Chapter 4 : Worse than a witch.

a/n: sorry it took so long, but here's chapter 4! Thanks for all the reviews ^^

So, it was Rochelle who had taken her clothes. Not the boy. She made a mental note to apologize to him, as she put them back on. What would she tell him anyway: "sorry I kinda thought you were screwing me while I was out, so I decided to kill you. Nothing personal, though."? Nah, she would cross that bridge when she came to it. It wasn't that important, and if he expected an immediate apology, well he would need to get his priorities in order. An apocalypse is not the time for social niceties.

The others were waiting outside the safe room. She'd only heard a few gunshots since they'd been there. Hmm, maybe the infected were off some place else- coffee break? She pictured two infected guys sitting on the curb with lunch boxes on their laps, talking: "Hey what did the missus prepare for you today, Joe?" - "Ah the usual- noggin noodle stew, what about you Ed?"- "her specialty, lower cortex crumble." The thought made her snigger, grimace and then snigger some more while she pulled on her dusky blue underwear.

Looking out through the bars at the top of the door, she could see the back of Rochelle's head and hear that boy, whatever was his name was – Elliot? Edmund? Edward….maybe Elroy….

She decided against pissing him off further by calling him by the wrong name. Outside she could hear him arguing with the others, talking about women, guns and P.M.S.

She frowned. All of a sudden her guilt seemed to evaporate. But she wasn't angry; she had no time for this. Her friends were out there somewhere and every passing second bit a chunk of hope away.

She winced while hooking her bra on. The angle of her arm shot pain into her shoulder.

Francis. She wondered if she'd see him again. Or Bill or Louis...but hadn't it always been Francis she 'fought' with? It had always been Francis who teased her, had how long had it been since she had been teased by someone? A day. Then why the heck did it feel like a whole lifetime since she last saw the man?

She pulled on her white tank top and picked up her jacket. It was torn and tattered and rank. She flung it away with deliberate ferocity and the jerked movement made her shoulder scream, but that was what she wanted. She bit her lip tasting the pain- pain she knew she deserved because Francis was lost, and so were Bill and Louis: lost in pain or worse...

Her breath caught as she finished pulling on her jeans. What if they were beyond pain what if they were...?

"No!" she hissed into her silence. She put on her belt, grabbed her gun and pushed open the door. God, how she hated silence.

Stepping out, she narrowed her doe eyes to the light. It was bright out, in some sick way.

"Better now?" Rochelle asked. She saw her clearly for the first time - the woman had a clear face with a certain comforting depth in her dark eyes. They were perfectly compatible with the warm confidence of her bright smile, even though she looked tired and all too recently experienced. She looked like the only girl in any horror movie who could beat the odds and least for a sequel.

"Thank you mis- I mean, Ro." she tried to match her smile, but it was like holding a candle up to the sun. Zoey didn't feel like smiling. Not one bit.

"If y'all er done talking, can we get a move on. Now?" this came from the boy, he was facing away from her, talking to some forehead-in-a-suit.

"Sure. I'm sorry." Zoey said, half wondering why she apologized.

"Yea wel-" the boy turned back to look at her, their pitiful new recruit, and lost his words. He was looking right at her now and she braced for all the complaining, remarks, and insults the man she had nearly shot(twice) would want to pour onto her.

He said nothing.

Zoey hadn't had a chance to know what he looked like, either. Now, in the light she noticed that he was young- around her age. She found that oddly reassuring. His eyes were perhaps younger than himself, as if this whole apocalypse had been deliberately easy on him. He was lean and pale, with a shock of brown hair forced down under his cap, sweaty strands still dipping their delicate, feather soft brown ends down to dangle hypnotically befor- .....hang on. What?! Had she hurt her head or something? This was hardly the time to let her mind 'go'.

She looked away. Heat exploding on her cheeks.

"er Ellis. You 'kay?" Nick, the aforementioned forehead-in-a-suit asked. "You look...constipated."

"uh- Wha.. no. No! I'm fine. I wasn't . No. must be the sausage. I mean as in the hotdog I- I ate."

She looked at him again. He looked shaken. No sleep perhaps?

"heheh. I think someone means a different kinda sausage"

"Shutup Nick!" The southern boy with the real good hair (stop thinking about it!!) stormed off.

"Was it something I said?" Nick Shrugged.

Coach, shook his head at his perceived hopelessness and followed the apparently sulking Southern boy. She was not going to think about the latter's hair. His soft delicate...Damnit!

"Tch. Boys. C'mon lets go." Ro said and they followed them up a short flight of stairs onto the pavement and then along the road. Everyone ignored the almost aimless nature of their march to god-knows-where. But Zoey had a different agenda. Even if coach and Nick were unsuccessful, so help her, she would find her friends and take them to safety even if she had to drag their corpses around for miles. She would not leave them behind.

Upfront Nick and...Whatever-his-name-was, were bickering. Ro clucked her tongue. "Ellis, come on here if he's giving you trouble."

So, his name was Ellis. He stopped and Zoey was sure he was going to argue (like Francis and his endearingly misplaced ego) but he didn't. He scurried right back to Ro's side like a boy called home by mom.

"Yeah, that's right run alon-" Nick began. Again.

"Okay, that's it!" Ro, marched up to Nick, and once more there was bickering.

Well, this was better than silence. And just then a new kind of silence erupted into being between her and Ellis: An awkwardsilence. However, it was soon broken-no-shattered, by Ellis.

"tch. You gonna try `n soot me again?"

"huh? oh that. Look I'm-"

"what? Psycho? Ya know, before you happened, we were fine." he stopped walking now.

"Well then maybe if you didn't have such shitty aim, you wouldn't have this problem."Now she stopped, to face him.

"Look, I thought you were a witch-"

"If I was you'd have been dead."

"Well then I guess you're worse than a witch!!"

"Ellis!!" Rochelle Cut in and walked over. The others had stopped to stare at them. Zoey found it all absolutely nauseating. She wanted Francis…and Bill and Louis, not this bunch of misfits.

Ellis walked off somewhere, perhaps back to Nick, or Coach

"Don't worry 'bout him girl, he's had it real rough lately." Rochelle said putting a hand on Zoey's shoulder, yielding guilt.

"It's my fault" she continued. "I've been a bitch with him for having injured you like that, and for him, well, he's always been the group's youngest, most cared for…you know? The kid. And now…I think this sudden change hurt him somewhere. He's just possessive about his friends. But, don't worry he'll come around. We need to stick together."

The kid. Ha. She had been 'the kid' of a group once. A wonderful group. Once, yes she had. And now she was sure Rochelle wasn't the only one who felt like a bitch. Maybe she should have apologized…

"Speakn' of stickn' together" Coach said, worried. "Where's Ellis?"