Bitten

The world is gone. My family is gone. I'm lost and confused and so very tired of running. What are we running from? The infected, or as some like to call them, zombies. There is only one person who keeps me running, and that person is someone I'm trying not to love. Why? Because everyone I have loved has died. Funny thing is, trying not to love him because I care about him defeats the point of not loving him.

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3. The free can't fly

I'm woken up by the sound of whimpering. My body bolts up in bed, and I wipe the cold sweat from my forehead. I strain to hear where the sound is coming from without getting up, but it stops. Thinking I just imagined it, I fall back down and close me eyes, ready for sleep to take me away again. A few minutes later I hear it again, only this time it has a hard edge to it, sounding more like a cry. I try to ignore it but it gets louder, waking Ro up. He jumps out of bed, looking around.

"Please tell me you hear that too" He says in his raspy sleepy voice. I refuse to think about it at a time like this. I drag myself out of my cocoon of warmth and stand next to him. 

"It's coming from downstairs" I whisper into the moment of silence before the cry starts again. Rohan moves out of the room, and I follow closely behind him. As we get closer to the living room it gets louder. By this point, we both know where it's coming from.

We both creep over and stand next to the crib, the crying infant tucked away inside.

"Go back upstairs Charlotte" He says quietly, looking down into the crib.

"No, let me help" I reply, a little louder than him

"Go. Upstairs. Now." He says, loud and with gritted teeth. I don't want to argue with him, and I know that I should do as I'm told to avoid his anger later, so I turn and pad back to the room. But I don't lay down, instead I sit on the edge of the bed, waiting for his return. I hear the front door squeak open, and footsteps going down the steps to the yard. The baby's cry gets louder, and I clamp my hands over my ears to mute the sound. It only muffles, so I still hear when the cry gets cut short and silence fills the house once again. 

I close my eyes to keep in a few tears, knowing that if I start crying now, I wont be able to stop. The bed dips and I feel strong arms around my body, pulling me underneath the warm covers. Ro curls his long body around my smaller one, brushing some of my hair out of my face at the same time. I don't ask questions, because I also know that he needs someone right now to just be next to him in the silence. We've gotten close in the past few weeks we've been traveling together. Lots of nights wrapped up together to keep warm. This is nothing new, but somehow it feels like there's something more to it. My thoughts drift away, and I'm pulled into a deep sleep.

The next morning, I wake up with my head laying on Ro's chest and his arms around my waist. He smells like the lemon scented soap from the bathroom, mixed with a little bit of sweat. I really don't want to get up yet. I don't want to face the world and its challenges. If I get up, it means more thinking about how I wish things were different, trying to figure out Ro, and staying sane. 

I tilt my head slightly to look at Ro's face. He's already watching me, and I can feel my cheeks heat up. He smiles slightly, followed by a big yawn. Yawns are contagious, so I catch it. We both laugh, and I can feel Ro's chest rise and fall quickly with each intake of breath and the out burst of a laugh. It feels really good to laugh; a real laugh, not a fake one. 

"So what now?" I ask, our laughter dying down. 

"Maybe we should just keep moving" He says, looking away from me.

"But I thought you said we could stay here for another-"

"I know" He cuts me off "But the next safe house is only another days travel, and I want to get there as soon as we can" 

"Not like there's going to be anything there" I mutter under my breath, and Ro shoots me a look hearing what I said. I roll away from him, my back facing him. He let's out a sigh.

"Fine, I guess staying here one more night won't hurt" He say, giving in. A smile creeps onto my face. 

I get up and get dressed while Ro puts together some sort of breakfast. I've decided that I'm going to explore today. So after we eat, I head out the front door. I only get a few steps before Ro comes up beside me with his back pack. 

"I'm going to search the next couple houses for anything useful. Wanna join?" He asks me. I shake my head.

"No, I'm going for a walk. Clear my head" I reply, giving him a small smile. He hesitates before speaking.

"Just be careful, okay? Yell if you need help" Then he nods and starts down the street to the house beside ours. I go the opposite way. The streets are all deserted, no sign of any struggle. This must have been one of the towns they evacuated first. Or everyone just fled. Probably the latter because of the baby left behind. A pain runs through my body when I think about the baby boy, but I quickly dismiss the thoughts. I don't want to ruin my somewhat happy mood. 

20 minutes in and I come to a small park, forest surrounding most of it. There's a metal slide, monkey bars, and 2 swing seats. I sit on one and start pumping my legs, gaining momentum. When I'm swinging high, I close my eyes and pretend I'm flying. Flying above all the wreckage of the world, flying above the dead and undead. Flying above the pain. 

A snap and footsteps brings me back to the real world. I stop pumping, letting myself come to a slow stop. My head whips around, looking for the source of the sounds. At first I see nothing, but then I spot 3 zombies shuffling their way towards me. I put a hand to my back pocket where my knife should be, but it's not. My breaths come quicker when I feel the rise of panic start in my chest. I slowly turn to walk the other way, back to the house, when I see 5 more of them. This can't be happening. Not today. 

I search around looking for anything to defend myself, but there's nothing and the zombies are inching closer. Glancing towards the woods; my only escape. I weigh the pros and cons of heading into them, not knowing what could be in there. If I call out for Ro, it will only attract more of them and he might not even hear me. 

I decide to act on impulse and charge into the woods, not looking back. Branches slap my face and leaves crunch under my feet. I run for what seems like forever, but was probably only a few minutes. When I stop, I cover my mouth so everything is silent, trying to listen to what's going on around me. Nothing stirs or makes any noise so I creep along to the direction of the house, slowly making my way close to the edge of the woods till I can see it about 100 yards away. A smile breaks out on my face as I emerge from the woods heading around the back of the house and to the front. As I'm coming around the corner I hear a few soft moans and some scratches. My heart rate picks up and I stealthily look around the corner to see two zombies shuffling around on the porch. 

A string of swear words go off in my mind before thinking about what I'm going to do. I don't have any weapons, and hand to hand combat isn't really a good idea unless you want to get bitten. As I'm looking around for ideas, I see a figure coming up the street. As the person gets closer I can see that it's Ro. He has his head down, looking through a cream coloured sack and approaching the house. Look up Ro, c'mon. Look up! I scream in my head, knowing that I can't say anything out loud. A few more steps and he's still to engaged with the sack. He's going to run right into them, and he's going to get hurt if I don't do anything. I bounce on my heels until I open my mouth and make a decision that will either be brilliant or completely idiotic. 

"Rohan!"I scream, and his head snaps up just in time to see the zombies shuffling towards him. 

"What the hell did you do?!" He yells back angrily as he swings the butt of his rifle right into a head, then a body, and sweeps out the feet before moving to the second one closing in. After he finishes with them, he glares at me as he trudges right past into the house.

I stand outside for a few minutes, letting him cool down so he's not as angry when I return. When I do enter the house, I can hear him stomping around upstairs grunting and moving things around. I lean against the railing at the bottom of the stairs, closing my eyes and resting my head against the wood. A few moments pass and I hear Ro tromping down to me and I open my eyes just as he pushes my backpack into my arms. 

"What's this for?" I ask gingerly

"We're leaving" He replies harshly, and walks out of the house. I run after him, tugging my heavy bag onto my shoulders. 

"You said we could stay one more night!" I exclaim, getting nervous whenever he gets like this.

"That was before you lured zombies right to us Charlotte!" He looks around, making sure we're not being followed. 

"I didn't mean to" I tell him, knowing that there's no point in yelling at each other.

"Doesn't matter. Now they've got your scent and are probably gathering numbers to hunt us down" He replies, his voice strong and tainted with anger. 

"I'm sorry" I quietly apologize, looking down at the ground in front of my moving feet. 

"No you're not" He stops walking and turns to me "You're never sorry! It's always about what you want or how you're feeling. I get that you want to die, but you don't need to complain about it and become careless because, guess what? I want to live." 

"This isn't living Rohan! This is clinging and searching and scrambling around for hope that isn't there! We're ALONE! There's no one else out there, can't you see?" I scream back at him, matching his anger. By his pained reaction I know that I've hurt him. 

"We don't know that..." He whispers, looking away from me. 

"Ro, I..." I trail off, not knowing what to tell him. His eyes lock with mine, burning with rage.

"If that's what you think, the why don't you just go kill yourself!" Ro yells at me, his voice echoing down the street and then becoming silent. We both stand there not willing to look at each other, thinking about the words just spoken. After what seemed like hours but was probably only a minute, Ro starts to walk away not telling me to follow or asking me if I'm coming. He just walks, and I walk after him. 

 

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