The Zombies Aren't as Bad as Some People
They found him on the side of the freeway, beaten and naked. He had been shoved between a beat-up old Camry and the cement barrier, or perhaps he had crawled in there for at least a bit of protection. He never talked about it, so they didn't really know. They had been siphoning gas from the Camry when Page had heard him, a low, pained groan that immediately put her on edge, but they needed the gas so they searched out the supposed beast instead of moving on.
At first, Zachary had been fully prepared to bash his skull in with the shovel he carried around for such occasions, but as he raised the shovel over his head a thought had struck him. Since when did people strip zombies? He had seen zombies missing a few articles of clothing - shoes or a shirt that may have been torn off - but this guy was completely naked, and he didn't look like he was decomposing. It had been nearly half a year since the virus had first spread, and in general zombies were pretty ripe by then, although new ones popped up every once in a while. Plus, Pads wasn't growling up a storm which she did when zombies were around.
"What are you doing, Zach?" Page sighed from the other side of the car where she had returned to her siphoning.
"I think he's still alive," Zach answered. Page raised a curious eyebrow at him, stepping around the car to take a look.
"You think he's just been bitten?" she asked, glancing over him for any obvious bite marks.
"Maybe." Zachary shrugged. Page rolled her eyes, walking back to the little red canister filling with gas, tying her hair back into a bun.
"Moron," she sighed, peeking into the can to check the progress.
"Hey," Zachary scolded solemnly.
"Zach, if you get bitten by a slow zombie five and a half months after the infection really spread, you probably deserved to die. If these things were like those ones in Left 4 Dead or Dawn of the Dead or something I might get it - those things were beasts; these ones can't walk up stairs." Page sighed. "Just put him out of his misery already." Zachary frowned at his little sister, wondering where the girl who had once threatened to chain herself to a tree had gone.
"We don't even know if he's been bitten," he argued. "I can't just kill him." Page rolled her big brown eyes, heaving up the now full gas can.
"Because leaving him here is more humane?" She sighed, opening the gas cap on the suburban.
"Well we can't just leave him either," Zachary answered.
"There is no way in hell I'm letting you put a possible zombie in our car," Page snapped as she began filling the suburban's tank.
"I know; I think we should wait for a while. Six hours and we'll know if he's been bitten or not." Page raised a thin blond eyebrow at him.
"You just want to sit here for six hours?" she asked incredulously.
"Why not? Do you have somewhere you need to be?" he replied sarcastically. Page held his stare for a moment as if she was trying to decide how determined he was to wait here. The answer was fairly clear. Zach was, if nothing else, compassionate to the very depths of his soul, and she could see how much he needed this. After months of slaughtering what had once been living people, he was quickly approaching a breaking point.
"Protector Guardian." Page sighed; shaking her head as she set the gas can down and came to look over the poor soul crumpled against the Camry. He didn't look like he had a fever, he had no open sores, and he hadn't been vomiting - or at least if he had it hadn't been here. He didn't look like a zombie, though his pale skin was splotched with black and green bruises, his shoulders were red with a fierce sun burn, and he looked like he'd had the shit beaten out of him. In fact, if she had stumbled upon him in an alley or something before the outbreak her first assumption would have been that someone had just raped him. She glanced up at Zachary and could see the same thought in his eyes. She couldn't let him get attached if this boy had been bitten, but at the same time she knew that her brother needed to help him as much the boy needed help. "Why don't you find him a blanket?" she suggested finally. Zachary gave her the smallest of smiles before turning back to the car to find something to cover the boy with. She squatted down beside Padfoot when he was out of earshot, eyeing the boy warily as she scratched the top of the dog's head. He wasn't really a boy; he was probably older than her, mid-twenties maybe, but he looked a lot younger like this, half-starved, and completely vulnerable. "You better not have been bitten," Page warned his unconscious form as she heard Zachary close the suburban's trunk. Her brother returned to her side, laying the blanket over the boy carefully as Page stood, glancing around. The freeway stretched on for several miles before twisting to the right and out of view behind the trees, the once busy highway now only scattered with the occasional empty car.
"We should be able to tell by two or so," Zachary said after a moment, eyes still glued to their now covered discovery. There was a tortured look in his eyes that sent a chill down her spine. At times, it seemed her brother could take every ounce of pain from someone's body and feel for them. The movie The Green Mile had scared the shit out of her because of it. Of course, he was really just extraordinarily empathetic, but it still freaked her out.
"I'm going to go see if there's anything good up in that sedan, okay?" She retrieved a bat from the car and started up the road, glad to escape the hollow look.
Around noon, Page made peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and they ate silently. It was pretty clear by then that the poor boy beneath the blanket wasn't going to be craving brain anytime soon, though they continued to wait just to be safe. Page watched her brother make another sandwich though he didn't eat it, leaving it instead on the dashboard. He watched the boy anxiously for the next two hours, sighing in relief when his watch finally hit two as if he had been afraid the boy would decide to spring up at the last moment, zombiefied. "Help me." Page eyed her brother wearily as he hovered in front of the boy.
"How?" she asked, and he considered the cramped space the boy was in for a moment.
"I'm going to pick him up. Just wrap the blanket around him when I do, okay?" Page nodded, coming to stand closer as her brother leaned into the gap between the Camry and the barrier. For a moment she could see nothing but his broad back, and then he was standing again, holding the boy carefully beneath the armpits. The boy groaned quietly as Zachary stepped away from the car, letting Page duck into the space to scoop up the blanket. She bit her lip as she folded the blanket around him, trying not to think about the blood caking the back of his thighs. When the blanket was secure, Zachary swept an arm around the back of his knees, carrying him bridal style towards the suburban. He was half-way there when the boy blinked his eyes open blearily. Zachary tried to smile reassuringly at the boy. His reaction was delayed but violent as he nearly pitched himself out of Zachary's arms, struggling and yelling hoarsely. Zachary pulled him closer to his chest on instinct.
"Open the door, Page." He nodded toward the back of the suburban, and Page blinked at him, alarmed by the boy's sudden panic. "Page!" She did as she was told, flinging the back door open so that Zachary could maneuver the screaming, writhing boy into the car.
"What's wrong with him?" she asked Zachary's back.
"He's confused. Lock the doors," he answered. She licked her lips, opening the driver's side door to hit the lock button. The boy was trying to sit up, though it was obviously causing him pain. "Get in the passenger seat." Page did as asked quickly while her brother closed the back door, trapping the boy in the back seat as he went around to open the trunk. He fished through it for a moment before calling Padfoot to get inside. The boy was trying to open the door now, shaking, sobbing, and begging them to let him out. Page watched, completely horrified, tears brimming in her own eyes. Zachary climbed into the driver's seat with several bottles of water. He turned on the car, flipping through the one of the iPods they'd collected. "Talk to him, Page; tell him who we are," he said quietly, plugging the iPod into the car and starting a slow, melodic song.
"Um, er, excuse me?" she tried quietly, just barely loud enough to hear over the soft song, though the boy didn't seem to notice. He was hyperventilating against the door, hand tugging limply at the handle. "I'm Page Flint, and this is my brother Zachary. We've got a dog too, her name's Padfoot, like from Harry Potter. We found her in this house a couple months back." She didn't look at her brother, afraid of what pain she might find. "We were um, getting gas when we found you." She paused, hoping the boy would look at her. "I'm sorry we scared you, we didn't mean to. I promise we aren't going to hurt you or anything, we're just trying to help." She licked her lips, scrambling behind her for the sandwich she now understood. "We've got a sandwich for you and water," she explained, holding out the sandwich even though he wasn't looking. "It's got peanut butter on it though, so if you're allergic you shouldn't eat it, but we've got more food. There's applesauce and a lot of canned stuff. You could take a look and choose-" she paused as he reached out for the sandwich, blinking rapidly, grappling at the air for a moment before he got it and immediately took a large bite. Page scrambled for a water bottle handing that out to him as well. He gulped the water down, draining the bottle before he finished devouring the sandwich. Zachary got out of the car, the sound of the door closing drawing the boy's attention. He grew still, looking nervous.
"What is he doing?" he croaked quietly, jumping when Zachary opened the trunk.
"Zach, our friend wants to know what you're doing." She was a little curious too. Zachary looked up from the suitcase he was digging through.
"I'm finding something for him to wear," he answered quietly. Page nodded, smiling at the boy.
"Then we can go find somewhere you can clean up." She picked up another bottle as Zachary shut the trunk again. The boy drank about half, his eyes on Zachary's back as he got back into the driver's seat and handed a bundle of clothing to Page, who passed it back to the boy. "Do you mind if I ask what your name is?" she asked as Zachary began driving and the boy pulled the large sweatshirt he had been given over his head. He blinked at her for a moment with tired blue eyes.
"Oliver," he answered, and she smiled.
"Well, Oliver, welcome to the family." She looked away while he struggled into the sweats she'd given him. She didn't bother trying to fool herself into believing Oliver would only be around for a while; there was no way in hell her brother was letting him go out on his own again. She glanced back when he grew still again; he blinked at her slowly, heavy bags under his eyes, and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He seemed remarkably collected for someone who had gone through whatever had led him to this place on the freeway, though after living through a real-life zombie apocalypse, many things seemed to sweep right off people. She had seen people who had been forced to kill their spouses pull themselves together in a day or two. Of course, they weren't over it really, but they could keep moving on. It was just part of the survivor territory. "You look kinda wiped out; you can sleep if you want, or at least lie down." She didn't bring up that lying down would be less painful, though it was implied. He looked back toward Zachary nervously. Page realized that he was scared of him - not just the situation, but Zachary specifically; that was why her brother was doing and saying next to nothing. Under normal circumstances, Zachary would be in the back seat coddling Oliver. She glanced at her brother and then Oliver. "He's really just a big puppy, I promise. He wouldn't ever hurt you. He still feels guilty because he pushed Michael Rear in the fifth grade for stealing his Gameboy." Oliver didn't exactly look assured. "He's an ISFJ, so…" she trailed off as if that should explain everything; she wanted to explain everything, to make sure Oliver knew how amazing Zachary was. The thought that anyone didn't think incredible things about her brother was upsetting. "Well, I'll also be here, so even if he was a horrible person, which he's not, he'd rather cut off his own hand than hurt another person-"
"Page," Zachary sighed.
"Er… right, well I'll keep an eye on you," she finished lamely. After a little more coaxing she got him to agree to lie down, and he was asleep within minutes.
Hey guys I'm back finally, I was going to post this like two weeks ago but both my hard drive and my motherboard decided to die at the same time and I didn't even do anything wrong the geek squad guy said it was just their time. So frustrating…
Anyway this is He's A Biter, it's not all going to be so emo I promise, and probably won't be too much like most zombie stories. I also have fewer characters this time around and I have a Beta now! Andnobodysmokes, fabulous! You can go thank her for this not being painful to read.
So I'm going to do review questions again because it's fun for me to hear your answers.
One: How do you feel about the first chapter?
Two: Vehicle of choice in case of Zombies?
Hope you enjoyed it! My workload is a lot bigger now so I'm thinking an update every two weeks? I'll have to figure it out. See ya.