
"We don't have time Natsu! We have to get out and go through the checkpoint."
"...Fine." Natsu turned his head back to me and his smile lightened up the tension I was feeling. "Hey Wendy! We're gonna get out and go to that tent. Ya ready kido?"
"Yup!" I might as well cheer up and be happy. We could be safe from whatever was going on. Maybe we could go home soon? The three of us jumped out of our truck and started for the tent. We reached it in only a few minutes of walking. Inside, people were being asked their names and being loaded into trucks by soldiers.
Gajeel led our group over to one of the plastic tables, speaking with the person behind it. "We have three, two men and a girl."
The person nodded and motion to his left. "Men go that way," he then motioned to the right side of the tent "Women and children that way, two trucks will take you to the next city for shelter and refuge". Natsu then suddenly snarled and hugged me back to him. "Like hell I'm leaving my baby sister alone with you guys"
A woman with her daughter walked up to the table and spoke directly to my brother. "If you like, I can bring her with me. And when you get to the city, I'll find you and return her."
Gajeel nodded to the offer. "We don't have time to complain. Wendy will be fine Salamander." Natsu was stiff for a moment longer then he gave in and glared the woman down. "Keep her safe."
"I understand. I wouldn't want to lose my daughter in a situation like this." The woman shook hands with my brothers and took my own in her's. But before I could leave, Gajeel grabbed me by my backpack and unzipped it. Before I could protest, he dropped his gun inside.
He patted my head as he said "You know how to shoot. Watch your six while we're gone." I nodded and hurried away, casting one last look over my shoulder. Both Natsu and Gajeel reluctantly walked away with the other men, their backs the last I saw before they disappeared behind a white wall.
As we were brought into an examination room, we waited in a line of people waiting to get checked. It was an awkward couple of minutes between me and the pair that took me in as their charge. For ten minutes we slowly made our way to the front. When it was almost our turn, the woman finally turned towards me and spoke in a motherly tone.
"You have some good men as your brothers." I smiled. The mother seemed nice as she spoke. The daughter simply looked from behind her mother's leg. "They're scary, but but so is mommy when daddy used to steal cookies from the baking sheet."
That sounded a lot like Natsu and Lucy, which made me giggle. I think I was going to get along with these two just fine. The girl met my gaze as I finished chuckling. "So, what's your nam-"
Before she could finish, the mother suddenly shoved us behind her. I fell on my shoulder and the girl simply stumbled back. When I got up on my elbow, I looked back at the woman. What I saw made me scream.
A person similar to Mr. Smith was ripping at her throat with his teeth. The sound the mother made made me want to vomit. Blood fell down her back, causing the bile rise to the back of my mouth. I looked over at the girl, she to was being killed by one of those 'sick' people.
I didn't have time to think. I got to my feet and ran back the way I came, pushing through others who were fleeing. When I burst out of the tent, I couldn't find my brothers, I knew that they were either dead or on the truck.
The tears fell from my face as I looked wildly around for anyone. But everyone was getting attacked or running across the fields away aimlessly. Before I could decide, I heard a scream behind me. I ran as fast as my little legs would go. I didn't care where I was going or if there was someone behind me.
The only thing I focused on was wiping my tear stained face and the fact that became the elephant in the room.
I was alone.