The DeadZone

Chapter Four

Blondie and the polite one sat across from me, taking turns making small talk as Jaxon stood near the door watching me with that heavy glare. I knew they were stalling to make sure I wasn infected. Although, they were being rather nice by making small talk and helping my fever go down with tea and a cold cloth for my forehead.

I watched the polite one dig around his pocket and then pull out a small bottle. I eyed it with curiosity as he shook pills out into his hand.

”Now that you
e awake. I have some Advil that should help, ” he handed me two small white pills.

I still couldn remember their names and I felt bad asking for them. Instead, I looked at him blankly. If he thought I was going to swallow pills strangers are handing me, he was extremely mistaken.

”Actually, my dads a doctor back in our town, ” he explained as I took them with caution.

”Max. ” Came the warning from dark and brooding.

I knocked them back dry, coughing. Ah yes, the polite ones name was Max. Im sure they told me that before. Max looked back at Jaxon and they shared unseen knowledge. I shrugged it off, not caring as I definitely would not be staying with them.

”Anyways, its been a few hours now I guess we can deduce you probably have hypothermia and not lyssasolanum, ” Max informed me.

My body didn move. Lyssasolanum. Thats a term I hadn heard in a year now. His father was definitely a doctor before the virus hit. The only way a doctor could have survived the first day was if they knew more than they let on. Like dad did.

”Hey, you ok? ” Blondie asked softly, bringing me out of my thoughts.

My eyes flickered up to his concerned face and forced a smile. I would be in trouble if they knew my connections to Jerome Brooks. Especially anyone who used the scientific term for the zom virus.

”Im great, in fact, Ill be going now. Thanks for your help and all, ” I chirped, pushing myself up. Blondie and Max jumped up. I hurried to shove my stuff into my bag. Realizing I was still wearing the shorts and shirt I cursed silently. As soon as I was safely away from them Id change. But for now, I just had to get away.

”Don go! ” Blondie called.

I ignored him and continued to gather my stuff. They seemed peaceful enough, opting to convince me to go with them and not force me but I didn know if that would change or not. A hand wrapped around my arm, and instinctively I pulled out the knife tucked into the waist of my shorts. A click of a gun sounded and I looked from Blondie who had grabbed me and Jaxon who now had a revolver trained on me.

My eyes narrowed.

”Don even try it kitten, ” Jaxon snarled.

”Whoa! Im sorry, I shouldn have grabbed you, ” he slowly let go of my arm but I didn lower my knife an inch, ”we don come across survivors often. Look, our town is a few miles off. Youd be welcomed and safe there. ”

”No. ” Jaxon and I spoke at the same time, then exchanged a glare.

”Jaxon, shes alone. Shell die out here, ” Blondie told him.

I was offended. My arms folded over each other as my anger rose.

”Whats that supposed to mean? I did just fine until you showed up, ” I snapped.

Blondie looked at me guiltily but Jax laughed harshly. Max made his way across the room and looked out the broken window as our voices rose.

”Kitten, please. You were almost dead when we got here, ” Jaxon retorted, causing my jaw to drop at his rudeness.

He had no idea what I had to do to survive every day, he knew nothing because from the sounds of it he was a spoiled boy living in a cute little protected town. Not to mention even if I considered going with Blondie and Max, Id rather die than go anywhere near Jaxon and his damn town.

”Excuse me guys, but we have company and we need to go now or our ride back to town is going to be eaten, ” Max informed us peering outside.

Jaxon and Blondie flew outside faster than a cat thrown into the water. I looked over at Flynn who stayed at the window. He glanced over at me with a small smile.

”Im the doctor in training, I don engage in fights. But if you don mind me saying, you should come with us. I think you might have hypothermia and we could help with that, and provide you with shelter and a cooked meal. Not to mention we have living breathing people. And not all of them are like Jaxon. But we need to leave now so itll have to be a quick decision, ” he said softly before walking carefully out the door.

My teeth tugged at my lower lip as I stared down at my shoes.

”Why don we ever go towards other people? ” I asked him as we hid behind the building.

Daddy clamped a hand over my mouth softly and I started counting. Once I got to a hundred and twenty he removed his hand and crouched down in front of me. Those dark green eyes held the same sadness they did every day since mommy was infected.

Daddy spoke softly, ”Lyssasolanum changed those infected and not infected. Its rare to find survivors and itll be even rarer to find good people. Remember this Lilith: its so much easier to be bad than be good. Unless you have a truly good heart. And one day if you do come across people like that don let them go. ”

I nodded at his words before he stood and held out his hand with a small smile.

”Lets go princess, its getting dark. ”

”Fuck it, ” I muttered, shaking away the past memory and picking up my bag. I had nothing to lose and I didn want to be alone anymore. This would be a chance I had to take for good or bad Id soon find out.

I had my hunting knife out as I stepped outside into the thicket of trees. Instantly I could see a crowd of a zoms staggering toward the men and three beautiful horses. I sprang forward swinging my knife.

The blade cut into the soft distorted skull of a female zom dropping it instantly. An older-looking zom missing an arm and half its face lunged towards me letting out a mangled moan with four fingers crawling to grab my bare skin.

I spun on my heels, dropping low to avoid his fingers, and swung my blade catching his knees. As he fell, I stood up with my blade driving my blade through his chin and out the back of his head.

My eyes looked around spotting a few left. Max struggled against one as I watched with concern as the body of a little boy moved with more speed than the other ones. I cried out to him knowing itd be too late, and without thinking I pitched my body forward.

Max finished the big one and spun at the sound of my voice towards the little one but he hesitated. That would be a mistake; luckily for him my body hit the side of the boy just in time and we hit the ground. My head slammed against a tree with a painful thud, and the little zom reached for me.

I looked at the little zom and pushed back any thoughts as I drove my knife into his head. He fell with my knife and I stared at him breathing heavily with a headache but otherwise alright. The boys eyes stared up blankly and I reached down to pull my knife free. He had no gory wounds like the others except for a clear bite on his ankle. It was bone deep and seemed to be the only red color against the boys pigment-free skin. The virus ate at the pigment in the skin, leaving only translucent white sheets of skin, to cover black veins.

Once my knife was free I didn spare the body any second look. It was important to remember they were dead. Max hesitated because he saw a little boy, which was a mistake. He wasn a little boy and he hasn been since that bite on his ankle.

”This wasn your problem, ” Jaxon snapped at me, storming over to stare down at me.

I looked up at him and snorted.

”Both blondie and Max invited me so you are outvoted. So take a chill pill and take a step back, ” I replied, waving him off.

His jaw seemed to clench but he didn respond as Blondie and Max walked over.

”Thanks for that, ” Max said softly, locking eyes with me.

His brown eyes held sadness and instead of snapping at him about hesitating, I offered him a nod. He had a good heart, I could understand that, and even though it would probably kill him one day I didn want to say anything to change that way.

”We need to go, Cameron, shes with you, ” Jaxon sighed, annoyed, and walked towards the horses.

I nodded, finally figuring out the blondies name. Jaxon took off on a black horse slightly larger than the other two and I looked towards the spotted horse and the brown one. Max hoisted himself onto the brown one and followed after Jaxon leaving me alone with Cameron.

”Hey, I didn catch your name before, ” Cameron said with a bright smile.

I couldn help but smile back; he was like the human embodiment of a puppy. He acted like Freud used to when we walked him and he met a new dog. My heart stung for a second before I started walking towards the horse.

”Lilith but you can call me Lily, nice to meet you, Cameron, ” I replied, looking at the horse.

I had no idea how to get on the thing. Cameron laughed at my expression and then proceeded to mount the beautiful beast. My jaw dropped with jealousy until he offered me his hand. My body didn dare move and the horse dug at the dirt with its front hoof.

”Come on Lily, she won hurt you, ” he chuckled.

I wrapped my fingers around his own and he pulled me up as I yelped quietly. He grunted as he sat me behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist. It shocked me how he acted as if I weighed nothing at all but then again, with my diet, the shock went away quickly. Instead, once my arms were around him I pulled back in protest.

”If you don hold on youll fall off. ”

That was all he said before he let my arms go and picked up the reins before the horse took off through the forest. Instinctively, my arms tightened around his torso and my eyes shut. I faintly remember riding a horse when I was seven or so; but never again. Mom never liked them and Dad was too busy for lessons or anything like that.

I could feel the wind rushing past us as we picked up speed. Slowly, I peeled my eyes open and looked around with a low gasp. We were traveling at about the same speed as an old tow truck, down the same dirt road I once used to find the cottage.

Slowly let my grin loosen and I noticed a few zoms we passed notice us and turned to reach out but the horses were outranking them in speed and muscle as we stormed on passed. Up ahead I noticed Max kept a good distance between Jaxon and Cameron and I wondered if it was due to what he had told me before.

If he was a doctor in training, why even risk leaving their town that is supposed to be so protected? Something didn fit right about their whole journey and I realized with stupidity that I never questioned them on their journey. I didn even know who they were in their town. I could very well be sitting with crooks and criminals.

My stomach clenched at that and I slipped one hand slowly into my pocket to grip my knife while keeping a strong hold on Cameron. Then, I began to try and memorize as much as I could of my surroundings.

An hour into the ride, the land cleared from forest to dirt, and grass, and a few gas stations we passed along the way. Up ahead I could see a small stream that the horses steered towards before I noticed Jaxon and Max dismount.

Max walked over to us and held out his hand with a smile, I ignored it and pushed off the horse and let out a grunt as my knees buckled and my knife fell from my pocket.

”Are you alright? ” Max asked.

”Really? You
e not going to question why she had a knife in her hand. ” Jaxon snapped, his arms crossing.

I rolled my eyes and pushed myself up and grabbed my fallen knife before shoving it into the waistband of my pants. The horses trotted peacefully over to the water before seeming to take a break and I looked around.

Cameron sighed, ”I don think Mira was going to stab me. ”

”So you
e buddies with her now? You
e both stupid, ” Jaxon laughed darkly.

I decided to not get involved with his petty argument and instead I walked away and towards the stream. Behind me they continued to argue however, I tuned it out deeming it equal to white noise.

There was a part of me that knew I should be over the moon that I found survivors – good people at that – but something was off. Good things didn exist anymore, not without **ed up fractures.

I squatted, my hands running through the cool water, to cup my hands and take a long sip. It was refreshing – and no doubt as clean as any stream water would be.

”Aren you worried about the water? ”

I jolted, not even realizing when Max crept up behind me. My body turned to stare up at him as he stared down with curiosity. Past him, Jaxon and Cameron continued to bicker. One would think the pair was married or brothers.

”Worried about what? Fish poop? ” I replied with a smirk.

Max seemed surprised by my sudden good mood. In reality, I felt safe for the first time in a long time. I knew if they meant harm it would have happened by now, I knew they didn mean anything vicious.

”By the Ly – the virus, ” he coughed, seeming to catch himself.

Freezing, I slowly turned to look back at the water. I needed a good response without letting on who I was related to. My smile didn mean I trusted them by any means. Instead, I settled for a shrug before opening my mouth,

”Ive been on my own for a while now, if the water was infected Id be long dead. ”

He now squatted beside me; trusting my answer, ”How long have you been on your own? ”

I looked at him, noticing the flecks of gold in his eyes.

”Max, we
e leaving now, ” Jaxon called, completely ignoring me.

I was fine with that. We stood, and to my surprise, we didn mount the horses again. Instead, the boys settled to take the reins and begin to lead the horses downstream. I noticed again, Max taking a spot between Cameron and Jaxon. I settled to walk closer to Cameron.

”Did you want to leave your bag on Baby? ” Cameron asked, nodding towards the horse as we walked.

I shook my head not wanting it off me. We walked in silence for a few moments making me wonder why we were walking the horses and not riding. I wondered this until a glisten of silver in the distance caught my attention.

It stopped me dead in my tracks.

I gasped, ”A fence? ”

The fence was a thick chain link, about fifty feet high. What was beyond it I couldn make out yet but I had an idea this was the town they spoke of? Excitement coursed through me and I rocked slightly on my heels before I started walking beside Cameron again. my eyes glued on the fence in the distance.

”Slow down, well make it there in no time, ” Cameron chuckled, pleased at my reaction.

”How was it made? When was it made, are there a lot of people living there? ” I couldn shoot the questions out fast enough and soon found myself a stuttering mess.

Cameron smiled patiently, ”Its about eight years old now. Made two years after the end of the world; it started as an army base near a large pond and extended into a small town after that. Now we have around two hundred people. ”

Two hundred people? That was so many. I couldn believe it. I was nervous, shy, and excited all at the same time. Up ahead I spotted two zoms stumbling through the river then spot us. Upon spotting us they turned towards us – I noticed the two seemed to have been together in their past life.

The first male; looking mainly human besides his sickening skin, missing fingers, and ruined clothing seemed melted to the other male. The other male was in a far more distorted state – with flesh missing from his face, side, and leg as well as the left side of his face was melted and his left arm seemed completely melted to the first males right arm.

As they moved slowly through the water towards us I noticed that particles of clothing on their conjoining arms were also infused into the disturbing sight. In front of me, Max retched at the sight as Cameron cussed softly.

I could feel bile push up my throat; I swallowed harshly to keep it down. It was a strange sight but not uncommon gore. I don know how protected from reality these people were however, outside those walls the extending physical description of these walking dead people.

”Ill get it, ” Jaxon grunted, passing Max the reins of his horse and hopping into the river. I admired the way he moved – without reacting – much to the state of the zoms. As he reached them, he moved his sword.

He held the blade with two hands and swung it much like a baseball bat with an elegant curve to it. It took him two slow and heavy swings to get the heads to topple off and into the water. My jaw dropped in astonishment.

”Hes known for his Claymore, ” Cameron snickered beside me.

I looked over at him, ”How do you know its a Claymore? ”

”It was a gift a few years back from his mentor, ” he merely replied.

I didn push the subject. Jaxon climbed out of the river to slide it back into its sheath. His eyes met mine as Max handed the reins back and I looked away finding a blush on my cheeks. I almost tripped over my feet due to the stupid reaction.

”Are you ok? ” Cameron asked softly.

I merely nodded in reply – keeping my gaze now on my feet completely embarrassed at my reaction. Cameron somehow found my state funny, and he chuckled softly. I merely scoffed under my breath.

”Don look now boys, we
e finally home! ”

I didn comment on the fact Jaxon ignored my existence in his words. Instead, I looked up at the large metal gate of the village, suddenly feeling full of hope. I could see the faces of what looked like guards on the outside and inside of the entrance area and I couldn help but get excited.

Jaxon had called it so warmly, I just hoped they had enough room for one more to also call it that.

Home.

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