Chapter 15

Bloody Cross

Day 003 – 6:47 A.M.

The sun rises slowly into the sky, casting an eerie glow onto the field. The survivors' shadows begin to shrink as the sun rises higher. The shadows bend and warp as the land rises and falls unevenly. Elizabeth looks back at Kaido as she heads up the hill with Penny and Kiki. She looks fondly at Kaido as he slowly goes into sleep, his chest rising and falling as he breathes. Her mind begins to drift off as she stands still, thinking of a future free from all this madness, a future with him. This thought isn't kept for long however, as Penny shouts out at her. "Hey, Ms. Melons, let's get going already."

Elizabeth shakes herself from her stupor and immediately feels her blood begin to boil. She turns to face penny. "You did not just call me that, little Ms. Flat Chest."

Penny's eyes turn cold as a vein bulges from her head, filling with rage. "Oh, it is so on you bitch." She begins to charge after Elizabeth, with her hand reaching for her gun.

"Bring it!" Elizabeth raises her bat, preparing to smack the gun away before Penny can even get a shot off.

Kiki, who was watching the chaos unfold, steps between the two girls before they can even get within a foot of one another. She closes her eyes and screams, "Stop it, both of you!"

Elizabeth stops in her tracks, bat hovering just above her head. Shock is clearly written on her face, she had never seen Kiki act so strongly. Even Penny, who barely knows Kiki, is surprised. Neither can speak and both are frozen in place, the only thing that breaks the silence is the sound of their breathing. The tension in the atmosphere rises until Kiki speaks again. "Please, just stop your fighting. We need to get along… just please stop." Kiki's voice is shaking slightly, but she stands firm as she lectures her teammates.

Elizabeth sees the anger and strength in Kiki's voice and smiles a little. 'She's gotten so much tougher.' Elizabeth's anger dissipates as she kneels down to comfort Kiki. She places her hands on Kiki's shoulders as she looks her in the eye. "Okay Kiki, I promise."

Penny begins to feel her rage replaced with guilt as she starts to calm down. She slowly moves towards the two friends and softly pats Kiki's back. "Fine… I won't fight with Elizabeth either. I… promise." She feels awkward being in such an emotional situation, especially with two people she hardly even knows. She was more of a tomboy and didn't like being involved with all the drama that girls normally go through. Penny flips back her ponytail, ridding herself of any lingering feelings of awkwardness. "So let's get going then, shall we?" She begins walking up the hill while Kiki and Elizabeth pick themselves up and follow her trail.

The three reach the main office of the school without incident. The eeriness of the area caused the girls to give pause. Kiki looked around with fear eating away at the edges of her heart. "Where is everyone? We're not the only ones left are we? We just can't be." Her body begins to shake as she backs up to the front door of the office.

"I don't know," Elizabeth raises her bat in case any zombies are near. "But I'm sure there are a few around here somewhere."

"You sure?" Kiki looks up at Elizabeth with hopeful eyes.

"Of course." Elizabeth gives Kiki a warm smile that puts her mind and body at ease. Even though she knows the odds of other survivors being left are low. "Let's just focus on the task on hand, okay? No reason to worry over nothing."

As they walk through the office, Elizabeth and Kiki begin idle chitchat with one another while Penny remains silent. Her mind is only focused on their mission, her eyes closely scanning their surrounding area, looking for any oddities with rotting limbs. Her finger twitches by the trigger of her gun, ready to take out any zombie stupid enough to get in her way. 'Gotta stay focused. I've got to prove to Kaido I'm better than Elizabeth.'

The fifteen minutes to the nurse's office were quiet and full of apprehension. Upon seeing the small red cross on the glass door, Elizabeth pulls out the set of keys that Kaido took from the janitor zombie. Slowly they open the doors and head inside. The receptionist, who usually greets people with a smile as they enter, is no longer there. The receptionist's id tag remains in a pool of congealed blood on the seat of her chair. Elizabeth whispers to the nurse's office, almost pleading for someone to answer. "Hello, anyone here?" The hum of the air conditioning is the only answer that she gets back. Tears form on the edge of Elizabeth's eyes as she realizes that the nurse's station is deserted. 'We can't be the only ones left… We just can't.'

Penny searches the room with her gun in front of her and her ears cocked to hear any movement. "Doesn't look like anybody's been here in a while." The others follow Penny as she opens the door to the infirmary.

Relief washes over the three of them as they walk into the infirmary. In the chair across from the desk they see the top of the school nurse's head, Mrs. Lange. The three girls' faces brighten instantaneously. Finally, they found someone, another survivor. 'We're not alone. Thank god we're not alone.' Elizabeth walks around the chair to greet her. "I'm so glad you here Mrs. La-," but her sentence is cut short. As soon as she turned the chair she came face to face with a corpse. Mrs. Lange's head is tilted to the side, her tongue hanging out, discolored from death. Dried blood covers her now tattered clothes. Her usual cheery smile is now twisted into a grimace of sheer pain. Her face is a mangled mess; her body is covered in scratches and bites. Chunks of skin are missing from her body. Her once lightly tanned skin is now almost grey with patches of black blotting it. Elizabeth can taste bile build up in the back of her throat.

Kiki looks at Elizabeth with worry. "What happened, Elizabeth?"

"Stay back you two. You shouldn't see this."

Penny rolls her eyes at Elizabeth. "Seriously, what's the deal?"

"She… she's dead. Mrs. Lange's dead." The words choke Elizabeth as she forces them out into the open. "She's not coming back." She turns towards the trash can and vomits instantly in disgust.

"No." Kiki speaks in hushed words, holding back tears.

She stands in despair, unaware of Mrs. Lange's finger twitching. Her eyes roll around in their sockets, yellow and clouded. Slowly her back begins to straighten, lurching her body forward. Finally, a hideous moan escapes her lips and she turns her head in Elizabeth's direction.

Elizabeth wipes the remaining bile from her face and turns. Instantly, she is fron frozen with fear and is unable to get her mind to work. It takes all of her willpower not to scream. Mrs. Lange slowly rises from the chair and begins moving painfully slow towards Elizabeth. Her arms stretch out, reaching for her helpless prey. Elizabeth can smell Mrs. Lange's rotting flesh overpower her senses and feels like she's about to vomit again.

Penny turns to the sound of Elizabeth choking on Mrs. Lange's fumes and steps back in shock. 'Stupid bimbo, letting her guard down like that.' She grabs the small gun inside her pocket and raises it, steadying her aim. She calmly exhales as she squeezes the trigger, firing off the bullet. In an instant, the projectile hits its mark, straight into the back of Mrs. Lange's skull and out the other side. 'Yes.'

Mrs. Lange's legs begin to give out and her body topples back. She falls back onto a steel medicine rack. As Mrs. Lange's lifeless body collides with the metal, the medicine rack's structure breaks as it collapses onto the ground. The sounds of the metal colliding with the floor and glass bottles shattering echo throughout the office long after the debris touch the ground. Moans become audible as zombies begin to lurch towards the source of the disturbance.

Elizabeth snaps back and becomes rigid as she listens to the sound of the approaching zombies. "Shit, they heard us. They'll be here any second." She quickly tries to formulate a battle strategy. "Okay, I'll take the door, Penny fire at anything I miss, and Kiki, stay behind us, got it?"
Kiki silently nods while Penny reluctantly agrees. "Fine, whatever." They quickly take their positions as hordes of zombies begin storming in. Elizabeth takes a stance and swings at the first zombie. Its head immediately becomes bashed in and the body crumbles to the ground. Elizabeth has no time to admire her kill as more and more zombies pile into the room. She moves swiftly between each zombie, nimbly dodging each hand and swinging her bat, bringing them down. Every few seconds Penny fires off a few rounds and takes down a zombie or two. Kiki simply hides behind her first aid kit, trying not to witness the carnage in front of her.

The battle rages on for a few minutes until Penny takes out the last zombie with a single shot. "Phew, well that was fun. Glad it's over though."

The group begins to relax, believing that the waves of zombies have ceased. The group is so relieved that the fight is over that they don't notice a zombie stumbling out from the back corner of the office. He lurches forward towards Penny, who only smiles. "Too easy." She raises her gun and aims straight for his temple, but when she presses the trigger nothing happens. 'What the hell.' She keeps pressing the trigger but nothing comes out except a push of air that blows strands of hair out of the zombies face. 'Come on, come on!' Penny becomes desperate and tries smacking the gun against her hand, but the gun just gives a weak jet of air. Penny stares at the gun with complete hopelessness as the zombie closes the distance. He is now within inches of Penny's face and grabs a hold of her shoulders. Penny tries to free herself but the zombie's grip is almost super human. No matter how hard she struggles she can't break free. "Get off of me you freak!" She slams the gun against his head, but the lightweight plastic of the dart gun does nothing but cause the zombie's head to flail about. Penny screams out in fear as she tries to stop the zombie's gnashing teeth from tearing apart her flesh. "Someone help me!"

Elizabeth turns around to see Penny struggling with the undead creature. 'Damn it.' She realizes she can't get to Penny in time, there's too much distance to cover for her to be able to swing her bat at the zombie. She watches as the zombie's gaping maw inch closer and closer to Penny's neck and curses in frustration. "Damn it Penny." Elizabeth flips her bat around, holds it aloft like a spear, and chucks it at the zombie's head. The bat spins as it travels through the air until the wood lodges itself into the zombie's head. The skull makes a sickening crack as it splits clean in half, destroying the brain within. The zombie topples down on top of Penny and pins her down under its dead weight. She struggles to get out from under the decayed mass, flinging her arms around and hissing all the while. "Would someone get this thing off of me?!"

Elizabeth can't help but laugh at Penny's squirming. "Alright, alright, I'll help." She jauntily walks over to Penny and helps her push off the dead body. "There, you happy?"

"Not really, considering that I just had some dead guy try to kill me." Penny brushes off some of the zombie's skin that fell on her. She scowls, thinking how humiliating it was to be saved by Elizabeth. "Let's just the meds and go."

Elizabeth rolls her eyes and shrugs off Penny's bad attitude. "Fine, whatever. Come on Kiki, let's grab what you need." Elizabeth starts heading over to Kiki and helps her to her feet.

"Okay." Kiki smoothes out her clothes and begins looking around the frenzied office for supplies.

The three girls gather supplies from the wreckage, ranging from bandages and ointment to crutches and splints. Elizabeth surveys the hoard after they grab everything that they can carry and nods in approval. "Alright, this looks like a good haul. Let's pack everything and head out of here." She starts putting whatever she can into her backpack. Both Kiki and Penny nod and start packing away everything they can. They are forced to carry some of the larger bits and pieces, like the crutches, but most of the equipment is securely packed.

Elizabeth smiles once all of the supplies are ready for transport back to camp. "Nice job girls. Let's head back to the boys and make sure everything's all right." Together, they carefully step over the piles of dead bodies as they exit the nurse's office and head back to Shinda, Kaido and Bryan.