Prologue

Thursday 21St March

Dear Log

There's no escape now.

It's been three month now since test subject A21 escaped and started it...started it all. This was a medical place, we thought we were almost on the cure. The one to save millions, to stop the dying, the pain, the suffering, but we just created something worse...hell.

The test was going so well, we were almost there. She responded well with the treatments, the tests, everything. But then something went wrong. I can't explain it.

We gave her an injection of rostopium, a drug created in the states. We can only guess that it had a reaction with her system or something.

She died at 07:12

She reanimated at 11:13

The others have the windows and door sealed so no more of those things can get in...or us out. We used whatever we could find; doors, tables even the other computers. The lights are flickering out, we will soon be in the dark. There is no heating and the food is running out. Only this computer is active but we have lost contact with the outside world. I don't know how many of us are left but I fear that I will not live long enough to find out. The only thing I have left is a photo of my boy, my brave boy. I wish to God that he is still alive but in this world I know what the chances are. A small fire gives us some form of comfort but we find it hard to keep it lit, almost everything is gone.

There are only five of us left. John, Aimee, Luke, Cara and me. Matthew left us last Tuesday. He couldn't last another day.

We now only have nine bullets.

I hope that someone finds this. Anyone.

There is no cure for it. It was meant to be The cure.

They have come back. Their moans penetrate the room and haunt us. This may be my last log.

Goodbye

To the world I grew to love.

Chapter 1 – A normal day – Jess

Two girls walked along a long broken highway. Flipped cars and pools of blood were dotted along the marred landscape and weeds made their way through cracks in the crumbling tarmac. It was roughly midday in what was left of Northern Ireland, and the day was cloudy and overcast. There was a sense that it would rain at any moment but the clouds held back on their downpour. The highway snaked through the many overgrown hills of Craigantlet. Telephone wires hung from their poles and threatened to shock whoever got near them. Fields that should have been filled with sheep and new born lambs were now empty. The air was eerily quiet and the only sounds were of the girls footsteps as they walked side by side, pausing only to check certain cars for valuables.

The girl to the left was Jess. She would have looked quite pretty, underneath the coating of mud which hid her round, soft features beneath. She had sea-green, narrowed eyes which were framed with thin lashes and she wore no makeup. These were like searchlights; she missed nothing with those eyes. She was tall and had a lovely hourglass-shaped figure with shoulder-length, wavy blonde hair that had hiding in it twigs, leaves, and specks of mud. She wore dark brown, worn flat boots, dark skinny jeans with rips on the knees, a black long-sleeved jumper that was two sizes to big and a dark green jacket wrapped around. She had a 10mm handheld machine gun, taken from Palace Barracks, and a machete strapped to a makeshift holster on her back, which she had carried from day one.

Emma was not as filthy as her companion. She had light mahogany hair that fell in wild yet perfect natural curls and ended just below her shoulders. Framed by perfect eyebrows and long, thick lashes held two bright baby blue eyes. Unlike her companion her eyes showed slight sadness to what the world had become. She was a little shorter than Jess, and was very slender. She wore simple, worn, blue trainers, ripped light blue jeans, which had a plain black belt around it, a black t-shirt with an image of a tiger and a plain blue, un-zipped jacket. She held a hunting rifle with both hands and a .44 magnum swung from her jeans belt.

Of the two girls Jess was the eldest being eighteen, nearly nineteen. Emma was slightly younger having just turned sixteen but her attitude and maturity often made her seem older than Jess.

Jess's eyes suddenly darted towards the darkened tree line, and she silently crooked a finger. Seemingly without a cue, Emma took out her pistol and looked at the line of trees bordering the highway, and Jess unsheathed her machete. There was a bestial whine from within the trees, then snarling, getting slightly louder with every second. Jess grinned. Emma looked grim. They stood back (with Jess slightly ahead of Emma) and prepared for whatever was coming from the trees.

A person came at the pair, except, it wasn't normal person. He foamed at the mouth, and had blood dripping from his snarling teeth and lips. A horrific bite mark was shown on the arm, which was infested with flies. This was an infected, normally a human but had been infected and turned into hideous, violent monster.

Jess swung her machete and attacked. As soon as the battle had started it had ended with a single deadly swing. The growling stopped. She and Emma bent down to examine the infected, and sighed in unison.

"No change, I see. This virus doesn't seem to go, does it?" remarked Emma. "It's a shame, really. They didn't ask to end up like this."

Jess scoffed. "Maybe. Didn't stop those fucking asses going mental on their own species. Like we didn't have enough to worry about, being attacked by the dead and fuck knows what else, and then your sweet old neighbour decides she doesn't need to get infected, she's going to be a DIY zombie!"

Em looked warily at her, shrugged and said, "Let's just keep moving on. We have to find somewhere safe for tonight, and Jess"

Jess looked over at her friend. "What?"

"Stop with the swearing. Please" Emma asked.

Jess shook her head. "Em for you... I'll go two hours"

Emma chuckled. "I guess that's the best I'll get."

Jess mock-punched Emma, who gave her a gentle kidney jab.

As they laughed, while inside feeling pensive and thoughtful, they reflected on their lives before the Infection, before weapons, and before pain. A time when being alive was simple and easy.

Both girls had known each other before the Infection- they had gone to the same school together, and were friends. Their individual traits seemed not similar, but unusually paired, to make a tight friendship that, while admittedly chafing against their different views and opinions on life, had held steady and grew, even through an apocalypse.

They could never forget that day in which they met. It was Emma's first day; Jess was in third year and came across her fellow peers demanding the rights to Emma's new locker. With one sentence Jess had them running. From that day their friendship was unmatched and they both knew it would be something only to grow in time.

And so it had. As they steadily grew older and more mature, their personalities developed in such a way that while both admitted to being dependent on each other for comfort, support and a shoulder to cry on, they still thought themselves as being fiercely independent in their own rights.

For instance, Jess was at her least dependent during any type of conflict. She was an army of her own, and needed no backup or support. She was unaffected by anything done to her personally, but when someone went against her friends, she went against them with such a passion few people dared to step out of line when around her.

However, Emma was chalk to her cheese, and held her back when it was needed. Often Jess could find herself against someone just as stubborn as her, and although her opponents conceded victory when Emma made her withdraw, Jess was aware it was a victory for her conscience and state of mind.

While Jess would have been loath to admit it, Emma was of a more intelligent frame of mind than her. Emma often needed little guidance in anything, except perhaps love, although neither of the girls was proficient in that subject. So, Emma was independent in that help was never needed; only given.

But Emma was very non-confrontational where confrontation was needed. She shied away from violence, and tried to talk things out where the time for speech was gone. When others teased her when Jess came to her rescue, and called her a coward, she never let it bother her, she simply felt grateful for the security of Jess's friendship.

Both girls were snapped from their reminiscences by two things happening simultaneously- a fight occurring from a ditch on the roadside, and a low, sinister moan, overlapped with a few of its kind.

The girls snapped into action. Emma took out her hunting rifle and went to the source of the fight, while Jess whipped out her 9mm's, kissed it, and walked towards the source of the moaning.

What greeted her was horrible. A crowd of four Infected, shuffled towards her. They had rotten, crusty skin and bites and cuts all over their bodies. Two of them were in business suits, one in casual clothes, and the last a woman in a green dress.

Jess had experience with the Infected, more than she would let on, and she knew that she had to be careful where she put her bullets. You didn't know when you would next find more so you could waste none.

Now, a plan formulated in her mind. Once she fired her first shot, the Infected would start running at her, all be it slowly. There was some times to sight each one of them but it would have to be a head shot with no miss.

Jess smiled. Perfect. She checked her gun, sighted, and let rip.

After the Infected fell over each other, she reloaded, and hastily retreated. She looked over and saw someone with Emma.

It was a guy, about the same age as Jess, maybe older, with curly black hair, wary green eyes and a lean figure. He stood a head above the pair that, even though they were considered tall for their age, they looked tiny beside him. He was wearing a blue t-shirt and ripped jeans and holey red trainers. He was also wearing a brown jacket that was too big for him. He was kind of…cute. Actually, if you erased the mud and blood he was covered in, he was pretty darn hot. A boy more suited in a boy band than what the world had become. They type girls would scream for but seriously not her type.

Jess walked over and joined to pair. The guy had blood on his hands but no cuts or open wounds. Two dead infected lay a few feet away, bleeding, the blood came from there. Jess nodded at the boy and he returned it. It was settle, he would travel with them.

As the three of them walked side-by-side (with Jess in the middle) along the remainder of the highway, Jess got talking to the guy they picked up. She started easy.

"So what's your name?"

"Daniel." He replied in a deep voice. "Yours?" he demanded back.

"Jess and this is Emma." She nodded over to her companion. He looked over and smiled softly and she returned it.

They walked in silence another few miles, and then Emma had a go.

"So, where are you from?"

He kept his mouth shut that time. But Emma was persistent, in a slightly more subtle way than Jess would ever be.

"Well, me and Jess are from Belfast, we went to school there."

That squeezed a response out of him. "I from Bangor." And that was all that was said.

After a couple of hours of intense grilling, both subtle and not, they had found out quite a bit about this boy and his background.

He had lived in Bangor, near the sea. He didn't have much family, just lived with his dad until his death a few months before the outbreak. He had finished school and was working in a shopping mall in the centre of the town. He had survived this long by sleeping in ditches and running instead of fighting due to lack of weapons. The three then sat down heavily on the ruined tarmac after walking for several hours.

The day started it's slow decent to night and the three looked up at the sky as it turned to into a light pink colour. Red clouds dotted the sky as full stops dot a page. The temperature had already dropped several degrees and the three shivered in unison.

Daniel turned to them and said "Thanks by the way. For letting me come with you. Some people would just left me... or killed me."

"I know what you mean, we have come across a few of those as we travelled. The world has gone to ruin and these people want to destroy it just a little bit more. " scoffed Jess.

Daniel nodded and the three of them looked across the field. The silence became awkward, until Daniel cleared the air by clearing his throat, and saying, "Well, while we walk, tell me how you guys found each other when the infection started."

The two girls remembered, almost fondly, the day of the Infection, and how they had been reunited.

After the Infection, phone lines, the internet, public services, everything had gone down and nothing worked. Even though Jess knew it was incredibly stupid to travel all the way to where Emma lived- she lived by the dock, far away- Jess had been determined to save her.

She ran all the way to Emma's house, dodging every kind of obstacle on the way, and when she got to her house, the place was being broken into by the infected, furiously attacking the windows. Emma's dad was being torn to shreds outside the front door and there was no sign of her mum anywhere.

In a fit of fury, Jess had grabbed a piece of broken wood from the ground and screamed out every single kind of swearword and insult she could think of at the infected, causing them to move towards her instead of the house.

She smashed all of them to a pulp one by one. It was after she'd killed them all that she had realised Emma hadn't made a sound or appeared. Jess had rushed in to find Emma looking out the window that was smashed.

"Why didn't you scream for help, idiot?" said Jess almost angrily.

Emma just looked at her and Jess understood, who would have helped her?

From then on they had stuck together as they had always done.

The girls relayed this to Daniel taking turns to explain. It was at that point Jess felt an almost motherly affection towards him, and both were determined to help him find his feet while he travelled with them.