Life in the Aftermath

America was reborn after the apocalypse, nothing was the same as it had been before 'the end'. Instead of a democracy, we have the militia; instead of people being divided into famous and infamous, we have survivors; and instead of the dead staying dead, they come alive.

For some the change between the old world and the new world, was simple. Those who had nothing when the apocalypse came, had nothing to lose. For those people, this was a start over, where they could use the mistakes they had made to keep them alive, instead of becoming another of the undead.

Read as two girls, best friends and partners in the art of slaying the undead, and their unexpected companions face Militia, Rebels, disease and the undead.

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4. Old Foes

Hollywood’s P.O.V-
 

        I was starting to doze off when the car suddenly pitched to the right side of the road. “Vegas!” My screams mixed with the others. She jerked awake and swerved the car on instinct. The headlights shined on random objects in the night as Vegas lost control. I quickly dove over the console and grabbed for the steering wheel. As I reached over the car slammed into a tree; passenger side first. I could feel my head smash into the door frame. I felt an exploding pain in my head and my vision blurred.“Maya? Maya?” I asked groggily as my world spun around me.

 

        I heard her give a familiar groan, one that I could never forget, and I sighed a little in relief that she was still with me. I looked around to see that Louis, Liam and Zayn who had been in the back seat, were already out of the truck and stretching their legs.

        Niall, Harry!” Liam yelled as he jumped out of the cab and ran around the back. We all followed his lead and ran to the tailgate. My head was pounding and my vision blurred a little again, but I pushed off the symptoms of the crash, determined to get to Harry and Niall.

        “Harry? Niall?” I heard Zayn call out, into the darkness from somewhere in front of me. I looked to my left and saw Louis and Liam helping up Niall. Vegas rushed over to him, and began supporting his weight as Liam and Louis started re-searching for Harry.

        I could her Niall trying to reassure Vegas, who was fumbling over her apology to him, "I'm so so so sorry, I shouldn't have been driving. Is that blood? Here sit down, I think I have some bandages in one of the packs." I saw a slight smile play at the corners of Niall's mouth, from the light of Vegas' flashlight, as she babbled to him apologetically. I cocked my head to the side, wondering about his reaction.

         "It's okay, love. I don't need any bandages... Just let me get balanced." His tone was light, but both I and Vegas could sense the underlying pain behind the reassurance. But the reassuring didn't seem to suffice for her and I snickered at her quick actions as she examined Niall. While I walked away from them slowly, Vegas and Niall bickered like an old married couple as they argued over Niall's physical state. Niall saying he was fine and trying to reassure Vegas, while she kept apologizing in between hard stares at him trying to brush her off. 

        5 minutes passed, and we still couldn't find Harry. But the fact that the only light we had was from the busted headlights of Vegas' truck, her little flashlight and the dim glow of the moon, didn't help our search. I looked at my surrounding and found that I had made my way to the opposite side of the crash, so that I was walking on asphalt of the road. I felt a pang of pain in my head as I tried to distinguish the different parts of the ground in front of me. Suddenly I felt myself falling.

 

        I reached my arms out in front of me on instinct, and was barely able to keep my face from bashing in to the ground. I groaned and flipped myself over, so that I could try and see what I had tripped over. I heard a groan and I instantly knew that the mass I had tripped over and fallen onto was Harry.

        I couldn't move. The sight of his form, the blood coming from his nose and mouth sickened me to the point of me spilling my guts behind me. I turned to face him again and in the dim light that was only coming from the moon and the headlights in the distance, I made him out. He was curled up in the fetal position, so that he was on his side hugging his knees. His normally bouncing, curly hair was now clinging to his head; damp form the mixture of blood and sweat. Although all of his limbs were intact and facing the right direction, I could tell that he was badly injured by the way that his jaw was clenched almost as tightly as his eyes.

 

        I knew that he needed help from the others, and I tried to call out to them. But all that came from my throat was a pitiful squeak that was barely audible. I struggled to find my voice and mentally slapped myself for being so weak, before trying to call out again. This time, instead of a squeak, came a word, "Guys". I took a deep breath and tried again, finding more strength in my voice, "Guys, I found him!" This time I heard the pounding of feet and yells.

 

        “Harry, Harry!” The boys screamed out as they ran towards us, from the other side of the truck. All Harry did was groan as he rolled himself over, his face was cut up and blood was covering his upper body. I ignored the inner turmoil, and focused on Harry who was lying pitifully at my feet. “Hollywood?” I heard Vegas yell, but I couldn't see her in the distance. I craned my neck over my shoulder and could see the glow of her flashlight somewhere about 20 feet away, but turned my head back around to see that Zayn, Louis and Liam were trying to pick Harry off of the ground. As carefully as they could they lifted him from the ground, supporting his weight as they maneuvered over to the tailgate of the truck. Suddenly there was a gunshot in the distance, and yelling coming from various people. My face fell as I remembered the familiar voices, just barely loud enough to distinguish.

 

         “Vegas do you think...?” I asked not being able to continue the question. Trying to hold on to the fact that I could be wrong. Hoping for the best you could say.

        Her face turned grim as she nodded. “Militia…” She whispered to me. Chills went through my body at the mention of them. A click of memories and realization happened somewhere in my brain, pushing aside all thoughts of myself and my well being. Switching on survival mode.

         “We need to split up.” I said in desperation. The others looked at me like I was crazy, well besides Harry.

        “Split up! Split up for what? Have you ever seen a horror movie, when ever they split up the people always die.” Zayn demanded; he was still supporting Harry under one shoulder as they frantically got him into the tailgate.

        “The militia, if they find us they will kill us all. And Harry is too weak to run; so half of us have to distract the Militia while the other half goes and runs with Harry.” I said laying out my plan as I went along. I looked behind us as the yelling became louder. I saw questioning looks from the boys. No one said anything for a few seconds, but with my adrenaline pumping it felt like hours. 

        "What can't we all just run? That way we don't have to split up." Louis said, a glimpse of hope spreading across his face.

        "That'll never work, Lou. They'll just chase us. We have to split up." I looked over to see Liam standing there, looking confidently at the rest of the group. I smiled a little at how brave and understanding he was being about the situation. “We need to hurry now!” I raised my voice in frustration, replacing the smile with a commanding frown. 

        Vegas just nodded her head in agreement again, “She’s right. Harry won’t make it far and he will slow us down if everyone tries to run.” Her voice was unnervingly calm, but that was her strong suit: being able to control her emotions in unnerving and stressful situations.

        “Right, now let's hurry up. We don't have a lot of time.” I glanced over my shoulder to see that the light were creeping closer, but the yelling had stopped.

        “Niall and Louis, you guys keep an eye on Harry and I'll try to start the truck.” Vegas said confidently, a smile across her lips, as to reassure everyone.

        “That means us three try to distract the militia?” Liam asked while motioning to Zayn, himself, and I. “I’m afraid so.” I sighed and looked at the other group. “Vegas, you better be alive when I find you.” I told her and she just smiled a bit. “Oh I will. It’s you I’m worried about Hollywood.” I just smiled at the girl who had become my best friend over these hard times.

 

                We all said short goodbyes and set up an emergency meeting place. After that we parted ways and ran off from each other. I stopped when I heard Vegas call out, “Hey Hollywood, distract them with your body so I can destroy them with my mind!” I laughed at the usage of our inside joke. “Will do!” I yelled back as we ran over a hill.

~~~
 

        We had only ran a short distance,  less than half a mile but I was out of breath soon; in fact, so were Zayn and Liam. I stopped by a giant oak tree and took some deep breaths. “Alright here’s the plan: I circle around the left of the group and you two the right them-” but I was cut off by Liam. “Why are we doing this?” He asked in a huff of breath.

        “Because the militia is bad, you don’t want to get mixed up in it.” I told them I was about to continue my plan when I heard a voice, with a deep southern drawl, yelling out. “This way, they‘re heading north!”
 

         I froze, unable to comprehend how close they were already. “That’s them.” I hissed quietly to the boys. We quickly made our way over to an oak and crouched down low behind it. In the light of flashlights I saw hazy figures. There were six of them altogether, but it just so happened to be the six most powerful people in the militia. I swore under my breath and punched the tree trunk out of anger. Vegas and I had been mixed up with the militia before; it was not a good thing.
 

                “Come out; come out wherever you are…” I heard him tease from a different location. His long, slow, southern pronunciation just scared me even more.

        “Who is that?” Zayn asked in a hushed tone. “That’s Dax Abram. The toughest and meanest man you’ll ever meet. That is... if we survive.” I said quietly, my voice hushed and gloom. I heard their footsteps come closer and closer, each step sending a chill through the group.

         “I know you’re there.” He teased again. "Just come out now, and stop this little 'cat and mouse' game that we have going. Make it easier on your self, ladies." My heart was beating out of my chest, at the proximity of his voice. But at the other time, his words relaxed me; he must think that Vegas is with me, since he used 'ladies'. I peeked around the tree and tried to spot everyone that was there. I was right the most dangerous of the militia leaders was there. There was Dax Abram; leader of the pack; there was Victor, Dax’s right hand man; Scarlet, weapons master; Michaeline, just a badass chick in general; Axle, can blow up anything and everything; and Garrett, he was Dax’s son and more than anyone else knew  to me.


        `My heart broke a little to see him with the group. When Vegas and I were in the militia, Garrett was the first person I met. Soon we would spend all our time together, he was like nothing ever before. We thought it was love but our two very different ideas tore us apart. Dax being the leader of the militia wanted to start over again, but this time with a dictator; and that dictator would be him. Garrett was forced by his father to join and stay, while I on the other hand didn’t believe in what his father was doing. It hurt to leave him behind, but Vegas and I finally ran away. Escaping successfully we made our way and gave ourselves new names to start over. I sank back behind the tree and stared at the rough bark, trying to think of what to do next. I felt two warm fingers touch my temple and it shook me out of it.
 

         I looked over to see Liam holding out his hand. “You’re bleeding.” He said in a husky whisper. I shook my head out of my thoughts and focused back on what to do.

        “Alright Zayn go over-” I was cut off again but this time by a beam of light from someone holding a flashlight.

        “Found you.” I heard a woman’s voice say, it had a Russian accent so I knew it was Michaeline.

        “Run!” I yelled at the boys and Michaeline chase after us. “Found them, over here!” She shouted while hightailing after us.
 

        I was panting and feeling lightheaded, my eyesight was clouded by sweat and blood on my right side. My heart was pounding so hard, I thought I was going to die of a heart attack. We kept on running; we weren't paying attention to where we were going through. It was dark so we couldn’t see and all of a sudden we were free falling. My stomach had that sickly sensation you get when you drop, as I plummeted down and we screamed out of terror. What broke the fall was the splash of water as we fell into a lake. I was stuck under in the black water and it felt like I wasn’t going to be able to resurface.

 

        My head was still bleeding and I couldn’t see straight. Up was down and down was up, I was so lost and confused. I could feel the air being forced out of my lungs, my brain screaming for oxygen. Little bubbles slipped out of my mouth. The thoughts in my head ran dark, if I just gave up now it would be so much easier…. No, I fought against those thoughts and tried to swim towards the surface but my body refused. It was tired and weak. I couldn’t take it anymore; I was slowly fading into the black when I felt a pair of strong arms around my waist.
 

        They propelled me up to the surface and when we broke into air I gasped for breath. Taking in large gulps I looked at Liam who had just rescued me. “T−Thanks.” I stuttered as I gulped down air. We swam to the edge and climbed onto the bank. I was exhausted but I pushed on. Standing up I saw the flashlights up at the top of the cliff we must have fallen off of. We must have fell at least 150', if it wasn't for the deep lake that we had fallen into, we would have easily been killed by the fall.

         “We can’t play cat and mouse forever!” Dax’s voice rang out through the dark woods and I shivered again. I knew what he meant. The group slowly faded away and there was no trace of the killers that once stood there. 

        “Let’s go.” Liam said and we turned around to start slowly making our way towards the rest of us.
 

         “Let’s hope they got the truck working.” Zayn said as he helped me up the next hill.“Yeah hopefully.” I agreed.

        As we made our way back into the woods there was a rustling to our left. I stopped and stared, out of instinct I reached for my gun but realized I dropped it in the lake. I bent down quickly and reached for my knife that was in an ankle brace of a sort. I stood back up and saw that the boys had also got their knives out. “Zayn what happened to your gun?” I asked quizzically, as the rustling became louder and a low growl came out of the bushes.

        “Left it in the truck.” He answered my question, his voice soft as he stared ahead of us. I mentally slapped him across the face for being such an idiot. Rule number one: keep your enemies close but your weapons closer.
 

         We all backed up slowly as a human figure stepped out of the bushes. “Hello?” I called out making sure of what it was. “You have three seconds to answer, or I'll blow your freakin' head off.” I told them and we backed up even more as it came closer. All that came in reply was a low growl and the person went down on all fours.

        “W−What is that!” Zayn gasped out loud and backed up into a tree.

        The moon came out from behind a cloud just in time to reveal a feral perched right in front of us. It was a young girl but she didn’t look like one anymore. Sure she still looked ‘human’ but she was dirty; covered in mud and who knows what. Her hair was greasy and knotted, her eyes were bloodshot and red rimmed. She just growled some more and crawled towards us. "What's that, Hollywood?" I looked out of the corner of my eye, at Liam to see that he was trying to mask his fear with curiosity  but didn't dare take my eyes off of the girl. “A feral...” I stated after poising with my knife elevated; ready to attack.
 

         “But she’s a little girl!” Liam protested as he saw my knife.

        “She’s not a little girl anymore Liam.” I threw back at him as the feral circled us. I knew it couldn’t be much time until she attacked so I stayed ready. I looked at Zayn out of the corner of my eyes. “Zayn go and find the others.” I told him but he just shook his head. “No, I won’t leave you two behind.” He declared but I wouldn’t have any of it.

        “We’ll be fine, ferals aren't the most dangerous creatures that we could face.” I said and he just gave me a look. It took him a couple of seconds and some encouragement from Liam to make him go. He made his way up the hill. My attention was stolen from the feral girl as bats flew up behind us and into the night sky. I looked up at them and in those few seconds the feral lunged forward toward us.

        In those last few seconds I saw my life flash before my eyes for the second time tonight. All the thoughts of my family that I hadn't seen in years, flashed through my mind. Of all of the good times that we had, all the memories that we shared. Then came the memories of the day the sickness spread, that caused all of this. The day that my world, along with the rest of the world, was flip, turned upside down. I moved my arms in front of my face expecting to feel it tearing and biting into me but nothing happened. All I heard was two thuds and then Liam deep breathing. I removed my hands and opened my eyes. I looked at the feral and saw Liam’s knife sticking out of her chest, the red blood was slowly dripping down. I looked over at Liam surprised; he saw the look on my face and just turned around. “This new world does strange things to people.” He said sadly and then pulled the knife swiftly out of the ferals chest.

 

(Author's Note- don't know if anyone noticed my poor attempt at quoting the 'Fresh Prince of Bel-air.
"Flip, turned upside down..." Huh? Ring any bells? Oh well, I tired :P)

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