Left 4 Dead
What is Lost
Summary: In this apocalyptic world ninety percent of the human race became infected. Of those ninety percent only ten percent are mutated by their infection to become what is known as specials. Out of that number only a further ten percent gain what they had lost.
Disclaimer: I do not own Left 4 Dead nor its sequel, I'm just taking an idea which I haven't seen a lot of good fics on and decided to have a crack at it.
Author's Alert: Truth be told I just bought the game a little while ago (I know I missed the party, lol), but I've had an eye on the fanfiction that's been coming from that genre for some time now. I take inspiration for this story from 'A Beautiful Mind' by FrostxBite, which is finished but we are awaiting a sequel, and 'Insanity' by Jabaloh, which is not finished. Those are the only decent Sane Witch stories I have found so far.
Author's Alert 2: This might just be a one shot, or I may continue it into a story. It depends on how many reviews I get for it. This is my first attempt at fanfiction for Left 4 Dead, but I will not let it deter me, I will accept whatever reviews come my way. I am new to the genre, and will accept anything besides full blown flaming!
Author's Alert 3: Just to let you know my Witch is a little bit of a film junky, and not in the mainstream. The following are slang words for TV series she has watched. CSI stands for Crime Scene Investigation. NCIS stands for Naval Crime Investigation Service, both are well known American programs. Howls Moving Castle is a well known Japanese Anime created and produced by Studio Ghibli and Twenty Eight Days Later is a British Zombie Horror whose Zombies are similar to those in Left 4 Dead, American viewers may know it's sequel, Twenty Eight Weeks Later better than its original.
I can only remember a few things before the outbreak began. My memories before now are fuzzy at best and nonexistent at most. All I remember were a scrap of memories which I guessed were really important to me, and even then they were mainly a few names and faces.
I remember laying in a bed, sweating and shaking from a fever, a really bad fever. At first my Mom was always there, the two of us lived alone. My dad ran out when I was four, and ever since then it had just been me and Mom. She always tried hard, pulled two jobs to help get me through High School and into College. I remember how indebted I felt to her and I wanted to return what she had done for me by getting through with a good degree.
The outbreak hit during the middle of my first year, and I remember my class thinning down until there were only a dozen of us left, by then the college had to close because most of the faculty staff was also ill with the same symptoms.
And then it hit me.
I remember getting off the bus, feeling sluggish and burning up from a really bad fever.
My Mom was waiting for me at the stop.
I collapsed half way down the buses steps.
My memories since then were fuzzy.
I remember laying in a bed, sweating and shaking from a fever, a really bad fever. At first my Mom was always there, sitting at my bedside, holding my hand, making sure I ate food and drank liquids, even though I vomited them up again, placing wet cloths over my head to try and stem my fever.
My last memories of her were of her looking down at me, trying her hardest to keep a brave face, telling me that I was going to be alright, but she cried, tears were streaming down her cheeks and her eyes were puffy.
That was my last memory of Mom.
When I woke up again I remember being in a hospital, and it was complete chaos. The corridors were lined with sick in varying stages of the disease. I remember seeing one man go insane and lunge at one of the orderlies. It took me a while to realise that all of the doctors and nurses were wearing anti-radiation suits, and there were even men with guns.
I remember the next time I awoke I began to convulse badly, I was so bad that they had trouble injecting the sedatives into my bloodstream. The fever had gotten worse by then, so bad that there were times when I would wake up screaming and crying, begging for them to kill me to end my pain. I remember the worst fit. The fever was so bad that I felt that my skin was on fire, I remember it was worse around my fingers.
I remember a Nurse, pure fear written on her face as she looked at me through her visor.
"Oh God doctor, look at this!"
"Jesus, we got a special!"
I remember flailing and screaming, barely realising that I had thrown the doctor all the way across the room before at least three more men in those same suits rushed in and held me down. They were strong, I remember, but even then it took all three of them to restrain me. The nurse injected me with something, something that knocked me out straight away.
I remember her barking orders at the soldiers.
"She's beyond help."
I had known way before then, but now I felt it in my very being.
I was going to die.
I was so sure of this.
When I woke up again I was laying on one of those portable stainless steel gurneys in the middle of a room. I knew I was still in the hospital. The white washed walls and the smell of disinfectant was ripe in the air. But there was another smell, one that I could not place, but one that made me feel sick to my stomach.
There was another thing I realised.
The hospital was silent, eerily silent.
Hospitals were not supposed to be this quiet.
I looked to my right, seeing another stainless steel operating table, a workbench with a swivel black chair and book cases full of reports. Then I looked to my left, seeing another operating table, and a wall full of large drawers. I was in a morgue. I had watched enough CSI and NCIS to know what a morgue looked like.
I rose, blinking in bewilderment as to why I was here. Some part of my mind told me that this was all a weird dream, maybe the drugs and hallucinations from my fever were finally getting too much for my system. I noticed that a white sheet had been placed over my body, but not until I sat up and allowed it to fall to my waist. I frowned down at it, before reaching over to pull it away.
That was when I saw them.
I didn't notice at first, not until I accidentally cut my left thigh. The pain forced the fog in my head to dissipate quickly, and when I was fully lucid I looked down at my hands. I starred for the longest time, trying to convince myself that those weren't my hands. Instead of my fingers looking like normal fingers they had grown, elongated and sharpened to look more like daggers, long, sinewy, sharp blades, nightmarish in appearance.
For the longest time I could do nothing but look at the grotesque, nightmarish things before me, then I began shaking my head. My mind was screaming the same word over and over again in my head, trying to force myself out of this dream, this nightmare.
No, no, no, nononoNONONO!
Then I looked at them further. The skin of these fingers and hands was not my skin colour. Instead they were as white as can be, not like snow, but with a greyish tinge to it almost as if I was looking at dead skin. My wide eyes followed the skin from my fingers to my hand to my forearm to my arm. Then I looked down. I was naked save for the sheet, and my skin was no longer what I remembered. I was pale, sure, but I was never this pale.
"This isn't happening," I tried to say. If it was from my voice I remembered I would have shouted, but instead my voice came out as a gravelly croak. I was barely able to string the words together. My right hand flew up to my throat, almost slicing my neck from ear to ear by accident. I winced at the pain, but it faded quickly and when I looked down instead of a deep gash there was just a slight scar.
That was weird.
"What... what is hap-happening to m-me," I managed, before growling in annoyance at the pure effort it took to speak. My mouth and throat felt as dry as any desert. I took a deep breath, and forced myself to calm down. "C-calm down, don't panic... E-E-Eliza... beth... d-don't panic. Remember what M-M-Mom always t-taught you. If y-you panic... you... you... you lose."
My voice felt so different, so alien to me that it terrified me. It was so weak, and gravelly, like I had been in a desert for a week with no food or water. Panic nearly took me again, but I beat it down, if only just. I immediately thought of what I could do to try and stave off this panic attack I was about to get. I needed to find something to occupy myself with.
I needed water first, yes water, and then maybe find some clothes. I looked under the white sheet covering me, and grimaced. Whoever had undressed me had done a pretty thorough job. I needed clothes, and then I could figure out what was happening to me.
I threw off the sheet and swivelled myself across the operating table, placing my feet which still looked pretty normal, if one discounted the whitish grey skin, onto the white tiled floor and shivering at the coldness. It took me a moment to realise that my fever was gone, and so was the pain.
I smiled. "W-well that's s-s-something at l-least."
I stood up, feeling a bout of nausea which forced me to place my weight on the table for a few moments. I forced myself to remain calm, taking a few deep breathes for a moment before beginning to move in experimental steps. My strength came back to me quickly, and before long I found myself moving without any need for support.
The first thing I did was walk to the sink, just a few feet away from me. I grabbed the cold water tap and twisted the handle, seeing with relief that the water was flowing. Germs and whatever be damned, I needed a drink. I leaned down and gulped the water as it flowed from the tap. I don't remember how long I was doing this, but after a while I straightened, slowly and carefully wiping my face with my new clawed hands.
"Nice," I exclaimed happily, before frowning at my tone of voice. It sounded better, but it was still a little gravelly compared to what I remembered it as, and the words still didn't come easily. It was only then that I noticed that there was a mirror on the wall in front of me, and as I focused on my image I nearly panicked again at what I saw.
My hair had changed colour drastically. I remember it as a healthy vibrant blond, but now it had paled to the point where it was almost white, covering a portion of my face. I slowly and carefully reached up with a clawed hand, parting my bangs to see my face. My features hadn't changed much, if you forgot about the deathly paleness of my skin, there were no warts or bumps or boils or whatever usually came with a great plague you read about in the Bible or anything. My eyes had changed colour though, turning from a bright blue to a dark feral crimson, pupils morphing from being round to sickle shaped.
Panic overwhelmed me, and with a sudden cry I lashed out at the mirror with my clawed hand, causing a spider web of cracks to run along its surface. I looked like a zombie. "Stay c-calm Liz, s-stay calm. What e-else do you need... clothes... clothes... f-find some c-c-clothes."
I looked at the cracked mirror again, and decided to try some self-cheerleading. God did I really just think that? "It's n-not so bad, at least y-you don't have a-any boils or l-lumps or anything l-like that."
I growled at the gravelly sound of my voice. The stutter was getting better, but the sound still scared me, "I g-got to get used to t-this."
I took a deep breath, knowing how ridiculous and childish it would sound but not caring in the slightest. "I g-gotta get used to t-this; we sell sea shells b-by the sea shore!"
I broke out laughing, marvelling at how stupid I must have sounded, but it was the easiest way I could think off to get used to this new voice, so I continued saying it over and over, hoping that at least the stutter would go away.
"We sell sea shells by the sea shore."
"We sell sea shells by the sea shore."
"We sell sea shells by the sea shore."
"We sell sea shells by the sea... oh!"
I noticed it just as I released the sink from my grasp. I was in a hospital, so there must be a locker room around here somewhere, and in that locker room there might be clothes. They might not be my size, but there might be clothes. I rushed back to my operating table, grabbed the white sheet and attempted to wrap it around me, but that turned out to be pretty difficult. My new clawed hands kept tearing the fabric, as well as scratching my skin. After a while I had finally managed to coil it around me, but thanks to my claws it did barely enough to keep my modesty.
I glared at my new fingers, silently willing them to return to what they were when I was human. It didn't happen, sadly, I suppose it was too much to ask for or should I say beg? "I guess this isn't H-Howls Moving Castle, either."
I frowned as I looked around. Trying to find any other fabric which could be used for clothing, but nothing immediately came to mind. There were a few other similar white sheets lying on the floor beside the two other operating tables, but they were on the floor, and dirty with blood and...
My head snapped towards the nearest sheet, crumpled on the floor, eyes widening as I noticed there was blood on the fabric, a lot of blood, and it didn't stop there. There was a trail on the white tiled floor, and it led past the double doors towards a dark hallway beyond. I gasped at the sight, disbelieving that I hadn't seen it sooner.
Then I slammed my hands over my mouth to muffle the sound, ignoring the slight pain as my fingers, eh, claws cut lightly into my cheeks. I looked at the door frantically to see if there was any movement beyond. There wasn't. I sighed and released my mouth, before my eyes darted around the room. Panic will come later, keep it hidden, locked away in a corner of your mind. This was not the time to panic.
I saw a wardrobe across from me, and I sped to it, throwing it open and hoping that there were some clothes within. I breathed a sigh of relief. There was. White lab coats. That was all there was within, at least three of them but they were much better than the bed sheets.
I plucked the coat to the far right, threw the torn sheet off me, and with great care put the new clothing on, flinching every time I heard a tear. By the time I had managed to put it on the forearm sleeves were almost shredded, and buttoning the coat turned out to be an even more aggravating chore. These new claws were sharp, and every movement had to be taken with great care.
Finally I got one.
Finally, some modesty;
I breathed a sigh of relief, but the relief didn't last long.
I couldn't stay in this morgue forever. I needed to get out of here, out of this hospital. I needed better clothes than some doctor's lab coat. I took a deep breath, remembering the blood trail on the floor, but knew that I had to get out of here. So what if the one who took the bodies was beyond those doors, I'll slice them with my new claws.
I giggled at the thought.
Maybe they'll come in useful after all?
My euphoria didn't last long, and fear quickly took its place.
"Stay calm Liz," I muttered to myself before forcing a smile. "At least I'm not stuttering anymore."
I walked to the double doors, and pushed them open with my hands, slowly and carefully walking beyond the safety of the morgue, if that were possible. The corridor outside was dark and gloomy, only two lights were still on, and one of them was flickering continuously. I looked down the dark corridor, took a deep breath and after a moment of mustering some courage took a tentative step, then another, and another.
I made it to a corner, and turned it. There were more lights on in this one, at least three, one of which was flickering. But that wasn't what surprised me.
There were people in this corridor, three of them.
Two men and a woman, I thought so anyway. It was difficult to see in the low light.
One of the men was leaning against the right wall, twitching but otherwise unmoving. The other man and woman were just standing where they were, looking down at the floor, twitching and flexing their arms and legs like they were full of energy but had no idea on how to release it.
I took a step forward, and reached out a hand. "Um, excuse me?"
All three looked at me in unison, and I immediately froze, like an animal who knew that they were in the presence of a predator. Their skin colour was similar to mine, pale as death, and their hair was a little too dark, but with the low light it was difficult to make out. Their eyes were what got me, dark, feral, like they were looking for something to attack, something to hurt, something to kill.
The closest male, the one who was standing in the middle of the corridor looking down, snarled at me, he snarled. The woman rushed forward with such speed that I took an involuntary step back, but she stopped the moment she was beside the man, then she glared at me, actually glared.
The two began snarling, actually snarling, but not like they were superior, which surprised me. It reminded me of a program I saw on the Discovery Channel, one of a pack of African dogs around a fresh kill, a Lioness approached and after some snarling they were forced to disperse. That was what it looked like to me. Whatever the chain of command in this new zombie army was I was a league and a half above them, and they knew it.
I still felt like running towards the nearest exit, but something stopped me.
It was something in my very being, something primordial.
The two snarled for a moment more before dispersing, backing away to the sides of the corridor, as if allowing me to continue to wherever I wished to go. I looked to the third zombie, noticing that he was looking at me but making no movements towards me. His eyes were just as wild and feral as the other two, but he did not make a single aggressive move.
I hesitated for a moment before I began to walk, watching the three of them with weary eyes as they backed away by a step every time I advanced a step. With each step the fear disappeared, replaced with a little bit of confidence. By the time I was within three steps of them the male who was leaning against the wall jumped back and began to run, vanishing around a corner. The other two snarled at me for a moment, but soon followed the thirds example and ran away from me.
It was a surreal experience.
When they vanished my nerve finally broke, and I fell to my knees in fright, hands grabbing onto the sides of my head as I began shaking in fear and trepidation at what I had just been forced to stand my ground against.
A single question surged through my mind.
What were those things?
They looked like people, but they also looked feral and crazed. It reminded her of a horror movie she had seen with her ex-boyfriend a few years ago.
What was its name?
Twenty Eight Days Later?
Yes, that was the name.
"I'm in a film now, am I?"
She shook her head, trying to dispel the insane illusion that she was within a horror film. She already knew that she wasn't going to wake up from this nightmare. This nightmare was as real as she was, maybe even more.
What happened to Mom?
The thought smashed into her mind like a runaway train, and with it another hundred questions formed.
Was she okay?
Where was she?
Was she even alive?
Did she become one of these... things?
Other questions began to form in her mind, some more horrifying than any she had asked herself before. She had become one of these, Infected.
Was she the only one who retained her humanity?
Were there others like her?
Where would she find them if there were?
Would anyone accept her like this?
Eventually she found the locker room, and after a while Elizabeth found that her new claws came in very handy in one aspect. They weren't just created the shred through flesh and bone. They were capable of shredding through steel and metal as well. The locks to the lockers were cut in half with the least trouble, opening to reveal storage areas full of clothes and personal valuables, it almost looked like no one had the time to evacuate.
She shook off her thoughts, and continued on her quest to find clothes.
It took her four tries before she was able to put on any clothing without tearing it too badly. It was pure luck that she liked the fourth mass of clothes. By then she had gotten used to her knife like fingers. She put on a simple white t-shirt, followed by a pair of baggy jeans which she couldn't help but tear in some placed, but they looked a little punk stylish, so she left them on, a pair of slip on black boots was a godsend for her claws and finally and after much slow and steady progress she was able to put a hooded jumper on herself, a white hooded jumper reading Henley's on it with two lions over a circle.
The trip up the stairs to the ground floor was just as nerve-wracking as that first encounter with the zombies in that dark corridor, only now she had grown used to them backing away from her out of fear. Soon she reached the front entrance of the hospital, seeing the sun shining well overhead, though through a hazy sky.
"What do you want to do know, Liz," I asked myself uncertainly. "Maybe there will be some survivors out there, or maybe people like me?"
I smiled as I realised that my stutter had completely gone. My voice was still scratchy, but it was better than when I first awoke. "There's only one way to find out."