Author: Heather Chance PM
DISCLAIMER: Nothing to do with the video game Halo. Humanity has been almost obliterated only hundred scattered about remain. The rest have turned into a zombie like state. Striker, the daughter of two of the lead scientists who caused the 2020 pandemic is now on her own fighting for her life.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Romance - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,713 - Reviews: 4 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 07-11-12 - Published: 07-02-12 - id: 3038243
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I just wanted to say thank you to all who is reading my story. This is the second chapter for my story and I was really excited to revise it and put it up online. Please keep reading! Thank you very much!
I double checked my calendar. It's been a week now since Ridouche had officially joined the circle. He'd first met us on May 26th I looked at the date, June 2nd, my birthday. I'd managed to keep a calendar with me at all times. Come to find out, in a Zombie Apocalypse people really don't go for calendars which was good for me. The dates were the only thing that kept me grounded. Without knowing what day it was, what week, what month, what year...would drive me insane. That was one of the things my parents were right about, you never truly know what you got until a zombie apocalypse happens and everything you've ever known has been destroyed. Well, it wasn't exactly like that but you catch my drift.
I stared at the river in front of me. We were in, what I was guessing, still Pennsylvania. The Xterra had ran out of gas about an hour after we'd reached the border of Pennsylvania. There, I was rudely awoken by Ridouche attempting to carry me. In return I gave him an unconscious punch in the face and a lecture him on how we could carry more supplies if he'd just woke me up. However, Jen insisted on me sleeping more. She was kind of like a mother to me, even though we were the same age. Sometimes it was annoying but most of the time I found it was comforting. I would never tell her that though, she'd never let me live it down.
I tucked away my pocket planner in my backpack. My backpack was pretty much my lifeline. I had tucked away my calendar, 3 MRE's(Military Meals Ready to Eat), a flashlight, and other small survival things. My main accessory in there was my bombs. Self made grenades using simple cleaning items. Those were only in case of an emergency though. I've been making things go boom since I exited the womb. Hey, that rhymed. Aren't I clever? Huh...none of that relates to what I was saying. Oh, well.
I jumped as a heard someone break through the forest. A frail body rolled down the hill and into the river. I stood to my feet, debating if it was zombie or human. The loud high pitched cry for help told me it was human and I kicked off my flyers and ripped off my aviators, jumping into the river. I swam fast with the current. Every few seconds a small head would pop up and scream out to me. My jeans were heavy on my legs, causing my body to lag. The further down the river we got, the faster the current became. The faster the current became, the less often the child would fight to keep it's head above water. I needed to think, fast.
Finally, with all of the energy I had I dove under the water. I pushed myself off of rocks with my feet and propelled myself through current, going past the small child. I resurfaced and scanned my surroundings, looking for something to grab so I could pull myself to shore. My sights fell onto a fallen tree limb that reached out into the river. I braced myself, knowing if I missed this I would hit the rapids and it could be fatal. It was by sheer luck that I caught a tree branch hanging from the fallen limb. I gripped it tightly as I searched for the child. Soon enough just a foot away from me the child's hand briefly surfaced. I reached out and dunked my hand under attempting to grab its arm.
I missed again.
It was the third miss I felt something against my leg. It wasn't hard to piece together the fact that it was the child. I used my leg as a wall, not letting the child go past. Carefully, I reached down and grabbed for its arm and pushed the body upward replacing my forearm around it's waist pulling it into my body tightly. It was cold against me, and I prayed to whatever higher power was listening that this child was still alive.
I heard a small snap and averted my eyes up towards the limb. There was a small crack in the base of the branch I was holding onto. Shit. Shit. Shit. My body felt heavy with the weight of my clothes being soaked and now a child. I bit my lip and glanced around trying to plan an escape when the branch snapped even more. Threatening to throw the child and I back into the current.
"Help! Somebody please!" I begun yelling as I felt my legs give into the water. I gripped the child tighter to myself. "Please! Help!" I screamed as loud as I could. The tree branch gave out and I felt my body begin gliding down the river. My head immediately went under when suddenly, a hand was clamped onto mine.
My head resurfaced and I gasped for air quickly. "Take the child!" I yelled up at the figure who'd been shadowed by the sun. I twisted my torso up and the figure used it's free hand to grab the child from my arms. The figure begun to struggle having to juggle both of us.
"Let me go!" I said yelling over the roar of the current. "You can't hold the two of us!" By this time I'd come to the realization that I could die at any moment now. It was only a matter of time when something would take me from this place. At least if I went this way, It wouldn't have been for nothing. I would of died with a purpose, not under the hands of a zombie.
My shadow released my hand and I went back under into the current. My body went under immediately and I tried to fight for the surface. My head suddenly hit a jagged rock and I gasped, letting out the small amount of air I had in my lungs. I closed my eyes, becoming dizzy. I was falling into the darkness of death. Something that I was ready to give into.
The first thing I remember is something warm against my lips, then feeling like I was suffocating. I turned over and placed my hands on the ground coughing to get air into my lungs. I felt a hand pat my back as water came pouring from my mouth. Have a I mentioned on how much I hate water? Well...I do.
"Are you alright?" A voice said to me. I looked up dizzily at the cloudy figure and nodded.
"Your head is bleeding."
I took a hand and wiped my face, feeling a sharp pain on my forehead. My hand was wet...I closed my eyes opening them again. Blood was running down my finger tips. I sat up, my rear relaxing onto the back of my calves. I keep my eyes closed, a major headache coming on.
"Here..." I feel a wet cool cloth being placed onto the cut.
"I'll be fine."
"Hold the cloth in place." What I am guessing is a guy said. I listen to him and keep my hand on the cloth. I hear the tear of fabric open my eyes. The man infront of me tearing the bottom of his shirt. I close my eyes again.
"You don't need to do that."
"You're hurt. Just let me take care of it." I feel his hand over mine on my head. "You can let go now." I let my hand drop and he uses the fabric from his shirt as an ace bandage around my head to keep what I'm guessing is gauze in place.
"What about the child?" I say opening my eyes as he is tying up the lose ends on the side of my head.
"Shes dead." The man's tone was flat, almost completely void of any emotion. I clutched the dirt under my hand. If I'd only of been faster, or stronger, or better. I could of saved her. I glared at the ground becoming consumed with anger. That girl was someone's friend, someone's daughter. I couldn't save her, and even if I'd went on and died...it would have been for nothing. "I'm sorry for your loss."
"I didn't know her." I chuckled bitterly. "She just, fell down into the river and I jumped in after her." I bit my tongue, fighting tears as I looked over at the girl lying on the ground a few feet away. Her blonde hair a matted mess that covered her face. I closed my eyes trying to ignore the thoughts of failure when I felt a warm hand on my shoulder.
"That was noble of you." I blinked my eyes and finally looked up at the man. He was dressed in a green camouflage uniform. U.S MARINE printed on one side and VALHALLA on the other. I brought my eyes up to his face, which was stripped with mud but his blue innocent eyes stuck out above his strong features. Unlike his dark, buzz cut hair...his eyes held a certain comfort to them. I was shocked that he was so young. Everything else about him though was, indeed a solider. He offered his hand and I took it, standing up shakily. His quickly adjusted himself under my arm and put an arm around my waist, supporting me.
"Thanks." I said letting only a portion of my weight onto him. I kept an arm around his shoulders tightly. "Could you take me to her..." I nodded to the girl and he helped me over. Her skin was now a pale gray, and I could see her veins.
"Even if you did save her, she most not of had long..." Valhalla said. I moved my arm down around him and knelled at her side. I felt my hand shake as I went to move her hair from her face. I jumped when I saw startling brown eyes staring back at me. I clutched my chest with my hand then breathed in and forced her eyes close with my other. She was long gone, and there was nothing I could do.
I did the best I could to clean her up a little. I adjusted her messy hair, like it flowed around her like an angel of some sort. I could feel Valhalla's eyes curiously watching me. I ignored him and continued my business. Collecting shells that has washed up from the bank and putting them around her. It was only moments later I realized Valhalla begun helping place the shells. I smiled softly at him, looking completely focused on what shell and where to place it next. If there was a heaven somewhere, I hope she was there. Looking down on us, hopefully, happily.
When I went to fold her arms across her chest I noticed something in her hand. Clutched so tightly that Valhalla had to pry it open. As he unraveled the paper we were both astonished. The paper hadn't looked damp at all. It was just crumpled up. It read:
"Children, children, don't forget
There are elves and fairies yet;
Where the knotty hawthorn grows
Look for prints of fairy toes.
Where the grassy rings are green
Moonlight dances shall be seen.
Watch and wait, O lucky you,
If you find a fairy shoe:
For a ransom he will pay,
Hobbling barefoot all the day,
Lay it on a mushroom seat,
Wish your wish and go your way
If your wish should be discreet
Never fear but he will pay."
We both stared at it for a few moments before I took the paper and folded it up into my pocket. "We should get going." I said and tried to stand but nearly fell onto Valhalla. He put an arm around my waist quickly supporting my weight. He looked down into my eyes, sending shivers down my spine.
"I-" He was cut off by a groan. Our eye contact disconnected and we looked up to see a zombie on its knees beside the small girl. They're features...well what was left of it's were similar.
"I'll handle this...stay here." He gently guided took me over to a tree and sat me down. I kept my eyes on the zombie, who was still by the girl...just staring at her. Valhalla walked over pulling a gun from his side pocket and pointed it at the zombie. He then said something that I couldn't hear and shot it. The loud shot rung my ears and I clasped my hands over them. I blinked hard my head thriving with pain.
"Shit, i'm sorry. I should of told you to cover your ears."
"It's alright...ish..." I give him a thumbs up then fail to stand again. "Just a seco-"
"Let me carry you, you're pretty banged up. Where to?"
I was to exhausted emotionally and physically to argue with Valhalla. "I have camp just about a mile or so upstream. I could give you so-" without another word Valhalla lifted and adjusted me so I was on his back piggy back style. It was like I was a bag of feathers to him. Defiantly a Marine. He begun walking upstream. I looked at the small girls corpse as we past but quickly turned my head the other way. I wanted to forget, and that's exactly what you have to do to survived. Forget the past and move on.
For a few minutes we walked in silence before he spoke again. "What's your name?"
"Jov-" I stopped myself and said "Striker." I nodded. "Just call me Striker."
"I'd rather have a first or last name...Jov." He said keeping his pace with ease.
"St. Claire, Jovianna." I said. Normally, I'd kept my name a secret. Since my parents were the epicenter of the mayhem all around. The last thing I needed was for someone with a grudge to come and kill me in my sleep, which I'd expected.
"Okay, St. Claire it is."
"Please call me Striker."
"I don't do nicknames." he said sharply and I sighed. Jar-heads these days. Can't live with them, can't survive going down stream in a river with out them, or something like that.
"What's your name?"
"First name please?" I said mocking his tone.
I grunted becoming angry with my stubborn companion. I must be on a roll or something. Meeting two douche bags within the same month. It was like a nasty reoccurring cold. The kind where your feel miserable, but you still have to go to work and school.
"Why? It's not like I'm going to run and tell the world your last name." I rolled my eyes.
"I don't see how we have no government anymore."
"Just stop asking questions, please."
"So I'm supposed to just sit here and ride on some strangers back and be all peachy about it? I don't think so."
" Can't you just be happy I just saved your ass? How about a thank you or something? You women are always asking to many questions!" He snapped back at me. I felt my jaw hang open wide. Trying to make sure I heard what I just heard. I was temped to really knock some sense into this lunatic but he was right, he has saved my life.
"I'm sorry..." I sighed and started in. "Thank you, for saving me and for carrying me back to camp." I said as sincere as I could to him.
"You're welcome." After that, he remained silent and we kept walking.
I used this silence to collect my thoughts. Trying to prevent myself from a mental break down. All I wanted to do was go home. I wanted to go to school 8 hours a day and learn absolutely noting. I wanted to come home and make dinner for my parents and wait for them to come home as we sat and talked about our days. I didn't want this life. Having to worry every time you fall asleep whether you'll be waking up or not. People every where dying around. I remember when my biggest problem was the clothes I was going to wear tomorrow, not if I was going to have enough food to get through the week.
A part of me did blame my parents for all of this. If they hadn't of created this 'perfect' cure for age and for illness none of us would be here right now. We'd be at home, eating hot dogs from the grill and laughing around the patio. Not killing off zombies to keep our own lives safe. I sighed and I felt my face glare. Now I owed two men my life. Great, just what I needed. I peeked head and saw my things on the ground.
"There, there's my stuff." I said pointing to my book bag, my previously washed clothes dried out, my P.F Flyers and my aviators. I slid down from his back and limped over and bent down opening my backpack. I pulled out all of my MRE's and tossed them to him.
"That's for saving my ass Valhalla." I gave him a small salute and for a second, he almost smiled. I knew that because his eyes held the smile that which his face refused to show.
"I haven't eaten in two days." I watched as his eyes moved to the meals. Looking as if he'd just found the Holy Grail.
"Well, they're yours." I said nodding.
"What about you?" He said, not moving his eyes.
"I have camp. If you turn around and let me change I'd be happy to take you there." Half way through my sentence he'd already turned around and now, he was ripping open one of the MRE's.
I quickly changed into my mostly dry set of clothes and laid my others out in its place. I placed my cap on my damp hair and slid back on my aviators and P.F Flyers. Valhalla was on his second meal, devouring it quickly.
"Valhalla," I said as I picked up my backpack. I guess he'd forgotten I was there by the slight jump he made when I called out his name. "...let's go. Camp's only a few meters away from here." I nodded. Valhalla nodded and scrambled to his feet. He picked up the rest of the MRE he was almost completed with and tucked the other one under his arm. I turned away from him and begun walking toward camp.
"Jared." He said simply with food in his mouth.
"What?" I turned over my shoulder and cocked my eyebrow.
"That's my name. Jared Valhalla." He kept walking like it was no big deal right on past me. I shook my head and as soon as he passed I let a smile slide onto my face. Maybe this one wasn't so bad after all. Though, I did give him food so as soon as he gets hungry, he'll probably get cranky again. Joy, a man who has mood swings more than I do. What a lovely addition for our awkward group.
Somehow I knew though, he was more than just another addition to the group.