earth book one (elemental series)

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~Dedications~

For Mama Corley, Daddy Corley and my best friend, Sara. I love you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Pugsley: Are they dead?

Wednesday: Does it matter?”

~The Addams Family (Movie, 1991)

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

Day One: March 26
th
, 2020; 4:00 pm.

She doesn’t know her name as she got up.

In fact, she doesn’t remember anything or how she ended up there. She sat up, holding her head. She looked around. She was in a plain room which only had a television, a big window, two doors, and the bed she was in. She was about to get out of bed when she noticed a button that is marked, “Emergency Only.” She reached over and pressed the button. After a few seconds of nothing, she pressed the button, repeatedly.

Seconds felt like hours before she gave up. She swung the blankets off and put her legs over the side of the bed. She got to her feet but falls like she was a new born deer and this was her first time walking. She gripped the bed to help her up. Her legs shake as she tried to stand still.

Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw something on the window pane: a silver stainless case. She stared at it and then looked around.

She slowly goes to the window pane. When she gets to the window, she leans on it for support. She looked at the keyhole on the case. It was the shape of a square but as it goes deeper down, it goes into a triangle shape.

She started to look around. She pulled the mattress off the bed frame and then put it back neatly and straight. After she goes over to one of the doors and slowly opened it, as if she thought something was there. The room behind the door was just a bathroom. She goes inside, taking the case with her and goes to the sink, leaning on it. “Where’s the key?” She asked. Her voice was rough like sand paper. Her eyes searched the room before landing on the mirror.

Her skin was a caramel color but it was pale and sweaty looking, even though she wasn’t hot or sweaty. Her misty, coffee eyes lack bliss but complimented her coal short hair which is in a pixie cut and messy. Her face was round with a small button nose and full pink lips. She was short and a bit on the chubby side.

Her misty eyes wondered down to her chest where – even though she is chubby – her collar bones sort of popped out and a chain sat around her neck. The charm was hidden under her gown. She pulled out the charm and examined it.

The necklace was in the shape of a star without one of the triangles. Each side was a different color: one green, one blue, one red, and the last gray. The gray was pointing up and had a little line piece near the end of the triangle, going through it. The green was the same but pointing downward. The red one was on her right side and the blue was on her left. And the middle was swirls of all four colors.

She takes off the necklace, walking back into the bedroom. She tried to put the red triangle into the keyhole but it wouldn’t work. She examined the green piece before putting the triangle piece in and twisting it.

Pop!

She jumped at the noise of the case opening. Inside the case was a needle with a light green substance in it and a screen. Words came on the screen: “Please inject yourself with the needle,”

The unknown girl slowly sat on the floor with the case open in front of her and picks up the needle, shaking. She thinks why she would she take the injection, but then she thought
why not?
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She stuck the needle in her skin, and feels a small bee sting. When the substance was in her system, she regretted it.

A face popped on the screen. It was a fairly young, handsome guy. He smiles. “Hello… I’m Doctor Greene if you don’t remember. You, my friend, are Forres Tanner. I have a game for you, Forres. Do you want to play?”

Forres Tanner
… She stared at the screen and gave a small nod. For some reason, she got the feeling that she had no choice.

“Good. In this game, you have to find these cases filled with your medicine,” he said.

“Medicine?” Forres asked.

Doctor Greene nodded. “In that needle was your medicine. You have an unknown, incurable virus… Well, I know what it is and it is, in fact, curable. If you win this game, you are free of the virus. If you lose…,” He shrugged. “We’ll just play again. There are four levels: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, as your necklace shows. As the level goes on, it will get harder and harder as well as the hints. Understand?”

Forres reached up and played with her weird star necklace, out of habit. She realized the green side was for Earth, the blue side was Water, the red side was Fire, and the gray side was Air. She was staring down but she was listening.

“Good. Your first hint will play after this. Oh yeah, Forres?” Doctor Greene continued. Forres looked up. “You have nothing to fear but the living… and the dead…,” The screen goes black. Forres stared at it when big letters across the screen. It read:

First hint: Your case is locked up tightly Tanner. You have three days to find it.

It took her a few minutes to tell herself, he could be lying. With that reassuring thought, slowly, Forres stood. Her legs shook from fear or chills; she couldn’t tell.

She got up and goes into the bathroom. She leaned on the sink and turned the knobs on it to splash her face with water but no water came out. She goes over and tried the shower knobs. There absolutely was no water turning on.

Almost freaking out, she quickly goes into the room. She pressed the “Emergency Only” button a bunch of times. Breathing heavily, she gripped the edge of the bed and tried to calm herself down. After a while of trying to breathing regularly, Forres took a deep breath and stood. She looked at a door on the other end of the room. Slowly, she goes over the door.

Hesitating, Forres puts her hand around the door knob. Her heart raced, not missing any beats and she bit her bottom lip. She turned the knob as slow as a snail. Once the door knob was turned all the way, she counted to three in her head. She swung it open.

She saw a dark red liquid splattered in the halls but no one was around. She gagged at the strong smell of iron and rotting meat. She shook as she walked into the hall. She covered her mouth, trying not to sob because of the amount of blood. Her small, bare feet slapped against the cold ground. A chill traveled down her spine as she turned at the corner of the hall. She saw a bunch of nurse’s stations and puddles of blood near them.

A growl came, stopping Forres in her tracks. She looked around her. Nothing was even near her, for what she can see. The growl came again and she now notices it was coming from her stomach. She relaxed. Because of the overwhelming moment, she had forgotten of ever being hungry. She started down the hall, relaxing. She now thought this is all a joke and a prank, someone had set on her. But why can’t she remember her past?

She followed the signs telling her where the cafeteria was. For safe measures, she took the stairs instead of the elevator. She quickly climbed down the stairs and came to a door. Peeking out of the door, she studied the two ways to go. When she thought it clear, she goes into the cafeteria.

The cafeteria is a mess but no one was in there. Forres starts to the kitchen, fixing chairs and the tables. When she gets into the kitchen, she goes to the huge fridge and opens it. A foul smell goes up her nose. She closes the door with an “Ew…,” Her nose wrinkles in disgust as a chewing noise comes. It sounds as if someone was chewing gum like a cow.

Her heart beat quickens in her ears as she, slowly, goes around the counter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

Day Negative: March 25
th
, 2020; 3:50 pm

“Maximus Threadson?”

Max looked up from his card game with a few friends.

“Pills,” The female doctor said.

Max stood and said, “No one look at my card. Got it?” He looked at his insane friends. One was rocking back and forth, the other giggling at his own mind, and the last was scratching his arms, eager to claw at his eyes. Max smacked his friend’s hand to keep him from scratching himself. “Want the jacket?” Max cocked his brows at the guy and the guy shook his head. “Then stop.”

Max walked to the female doctor.

“Hello, Maria,” He rolled his ‘r’s.

She smiles, politely. “I’ve told you Max. I don’t date insane people.”

“It’s pretty insane about the amount of time I think about you…,” Max smirked. Maria cocked her brow, playfully. “Sorry, had to say that,” Maria thrust the little container at Max. “Trying to drug me already? At least take me to dinner first,” He joked and put his pills in his mouth with the water. He swallowed.

“Open,” Maria said. Max opened his mouth for her to see inside. “Okay… Good. Now go,” She said. Max smiled and winked at her before leaving. He frowned once she left and moved the pill around in his mouth. Max sat down and saw his cards were messed up.

“Who took a look at my cards?” Max whined. He grabbed his cards and lifted them up. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Maria kissing a guard in the hall. Max growled to himself and threw the cards in. “I’m done.”

 

*****

 

Day Negative: March 25
th
, 2020; 8:20 pm

Max climbed into bed and so does his whispering-to-himself roommate. Max sat up and put his hand in his pillow case. Once feeling it, Max grabbed it. It was a toothbrush; the brush part was craved into a key and the other a flat end. Max rubbed his fingers against the key end. He took a deep breath before sitting back and looking at his roommate.

The guy rocked back and forth in the corner, muttering. At first Max couldn’t understand him but after a while he made out the word. “It’s all going to end… It’s all going to end,” Max scowled. As if the guy knew Max was listening, he continues with, “I can smell your blood…,” Max opened his mouth but closed it as his heart sped up. A wave of fear wrinkled throughout his whole body. He tightened his grip around the sharp toothbrush. “And I can hear your heart too… It beats so fast and the blood that pumps from it,” He sniffed the air as if he could actually smell Max’s blood.

Max froze, not breathing. The guy eyes rolled back and he started to shake violently. Max quickly got up and banged on the door. “Hey! Hey! Something’s wrong with this guy!” Max froze again. The hair on Max’s arms and the nape of his neck stood up as if there was a cold draft in the room which that could it because there was a window. But the window was closed, it was always closed. Max could sense the guy had gotten up. He tried to resist the urge to look but gave in. Max slowly turned his head.

The insane guy was staring at Max. His eyes were pure white instead of the color it was before. The guy lunged for him and Max stabbed his sharp toothbrush outward. The door opened and Max fell out with the guy on top of him. Max had stuck the toothbrush into the guy’s right eye.

The insane guy was pulled off of Max by a guard. The guy twisted and turned, sinking his teeth into the guard’s shoulder. Blood sprayed around as the guard cried out in pain.

Quickly, Max scrambled to his feet and ran down the hall. Because of the blood on him and his shoes, it felt as if the halls were a slip ‘n’ slide of death. But Max kept going. Running and yelling for help, he turned the corner only to get a forearm into his neck.

Max falls back, hitting his head on the ground. The lights turn off… not the lights… His consciousness. He slipped in and out of a conscious state; his vision blurred but he could make out Maria and her guard boyfriend.

“Max?” Maria gasped.

Max opened his mouth to say something but struggled to get something out.

“Oh Max, what have you done?” Maria cooed. She knelt down.

What have I done? 
Max thought, confused

Nothing, man. It was your roommate. Not you.
Another voice said in his head.

“What have I done?” Maria’s boyfriend asked. He ran his hand through his hair, worried.

What have you done? 
Max was really confused. He squinted a bit; it was the only way for him to see.

“Oh Max…,” Maria muttered, pushing Max’s hair out of his face.

“Max?” The guard scowls. “I’m going to lose my job. I just hit a client! Maria, what do we do?”

“We?” Maria stood, frowning.

“Yeah,
we
. Are you forgetting that you are dating me, not this guy? You’re mine, not his. So it’s we because we are in this together,” The guard stated.

Maria looked away. After a silent second, she whispered, “What do we do?”

The guard looked thoughtfully for a second then his light bulb turned on. Max actually saw the light bulb over his head and smiled a bit. “My trunk?”

Maria narrowed her eyes. “Are you asking me or telling me?”

“I’m telling you.”

“In your trunk?”

“In my trunk.”

“Will he fit?”

“Yeah, he should,” The guard bended down and grabbed the unconscious Max from the ground. Max was put over the guard’s shoulder.

“What happens if he wakes?”

The guard rubbed his chin. “I’ll handle that.”

“Okay…,” Maria answered, uneasy.

“Okay,” The guard sounded confident as if it would work or because he did this more than once.

Maria looked at him. “Fine, in your trunk.”

“In my trunk,” he nodded back.

In his trunk? 
Max questioned. He looked down at the guard’s butt.
Would I fit in their? I might need a flashlight too in there.

You idiot, you swallowed the pill!
The other voice yelled.

Not nice,
Max whined. The guard started walking.
Wee!

Oh my god. I’m in the mind of an idiot…,
the voice said.

Max’s mind chuckled.
It’s not only your god.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

Day One: March 26
th
, 2020; 4:04 pm

Forres was frozen.

Her feet felt as if she was glued to the ground. Her body was ridged as sticks. Two people were eating something in the kitchen, Blood, from whatever they were eating, came in a puddle to her feet. The blood was still warm as if it was fresh from its owner. Finally getting the courage to move, Forres started to back up but kicked a pot that was behind her.

The two people looked over at Forres. When she saw their faces, she gasped and covered her mouth. Their faces were pale with dark blood on their chin. Their eyes were the worst sight to Forres. Their white eyes pierced through her body. Her heart was pounding in her ears; she swears they could hear it too or at least felt it in their ears.

Forres turned to run but she bumped into a fat meaty cook: half of his face was chewed off. He let out a low groan, dark blood flowing out his mouth. He plunged for her.

She jumped to the side, just being missed by him. Forres jumped onto the island that was in the kitchen as the one that was the buffet got up and let out a high pitched cry. The dead cook and the two eaters lunged at Forres.

Thinking quickly, Forres picked up a maggot-filled pan and whipped the pan at the closest one. Maggots flew onto the thing and the pot hit the one eater in the head but it kept coming.

Forres, frighten, backed up. She ended up falling to the ground from the counter. As she fall, she tried to save herself but ended up pulling a knife block down with her.

Knives fall down at her. One landed near her thigh. Forres jumped and opened her legs as wide as they could go. Another landed right in-between her opened legs. She gasped at the sight of a knife there, pinning her night gown down. She let out a hurtful cry as she felt pain in her right hand. A knife was in it, pinning it to the ground.

Those dead things got closer. They seem to be going slower then she thought they would.

She gripped the, seemly, huge knife in her hand and pulled it out. With her left hand, she whipped it at the fat cook. The knife, surprisingly, went into his forehead and the cook went down with a
thump
.

Forres picked up the knife that landed in-between her legs and the other one that landed near her thigh.  She stood and power kicks the high pitched screamer one back. She pushes the knives in the two eater’s head. They fall to the ground as the High Pitched Screamer got up. Forres grabbed something from the counter.

Forres Tanner vs. High Pitch Zombie.
Forres couldn’t help but to think as it as a game. A sick game, that is. She narrowed her eyes at the fowl beast. The zombie seemed to be smirking at her.

3… 2… 1… FIGHT!!

On cue, the fowl beast ran at Forres.

And Forres pulled a pan from her back.

Here batta, batta…
The fowl beast came closer and closer.
Swing!!
And Forres swung at the right time with all of her might. The pan came in contact with the beast’s head. Its head snapped back, making a weird cracking noise.

Forres let out a laugh with victory and dropped the pan.
Ha, I won! You lose. Ha-ha! HA!
She smiled. She grabbed a fairly clean rag and ties her wound up. Forres grabbed a bag of chips and an unopened can of warm root beer from the counter.

Forres goes through the maze of dead bodies and to the kitchen door, laughing in her head. She opens the door. “Holy…,” Forres muttered.

The whole cafeteria was full of zombies: some nurses, some doctors, some patients and some normal people. One of the nurses let out a loud moan and that got the attention of all of the undead there. They all started staggering in towards her. She freaked out and threw the soda and chips at them.

Forres goes back into the kitchen, closing and locking the door.
Please God, don’t let me die in this kitchen!
  She prayed as those things bang on the door and throws themselves against the door. Forres looked around the dirty kitchen and noticed two things:

An air vent was in the corner of the room.
The High Pitched Zombie was gone.

Double tap, Forres. Always double tap.
She cautiously started moving to the vent, slowly. “Where is…,“ Forres started but the beast let out a high pitched cry from the fridge. Forres turned to the beast, which was now on top of the fridge. It then jumped on Forres, letting out a scream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Four

 

Day One: March 26
th
, 2020; 4:09 pm

Forres had the beast by its neck.

              She tried to push the undead thing off of her as the thing snapped at her. “Get off!” Forres said, gritting her teeth. The fowl beast stopped struggling and started drooling. Forres‘s jaw tensed in fear and she made a face as some landed on her cheek. The undead thing struggled again.

              Forres’ right hand reached over and searched for something, in pain. Her finger tips touched a handle of a knife. She wrapped her wounded hand around the knife handle and she pulled.

But the knife didn’t move.

She glanced over for a split second. The knife was in the head of the fat cook.

Suddenly a crack came and she glanced over. The door was breaking. All Forres could think was she wasn’t going to make it. She was going to die here and wither from existence. Most of all, she would become one of them and she couldn’t bare that. She didn’t want to eat human flesh or walking around, searching for food. She dreads that the most, searching for food like a raccoon. Plus she wouldn’t win the game. The game she was now determined to win. Oh how much she wants to win and right now, she didn’t want to give up so she didn’t. Out of anger and with her right hand, she balled it and punched the undead thing square in the jaw. The blow was hard enough to knock the thing off of her.

Forres quickly crawled to the cook and tried to pull the knife out his head. The High Pitched Zombie slowly got up. Its jaw was hanging by a thread of flesh.
Come on!! Come on!
Forres thought. The zombie got closer. Forres put her foot on the cook’s face. His ice cold blood oozes in between her toes. She began to pull harder as her foot pushed down too. An inch from her was the zombie. Forres pulled out the knife, turning and sticking it upward into the zombie’s jaw. The zombie goes down with a
thump.

The zombies from the cafeteria were suddenly free. The door had broken from its hinges.

Forres raced to the air vent but she bumped the gas stove, turning on the gas. She took the vent off and whipped at the closest zombie of the pack. She began crawling in the vent. Half way in, a zombie pulls her leg back. She let out a cry as she slipped, hitting her head on the vent. Forres kicked the nurse zombie in the face and when she let go, Forres started crawling again. She came to a five way: right, left, straight, down or up. She chose to go up. “How does Spiderman do this?” Forres thought aloud, bracing herself and climbing upward.

The zombies tried to get her but end up falling downward. They hit the bottom of the vent with a
bang
until it broke and were sent into another hospital room. Something grabbed her ankle, making her jump a bit and slid downward but she braced herself.

She looks down, trying to hold on. Three zombies were clever and didn’t try to jump for her like the others.

Forres begins to slip as she wiggled her foot. The others try to snap at her. Forres had to think and quick.

She let go.

She let go and now she was falling. It felt as if she was falling slowly like it was a bottomless pit. A scream got caught in her throat and her arms went up to her head. She hit the ground, hard, as the one who still had her foot, split his head open. She had fallen on him. Bone crunch under her, making a sick noise. The wind that was in her lungs left as fast as it came.

Forres opened her brown eyes, just in time, and saw that two zombies had jumped down after her. Quickly, Forres rolled over as one hit its head of the ground. The other banged its head off another zombie’s skull, cracking its skull open. Brains and blood fly onto Forres.

Forres scrambled to her feet and to the door. She threw up everything she had in her stomach – which wasn’t anything so she sat there gagging. After, she looked at herself she was covered in blood and brain. She starts to shake and didn’t know why. She tried to brush the blood and brains off of her, holding in her tears. The blood just smeared in her white gowns. Warm tear started to run, down her face as she rubbed harder.

In the corner of her eyes, she saw movement. She looked over and saw some zombies were still alive and trying to get out the pile of the undead. Forres stiffened and looked down the hall she was in. She couldn’t tell where it lead but she followed it, limping a bit. She still was trying to rub out the blood but didn’t realize it.

Ahead was a door, it looked as if it was the back door but she couldn’t tell. As soon as she saw the outside light, she bolts to the door in a limp run type thing. Running until she was out of the hospital.

The sun blinded her. She shielded her eyes from the sun. When her eyes adjusted, she looked around. She was in the hospital cemetery except it wasn’t all sad. There were flowers growing from the ground. A dome was high up in the sky that if she looks up she couldn’t see it because in the distance was smoke in the air and it filled the top of it.

Slowly, Forres started walking through the cemetery. She suddenly stopped. Her mouth forms into an ‘o’ as she looks at her bleeding right hand. She let out a painful scream, realizing that the adrenaline wore off and pain rippled throughout her body. Tears of pain run down her face. She starts to walk. Not paying attention to any surroundings as if the zombies were only in the hospital, she fell.

She had fallen into an open grave into a casket. The roof on the casket broke from the weight. Forres goes to pick herself up and she saw a body below her. A fresh one as if it died today or yesterday. She let out a scream as she backed away from the body. The dead guy slowly rose. A scream escaped from her lips as hands grabbed her shoulders and pulled her out of the grave.

A long sword sliced off the dead guy’s head. “Let’s go!” A female human ordered her grabbing Forres from the ground. The girl ran ahead of Forres, slicing and dicing zombies, all around. They ran out of the cemetery, side-by-side, and being chased by a horde of undead, most of them elders yet they were fast.

The girls ran down the street together and turned a corner, slipping into a store without being noticed. They duck behind a clothing rack as a group of undead passes. Once it was safe, the girl gets up and goes to the door. “Wait,” Forres calls. The girl stopped. “Where are you going?”

“I saved you,” she said. “What? That’s not enough?” She put her hands on her hips, her long dark red hair hanging over her shoulder.

Bewildered, Forres stuttered and answered, “N-no, no. It’s just you are skilled with that knife,” She pointed at the long knife that had blood on it still. “I thought… that we could stick together for a while…”

The girl cocked her brow. “No thanks,” the girl started out of the store and Forres understood. Who would want to be grouped with a sick girl in a sick game?

Forres bended down, putting her hands on her knees as she tried to breathe. She didn’t notice that a zombie came around from the check-out counter and goes to her. The zombie was close and finally let out a groan to tell Forres it was here. She turned just as the zombie’s head was cut off.

Blood splattered on Forres as she turned away. When the zombie fell to the ground, she turned back to see the girl.

“I have a group of survivors. We have food, water, and heat. Are you infected because I can’t risk that with my group?” The girl asked.

“I’m stabbed in the hand…,” Forres looked down at her dirty feet.

The girl rubbed the back of her neck. “Uh, bring clothing. We need to get you cleaned up and fed,” Forres started to smile when the girl said that but she added, “Then you are on your way.” Forres nodded. She grabbed a bag, and filled it with a bunch of clothing and shoes.

They both started out, looking at both ways of the streets as if they were little kids and they were watching out for cars. “You better not just take me and eat me or something,” Forres joked.

“Yeah, something like that…,” the girl joked back and smirked. Forres had to look at her twice to notice she was joking.

Or was she?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Five

 

Day One: March 26
th
, 2020; 4:31 pm

The girl led the way down the streets.

Forres had no idea where they were going but she followed silently.

“What’s your name?” The girl asked, looking back at her as they crossed a street.

Forres looked up at the girl. “I’m…,” Who was she? Was she really the “doctor” told her she was? Did she even trust this person? She knew she had to trust someone in this new world. “Forres…,” She finally said.

The girl cocked her thin brow. “Is that your real name?”

Forres shrugged. “I don’t know…,”

“How?”

She shrugged again. “I woke up with no memory.”

“Wow… Weird,” The girl said. Forres agreed and nodded. “Kind of cliché.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know,” The girl started. Forres stared at her. She really didn’t know. “You never watched a zombie movie or read a book?”

“I’m sure I have… But I don’t remember it.”

The girl looked at Forres for a second, wondering if she could trust the girl with no memory. “Well in every zombie movie or novel the main character always wakes up, usually they have a member unless that character was in the war, shot or sick or something.” 

Forres stared forward, still walking. It was a cliché beginning. Of course, she was the main character of her own life and maybe the hero of this story but why so cliché?

“By the way, I’m Eleanor,” Eleanor replied. Anyone could easily tell Eleanor was part Native American from her tan skin. Eleanor had long dark red curls – from her mother being part Irish – and dark indigo eyes to match. She led the way into an alley then to an Auto Body shop door.

Forres watched as Eleanor made a fist and raised it to the door. “This group of yours, are they nice?”

Eleanor looked at Forres before she said, “You tell me,” and she knocked.

 

*****

 

Day One: March 26
th
, 2020, 4:45 pm

Austin paced back and forth throughout the garage, rubbing his chin and thinking.

He doesn’t really know where his thoughts have gone but he was worrying. His thoughts were on the nurse, Eleanor. And if she was dead or undead right now.

“Will you calm down?” Cedric, a kid who decided to follow them when Austin’s brother’s head was blown to pieces, said. He lights a cigarette and takes a puff. When Austin paced to him, he grabbed the cigarette and instead of putting the cigarette out, he took a puff. He used to hate cigarettes. The smells of it made his stomach do flip flops but that was before his brother, Grant, was killed in front of him and Chyler. Oh Chyler. Her silence worries him the most. She hasn’t talked since Grant’s death.

Cedric laughed a bit.

Austin coughed and handed the kill stick back to Cedric when the secret code was banged on the garage door. Cedric put the cigarette out and raised his gun at the door as Austin opened the door. His gun was drawn too but wasn’t pointed at the door.

Two girls come in: one was the nurse, Eleanor, and the other Austin didn’t know. Cedric lowered his gun. “Who are you?” Austin hissed. He stared at her as if she was an infected bird without wings. His eyes went up and down her. She was in a hospital gown with bare dirty feet and was cover in blood. He couldn’t tell if it was her blood or those things.

“Easy! Calm yourself!” Eleanor ordered. “She’s just here to clean up and eat then she is on her way. Right?” Eleanor looked at the girl. The girl nodded.

Austin stared at the girl. “Are you bit?” Cedric raised his gun at the girl, again.

“N-no,” The girl stuttered. “I was stabbed…”

“By who?”  She shrugged, not wanting to tell him what really happened. Austin studied her and she looked away. He looked at Eleanor and cocked his brows. “Fine,” He said after a few seconds. “But she is on her way after,” Austin stepped aside for Eleanor and the girl.

Eleanor motioned for the girl to follow her up the twisting stairs from the auto body garage. The girl followed, pulling the gown down a bit, awkwardly. Austin followed behind them. The three of them came to a huge room with a couple of offices and a door, leading to the bathroom. In the huge room were three girls, relaxing. Their eyes went over to the girl.

Eleanor started to walk to the door leading to the bathroom. It takes a second for the girl to start following her. She tried to ignore the looks from the others as Eleanor held the door open for her.

 

*****

Day One: March 26
th
, 2020; 4:48 pm

“Don’t mind them,” Eleanor told Forres as they entered a hall that had two doors on each side: one lady’s, one man’s. Eleanor goes to the ladies’ room and Forres followed. As soon as she saw the stalls, she goes in one and uses it. Eleanor let out a small laugh and washed her hands in the sink. She heard Forres let out a sigh before finishing, after what felt like a twenty minute pee.

When Forres got out, she tried to wash her bloody hand, wincing when the hot water touched her right hand.

“Let’s clean your hand first,” Eleanor sat on one of the sink next to Forres. She reached for Forres’s hand but stops. “Is it fine if I…,” Eleanor started but her voice trails away. She doesn’t know where she was going with it so she stops. Forres searched Eleanor’s face and after a second, she thrust her hand forward. Eleanor paused. “One second…”

Eleanor leaves the bathroom, leaving Forres scared. She might just get trapped by this girl or even the guy. They’ll probably clean her then eat her. She shuttered at the thought of being eaten by humans. It sounded so gross. Eleanor came back with the first aid kit, relieving her. Eleanor also had a bottle of alcohol.

“Here. Drink some. This will hurt,” Eleanor stated. Forres was caution as grabbed the bottle and took a big swig of some of the alcohol. The clear drink burned her throat as it slid down. She coughed and Eleanor grabbed the bottle and poured it on the girl’s hand.

Forres let out a silent cry. She knew if she would have screamed a bunch of undead would be at their door. Her jaw tightened as she felt weak in the knees. The pain slowly stopped. She tried to control her legs that were shaking.

“It’s done. That wasn’t so bad?” Eleanor joked. Forres glared at Eleanor and Eleanor let out a small laugh as she bandaged Forres’ hand which was now clean from the alcohol. She grabbed the bottle and drank the rest of the clear alcohol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Six

 

Day One: March 26
th
, 2020; 4:46 pm

“We can’t trust her…,”

              Jekaterina, or Jinx – whom was in the war before –, looked at Austin whom was watching the bathroom door as if Eleanor would never come out again. His strong arms crossed over his chest and his face as somber as can be. “She was hurt…” Jinx scowled, fixing the new girl food.

              “I don’t care if she was the freaking president,” Austin threw his hands up. “You have to learn humans will do anything to survive now, even if that means killing and stealing. We can’t just let in random ones in Willie Nellie.”

              Jezabel, the youngest girl and Jinx’s child, laughed. She was the only one who rarely laughs in the group anymore. Everything is serious now and not much time for laughing but she is so young. Jinx was always filled with joy whenever she heard Jezabel laugh. “You said ‘Willie Nellie’.”

              Jinx smiled at Jezabel then looked at Austin before repeating, “She was hurt,”

              “The world is different now,” Austin explained, frustrated. “We can’t just go to store to buy stuff. We need to preserve our stuff. The world’s basically over…”

              “The world is only over when we forget we’re still human,” Jezabel sang like a bird. Even though Jezabel was only ten, she was smarter than most. Under her sun blonde curls was a brain and under her chest between her small lungs was the biggest heart anyone could own. She was the kind of kid that saw the world differently. She knew, even at the age of ten, that everyone was going to die. And she had a plan to live it good and do whatever she could before she dies which could be tomorrow or at any random time.

              Austin threw up his hands and groaned. “You guys are hopeless. You don’t get it.”

              When Austin left the room, Jinx winked at Jezabel.

 

*****

 

Day One: March 26
th
, 2020; 4:58 pm

Forres thought about telling Eleanor but she didn’t know if she could trust her.

             
“Did Greene put you up to this?” Forres blurted out as they were walking out the bathroom. Forres felt clean with her new clothing: a long sleeve plain green shirt which was her tighter then wanted, dark pants and just regular shoes. Her body was as clean as she could get it.

              “Who?”  Eleanor opened the door and sideways looked at Forres.

              “Uh, never mind,” Forres replied. “Just forget it.”

              Eleanor let Forres go first but really she was narrowing her dark blue eyes.

              Everyone looked at Forres. “Hi!” The youngest girl said and hopped up and goes to her. “I’m Jezabel,” She held out her right hand for Forres. Forres raised her right bandaged hand. Jezabel then held out her left hand without letting the smile fall off of her face.

              Forres took her left hand and shook once. “I’m Forres,” she said and the noticed her voice had cracked. She felt eyes on her, not the others eyes, burning eyes. Eyes that burns her inside out. She looked over to see a guy in the corner with a cowboy hat on. He was broad compared to Forres and he was proudly showing his gun off that was on his hip.

              “Are you hungry, sweetie?” The eldest female said while standing. She was average height compared to short Forres and looked as if she was in her early 30’s. She had high cheek bones like Jezabel, telling Forres that she was Jezabel’s mother. Forres felt relieved that Jezabel was with her mother. Jezabel had to be only ten or less. Jezabel’s mother had caramel brown hair with emerald eyes. Of course, everyone was skinner than Forres.

              Forres smiled and nodded. Jezabel’s mother gestured for Forres to come and sit by the heater they had. She felt as if she wasn’t here in Jezabel’s mother’s eyes as if she was in a safe place with her. Forres sat next to Jezabel and they all sat in silences while she ate.

              “What’s your name again?” A young kid asked, blowing cigarette in a vent.

              Forres swallowed the rest of her food. “Forres… Forres Tanner.”

              “Nice to meet you, Forres,” Jezabel’s mother said and held out her hands. “Are you done? I’ll take the empty can.” Forres nodded and handed her the empty can. Jezabel’s mother got up and throws it away. “I’m Jinx. This grouch is Austin,” she hip bumped Austin. He sent her a glare. “That’s Cedric and Chyler,” she pointed to the young kid and the girl who was silent. “You might have met Eleanor and then Jezabel, my daughter.”

              Forres smiled at their little group. She stood. “Nice to meet you all. I hope we meet up again sometime but I must be going. Thanks for all the help,” She started out.

              “Stay the night,” Jinx insisted. It was more of an order then a type of question.

“I can’t possibly do that to you guys,” Forres replied, without stopping or looking back.

“Yeah, she can’t possibly do that to us,” Austin mocked her.

Forres stopped, her fist clutched. She didn’t like Austin or his attitude problem. “You know what?” She looked over at Austin. His green eyes narrowed on her brown eyes. “I am going to stay the night.”

Austin frown deepened.

Forres flashed him a sly smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Seven

 

Day Negative: March 28
th
, 2020; 12:40 pm

Those tiny fingers…

They were more like claws…

Yep, those tiny claws were under the door, searching for someone to scratch. They were small and were visible from under the door.

Those tiny claws…

Eleanor tried to look away but she just couldn’t. They seemed to have a magnetic pull on her. Eleanor’s hands balled into a fist. Not in anger but in pain; Pain from seeing them like this when she just woke and saw her little brother, Henry, clawing to get out. She got the urge to open the door and hug the little boy and hold him forever, but she resisted.

The banging got louder as well as the groaning. Eleanor slowly moved her eyes from
the claws
and turned her attention to her grandfather in the kitchen. Eleanor could see her grandparents from the clear door.

Blood smeared on the glass, making her stomach churn. Eleanor watched at the two old people fight over the door. She thought they were fighting over who gets to eat her first. Eleanor saw the side of her grandma’s face ripped off – that she did with a cheese grater – and a chunk bitten off of her shoulder.

That did it.

Eleanor ran to the bathroom down the hall and threw up before even reaching the toilet. After she wiped her lips on her nurse’s uniform – she was called into work early but never got to do it.

She looked in the mirror. The first thing she saw was blood on her blue scrubs. Eleanor instantly took off the shirt and tried to scrub it in the sink. The clear water ran over her blue shirt but came out red on the other side. Eleanor scrubbed it hard before giving up.

She dropped the shirt in the sink and let the water run over it. She looked in the mirror at herself. A ping of guilt hit her stomach as she finally noticed she looks like her brother. All the years of denying it, it was true and Eleanor suddenly hated it all: the world, the people in it and even herself.

Eleanor turned off the water and marches out of the bathroom and down the hall. Passes the tiny claws, passed the hungry looking old folks and she goes straight to the key rack. She suddenly stopped, remembering something.

The keys were in the kitchen…with the grandparents in it, ready for breakfast.

Eleanor huffed and thought it was a sign. She knew she couldn’t just leave the only family she had ever had. More guilt punched her in the stomach. Eleanor slowly goes in front of her brother’s room. Those tiny claws go nuts clawing for skin as she sat inches from them.

“Oh Henry,” Eleanor sobbed. The claws stops as if they need their own name then began clawing again but harder. How could she let this happen? Last night, Henry was sick with a very high fever when Eleanor got home from work. Eleanor begged to her grandparents to take him to the emergency room but their fears of hospitals were worst then Henry’s fever. Throughout the night, Eleanor gave her brother medicine, new cold rags and checked on him. Each time he was fine and definably not a flesh eating thing.

But this morning… this morning he was… dead. He then latching himself onto her grandmother and bit her. Soon he was on his grandpa and eating him too. Eleanor threw the flesh eating Henry in his room and tried to stop the bleeding from her grandparents’ wounds but it didn’t work.

Now she was hear in this situation of leaving or just rotting here. She couldn’t just sit here or she couldn’t just leave.

A glass shattering got her attention from those dreadful tiny hands. She turned to the kitchen door and saw that her grandparents had busted through the window of the door. Eleanor quickly got up but was pushed down by the surprisingly fast grandpa.

Eleanor let out a cry before them lunged at her. She instinctively rolled over and the two hungry things – that she knew wasn’t her grandparents now – fell beside her. Eleanor scrambled to her feet fast as if her life depended on it, and it did.

Her heart was pounding against her chest as she stared into clear white eyes of her grandpa, whose guts were scattered on the floor. She was sure enough that he could hear her heart and her blood rushing in and out of it. As if on cue, Eleanor ran and the two followed, bumping into the walls and climbing over each other.

Eleanor ran into the bathroom and slipped on the mixture of last night’s dinner and blood. She managed to close the door and lock it.  She ran to the window as the bangs began. She unlocked the window and tried to open it.

It wouldn’t budge.

Sobbing, Eleanor looked for something to bust open the window with. She looked around and grabbed the pole that held the bath curtains. Eleanor swung at the window using the pole like a bat. Glass flew. Eleanor shielded her eyes with her other arm as she knocked off extra glass.

Eleanor’s grandpa was slamming himself at the door and it broke after a few tries. Eleanor was climbing out but the old man grabbed her leg and pulls her out. Eleanor felt a sharp pain in her stomach from the glass digging into to her.

Eleanor wiggled hard to avoid getting bit. Eleanor kicked as if she was swimming and she ends up kicking her grandma in the face. Her grandpa let go and as if he was still alive, helped her fallen grandma up. They attack again but Eleanor slid out of the window. She wiggled her way onto the ground and scattered to her feet.

Her grandfather growled and banged on the window seal as if he didn’t know how to get out. Eleanor ran through the grass of her yard and to the room. She didn’t once look back to the window or to the house she once grew up in.

On the sidewalk, Eleanor stoppe
d
and looked around at New York.

In the distance, she heard pops which she thought were guns going off. Police cars and fire trucks sped down the street, quickly. She saw dark smoke rising in the sky, making no one see the cloud or the spring sun. Neighbors, she knew since she was small, were screaming, running from their flesh eating family members, or fighting back.

It makes Eleanor’s stomach churn to think of her killing her grandparents or even her brother, Henry.

Those tiny claws…

A low and loud howl came and Eleanor turned to see her grandparents had made it out. Her grandpa howled again before running towards her, her grandma following.

Eleanor looked out into the road as a white truck was coming down the road.

Her grandparents ran across the front yard.

Eleanor waved her hands back and forth in the middle of the street.

Her grandparents were close.

The white truck stops very close to Eleanor. A mother and her child were in the car. The mother motioned for her to get in quickly. Eleanor gave a mental “Thank you” and quickly got in the car.

Her grandparents slammed on the truck door as the mother floored it. Eleanor watched in the mirror as her grandparents tried chasing the truck but gave up and started chasing other people. “Are you okay?” The mother asked as Eleanor watched her house fade in the distances.

Then Eleanor suddenly remembered…
Those tiny claws…

The mother glanced over at her. “Are you bit?”

Those tiny claws…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

Day Two: March 27
th
, 2020; 10:10 am

Forres shook Eleanor up from the nightmare.

Eleanor shot up in her bed – which is only blankets on a desk – and started to breathe heavily.

“You okay?” Forres asked.

Eleanor nodded, lying down and rolled over. She wiped her face of the tears that stained her face.

Forres stared at her back for a second then get up and leaves the office that she had shared with Eleanor and Chyler whom she wasn’t in the office at all that night. She had gone to bed in there last night but when Forres woke, she was gone

“Where are you going?” A raspy voice came.

              Forres looked over after coming out of the office. It was Chyler.

Chyler was staring at the wall. Her sky blue eyes looked over at Forres. “I’m leaving…,” She hadn’t got much sleep. She heard Eleanor panicking or crying in her sleep. It look liked Chyler hadn’t sleep much either.                            

              “Okay…,” She then looked back at the wall.

              Forres started to leave but then stopped. For some reason, she couldn’t leave. “What happened to you?” 

              Chyler was silent for a few minutes. For Forres, minutes felt like hour but she was willing to wait for an answer. “I saw…,” she swallowed hard. Her lips pierced in a thin, white line. “I saw Austin’s brother get… get shot right in f-front of me…”

              A pang of remorse and sadness hit Forres’s stomach like a brick. She felt bad that Chyler had to see that. No one should have to see that. She felt even worst that she was rude to Austin. “I’m sorry…”

              Without looking over, Chyler held something out in her fist. “Here,” Forres goes over and grabbed it. It was a necklace with “Must be magic,” engraved in it. “It’ll go well with your necklace. Keep it.”

              Forres stared down at the thin circle as if it was covered in gold. “I can’t...”

              Chyler interrupted her, “When we meet up again, you can get it back then. Plus my mom gave it to me. I can’t keep it right now.”

“Did she die? Your mother?” Forres blurted out without meaning to.

Chyler looked at Forres. Forres saw something in the fourteen year old eyes. Pain. Pain of seeing Austin’s brother die twice. Pain of being alive while others are slowly dying. Chyler knew she should feel lucky but she couldn’t. Her mother was somewhere, probably dead: innocent and good people dying then coming back to life. How could she possibly feel lucky or grateful? Forres gave a small nod then puts on the necklace. “You’ll need this too,” Chyler gave her a pocket knife then she goes back to staring at the wall as Forres goes to the twisting stairs. She completely ignored the question but Forres knew the question.

              Forres looked back at Chyler, putting on the necklace and remembering the moment before going down the stairs and leaving the Auto body shop.

 

*****

 

Day Two: March 27
th
, 2020, 10:22 am

The bright, orange sun smiled down at Forres and she smiled back.

The warmth of it felt good on her skin. The wind blew her short hair. The clouds above the dome were pure white, not a gray one in sight. The smell… It smelt like spring. All the flowers –that were covered in blood – were bright and standing tall as if nothing could bring them down. Forres couldn’t picture a better way to live as she limped down the street, in pain from falling from a vent. Every muscle screamed as she moved but she resisted the urge to give up.

What was good was there wasn’t a zombie in sight.

Forres wished the world hadn’t ended so fast. Though she didn’t remember much, she could imagine the cars speeding to get to work. She imagined the people walking on the side walk and their noses in the air, only they knew where they were going. She would love one moment, one second, to see that: to see life in society without blood or undead walking around.

Forres coughed a bit.
You have three days to find it.
She could see the words in her head. Was she really going to “play” this game? She tried to shake the words out of her head and told herself she was thirsty and kept on walking.

What would happen if I didn’t get the case in time?
She wondered.

Easy answer, you’d die.
A voice said in her mind. It sounded like a western voice only hers.

Forres paused and wondered where that voice had come from.

Your imagination.
The voice answered with a laugh.
Now keep walking, sweet cheeks. I know you don’t remember but I have always been here. Like it or not this is my home too.
Forres smiled a bit and walked on. Forres got to a food market. She stepped in front the door which had no handles. She realized it was automated door and there might not be power.

Forres got her fingers in between the doors and tried to pry them open. When the door was opened widely enough, a terrible smell of rotting meat hit her nostrils. Forres let go of the door and let it slam shut. “Flipping gross,” Forres coughed, trying to get clean air in her lungs.

Did you think it would be clean?
The voice said in Forres’s head.

“Oh shut-,” Forres started but then got interrupted by heavy banging on the glass. Forres jumped back and saw a bunch of undead at the glass door, banging on the window with their fists. Forres sighed; glad she didn’t go in to the door. She ran a hand over through her hair, pushing some pieces back. Forres bended over and took a deep breath before leaving.

Down the road, a parked car came into view. Of course there were other cars, but this is the only car that didn’t look broken down or smoking from being on fire. Forres jogs across the street and to the red junk car. She makes sure the car was safe and didn’t have any unwanted guest. Forres saw the car was locked, so like a kid, Forres climbed in through the broken window. She tried her best not to get cut.

Sitting in the driver’s seat, Forres double checked the car then looked around the seats for keys.
Hot wire it.
The voice in her head suggested.

“I don’t know how to,” Forres admitted.

Just connect a bunch of wires together and it’ll start.

“I don’t think it’s that simple…,” Forres stated.

Yeah it is. Let me guide you. First you tear the part under the wheel off and there will be a bunch of wires.

Forres did as she was told but then she stopped. “Wait; if you are me, you know what I know. And I don’t know how to do this. How do you?”

There was a small pause.
Shut up and listen to me. Now ripped some wires off and connect it.

Forres ripped the wire out and was about to put two together. “Will I blow up?”

I don’t know. Maybe not, maybe so. Who cares? Let’s do this?
The voice sounded excited like a little kid on Christmas. Forres gave a little shrug and then started trying to hotwire the car. After several long minutes of trying, Forres gave up.

“I can’t do this,” Forres whined and threw her hands up. Her fingers hit the sun visor. Something fell to her feet. Forres took a second and then reached down and picked the keys up.

Man, you should have looked there.
The voice said like Forres didn’t know that. Forres let out a scream and slammed on the wheel. Words came out of her mouth but no one could even understand them. When she was done letting out her anger, she put her head on the wheel. It was silent for a moment then two bangs came.

Forres picked up her head, thinking they were gun shots but this sounded different and closer. More bangs came and she looked around for the source. No one was in sight but the bangs sounded so close.

Another bang came, making Forres’s head snapped to the trunk. Slowly Forres got out of the car. The car alarm goes off, making Forres jump. She grabbed the keys quickly, and turned it off. Taking a deep breath, she slowly drew her – well Chyler’s – knife. She goes to the trunk and stopped.

Shaking, Forres put the right key in and twisted. The truck made a small
pop
like the case did. She jumped a bit and she opened it, slower than usual.

A boy, tied together, shot out and his head went into her nose.

Forres fell back from the impact in her nose. The knife in her hand flew to the side as she fell on her back.

The boy – who looked in his early 20’s – got out of the car, ran over and grabbed the knife.

Forres rolled over and removed her hand from her nose. In her palm was a pool of blood. She looked up.

The guy held the knife between his duct taped hands and looked at Forres. He stared for a second. His sun kissed skin was sweaty and stained with his own dry blood. His eyes were a misty hazel, a blue and brown color. His hair was messy and brown with some yellow. He then ran away.

Once he was out of Forres’s sight, she rolled over and stared at the dome, high above.