Chapter 1: Into the City of Death

  We were driving out of Raccoon City. Mom, Dad, and me... Then something happened, and we ran off the road… The world was nothing but a blur and a hurricane of sounds for the longest time. And when we finally stopped, I couldn't see anything it was so dark… Or was it that I had just been knocked out? Doesn't matter… I have to wake up… I have to get out and call for help…

  Thirteen-year-old Danielle Sterling opened her eyes, groaning. Her body felt like it had been beaten mercilessly with a baseball bat, and she could barely move. I have to move… I have to get out… Moving slowly, Danielle unbuckled her seatbelt and peered at the driver and passenger seats. They were both vacant. Maybe Mom and Dad woke up and went to get help. But… why would they leave me here? Unless something happened to them…

  Trying her best to ignore the thought, Danielle pushed the door open and exited the car. She discovered that the car had gone deep into Raccoon Forest when it ran off the road. The car was pretty beat up, and it was a wonder how Danielle even survived the crash. Where did they go? It's like there is no trace of them… Still in a bit of a daze, Danielle slipped a hand into her jeans pocket and took out a small compass, which, thankfully, was not broken. If I remember correctly, we were heading south, so that means the city is north. Maybe I can get there and find some help.

  As she started north towards Raccoon City, she heard the howling of dogs not too far off in the distance. Wild dogs… Not good. I better hurry. Danielle sprinted through the dense forest, remembering the reports of wild dog attacks in the area a few months back. These may not be wild dogs, but she wasn't about to take that chance. It seemed like she was running for eternity, listening to the forest for any sounds of her parents or wild animals. By the time she had reached the outskirts of the city, she was exhausted. Danielle took quick breaths and looked around. There were a lot of empty cars, some of them damaged. It looked like there had been a large wreck. Something didn't seem right. And there was a smell in the air. Something smelled like road kill.

  Danielle walked down the street, senses on high alert. She kept an eye out for even the slightest movement from the darkness, and listened hard for the sound of footsteps or talking.

  "Ugh…" The teenager spun around, searching for the source of the moan. Sounds like someone who's been hurt… Heart pounding, Danielle looked around. "Who's there?" she shouted, voice wavering a bit. She heard another moan, and a figure stumbled out from a nearby alley. When the person walked into the light cast by a street lamp, Danielle got a look at his face. You've got to be frickin' kidding me… Zombies, just like the S.T.A.R.S. said… There were more moans from all around her, and even more zombies surrounded her. 

  Danielle watched the zombies start for her, heart pounding in her chest. There was no way she could fight them unarmed, and it'd be risky to run through them and escape. And to make matters worse, her back was to an alley, allowing no place to run. She was trapped. Unless there is a door leading into the building I'm by… The teenager spun around, eyes searching the darkened area for an exit. Then, as if an answer to her prayers, she saw a gunmetal gray door set against the left wall. But as she ran towards it, the door opened up and a woman with a gun step out.

  "Get down!" she shouted. Danielle dropped to her knees, even as she felt the hot, fetid breath of a zombie on the back of her neck. A gunshot rang out, and blood splattered the back of the teen's head and shirt. She could hear the sound of a body falling to the ground, barely audible over the moans of the zombies. Danielle glanced over her shoulder, looking at the corpse of the creature that tried to bite her.

  The woman who had killed the zombie grabbed Danielle's wrist and pulled her to her feet, pushing her towards the open door she had just came out of. As soon as they were both through, the woman closed the door and locked it. Danielle looked at her, eyes adjusting to the dim light in the room. She was wearing a tight-fitting blue outfit, and was handling the handgun like a professional. Holstering the pistol, she stepped over to the teen and looked her up and down.

  "Did it bite you?" Danielle's body was shaking, and she couldn't make herself talk. The woman placed a hand on her shoulder, then felt the back of her neck with the other. "You really got lucky. You weren't bit." She looked into Danielle's eyes, smiling gently. "So, can you tell me your name?"

  "Danielle S-Sterling…" she stuttered.

  "Danielle, huh? Pretty name." The woman's smile widened slightly. "I'm Jill Valentine. I'm a member of S.T.A.R.S."