Chapter 1. Descent into Despair.
Answer me, who are you?
In front of my eyes, there is Jane Doe.
Do you kiss with your eyes wide open?
Why is there you I don't know?
'Jane Doe', Takahashi Minami
I'd never think my life could get any more insane. However, the events of the last 24 hours showed that it very damn well could. And it's not just that the tragedy I'd already witnessed unfolded in front of my eyes once again.
When did all this begin?
I remember the advice that I heard from one of our psychologists. Because of the nightmares our agents had to witness they sometimes were losing the sense of what is real and what is not. Whenever they felt like they could not keep going, like they were losing their mind, they just needed to focus on basic things about themselves they knew were true, like name and age.
My name is Leon Scott Kennedy. I am 36 years old. One day ago there was a planned attack on Tall Oaks, aimed at taking down the President. The town is destroyed. The person behind this is National Security Advisor Derek Simmons. And he will pay for this.
No, it's not going to help now. I shake my head to clear my mind and look at the source of another problem, who is peacefully sleeping in a chair across me.
In a way I'm jealous of Helena right now. As soon as the plane took off she fell fast asleep. How long has she been worrying about her sister? How long she had no sleep because of that? Add the adrenaline of last several hours, and you pretty much understand why she's sleeping like a child now.
Like a child. She is, in a way, being 12 years younger. Damn, she's younger than Sherry, whom I knew like a child.
And this makes all the more uncomfortable.
When did I start warming up to her? Was it when she had to put a bullet through the infected girl's head? Or when Ada did almost the same to her infected sister? Or the moment of defenselessness when we jumped down into the sewers?
Shut it, Kennedy, you're walking down a dangerous road. Stop before it's too late.
I remember first thoughts about her: a nuisance, a liar, or someone who's obviously not telling everything she knows. It took going through hell to see the good in Helena, her loyalty and determination, as well as her dark side – vengefulness.
I try to switch my mind to Ada. For some reason, Ada and Helena cannot coexist peacefully in my head, and whenever I concentrate on one of them, she just forces to other out of my mind. And Ada has always been somewhat of a constant in my life, while Helena is – I both hope for it and dread it – passing.
Ada, Ada, Ada. What is her motivation? What was she doing down under the cathedral? How she knew that that ring would open the door? As time passes, the number of 'what's, 'how's and 'why's is only increasing.
It's strange but at this very moment I feel like know Helena better than Ada. The string of thought starts unfolding further.
I survived the Tall Oaks. I am the prime suspect for killing the President. To be more precise, Helena and I top the list of suspects. Helena is my…
And here the thoughts stop. Helena is my what? An accidental acquaintance? A partner? A friend?
As if reading my thoughts, Helena sighs deeply in her sleep and hugs herself.
Quit staring, before she woke up.
She does. As soon as I notice it, I immediately pretend that the view outside the illuminator is very interesting. This could be very convincing if not for the complete darkness that IS the view outside. No city lights, nothing but darkness.
I turn to her. Despite the sleep, there are shadows under her eyes.
'Sleep while there's still time', I smile at her.
She smiles back and stretches her arms and legs before standing up. 'I'll be back in a couple of minutes. I swear if I continue sitting my legs are going to fall off'.
Don't stare. Nothing is going to happen to her in a plane full of people. Still, it's strange how vulnerable and defenseless I start to feel. I guess I really got used to her, always ready to shoot at any threat.
PLANE, Kennedy. It's not like it's full of zombies.
I take deep breaths and look out of window once again. When I hear steps I look up for a second before turning back to the window again.
'We just entered Chinese airspace'.
Out of the corner of my eye I can see Helena sitting down and holding her head. I can only imagine the burden she's carrying, technically being the one responsible for everything that's happened. And there's a lot I want to tell her but I only manage asking 'How're you holding up?'
She rubs her head and does not answer. I assume that she needs time to herself, when I'm confronted with a sudden and direct question that catches me completely by surprise.
'Why didn't you turn me in?' Confusion must be clearly written over my face, because she adds, 'You could have cleared your name'.
'Maybe', I say, pretending to consider this alternative, 'But it wouldn't have stopped Simmons'. She shakes her head in disbelief, and before I can either realize what I'm saying or, better, stop the words coming out of my mouth, I hear myself saying, 'Besides, you're starting to grow on me a little bit'.
Next second I expect her to slap me, but Helena only grins, as if saying, 'Very funny, you got me'. On the one hand, I feel hurt. One the other hand, I'm glad that I'm not physically hurt.
Suddenly the plane starts shaking and lights flicker. We exchange glances and head to the pilot's cabin, none of us uttering a single word. That much for a peaceful flight.
At least she did not hit you, Kennedy.
I have to say that Chapter 2 went a little bit out of control and subtotal for two chapters is already 7 pages! I have 4 chapters planned as a must, but if inspiration is not going to die out, there will be 5 of them :) Meanwhile...
Chapter 2 teasers.
When the third zombie joins its comrades in a free fall, I hear a quick succession of five shots beside me and a quiet 'Come on, Ada'.
I take aim and pull the trigger…
I hear a click and nothing happens.
One, two, three.
'You're starting to grow on me a little bit'.