Told from Alex's POV. This is a survivalist story, set two years after a devastating virus takes over most of the world. Alex is part of a band of survivors, along with some other familiar faces. Main characters are Alex, Casey, Olivia, Amanda, Nick and a couple original characters. I know this is a different story; but I wanted to do something different. I promise it will be good. Everything is canon to the show, not AU. Example – Alex was an ADA prior to the events in the story. The story doesn't start with any established pairings but there will be some before it's over.
I saw someone today that I haven't seen in two years. Someone who used to be my friend. Someone we left behind to save ourselves.
At least, I think I saw her. Our food supply is so low now that all of us eat only one meal a day. And sleep is almost non-existent. Sleeping makes you vulnerable, something we can't afford to be. We have to always be on alert; always be ready to move.
So I can't say for sure whether I really I saw her or if my sleep and food deprived mind was playing tricks on me. Maybe I was hallucinating; it wouldn't be the first time that the guilt of leaving our friends behind has ruled me. I have constant nightmares about that day. I can still hear them calling for us as we ran away, still feel that awful constricting in my chest as I realized what was going to happen to them. What we were allowing to happen to them.
I don't know what made us think our lives we more valuable than theirs. It wasn't supposed to happen; we were all supposed to get away. But nothing ever goes as planned, does it? And when our plan fell apart, we saved ourselves. We justified it by telling each other that we couldn't have saved them; that they would have wanted us to get away, that we all didn't have to die. But I know that's not true. Our friends never would have run away and left us. They would have tried to save us.
I light a candle and make myself comfortable on the depilated sofa as I open my book in my lap. It doesn't give off nearly enough light for me to read comfortably, but it's all we have. Electricity used to be intermittent, but we lost it completely in this part of the country six months ago. There aren't enough people left to keep it going.
We've been at the farmhouse for eight months now; the longest we've been at one place. It's pretty far out in the country and since the gas supply has gone dry in the state, barely anyone drives anymore. We just have to worry about foot traffic.
There are the scavengers who will rob you blind. They come in groups, and hit so hard that your entire food and weapon supply is gone before you even know they've hit you. They are coordinated and ruthless, completely desperate. We've had to fight them off numerous times.
And then there are those infected with the virus who are not interested in your food or weapons; they are interested in you. They are savage, powerful and violent. All humanity has disappeared from them and all they care about is spreading the virus and killing those not infected.
Two years ago everything was normal. Two years ago I would have been looking over notes for my next big case with my laptop on my lap and a nice glass of wine. Two years ago I took electricity and food and normalcy for granted. Two years ago we just started hearing about the virus on the news. An advanced flu virus; that's what they called it. It spread from person to person, either killing the victim or transforming them into a human monster.
The virus is spread from person to person by contact; either from contact with the infected's blood, a body fluid exchange or a bite. Symptoms occur less than twenty-four hours after contact, and the first symptom is yellowing of the eyes. An infected person's eyes become apparently yellow. Those not strong enough die a painful death. Those who can withstand the virus become mad, ravenous and seek nothing but spreading it and infecting others.
Hard to believe that was two years ago. Now we barely eat, none of us has touched a computer in months, and wine has been replaced with dirty water or bottles of flat warm soda we are lucky enough to pilfer from stores or warehouses that still have stock. I used to carry around a messenger bag; now I carry around a rifle. I never thought I'd be able to add that to my resume.
I haven't killed anyone; but almost every else in our little group has. There's myself and my friends Olivia, Nick and Amanda. We escaped the quarantine area together. Then there's Tony and his ten year-old son Correy, whom we met in a survival camp several months after escaping from the compound. We've been traveling with them ever since.
There used to be a lot more of us. We had eleven in our group at one time. But we've lost some to the virus and to desperate scavengers. Olivia had to kill a survivor she had become close with after he became infected with the virus. He was suffering and begged her to put him out of his misery before he had a change to transform and hurt anyone. It was the hardest thing Olivia had ever had to do, and she hasn't been the same since.
None of us have been the same since this started. We used to talk to each other; we used to try and boost morale. Now we don't even try. We exist day-to-day, on a constant look out for scavengers and infected. We have two people on watch all the time, and we rotate shifts every eight hours. It's like a job that you don't get paid for and will never advance at.
We mainly keep to ourselves now. Tony used to try and work on lesson plans for Correy; but he's given that up. He says there's no point in education in today's world. Two years ago I would have chastised someone for saying that. But I now I agree.
Amanda found a journal at and abandon house and when she's not on sentry duty, she spends a lot of time writing in it. She says she wants to chronicle everything that happens to us, in case this all ends someday and someone finds the journal. She says she wants everyone to know that humanity is still alive in some people.
Olivia and Nick spend a lot of time alone and serve more time doing sentry than any of us. I know Nick misses his family. He never talks about them, but he carries a wrinkled-up picture of his wife and daughter around with him. It has so many creases that it's hard to imagine it shows any detail at all; but it's enough for him. I know the uncertainty is what gets him. Not knowing what has happened to them. Wondering if they are in a safe zone, free of the virus and attempting to rebuild civilization. Wondering if they are living a survivalist life like us, or wondering if they are among the dead or the infected. It's what we all wonder about our families and the people we used to know and care about.
My biggest wonder is if any safe zone exists. The few radio broadcasts we are still able to get talk about them; but never give a location. To me it's a myth, an unreachable place like Oz.
The farmhouse is big and there are beds in the upstairs bedrooms, but we don't utilize them. We find it safer to sleep in the living room where we're all together. Those not on sentry duties use sleeping bags on the floor and Correy sleeps on the couch. This arrangement works well for us.
I've read the same paragraph in my book three times. I keep thinking of this afternoon and what I saw, trying to convince myself that it wasn't real.
We know we're being watched by someone. We've seen and heard movement in the outlying fields and seen someone run across the backyard of the farmhouse on several occasions. It's been a few weeks now and we've been on high alert, each of us keeping ourselves armed even when we're not on sentry duty; preparing ourselves for possible scavenger activity. Whoever is watching us could be waiting for their moment to strike. They have been observing us and watching the food and supplies we take into the farm house; they know what we have. We've ruled out that it could be the infected. They don't wait, they don't plan, they don't observe. They attack.
Another possibility could be that it's someone in need of help and shelter. Maybe someone as scared of us as we are of them. If that's the case, we will help them. But we can't just walk out the back door and open ourselves up; it's not that easy anymore. All we can do is wait and observe right back.
I was coming back from our bathroom area when I thought I saw her. Plumbing doesn't work anymore so we have designated an area on the property for us to do our business. We take all kinds of precautions and two of us are supposed to go at once. But I still like my privacy so I take the chance and go by myself.
And today when I was walking back to the farmhouse, I heard footsteps behind me. My hand immediately went to the rifle slinged across my back and I turned around just in time to see someone dash between two of the dead blueberry bushes. I knew I should turn and run, that we are never to enter the blueberry field alone, but something kept me there. I made out the outline of someone crouching down behind the nearby bush, and I stuck my rifle into the bush so I could get a better look, my shaking finger poised on the trigger in case it came to that. And that's when I saw her. Just for a moment, and when she realized I saw her, she dashed between two more bushes and ran away out of sight.
But that moment was enough to see her, to know I was possibly losing it. There was no way she could be alive, and if she was, why was she hiding out in the blueberry field instead of coming to us?
I decided not to tell any of the others what I thought I had seen. Not only would I get a lecture about going out by myself, but it would cause unnecessary worry amongst our group. Sort of like the worry I'm experiencing right now. Or maybe it's just guilt; it's hard to tell nowadays.
I attempt to get some reading done, when I hear an argument breaking out between Olivia and Amanda in the kitchen. Just a few months ago I would have gotten up and gone into the kitchen to try and make peace. But now I don't even care. Peace seems hopeless. Everything seems hopeless.
So instead I blow the candle out and crawl into the sleeping bag, holding onto a small hope that I will wake up from this nightmare tomorrow.
So what did you think? Yes, I know this story is different; but I was tired of writing mainstream. I know you're wondering who the "friends" Alex is referring to are, what happened with them, and why she feels guilt. Well, you aren't supposed to know yet. It will be revealed later in the story, so don't worry. Leave me a review if you want me to continue!