It had been four weeks since the funeral service we held for Mitchell, I had been counting the days. Cassandra was staying strong through all of this, but I knew that she was crying every night, and if she wasn't crying, she was pacing with insomnia. My heart bled for her, but I wasn't taking his death any better than she was. I couldn't get over the fact that I had to shoot him in the forehead, in a way that made me feel like I was the one who had killed him. The perimeter had been expanding to almost half of the town, and we now had access to the harbour, so it made importing and exporting easier, not that we had any profitable items just yet. We had converted some of the fields at the school into small farms, and little flower gardens. Everyone still had to stay at the school, but it was very comfortable there. I hardly saw fit to leave. Most of the survivors had become friends with the members of the military, and my personal squad. I noticed that many of my personnel had become very emotionally attached to some of them… I didn't understand why they did this.
The sun was high over the sky, and I was out for my morning run, doing laps in the restored school oval, a start to the daily callisthenics. I listened to the pound of my feet on the hard packed dirt, and my breath against the cool air of the spring morning. I was playing my latest nightmare in my head, and I ran even faster. In my dreams, I keep seeing the haunting blue eyes of Mitchell, and every time I reach out to him, he walks away, and I'm brought back to that moment when I shot him. And then after I shoot him, no matter how hard I resist, he, or rather his ghost floats up, and walks towards me, asking why I shot him, and no matter where I run, he always finds me, and then I wake up, soaked in sweat. I shook my head, and continued to run. I needed to escape. I did a few more laps, and then I began to walk back to the school, to take a quick shower, and get ready for breakfast. I was walking up the stairs by the library, when I heard laughter. I froze, no one but me was up this early, I made sure of that. I strained my ears, trying to hear more. I heard the laughter again. I moved into a self defencive stance, because the laughter was getting closer. I walked around the corner, and saw…. Cassandra and Peter, who looked up at me, each with the same confused expression on their faces.
"Hi… Alex." Cassandra said slowly, I noticed that Peter had shifted his position to make it look like nothing had been going on, and he distanced himself from Cassandra slightly. I stood there awkwardly.
"Uh, hi Cassandra, Peter. What, uh, what are you two doing up this early?" I asked, trying to keep my voice calm, and try not to sound or act as awkward as I felt. She looked at Peter, and I noticed that her cheeks got a little pink.
"Ah." I said, once I knew that this was going to get even more awkward if I didn't leave. I bade them a slight wave, and I turned on my heel, and walked as calmly as I could back to the school.
Breakfast was fresh eggs, with some bacon, and some shredded potato patties. Some of the fresh food we grew, and managed to get from the home base. I sat, and picked at my food. I hadn't eaten properly in weeks, but I just haven't been hungry. I saw that I had been surrounded by the members of my team.
"Hey guys." I said weakly, still uncomfortable from my encounter with Cassandra and Peter earlier this morning.
"Alex, how come you aren't eating? Again." Josh asked as he munched on his bacon strips. I shrugged, and looked down at my food. I sighed, feeling a little lonely.
"Not hungry…" I mumbled. I picked at my food, and absently munched on a potato patty. I noticed that both Cassandra and Josh both shot me an angry look. I continued to nibble on the potato patty.
"Alex…I want to apologize for the encounter this morning.." Cassandra said, and I nodded that I accepted her apology and it was too awkward for me to really want to think about. She gave me a slight nod. I noticed that Colton was looking over my shoulder, at one of the survivors. I looked over and saw that he was staring at Jennifer, again. I smirked at him.
"She tickle your fancy Colton?" I asked, and I noticed that I had caught him off-guard, he blushed and smiled slightly. I sighed, everyone was finding someone that they cared about, and loved, and I was the one who didn't really have anyone to care about me. I sighed, and felt pathetic. I got up and pushed my food away.
"I'm going to go for a walk." I announced, and promptly left, before anyone could see that I was sad, and pathetic.
It was later in the day, and I had just finished teaching the weapons safety and cleaning part of the self defence class. I was walking out of the classroom, that had been converted into a mini dojo for that class, and just for practice of the martial arts, when Josh came running up to me, he was holding his walkie talkie, signifying that he had just come back from a mission.
"Alex!" He called, while he skidded quickly to a stop. I looked at him, and took a defensive pose, in case he ran into me. He stopped centimetres from my hand.
"Calm Josh, breathing is you're friend." I told him. He took several panting gasps, until his breathing slowed down to almost normal.
"Alex, this is big, really big." He said, I noticed that his painfully slender frame was shaking slightly.
"Good big, or bad big?" I asked, I felt my eyebrows slowly being to knit together. He smiled slightly.
"Good big. We got one. A live one." His smile widened. I felt my eyes widen and my mouth fall slack.
"Seriously?" I asked, unable to come up with a sophisticated response. Josh nodded. I smiled, a smile of pure wonder. We have a live, well, living undead person. What a scientific leap this would be if we could find and make a cure. We could save the world. I slung my bag over my shoulder, and looked at Josh, my eyes twinkling.
"Well, let's go meet our guest." I said, as I took off running down the hallway, with Josh close behind.
We reached the isolation room, and looked in the small window in the room. There was a girl, or rather, an undead girl, strapped to the table, and she was moaning and snarling at the staff, who were dressed in the white haz-mat suits, that Josh and Cass had designed. They were able to withstand a bite from the Jaws of Life. The suit was an invention of true genius. I smiled over at Josh, who was just as fascinated by this creature as I was.
"Do we have our computer systems up and running yet?" I asked him, and he nodded. I felt my smile widen.
"Good, are we able to get online?" I asked, trying to hint at my original intentions with these questions. Josh was silent for a second, and then he looked at me.
"I think that Harrison has the internet signals blocked by the Arch-Angel network. Just in case there were bands of renegade survivors or bandits, who wanted to raid the operation. I think I might be able to hack into it." Josh said, tapping his chin thoughtfully. I sighed, tendrils of frustration were blossoming in my stomach, and spreading out through my veins. I needed the international database, so maybe we could identify her, instead of referring her to Jane Doe one.
"Well, try your best. I want an identity for Miss Jane Doe One." I looked at him, my eyes going steely, "I don't like calling her that." I finished, and then looked in at her. I was itching to go in and see her, and talk with the medical officer involved. She was once beautiful, but the sickly pale green blue color, and the bloating, and dirt from death hasn't done her any justice. I felt a deep sadness start to rise up within me, and I turned away from the window, knowing it would only get worse. I looked at Josh, and I tapped my ear piece, which signified that I wanted him to keep me informed. He nodded once, and then I tromped up the stairs, on my way to see Cassandra, who was helping out with the farming today.
I walked through the fields that were starting to come along swimmingly. I walked over to Cass, who was directing some children, who were orphans, to bring drinks to the workers. It was adorable to see our little community blossom. I waved her over to me, since I decided that the best place for me was out of the way. She jogged over to me, her cheeks pink with being outside in the mild air.
"Hey, Alex. Something wrong?" She asked, and I shook my head. I took a deep breath, and looked her straight in the eye. She knew that look, I was planning something.
"Cass, we need back up defences. Just in case." I said. She tilted her head to the side, and squinted her eyes. I guess that Josh hadn't told her about Jane Doe One yet.
"We have a live one, in the isolation chamber." I told her bluntly. Her eyes widened in both excitement and worry. I smiled at her, she never ceased to amaze me.
"Really?!" She squeaked, and I nodded, my smile widening. She placed her hands on her hips, and grinned at me.
"Wow… Uh, why do we need back up defences?" She asked, steering the conversation back to the initial point of my visit. I looked at her, and then over at the fences boarding the forest.
"I'm not sure what the undead will do. If they will come after the living member of their species, or what. I just want to know that everyone is going to be safe." I told her, and she nodded, noting the severity of the situation that I described.
"Alright. Can we discuss the layout of this later, over dinner, and what kind of defences?" She asked.
"Of course. It's a date." I winked playfully at her, and then I turned and walked away. It was better if we had the whole team present anyways. I walked over to the abandoned tennis courts, which we converted into a recreational area for everyone. I sat on the table that was highest up, and looked over at the town. This was going to be one hell of a journey, and I had a bad feeling.