Nick watched alone from within his own little corner of the safe room. His mind wandering through out the murky waters of despair and confusion. Rubbing his eyes to stave off the urge to sleep, he continued to think. A million questions formed themselves upon the tip of his tongue. Being immune meant you could stave off the infection and keep a hold of the humanity that many had lost. But it seemed that immunity also had its limits. And right now, it seemed that Ellis' immunity had broken down.
Feeling a warm hand snake on to his shoulder, the conman didn't need to look for the owner of that hand, he knew from the delicate touch that it was Rochelle. Her mediocre attempts at silently comforting him as they both watched Ellis tug at the chain that kept him confined to the opposite corner of the room. His eyes a blaze with confusion and pure animalistic rage. The once warm southern brown had faded, no longer captivating the conman and the rest of the team. Now, a sickly yellow replaced them. The whites of his eyes greying as the infection continued to spread and consume what sanity was left. Coach had chose to sit alone, his hands locking fingers as he simply watched Ellis in silence.
"He's meant to be immune." Nick finally spoke, draining the emotion out of his words with as much force as he could muster. He didn't want to display any kind of emotion in front of that monster. It wasn't Ellis, it simply wore his face as a mask. No matter how hard it tugged at the conmans wilted heart strings, Nick wasn't going to give in. Or so he continued to tell himself. "He damn well is!" Coach finally spoke, his words shaky but strong. "That boy's been bitten more times than a dog's chew toy." Standing from his place, the older man approached Rochelle and Nick. Faltering faintly to the sound of Ellis's cautious snarl. "He ain't ever turned before, that proves he's immune."
Forcing an eyebrow to raise, Nick simply eyed the older man. "Really? Then I suppose he just tried to kill us as a joke?" He snapped coldly, watching Coach tense up to the truth. "Listen boy, you might be thinking in that head of yours that he was lying. Just because you make a living out of lying through those fixed teeth of yours, doesn't mean you can tar the rest of us folk with the same damned brush."
"Boys! please!" Rochelle burst in to the argument, using either hand to fix itself on to a shoulder of each man. It was obvious to both Nick and Coach that she was at a loss of what to do. Well, "join the damned club" - Nick thought.
Ellis was continuing to pull at the thick chain, his breathing ragged and sharp as he failed to give up. Maybe the concept of giving up was never an option to the infected? It seemed like that was the case as the boy kicked and clawed at the wall, wanting to be free. "When is he going to tire himself out? He's going to hurt himself at this rate.." Rochelle asked in a slight whisper. Glancing up at Coach, she felt one of his large hands envelope over her own, squeasing it gently for reassurance. "Don't you worry, we'll figure something out." He replied softly in his usual fatherly tone.
Nick continued to sit under his dark cloud, the faux rain pitter patting along the spongy surface of his working brain as his green eyes remained fixated upon Ellis. None of them had the heart to kill the boy the moment he began to turn. He knew Coach and Rochelle were too nice and soft hearted to even contemplate pushing a bullet through that hicks skull. But why was Nick also feeling the same way? He had tried to do it, the moment those sickly yellow eyes glowered at him and that gut wrenching scream passed through Ellis's lips. But when it came to pulling the trigger, all of his strength vanished. He had to resort to knocking Ellis unconscious with the butt of his gun so that they could tie him up before the kid killed them all. This was something the conman didn't really understand. Emotions were like rare animals to Nick. They were usually hiding from the world and never seen - or becoming exitinct. He had a lot of practice at lying to people, hell, he was the fucking king of lying. But he was beginning to wonder if the lies he spun were not only ensaring poor saps like Ellis - but also, himself.
All of the times he had insulted the hick, told himself that he didn't care what happened to anyone but himself.. they all seemed like such false words now. And that bothered him. Nick was a intelligent guy, he had no problem in declaring such a thing to the world. But the fact he didn't understand his own current thoughts and feelings was beginning to make him question such intelligence. Not that he would ever admit it.
"Why him..." Rochelle asked herself, causing Nick to break out of his little thought bubble and look up at her from his seat.
"Because life is a bitch." He replied honestly, forcing a shrug to hopefully give off the air of not having any attachment to the boy.
Rochelle shot him a softer look, her tear laced eyes seeing right through his poker face as she offered him a weak pat on the shoulder. Signalling to the conman that she knew exactly what he was up to, but was willing to play along if it kept atleast one of them from crying. Damn, Nick hated when she could read him like some damned book. This was why he didn't like women. They were like some freaky emotion seeking radar. Watching her dab at the corners of her eyes with the hem of her shirt, Nick reached in to his pocket and offered her some gauze to wipe her eyes on. Tissues weren't exactly something he thought of grabbing these days. They weren't exactly good for patching up wounds, so gauze would have to do right now.
"Dont you growl at me son," Coach raised a scolding finger to Ellis as he cautiously approached the boy. Who was now trying to circle him, like some rabid dog needing to survive. Ellis's claws left slight grooves in the concrete as they dragged along the floor, his stature hunched to the point that it was probably painful for him to even move.
"What the hell are you doing?" Nick asked irritably. Finally moving from his place and joining Coach, wanting to pull the man back before Ellis tore him open like a piñata.
"Trying to reason with him, there's got to be some human left in him." Coach replied, shooting Nick a almost pleading look that he had never seen from the older man before. "How can you be so sure of that?"The conman asked, curiousity and hope getting the better of him and his stone embraced heart.
"He's not as disfigured as the rest of them. Look closely Nick, that boys still in there somewhere. We just gotta find him."
Coach was right. Nicks eyes scanned over Ellis repeatedly, taking in each inch of the boys frame and slowly analysing it. Ellis had become a hunter, the scrunched up expression on his face and his animal-like movements were more than enough to tell all three of them that. Not to mention the hurrendous screams that tore through the boys lungs when he had dived at them after waking up leashed to the wall. His eyes were mostly intact, every time Ellis had gone to claw at them in typical hunter fashion as he had began to turn, Nick had stepped too close to the boy, distracting him from the obvious pain that his eyes were bringing him. They were more than likely far too sensitive to the natural daylight during his turning. But now it seemed patience and distraction on the boys part had caused his eyes to grow accustomed to the light of day. It was obvious he didn't enjoy it and his eyesight had become rather poor during the daytime from the way he missed everytime he swiped at the two observing men, but Nick wasn't about to let him mutilate himself.
Ellis didn't have numerous welts springing out of his body like other hunters, but the skin of his elbows had become rough and cracked, blood dried between the cracks like a bad case of eczema. His skin paled and greyed at the joints, a handful of veins unnatturally visable on either arm as warning growls and guttural snarls passed through his lips. He wanted all three of those humans dead, sprawled across the floor with their entrails laid around the room like grotesque sculptures. His anger was enough to make the boys blood boil, his head spnning with murderous intent.
Letting out a fierce scream, Ellis quickly swiped at Nick, taking both the conman and Coach by surprise as the hunters claws snagged on to Nicks suit jacket, pulling him close enough for Ellis to do some real damage.