"Hey, Sierra," Mark called to his sleepy companions. "You seen Nikki?" An olive-skinned hand waved lazily in the direction of a large tree. Mark squinted through the darkening forest and saw a pair of long black boots hanging from one of the lower branches, swinging carelessly. He gave a frustrated groan and headed towards the troublesome redhead, his own heavy boots crunching against pine-needle covered ground. As he neared, he saw Nikki with her jacket tied around her waist, humming quietly to herself as she stared into the darkness ahead.

Seven, thought Mark to himself, absent and carefree. Damn. He picked up a small pebble and tossed it into the branches. It hit the trunk with a dull thud and Nikki jumped, her head snapping around as she glared at Mark, who pointed to the ground in the universal gesture of get down, now. Nikki shook her head stubbornly, swinging herself up higher in the branches in an effort to get away. That was the thing about Seven, she was agile and a very good gymnast, almost catlike. Which was bad news for the others whenever they tried to get the headstrong girl to obey them, as they would often set up camp in a forest where she would climb the nearest tree until they either lost sight of her or gave up trying to get her to listen, which she did now under the impression that Mark would go away. Instead, a better-aimed rock hit her in the back, almost making her fall.

"GET OUT OF THE TREE!" yelled Mark, watching the annoying girl scramble for a grip on a branch, hoping he didn't scare her. He wasn't that fond of what happened when she got scared... But fortunately for him, Seven stayed around long enough to crouch on a branch and take a daring leap into the next tree, grabbing a long branch with one hand and slamming into the trunk, turning so she hit with her side, absorbing the impact. She then climbed into a thick weave of branches and said, "Make me."

"Stop being immature and GET DOWN."


"I'll climb up after you."

"Okay, go on then."

"... Just get down, for god's sake."

"Here, let me think... NO!" Nikki crowed, sticking her tongue out as Mark facepalmed.

"You mad?" snickered the redhead, hanging upside-down so her head poked out. She could now see the boy below her, indeed looking outraged, pointing a gun at her – "Wait, WHAT THE HELL!?" she screeched, struggling to grip the branches above her as Mark pulled the trigger.

BANG. The sound woke the other two with a jerk. Sierra looked at Jake, who looked back with wide eyes.

"Are the zombies out for a late-night stroll, or...? Where's Mark?" began Jake.

"He went looking for – Oh god, he went off looking for Nikki. Where is he?"

"More of the question is where is she?" There was a sudden shuffling sound as the two Survivors scrambled up out of the mass of blankets encasing them as they slept, grabbing their guns - and in Sierra's case, a hunting knife – and started off in the direction of the gunshot. Soon they saw the figure of the dark-haired boy crouching on the forest floor over – Jake marched up and smacked him across the back of the head with his gun.



"Okay guys, settle down and back off." Sierra commanded sharply. She stalked over to the body on the ground. Nikki's eyes were wide open, and a look of complete shock had plastered itself across her freckled visage seconds before death. A large hole in her stomach bled slowly, patching itself up. Her arm was broken, though that would surely heal itself too. Sierra rounded on Mark.

"You SHOT her and she fell out of a goddamn TREE." she slapped him across the face. "What have we told you about shooting Nikki? We told you that she'll get back at you like she always does! And can YOU regenerate? Didn't think so." she stormed back to the campsite, leaving Jake and Mark to stare at each other, perplexed. Jake shrugged. "We better get her back. She's almost stopped bleeding."

They grabbed Nikki's still form and dragged her back to the fire, laying her down and covering her with blankets. Sierra was asleep and soon, faint, rhythmic breathing told the boys that Nikki had followed suit.

"Must be nice." sniffed Mark. "Being able to go straight back from being dead and just coming back asleep." Jake rolled his brown eyes, blowing a stray hair out of his face.

"Man, you know if she could she'd let us all do that. Even you. And you know she don't ever come back the same. By the way, who was it this time? One of the annoying ones, so that leaves us with the options of Two, Three, Seven and Ten. Ten would have been able to get away, and Two would have screamed loud enough for the dead in China to hear." Jake counted, holding up fingers and pushing them down as he counted off the possible options. He looked up, the fingers representing Three and Seven still up. "So who was it?"

Mark glared at nothing. "Seven, the stubborn bitch." Jake nodded knowingly. Seven had gotten on his nerves before too, and almost gotten him killed in the process in a string of events which involved zombies, a chainsaw and a rope bridge. Then they had met Mark and Sierra.