I've been extremely hesitant to post this, since the recent death of Cory (which I'm sure a lot of people join me in still grieving) but I've had this finished for a while, and I've practically written the whole twelve chapters of the fic, so I think it's time. And quite honestly writing has been sort of a healing procees for me, as strange as it sounds.
Onto the fic. It's based off the amazing playstation 3 game The last of us, and I hope that people enjoy it as much as I have writing it.
So, without further ado, enjoy!
The sound of tyres on gravel cause his eyes to flicker open, breaking him on the light slumber he'd fallen into. Sitting up straight on the old, battered couch, he rubs his tired eyes and focuses his sights on the opening door. His Mom steps in, sporting her own exhausted face. Dull brown eyes meet his, and she sighs with that exasperated tone where he knows she doesn't have the effort to scold him properly.
"Finn, you're supposed to be asleep."
"I couldn't, Ma."
She joins him, her body sinking into the couch with ease, head leaning back. Casting a gaze his way, she replies, "and why not?"
Becoming restless now, he finds himself fidgeting, body bursting with excitement, "in a half hour, it'll be my birthday. I'll finally be nine, Ma." Despite her tiredness, her lips tug into a smile. "What'd you get me?" Finn leans in, his own smile growing cheekily, "that bike I wanted? Or maybe that Play station 2?"
Her shoulders slump, "maybe...maybe not something as fancy as that." She reaches over, running her fingers through his overgrown hair, trying to rid the feelings of guilt as his expression falls. "Hey, buddy, I'd get you everything you wanted if I could, but I've got a mortgage to pay."
"What's a mortgage?"
"Just..." she forces on a smile, "silly adult things. Nothing for you to worry about." Finn begins to yawn, his attempt at stifling it with his hands doing nothing to fool his mother. "Right, come on, up to bed, kiddo."
Immediately, he shakes his head, "but I'm not tired."
"How do you know unless you try to get to sleep, hmm?" She pulls herself to her feet, reaching out a hand for him. "And as soon as you're up tomorrow, you can have your present."
Carole smiles sincerely toward her son, "I promise." They ascend the staircase together, their hands locked the entire time. As they reach his room, she hoists him up onto the bed, chuckling to herself as he shimmies himself down and under the covers. Carole takes over, tugging them up further and tucking them around his body. "There you go, nice and cosy."
He grins, "still not tired."
"Just close your eyes," she litters soft kisses along his hairline. He does, but one instantly peeks open. "Finn," she begins, in a tone of warning.
"Only twenty five minutes until my birthday," he chirps.
She casts a glance over her shoulder at the clock, "it is. But you're already my big boy, right this very moment."
"But I'll be even bigger tomorrow," Finn smiles to himself. "I can't wait."
Her fingers brush across his cheek, "hey, don't be in such a rush to grow up. It's not as exciting as it's made out to be."
"Pfft, yeah right," he dismisses the idea, "grown ups can do way more." A sad smile from his mother follows, but with his closed eyes he doesn't see. For that, she's glad.
"No more talk for tonight. It's time to sleep." She rises to her feet, "goodnight, sweetheart." Then, she smiles, "don't let the bed bugs bite."
"Ma, there's no such thing as bed bugs." He shakes his head at the nonsense, before mumbling, "night." His small body twists in the bed, scrunching up the comforter into a ruffled mess. Carole watches from the doorway as his breaths slowly become shallower and he slips into his dreams.
"Ah!" he shoots up in bed at a succession of loud bangs, followed by a shrill scream. Covered in goosebumps, his gaze does a full scan of the room, finding nothing but stillness. All he can hear is his erratic breaths and overexcited heart. With a thud, his bare feet drop to the carpeted floor, dragging him in search of the noise. "Ma?" he calls out into the hallway, wondering if she's watching one of those late night films again.
Opening the door all the way, and cringing slightly when it creaks uncomfortably in the silence that now looms around him, he steps out into the dark hallway.
"Ma?" he cries out once more.
Taking in a steady breath, he forces one foot in front of the other. His eyes aren't focused in the dark yet, so they squint to make sense of the surroundings in the pitch black. Finn rubs at his sleepy eyes, reaching the top of the stairs and clinging to the banister. He can feel the bumps where he chewed on it as a toddler engraved in the wood.
Another bang causes the boy to jump out of fright. "Ma, is that you?" he questions, eyes hidden behind a shimmer of fear, and face paling. Still, he feels his body betray his mind and begin moving downwards. What if she needs help?
An inhuman sound halts him in his tracks.
"Mommy," he hears himself whisper, "please." His head swims with confusion as to what's going on, and what is that noise? Is he still dreaming? Is he lying in his bed right now? A cold breeze wraps around him, nipping at his skin. All of a sudden, the kitchen door bursts open, and his neighbor rushes through, but... but...
Something isn't right. His eyes don't carry the usual warmth that he sees from the man, and his face snarls like a wild animal, red liquid pouring from his lips and down his chin. Finn finds himself frozen in time, convinced that he's seeing things, and that... thing is nothing more than imagination. Sinking into the shadows, he tries his best not to be seen, but small whimpers betray him.
Those crazed eyes lock on him. It suddenly screeches, then sets full pelt in Finn's direction. The boy panics and shouts, "Ma!" in fear. Unable to keep his eyes off the monster, he drags himself up the stairs backwards. Fingers grasp at his ankle with incredible strength, bringing Finn down the steps with a scream. His gaze rises to meet the living nightmare, its mouth open and ready to strike...
A gunshot is heard, and the next thing Finn knows there's a dead weight on top of him. Crying and panicking, he struggles to squeeze himself out, before he looks up to see his Mom, standing in the doorway with a gun in her hand. She drops the weapon from her shaky, unstable hands, the realization that she's just shot somebody, or something, hitting her. He takes wobbly steps toward her, unable to stop himself from peering at his attacker again, more tears coming as he wonders what on Earth made his neighbor change so.
"Finn," she breathes out weakly, moving to envelope him into a tight hug. The feel of her arms around him, of her welcoming scent, comfort Finn, and he relaxes in her grasp. "Are you okay? Did he hurt you?" She looks over him worriedly, checking his whole body for a sign of damage, then making to grasp his face between her hands and insisting, "everything is going to be fine."
"What happened – why did he..." Finn shakes his head, tears bunching up in his eyes, "what's wrong with him Ma?" He feels confused and frightened, clinging to the support of his Mom. While she hugs him, his eyes wander to the gun that he didn't even know she had.
"- more cases like this." He blinks when he realizes she's been talking to him this whole time, "we have to go. I have to get you somewhere safe."
He frowns, "where?" What does she mean somewhere safe? What's going on?
She's already picking him up, wincing slightly. "I don't know. Just... not here." Her hand finds the gun, tucking it in the back of her jeans, before she bolts toward the door and out to the car. Finn's eyes widen in horror when he sees the scenes around them; people screaming, running, and... more of those things... they're running too. Placed in the car, he can't see for a moment, and when he returns his sights to the outside, he almost wishes that he couldn't see. A woman is knocked over, suddenly a swarm of creatures on top of her. She is screaming, crying out for help, but nothing comes for her, and before it ends his Mom pulls him into a tight hug, pressing him against her shoulder. Soft whispers follow, then her arms rock him back and forth.
But that doesn't eradicate the sounds from outside, of those people that they're not helping. Then again, could they help them?
"Ma," he begins, unable to control the tears from flowing.
"I know, I know."
She wipes at her own eyes, then tells him to buckle his seatbelt while she starts the engine. It clatters into life loudly, lights blinking into life, and then he hears it.
They're running toward the car.
His Mom revs the engine, the car jolting backwards and onto the street. The scene that unfolds before of them is truly one of horror. One throws itself at the window, colliding with a loud thud that rattles through to his bones. He screams, and his Mom speeds up the car. The entire time she mumbles profanities, her voice hinting at disbelief to the whole situation. She turns to get onto the 71, but immediately pushes on the breaks.
"Are all these people leaving too?" he asks, sitting further up in his seat to peer out at the hundreds of cars jammed onto the highway.
She doesn't answer him. Her eyes, instead, are drawn to a few cars ahead of them, where a couple are being dragged out and attacked. "God help us," she whispers while stifling a sob. Manoeuvring the car backwards, she gets them off the road, headed the other way and through the town. Frightened citizens run from buildings, through the streets in a panicked mess.
"Look out!" he yells as the car doesn't stop in the wake of those running, knocking over some innocent people. All he can hear is screaming. His Mom, the people, and those monsters. He cover his ears, and scrunches his eyes closed, just wanting to be somewhere else. The car skids to the side, squeezing through the gap between a turned over truck and burning building. It's as though the world around them is falling apart.
Before he even gets a chance to say anything, he turns, just in time to see another car headed their way. "Mom!" he screeches.
And just like that, the blackness swamps over his vision.
Smoke infiltrates his nostrils, then his eyes start to flicker open. They focus slowly, the shadows and movement becoming more detailed, more real. He feels hands on him, shaking him fully alert. Widening his eyes, he turns to him Mom, "Finn, are you okay? Are you hurt?"
"I'm fine," he mumbles, ignoring the ache of his muscles and the way that his head bangs. She helps to pull him from the wreckage of their car, as he stares at the mess of glass and metal that remains. Turning his head, he suddenly calls out, "Ma, there's a - " Finn never gets a chance to finish as the person running toward them with that frightening growl drops to the floor, blood spurting from its head. He stares, then takes in a deep breath.
"You alright?" the voice of his teacher, Mr Schuester, makes him blink and stare at the man. All he does is allow them to nod, before leading them away, "it's not safe on here. We need to go to the alleys." All running, they head for the side streets, Mr Schuester dragging a metal gate open for them before slamming it shut. He drags a dumpster in front of it, before leading them into one of the buildings. "The infected will get through. We need to leave the city."
"Infected?" Carole cries, "what do you mean, infected?"
He shakes his head, "I don't know. Something that attacks the brain, turns them into those... things. It's happening all over the country. East coast, West coast. Folks are going crazy."
Finn's eyes widen, "Ma, I'm scared." The thought of being changed into one makes his heart quake. His Mom squeezes his hand in reassurance, and pushes him through the door first, screaming when an... an infected reaches for her, grabbing at her arm. Quicker than he can blink, the thing's been shot, dropping to the floor like a fly. They manage to get the door closed, their panting hardly being heard over the cries of the infected.
"We can go this way. We'll have to walk," Mr Schuester begins as he walks into the baron grasses. There's no one else going this way, which both scares and relieves him.
"It's the only way," Carole agrees, beginning to walk with him. He feels tense, constantly looking back at the town that he once called home, wondering if he'll ever return to it, wondering what the future holds. If this is just one small town in Ohio, then what does the rest of the world look like right now?
They walk, and his Mom cries. He's not exactly sure why, but the entire time she clings onto his hand. Maybe she's sad, maybe she's scared just like him. As she peers down his way, he tries to smile in return, though finds himself physically unable to. The screams become quieter; his fear does not.
"Stop where you are!" a sudden voice calls out, and a man in a uniform steps from behind the small hills of ground.
"Thank God," he hears Mr Schuester say, "we need help. There's a child with us, and -"
"Stand back!" He waves his gun at them, "Sir," he speaks into a walkie talkie, "found three civilians on the city limit. Please advice." Finn feels himself step back, pulling him Mom with him. "Yes, I understand. No sir." Lifting the gun back up, he shouts, "show me your arms and legs."
In the face of the weapon, he quickly lifts up his pajama shirt and pants to show his skin, as does Mr Scheuster. He turns to him Mom, seeing her completely still. "Ma, do as he says." She shakes her head, eyes widening.
"Carole," Mr Schuester begins in warning.
"I - " A single tear rolls down her cheek, and she then moves to her sleeve, where there's suddenly blood that he hasn't noticed. She slides it up, teeth clenching in pain, where he then sees the vicious bite on her arm.
Frozen in horror, all he can do is stare. "Oh God," he hears his teacher saying, wrapping his arm around his chest and pulling him back. "I'm so sorry, Finn, I'm so sorry."
"What? But how...?" he shakes his head, "Mom?"
Before she can respond, the soldier steps forward, gun in hand, and shoots. It can barely be heard over Finn's sobs.
"The number of confirmed deaths has past three hundred. The Governor has called a state of emergency…"
"There were hundreds and hundreds of bodies lining the streets."
"Panic spread worldwide after a leaked report from the World Health organization showed the latest attempt at a vaccine failed."
"…With the bureaucrats out of power we can finally take the necessary steps to…"
"Los Angeles is now the latest City to be placed under martial law."
"All residents are required to report to their designated quarantine zone and -"
"Riots have continued for a fourth consecutive day as winter rations fall to an all time low."
"A group calling themselves the Fireflies have claimed responsibility for both attacks."
"Their public charter calls for the return of all branches of government."
"Demonstrations broke out following the execution of five more alleged Fireflies."
"You can still rise with us."
"When you're lost in the darkness…"
"Look for the light…"
"Believe in the Fireflies."