Just wanted to saw thanks so much for the reviews! Its great to get positive feedback for my writing, and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it! Anyway, onward with the last chapter! :) -mlove
The sun blazed down on Ellis, making a bead of sweat run down his face as he punched an infected out of his way. He reloaded his assault rifle quickly loving the feel of the gun, grateful for the camp that provided them.
His boots splashed through puddles of blood and flesh as he fought, scanning the area for any sign of life, real life that might be on these streets. All the while he kept an eye on the woman a ways away, awed at how well she was at holding her own. Zoey used the AK-47 as if it were an extension of her arm, fighting her way through the horde of infected.
How did I end up back here?
It was a question that often floated through his mind, whenever he came face to face with another mutated being, whenever he ended up in a situation near death. And then he would remember an evening, which took place months ago, near the time when they were first rescued. A pair of soft hands had woken him in the middle of the night, and his blurred vision cleared to see Zoey's face, peering down at him.
"Zoey, you okay?" he asked, his mind instantly thinking something was wrong. Was the camp invaded? Were they in trouble?
"Sorry to wake you, but I couldn't keep this in anymore."
"What?" Ellis fully sat up with her now, wondering what time it was. Had she slept at all?
"Ellis…I decided something…I have to go back out there."
"To fight the infected."
Ellis had stared at her in confusion, instantly thinking of reasons to object. They were barely healed, they had just lost someone to the horrors out there; why go back into the hell they had just come out of?
"I have been thinking about it ever since Bill died. If there's something we can do, anything at all to prevent more deaths…I want to do it."
It was when she spoke those words that it occurred to him; she needed to do this. Ellis wanted to have a normal life, but he realized that was never going to happen again. Not in this world. Unless there was a cure, something to make the world right again…it would never be. If anything he would rather spend the remainder of his days fighting alongside the girl he was crazy about.
Zoey waited anxiously over the next few months for her body to heal. She was growing restless, and everyone could see it. She spent many days outside, staring out of the barriers of the camp, as if craving to be out there again. She practiced her physical therapy diligently, and slowly her leg became fully healed as with her ribs. She could move easily once again and Ellis had never seen her happier when the two of them joined the team. He still remembered her face when she picked up a familiar gun.
And now when they fought, things felt different. There wasn't any fear, not anymore. Instead of fighting to stay alive, they were fighting for others, fighting to keep them alive. It was a better feeling; Ellis knew Zoey felt the same.
A blow to the side snapped him back to the present. He swung around swiftly and shot the infected dead, freeing himself. His gaze wandered back to Zoey. She seemed to be on top of her game; killing the infected before they had a chance to strike her, fighting with the skill gained from all the practice. The final one that surrounded her dropped dead, Zoey's final shot put them in a wave of silence.
She brushed a stray hair out of her face as her gaze drifted over to Ellis. Seeing his smile, she returned it and began jogging lightly to him. His smile faded when he saw the infected lurking behind her, saw the tongue that shot right towards her.
"Zoey!" Ellis warned, but it was too late. The smoker's tongue wrapped around her leg, halting her steps, and dragging her backwards. Her body hit the ground; her nails scratched the earth trying to keep herself away from it. But to no avail, it was stronger than her.
"Zoey!" Ellis cried out again aiming his rifle, intending to fire, but the sudden vomit drenched him, covering his gun, his entire body. His vision blurred as the vomit covered his face.
How did I not hear the gurgle?
He wiped his face hurriedly trying to clear his vision, but it did very little. When his vision was restored, what he saw was not a clear path in front of him. Dozens of infected surrounded him, attracted to the smell of the boomer's vomit. He put his gun away, feeling his axe would serve him better. Gripping the handle with both hands, he swung killing all the infected within his sight. But the ones behind them appeared, closing him in once again, closing in the path to Zoey. But still he moved, swinging his axe, praying Zoey was okay. There had been too many close calls.
If anything happened to her…
The horde seemed never ending, but at last he made his way through, slicing the final infected that blocked him to Zoey. A clear shot opened up through the haze of the smoke and the infected. He had to take it, before his vision became blocked once more. He fired and at once tried to control his sudden coughing. Even the protection he wore didn't keep the smoke from entering his body.
He vaguely say Zoey drop to the ground, and coughing, he made his way to her. Gasping for air, she accepted his hand, and stood. Ellis stared at the ring around her neck concerned, but she didn't seem fazed. As the smoke cleared, she took a deep inhale, and reloaded. Zoey did not hesitate; holding up her gun, she shot the nearby boomer, and went into the mob, showing no fear. She moved through the horde easily, being quick, yet managing to avoid any damage from them.
Ellis noticed he only had to follow through at her heels, protecting her from the ones she missed. But there were very few that she missed, she showed no mercy. Ellis couldn't help feeling impressed by her. He always knew, from when he had first rescued her that she was a fighter. But these days, it was as if she were stronger.
Maybe it was because of her admiration for Bill, as if she was trying to redeem his death. Maybe it was because of her determination to find the stranded survivors. Or a combination of the two; Ellis wasn't sure.
It seemed as if only moments later, the fight was over, and the final infected that had attacked dropped dead at the hands of Zoey. She dropped her gun, weary from the use, breathing heavily.
"You okay?" Ellis asked, placing a hand on her shoulder.
"Yeah," Zoey said slightly breathlessly.
As he stared into her face, spotted with blood, and close to dripping with sweat, he felt a wave of déjà vu. He had been here before…the woman, the dead bodies…
Zoey glanced up at him, noticing the man staring at her. She felt her heart increase slightly as he looked at her, a small smile was on his face, and his eyes were bright and full of admiration.
"What?" she questioned.
"Nothin just…you're a good fighter." And then he remembered. That dream he had…only now, it was reality. He couldn't stop his face breaking out into a grin, and grabbed her hand. Zoey raised her eyebrows, surprised at the sudden contact, but it returned to the smile she previously wore.
She interlaced her fingers with his, and even through the padding they both wore, they knew their hearts were beating quickly. Ellis chuckled, surprised that after all these months, she could still give him butterflies. He leaned down, not caring that they both were covered in grime and sweat…
The handheld transceiver at his belt sounded, interrupting the moment. He pulled it out, hoping for good news.
"What's up? Find anything?" Zoey stared intently at the radio, waiting.
"Yeah, we think we found someone over here. Sounded like a scream," Coach's voice sounded through the static. "Better get over here guys."
"Be right there."
Replacing the walkie talkie back on his belt, he looked over at Zoey. Even the familiar cry from the infected didn't break her smile. She reloaded her gun.
"Shall we?" she asked.
Not breaking his eyes from hers, he did the same.
"We shall. Lead the way, ma'am!"
She did just that, leading Ellis through the grass to their friends. Any sign of tiredness, any weakness was gone. She felt a new strength surge through her body, giving her the energy she needed to save the stranded person. Whoever was left for dead, she would bring them back. Just like someone had once done for her.