I woke to the sound of screaming.
It was close, it sounded like it was coming from only a few meters, not that being able to tell how far it was helped me at all. I didn't even know where I was.
The pain in my head throbbed as I pushed myself up , peeling back the sleeping bag that surrounded me. I steadied my legs and walked over to the opening of the tent I had been placed in. I knew exactly what had happened to me, Sal knocked me out. What Sal didn't know was that she was going to pay for that.
I unzipped the door and was amazed by what I saw, tents lined up in rows with armed guards standing at the very base of them. Beyond the guards I could see the wall that surrounds this whole place, but now that I wasn’t preoccupied I could really see what it looks like. Posts laced along the tops of the walls with long concrete and wooden bridges connecting all of them. Trees surrounded us; I couldn’t see an inch beyond the gates.
I took my first step outside of the ten and onto the hard dirt path in front of me. The sun had hidden away as the moon beamed down on me, there was not a soul to be seen. I staggered down the path and came to a cross road, I could either go straight ahead and make friends with the cows behind the fence, or turn right and go towards the house with light radiating from it.
I pushed myself to toe right, staggering towards the house. The only thought coming to my head was wondering what the hell a three story house would be doing in the middle of the bush, I doubt that they could have built something as large as this and still have had enough resources to build the fence.
“Oh good lord, Xavier! Get out here!” A woman’s voice called from the house, I hadn’t noticed anyone outside, but then again, I hadn’t been looking.
Xavier rushed from the door and was by my side in moments, he wrapped a blanket around my arms and led me up the stairs and into the house. I must say, even in this hell we call a world, it was one of the most spectacular tings I have ever seen. You could tell it used to be a summer home for the rich, it had old silver lining every archway. The living room was to the right and an old fireplace to the left, a stairwell was in front of me with broken stairs and crumbling posts. As spectacular as it looked, you could tell it was well used. Xavier led me up the stairs, telling me which ones to skip or look out for.
That was when I finally realised what this house really was.
At the top of the stairs were five open doors, one leading into a room filled with closed cabinets and a table right in the middle, it had to be the strangest things I had ever seen. All of the other rooms just had beds, scattered around the walls. Only one room had people sleeping in them, and all of them were asleep, some with bandages wrapped around their heads and necks.
"What is this place?" Was the only thing I could mutter.
"This is the infirmary, we couldn't bring you here before because there was no room." The pained look on his face told me exactly why it was empty now. All of those empty beds were once filled with injured people, people who were now buried in the ground somewhere, or at least I hoped they were buried.
Xavier silently led me up the last flight of stairs, there was only one room which was locked.
"I'm sorry for this" Was all he said, before I got the chance to ask him what he meant by that, I was led into a room full of yelling people. Once they realised the door had opened and I was the one to step through it, they all fell silent and stares were thrown my way. I recognized Sal and the man who had held Delia , they were standing around a table that was in the centre of the room, Talia was nowhere to be seen. There were two others standing to the right, a youngish girl with dark as night hair and pale skin, and an even younger boy who looked no older than 15, his shaggy blonde hair made him look even younger.
"What the hell is she doing here?"Sal growled at Xavier while she stamped her feet over to him. She was at least a head shorter than him, having to look up to him as she snarled and carried on.
"We need to know where she came from" He calmly responded.
Great, just when I thought I was going to catch a break and actually be able to rest for a moment, I find out I am going to be interrogated.
"I don't know where I came from! All I know is that I was almost drowned and when I woke up I was on the beach, that's when I found Delia and Talia" I almost snapped at them, halfway throughout the sentence I somehow stopped myself from clawing out the eyes of everyone within the room. I blame it on exhaustion.
"There, she's done. She can go now" Sal said, walking over to the back of the room, leaning against the wall.
"Cam, can you please take Shannon and Ryan downstairs" Xavier ordered. Finally, a name to go with the face. The man who held Delia, Cam, ushered Shannon and Ryan through the door and back downstairs. They followed without hesitation, they did as they were told. It was almost robotic.
"Why do I have to stay here?"Sal pouted, crossing her arms, she pushed her red hair back behind her ears and glared at Xavier, it was strange to see her glare at anyone but me.
"Why do you hate me?" I thought I was whispering, but obviously I wasn't.
Sal's eyes shot back at me, staring right into the depths of my soul and tearing it to pieces. Just by looking at her, I could feel myself losing air as if she literally had her hand wrapped around my throat.
"It's because of you that Delia is dead. Talia told me everything, she didn't leave out a single freaking thing. Delia wouldn't have been there if it weren't for you. She would have seen the walkers and wouldn't have had to pick your sorry behind up, she would be alive!"She screamed at me, the whole time she spoke she was walking towards me. I was frozen in place, not out of fear though, it was more because I knew if I moved even an inch, my hand would have already connected with her skull.
"Sal enough, it isn't her fault that Delia is dead" Xavier protested, he leaned against the table, looking over at us with weary eyes. I could tell that he had already had this conversation with her, the way he responded seemed too scripted and Sal doesn't seem like the kind of person who would stop talking about it the moment she put me to sleep for a few hours.
"What is she doing here Xavier? Why does she need to stay here?" Her protests seemed to only get louder and louder every time she spoke.
"Because there is a damn apocalypse going on outside these gates and Delia sure as hell wouldn't turn away someone who was in need!"He yelled back, his eyes narrowed in on her and a vein in his neck popped out. Sal didn't move, she simply watched. I could hear her breathing, calming herself before she hit Xavier too.
Sal stormed out the door, she didn't look at me as she passed. My back as still facing the door so the only way I knew she was fully gone and not just standing behind me was when I heard a loud slam.
"I really am sorry about her" Xavier said, leaning back against the table.
"It's not your fault, I can tell that Delia was important to her" I took two steps towards the table, scanning the nearly bare room.
"They were sisters, Delia was the only family that Sal had left" Well that was an emotional bomb that I was just not ready to deal with quite yet.
"Who was screaming? when I woke up I could hear someone screaming" I desperately wanted to change the subject, to take my mind off of Echo and how I am no longer by her side. If she was even still breathing anymore.
"One of the children got a hook jammed in her hand, she wanted to be like her big sister. We had to pull it out" His eyes were going all over the pace but never looking me directly in the eye. If I had more energy, I might have questioned him about the girl, but my mind hadn't completely drifted from the thought of Echo.
"So, where am I?" Another desperate attempt to change the topic.
"Does it matter? The world is falling to pieces and we haven't found any survivors for years, other than you of course. My guess is that you fell off a boat somewhere and you're the only one still alive. Everyone here is convinced we are the last living people on this earth."
All I could hear is him telling me that there is no way he would let me leave.