By Miss Scarlet
Infinity. Such a terrifying thought. The human
mind simply cannot contemplate it. It is eternal, endless,
everywhere. Death must be infinite then, the end of everything.
An omnipresent stalker, invisible to the eye, silent,
invulnerable. But it is always there. And when death catches you,
you are lost in infinity, cradled for eternity in its skeletal
Swathed in blackness. Alone, without a notion.
Something is not right. In the distance, a trickle of a thought
He started to breathe, in short, ragged gasps,
the sound manifesting itself so far away. Each breath was
laboured, and the boy sucked in the air, hungry for oxygen,
hungry for the life he had left behind. When had that been?
As if on cue, his eyes snapped open, his pupils
roving uncontrollably. He wanted to smile, and laugh, celebrate
I can't believe it! I'm alive!
His vision cleared, with such mind numbing
slowness that he wanted to scream in rage. All his emotions felt
so suppressed. He opened his mouth, his lips forming meaningless
words, longing to talk like he used to be able to do. Longing to
see people he had not seen.
How good it feels to breathe again. To
speak, to think. How I had missed this! But I can't have
done. How can you think when you are dead? What is happening to
He stared at the ceiling, his mouth twisted
into an insane smile. Large white tiles lined so neatly on the
ceiling, stretching on their eternal march out of his vision.
Where are you Claire? I need you. I miss
you. Are you here with me?
He slowly turned his head, wincing as his neck
clicked. These unfamiliar movements. How long had he been lying
here? His gaze focussed on a figure lying close by. A sudden
horrified shock – is that her? But no. Another person, a
man, lying with his head turned away. A uniform. It looked so
Why does it hurt so much when I move?
He shut his eyes tightly, his head spinning.
I've come back from the dead. Was I
even dead? How can I be sure? How do I know I had died? How do I
know I was ever alive?
The answer to that question was obvious to him.
He had been alive, very much so. He had met a girl Claire
Redfield, and he had loved her. Love is not a figment of the
imagination. Such feelings can never be created artificially. Can
Steve stepped gingerly towards the figure lying
on the bench opposite him. The floor was cold and smooth, and his
feet slipped every other step as he moved. His eyes widened in
shock. It was Alfred. Alfred Ashford. That maniacal gun-wielding
lunatic. He took a step closer, intrigued, and reached out to the
prone figure. Was he dead?
Alfred's arm shot out of nowhere and his
hand clamped over Steve's wrist. His eyes shot open, and
fixed on Steve with a malevolent glare. "Not so fast,"
he croaked, tightening his grip.
"Alfred! You're alive!" Steve
gasped, backing away as far as he could, tugging his hand out of
"No thanks to you," he snarled in
Steve moved back to the desk he had been lying
on, and leaned heavily against it, steadying himself against the
cold metal. That's right, he realised. I killed
Alfred sat up slowly, clutching the bench for
support; his eyes still on Steve. "Yes. You killed me."
He got to his feet unsteadily, wincing at some pinpoint of pain.
"You shot me."
"If I hadn't, you would have shot
me," Steve protested, looking around. There has to be
some way out of here, he thought anxiously. I'm
beginning to think that I'm in hell, because this sure
Alfred looked at him angrily. "Of course
you aren't in hell. You're in my crypt, for want of a
better word. Can't the dead rest in peace?"
Steve gasped. "What the hell? I
didn't say that!"
"Say what?" Alfred sneered, easing
himself forwards slowly.
"I didn't say that about heaven out
loud! I thought it!" he snapped, pointing at Alfred.
"What are you doing?" Is he reading my
"I'm not reading your thoughts!"
Alfred screeched, suddenly outraged. "Don't you
understand? You killed me!"
"And your sister killed me!" Steve
roared, moving towards Alfred purposely.
Alfred faltered. "A- Alexia? She killed
"Yes! Not directly, but yes! So we both
should be dead, all right? Now tell me how you are reading my
Steve sighed. Freak, he thought, with a
bitter look at Alfred. If you can read my thoughts,
you'll know what I'm thinking now. You'll hear
this I died. You did too. We're both alive. There has
to be a reason. I suggest that before you attempt to tear my
throat out, we look around to some clue as to why we are here.
And where we are, as well.
"We're back on Rockfort Island.
I've been here a few times. A hidden door. Close to the
prison cells. She she's the only one who knows the
code to get in here."
"So you can read my thoughts!" Steve
said. "Well stop it!"
Alfred sneered. "I can't help it. I
don't even know I'm doing it. Now are you going to look
around or what?"
"What about you?"
"I'm tired," he replied, and
Steve looked around. Strange metallic walls
lined the room, with a table in one corner and a door in another.
Everything seemed so sterile. He leafed through some files on the
table. A piece of parchment fell into his fingers, with
Alfred' written at the top. It looks like a letter.
Alfred looked up. "Give me that! And stop
thinking!" He snatched the letter away from Steve, sat down
on one of the two benches and began to read.
To my dearest Alfred,
How are you feeling? Drowsy, nauseous? It is
just a side effect of the treatment I used on you. Don't
worry. There is something I need you to do. Don't kill the
You have to find out how he was able to
overthrow the T-Veronica virus. Do what you have to do, but
don't hurt him. I'll find you when I can.
I've sent you both to Rockfort Island for
a reason. What is happening there? I want you to organise a team
to dispose of any incriminating evidence about the Ashford
family's involvement in recent events concerning Umbrella.
On the desk should be a small container of the
treatment I used on you. Enough to treat one person. If you
attempt to lessen the dose and thus save more people, it will
fail. It has the power to revive all bodily functions, even from
death. Don't waste it, Alfred.
I have great faith in you. Don't let me
Your loving sister, Alexia Ashford
Alfred folded the letter and tucked it into the
pocket of his jacket, still stained with his own blood. That was
a disappointment. He had been looking forward to exacting his
revenge on the treacherous Steve Burnside. Still, his petty needs
and wants paled in comparison to Alexia's ideas for the
future, and it was not up to him to decide what was right and
what was wrong.
His eye rested on a small test-tube of pale
blue liquid, with a thick rubber bung fastened in the end. This
must be the miraculous stuff Alexia had mentioned in her letter.
He glanced back at Steve nervously. The boy was
fiddling with the door, trying to find some way to open it. He
looked back at the test-tube, and wrinkled his nose thoughtfully.
He shouldn't share his discovery with
Steve. Not just yet. He should make peace in some way, but some
things were best kept to himself. It wasn't lying
especially because Steve had killed him. No, it was temporary
revenge; to postpone any ill feeling he had for the boy, and
prevent him from doing anything rash. When he put that way, it
sounded almost necessary.
He smiled, his pale blue eyes glittering. This
wasn't going to be too bad after all, he decided suddenly,
and he tucked the test-tube into his pocket as well.
Yes! "Hey, Alfred! I got the door
open! That was a lock I don't want to have to pick
again!" he crowed, delighted with his achievement.
Alfred turned and raised his eyebrows.
"Congratulations," he snapped dryly. His eyes widened
when he noticed that Steve was clutching an impressive Magnum
that Alfred had never seen before. "Where did you get
that?" he demanded, anger seething inside him.
"It was lying over there," he said,
with a shrug. "Come on then, if you're coming. We are
Alfred frowned, gunshots ringing in his ears.
"It sounds like there's a battle going on. I thought I
had destroyed everything before"
"Obviously you didn't," Steve
replied quietly. "Let's just go outside and see
what's happening." He began to climb the granite
stairs, his magnum raised protectively in front of him, and still
the sound of a gunfight rang on. Perhaps it's the people
who attacked the island. Maybe zombies are attacking them.
"How perceptive of you," Alfred
snapped from somewhere behind him.
Stop doing that! Can't I have a little
"I don't enjoy listening to your
thoughts, you know. The amount of time you spend thinking about
Claire Redfield is disturbing."
"Shut up," Steve growled.
"You're a fine one to talk about being disturbed. And
deranged." He emerged from the stairwell into a small dingy
graveyard. Pale, skinny zombies littered the soil path, their
blood pooling out from under them, mingling with the puddles and
being washed away by the heavy rain. Steve bit his lip. It's
"Boo hoo," Alfred muttered.
"I know where we are. We're in the
prison. Through this door is the courtyard," he said,
indicating with his thumb. "And that's the wrecked
truck that was carrying the special alloy."
"So what do we do?"
"Try going through the door. It's not
that difficult," Alfred sighed. Steve stood still,
listening. "Well," Alfred said angrily, "I'll
do it, seeing as you can't be bothered to move." He
strode past the chain-link fence and reached out to the door.
"Hurry up," he ordered.
"No, wait, I can hear someone on the other
side of the door," Steve said quickly, backing into the
wreckage of the truck. "Just wait."
"I can't hear anything," he
"Shut up!" Steve hissed, and strained
to hear the muffled conversation above the gunshots.
"No sign of him. The little runt must
have fled. Can't trust the nobility, that's what I
"Well yeah. Any idea what happened
"Some other company must have attacked.
Maybe they got to Alfred first."
"These zombies are all over the place.
"So what now?"
"We keep looking. Alfred Ashford has
the T-Veronica virus, and we're not stopping until we find
"You know best, sir."
"That I do. Have you tried the
"Then what are you waiting for?"
Steve looked at Alfred, open-mouthed. "Did
you hear that?"
Alfred sighed. "No. I don't think
there was anything to hear. This is all a ruse to get me
"Alfred, you should be worried already.
These people are from some sort of company, and they're
looking for you!"
"Is that right?" he said, yawning.
Will you listen? They want the T-Veronica
"Good luck to them," he snapped. He
rolled his eyes at Steve's shocked expression. "I
don't have it. Do you? No. Alexia has it. She can handle
these guys easily. I'm not afraid of any company."
Steve bit his lip. "Alfred, I don't
think you understand! You aren't surrounded by your troops
now! There's nobody left to protect you! You could be in
Alfred looked down, and ran a hand through his
hair in a futile attempt to dislodge some of the rain.
"You'll protect me."
"I won't," Steve growled.
"Why not? Without me, I'd like to see
you get off this island alive. You don't know the layout
"What? You're trying to blackmail me
into trusting you?"
"Is that a bad thing? Look, you and I are
linked. I don't know why, I don't know how. But we are.
And I'm stuck with you, you murdering bastard. So we'll
stick together, for now, until we figure out what's going
on, and if Alexia's all right, and how your Claire is
getting on. I don't want any more arguments, or desertions,
or anything like that. Understand?"
"All right." I hate you.
"The feeling is more than mutual."
"Tell me something I don't
"Get used to it. Now get me past these
Steve pushed the gate open cautiously.
"There's nobody else here. Come on." He pointed
the magnum down the dingy mud corridor to his left; nothing. He
strained his ears for the telltale moans of a zombie. Strange,
he thought. Those guys must have cleaned this place out.
Alfred snorted derisively. "Well whoopee
do. They probably got a flame-thrower and torched the
"And you're happy with that?"
"Does it look like I am?" he snapped,
jogging a few steps to keep up with Steve. "Do you even know
where we're going?"
"Yes," he replied shortly. He stopped
outside a door. "Okay, we can go through here. I can't
hear anything inside."
"Hmmph. The treatment Alexia used on you
must have done this. There's no way you can hear all this
Steve moved towards the door but Alfred cut him
off and went through first. He surveyed the scene around him with
distaste. "I never knew my prison was so disgusting. Well,
Through the next door. There's a
computer. I thought we could use it to send for help.
"Will you stop?!" Alfred howled
"You're asking me not to think? A
fine bodyguard I'll be then."
"Yes! No! I don't know!" Alfred
pushed the next door roughly, sending it flying back into the
wall with a bang. He smiled momentarily at this amusing
"Well done Alfred. That way nobody will
know you're here," Steve snapped. "Really make
them stop looking for you and fly on home, won't it."
Alfred grumbled something under his breath.
"I heard that," Steve replied,
"Ugh!" Alfred whirled round and waved
a finger in Steve's face. "Stop hearing things! And
stop thinking so loud! Oh man," he said, breaking off.
"This is all screwed up. I shouldn't be here, and
certainly not with you. I should be sitting in my study, reading,
or feeding the ants"
"You keep ants?"
"Nothing. An unusual pet, that's
"Are you laughing at me?" Alfred
snapped. "Forget it, I don't want to know. Just send
someone a message for help and let's get out of here."
He surveyed the computer with distrust. He glanced at Steve.
"Go on then."
"Why can't you?"
"I don't even know how to turn one of
these things on. Now get to it," he ordered, pointing
authoritatively at the screen.
"You know," Steve said, pressing a
couple of keys and bringing up an email window, "you really
are a jerk."
Alfred ignored him. "Let's see
I know! Send a message to Hunk. He'll get me out of here in
no time. Tell him well, make it up as you go along. Make it
sound good mind, nothing I wouldn't say." He watched
with a troubled expression as Steve began to type, slowly at
first, but then with more rapidity as he progressed.
"How's this?" Steve asked,
standing back. Alfred made no reply. "It says
To: well, I don't know his email address. Subject:
Urgent. Message: Hunk, this is Alfred Ashford. An unknown company
has started attacking the base, and I need you and a group of men
to come and regain control of Rockfort Island. I will need to be
transported to the nearest Umbrella base immediately, along with
my bodyguard, as the company appears to be searching for me.
Please come as soon as you can. Alfred.' What do you
Alfred shrugged. "It's all
"What's Hunk's email
"I don't know. Send it directly to
Umbrella, they'll pass it on to him."
"Well, what's Umbrella's email
address?" asked Steve, his patience rapidly wearing thin.
"Hq@umbrella.com? Veryevilcompany@wekillpeople.com? Give me
a clue here!"
"Oh, I don't know.
Umbrella@Umbrella .com, yeah, that's it."
"You sure?" Steve sighed.
"Yeah! Well, kinda"
Steve sagged suddenly. His knees buckled and
his vision began to grow cloudy. "What's going
on?" he gasped, clutching his chest. He gazed in horror at
Alfred, who glared at him as if he were putting on an act. Alfred!
What did you do to me?
She stood in the doorway, smiling at some
private joke, waiting for someone to acknowledge her arrival. She
stared around at the lavish furnishings, the carved oak and plush
velvet furniture. It was exactly like she had imagined it would
"I love it," she breathed.
Footsteps rang on the wooden floor to her
right, and she turned to see an aged man approaching her, whom
she assumed was the butler, with a mop of grey hair resting
jauntily against his head, and a becoming smile.
"Ah, Miss Ashford. Jonathan Hatton, at
your service. So pleased you could make it."
"My pleasure," she replied smoothly,
shaking his hand. "What a beautiful house," she
remarked. "How long have you been in residence here?"
"Oh, ten, twenty years. Something like
that," he said, his smile growing broader at the girl's
politeness. "Should I take these cases up to your
"Oh, no, that's quite all right. I
wouldn't want to inconvenience you. I'll take them
myself." She picked her two cases up, barely contained a
wince at their weight, and hesitated. "If it's not too
much trouble, would you mind telling me which room I will be
The old butler frowned at his lack of courtesy.
"I apologise, Miss Ashford. I'll take you there.
It's no trouble, none at all."
"Thank you very much. And please, call me
Alfred trotted through the shadows, his face a
picture of determination. Gunshots rang relentlessly in his ears,
and cries of wounded men. From somewhere nearby came the
unmistakable roar of a Gulp Worm, and the howl of a Bandersnatch.
"Home sweet home," he murmured
A noise from beyond a door startled him, and he
shrunk into the shadows immediately, breathing louder than a herd
of elephants, he thought. But somehow his presence was left
unnoticed, and a troupe of soldiers all filed past him, obeying
some unknown order.
What had happened to his island? One moment a
simple island prison, so illegal and unauthorised a law-abiding
citizen would wince to hear of it. A minute later it became a
madhouse, full of terrible zombies, and weird things that Alfred
had never even heard of. Then there was the Tyrant, a true work
of genius. But it had died, presumably, unless it had taken a
holiday somewhere in the Caribbean. He really did owe a lot to
that company whose raid had started the whole thing off, like
some dreadful line of toppling dominoes, each one creating a
bigger earthquake as it fell. Oh yes. He owed them a hell of a
He sighed, as loudly as he thought he could get
away with. If only he had a weapon! He should have taken that
Magnum Steve had found somewhere. That boy seemed to have a knack
for finding things. It was uncanny. As was his supernatural
hearing ability. That was another thing Alfred was unhappy about.
If he had the choice between being able to hear quiet things a
mile away, or listening to Steve Burnside's thoughts
Really, it ought to deafen him. Being able to
hear anything, anywhere was that any different from hearing
everything, everywhere? But somehow Steve managed to hear only
what he wanted to hear. The jerk.
He looked about thoughtfully. He knew where he
was, of course, but he didn't know if he could make it
without being caught. Still, you have to take risks. Trusting
that Steve had been a big one, and this was another. He slipped
through the door, taking care not to let it slam shut behind him,
and entered the courtyard.
His face fell as he beheld what remained of his
beloved Military Training Facility. Flames flickered in most of
the windows, casting an eerie shadow across the dirt courtyard,
illuminating strange shapes that could be anything, and creating
flickering silhouettes of dead creatures that definitely
hadn't been human.
On the ground in front of him a creature lay
still, curled into a ball, its limbs wrapped up so it looked like
an overly large appetiser at a party. Scales lined its back,
shimmering in the blaze of the fire, in a million shades of
purple and red. Alfred pursed his lips, and prodded the prone
creature with his boot. It immediately sprawled forwards, limbs
outstretched, falling into the mud, sending a spray of ruby red
blood in every conceivable direction.
"Oh dear," Alfred whispered, wiping
his face to remove the splattered dregs of blood. "I
haven't seen you around here before," he said dryly. He
turned, anxious to forget the sight, and pressed the elevator
call button. "Where could everybody be? Probably at the
palace. Prying. Or," he added thoughtfully, "using my
With a whoosh of intricate machinery, the lift
doors sprang open, and Alfred hurried inside, arranging himself
between the crates. What was inside them anyway? He had no idea.
"What the- Steve?" Alfred gasped,
taking a precautionary step backwards.
Where are you? How could you abandon me like
that? I thought we had a deal!
Alfred winced. Typical. Blame first, ask
questions later. "Steve," he said carefully. "Can
you hear me? I'm in the lift. I'm going to the airport.
Just look at your stupid computer, that'll tell you
what's going on. You can't blame me if you go around
I see. But I didn't faint Alfred,
honestly I didn't. I had a dream, but I wasn't asleep.
I could hear everything around me, but I could still hear what
was happening here. I wasn't asleep, I swear! It was real!
There was this girl, called
Alfred started, but said nothing about it.
"Look Steve, I'm in a sticky situation here. I
can't go around talking to myself, that's a sure-fire
way to get myself caught. So keep on thinking, by all means, just
don't expect a reply."
The lift stopped, and the doors swung open,
with incredible slowness. "Oh, come on," he moaned,
desperate. He glanced at his watch, and stepped out of the lift,
a slow smile on his face. Ha Veronica was Steve
messing about? He must know about Veronica Ashford, and the way
he looked up to her. It was one hell of a coincidence, that was
Steve stumbled over to the desk with the
computer, clutching onto the metal surface for support. His
breathing was heavy and ragged, his hair dishevelled. He glanced
at the computer screen with distrust. I can't believe
Alfred just abandoned me. I know he's going to the airport
A new email had been received, and Alfred had
managed to read it, despite his claim that he knew nothing about
computers. Steve didn't recognise the email address, but he
read it anyway.
"Alfred," he read aloud.
"I'll be at Rockfort Island airport at one o clock.
Wait for me there, Hunk." Steve raised his eyebrows.
"Rather brief," he murmured. He glanced at the clock in
the corner of the screen. It was almost one. He must have been
knocked out for over two hours He breathed out deeply.
Suddenly, the breath caught in his throat and
his legs swayed beneath him. Not againhe thought, as
the world span and pulsated before his eyes.
Veronica stared into nothingness. A tear rolled
down her cheek. "Steve" she whispered. "Tell
Alfred and Alexia to come home I want to sing again. And
the eagle must fly once more"
Steve's mouth fell open. He realised he
was still standing up, and his legs immediately gave way beneath
him and he sat down quickly. That was a new sensation. It
was nothing like the dream he had had before. This time
Veronica had been speaking to him directly to him
He scrambled back to his feet and shook his
head wildly to dislodge the mental fog that seemed to be blocking
all his impulses. He looked back at the clock. It was only a
minute since he had last checked.
Alfred! He almost screamed in his head. Alfred
are you there? Something weird just happened! It was like she was
talking to me! She was! She said my name!
"You fainted again. Congratulations.
Will you stop thinking?! I don't want to get caught! Hunk
hasn't shown up yet but he will."
Everything went black and Veronica was
there, Veronica Ashford! She told me to tell you and Alexia to go
home, because she wanted to sing again, or something! I mean it
Alfred, it was real.
"Shut up Steve. Just shut up."
Steve pounded his forehead with his fists. Why
wouldn't Alfred believe him? Something terrible was
happening to him, and Alfred wouldn't do a damn thing about
it. Typical. So bloody typical.
He bounded down from the plane, bursting with
youthful energy. A huge sub machine gun was clenched in his fist,
and he waved it about as if it were a child's toy. He
breathed in thoughtfully as he surveyed the airport, his eyebrows
His eyes focused on a solitary figure pacing
around in frenzy. The man was decked out in some sort of military
uniform, his blonde hair slicked back naturally, and his pale
blue eyes flashing madly.
"Alfred!" he called, waving an arm in
the air. "Hey, Alfred!" A large smile spread across his
face, and he hurried towards his old friend with long, loping
Alfred looked up, and couldn't contain a
smile as he beheld the man. "Hunk!" he breathed,
sagging slightly with relief. "You finally showed! I'm
so glad you're here! Heh, you look a lot different. See you
finally decided to shave, then."
Hunk folded his arms and rocked back on his
heels. He was a well-built man in his late twenties, with short
wiry black hair that was impossible to control, and deep green
eyes. "I was on the move when I got your email," he
said, grinning. "It's a good job I was so close, or it
would have taken me a hell of a lot longer to reach you."
Alfred peered through the gloom behind Hunk.
"Is that your plane?"
"Yup," Hunk replied cheerfully,
detaching his machine gun and eyeing it thoughtfully. "My
personal one. It's not Umbrella's. Like it?"
Alfred nodded vaguely, a frown creasing his
forehead. "It's great, but when's everyone
else getting here?"
Hunk paused. "Everyone else?"
Alfred shifted uncomfortably. "Well,
yeah I said in the email to send a troop of men. There are
hundreds of people here, Hunk, I don't know if one man alone
can take them on"
Hunk laughed, his deep boom echoing off the
walls. "Don't worry, Alfred. I can handle it. You
see," he added, with a grin, "when you get a reputation
for being the sole survivor of every mission you are sent on,
people don't exactly jump at the chance to go with
Alfred nodded slowly. "I see."
Hunk grinned nervously. "And that's
about it. So let's go kick us some ass. What do you say,
boss?" He began to walk away, limping slightly.
Alfred frowned after him. He didn't seem
like he was telling the truth But what did it matter? Hunk
was here now, with weapons, and he was going to get his island
back. To hell with the details. And to hell with Steve Burnside,
for that matter.
Well, that's it for the first chapter. Coming
in the next 'thrilling' instalment... Steve has an unwelcome
encounter with the company determined to find the T-Veronica
virus, Hunk goes to the rescue, Veronica is evil, and Alfred
makes many saracastic comments. Sounds like fun. So please review
me, and let me know if I am getting it all wrong. Or right,
should the circumstance arise. Go on... tell me what you really
think. I dare ya! ^_^