Disclaimer: I don't own this.
The first thing I heard when I woke up was foot steps. They were a woman's, light, and quick. A running woman. Her steps hurried towards me, and my first thought was to call out to her for help. Then I remembered why I was alone in the middle of the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
I had been bitten.
My fingers reach to cover the wound at my ankle, hoping the woman wouldn't kill me one site. Hoping she would leave me, just like my family had. Just like Cass and Harry had. They had no right to be called my parents any longer. They had thrown me out, with only Argo for company.
I heard a gasp, and looked up to see a pale woman with dark hair and dark eyes. She had steaks of grey painting her long hair. Some thing about her seemed familiar, like something I had seen back at home. She dropped to her knees next to me.
"Are you alright?" she asked me. Then her eyes dropped to my ankle, where the blood had begun to seap though my fingers. "Oh," she whispered.
"My name is Mary," I told her as she removed my hands and saw the bite mark. "What's yours?"
"Mary," she said. "Why are you out here all alone?" she asked.
"My... family kicked me out of the house when I was bitten," I told her. "Why are you out here?"
"I'm looking for my friends. I ran away from my village when I was young, after a Fast One rampaged our village. They were with me in the beginning, but I got scared during an attack by the Unconserated, and ran with my brother. He was bitten and died," she explained. "Where are you from?"
"A village in the trees. My... parents said they stumbled upon it after there village had been burned to the ground," I said.
"Why do you hesitate to call them your parents and family?" Mary asked me.
"They refused to believe I was theirs after I had been bitten. And they threw out my twin sister when she had been scratched when she was only four," I told her.
"Your twin sister?" she asked.
"Yes. She had blonde hair, and blue eyes, just like the woman who gave birth to and raised me," I told her.
"What's your mother's name?" Mary demanded, suddnely very angery. "Where would I find her?"
"My mother is Cass. She lives in the village in the trees two days north of here," I said. Out of the corner of my eye, a saw my old, floppy eared dog bounding towards us, a crooked grin on his face. He bounded up to Mary, and licked her face.
"Down, Argo," I ordered the dog. A fond smile spread acros her face.
"I had a dog named Argo once. I lost him in the Forest." Then her face turned to a questioning frown. "What is your father's name? Is it Harry?" she demanded.
"Yes!" I yelped, terrified of her sudden ferceness.
"Have you a brother?" she asked.
"Yes. He's quite older than me, though," I told her.
"Take me to your home. Take me to the village in the trees."
"Harry! Harry, I can see her!" I cried out. I saw the bedraggled form of my daughter limoing through the trees with her old, faithful dog trotting beside her. There was someone else with her. Another Unconsecrated? My husband ran up beside me, and I pointed.
"She's brought others. We're going to have to kill them, Cass. It's our only hope of staying alive," he told me.
"I can't kill her! She's my child! I gave life to her!" I cried.
"And you must take her life away from her now," he replied steadily, though I saw the pain in his eyes. The figures drew closer to the village, and their faces became clearer. I saw a look of sorrow on the woman's face as she walked past the gate into the village on the ground.
"Harrry. They're alive. They haven't Returned. They are people," I whispered. I watched as the woman made a beeline for the house where Mary and Travis had stayed so many years before. Argo faithfully followed her, and Mary limped heistantly after.
"Harry, put the bridge up. They're coming over," I said. Henry called to Jacob, and together, the placed the wooden bridge we had built over to the large house in place. Mary limped out onto the balcony first, and started across the bridge, followed by Argo, then the woman, whose eyes were filled with tears now. My daughter aproached me, and I bit my lip, and opened my arms slightly. She frowned at me, and turned to look at the woman, who was half way across the bridge.
"Mom, this is Mary. She found me in the woods," she told me. I turned to study the woman. She had stopped, and was crying quietly now. Her dark hair fell in her dark eyes as the brightly shining tears fell over her pale skin. A sob ripped out from her chest, and she fell to her knees. Jacob rushed out to help her, but she shoved him away. Argo trotted up to her, and licked her face, then nudged her over to the platform.
I watched as the old, useless, lazy dog convinced this stranger to finish crossing the bridge. I gently helped her into one of the closest rooms. I laid her down on the bed, and pulled a chair up next to her.
"Gabry," she got out in a choked whisper. "I need to get back to Gabry."
"Who's Gabry?" I asked in a soothing voice.
"My daughter. I found her in the woods. My little girl," she said. Mary walked into the room, and leaned against the door frame.
"I think there is some connection inbetween you and Gabry," she told me.
"You're namesake mentioned a Gabry when we left the village your father, brother, and I were from. She said that was the name of the Fast One that ruined our home."
"What ever happened to Mary?" she asked.
"She and her brother ran. They were probably Infected, and died," I sighed.
Mary gestured to the woman on the bed. "She said she was forced from her friends, and had to run with her brother, who had then become infected. She said she was from the Forest of Hands and Teeth."