PRESENT DAY

I looked in amazement at the ruined books. They were piled up in the middle of the library reception and it was obvious someone had tried to burn them. It appeared there was just enough water left in the sprinklers to put out the flames. When the fire failed, they had spray painted crude drawings of male genitalia on the walls.

Fucking vandals. Short sighted sons of bitches that only wanted to destroy and not rebuild. Part of me could understand. When society collapsed with the advance of the infection, people let loose. Why plan and preserve for a tomorrow that may never be? That was a bullshit line of reasoning now. There were enough survivors and a dwindling number of the infected, so rebuilding was an option now. But did these assholes want to rebuild? No. They were used to destroying and living for the moment now, with no plan for the future except to steal food from each other. I let out a string of swear words that two years ago I wouldn't even have dreamed of uttering. I secured my backpack and picked up my rifle, catching sight of my reflection in a grimy window. I moved closer to inspect myself.

My sandy brown hair was getting longer than I liked, except for the long, cruel scar that ran over my left ear, the result of a bad fight. My hazel eyes were narrowed against the glint of the morning sun. I was about to turn away from the window when movement caught my eye.

Someone ran onto the street below me. From this distance it looked like a young woman in a worn and torn pair of jeans and a dirt covered checkered shirt. She was thin, her curly hair matted to her head. I knew she was alive because the infected never ran. She bent over resting her hands on her knees, catching her breath. Suddenly, she stiffened, and I heard why. A revving engine could be heard coming down the street. A few seconds after I heard it, a large military hummer came to a skidding stop just behind the woman. Two guys got out, swigging a bottle of whiskey. The girl made to run, but the larger of the two caught her by her hair and dragged her back and slammed her face down on the hood. His free hand reached around and undid her pants, shoved them down, and then undid his own pants. The woman started struggling and pleading as the big man entered her, but the men only laughed. I checked my watch, found it was only one pm, and made a decision.

Making my way down quietly onto street level, I ducked behind an overturned taxi and slid on my stomach to a cop car that was parked across both lanes. I peeked over the hood and sighted the two drunks and the woman. My plan had worked. I was level with them, and less than a hundred yards away. I steadied my rifle and sighted the big brute. He was flopping around to much for a head shot, so I sighted my aim lower and squeezed the trigger. A hole appeared in the back of his neck and blood sprayed out the front of his neck. He fell back, dragging the girl with him. He buddy looked around in confusion before his left eye imploded and the back of his head exploded. I swivelled around, jamming my gun under the chin of the zombie who had be shuffling up behind me. I squeezed the trigger again, making a ruin of the already skeletal face of the zombie.

I stood up and made my way to the girl. As I got closer, the girl turned to face me and skidded away on her bare butt. I froze. Looked like I was wrong. The person wasn't a girl, it was a guy. Maybe the same age as me, but he didn't look it. He was thinner than me, his shoulders hunched. My eyes went wide. I knew this guy.

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