Chapter Twelve

Mckey clambered to her feet and squeezed herself into a corner of the cage. The Smiler reached out for her but he was a good six feet away and the chain holding him was very thick.

"You killed Lucy but we can forgive that as you're The Chosen One. I think your husband wants to get to know you better" said Chloe, her voice a sneer as she motioned to Bert who stood across the room. He turned a wheel and the chain slackened, the Smiler walked forward a few steps, still reaching out with bloodied fingers.

"How the fuck is that thing gonna get me pregnant? It's gonna rip me to shreds!" screamed Mckey, pushing back even further against the bars. Chloe laughed.

"We'll just let him get close enough to bite you and then we'll impregnate you. It takes ten months for the full change to take place; your baby will be half Smiler and half normal."

"What happens if it's not a boy? Lucy said you'd try again, how are you gonna do that when I'm one of them?" Chloe laughed again, a deep throated chuckle this time that made Mckey's skin crawl.

"We will try again, just not with you." Mckey clenched her teeth; if she got of this cage in one piece she was going to knock Chloe's teeth down her throat. But, first things first, The Smiler was slowly getting closer as Bert loosened the chain. She needed a weapon, any weapon. Mckey looked down at the floor, there were a few bones but none big enough to use as a club or a stake.

"Bollocks to it. Back to the old fashioned way" she muttered. Mckey lifted the dress to her waist and tucked it in her knickers, ignoring the roars of laughter from the White Robes. After a few seconds to steady her nerves, Mckey screamed and dashed forward. There was an almost comical look of shock on the Smiler's face before Mckey ducked under its arms, spun around and threw herself at its middle. The Smiler flew forward a few feet before the slack on the chain gave up, Mckey felt the jolt and heard the snap as the chain almost ripped the Smiler's head off. He dropped to the ground like a lead weight, leaving Mckey panting on the floor and the White Robes gaping in at her. Chloe was just about to speak when the door flew open and Bugs jerked in, grinning her head off and she wasn't alone.

Jethro pulled Kahlua back when he heard shuffling footsteps; he reached behind him and pushed Ash back. Another corridor appeared to cut across the one they were standing in, the corner wasn't quite visible in the gloom. From off to the right came a sound, muffled by the thick walls. Jethro turned to Ash, frowning. It sounded like laughter.

"What the Hell's funny?" mouthed Ash, Jethro raised an eyebrow and shrugged. There was a shriek and then the sounds of a struggle, Ash grabbed his brother before Jethro could dart forward. A group of Smilers, led by Bugs, staggered past their hiding place. With a burst of speed that made the brothers gasp, the group forced their way through a set of doors and vanished from view. There was a beat of silence before screams erupted and they were nearly deafened by gunfire.

"Away we go!" cried Ash, the dogs barked and lead the charge as they all ducked into the other room.

The walls were so white all the light just seemed to bounce straight back and blind anyone in its path. Jethro raised his arm for a moment untill his eyes adjusted and then he gaped at the scene before him. Smilers and White Robes were everywhere, the echo of gunfire from all sides was deafening. Across the room, Jethro spotted Chloe struggling with Bugs, both were grinning like maniacal dolls. Ash tugged at his sleeve and pointed to a huge cage on the other wall, Mckey was crouched in a corner with a dead Smiler at her feet. Jethro raised an eyebrow before ducking across the room and kicking at the barred door.

When the Smilers had jerked into the room, Mckey had backed into the corner of her cage again. She crouched down and tried to disappear as Bugs and her friends made short work of the White Robes. Blood spurted everywhere as they bit and chewed their way through to the other side of the room, oblivious to the bullets that ripped through them. Mckey dropped onto her face as a bullet whizzed past her head, she stayed down untill the door of the cage clanged open and she peered through her fingers into Kahlua brown eyes.

"You know, Lassie would've got here sooner" she said, Kahlua snorted and tossed his head. Mckey scrambled to her feet, Jethro and Ash were standing in the doorway to the cage. They did an almost comical double take when she stood up. Mckey looked down at herself and felt her face begin to burn; the dress was still tucked in her knickers.

"One word and you'll end up like him" she said, pulling the dress straight and nodding down at the dead Smiler on the floor. Jethro raised an eyebrow and stood to one side so Mckey could get out. A high pitched wail rose above the clamor and Mckey turned just in time to see Bugs sink her teeth into Chloe's throat. The fallen girl turned and locked eyes with Mckey, the wail rose again and Mckey shivered. She turned away and pushed through the door. The dogs led them back to the kitchen and the pulverized back door.

"We need a car" cried Ash, hissing as his injured shoulder connected with the doorjamb. Mckey looked around and spotted the van she had been taken from the Marina in.

"That'll do" she said, they crossed the grass and found the doors open. The blast of a gun split the morning silence, Kahlua screamed and fell sideways. Mckey felt a vice fasten around her heart as she barreled around the van to her dog.

"You spoilt it! You've ruined everything!" screamed Chloe. The gun in her hand shook as she struggled to get to her prey.

"It was all planned! Everything was going to be back to normal, we would've ruled the world but you had to ruin everything! You couldn't just lay back and take it like the rest of us! Did you think it was only you? We were all chosen once! I'm gonna fucking kill you!" Mckey only half heard what Chloe said, she ran her hand across Kahlua's back. He was still breathing but it was very shallow. Mckey looked up; Chloe was still shrieking and making her way towards them. Jethro and Ash were shouting at Mckey but she couldn't hear them, all she could hear was her dog, panting and whining as his blood seeped out onto the gravel. Her puppy no matter what age he was. Her Kahlua.

"Shut up!" bellowed Mckey, she jumped to her feet and ran at Chloe. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Mckey saw Chloe bring the gun round to point more directly at her, the smirk on the plump girl's face becoming a grin. The door to the house swung open and Bugs stepped onto the grass and gravel, her face and hair were clotted with blood and gore, the rictus grin wider than ever.

Mckey didn't stop. She bent double as a bullet shot over her head but Chloe didn't get the chance to aim more than once. Mckey barreled into her and they both toppled to the ground, practically at Bugs' feet. Mckey drove her fists into Chloe's face again and again before trying to clamp her hands around the flabby neck. Suddenly, Mckey was lifted into the air and hurled across the gravel, she gasped as the air was forced from her lungs on landing. Jethro and Ash yanked her up as Bugs ripped into Chloe. There was a slight gurgling noise and a wet slobbering, then Chloe went limp and the light faded from her eyes.

Jethro lifted Kahlua into the back of the van and Mckey climbed in next to them.

"She just lifted you up and threw you aside! Jesus Christ!" cried Ash, Jethro yelled at him to start the damn van. The engine roared into life, Ash stamped down on the gas and the van shot forward.

"He'll be alright. Kahlua's like Ash, lucky fuckers the pair of them. Both shoulder wounds, both going to be fine" called Jethro, raising his voice to be heard above the rattle of the engine. Mckey managed a shaky smile; she cradled the Labrador's head in her lap and scratched his ears while he licked her wrist. Jethro peered between the front seats; he pushed Toby to one side and watched the trees fly past. The gates appeared in the distance and Ash pushed the gas harder, wanting to get as far away from Stanmer bloody Park as he could.

"Easy! Slow down, if we crash and die I'll kill you!" called Jethro. Ash forced himself to ease up as he swung the car around the gate pillar and hit the empty main road, the car skidded to a halt and he twisted in his seat.

"Which way? Where do we go?" Jethro and Mckey were silent for a moment. It didn't really matter where they went, everywhere was the same.

"I don't know. Why don't we just –." began Jethro.

"Flip a coin?" said Mckey. She dug into her pocket and handed Jethro a ten pence piece. They all smiled, Jethro placed the coin on his thumb.

"Heads we go left, tails we go right" he said. Mckey tipped her head back, took a deep breath and leaned on the side of the van. She didn't care where they went, after everything they had been through and everything she had done, Mckey Black was just glad that she wasn't alone.

Jethro flicked his thumb and the coin twisted end over end, deciding their future in a brave new world.