Bulletproof Heartbeats

Today, I shot a man.
Today, I smashed a window and robbed everything I could carry.
Today, I amputated a rather cute boy's leg. With no medication.
Today I armed my bipolar, fifteen year old sister with a rusty knife, and sent her away.
I am seventeen years old today.
Still, things change quickly when the zombie apocalypse comes.

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1. Bloodstained Sheets

My name is Jadelyn Amarie Hawking.

And I started my day by shooting a man.

-

I was sixteen when the X-Virus grew to powerful to be stopped. I turned seventeen this morning. Instead of a birthday cake, and the glinting silver of new car keys, I feasted on a tin of some crap that might have been tinned artichokes, and I revved up a battered, blood-streaked VW. 

Anyway, about they guy. I don't know who he was. Bella and Holly, my twin sisters, were examining a burned-out Renault, and amidst the torn leather, and the acrid stench of death and sour milk and flaming rubber, we hauled a man.

Skin thin, like sodden paper, and it seemed as delicate too - a simple slice of a nail and he'd bleed out. He said one word to me. Please. Before I put my bullet in his brain. 

He was around the last stage of the Turning. You can tell by the eyes. Scarlet starts to seep into the iris, the pupil starts to bleed into the rapidly crimson-ing ring encircling it. Before you know it, they're frenzied animals, tearing at anything with a heartbeat. You gotta do what you gotta do. 

Holly and Bella watched. They turned twelve six months ago.

 - 

We live in a van now, an abused, scarred VW, that was probably once a brilliant emerald colour, but has since faded to a weakly struggling mint. Might as well be brown though, for all the dirt and dried up blood crusting it. 

Sometimes we meet other survivors along the road. Sometimes we stop with them for a night, share a meal, a weapon. Either one of is is gone by morning. In this scared new world, we have no allies. 

They all think I'm mad, travelling the five of us.

Maybe I am.

-

Around midday, judging by the was the sun beats down ruthlessly on the rubble and body-strewn earth, we stop by a roadside factory, praying, all of us, for it to have held canned foods. 

Bella and Holly, and Lala, our nickname for Laurel, the three-year-old.

Aisling doesn't pray to our God anymore. She's fifteen. Everyone always called her the hopeless case, and now she seems to have adapted better than any of us. Times change, people change, the earth shifts and the world changes, in the blink of an eye.

She prays to Satan now. She believes for all we've done, we're all going to hell anyway. She just doesn't want to burn too bad. 

That's Aisling for you.

-

Inside, the factory is cavernous, gleaming dully behind the mould and blood around everywhere. I have my pistol, the one that I tie to my belt loops with a bandana, and use said bandana to tie back my overgrown, now-wait length, limp, dirty blond hair back from my dirt-streaked face. I hold the pistol out in front of me, and step careful.

Aisling's less cautious, prowling the empty aisles, strewn with dented cans and torn cardboard and oil stains and blood. Always blood. Her heavy, battered, black combat boots make far too much noise, echoing through the vast space, as she slings her shotgun over her shoulder and runs her fingers over the array of rusted knives stuck through her black leather belt. 

She worries me. She positively thrives in this lifestyle. 

Aisling turns on her heels, with a glare. "There's nothing here." She all but spits.

She's wrong.

-

Bella screams first, Lala in her arms, bawling at the sudden harsh noise.

Then I'm not aware of much. 

Just the thunder of Aisling's boots, Holly muttering something in an ominous tone, Lala wailing, shouts.

Then a gunshot. 

Bella claps a hand over her mouth, sobbing uncontrollably.

Aisling's missed. Her gun is pointed again, aiming. 

That's when I realise it.

"AISLING, STOP!"

The thing isn't a zombie yet.

It's a survivor, like us.

He's a survivor, like us.

-

A/N ~ This was basically an introduction. The actual storyline kicks off next chapter, which will be much longer, and include more about the characters. 

Stick with me on this one. It'll be worth it, I promise.

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