A Deal to Die For
Chapter 18: Three Months Left…Part 2
My restless night of sleep was interrupted by the violent shaking of my shoulders. I reluctantly opened my eyes praying that I would be back in my own time. I know that I'm a bitch, Castiel. I already see the error of my ways. There is no need to prolong my suffering.
"Come on, you slept long enough. It's nearly after two and there is work to be done."
I couldn't hide my disappointment with seeing Abbie's scarred face standing over me.
I groaned swinging my legs onto the floor, "I thought you were going to take me to Liv?"
"Visiting her is work for me," Abbie grumbled. " Get dressed and come with me."
I yawned and rubbed my head, Abbie tossed me a pair of ratty old blue jeans, worn sneakers and a dark t-shirt. Something she expected me to wear perhaps? I raised a curious eyebrow up at her.
Her eyes narrowed, "They're clean and better than what you have on now. Take it or leave it."
"Okay fine, where can I take a bath?"
Abbie snorted, "We conserve our water Alex. We only clean up twice every week, Monday and Friday."
I'm pretty sure today was Wednesday.
"You're kidding right?" I asked disgusted at the thought of not being able to get clean in the morning.
"No, I'm not," Abbie said coldly, "Deal with it."
Without another word, she spun on her heel and walked out. I grumbled but quickly put on the clean clothing and followed after her. The place was pretty dark and scary and I didn't want to be left alone.
"Let's just get one thing straight, I'm in charge here. Nothing goes down without my say so. If you can't accept that, you'll have to find another place to live."
Trust me, if I could get back to my time I would leave here in a heartbeat. Time was steadily passing and Liv only had a few months left. I have to get back and make things right with her. I don't expect her forgiveness but I just have to try. Besides, I wouldn't last a day out in the city alone. As much as I hate to, I just have to suck it up follow orders.
A small smile tugged at the corner of her lips as if she had won some small battle. I was determined for the last victory to be mine.
"Where are we going?" I asked quickly changing the subject.
"There has to be a reason Castiel sent you here to this time. Whether you realize it or not there is a war coming."
I thought back to what the demon bragged about in my original timeline. She promised that Liv would help bring an end to the world. Is that what happened here?
Abbie led me down towards the basement switching on a bright flashlight to guide our path.
We stopped at the stairs and Abbie stared down into the darkness. I could barely see the outlines of my own hand but I could sense her hesitation. "I have to tell you something, Alex. Something that is more important than anything you have ever known before," Abbie replied mournfully.
I held my breath in anticipation of what she about to say.
"No matter how much you love Olivia never forget this: she is evil. The things she has done are unimaginable and unforgivable. I'm confident that she'll burn in hell when this is all over. I don't even consider that t...thing down there a human being anymore. She's only alive because I was too much of a coward to kill her myself. If some of the people upstairs knew what she has done, they wouldn't hesitate to finish the job."
"She is not evil!" I growled glaring at her across the darkness, "Don't you ever talk about her like that again!"
Abbie scoffed, "You have been gone for a long time. She's not the same woman you left behind all those years ago."
"I knew her well enough to marry her, she's my wife," I snapped.
There was a long pause, "Funny, you should say that."
"Why is that funny?"
"Because, I married her too."
Abbie pointed the flashlight down into the darkened stairway and began her descent down. I stood in place, utterly shocked at what I just heard. I just couldn't wrap my mind around the two of them being married. Then again, Liv dated Abbie long before I came along and I knew it was serious. After I died, Carmichael must have found a way to weasel her way back in. That means Olivia never sold her soul but still somehow brought about the end of the world.
It's depressing really, either way I end up getting killed. If Olivia doesn't sell her soul the world somehow ends. If Olivia does sell her soul, she faces Hell and the world might still come to an end. Neither option looks very promising.
"Are you coming or not?" Abbie yelled from the bottom of the steps.
I steeled my resolve and made my way slowly following the sound of Carmichael's voice.
I watched as Abbie lit lanterns in each corner making the room considerably brighter.
The basement was bare except a small cot with blankets and a bucket in the furthest corner. I felt a chill and shivered rubbing my arms to regain warmth.
"You let her sleep down here? It's freezing!"
"She deserves a place even colder than this!' Abbie said harshly, "She lives down here on her own choosing. It works out well because I would rather not see her face on a regular basis."
"Why do you hate her?" I whispered.
"I'll let her explain that to you one day, just take a look."
She sat down on the edge of the cot and slowly peeled back the blankets revealing a familiar face. I took a quick survey of her: flawless olive skin, beautiful brown eyes and long hair. She hadn't aged a day. This was the same woman I fell in love with, at least on the outside.
"Abbie, what are you doing down here? Is everything alright?"
Judging by Olivia's shock I could tell that Abbie had not been down here in a long time.
"Everything is fine," Abbie replied rather coldly.
"Can we talk please? I miss you so much. I love you."
I swallowed the knot in my throat. Remember Alex, you're dead in this time. There is no cause for you to be jealous. There is no need to burn deep down to your very core.
"This is not a social call, this is business, "Abbie said matter-of-factly. " I brought someone to see you."
Shock, horror to anger crossed Olivia's face in a matter of seconds, "You think it is funny to bring a shape shifter down here in that body? Why are you trying to torment me Abbie?! I can't say sorry enough. I know what I did was horrible but this…this is just cruel."
"She's no shape shifter."
Olivia pulled her knees up to her chest and buried her face in between them, "No, I don't believe it, get her away from me!"
"Look at her damn it!" Abbie snapped. "This is what you sacrificed everything for! Look at her, now!"
She took a fistful of hair forcing the terrified woman to look at me, "Stop you're hurting her! Leave her alone," I protested.
Abbie relented forcibly shoving Olivia's head away. I glared at her but she was hardly fazed, "There is a reason she came here. You are going to crawl out of this hole and face what you did."
"I can't, please don't make me go out there," Olivia pleaded.
"You won't find any pity from me. Get up, get dressed and meet us upstairs by the hour's end."
I gave Abbie the dirtiest look possible as she passed by, "Just remember what I told you," she growled.
I listened to her heavy footsteps until they disappeared up the stairs. "Is it really you?" I felt my face growing warmer by the way she stared up at me. Her expression was a combination of curiosity, weariness, desire and love.
"I'm Alex but not the same one you knew. Castiel has decided to teach me a lesson and I don't know what. The world might have gone to hell but you're still alive. That is the only thing I care about."
"Even if I was the one who caused the world to go to hell?" she sighed.
"No matter what," I said stubbornly even though my actions lately have not supported my words.
"It will matter one day, Alex. Trust me on this," she said softly.
At her request, I left Olivia to clean herself up and put on fresh clothes. We promised to catch up later and I looked forward to the time. I eventually found Abbie. She made a room in the captains old office; everyone else slept in the crib. I wonder what she had accomplished to make these people follow her so faithfully?
I tapped lightly on the door and let myself in without waiting for an answer. Abbie's room was just as depressing as the basement with only a small bed in the corner and a few lanterns giving off dim light. Abbie quickly averted her gaze but not before I saw tears in her eyes. She wiped her eyes and frowned, "I didn't tell you to come in, Cabot. Can't you see I'm busy?'
"Are you alright?" I asked despite my better judgment.
"I lost Serena a few months ago. She was infected by a freak on a supply run. I put her down myself, like an animal!"
My hand shot up to my mouth. Tears threatened to burn from my eyes but I held them hard. This place is not real; it is only meant to scare me. None of this will come true. Not if I have anything to say about it.
Abbie patted the spot next to her and I reluctantly sat down.
"After you were gunned down Olivia started on a downward spiral that eventually led to the present chaos at hand. She had nearly drank herself to death and everyone was at the end of their ropes. I came back here from D.C to help. It wasn't easy but I eventually got her into AA and talking to a therapist. She was doing so well," Abbie voice cracked with each sentence. It took a moment but she composed herself and continued, "After almost 2 years passed we got married. We eloped in secret at first and then announced it to everyone a few weeks later. We were happy."
For the first time ever, I found myself feeling sympathy for her. I quickly pushed the feeling away more shocked that I had even considered it. I tried to focus on the anger I felt towards her and it worked, to a certain extent...
"...And then they caught Liam Connors, the man who murdered you."
A ball of hatred welled up in my stomach so intense that I couldn't breathe. That bastard took my life without a second thought and I was powerless to stop him. The only reason I am living to hear the tale is because Liv offered up her precious soul to a demon to save my life.
"Everything went downhill from there. Olivia became obsessed with putting him away. She worked on the case day and night barely eating or sleeping. I worried about her but I gave her space because I knew she needed closure. They had a witness testimony to put him away but things turned sour, "Abbie explained. "The brakes on an SUV carrying the witness and three agents failed. It crashed into a gas truck and exploded killing everyone instantly. Everyone suspected the Cartel but nothing could be proven. Now that I look back, I suspect it was demon's work all along. Connors walked and disappeared from the radar. Olivia started to drink heavily again but it was even worse this time. She became abusive towards me, mentally and physically. I don't know why but I stuck it through. I loved her too much to let go."
Abbie ran a hand through her dark hair and continued, "I had enough when Olivia had an affair with Casey. After that, I left her and didn't look back. Serena helped me to start my life over and we eventually built a life together." She sneered and shook her head with disgust, "Two years ago, Olivia came back to me out of the blue clean and sober again. We hadn't spoken since the affair. She begged me to come back and I was stupid enough to go. I left Serena to save my marriage and she never forgave me for it. Little did I know that Olivia was addicted to something else; something a thousand times worse than alcohol. The worst part was—"
Before I could learn the truth, there was a frantic pounding on the door. A young man who looked strangely familiar rushed in full armor carrying a machine gun.
"Abbie. The infected have infiltrated the building. We have to go now or we won't be able to get out!" he exclaimed.
Abbie sprang into action with a growl. She reached under the low bed bringing out a shot gun with a belt of shells to sling across her shoulder, "Stay in here. Don't come out unless I tell you."
I wanted to go with her but I knew that I would be useless in any fight. Abbie and the young man hurried out slamming the door behind them. Shot after shot exploded outside of the door and I felt more helpless than ever. There was screaming and more shooting that seemed to go on forever.
The doorknob turned and I backed myself into a corner helpless. I didn't realize I was holding my breath until I saw Olivia rush inside. She was wearing only a simple white dress and black boots.
"Alex, we have to leave now! Let's go!"
Olivia held out her hand and I took it without hesitation leading me out into the chaos, "Where is Abbie?" I asked trying hard to ignore the bodies littering the floor and the not so distant sounds of screaming.
"She went to help the other survivors in the building to escape. We'll meet up with them at the rendezvous point not far from here." I could hear the worry behind her voice.
Olivia held on to my hand tightly never stopping, never letting go. She led us from the precinct in record time out into the bright ruined city.
Once we were outside, Olivia finally released my hand, "From this point on don't trust anyone until you know they're not infected with the Croatoan virus. Not even Abbie."
"What about you? You could be infected too for all I know," I replied bending over to catch my breath.
"I'm immune to the virus and I'll know if a person is infectd. Abbie once tried to experiment with my blood to find a cure but the research died with Warner. She nearly bled me dry."
"For Serena," I whispered slowly putting the puzzle pieces together.
Olivia neither confirmed nor disputed my theory but I could sense that I had opened up some old wounds, "Let's keep moving."
We took to the back alleys moving fast and keeping quiet.
"It's not far from here. Abbie and the others will be waiting in a vehicle filled with gas and fresh supplies and ammos. We can find a safe place to rest before the day's end.
We walked for another hour or so. The sun beamed high above our heads. My shirt was damp with sweat and my stomach growled relentlessly. On the other hand, Liv was a completely unflustered. She wasn't even sweating. Her dress was still impossibly white and clean.
"Just around this corner." We came upon a liquor store and Liv walked passed it without a second glance. We took the nearest alley and sure enough there was a large white van waiting for us on the other side.
"If Abbie and the others don't show up in a few hours before the sun goes down we'll have to leave them behind. We don't want to be stuck in the dark without protection," Liv said grimly.
"Where will we go?" I asked.
"Some place rural. We'll be a lot safer away from the city. We'll probably end up leaving the state. Maybe, we'll go down south."
We were inches away from the van when a man stepped out from hiding. He was the biggest man I had ever seen in my life at least 7 feet or more. He was dressed in greasy filthy rags with no shoes on. He left a bloody foot print with each step. There was not a spark of humanity left behind his eyes.
Liv grabbed my wrist and pulled me behind her. I thought my heart might burst with love and pride. Unfortunately, Olivia's valor proved futile when the brute's massive fist struck her across the face sending her crashing into the concrete. I shouted and the man took me by the throat. The stench of him alone almost made me pass out. He squeezed my throat and I thought for sure I was a dead this time.
All of a sudden the infected man dropped me roughly on the brutal concrete ground. His eyes darted back and forth wildly. He clawed at his throat creating deep bloody gashes.
Liv was back on her feet her fist clenched tightly and outstretched towards the infected man. It didn't take long to put two and two together, she was strangling him. The man fell to his knees, eyes bulging and pooling blood. She didn't stop. Not even when his eyes finally flew from the sockets and splattered on the pavement. I even saw the trace of a smirk on her face and a spark of amusement.
"Stop it!" I pleaded. I couldn't look anymore, I just couldn't, "He's dead, stop!"
Olivia looked up surprised as if she'd forgotten that I was there. Her eyes widened at the mutilated corpse lying on the ground freshly bleeding. My stomach churned and I dry heaved, but there was no food in my stomach to come back up.
Olivia then stood over the corpse but her words were directed at me, "Do you still love me? Even now?"
I thought it very strange of her to ask me that but I still gave her my answer nevertheless, ''Always."
"Then help me drag his body around the other side. If Abbie sees this she will try and kill me for sure."
Abbie's words rang inside my head. Could she really be evil? I quickly shook the thought away. If it wasn't for her the man would have killed me or worse infected me with the rage filled virus. Disgusted, I took the man's heavy legs refusing to go anywhere near his blood spattered socket face. He weighed a ton even though Liv took most of the weight. By the time we dragged his body behind a dumpster my shoes were soaked with infected blood. I searched his pockets and found a pocket knife that may prove useful later on. I was tired and sore all over. Olivia fared no better, her white dress was soaked at the stomach with blood and there was already a large purple bruise beginning to form where the man struck her. She leaned heavily against the dumpster and that's when I noticed small streams of blood trickling down from both eyes like tears. A thick trail of blood started down her nose as well.
Olivia swiped my hand away when I tried to help her, "It's nothing, just something that happens when I—," her voice trailed off and didn't finish the sentence. She tore the bottom of her dress and used it to clean herself up. We went back to the van and waited for Abbie as if nothing happened.
Soon enough Abbie and only a handful of survivors came bounding down the alleyway with heavy packs strapped on their backs. Following closely behind, was triple the amount of screaming, infected freaks chasing them. Liv curse climbing into the front seat to start the engine while I threw open the doors to let them in.
Once everyone was inside, Abbie and the others slammed the doors shut, "Step on it!" she shouted as the infected rushed us trying to tip the van over. Liv stepped on the gas and left the angry mob in our dust.
"What took so long?" Olivia hissed, eyes narrowing into the rearview mirror.
"We couldn't leave without the weapons. We wouldn't last long out here without them. I lost half of our group to those freaks as it is," Abbie retorted putting the duffel bag filled with guns down heavily next to her.
"So you would sacrifice lives to go back for some fucking guns?!" Liv shouted.
"Let's not talk about sacrifice!" Abbie suddenly roared raising up from her seat. Blood and anger rushed to her face and I thought for sure she would attack Olivia.
The blood from Olivia's face drained, on the contrary. She fixed her eyes back to the road with a white knuckled grip on the steering wheel.
We rode in silence.
The journey was long and I became restless. I noticed that no one seemed to know exactly where we were going. We drove for days at a time, stopping only to refuel the gas guzzling van. I waited inside the bus on most of the runs and felt utterly useless. I couldn't shoot a gun and I couldn't fight. I was dead weight at best. We ate mostly junk food: chips, soda and candy. I was generally not a sweet eater and my stomach suffered in silence. They took canned goods and water to spare for harder times. Liv and I even found fresh clothes to wear.
I sat alone in the van when one of the other survivors decided to join me. Everyone else was scavenging for medical supplies in an already looted pharmacy.
The man smiled wolfishly and I only just so returned the gesture. He was the one who had struck me with the gun on my first day here, "There wasn't much left. Abbie sent me back here to protect the precious cargo."
I glared at him and he had the decency to look flustered, "Look, about me hitting you the other day... I'm sorry alright? It wasn't personal, you just can't be too careful when it comes to the infected."
"I'll keep that in mind," I muttered.
"I didn't recognize you at first but now that I have my senses to me I remember going to your funeral when I was a kid."
"You went to my funeral?" I asked. I'll admit that he looked somewhat familiar but I still couldn't place him.
"Sure, I did. It's strange to see you alive but Abbie filled me in with what's going on."
My curiosity got the better of me, "Why do you follow Abbie? What's so special about her?"
"Abbie saved us. She taught us how to fight demons and all the other nastiness that came out when the world went to hell. Have you seen her fight? She always keeps a cool head in the battle. That's the kind of leader we needed."
I couldn't argue with the fighting part. Is that what Castiel sent me here to do? Become a warrior? If that was so, she didn't know me very well at all.
"You look familiar. Have we met?"
He grinned again and extended his hand over the seat, "Richard Stabler but you can call me Dick."
My mouth suddenly felt dry, "You're Elliot Stabler's son?"
I could suddenly see it: the eyes, the jaw, the attitude. He was all Elliot.
He released my hand and I could see anger rising quickly so much like his father, "Dad was killed in the very beginning. Mom, Maureen and even little Eli turned into those infected freaks. Now, it's just Kat, Liz and I left to carry on the family name."
"I'm sorry." I told him.
Why do I feel like this is all my fault?
He smiled and I saw the rage drain from him as quickly as it had built up, "So... I've noticed that you're an attractive woman and I just happen to be a man. I was thinking that we could-"
The door opened and my life safer climbed inside in the form of Abbie. I gave her a pleading look and she immediately took the hint, "Dick, go and do a perimeter check-"
"Oh but Alex and I were just chatting-" he started to protest.
"Now," Abbie said with a voice that left no room for arguments.
He grumbled and even kicked the seat but still left to secure the perimeter, "Sorry about that," Abbie apologized. "You can't blame the poor kid when half the group consists of his sister and other men. It's not like he has very many choices."
"I don't think any of us have much of a choice right now," I glanced out of the window and my heart lurched.
The world was in complete ruin, and quite frankly, so was my life.
I closed my eyes leaning against the window where I eventually fell asleep. When I finally opened them again, I was surrounded by a vast new setting. I was in a wide field of flowers, white orchids, for as far as the eye could see. The sky was ocean blue and a calm breeze whipped my hair.
Is this heaven?
I had not noticed before but a woman sat not far from me staring out into the distance. She wore a white sleeveless dress with purple orchids weaved through flaming red hair. I slowly made my way over noticing that the flowers seemed not to crush under my steps.
Casey slowly looked away from the horizon and stood to greet me, "Alex? What…are you doing here?"
I'm not sure how I should feel about her. I suppose I should feel grateful that she saved my life. If she hadn't let Castiel take her body, Liv and I would both be dead.
"Am I dreaming? Where are we?" I asked.
The flame of Casey's hair was so bright that I could hardly stand to look at it, "I wake up here every day, wherever here is. My family comes to visit me sometimes, even Liv but never you," she explained. "This place is beautiful but strange and lonely. I…I think that I am trapped somewhere."
"Don't you remember giving your body up to that angel?" I asked carefully.
As if Castiel had heard me, the gentle wind picked up speed and grew tumultuous. The bright sky disappeared behind black storm clouds emitting powerful bolts of lightning. Soon, the flowers and soil uprooted in the violent wind forming a dark and beautiful tornado. I squeezed my eyes shut and threw myself down on the ground. The chaos seemed to go on for hours with no end in sight.
Then, just like that it was over. The storm clouds disappeared and the flowers grew again brighter and more glorious than before.
"...I remember now," Casey replied. "My mind is trapped here while my body is being used as a vessel." She swept her hand across the field, "Castiel tries to make things comfortable but whenever she flies it's like being strapped to the outside of a tornado."
"Why did Castiel send me to that place? What can I possible accomplish there?"
"Maybe she sent you there as a warning," Casey snapped. "Olivia wasn't doing you any favors by keeping everything in the dark. There is a war coming and you're in the center of it. You have to be ready."
"Ready for what?"
She held my hand, "To save Olivia….or stop her."
I didn't like what she was implying. Is she hinting that I might have to kill my own wife? There is no way that I could ever do that.
"Are you saying that Liv will destroy the world no matter what happens to me?" I was grasping her hand tightly but Casey didn't flinch or show any sign of pain. This was a dream, after all.
"I don't know that, Alex. While I'm trapped here I don't know much of anything."
The blue sky began to melt and I felt myself trying to wake up, "Goodbye Casey."
"Goodbye Alex." To my surprise, Casey slowly leaned in to kiss me. When our lips touched, the world went black again.
I woke up with a gasp. My shirt was drenched with sweat and my mouth was dry.
"Here drink this."
It was dark but I knew Olivia's voice and felt safe. Although the water in the bottle was lukewarm I gulped it down and wanted more.
"Where are we?" I asked sitting up.
"You fell asleep hours ago and no one could wake you up. We found a gas station to hide in until sunrise."
I could make out the faint lines of shelves and merchandise but I didn't see any of the other survivors.
"Where is everyone?"
"Some freaks were following us. Abbie and the others took the van to throw them off our trail."
Fear shot up my spine, "Are they coming back?'
There was survival in numbers. If the others didn't bother to come back we were as good as dead. Liv was silent for so long, I almost asked her the question again, "I don't know Alex. Either way, I will protect you."
"Will you hold me?"
I laid back down on the hard cold tile and buried my face into her chest. Her arms encircled me holding me tightly until I felt sand sprinkling over my eyes again. She smelled exactly the same. I closed my eyes and pretended that I was home again.
When Olivia gently shook me awake the next morning, I suspected that she hadn't slept at all during the entire night. Dark circles pooled under her eyes and her olive skin was paler than usual.
"What's going on?" I asked. The other survivors were standing together in a circle and I heard sobbing.
"We lost somebody last night, Richard's twin sister, Liz. She was infected and Abbie had to put her down."
"Why didn't you wake me up?" I hissed.
She reached out to stroke my face, "I tried to Alex but you were dead asleep."
I felt ashamed and stood up from the hard floor. My back ached in protest. We both joined the circle and stared at the body covered neck high in a clean white sheet. Her twin, sobbing, cradled her head in his lap. The oldest of the siblings stood vigil over them both, silent but no less distraught. It was Abbie who worried me the most. Her fists clenched tightly at her side and I saw a thin trail of blood running down her wrists. Her face was red with rage and I knew she was staring down at Serena's body covered in that sheet.
"Where do we go from here?" asked a man from the group. Karl I think his name is or Steve.
"We have to get out of the city for sure. Out of the state even better," Liv said casting a wary eye at her estranged wife.
"Don't you get it? Last night proved that there is no way out of the state right now! The interstates are over run by those things. Everywhere we go there are a million of those freaks and only seven of us!' Abbie snapped.
"We have to try, Abbie." Olivia said softly.
"No," she hissed. "We're staying right here and find a place to fortify. "I won't risk anymore lives on that interstate. If we should get caught on it after the sun goes down there will be nowhere to run or hide."
"We can find a boat and ride the coast all the way down to Virginia or even Florida."
"Even if we could find a boat how in the hell would we fuel it? How would we navigate it? We're staying and that's final!"
"At least I'm trying to think of something! There is no use of giving up Abbie!" Liv protested.
"To hell with you and your ideas. Be ready to leave in an hour or get left behind," she grumbled.
Liv looked as though she wanted to argue more. In the end, she gathered up her meager belongings and rode with the rest of the group.
We left the body behind.
After the gas station incident, Abbie began drinking heavily. How she kept managing to find alcohol, I don't know. She seemed to have abandoned her duties as leader and spent most of the time slumped drunk in the van's back row. Kathy Stabler took over for a time without a hint of resentment. I suspect something like this had happened before. I shook my head remembering how troubled the girl had once been and now she was a leader. Abbie leaned on her shoulders sometimes both literally and figuratively. I couldn't help but notice how Liv looked on the two with unconcealed envy and loneliness. I couldn't even comfort her.
We had been traveling on the road again for almost a week. The group drives all day and scrambles to find a safe place before the sun goes down. This is unbearable. I miss my Liv. I miss flushing toilets, electricity and hot food.
I miss home.
"We'll stop here for the night. This place looks as good as any," Kathy suggested a seemingly abandoned department store. I know that we were somewhere upstate but not exactly sure where. At least we managed to get out of the city.
"I don't think this is such a good idea," Liv replied. "It's too big to actually secure fully. There could be a dozen infected inside or a hundred.
"The sun has gone down already, Aunt Liv. We don't really have that many other options," the young woman argued.
"You heard her," Abbie said glaring at Olivia. "If the kid says were staying here, we're staying. We'll sweep the place in pairs. Call out if anyone sees anything."
"Fine," Liv shrugged jamming a clip into her gun.
To my horror, she held out a gun for me to use as well, "I have never used one before," I stammered. The weapon felt too heavy and my hands began to shake.
"Only use it as a last resort. I don't have time right now but I will properly teach you how to use a gun." In the meantime, she showed me how to take the safety off and put in another clip if needed, "Let's go."
We followed the group inside and immediately split on our own. The store was completely ransacked but seemingly empty. That was good news, at least. Liv led us by flashlight through what used to be an electric department. A dead man dressed in a security uniform was slumped against one of the shelves. Liv kicked him hard in the ribs but he didn't were TV's and other useless junk but also batteries for our flashlights. When the coast was clear, she turned back to me and smiled, "You did great.'
"Let's find go back and find the others," I said still feeling unsafe.
"Wait, I've been meaning to ask you something Alex. I...I've noticed that you always wear a ring. Are you married to someone in your time?"
"...I'm married to you in my time,' I said softly. I wish that I didn't have to feel this overwhelming sadness when thinking of her. I'm not even sure that I have a marriage left to go home to. I've screwed things up pretty badly.
Even in the darkness I could see her face brighten up, "Are we happy...together I mean?'
I couldn't stand to tell her the truth. There was no need for us both to suffer, "Yes…we're happy," I lied uneasily.
"...Don't do that, Alex," she replied. "I can handle it.'
My lips began to tremble, I didn't even try to fight the tears, "No, we're not."
Her face visibly fell, "Why not?"
I started from the beginning. I told her everything from WIP to last week. She stood patiently and listened without interrupting.
"I sold my soul?' she whispered after I was done. "The night that you were killed, Elliot took me back to his place. I never had a moment by myself."
That means that Liv never encountered that demon on the subway and made the deal. Just one night with Elliot made all the difference in the world.
"After you died I went through some pretty rough times but I started to get better. T...Then they let Connors walk when our only reliable witness was killed. I should have tried to make peace with it. I had a good life here with Abbie. We were happy. I should have let you go a long time ago, Alex. I know that now," I could see her expression darken, "But they stole you away from me! I just wanted justice for you but they took that away as well! I couldn't let them get away with that!'
"What did you do?' I asked almost scared to know the answer.
"One day a demon came to me. It told me that I could have what my heart desired most with no cost. I asked it to bring you back to life but too much time had already passed. Your sold had already moved on to the other side and wouldn't come back. The demon could have forced you back but your soul would have been tainted. You would have been an empty shell. But if I couldn't have you back, I would have the next best thing, revenge."
"I hunted all of them down one by one. Everyone who had a hand in you death was put down like the animals they were. I slaughtered them," she growled. "But it didn't stop there. Soon all these sick rapists and pedophiles joined my list, they all deserved to die! Every single one of them and I did it for you!"
I slapped her with such force that my wedding ring opened up her lip, "How dare you kill in my name? Do you think I wanted that?!" I demanded.
She smirked absently wiping blood away with the back of her hand, "You were too dead to care about what you wanted Alex.'
I tried to slap her again but she easily blocked me, "You asked for the truth. After I killed all those animals I became something...something else. I lost myself and soon innocents suffered. There was one in particular I...I regret with all of my heart. I know there is a special place in hell waiting for me when I die."
Olivia turned her back to me, "I know that Abbie will never forgive me. I don't deserve to be forgiven," She leaned against the shelf next to the dead man and began sobbing.
I was angry with but my hand still reached out to comfort her.
The seemingly dead corpse sprang back to life.
"Crowley sends his love," There was a flash of metal and Liv screamed. She collapsed forward bringing the entire shelf down. Smiling the man looked up at me revealing onyx demon eyes.
"No!" I heard myself screaming. "Nooo!"
The gun was in my hand firing rapidly until I heard a click. Still, the demon kept coming towards me holding the knife soaked with Liv's blood. She grabbed him by the ankles and tackled him to the ground.
"Run Alex!" she gurgled out but my feet stood firmly in place. I couldn't leave her, not like this.
"Move!" a raspy voice shouted. Abbie hurried past me and skidded to her knees beside the demon. She raised a knife with jagged edges over her head and plunged repeatedly into the creatures back. The body ignited with an orange glow and faded into nothingness. The corpse slumped limply against Liv who was breathing rapid, shallow breaths. I stumbled over to her and cradled the wounded woman in my arms, "No, please you can't die."
Olivia was trying to talk but only managing to gurgle up blood. I moaned and pressed my hand against the wound in her abdomen. The blood seeped freely through my fingers while I felt powerless. There were no hospitals left, no one who could save her. All I could do was sob.
The others came running and Abbie began barking orders, "Kat get your ass over here. The rest of you find some bandages, water and towels."
The Stabler girl slid down next to me cursing. She was saying something but I couldn't hear her. I felt her trying to take Liv away from me and I held on tighter. She was growing cold, too cold. I was losing her. I can't lose her. I won't lose her! Two of the survivors took ahold of my arms and dragged me away kicking and screaming at the top of my lungs.
"Somebody shut her up before she wakes the entire city!" I heard Abbie shout.
A strong hand pressed a cloth against my mouth and I breathed in a suffocating odor. I began to get sleepy. I tried to fight it with every fiber of my being but the darkness took a hold of me and wouldn't let go.
I don't know how much time passed but I woke up with a pounding headache. None of that mattered. All I could think of was her. They laid me on one of the display beds with Liv not far. The room was spinning but I managed to stumble my way over to her. Please be alive baby, please be alive. Her skin was pale and cold as ice but I could just make out the faint trace of her chest rising. Still, I could also see her shirt and bandages soaked with blood, as well as the bed underneath. I couldn't help but notice that other survivors were nowhere to be found. Panicking, I ran to the front doors and scanned the now empty parking lot. The van was gone.
They had left us.
Numbly, I stumbled back to Liv and sat down gently on the bed. I took her cool hand and held it against my cheek.
"They left us, baby. But I'm not going to leave you. No matter what, I'll never leave you again."
I secured the place as best as I could. I used some long sheets of wood panel and nails to block the front entrance. I found some heavy blankets and comforters to keep us warm. To say I was afraid was an underestimate. I knew that I couldn't protect us if any hostiles managed to break in. No wonder the others left me, what good was I to them without Liv? Liv could fight. She could strategize. She could survive. I was simply dead weight.
It was hopeless.
I managed to put a clean sheet under Liv. I pulled a heavy blanket over both us and nestled myself into her uninjured side. I wanted to cry but the tears just wouldn't come.
They came for us after 3 days.
I heard them first screaming and pounding at the doors. It was the middle of the night and I was exhausted. I listened to the noise for a while before I pulled the covers back over my head and drifted back to sleep. The wood seemed to be holding well enough. I might as well get enough sleep if I was going to die soon.
The next morning, a cold hand shook me and then covered my mouth before I could scream. Relief, fear and anger washed over me when I saw who the hand belonged to.
"Where in the hell have you been!" I shouted after Abbie released my mouth.
"I didn't have time to explain myself. I had to go on a supply run in the middle of the night," she replied breathlessly.
"Where are the others?" My joy of not being alone anymore quickly replaced any animosity I felt.
"We separated a couple days ago. The purpose of the mission was to find a hospital and get supplies. We made it to a hospital but it was over-run with freaks. The others were too afraid to go in; they said it was was no way in and definitely no way out. Instead of coming back this way, they decided to move on. Kat wanted to stay with me but I told her to go ."
I was disappointed that she came back empty handed but still grateful that she came back at all.
"How did you get back inside?" I asked.
"I came in through the back storage room. The freaks haven't found it yet so the way was clear."
"What are we going to do about Liv?' Her pulse was slowing down. Now, I could barely feel it. She was colder...
"Alex, I...I'm infected," Abbie said after a bout of silence.
I fought for the right words but nothing would come save stumbling.
She held up her pants leg to reveal a hideous bite mark bleeding and swollen. The veins in her leg were already turning black.
"It happened on the way back from the hospital. I was cornered by 4 of them when my car ran out of gas. I fought them off but one managed to bite me. I...I might have an hour left, if I'm lucky. You have to live, Alex. You have to make sure this world never happens. You have to save us all."
"You...you can't turn," I stammered, "We'll never make it without you!"
"Liv will wake up after I give her this but she'll be... different for a time. Remember what I told you back at the station and try to endure it. I hope she is still down in there...somewhere."
"...I don't understand."
Abbie reached in her pocket and took out a long silver flask. I watched her limp over to the other side of the bed. She gazed down at Olivia almost lovingly before moving a stray piece of hair from her face. Next she planted a small kiss on her lips and placed the flask opening between them. Thick, dark red liquid drizzled down the corners of Liv's unconscious lips before it dawned on me that Abbie was giving her blood to drink. Anger and bile raised from my stomach and I tried to knock the container away.
I earned myself a hard elbow for my troubles.
"What are you doing?!"
"It's better this way," Abbie said coldly staring down at me from my position on the floor. When Liv began to sputter and thrash wildly Abbie sneered and held her down. She finally stood and let the empty flask drop on the bed. Meanwhile, Olivia started to convulse violently.
Abbie grimaced and suddenly dropped to one knee growling and clenching her fist. I scrambled to Liv and placed my hand against her shoulders.
Her skin was now hot like fire.
With a scream of rage, Abbie tackled me from behind. I managed to turn myself over only giving the infected woman easier access to my throat. She proceeded to strangle the life from me. I clawed at her hands but she only tightened her strangle hold on me. When I was beginning to fade, a voice told me to remember the pocket knife I kept in my shoe. I fumbled under Abbie until I felt the cold steel hand. The blade sprang up with a flick of my wrist and I shoved it in her jugular. Abbie's grip finally loosened and I kicked her away.
I took two long precious gulps of air while Abbie lay on the floor gushing blood. Even dying, her eyes were ignited with rage. Despite her trying to kill me, I felt my cheeks wet with sorrow. She was fading away fast.
For the first time in nearly four days, Olivia sat up.
Her eyes coldly scanned the store before focusing on Abbie. Throwing the blankets off herself, she robotically left the bed and went to stand over Abbie as she died.
The infected woman opened her eyes lethargically. Blood gushed through her fingers. Her lips were turning a pale blue, "I don't forgive you! I'll never forgive you!" Abbie spat out causing her throat to fill up with blood. She swallowed but more replaced it, "You...killed...our...daughter, L..Li…"
Abbie gurgled with her last breath. Her hand slacked and her eyes stared up blankly at the ceiling.
Before I had time to process the information, I heard the glass upfront finally give way. The infected poured in yelling and looting as they came.
They tripped and fell over each other in their pursuit of us but I trembled for another reason. Abbie's words echoed inside my head, "You killed our daughter."
That can't be true.
I've always wanted to have children of my own someday. I couldn't imagine that Olivia would hurt one of ours. She loved children and has devoted her life trying to protect them.
The infected horde was literally in our faces but seemed to be held back by an invisible wall. Liv took slow deliberate steps towards me completely ignoring the angry hostiles. She stepped over Abbie's body to do so with her head held up high.
"I need you to close your eyes, Alex. Just for a moment." Has she gone completely insane?! There are rage filled monsters trying to kill us and she wants me to close my eyes?
Even as I started to protest the thought furiously, a little voice whispered in the back of my mind. It told me that everything would be alright as long as I obeyed. In a daze my eyes fluttered shut and the world exploded around us.
The sound of the explosion and dozens of people screaming out all at once was deafening. A shriek of my own died inside of my throat. I tried to open my eyes but the voice whispered for me to keep them closed.
No, this isn't right! Something isn't right!
I resisted the alluring voice and forced my eyelids open by sheer will power. The building around us raged with flames but I seemed to be unharmed. Everyone else was dead. Their bodies were reduced to nothing more than burnt black cinders. Liv stood in the center of the chaos with her back facing me. She giggled and her palm dropped lazily to her side.
"I thought I asked you to keep your eyes closed," Olivia replied as if she were scolding a child.
"What have you done?" I gasped out. There was no way that she could have caused this explosion.
"Don't you really want to ask me about what Abbie said before she died?"
"Is it true?" I asked stiffly.
"...How about I let you decide?"
She turned around agonizingly slow…..
I didn't realize that the screams of horror were coming from me until I felt my throat go raw, "You're not Olivia! You're not!"
White marble eyes glowed back at me with just the hint of amusement, "You can choose to believe whatever you want but in the end we both know the truth. No matter what you do, this is what I am going to become. It doesn't make a difference if you live or die. It's inevitable, Alexandra."
My horror transformed into a cold defiance, "You want to bet?"
She took a threatening step forward, "You were always too stubborn for your own good."
"I promise to save you, Liv. I still love you."
Olivia sneered in response and raised her hand, "Love this…"
The sound was deafening…
TBC- What did you think? I'm hoping to wrap this up in about 2-3 more chapters. There might be a sequel in works if anyone is interested.