Something Wicked This Way Comes *ON HOLD*

Emmeline Walker was a normal girl who had no worries going to school with her best friend Georgie. She had loving parents and doting brothers, everything a girl could want. Then comes along the virus. People are dead and dying all over the world, and the world seems to end when Emmeline catches the virus and blacks out. When she wakes up, however, in a new world where the dead never really died, she learns that the virus wasn't the end of anything, but the beginning in a new world of horror.

This is a story about zombies, beware. :)

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10. Survivors and Zoo Keepers (Part Two)

~~When the outbreak first began people were stunned to the point of immobility. When the president announced that it had spread around the globe and that god be with you because you're going to need it speech emerged, panic ensued. Rules that normally would be followed had little meaning to the human race. People killed people infected and in the face of having their own life extinguished fought over even the littlest resources to the death in hopes of living. Gas, water, non-perishable foods, animals, solar power devices, weapons. Each one became invaluable once the humans had turned their backs upon each other.

Guns could be heard in the distance each night and in the early mornings accompanied by screams. Humans were slowly dying off as more and more of the virus spread and humanity turned into The Ghosts, The Infected, The Walkers, The Hollows; whatever you called them it meant death. People bitten refused to die and soon enough every point of the globe seemed to be crawling with the abominations. There was no safe place for humans who had not been bitten to go within large districts. Small groups, or better yet settlements, were scattered in remote areas where people were scarce and it was easy to hide and defend fortresses. However, even in big cities, life continued to thrive in the tiniest places; you just had to look carefully.

~~~~~~*~~~~~~

There was a loud explosion and a group of five swarmed a nearby building, all dressed in black cargo gear and armed to the teeth. They wore headgear so it was hard to distinguish them from one another, but as they set up a barrier between a swarm and the building they were trying to get into, the skill and preciseness of the group was immediately shown in their coordinated actions as a team. Guns were silent as they prepared for the brunt of the attack, and sweat could be seen gleaming on pale faces.

When the shooting began, sparks shot off from the gun shells and illuminated the pitch black. The horde seemed to never end, rotten  muscle and unmentionable liquid making the air rancid. Suddenly a scream, a human scream, pierced the air and one of the people dressed like black death incarnate snapped around to stare at the cowering young girl and boy. They sat shaking in a corner under the

stairs, sobbing uncontrollably. They must have been about 4-7 years old, still kids in the new world of death.

The person dressed in black rushed to them and held them tight against their chest, cooing that it would be alright. A loud boom echoed through the air and the building shuddered. Fire and debris entered the building from the outside and when the smoke and dust cleared the entire area was silent. The group dressed like the night quickly surrounded each other, their guns at the ready, pointing through the smoke.

Nothing happened for a few moments and then suddenly a truck barreled through the doors and slammed to a stop in front of them. The door opened, and out hopped an older woman, her white hair matching the white vest and boots she wore. Her dark pants and sweater under the vest semi-veiled the guns on her person and her bright blue eyes that shined through even in the dark mesmerized everyone around her.

She beckoned them forward and ran around to the back of the truck before opening the roll-up door. Inside were a few other people, civilians, and they were sitting up against the metal walls, their eyes wide with fear. A man in his late twenties strode forward and motioned the group and children to hop inside. 

"We have to hurry, before more come running." His voice was heavily accented, making it immediately obvious he was Russian. His black hair curled around his dark eyes and his arms were tight with muscle against his long sleeved t-shirt.

The group of five was wary, having been given the order from what remained of the government to save anyone they could within the cities, but upon entering them the group had come across many vicious groups. They had lost two valued team members to the people who had lost their humanity in the wake of the virus. The kids screamed again when a sudden storm of screeching could be heard and the group jumped into action, leaping inside the truck. When they were all inside, the woman hurriedly closed the door after jumping inside herself and the truck jumped forward, crashing through the wall of the building back onto the street. 

After a while, the screeching died down and soon, quiet spread through the truck. The woman with the white hair moved to the side and revealed a glowing lantern that lit the space with light. The group had unconsciously huddled together, becoming a giant lump of people and as they saw how close they were to each other, a few jumped apart with surprised yelps.

The Russian man was seen leaning against the side of the truck, his eyes scanning the group. Besides the older woman, the group of five and the two children, there were also two teenage girls, a young man, and a middle aged woman with a young son. The group of five, now that they could be seen in the light, were three strong military men, and two women. The entire truck was silent until the young boy who was with his mother crawled over to sit next to the other boy and girl. He started whispering to them and soon a smile lit their faces and a startled laugh broke out of the girl.

They tried to quiet them behind dirty hands but when the older boy made another funny face, the girl collapsed in a fit of giggles and the boy snorted. It was a magical moment, one where you could see the first genuine joy on an innocent child's face in years. It created a bridge for the adults in the enclosure until one by one they were all conversing in some way. The Russian man sat down and one of the teen girls with Raven hair and a dark complexion sidled closure, bringer her knees to her chest as she stared at him with chocolate eyes. She stuck her hand out to him.

"Hi. I'm Chelsea."

The man slowly took her hand in his and shook it with a quick jerk, before returning to watch everyone else.

Chelsea coughed to get his attention and she raised an eyebrow at him, waiting for his name in return. His mouth turned up into a small smirk. "Adreil."

Chelsea tilted her head to the side, her lips quirking. "I like you. You're mine."  She suddenly declared. Adriel narrowed his eyes at her, completely confused. He turned away, deciding to ignore her. 

"Why are you turning away? I'm cold. Hold me." The next moment Chelsea climbed into his lap and clamped onto his arm with an iron grip, so even if he tried to shake her off she wouldn't budge. They sat in silence then, decidedly ignoring each other.

The other teen girl had taken to talking to the young man, and had yet to notice her friend.  Morena was small with a brown, pixie haircut and baby blue eyes. The young man she was speaking to, Keller, was a 24 year old computer whiz with dirty blonde hair and hazel eyes. Half of his right ear was missing and scarred over making him look roguish. They were both quiet in their conversations, keeping what they said to a minimum as the truck sped down through the buildings.

The mother, Nelly, was watching her son James and the other two children laugh. She was short with a robust figure and hazel green eyes. Her black hair cascaded down her back in messy curls, accentuating her Latino figure. The other two children, Sarah and Max, were obviously siblings with their carrot colored hair and bright cerulean blue eyes. The smiles that appeared on their faces was something that made every adult in the room grin themselves, happy to see such innocence.

The older woman Carol slid herself to the group of five, her white hair highlighted from the light source. There was Terra, an Indian woman with black eyes and shoulder length black hair, Larry, who looked like an old biker guy with a dragon tattoo on his bald head, Marcus, a short American with dark curls and blue eyes, Philippe, a jolly Latino with a scar down his jaw, and Shawna, a Native American woman with copper skin and golden eyes. She shook hands with them all and sat cross legged.

"So where are you five from?" she asked. Her voice was surprisingly deep for an older woman, carrying the strength she held to the others surrounding her.

~~Terra speaks up, her dark eyes reflecting the light in the trailer like a dark mirror. "Situated at the US - Canadian border in Montana. There is a military settlement up that way for any refugee's." she tells Carol.

Carol nods her head in acknowledgement and it isn't long before the others join in on the conversation. 

Washington, Idaho, Montana, N. Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin... All the northern states had what remained of the military, army, national guard, navy, marines, police, swat, and air force personnel since they were located furthest away from large cities. Plus the snow and limited roads made it harder for humans to access them, assuring that they were safe from the Ghosts. What remained of the government decided to then also blend each department and had since come up with the United States Special Forces, so the USSF.

Specially trained forces from the USSF were sent out every two weeks to big cities to recover survivors and bring them back home where it was safe. Not many, if anyone at all, knew about the forces moving out there. That was why swarms of people, infected or not, were not running to the northern states looking for refuge. It was why the soldiers could do what they did and go out on expeditions. 

However, many soldiers in specific groups of the USSF would find hidden groups within the bigger cities that were so well off that they didn't need saving. Those were marked on maps within the USSF bases to keep track of large groups of survivors, as a way to keep hope within the human race. It also made it easier to make contact with the groups and send supplies if needed. The zombie apocalypse fanatics even before the actual even were well trained and usually had enough ammunition stored away to arm an army. They knew the best way to stay undetected and the best way to keep track of the Ghosts crawling around, to survive.

The place Carol was taking the group to now happened to be one of these settlements, although this one was currently undiscovered.

When the truck screeched to a stop, there seemed to be a murmur outside the truck and then it started moving again. When it finally stopped once more and the vehicle was turned off, Carol went to the back and lifted the roll up door. What met their eyes was bright sunshine and the wilderness.

Camps with large tents were scattered between trees and large vehicles could be seen in groups of three. The group of five stepped out first after Carol and took in the camp and all of the civilians who were now labeled survivors.

"Where are we?" Larry asked. He pulled out a cigar and lit it, a quick puff following his next question. "North of the city?" 

Carol came up next to him and grabbed the cigar from him, also taking a quick puff.

"Nope. West. We're in the Zoo."

"The zoo?" Marcus rubbed his head, baffled. "Why the zoo?"

"Why not the zoo? Its a good place to stay. Fences everywhere and the animals have been so long without care that when we had arrived most of them had died except for a few birds, lemurs, and an emaciated tiger."

"Tiger? You have a tiger?" Shawna asked surprised. She moved the shoulder strap connected to the gun sideways and stepped down off the truck before looking around.

"No," Carol began sadly, "the poor thing was so far gone that we thought it humane to just kill it. The animal was nothing but skin and bones left."

"I see. How sad." Shawna quietly said.

Carol nodded. "Without any animals the fenced areas became an easy access for the non-infected and can easily hold multiple people. We have border patrols and each section of the Zoo is now used for things like the medical bay, the food storage, the cafeteria, a sleeping bay...you name it we most likely have it. I admit it did take us awhile to weed out those monsters that were in here and create a perimeter without attracting too much attention, but now this place has become a stronghold for us and its home." 

"You have a cafeteria?!" The excitement in the kids voices at catching that piece of information was so apparent that all the adults smiled. It was contagious.

"We do. However," Carol waited for the kids to stop squealing. "Everyone must work for the food they get, including the kids." She turned around to address the rest of the group, her tone commanding everyone's attention. 

"As I've just said, everyone works. Everyone is assigned a daily task and we have a work board where we put notices up. Anyone over the age of 13 is trained to properly shoot a gun if you've never held one before, and everyone is taught the system for alerting the compound if a breakout arises." She looked down at the three kids with her assessing eyes before bending down to look at them.

"How old are you three?" She asked curiously.

The oldest looking boy, James, lifted his head proudly. "12 years ma'am." He tried to deepen his voice to sound older and Carol had to hold back a chuckle. She looked at the next boy, Max, "I'm eight." He said with a smile, making his blue eyes light up.

Next, Carol looked down at the youngest girl, Sarah, who couldn't have been more than five. She was looking at the other two with a pout on her lips, her eyes narrowed. She lifted her hand to wave it around wildly and not to be outdone, shouted, "I'm twenty!"

 The adults around her couldn't help but laugh at that and Carol looked at her sternly. "Sarah, lying is a bad quality sweetie." She lightly admonished. Sarah looked down with an embarrassed blush. "Now how old are you really?"

"Five." She whispered.

"Five? My goodness I was thinking you were closer to seven. You're so tall!" Carol gushed out the compliment and allowed her eyes to crinkle in a grin, her white teeth flashing briefly in a smile that mimicked Sarah's.

"Carol, Mark and Gabriel have called a team meeting." A young man in his early twenties with caramel colored hair and chocolate brown eyes rounded the corner of the van, most likely the driver, with a walkie talkie close to his lips.

"What did they call it for Ryan?" She asked. He shrugged his shoulder and bit at his lip in a troubled gesture, the lip ring in the corner shifting when he licked it. 

Carol nodded her head at everyone and motioned them to follow her as she quickly strode away. Soon enough the group could see that they had been parked in what looked like a wolf refuge, if the giant sign near the fence they exited through was any indication.

The paved walkways were finally visible and more people were seen strolling in the same direction, guns strapped to their chests or carrying equipment. Fences from other enclosures were covered in vines that had gone crazy since they hadn't been cut in months. Old animal statues were seen covered in mud and small gardens where vegetables were growing were seen behind smaller fences in the field where families used to have picnics when visiting the nature park.

As they walked, more people joined them, converging into a giant crowd that entered into a tan building with blacked out windows and a red tile roof. What looked to be what was once a butterfly sanctuary, they entered through double doors into the gloom. They all walked through a hallway and soon entered into a large room that had a slightly weird smell of rot and sunshine. The entryway made a large circle that everyone could easily fit into and the edge had metal barriers that kept people from falling off into the ditches that once had water in them. Stone walls with dead plants still crawling up the sides were to the left and right of everyone. The high ceiling held large windows that let light stream in in a lazy manner, casting a soft glow on everyone's faces.

A makeshift platform of wood that stood a foot or two above everyone that resemble a square was situated in the very front and two men were standing on it. Carol motioned to the others to stop before heading up to the men, questions pooling in her eyes.

She joined them, her eyes hard as she stared at the two of them, her voice commanding. "What happened?" 

"A group has been stranded within C Section." Mark's voice came through quietly and Carol gasped before her hard stare turned into a full on glare.

"What were they doing in C Section in the first place?! Everyone knows that area is forbidden!" She demanded in a whisper-yell.

"We don't know. Those idiots sent out a distress signal when it was too fuckin late to go get them. We need a volunteer team to go now since its gonna take more time." Gabriel snapped. His sea-green eyes sparked in annoyance and his jaw clenched. 

Carol sighed, a crease forming between her eyebrows when she felt an oncoming headache.

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