Chapter 2

Broken World

The city was a desolate place. Every street was full of abandoned vehicles including cars, vans, and Lorries. The buildings were dark and silent, with windows either smashed or boarded up, shards of glass covering the street which made her glad she had found boots. The streets were deserted. It felt like a ghost town. The only signs of life were the skulking forms of zombies, but even then there were only a few, and when she got close they would snarl and run.

Elizabeth shivered, lifting her hands to place the hood over her head. It was cold, so cold that when she exhaled she could see her breathe as misty vapour. Her red eyes watched the mist dissipate, before settling on the path before her, unsure of where she was going to go. If this infection had spread throughout the whole city, throughout the country even, then there was nowhere for her to go even if she had a better recollection of her past.

After a while she began to ignore the zombies, ignore everything but the path ahead. Elizabeth just knew that she had to keep moving, keep moving and perhaps find some food, some water and a place to sleep when night sets in. She didn't want to be out here in the middle of the night, because if what Zombie movies she remembered were true then the undead were considerably more active at night.

She walked for another ten minutes before finding a little glimmer of hope in a small corner street shop. The windows had been shattered and the door was hanging ajar, one of its hinges had snapped it seemed. Elizabeth walked up to the door, hearing the gravelly cracks of glass being crushed beneath her black boots before pushing the door open, flinching when the last hinge went and it fell to the ground with a thud.

The interior was dark, no light from either the frozen food stalls or the main bulbs. She searched and found a switch, only for the main lights to flicker on for barely a second before exploding from a shortened fuse. She glared up at the sparking remains of the light bulb over her head, silently cursing its existence before deciding to move further in.

The frozen foods section was a complete loss, most of the food seemed to have already been taken, probably by the general population when the state of emergency was called. What was left looked like it was as rotten as could be. The same went for the shelves, which were mostly barren, but there were still some edible things left.

She found a bottle of water under one of the racks, unopened and full, she found some Doritos at the back of a shelf, then a packet of unopened galaxy caramel. Liz frowned in annoyance at the meagre possessions she was able to scrounge, not really much of a meal. The witch looked to the unopened back door, smiling lightly.

Maybe there was something behind the door.

Elizabeth walked over to the door, had a bit of trouble getting her clawed hand around the knob and pushed. It didn't budge, locked. She growled at the imposing obstruction before backing up a step. To hell with breaking and entering, it was the zombie apocalypse. She was alone, she was hungry and cold and she was not going to let a pile of half rotten wood stand between her and a possible meal.

She raised her clawed hand and brought it down, cutting a long three clawed gash along the doors surface with enough power to slice all the way through. She struck it again, and again, and again with her bladed fingers until she had created a hole big enough to fit her hand through. She felt around for the knob on the other side, found it but once again had trouble trying to turn it.

Stupid clawed hands;

Finally, after much aggravating trial and error she was able to get a grip and turn the knob, opening the door for her to enter. She stepped through, and had to focus her eyes to look around. It was difficult to see, and she didn't want to try and turn on the lights again, one fuse blowing up on her was enough for one day.

After a few seconds her eyes got used to the gloom and with slightly cautious strides she continued on further into the store, down a corridor and into a kitchen. A kitchen with a fridge, and it was still on. She could hear the hum from where she stood.

Elizabeth smiled before looking up at the ceiling. Finally the powers above had granted her some luck. "God, I still hate you but it's a start."

The infected girl walked over to the fridge and opened it, looking inside and smiling when she saw what was inside. It wasn't much, but to a starving girl it was paradise. Some milk, half of a cheese, unopened ham, a bottle of coke and what looked like pieces of chicken in a bowl. The milk turned out to be out-of-date. The smell made it abundantly clear.

The rest of it though still looked good.

And as she began feasting on her scavenged supper she found that it tasted even better.

Hunger and thirst temporarily sated she walked back into the corridor, looking outside to see that the light was fading rapidly. Night was coming, and Elizabeth had watched too many horror movies to want to venture out in the dark.

Here seemed to be as good a place to crash as any. She closed the door to the kitchen and locked it, seeing with a little grim satisfaction that she was slowly getting used to her new nine inch nails. The ability of the human mind to adapt to any change was staggering, she thought glumly. There was a little light from the opened fridge, and thanks to that she was able to see the sofa on the other side of the room.

She walked over to the sofa and collapsed onto it, surprised by how tired she was now that she had a chance to lay down. Yet sleep did not take her right away. Her mind was full of half forgotten memories and images; particularly of the woman she seemed to know by instinct was her mother. A tear slid down Elizabeth's cheek.

She couldn't even remember her mother's name.

The thought upset her, and she managed a shaken sob before pushing the grief back down into the deepest pits of the dark abyss. It didn't stay there long. It bubbled up, forcing its way through the barriers she attempted with all of her might to build up. Memories of her mother crying, memories of the men and women in those suits, memories of the pain and the fever, of knowing that everyone she ever knew, ever loved were either dead or turned into those mindless monsters wandering the streets.

And she was one of them.

The sob escaped her lips before she could stop it, then another hit her which wracked her body. Pain enveloped her, but it wasn't from any physical wound. It was from her chest, which felt so tight that she thought it would burst. She curled up into a ball on the couch, buried her head in her hands and cried inconsolably.

At some point she fell asleep, and her dreams were wracked with those same images, and the phantom pain which came with them. She awoke with a start, looking around in bewilderment for a moment before remembering where she was. She sat up shakily and swivelled herself so that she could place her booted feet on the floor.

She unlocked and opened the door, looking out to see that it was day again, light beamed through the shattered windows beyond the equally shattered door. She didn't know how long she slept for or how much of the day had past during her slumber.

It was day again, and she was more than ready to move on.

She took a step towards the light when she heard it, just barely, but she heard it. Someone was crying, she could hear it from behind her. She turned to see the backdoor at the other end of the hall, and as she moved forward with tentative steps she heard the noise grow. Someone was crying beyond the door, wailing and sobbing as uncontrollably as she guessed she did the night before.

Elizabeth walked up to the backdoor, and cut the lock in half using one of her claws. The door opened easily afterwards, and the young girl walked out, allowing the sunlight to heat her skin before once again looking around for the source of the crying. It appeared to be up the side alley a little bit and around a corner.

She frowned as she followed the voice, wandering why someone would cry so loud when there were vicious zombies all over the place. Whoever was crying either didn't understand the situation or she didn't care. If it was an uninfected girl then she would definitely need help.

The question was would she run screaming if she saw her?

Elizabeth knew that if she saw someone like her approaching she would probably do the same. She did look a little like the wandering zombies after all, discounting the claws and the better complexion, and the lack of blood.

She turned the corner to come face to face with a face as whitish gray as her own, half hidden by a mass of dirty, messy white bangs, under the hair I could just make out a face, pulled taut by hunger and crimson red eyes which burned with intense emotion which Elizabeth was just barely able to recognise as pain, such unbelievable pain. The woman reminded her so much of the image she saw in the mirror, dressed in a dirty white vest and a pair of panties, fingers morphed into long claws similar to her own.

Her eyes starred into hers, before becoming feral and angry. She snarled, face morphing into an animalistic visage before she pounced, lashing out with her claws. Elizabeth saw it coming, eyes widening in sudden surprise and fear before the claws bit into her skin, drawing blood. The pain forced Elizabeth into action, and within the blink of an eye she found that she had jumped back to the other side of the alley.

The speed of her movements at that moment startled her. She had moved so fast that the infected beings claw had only managed to bit a centimetre into her right arm. Elizabeth looked down, seeing the blood dripping from her wound before looking up at the one who looked just like her, who was already lunging at her again.

Elizabeth jumped to the side, more out of instinct than thought, and found that she had jumped at least four meters away from the attacking infected. The infected forced her clawed hand out of the marks she made in the timber wall before glaring at her, snarling and charging like a feral beast. The infected girl gave into her instinct, and ran, knowing that her offender was in pursuit. Her screeches and roars piercing Elizabeth's ears.

She rushed out of the side alley and into the main street, seeing that the screams of the creature behind her was forcing the other infected to scatter in every direction, whether out of fright or just the instinctual knowledge of what was making those sounds. Elizabeth continued running, jumping on top of a red car, marvelling at the height of her jump before looking around to see the infected woman launch another pounce right at her.

Elizabeth gasped before diving to the side, hitting the ground and rolling to her feet. She looked up and saw that the infected had dug her claws into the roof of the vehicle, plunging straight through with a scrape of steel. The creature turned her head, eyes glowing behind the mop of dirty white bangs before she forced her claws from the roof with a screeching of sliced apart metal.

She rushed Elizabeth again, and the girl finally panicked, running in the opposite direction as fast as her legs could carry her, and marvelling at how fast she was running. She turned a corner and dashed down the side street, all the way through to the other main street.

The other infected hot on her heels and gaining.

Elizabeth was only able to make another four steps before she was tackled to the ground, turning around in time to see the other infected straddling her, clawed hands over her head and ready for a downward, eviscerating slash. Paralyzed with fear as her wide eyes met the crazed ones of the other she could only wait for those terrible claws to dissect her.

A gunshot echoed through the street, and Elizabeth's eyes snapped open in time to see the points of her attackers claws mere millimetres away from her exposed eyeball. The other infected beings attention was no longer on her, but glaring hatefully to the right, face morphing into an animalistic snarl. Elizabeth timidly followed her gaze.

The first thing she noticed was an armoured vehicle, a people carrier with thick black armour and what looked like a machinegun perched beside the top hatch, a black armoured figure pointing it right at her and the infected attacking her. In front of the carrier were another four men, garbed in body hugging black armour, heads hidden by what looked like gasmasks and helms. In the hands of three of them were assault rifles, M-16's pointed right at them, and the other was holding a smoking pistol, an M9, in the air.

Elizabeth couldn't keep her eyes off what she had seen, soldiers, honesty god flesh and blood, uninfected soldiers. The other infected woman's snarl became more feral before she screamed in anger and hatred, then she was charging right at the soldiers, clawed hands outstretched as she dashed, closing the space between her and her new prey with speed.

The machinegun on top of the armoured vehicle opened fire, muzzle flaring and spent bullet shells flying. The heavy calibre bullets peppered the witch, forcing her to a stop, body shaking with spasms from direct hits. The firing ceased. The woman managed another step forward, and then fell on her face, unmoving.

Elizabeth looked at the body with wide eyes, terrified not at what had happened to the tortured creature, but that the exact same fate was probably in store for her. The four soldiers advanced, assault rifles now trained on her. She backed away, clawed hands scrapping the tarmac as she crawled backwards, back hitting a blue car, stopping her from making another movement of retreat.

They were within twenty feet of the sane Witches paralysed form before a great roar shook her from her stupor. Elizabeth's head snapped to the right, then the left, seeing dozens of other infected rushing down the side alleys. They exploded from the passages, all roaring and snarling as they rushed the soldiers.

The leader drew a knife and aimed his pistol while the other three knelt, taking up firing positions before aiming their rifles and opening fire in short, controlled bursts. Infected humans fell one after the other, heads exploding, limbs torn off and blood splattering the ground. The machine-gunner didn't even swivel his gun in their general direction, every shot was fired from the four men on the ground.

Within five seconds the fight was over, four soldiers with their guns smoking, two of them reloading their rifles as the last of nearly thirty Infected fell on its back. Elizabeth could only watch the engagement, once again paralysed by fear. She hadn't even ever seen a gun before, let alone men actually using them.

Finally Elizabeth forced herself to move, scrapping claws against tarmac as she scrapped her way to her feet and began running. Jumping on top of the car and preparing to launch into the air before a single gunshot rang out. Pain, unbearable pain slammed into her shoulder, spinning her in the air before she slammed into the ground. Elizabeth managed a startled cry of pain before frantically looking at her shoulder, seeing blood pouring from the through and through bullet wound.

"Damn it Mathews," she heard someone yell. "I wanted that one alive!"

"She'll live," another voice which must have been Mathews replied. "I only hit her in the shoulder."

"She better be boy," the other, older man growled. "Or I'll leave you here with the other freaks!"

Elizabeth could already feel her consciousness slipping from her grasp, probably from both the shock and blood loss all rolled into one. A shadow fell over the infected girl, and she was just barely able to look up in time to see one of the soldiers aiming his rifle right at her head. "It would be all too easy to end you here, freak."

She was scared, terrified, even more so than just a moment before. "Please no."

"She can speak," another voice, different than the other two before, said.

"Well that's as much proof as we need," a female voice added.

"Oh please, as if these things are much more than bloodthirsty freaks," Mathews scoffed.

"Leave her alone Mathews," the older voice barked. "You know the orders."

Mathews sighed, before spinning his rifle in his hands and slamming the butt into her head. Elizabeth felt pain in her skull, a second blow smashing her against the concrete before passing out from the blow.

She just heard his voice before she finally blacked out, "would have been better to kill the bitch."

I awoke slowly, my eyes blurry, my movements sluggish. I could see a gunmetal gray ceiling, and my sluggish ears could just make out the continuous thrumming of a set of propeller blades. To my left and right I could make out light coming from small round windows. It took me a moment to realise that I was within a helicopter, an army helicopter.

"W-where," I managed, before hearing sudden movement to my left. A soldier was sitting across from me, and the butt of his rifle was held over my head.

"Go back to sleep little witch," he said.

"Put that thing down," another called, irritated, and female. "She was in bad enough shape from the last time, another blow to the head and she might not wake up."

"Emphasis on might doc," the soldier shot back. "Besides we just need the body. So what if I kill another one of these vicious assholes."

"This one is not vicious," the woman replied. "Did she attack you or make any threatening move?"

"Gunfire must have scared it," he replied flippantly.

She scoffed, "Right, a witch running away from the ones who startle her?"

A hand gripped onto my left arm, and I tried to shake it off feebly. It was then that I noticed that I was being restrained, my arms and legs held in place by steel shackles. I attempted to push against them, but I felt so weak and sluggish. Something pricked my arm, and I looked over just in time to see a needle piercing my skin, an amber liquid being injected into my bloodstream.

"W-what," I tried to ask, only to swallow a lump in my throat before trying again. "What are you-?"

"Hush," the female voice shushed softly, and I immediately felt myself black out again. But I kept my eyes open, forcing myself to stay awake just long enough to see who the woman was on the gunship. She wore a white lab coat, the sleeves pulled back to show her slender, tanned forearms. A gasmask covered her face, but I saw black hair and dark eyes behind the visor. "Do you have a name?"

The soldier scoffed, "Yea right, as if one of these things can remember its own name."

The woman ignored him, looking right at me.

I swallowed, "E-Elizabeth."

The soldiers head snapped around, and I took some satisfaction in imagining the look on his face, punctuated by the following soundtrack, "Holy shit."

She smiled, "A pleasure to meet you Elizabeth, I'm Clare."

"Wha-what did you d-do to me?"

"It's just a sedative," she replied. "It should numb the pain for now, and allow me to talk to you."

I managed a half smile, before grimacing. "I h-have an idea... no shooting n-next time. It hurt."

She smiled, I couldn't quite see it thanks to the mask, but I felt it. "How old are you, Elizabeth?"

That question made me think. How old was I? My brow furrowed as I attempted to bring up a number, but every time I tried I just came up blank. I began to grimace, once again feeling upset and frightened. "I... I can't."

"Shh, it's okay if you can't remember," she replied soothingly. "Is there anything you do remember, any memories?"

I felt dizzy, sick and nauseous. The memories I did have flooded through my eyes. I knew what was happening, I was about to black out again, but there was something else, after a day and a half of keeping it in I finally panicked. "College... I remember C-College, people g-getting sick, going home, collapsing in front of Mom." My eyes widened as wide as they could go, pupils dilating. "Oh God Mom, she's waiting for me... I want... I want to see her."

Tears streamed down my cheeks unabated. I noticed the soldier stiffen ever so slightly, hands gripping a little more tightly onto his rifle. But the doctor stopped him, placing her arm between him and me. Her eyes were entirely focused on me. I felt it, finally I felt it. I was scared, I was terrified, I wanted to wake up in my bed to the sound of my Mom calling me down for breakfast.

I just wanted my Mom.

"Oh god Mom," I cried softly, because I was too weak to scream. "I want my Mom. I want to go home. I want to wake up. I want my Mom, I want to see her!"

"Its okay sweetheart," Clare consoled softly. "Do you know her name?"

I tried, I really tried to remember, but I couldn't put a name to my mother's face, and that just made me even more upset. I cried inconsolably as I spoke, hiccupping and sobbing, voice becoming faster and higher pitched until I was screaming. "I can't. I can't remember, oh god. I remember her face, her smile, her voice, her laugh, but can't... I can't remember her name!"

There was a creak of metal as I suddenly tried to move, pulling with all of my might against the restraints holding me down. The soldier was lifting his rifle, preparing to aim his weapon right at me but I didn't care.

"Doc, she's going berserk."

A soft hand caressed my cheek, and I looked up to see the doctor. She had taken off her gasmask and cast it aside; ignoring the soldier's quiet warning as she looked down at me with dark eyes. "You're going to be okay, sweetheart. I promise."

Tears continued to stream down my cheeks, but I didn't shy away from her tough, I leaned into it, closing my eyes tightly and hiccupping as I sobbed. Through it all I was able to utter one question, a question I had been asking myself since I woke up in that morgue.

"What has happened to me?" I sobbed, hiccupping between words as they spilled from my mouth. "Did I do something wrong? What did I... do? W-what did I... d-do to deserve this?"

"You didn't do anything," the woman replied, sighing. "This was all one big mess, and the whole world got bogged down in it."

Her attention went to the first aid kit beside her, reaching in with her free hand and pulling out another syringe, this one with a yellow liquid within it. Clare turned to me, smiling disarmingly as she removed her hand from my cheek and pointed to the syringe. "This is a sleeping agent. It'll put you to sleep until we can get you to base and fix you up."

I looked into her eyes, seeing a woman who was different than the soldiers. They were just following orders, and hesitantly at that, but the look in her eyes. Somehow I knew that she was here because she actually wanted to help me. So I managed a smile, and feeling to weak by my breakdown to speak I simply nodded my head and closed my eyes.

I felt a prick in my left arm, and within moments I was unconscious again.

"Holy shit,"

Clare looked up at the soldier and rolled her eyes, gently taking the needle out of the witches arm and placing it back into her kit, "Very eloquent Gunnery-Sergeant."

"Sue me," the man replied gruffly.

"I don't see why this surprises you. You and your men read the brief didn't you? You should be prepared for this." The doctor replied as she sat down across from him, but left the gasmask at her side. It was unneeded; she was immune to the infection, just like every other sane human left in this hell of a world.

"I know the brief doc, but this is the first one of those freaks that I've seen." He said as he relaxed, allowing his gun to lean against his shoulder.

"She's so young," Clare murmured as she looked over the sleeping girl, moving her hand to caress her hair. It didn't feel brittle like other Witch corpses she examined. This one's hair was as soft as any humans. "I'd guess she must have been seventeen, maybe eighteen when she was infected with the Green Flu."

"Careful doc," the Gunnery Sergeant warned. "It sounds like your getting attached to her."

"It's her now is it?" Clare asked slyly. "What happened to just one of those freaks."

He sighed, "Don't change the issue doc."

She frowned at him, before looking down at the unconscious girl. "I just want to help her. That's what we're doing this for right? Finding a cure?"

"Doc," the soldier shook his head. "I don't think we can."

"Doesn't mean we can't try," she snapped at him. "And this girl and others like her may hold the key."

"Hope is a great thing to have doc."

She ignored him, looking down sadly at the girl. "I'm sorry, but I'll have to cause you more pain. Just know that what we gain from you could save so many."

Author Note 1: Left 4 Dead is not mine, nor are any of its characters. I am just borrowing them. During the rough beginning I kept switching between first and third person viewpoints. I have tried to edit it, but if I missed anything please let me know so I can fix it.

Author Note 2: I'm a little worried that I overdid it with Elizabeth's breakdowns, but I felt that if most people awoke with her situation they wouldn't be able to just shrug it off and carry on like I have seen in so many other sane infected stories, they would need to cry, need to try and get their minds around what was happening to them, try and sort through things, some I'm guessing would probably go mad from just seeing their reflection in a mirror, so I felt that her reaction was just right for the situation. I could be wrong, but that's how I see it as going down.

Author Note 3: Updates will be lax at best and near non-existent at worst, but this next chapter just came to me and I just decided to upload it. My main focus will be on the Naruto/Star Wars crossover 'The Good Left Undone' for now, but maybe when I get pretty far on I might continue this. It will take a while though.