Naturally, the zombies came. They must have been attracted from miles around by all the gunfire. Still, we probably had a few minutes before we got more than singles and pairs rocking up. That was good, because I seriously doubted the survivors were really in the mood for another battle. Their ashen faces told me that this was probably the worst casualty count they’d seen in a good long while.
Slowly, I released Cat and stood, brushing down my clothes with my hands. Usually, I would go and retrieve my ammunition but honestly I didn’t fancy poking around the dead bodies. It just felt too morbid. Instead, I simply shouldered my trusty crossbow and walked over to where the other survivors had congregated – the ones who weren’t crying next to the bodies of their friends.
There was a sick feeling in my stomach. I had killed these people. I had dragged them out here on a fool’s errand to do my dirty work for me. I caught the thoughts nearly as quickly as I caught them. This may have been my fault, but I wasn’t going to regret it. It’s not like this was even a big casualty count for me. I killed whole freaking towns, after all. This shouldn’t make me feel bad in the slightest.
Then a thought struck me – if I was going to have any chance of getting into the bunker, I still needed these people. I couldn’t rely on the mayor to lead them anymore, due to his dead body being slumped in the passenger seat of his wagon. It looked like I had to do this myself. Clambering up onto the bonnet of a rusting car, I thought of rousing things to say.
“Hey people” I began. “I know this whole attack may feel like shit right now, and honestly I don’t blame you. But the fact is that we killed them all, and we’re still alive. We won this battle. Not without casualties, but what would they think if we gave up without reaching our objective? There’s a whole bunker waiting out there, filled with guns, food, even electricity. Surely that’s worth a few more miles?”
And then a guy piped up. “Aren’t you the guy who convinced the mayor to do this in the first place?”
“Not exactly. I told him it was out here. He made the decision to come and actually liberate the place”
“How can we be sure you’re not lying?”
Okay, seriously. Why did that question only ever come up when I told the truth?
“Look-” I began.
“Don’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth” came another voice, female this time, from the crowd. “He’s Fenrir, the one who’s been destroying towns to the south”
It was the information broker Cat had stopped me killing. Once more, I regretted letting her get away. Dammit Cat, this was why I killed people – so they didn’t come back and bite me in the ass like this. Heck, I didn’t even know her name and she had probably signed my death warrant. The survivors gave looks that varied between confusion, fear and anger.
“He wanted this to happen!” came the shouts. “He made them die!”
Okay, I was fucked. Time to leave.
Someone threw a stone which missed by a few centimetres. Then I heard a gunshot and jumped off the car as fast as I could. Ironically, it was a horde of zombies that saved me. They came at us from the rear and distracted most of the people for long enough for me to grab Cat by the wrist and take off down a side street. Hey, maybe the undead were my friends after all. I mean, I know they killed pretty much everyone I knew before the five year mark but, honestly, it was humans that had done the most damage to my life and, well, my sanity.
Whatever, I was a different person now. Feelings were for the weak. If you wanted to survive, you saw everything as a weapon or escape plan. The second part of that mentality was really coming in handy as I pelted down two streets, ran into a load of zombies, backtracked, and ran away. I could hear the gunshots from the ‘New Beginnings’ soldiers as they defended themselves, but I was just planning to get as far away as possible. For all I cared, the zombies could eat them.
Maybe being a feared and wanted psychopath wasn’t the best way of making friends. Even Cat looked like she might take the machete she carried and bury it in my ribs. Maybe I would let her – it was the least I owed her for putting her through this shit. Okay, where had that thought come from? I’m supposed to care about my own life, dammit.
Anyway, now that I totally wasn’t having feelings and was possibly going to be suicidal, we ran. We ran until we got out of breath. Then we walked. You know, the usual stuff. We stayed silent the whole way and I kept expecting to hear the soft squelch of a blade going through my body. When we had walked for about twenty minutes and I hadn’t been murdered, I figured I was reasonably safe.
“Hey, Cat?” I started.
“Please don’t talk to me” she practically begged.
“Whatever. I just wanted to tell you that I’ve rethought my position on killing your family. It was a bad idea” I admitted.
She gave a bitter laugh. “You think?”
“Yep. Just a little bit”
“You don’t have any idea what you’re doing, do you” she muttered. “You don’t have a purpose. You don’t have anything to live for. You live purely for the hell of it”
“I asked one of the guards who Fenrir was” she told me. “I know everything about you”
“How can you do it?” she asked. “How can you just kill people like there’s nothing wrong with that?”
“Because it’s better than letting them live” I said, simply.
“That’s not even an answer” she snapped. “Those people were probably better than you. They probably loved, played and had people they cared about. You don’t care about anyone”
I cared about her.
“The world would be better off without you” she continued.
Okay, that stung. The whole point of me killing everyone was to make the world a better place.
“Well, if it would be so much better off, then maybe you should kill me” I taunted.
She raised the knife, murder in her eyes, before lowering it, shaking herself.
“If I killed you I would be just as bad”
“Exactly” I said. “So someone has to kill the bad ones and become evil themselves in the process”
“I honestly cannot think of anyone more qualified. You disgust me”
I shrugged (ouch, bloody shoulder!). “Someone has to do it.”
“You deserve to suffer for your crimes”
“That I do”
“You also saved my life twice. Why would you do that?”
I didn’t answer her, since I didn’t know myself.
“Eh, fuck it” she said, making a strange expression.
Then she kissed me.