"Hey, so... um... Er- Erin..." I ran around awkwardly, trying to catch up with Erin as she pounced from one end of the street to another. We had been walking around for a little while, searching alleyways and abandoned garages for the Tank. A few minutes after Erin had found me in front of my hiding place and we had both started looking around, it become apparent that the city we were in was abandoned. And by abandoned, I mean completely deserted. We couldn't even find a stray cat. I could tell Erin was growing more anxious. She had stopped jumping around so often, stopping for longer periods of time to glance around tensely and scrape her hand against the ground. I guess scratching at the pavement was an... odd habit of hers. She finally stopped enough for me to walk up to her and attempt to look at her face - most of it was still shadowed by her hood.
"You figured out how to walk," she commented. I glanced down at my feet. They were as warped as the rest of my body, of course, but I had figured that it wouldn't be much of an issue, her staring at the deformity, considering Erin's claws were just as menacing and grotesque as mine.
"Yeah, it's, uh, convenient, really. So listen... are... well, no... do we have a plan? Like, what are we going to do after, or, or if we find..."
"Well," her voice had taken an interesting tone. She was trying to come off as patient, but I could tell she was growing irritated. "We should take things one at a time. This is a first-time thing for me- being a zombie -so I don't really have too big of an idea on what our grand scheme should be based on. Let's find Hulky first, then maybe we can take inventory and... think of something." She crawled a few feet, tensing up to leap further down the street, then turned back to me.
"How old are you?"
Erin laughed. "Nice. You young people, always anxious to do things, make plans, grow up. Slow down a bit and get a hold of your thoughts. We were cooped up a pretty long time, it should be nice to have some fresh air."
"You kept track?"
"Of how long we were locked up? Yeah." She straightened up to walk a few paces, then returned to her typical crawling position. "I don't know when you were put in there, but I cut notches into the wall. The sun set 237 times. I had been caught in the middle of the day. I was an idiot and tried to talk to a soldier guarding the gate."
"How were you able to keep track of the days?"
"There was a small window in my cell. After a day or two I began to keep count of how often the sun... yeah." Erin opened and closed her fists and jumped across the street and onto the side of a building, only to leap back to Haley's side. She went back to crawling at a slower pace.
"What about the... big guy?"
"Him? Oh, I dunno. He was one of the first Infected to escape, though. Went through most of the workers before letting more of the others out."
We continued our way down the street in silence.
"It's a wonder we haven't found him yet..." Erin mumbled. "You'd think that a big brute like him would make a lot of noise..." Erin's voice trailed off and she stopped crawling. I turned to her. Her eyes were fixed somewhere down the street. In between two buildings, I could make out a lump of... something, a heap on the ground. In a quick motion, Erin leaped towards the figure. I quickly followed her.
The heap was the Tank. A dozen or so tranquilizers- large darts about the size of average water bottles -were scattered across his back, embedded halfway into his skin.
"H-hey, big fella." Erin was crouched next to the Tank's head, her hands trying to gently cradle his disfigured face without scratching it with her claws.
"Is..." I trailed off. The tank groaned, the sound causing the ground beneath us to vibrate just the slightest.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, oh god." Erin reached out and let her hand hover over the darts. Liquid still sloshed around inside them as the Tank's back rose and fell as he breathed. As quickly as she could, Erin began to pull out the darts one by one, tossing them behind into the shadowy alleyway. The Tank groaned again.
"Hey... sorry bud, but you're... I don't think you're gonna make it." Another groan escaped the Tank, but this one was a little different. It was as if he was... chuckling. Erin stayed next to the Tank until the steady breathing of the creature faded away. Erin ducked her head away, quickly swiping at her face.
"That was rough..." Erin inhaled sharply. I stayed silent. I didn't want to try and comfort her only to make things worse. How did you comfort someone you barely knew?
"I... do you want to move him?"
"Yeah... yeah, let's do that. Just into the alley, out of sight."
The both of us grabbed his legs and dragged him to the end of an alley, up against the back door of another building. Even with the strength I had acquired after turning, I felt tired after the feat.
"I don't really... we shouldn't... it doesn't matter now, forget it," Erin mumbled roughly. We both stared at the rough muscle of the Tank's back, scarred and burned from whatever the workers in the prison had to do to keep him under control.
All of a sudden, a bright flash of light jumped across the Tank, only to disappear a second later. Erin's head jerked up, and a growl escaped her lips. I followed her gaze and caught a glimpse of a figure standing on roof of the building next to us, holding what looked like a weapon in their hands. The figure disappeared, running towards the other side of the roof and out of sight. With a screech, Erin jumped up and scaled the side of the building, chasing after the figure on the roof.
I stumbled backwards, trying to see more of the rooftop. I could still hear Erin's growls from far away. I ran back out into the street, turning around to search frantically for a way to the rooftop. I could not lose her, not yet, anyway... she was the only other one like me,and I couldn't...
A shot rang out from above me, and I jumped. I spotted a fire staircase on the side of the building and sprinted towards it, leaping as high as I could and just barely grabbing on to the lowest bar on the ladder hanging down. My claws scratched against the metal as I climbed up the ladder. I took the stairs two at a time, and clumsily crawled onto the roof. After the shot had sounded, it had grown quiet except for Erin's screeches and growls.
My foot hit the weapon the figure had been holding, and it slid a few feet away from me. The faintest amount of smoke was still coming out of the gun's barrel. I looked up and yelped, then ran to the middle of the rooftop. Erin had a man pinned to the ground, her claws shredding through his sides. There was blood everywhere. When I reached her side I immediately recognized the man.
A smile was pasted on his face - the last expression I had seen him wear before I was captured. He looked content, almost, as if being viciously attacked by a zombie was his weekly form of relaxation. He caught my gaze and directed his grin towards me. I growled. He began to splutter, blood dripping down his chin.
"I know where your sister is."
I screeched and threw myself at him, knocking Erin to the side. I grabbed his neck and pinned it to the ground. He began to choke, his smile fading away.
"I... know... how... I... tell... you... freak..."
I took my hand off his neck and sent a blow to his chest.
"She's still alive... tests... turning into... Infected." Mark struggled to breath, and his voice shook. Erin spoke from beside me.
"The same place?"
I turned to Erin. She was staring at Mark, her eyes cold and unforgiving.
"How do you know...?"
She looked at me and shook her head. I'llaskherlater,then. I directed my attention back to Mark.
"Good." I got up and turned around to walk back to the fire exit. I heard Erin spit, then follow me.
"Hey!Where the hell are you going? Come back here, help me up you fuckers!"
Without missing a beat, I started back towards Mark. He grinned and propped himself up with his arms. "I told you where your sister is, now get me up, go on." He reached up and wiped away the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand. I reached out and kicked him down. His head hit the concrete with a thud.
"The fuck are you-"
"Listen to me," I spat. "You are a filthy, disgusting person, and I really want to bash your head in with my foot."
"Then do it."
"No." I glanced at his legs. Breakthem, a voice in my head laughed. Leavehimuphereinexcruciatingpain,cryingformercy.Thinkofhowmuchhedeservesit. I silenced the voice and blocked the thoughts from my head. "You get to stay up here. You might be able to get up sooner or later, or you might just die. I don't care, it's not my problem." I turned back to Erin and walked back to the fire exit. He screamed as I walked away.
"You're just a coward! You don't want my blood on your hands! Coward! Don't think you can stay alive forever!"
Once Erin and I had climbed down the first flight of stairs, Erin let out a scoff. "There's no way I want to live forever. At least not under theseconditions." She gestured to herself. It was then that I noticed her hood had fallen down. I stopped and looked at her exposed face, not attempting to hide my blatant staring.
Long blonde hair framed her face, which was normal except for a couple of thin scars that ran down her left jawline. Her face seemed unusually thin, and her lips were dry and cracked. Shadowy circles had formed underneath her eyes. They weren't sunken into her head like the zombies I had first seen in the warehouse - the only thing unusual about them was their blood red color.
"Your, um..." I gestured to her head. She reached up and rested her hand on the back of her head, then clutched at the hood of her jacket and pulled it around her neck. She smiled.
"I guess there's no point for it now, is there?" She leapt down the the ground, skipping the last few flights of stairs.
"I'm sorry if-"
"No, it's fine. It wasn't that big of a deal. I was just being mysterious." She laughed and pointed down the street, in the direction of the military base. "It's a wonder your sister is still alive... after all this time, I mean."
"No, I know." I squinted against the sun, trying to make out the outline of the base. All of a sudden, a cold thought crept up into my mind and I sighed, sitting down on the asphalt. I rested my head against my knees and bit my lip. You'repathetic, my thoughts sneered. Howhorriblecanyouget?
"What's wrong?" Erin tilted her head, giving me a strange look.
"I think I've forgotten."
"Forgotten what?" She took a step in my direction.
"It feels... like I've forgotten her. I don't... I can't remember things. Memories Diana and I shared. I know they're there, but I can't recall... details. Things I should know. The color of the walls in her room. Her favorite stuffed animal. I know they were there, but I can't..." I groaned and shook my head. "Maybe I'm just making it up. I'm overreacting, that's all."
Erin stayed silent.
"I mean, it's been such a long time. I shouldn't expect myself to remember such small things." I rested my chin on my knee, staring at a broken window across the street. "But they were important. They should have been."
"I can't remember either."
Erin had spoken so softly, part of me thought her words had just been my imagination. She looked at me.
"It's like my life is a notebook, and I've left pages empty. Or like a diary. Something should be there, I know that, but I can't remember what." She sniffed, but showed no signs of sadness. "My mom's first name. What breed of dog I had. I have-" She placed two fingers against her lips. "I have a lip piercing, but I don't remember getting it. Or why. It's small things, but you'd think I'd be able to remember..."
I got up. "There's no point in wallowing in our misery now. We need to find my sister."
"But can't you see?" She grabbed my shoulders. "We're forgetting things. What if..."
"What if what?"
"The other zombies don't remember things." Erin let go of my shoulders.
I stared at her.
"Nevermind." Erin started down the street. "Let's find that fucking sister of yours. I hope she's worth it."
I ignored her, and started down the street myself.
"If your sister ends up being dead," Erin shouted, "I hope you pay more attention to more important things, like the memories we're losing."
"The only memories I care about are of her, so I guess we're on the right track."
A/N: Sorry for the wait on chapter ten! I wanted to keep this story of mine free of author's notes, but if you've read this far, I'd appreciate it if you dropped me a review and let me know what you think. Cheers!