I really wanted to get this done much sooner but my college work has been keeping me too busy to get around to writing this chapter. Relatively speaking, I don't think anything big happened this chapter but I guess it is the introduction of something interesting that I think (I'm still not 100% sure on most of the middle of the story) will come up again, in fact, I'm pretty certain it will. My next chapter will be for Parallel Worlds and then I'll go back to this, I think the next chapter is going to be pretty interesting but we'll see. For now, enjoy this chapter!
Just a few yards down the street, there hobbled a zombie. It was different than most others that we could usually avoid, it was one of them; a mutant. Its body was charred like it had recently been lit on fire. With every movement of its muscles, the skin cracked and flaked away. Through these cracks, a slight orange glow was visible. "Looks like we have ourselves a Burner." Aiden said, an annoying tone of excitement in his voice. I sighed.
The name 'Burner' is one of the names that Aiden came up with to describe different mutants. He was inspired by reading an old comic book that had different mutants in whose codenames related to their powers. So now he does the same for each of the mutant zombies we have come across.
So, we have Burners, like this one, who have the ability to set themselves alight which can cause many problems. We have Blobs, though those might just be really fat people considering that they don't seem to have any abilities or anything. There's also the Acids, probably the worst type to fight. Acids have the ability to just ooze a rather corrosive liquid from their bodies and when they die, this acid goes everywhere, it's disgusting. There's also the Climbers, I think what they do is pretty self-explanatory but it should be said that they can climb so well that they can climb on ceilings without any problems. The final type we have come across are Leaders. Leaders are the ones you really don't want to come across because you can guarantee that they will come with a herd of other zombies, all of which are seemingly directed by the Leader, they're kinda like generals in the military; incredibly dangerous, intelligent and not something you want to come across alone.
The Burner continued forward, seemingly getting hotter with every step it made. You could see the air around it quiver and shake as it got hotter and hotter. The Burner was going to ignite soon, we should try to take it out before then. I pulled the sniper rifle off of Clare's back and, getting down on one knee for stability, aimed it at the Burner and fired. The bullet flew through the air, the back of the rifle hit me hard in the shoulder as it recoiled from the shot, the bullet hit the burner square in the chest.
And now we were legging it as fast as we could. You see, the bullet didn't really hurt the thing, just ticked it off. The Burner burst into a roaring crimson flame mere seconds later and launched itself straight at us. We knew how to fight these things, this wasn't the first one that we had come across, the problem was; we need time. The thing that made that a problem was the fact that this particular Burner seemed to be incredibly quick on his feet.
"He's bearing down on us!" Aiden shouted.
"I know! Go quicker!" I shouted back.
"I'm running as fast I can!"
"Shut up you two!" Clare yelled at us. "Just keep running and be ready."
We continued running. Taking a left. Then a right. Then another right.
"There's our target!" Clare shouted, pointing ahead of us.
Aiden ran forward first and kicked a fire hydrant as hard as he could, I followed suit and then water burst out of the hydrant with quite the force. The Burner got blasted in the face by the water, dousing his flames. It picked itself up off of the ground and seemed to glare at us with piercing eyes, formally filled with heat as hot as its flames yet now cold as ice. I walked slowly towards it, pulled out one of my pistols, pointed it at its head and fired. I then watched as its body crumbled into a pile of wet ash.
"So you could run faster!" I said, turning to Aiden.
Clare gave an exasperated sigh.
We began walking back where we came from, something that wasn't anywhere near as hard as we thought it would be after we noticed that the Burner had been so hot that it had melted the road slightly as it ran, leaving a trail of footprints.
"So, why do you think that Burner showed up then?" Aiden asked as we walked.
"Don't know, it's unusual for one to just randomly be out in the streets." Clare replied.
"I think I know." I said. Clare and Aiden looked at me.
"Go on." Clare said.
"Well," I began. "Back in the shop I found a Mother and a child, it's quite possible that that Burner was a Father and was simply on guard."
"So, what about the Mother and child, are they still there?" Clare asked.
"The Mother, no. She initially seemed uninterested in me but as I backed away she tried to attack and so I shot her, that's what that gunshot was."
"Gunshot? We didn't hear one." Aiden replied, confused.
"How didn't you? That thing echoed so loudly."
"It doesn't matter." Clare said. "What happened to the child?"
"So, what do we do with it?" I said looking down at the child, still sat on top of the pile boxes and newspapers. It looked at me with its eyes glistening and its skin peeling slightly off of its face.
"What can we do with it?" Aiden replied.
"We can't leave it here." I said.
"Aiden, it's just a child." Clare said, making me glad that I wasn't the only one who felt like this was a moral dilemma.
"But it is still a zombie." Aiden replied, it was clear what his stance on the situation was.
"That doesn't mean anything. So, is everybody else but they were once human. Even now, surely that gives it the right to live?" I said, trying to get Aiden to see my point of view.
"You going to say that when it grows up and tries to bite your head off?"
"Maybe it won't."
"Maybe isn't good enough."
"Why not? We could put forth the same argument to any humans if we ever come across any."
"True but that child is a zombie, it will grow up to try to eat someone, a human won't want to."
"You hope they wouldn't."
The child made a small gurgling noise that sounded like it was bringing up what it had eaten last.
"Well, how's about this." Started Clare, interjecting into mine and Aiden's argument. "We take the child and, if we find a bunch of zombies, we could see if they would take it with them, you know, see if they'll adopt it into their group or something."
"That's acceptable." Aiden said, I think he had had enough of arguing about it.
"Agreed, we could do that." I said.
After searching the shop, an endeavour that rewarded us with a few supplies that we needed, we left, taking the child with us. I was tasked with carrying it as Aiden refused to touch it, thinking it would bite his arm off, despite the fact the child hadn't even developed many teeth yet so probably couldn't even hurt him. I had wrapped it up using some of the newspapers and was cradling it in my arms, it looked kind of happy there, almost to the point that you would forget that it was a zombie if it weren't for the rotting flesh and smell it gave off.
After a few hours of walking around, we found a small group of zombies and decided to try to see if they would take the child. Nearby was an empty barrel, we placed the baby on the ground next to it and then left to a nearby corner so we could see what happened.
"Is this even going to work?" Aiden asked.
"Of course it will." I said, pretending to be more certain than I actually was.
"Well, it's just they are all males, maybe they wouldn't take to looking after a child so well." He replied.
I picked up a small stone and threw it at the barrel. It hit with a loud clanging sound that got the zombies attention immediately. They wandered over to where the child was and looked at it curiously. Then one of the zombies moved forward, bent down and picked the child up, cradling it in his arms. The group then turned back around and wandered back to where they had been before where they all seemed to take turns in looking at the child as if they were each confused by it. The three of us stood silently watching them, waiting to make sure the child was safe. I realised I had been holding my breath when I started to go light headed, luckily the group of zombies decided that that point was when they no longer needed to take turns looking at the child and had seemingly decided to accept it in their group.
"Well, goes to show what you know." Clare muttered to Aiden.
"Shut up, I'd say my concerns were valid enough that they should've been voiced." He replied.