TWO WEEKS AFTER FIRST INFECTION...
As night fell over the city of Fairfield, the carnage in the streets continued. The sound of sirens, screams and howling echoed in the air. Rubble, wrecked cars and corpses littered the streets, painting the grim picture of great catastrophe.
Four survivors moved silently through the alleyway, alert and cautious, training their guns on anything that moved.
Bill, the leader of the group, was an old but sturdy war veteran, evident from the army fatigues that he wore, and the professionalism with which he handled his M-16 assault rifle. A smoking cigarette hung from the corner of his mouth, illuminating his wiry bearded face and the green beret donning his greying hair.
Following closely behind Bill was Zoey, a petite, young brunette woman. She wore a white vest, bright red track jacket with white stripes running down the sides, faded jeans and black and white sneakers. Her cautious green eyes scanned the area for any signs of danger, her ponytail sweeping through the air. She held an M1911 pistol in front of her with one hand, while her other hand grasped a flashlight, lighting up the group's path.
Louis walked next to Zoey, holding a Uzi close to his side. The submachine gun was in stark contrast to the office attire of the thin, black and head-shaved young man; a white collared button-up shirt, business slacks and a red tie hanging loosely around his neck.
Bringing up the rear was Francis, a stocky biker whose image was bolstered by his black vest, tattooed arms and buzz-cut. He brandished a large pump-action shotgun, cursing under his breath. What he thought of the man leading their expedition would have made Bill less than happy to know.
"Why are we going this way, anyway?" the biker asked sourly. "We should stick to the streets; we have a better chance of being spotted by the rescue choppers."
Bill scowled, as he did every time Francis challenged him. "It's a slaughterhouse, son. Too open. And even if a helicopter did spot us, the streets are too hot for them to land. Our best bet is to get to a rooftop."
Francis grumbled once more under his breath, but he knew when he was beaten. Everyone was going to stick with the experienced Vietnam veteran, of course. He reached into his backpack for a candy-bar, but scowled when he realised that he had run out. The bag was becoming alarmingly empty of supplies. He looked over at Zoey, who was carrying the only other backpack in the group.
"You got any food?"
"Only some canned stuff left," she said regretfully.
Suddenly, Bill noticed something on the floor of the alley. He held up his right palm. "Hold up." He bent down and prodded at a puddle of green slime. "Ain't seen anything like this before."
Francis looked down at the fetid puddle and felt his appetite evaporate. "Jesus," he spat, repulsed. "Don't let that stop you from smearin' it all over yourself!"
Bill turned his head toward him, scowling once more. He collected his rifle and stood, wiping his fingers on Francis' vest while the latter's attention was diverted by a distant scream.
"The Infected. They're changing." The war veteran moved off further down the alley.
"GODDAMN IT, BILL!" Francis roared. He sniffed at the putrid green stain the older man had left on his clothes and recoiled in disgust. "UGH, THAT STINKS!" He took a deep breath and somewhat regained his composure. "You'd better hope that washes out," he growled.
Louis could not help but chuckle at the situation. Suddenly, another, most unexpected sound pierced the night. Loud, tortured sobbing drifted from somewhere nearby. Bill looked over at the others, and then located the source of the noise. The crying was coming from behind a metal door built into the brick wall of the alleyway.
Zoey looked at the door in surprise. "There's someone still alive," she said hopefully.
Bill glanced at Louis, who nodded his approval silently. He and Zoey then took up positions outside the door. The older man slowly turned the knob and cautiously pushed the door open, and then they both pointed their weapons into the pitch blackness inside. The bitter and tortured crying continued, louder than before.
Bill nodded into the darkness. "Over there," he whispered, his voice echoing throughout the dark room.
Zoey promptly switched on her flashlight again, the cone of light illuminating a small portion of the room. However, the source of the crying was obscured by a large desk in the way. Bill slowly crept forward into the room, crouched down, gun held out in front. Zoey followed him, her flashlight and pistol trained toward the desk.
"Hello?" she called. "Hello?" However, she received no response.
As they came around the desk, they caught glimpses of the figure. It was an extremely thin woman, sitting cross-legged on the tiled floor. Her head was tilted forward, causing her long, knotted hair to fall over her face. Her entire body heaved as she sobbed. Zoey noticed several bloodstains on the ground and wall.
"It's okay," she began. "We're going to – "
A loud rumble of thunder came from outside, and a flash of lightning momentarily lit up the room. To her horror, she saw that the bloodstains she had seen earlier belonged to several mutilated corpses up against the far wall.
The flash of lightning lit up the figure sitting on the floor, showing that it was definitely NOT human. The figure had white, knotted hair, greying skin and long red claws folded in its lap.
However, before Zoey's flashlight could illuminate the figure's face, Bill's hand came up, pushing it back down.
"Lights OFF," he hissed.
Zoey quickly complied, and fortunately, the woman ignored them and continued to weep.
Francis and Louis stood guard outside the door in a rather uncomfortable silence.
"What do you think is taking them so long?" he asked presently.
Francis grunted. "Do you wanna go in there and ask 'em?"
Before the other man could reply, a loud snarl from back down the alleyway caught their attention. He turned to see a large crowd of people running toward them. However, these people had long lost all vestiges of their humanity. They were now Infected; extremely aggressive and mindless animals, victims of the virus that had recently developed suddenly and without warning throughout Pennsylvania. The effects of the so-called 'Green Flu' were devastating. Entire cities had already been lost, and Fairfield was about to become one of them.
"Oh, shit," Louis breathed, as his compatriot began to fire his shotgun. "Shit. SHIT. SHIT!"
As Francis continued shooting, Louis ran into the doorway to see Zoey and Bill kneeling down next to a woman.
"They're coming!" he yelled as he brought his flashlight to bear on the three figures. It was then that he saw the hideous figure in the full light."What the – "
The gangly woman snapped her head up to face him, her eyes gleaming a sinister red. She stood up and let out a bone-chilling scream, causing Louis to cry out in shock and fear.
"RUN LIKE HELL!" Zoey screamed, and the three of them ran for the door, with the hideous woman in hot pursuit.
They barrelled out of the door, and Louis slammed it shut, leaning against it to stop the infected woman from following them. He heard a loud THUMP, and a dent appeared in the metal door. Another THUMP and dent followed. A second later, with a terrible ripping sound, one of the woman's clawed arms tore through the door. It began to flail wildly, searching for a victim. Louis shouted in shock, and unloaded his Uzi into the long, gangly appendage, causing it to reach for him.
"DO YOU LIKE THAT?" he yelled and continued shooting the arm, which eventually retracted back into the darkness.
Meanwhile, Zoey, Bill and Francis opened fire on the mob rushing toward them. Bodies tumbled and fell over each other as blood spurted into the air. Soon thereafter, the last Infected toppled to the ground, and the sound of gunfire ceased, leaving a tense silence in its wake. Louis cocked his head to the sky when he heard the whir of helicopter blades.
"D'you hear that?" he cried excitedly.
A searchlight beam swept through the alleyway as a helicopter flew overhead, blaring something through a loudspeaker.
"HEY!" Louis yelled, running down the alley and waving his arms. "WAIT UP!"
"Louis, stop!" Zoey called, but he did not hear her. She quickly ran after him before Bill or Francis could object.
No one saw the dark figure stalking Louis from the rooftops. Another bolt of lightning flashed overhead.
"HEEEEEEY!" Louis screamed, running out into the street after the helicopter. "WE'RE DOWN HERE!" If the helicopter pilot noticed the desperate bid for his attention, he did not show it. "WE'RE NOT INFECTED!" the former business man yelled, his voice cracking.
As the helicopter flew away into the distance, Louis was able to make out some of the words coming from the loudspeaker. "If there are any survivors down there, make your way to Mercy Hospital for evacuation."
He cursed his bad luck, not noticing the dark figure hanging down from the rooftop behind, eyeing him down hungrily. With an ear-splitting scream, it pounced with incredible speed and agility. It slammed into its prey and pinned him to the road, slashing at his chest mercilessly with its claws. Louis screamed in shock and pain.
Suddenly, Zoey threw herself into the figure from the side, knocking it away from her compatriot. She stumbled to one knee, and brought her pistol to bear as the hooded figure turned back toward her. She fired a shot, hitting it in the shoulder. It recoiled from the impact, roaring in anger. It prepared to pounce once more, but Zoey shot it again, hitting it in the stomach. She fired another shot, but the infected creature was too fast. It jumped away across the street with awe-dropping speed and disappeared into a dark alleyway.
However, Zoey's stray bullet slammed into a car, triggering the alarm. The mostly-silent street echoed with the piercing klaxon. As the alarm screeched, a bloodthirsty chorus of howling and screaming rose to meet it. Francis and Bill ran out of the alleyway into the street.
"Damn it!" he cursed furiously. "Who set off the car alarm?" He glared at Louis, who was being helped up by Zoey.
"Hey man! Don't look at me!" Louis cried defensively. "She did it!"
Zoey's eyes narrowed. "I just saved your life. You're welcome!"
The deafening roar of the incoming horde grew louder. Lightning flashed across the sky again and momentarily showed countless shadows of people dancing across the buildings as they closed in on the four survivors.
"I know you meant well, kid," Bill said slowly. "But by saving this jackass, I think you've just invited every Infected in the city to dinner."
As if to prove his point, a huge crowd of infected people came running down the street and spilling out of doorways. A heavy rain began to fall at that moment, almost as if it was an omen of things to come. The four survivors immediately opened fire, taking down several Infected. But there were far too many for them to handle.
Zoey looked over her shoulder and her heart sank. "Bill! They're coming from the other direction too!"
"Let's move, people!" he ordered.
The group ran across the street toward another alleyway, firing as they ran. Louis was heavily injured, and had to be helped along by Bill. Meanwhile, the bloodthirsty horde ran after them. The group came to a fire-escape and Zoey and immediately began to scale the metal staircase. Francis, Bill and Louis turned back to see a solid wall of Infected rushing toward them. He fired off a quick burst from his Uzi, and then turned to be helped by Bill up the fire-escape.
The dark alley flashed as Francis fired off one shotgun round after another, exploding heads in showers of gore and making large, bloody holes in chests.
"Yeah!" he hollered. "Come and get some!"
"Francis, come on!" Zoey yelled from above him.
He turned to run up the fire-escape, but cried out in shock when he saw an infected man right behind him. Its mouth was open in a roar as it prepared to tear the biker's throat out. However, a hole appeared in the infected man's head, and he collapsed. Francis looked up to see Zoey standing above him on the fire-escape with a smoking pistol.
"GO!" she yelled. "I'll hold them off!" She continued to gun down Infected as Francis climbed the stairs.
He reached her, and they both turned and climbed up the rest of the fire-escape, with the infected crowd right behind them. They both tumbled onto the roof of the building and Zoey looked back to see Bill casually toss a grenade over his shoulder onto the fire-escape. It tumbled down a few steps, and then exploded, sending up a spray of blood. The fire-escape screeched and groaned horrendously. It soon tore away from the building completely and fell back into the alley, crushing a large amount of infected people who happened to be below it. A cloud of dust and debris rose into the air as relative silence descended once more.
Zoey collapsed to all fours, struggling to catch her breath, while Francis and Louis sat down at the edge of the roof.
He started to laugh, but it just caused the injuries that he had sustained to hurt even more. Instead he just smiled. "We made it... I can't believe we made it!"
"Son, we just crossed the street," Bill said. He was sitting down on a step with his back to the rest of the group as he cupped his hands to his mouth to light up another cigarette. "Let's not throw a party 'till we're outta the city."
He stood up and walked over to the far edge of the roof. Francis joined him and they looked out over the city, being laid to waste by its own frenzied citizens. Fires and smoke could be seen in every direction, and the air echoed with the sound of howling. The city was never free of the howling.
Well, I was introduced to Left 4 Dead fairly recently, and it has rapidly become one of my favourite games. So I have decided to attempt a novelisation centralising around the original survivors.
I understand that my Prologue was just a rehash of the intro movie, but it WAS a pretty badass intro. In future chapters, I won't be following the character dialogue word-for-word, so don't worry.
This story is interesting for me because it's my first attempt at writing horror. I am going to do my best to build up tension and suspense, and actually make this story scary to read. So, if anyone has any tips on how to write a good and suspenseful horror story, please comment and let me know.
Also, reviews are greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.