I stayed down for a few moments, trying to locate just where the sound had come from, not letting confusion get the better of me. I crept in the direction of the rustling, slowly pulled my knee beneath me and pounced onto the bush that had suddenly grown legs beside me.
I heard the pained scream of whoever was beneath me, but I was more worried about the thorns of the bush poking into my arms and legs. I knew I was acting out of line, or at least what the Compound's protocol would call out of line, but exhaustion had gotten the better of me and I just didn't care at this point. I pulled the bush off the person who had been wearing it as a disguise, but out of all the things I thought I would find, I never thought a young girl would be what I found.
"Talia? Are you ok?" A voice called from further into the trees.
The girl responded in a scream, whoever was calling out to her would be here soon. I slapped my hand across her mouth and pulled her against me, her back against my chest, I dropped to the ground, dragging the girl with me. Whoever called out to her was getting closer, I knew because they hadn't stopped shouting her name over and over again.
" Talia, if you don't come out right now I swear to God I will tell Kara this time!" She called, standing right by my side. One move and she would notice me, one inch to the left and she would feel my shoulder against her boot, the only thing that was keeping me safe was the cover of this bush.
I don't know how, but I had completely forgotten that I was holding someone captive, and that let my guard down enough for Talia to break free from my grasp and stumble out of the bush.
"Talia! What the hell? I was looking everywhere-" Talia cut her off before the girl even had a chance to throw her hands in the air.
"She's right under-" Now I was the one who cut her off. I jumped from the bush, ignoring the pain of the thorns brushing against my skin and the leaves becoming entangled in my hair.
"Who the hell are you?" The girl said, taking a step back but staring at me like I had just made a rabbit disappear before her very eyes.
"She's the girl who took me" Talia remarked, moving towards the stunned girl.
"I didn't hurt her, she's fine" I said, Adrenaline beginning to pump through my veins, wondering whether or not this girl would kill me with the machete I just noticed was strapped to her back.
“Who are you?” She called, extending her arm to hug Talia tight to her body; out of all the things she could have said or done just now she had decided to ask who I was.
I guess it’s better than a machete to the brain at least.
“My name is Lyssa, I- I’m sorry I just did that, I just don't know where the hell I am” I said, taking deep breaths as I felt the air pour into my lungs. I knew it was a longshot that she would believe me, even though it was the truth, but lack of oxygen to the brain kind of messes with your head.
“And your first idea was to throw me to the ground?" Talia said, wrapping one arm around the unnamed girl and gripping her free hand to the front of her shirt. She looked no more than 11 years old, I can't imagine how terrified I just made her.
"I'm sorry, it was a reflex, I didn't know what I was doing. I just saw you coming towards me and just flipped" I threw the words at them so fast they only just understood me. The unnamed girl watched me with careful eyes, more than likely deciding if I posed a threat or not. I wouldn't be surprised if she tried to kill me, she's a savage. Walking around with a spear in hand, wearing close to nothing. Her coat covered most of her upper body but the black bra she was wearing left her stomach bare, her shorts covered her upper thigh but left nothing to the imagination. The only thing that looked like it belonged in this scenario was the dark green cargo boots. I wouldn't believe that she posed a threat if she wasn't pointing a spear in my direction at the moment.
"You said you're lost, where did you come from?"She asked, lowering the spear to her side.
"I don't know, one minute I was swimming in the lake and next thing I know I was being swept in some underwater tunnel. I don't know how I washed up on shore" I had no intention of telling these people about the Compound.
The still unnamed girl looked me over with her beady eyes.
"You can come with us back to our camp, Xavier can deal with you there."She didn't bother to tell me her name, and for some reason that annoyed me more than anything.
"You didn't tell me your name, what is it?" Beating around the bush wasn't my thing.
"Delia, the one you scared half to death is Talia" Delia turned away from me, peeling Talia's hands way from her waist and trudging through the over grown weeds around the base of these trees.
I don't think I could stand being around someone with a similar name to me, it would drive me insane. I slowly trudged behind them, trying to focus on two things at once, firstly what they were talking about to make sure they weren't planning on turning around to kill me, secondly where I walk so that I don't stick my foot in.
"We'll wait for them just through here, should be open enough for them to see us" Delia called from in front, wrapping her arm around Talia as she pushed past one last branch before it revealed a clearing. No trees for miles and the clouded grey sky that looked as if it stretched on for decades. It looked nothing like the hell we were promised from the Compound, and although it was not what I would consider beautiful, it was nowhere near as tragic as it was portrayed. Instead of decay and mould covering everything in sight, I saw boulders and stones, scattered about, dying grass that still had a little bit of colour left in it spread all across the floor. Delia fell against the large boulder to the left of me, letting go a sigh of exhaustion, Talia followed close behind, slamming her back against it and sliding down so that her knees were just below her chin. I let my knees collapse beneath me as I fell to the ground, not even trying to stop myself from letting my head hit against the soft ground. It didn't hurt that much, it felt like a tap against my skull compared to what I had just been through. I spread my body out along the grass, my torn shirt leaving a gap on my side to let the grass sway against my hip, my long pants hadn't been torn at all, and water was still drenched all through them.
"What are we waiting for?" I called, turning my head to the left to face them.
"The truck is supposed to pick us up around here" Talia responded, barley even turning her head.
"We have to-"Delia was cut off by the sound of leaves rustling behind us. I shot up from the ground and latched onto the closest stick I could find, Talia had lurched forwards off the rock and gripped onto her spear so tightly that even from where I was standing; I could see the colour fade from her hands. Delia's whole body went on alert, her eyes surveying anything and everything.
Peeking through the gaps of the broken branches, I could see a hand pushing through the leaves,
a dead, pale, burned hand.
"Oh my god" I whispered under my breathe. Walkers tumbled out from behind the stiff branches of the forest; staring right back at me was the beady, tortured un-dead eye of a walker. I was taken aback by its appearance, it was still wearing the clothes of its host, I didn’t believe that they still had a chance in this world, once they had succumbed to the infection that spread throughout body and took over their basic instincts.
Delia took five steps back and pulled back Talia with the free hand she didn’t have latched onto her spear. I shuffled back, watching as one after the other, walkers stumbled over each other. By the end of it there were at least six standing before me, all trying to walk towards us without falling over their own feet. If I had an actual weapon instead of the first thing I found lying on the ground, I would have already impaled one of them, but instead, I stood back and watched as Talia froze in fear and hid behind Delia as she evaluated the chances of whether or not we would get out of here alive.
Obviously Delia thought we had a fairly good chance because she ran at the walkers –who had just figured out how to walk without falling over – and submerged the tip on her spear into one of their brains. The walker dropped to the floor and twitched as she pulled her spear out of his cranium. The walkers were just far enough apart to give her enough time to run back to Talia without being pulled into the jaw of the flesh eating monster. Cuts and wounds were painted across their bodies, more than likely from previous encounters with broken glass and knives people would have pushed through them to try and stop them. It pains me to think of all the people who have been touched with this infection and had their humanity taken from them, how painful it must have been to feel the infection seeping through your skin, flowing into your blood and slowly taking over your body while you have no control over what happens.
I turned to my right to see where Talia was, but she was nowhere to be seen, I looked behind me and noticed that she had taken refuge on a boulder that looked no taller than here. Just as I was about to run and join her, stay out of this fight and hope that Delia knew what she was doing, I was bombarded by the smell of rotting flesh and thrown down by a walker I hadn’t heard come near me. The ground hit me hard, this time I was sure that I would have a dent left in my skull. The walker fell on top of me, baring his teeth towards me while. I used any strength I had left to keep him as far away from me as possible, my arms stiff as poles holding him up. I closed my eyed and focused on that, nothing else. I couldn’t bear to wonder if these were my last moments, pinned under a walker, unable to do a thing. All of the training, the long nights, the wars I had with Ryder, nothing had ever fully prepared me for this. No simulation, no training arena, nothing.
I felt my arms failing, my strength slowly slipping away from me. In a split second, I accepted it, my last moments. Never again would I be able to argue with Holli over little, pointless things neither of us really cared about, Ryder would have to find someone else to torture, but what hurt most of all was that I wasn’t going to be by Echo as she had her final moments in this world. Then again, I guess I always knew I had to accept it the moment I was swept away in that stupid river.
I let my arms drop, the body of the walker was on me in second, but before his teeth could reach my shoulder, a gun went off behind me , the bullet flew through the head of the walker and left blood splattered across my face. I could feel the single droplets fall from my face and leave their own trails of red behind.
“Hurry it up!” Screamed a deep voice from behind me, I turned my head just enough to see a dark blue truck pulling up just beside Talia, a man reached out to pull her onto the back of the truck. Delia sprinted back over to me, leaving behind the bodies of the fallen walkers with only three left behind.
"That means get u, idiot!" Talia yelled as she rushed past me, reaching down to pull on the back of my torn shirt in a weak attempt to pull me up. I forced my body to work, to function, to move. I ran alongside Delia, I was close enough to her to be able to reach out and grab her, so was a walker apparently. We hadn't noticed it coming from the left of us, we weren't looking that way. We didn't notice.
Well we certainly see him now.
The pale skin walker, wearing a blue gown as if they has been in a hospital just as they became infected, dug it's nails into Delia's arm, which released a ear piercing, blood curdling scream. She hadn't let go of my shirt, her fist clenched against my back, the material of my shirt being torn even more. I pushed the walker's shoulder, trying to keep it;s teeth as far away from her as I possibly could, without thinking, I let go of the walker and tried to pull out the knife I only just noticed was firmly planted onto Delia's side in a strap that made it barley noticeable. In that split second it took me to pull out the knife and plant it into the side of the walkers head, opening a wound large enough to let the black, infected blood of the walker to ooze out of it' skull, it had already managed it sink it's teeth right into Delia's neck, her screaming had become unbearable, leaving my ears deaf. I couldn't even hear it as this point, the adrenaline that was pumping through my veins left me unable to focus on anything else other than prying the walkers cold, dead hand away from her shoulder and throwing him to the ground. Delia's eyes were beginning to close, out of the corner of my eye I could see that whoever was in the truck had only just noticed what was going on and was sprinting in our direction. Delia collapsed in my arms, her blood was beginning to drip down my arm, leaving a trail of red behind wherever it went.
I handed her over to the guy who ran over to us, he pulled her against his chest, I fell back in silence, resting my head against my hands and watching in shock, my mind only now processing what just happened.
I just killed a walker for the first time in my life.