The Adults

***The Enemy Fanfiction***
Britain has fallen into chaos. Every adult over the age of 15 was infected. Some died. Some didn't. And now, the kids must fight back.
(Sort of a zombie story, but they are not zombies. I'll make that clear now. Children's flesh is like medicine, so they try to eat them, not the brains. You don't get transformed if you get bitten. And I haven't put this in fanfiction because I merely used the idea, every other thing is original. Plus it will get no views, you know how it is. The Enemy is a brilliant YA book, I highly recommend it.)

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Chloe's head jerked up at a loud bang sounding from below, a knee-jerk reaction to any loud noises. She stayed silent for a moment, listening out for anything else, but when all was silent shook her head, dispelling the thoughts. Looking over across the room, her eyes caught Henry's. "Hey, Henry?" He looked up from his dusty train set, which had been gathered from abandoned toy shops by scavengers, a small wooden train clutched in his tiny fingers. "Would you like me to read you a story?"

On the second uppermost story of the R Centre was the nursery, which Chloe had been made head of. Few younger children had survived after the Disease hit, unable to defend themselves and utterly dependent on others feeding, defending and caring for them. Several older siblings had managed to protect their's long enough to bring them to the R Centre. Of course, after that they'd been loath to look after them, preferring to go out scavenging and hunting, than babysit. So a small place had been set up for the younger ones to be looked after.

After thinking for a while, Henry nodded silently. Wincing, Chloe pushed herself up from the hard wooden chair she was sitting on and threaded her arms through the crutches. She swung herself over to Henry who stared blankly up at her, before picking him up and letting him wrap his short arms around her shoulders. "Hungwy," he moaned, as she hobbled back to the chair, sinking down gratefully.

"I know, they're getting some more food. You'll just have to wait a while," she tried to keep her voice patient as he settled himself onto her lap, reaching over to another table for a picture book. 

Six months before the Disease hit, she'd torn a ligament in her inner thigh on a skiing holiday. It was the most painful thing that had ever happened to her, and she had stayed in full-leg plaster for 5 months. Afterwards they had taken her out and put her in a removable support for the next two months, promising to take another look after that. Of course, all the doctors had died or been taken ill themselves, by the time her appointment came up. Then two weeks later, her older brother tried to kill her. That was when she'd made her way to the R Centre with some neighbours, only living a few streets away, though she'd nearly been caught by a gang of Adults.

Without physiotherapy or medical help, Chloe had no idea how to heal her leg. She'd kept it in the brace and kept trying to bend and strengthen it, but it refused to heal. Long bruises still ran up the inside of her leg, it refused to bend and she had barely any feeling in it. It was excruciating to walk on and she could barely walk without her crutches. In her condition, she hadn't been allowed outside in three months, too slow for scavenging or to do anything useful. Then the nursery had been set up, and she'd seemed like the perfect candidate. No use anywhere else, vaguely tolerant of children and unable to escape their greedy fingers. Yes, she'd vehemently protested. Yes, she'd tried to avoid it. But when everyone else was playing their part in survival, what else could she do? 

She didn't know if her leg would ever get better.

"Is the three little pigs okay?" Chloe asked, picking a book at random. Henry nodded, placing a sticky thumb into his mouth and sucking loudly, the train still lodged in the other hand. "Once upon a time, there were five pigs. A mum, a dad and their three sons." 

Was her nose playing tricks, or could she smell smoke? Chloe set the book on her lap and sniffed loudly, almost choking as smoke filled her nostrils. Turning round, she screamed at a huge crash. Fire filled the far end of the room, smoke belching out of it, a hole in the floor faintly visible underneath the crackling flames. Children were frantically running or crawling towards her, Oli picking the smaller ones up and springing towards the stairs, setting them down before running back for more.

Oli was one of the people who didn't have a certain job, just drifting between all of them. Unlike most of the others he seemed to actually enjoy his time here; patiently playing peek-a-boo for hours on end, reading endless stories and swinging children on his long arms. Fourteen years old, with his easy smile and guitar strung around his back, the children adored him. But now his eyes were fierce, only focused on his current task, a machine running back and forth. High-pitched screams filled the room as the children coughed up smoke.

Henry hadn't noticed anything and was tugging at her wrist, wanting her to continue the story. Chloe pushed him onto another chair and scrambled for her crutches, pushing herself up and kneeling down next to him. "Get on my back, Henry!" she shouted over the loud crackling and crashes. As soon as she felt small arms wrap around her neck she propelled herself and swung over to the stairs, head flicking back round at the ever-advancing flames.

Small children were slowly going down the stairs, some bumping as they slid, others attempting to go forwards, only thoughts of escape filling their heads. She retched as she saw a small body lying still on the next platform down, head crimson, evidently having tried to go forwards and losing control. She told Henry to get off and he dropped down, crawling over to the stairs and grabbing the railing, fearfully looking back at her. "Go!" Chloe shouted, making shooing motions towards him. 

Oli dodged past her and set a small girl named Maisy on the ground, spinning round to fetch another one. Leaning forwards, she grabbed his sleeve, stumbling slightly. "How did it start?" Chloe choked out, covering her mouth with her sleeve. Smoke had nearly filled the room now, blackness on every surface, a few small wails heard from within. She could barely see Oli's face in the smoke, let alone hear what he shouted back. "What?!" she shouted at him.

He held his hands in the air, pushing her hand off his sleeve. "I don't know! We just need to get them out of here!" 

"No!" Chloe called, grabbing his arm again as he made to venture into the smoke. "We have to leave them!"

They both ducked as smoke began to fill the air above them, making it impossible to breathe. They both crouched on the ground, Chloe's face scrunched in pain. "We can't!" Oli said. Screams sounded from the blurred room, high-pitched and innocent, filling Chloe's eyes with tears.

"We have to. They won't make it in time, we just need to get these ones safely to the bottom." Chloe's heart broke as she said it, but she knew that it was true. They wouldn't be able to save them, they'd just end up killing themselves. The least they could do was save the other children, who were beginning to tumble, or going too slowly and shrieking in terror at the advancing fire.

He gave her a quick nod, then grabbed two children in his arms and ran down the stairs, their three heads quickly disappearing. Chloe got up and swung over to the staircase, heart racing as she looked down the huge flight of stairs. She'd only gone up it once, and that had been with support, two people carefully helping her. They'd set up her bed upstairs, everyone she saw only visiting. There was no way she could make it.

Clenching her teeth, Chloe placed the bottom of her crutches on the step below, gingerly climbing down. Her leg burned at the impact, a small sob ripping through her mouth. She looked around at the children clambering down, wishing that she could help them, but she knew that it would be impossible. Oli still hadn't reappeared from taking the children down, while the fire was still spreading. 

She went down another step, and then another. Footsteps sounded, then a panting Josh appeared. Although he was only ten, he was an senior guard and always trying to help, managing to keep spirits up. "The children," she spat, lifting up a crutch and pointing at them. He grinned at her, before scooping up two of them and hurrying back down. When she looked around again, she was the last one leaving, the children all picked up or made it down on their own. The fire had nearly reached her now, angry flames licking at her trainers.

Gasping for air, she placed her crutch on the edge of the next step, but it slipped. Her legs flew out from underneath her as she tumbled down, crutches still attached to her arms as she fell to the ground. Chloe slid down a few steps, their hard edges hitting the sharp ridges of her back, crying out in pain at each jolt of her leg.

Bruised and broken, Chloe came to rest at the next platform down, though she knew that there were three left. Shutting out any pain, survival took over. She began to drag herself forwards using her arms, down to the next bit of stairs. She hesitated as she reached the edge, looking down at the steep flight, which could only lead to more pain and damage. 

Then Oli sprinted up the stairs, skidding to a halt next to her, coughing out the acrid fumes. "No-one gets left behind," he grinned. He grabbed her under the knees and back, staggering a little under her weight, but managing to lift her into the air. "Let's get out of here," he said in her ear and hurried down the stairs, out into the fresh air.

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