Chapter 3

It was dark as we left the school grounds. The only weapon we had was a bat. As we walked a terrifying fact occurred to me, If something happens to them it'll be my fault. I stopped abruptly and span around on the heel of my shoe. "Wait!" the words escaped my mouth in the form of a harsh whisper. "What?" asked Coby meekly as his eyes darted back and forth. "It's not too late for you guys to turn back," I said. They all stared at me for what seemed like forever. I began to nervously look around putting the others on edge. Something doesn't feel right, I thought to myself. As I turned to look behind the group Heidi practically shouted, "Why would we do that!" Turning I growled, "Keep your voice down." Although my voice sounded calm I was panicking. "Why should I? You were the one that dragged us out here to go 'Find your dad'. The rest of us have our own families to worry about!" I knew she had a point but at that moment I wanted her to shut up. "Will you be quiet! They'll hear us!" "Who will!" She got her answer as three zombies burst forth from behind us. I swung and hit what I presumed as a zombie hard. I looked back to see one of the other ones attacking Heidi. In my sick little twisted head I immediately thought, Leave it to the freaking Ginger!, and went after them. I caught the undead beast ever so barely in the side causing it to lunge at me instead. As it got within range once again I hit it with everything I had left in me. I watched as its partially decomposed face rippled and listened to the sound of its skull cracking as the bat connected. As it hit the ground I brought a Converse clad foot upon its head and was slightly amused at the mess I had made of its remains. Why am I having fun with this? I worriedly asked myself as I looked up. "Wasn't there three?" I asked as I helped Heidi back to her feet. "Well, there's one," said Palmer pointing at my feet. He looked paler that usual. "Over there's another one," he counted. The childish manner in which he approached this was almost comical until I looked over his shoulder. "Oh no," I whispered. Everyone looked at me for a split second as I practically mouthed the words "RUN!" "What?" whispered Coby inching toward me. He could feel them staring at us. Their undead eyes staring right through our souls and hear their incessant shuffling and groaning. This time the words came out was a guttural, primal scream, "RUN!" They did. The horde that had attacked the school had apparently had friends. I held off a couple and noticed something more disturbing about their features. The skin was barely hanging on to hose that attacked the gym; the tattered clothes they wore were baggy but these, these zombies were….. fresh. The only thing that would make you think they were anything but human would be their blank, distant stare and their gaping, bloody maw for a mouth. It was then I recognized some parents I'd seen dropping their kids of before and then the kids I went to school with. It was at that terrifying moment that I realized how fast this 'disease' could spread and I realized there was no use fighting it. So, I did the only thing I could do. I ran. I ran so hard and so fast I caught up to my friends. Startled, they managed to clothesline me. I looked up dazed and gasping for breath. They were going to let me remember how to breathe but the moment I was back on my feet I was running again. I couldn't stop, but they could. "Alyssa! Jesus Christ, stop running! We lost them!" yelled Coby. In this moment is when the first bout of fear kicked in I turned, pale faced and wide eyed, "No Coby! We didn't 'lose them'! Actually I don't think we'll ever lose them!" I started to cry, but I didn't care, "Those that just attacked us, yeah those were fucking fresh! Those were our friends, classmates, neighbors…. Those were people we knew and I killed them!" I was in a state of full blown panic. The whole weight of the situation came crashing down on my shoulders and came slowly to the minds of those around me. "And now look what I've done! I've basically handed you guys a death sentence. I don't want you guys to be the next ones to get infected with, with whatever is causing this! I'm taking you back." I said those last four words with finality until Palmer made a very rational point, "Those zombies came from the school, which was where the army caravan was set up, and which is where you'd be taking us back to. So, if you do take us back there you will be killing us because it was either the military that infected those people or they did a really crappy job of quarantining those infected." His voice broke a couple of times as he wiped the tears from his eyes. "So, where do we go?" asked Coby as he sat down where I was on the street curb. "We need to get out of here for sure." "I know that," I replied. "But I think we need to wait until at least day break so we have a better chance of seeing anything that might try and sneak up on us." We looked down the deserted street that none of us recognized. "Well, where are we going to stay?" asked Heidi. I noticed her voice lost a lot of the bite it has to it. I didn't say anything. All I did was walk up to one of the houses and try the front door. As I expected it was locked. "Did you really think that was going to work?" Well, Heidi got her bite back. I turned to look at their silhouettes and raised the bat, turned my head, and knocked out the door handle. Then I turned back to her ad simply said, "Yes," and walked inside. Thankfully the house was zombie free. We took a bookcase and barricaded the door but that's it. As they scavenged for food I went to the bathroom to wash the blood and grime of my hands. As I did I saw myself in the mirror and thought, Well, your tougher than you look, Kitty.