Hi, I apologize that these chapters may be brief but I'm new to writing and I'm trying to "Test the waters" if you will.

(Joel)

They'd been walking for hours. Maybe it was time they settled down for the night as there isn't much day left and the sky has been letting down a steady drizzle that has soaked everything including them.

"What do you say we find somewhere to bunker down for the night?" Joel called back to Ellie who was barely keeping up and chattering from the cold. "Great, any longer out here and I'll die from pneumonia." She replied sarcastically. He chuckled and looked around.

They were well on their way to Jackson but light was fading and there was no point in staying out in the rain.

They walked up to a small blue house with most of it's windows still in tact and creaked up the stairs leading to the front porch. "Sshh." Joel put his finger to his lips and eased the door open to stick his head inside. He didn't see or hear anything. A good sign. He walked in with Ellie on his heels. There was a shuffling noise coming from upstairs, and the odd but familiar click-screeching of a clicker.

"I'll go check upstairs, you stay here." Joel whispered. "But," She tried to protest, but he put his hand up silencing her. "I'll be back." Joel turned to the staircase and walked up it's carpeted steps, once white but now a gray-brown from twenty years of accumulated dust and dirt. Up the stairs was a hallway with three doors. The first one was an empty bathroom, and the second one wasn't much of a room at all.

It looked like someone had been remodeling the room before things went bad and there was nothing in the room. It was stripped down to the floors. He moved to the third room and put his ear to the door. He could hear the clicker moving around and making that awful noise. Sounded like only one, but you could never be sure, even with all his practice.

He slowly pushed the door open and revealed the creature. Once human, now a monster with a face and head sprouting fungal cloves. Slowly he crept up to it and pulled the shiv out of his pocket.

He grabbed the clicker and jammed the shiv into the side of it's neck. It fought for a second but not long. He gently let it down to the floor and then looked around the room. "Ellie, you can come up now." Joel called. Her feet shuffled across the carpet on the stairs and in the hall as she found the room he was in. There was some tape and a couple rags on the dresser and stuffed them in his bag.

"Whoa." Ellie said, examining the dead clicker. "These things are way freakier looking up close." "Yeah, they are pretty ugly huh?" She laughed and stuck her tongue out "Yeah, but they've got nothing on you." "Haha, okay. Why don't you look around for anything we may need and I'll work on dinner." "Okay, sounds good." She said and they walked out of the room. He shut the door. They'd stay out of that room. They were only staying for the night anyway.

(Ellie)

Ellie searched the rooms upstairs while Joel went downstairs. She found a couple bottles of rubbing alcohol in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom but nothing else. She found herself thinking about what Sam asked her the night before she found him. Do the people that become infected just become prisoners in their bodies or do they go on to someplace better? Did she want to know?

As she stepped down into the living room she noticed Joel had barricaded the front and back doors and was now making a fire in the middle of the living room's hard wood floor. A chopped up chair and the fire ax he'd taken to using lay on the ground next to him. "What are you doing?" She asked him.

"Making a fire." He replied cooly. "In the middle of the floor?!" "They didn't have a fireplace."

She laughed and stepped over to the couch where he sat his bag and plopped down. "Joel." "Yes?" "Do you ever think about what happens to people who become infected? Like, to the actual people before they were infected?" she asked. "I don't know. I guess there ain't no way of knowing unless you get infected... why?" he told her.

She paused, but told him about Sam. How he had been acting strange the night before he turned. She could see that he felt guilty. It was all over his face. "I'm sorry you had to see what we saw back there, Ellie, but this is the world we live in. Things happen and you move on." "I know, I know. It just sucks." she said. He'd just gotten the fire going and he started boiling water that he found in two big storage tanks in the garage. Ellie was on the couch in deep thought and he sat down next to her.

"Listen, I know this trip has been hard, and I wish I could take back all of the awful things you've had to see, but the world is not pretty." "The world is bullshit." she said. He sighed and she watched him as he leaned over and put the rabbit meat into the boiling pot. They sat in silence for a while and soon the stew of rabbit meat and twenty year old canned veggies was complete. "Careful it's hot." he said, handing her a floral print bowl and spoon he found in the kitchen.

They ate and then she pulled out one of the books Joel had found for her and set to work. She was only a few chapters away from the end and was determined to finish before she went to sleep, but all the while her mind was on what happened at the radio tower.

(Joel)

He looked over at Ellie sitting on the couch reading. He couldn't believe he hadn't noticed before but she was obviously scarred about what happened at the radio tower. Who wouldn't be? She got attacked by her friend who'd been infected and then witnessed his brother blow his own brain out after he had to kill his little brother. She's still Ellie, cracking jokes, being an all around goof, but there was something different about her in the weeks since Sam and Henry died.

How could the world be so cruel to somebody so young, and their trip wasn't even through yet. Joel felt as though it was his fault that all this happened. He's been making mistakes this whole way through and now she's paying for it... Maybe Tommy would take her. After all finding this cure was his crusade. But he hasn't been a FireFly in a while. They should be in Jackson by tomorrow and he'll ask him. Tommy would take good care of her. I can't lose another girl he thought to himself.

"Ellie I think it's time we got some sleep." Joel told Ellie and they folded out the dusty hidden bed in the couch. "Listen... Ellie," Joel began but stopped short. "Yes?" "Nevermind. Goodnight." "Night" They laid back and he put his arm around her, but neither of them got much sleep.

Please review. Tell me what I need to work on and I'll try my best.