So, here's another chapter of Immune for you all. I think that I am now around two-fifths of the way through the story, maybe a little further. Honestly, I don't know how long it will turn out to be but I have now got the entire story planned out so that's something at least, right? Anyway, enjoy the chapter and look forward to the next one.
I had my gun pointed at it but it barely seemed to care.
"Nice place you've found here." It said. "Please, lower your gun."
I didn't reply nor did I lower my gun, if anything, I tightened my grip on it. Clare and Aiden moved over to my sides.
"What do we do with it?" Clare hissed.
"I say we kill it and be done with it." Aiden replied.
"But it can talk, it isn't like the others and even then…" Clare looked at me. "If we don't have to kill it, we shouldn't."
"So what do you suggest?" Aiden asked. He seemed aware that his suggestion wasn't going to happen.
"We ask it questions?" Clare suggested, looking at me.
I sighed. When she said 'we' what she really meant is that I am the one to ask questions while she and Aiden stand there looking menacing.
"What are you doing here?" I asked the zombie who had patiently been sitting on the floor.
"Hmmm. Just thought I'd say hello. It isn't very often you see a non-infected human wandering around these days, especially one like you." It replied.
"What do you mean by that?"
"You did just fall several stories and get up like it was pretty much nothing. Most humans would be either dead or at least severely injured from a fall like that."
"It has a point." Aiden whispered.
"Besides, I saw you fight that flaming zombie. That was pretty impressive to see someone kick a fire hydrant with enough force to break it." The zombie smiled.
"So you've been following us." I said, my finger still wrapped around the trigger to my gun.
The zombie threw its arms up in the air.
"You got me. I have indeed been following you. But surely that means that I could've come to kill you at any point so will you please lower your gun." It said the last sentence very quickly as if pleading desperately.
I lowered my gun but only slightly, if the zombie made any quick movements I could easily have the barrel in position quick enough to get a decent shot in.
"Thank you." It said, lowering its arms.
"You still haven't really answered what you are doing here. Yes, you've been following us but why come say hello now?"
It looked at me, thinking before replying.
"You know what it is like to be alone." It replied. "Do you have any idea what it is like trying to remain sane while only having the occasional grunt-based conversation with the vegetables-for-brains out there?" It gestured out of the window implying that it meant the zombies outside.
"I imagine that would get rather boring."
"Precisely. So, after careful consideration, I came here in the hopes to have someone intelligent to speak to."
"Don't talk to Aiden then." I heard Clare mutter. Aiden, luckily, didn't seem to hear her.
"Fair enough, we've spoken. Now we'd appreciate it if you left." I replied to it.
"How cold." The zombie looked at me as if I had hurt its feelings or something. "You want to just kick me out into the snow and that's the end of that?"
Clare tapped me on the shoulder.
"It's got a point, maybe we could study it." She said.
I looked at her, stunned.
"You want to keep it here like it's some kind of pet!?"
"Ooh, let me name it!" Aiden added.
"Didn't you want to kill it earlier? Now you want to name it?"
"Hey, a man can change his mind. Besides, it's my job to name things, remember."
"Yeah, that's why we have the name Burners for the flame-covered zombies."
"And what would you have called them then?"
"Flame-grilled zombies?" I suggested. Aiden looked at me and clicked his tongue.
"Tsk, stupid name, just stupid. Anyway, I'm going to name it Zero One." Aiden declared.
"We never agreed that it is staying! Why're you naming it?"
"I'd say we have agreed it is staying, Clare and myself both think it should stay. You're the only one who doesn't agree."
I sighed heavily.
"Fine! You hear that zombie, you get to stay." I said, glaring at it. If my eyes aren't deceiving me, I could've sworn I saw it shiver slightly which brought a slight smile to my face.
"Great, so Zero One gets to stay." Aiden said.
"Zero One, really?" Clare asked.
"What's wrong with it?"
"The name means it is the first one that we've found."
"Then what is with the zero, preparing for more are we?" I asked him. "We aren't raising a talking zombie farm here."
"Hmm, good point. Maybe I should add an extra zero to the name, just in case."
I sighed. I had had enough of this conversation and walked to one of the doors, yanked it open and slammed it shut behind me.
I was sat in my usual position - knees up to chest leaning against the radiator - and in a bad mood. Were those two crazy? Why would they let a zombie just stay here? Yeah, it can talk, very nice. But does that mean we can threaten our lives just to study the thing? I don't care if it says that if it wanted to, it could've attacked us long beforehand. I don't trust it. But that's the problem with our group I guess. There isn't a particular person who leads the group, not one who stands above the others and gives orders. We just act as equals, even if Clare and Aiden tend to push the difficult decisions onto me, making it seem like I might as well lead us. I punched the floor which hurt me more than it hurt the floor. I just, I just can't be relaxed in a situation like this. We've struggled to survive for lord knows how long, barely scraping through each day. We've run from zombies, killed many of them and now? Now we go and let one live with us!? I sighed.
I got up and walked back into the room they were all in when I stormed off several hours ago. They were all still in there. Zero On - No, I refuse to use that name. It's stupid - It, was still sat cross-legged on the floor where I had last seen it. Presumably, it hadn't moved an inch since I walked out. It looked at me quizzically as I walked past it but didn't say anything. Clare and Aiden were sat at the table talking about something, I didn't care what though.
"Calmed down now?" Aiden asked.
I ignored him.
I went into the next room, went to a cupboard, pulled out a packet of biscuits and walked back through the main room and into the room I was in before. I slumped back down against the radiator and started to nibble on one of the biscuits. I wasn't even hungry, I'd gone and got them as an excuse to see what was going on in the main room but now that I had got them, I was going to eat them. How could they sit there so calmly? It's as if they aren't concerned at all with the zombie being there. Speaking of which, why is it just sitting on the floor? I thought it wanted people to talk to, I guess that was just a lie. I'll find out what it actually wants and I swear, if it turns out to be dangerous, I will kill it and then I'll probably kill Clare and Aiden for being so bloody stupid. I glanced up out of the window to see the sky slowly brighten as the day began to dawn.
Several days passed and I still felt annoyed at Clare and Aiden. It took two days for me to actually stop locking myself in my room excluding my excursions to retrieve food. On the third, I actually spoke to the zombie. I had decided that if I was going to find out what it was planning, I'd need to talk to it, get it to slip up and reveal too much.
"So, if you're staying here, tell me about yourself." I said to it.
"What do you want to know?"
"Let's start with your name." That should be easy enough.
"I don't know it."
"Okay, how old are you?"
"I think early thirties. I've lived through all twenty years of this so far, so I am just guessing really."
"That would make you just over ten when the outbreak happened." I said, not really to the zombie but it replied nonetheless.
"It would, I remember being young during the first few years so that would probably be right. What about you?" The zombie seemed to think that I was serious about this conversation but so long as it revealed its true nature, I didn't care.
"Me, I'm just over eighteen."
"So, you were born during the zombie situation. What happened to your parents then?"
"I don't know." I muttered.
"Probably bitten, that's how it was in the early days." The zombie said in such an uncaring voice I almost got angry at it before I understood what it had said.
"Bitten? You mean that's how it spreads?"
"Most commonly, yes. It's actually the contact with bodily fluids, blood, saliva etc."
So, it spreads like that, does it? But what does that mean? I was bitten and I am fine, thinking about it, I've come into contact with the blood so many times in the past and yet nothing happened. Does that mean I am immune to the zombie virus?
"How long does it usually take to turn?" I asked.
"Worried about someone turning?" The zombie looked at me as if analysing me. "No, you're worried about yourself, you've been bitten."
I pulled the collar of my top up to cover as much of my neck as possible.
"It depends on the person. Some can take mere minutes but there was this one guy that I remember it took two years for him to turn, what a brute he turned into too."
Minutes to years, that's quite the range. So, I could still turn someday, maybe I'm one of those who it takes a long time to turn or something. I sighed. I'd started this conversation to try to learn something about this zombie, instead, I've learnt about the virus and given myself another reason to worry.
February 2103 - There has been quite the outcry about our project since it received funding last July. This winter showed just how many people were against it, we even had a few people try to break into the labs and destroy our research. Luckily, they were stopped by our security and quickly arrested. It turned out to be pointless for them anyway, many of our samples died during the winter months due to a lot of our team being off due to illnesses. Only two survived which hopefully means that they are the strongest of our samples. The next stage will be accelerated growth. I hope we will be able to succeed in genetically manipulating them well enough for them to survive, if not it'll be back to square one.