Season Two – Chapter Thirty One

“Fire,” was all I could think to say, my voice barely registering against the bass drone of the crowd. “Fire,” I repeated, shouting out across the line. Faces turned forward, rifles lifted, sending the air thick with hot lead again. Calls for reloads came too soon, silencing the advantage before we’d had a chance to regain. My pistol clicked empty with two shots missed and I span around, fist balled towards what had grabbed me back by the shoulder.

I let myself fall into Toni’s arms as she cupped my fist in her hand and she pulled me away from the roadblock. Taking my weight back, I let her go as she hurried to the van, the rifles and pistols taking up again, shouted commands blurring into one long call. Toni dragged me by the hand, pulling hard as we passed the back of the Land Rover, not letting me reach out, turning only as she pushed me through the driver’s door whilst she ran around the bonnet. In the driver’s seat I closed my eyes, not wanting to see the chaos at the line, but I couldn’t help but look.

The guns fell silent, knives swung out, the soldiers stepped back, leaving the line. Ghouls were falling, but not fast enough, as one fell to the floor another would be at its back. Three of the soldier were down by the time Toni’s calls went out.

“Go,” she pleaded. “Drive.” My eyes fixed on the two remaining by the time her words were done, the sergeant and the sniper. I slammed my hand to the horn and faces looked up, dead white eyes set in our direction. The sergeant turned and was consumed by the pack, his struggle quickly obscured by those once under his command. The sniper didn’t turn but edged away, snapping on his heels, using the one advantage we still had. He ran, moving out of my view, but when I heard the doors at the back opening, weight in the back shifting, I pushed the accelerator to the floor as hands blooded my window.

I didn’t pause for the turn, didn’t wait, let the tyres spin in the mud as they caught the incline of the hill. I pushed my foot harder even though I knew there was nowhere further for it to go, my eyes on the expanding line of the undead shrinking in the wing mirror. Toni was the one to slow me, her hand on my shoulder when I nearly turned the van on its side rounding the corner, watching the surrounding land flatten. All I could think of was the village we’d passed on the way in, the motorway near, a speedway for the infection to spread. I slowed at Toni’s command, lifted my foot from the accelerator, watching as the two police cars came in to view, watching the pair of wide eyes coming back from the fluorescent jacketed officers as they took in what must have been a terrifying view.

Letting my breath calm, even though I hadn’t realised it had been racing, I pulled air to force my heart to slow. Turning to Toni, I watched as she mirrored my expression. I slowed the van as the police cars separated, neither getting out of their cars as we rolled by, but just as our metal passed theirs, I slammed on the brakes and let the window drop.

“You need to call someone,” I said. The police officer paused, his head turning sideways. “You need to call someone,” I repeated. “Then get the hell away from here.” I pushed the accelerator down, taking the road under the motorway. “Where now?” I said, my words without emotion.

“My place,” she replied, her face fixed forward. “Next junction, by the Holiday Inn. Can’t miss it.” I drove, the motorway a desert, but I wouldn’t have noticed any cars if it had been grid locked, my thoughts distracted by the growing pain in my stomach. I’d felt it earlier, but with everything else it was the least of my concerns. Now the action had died down, fear grew. I could feel it already growing inside. The hunger, the thirst. I didn’t want to return to what I’d been before, what she’d made me into. “This one,” she said and the road snapped back into my vision. I pushed the indicator left and slowed, looking up at the ten storey hotel as it loomed out in front.

Her words sounded muffled, cotton wool in my ears as she gave directions, passing by the hotel, the empty car park. I stopped at a pair of low holiday chalets, the ache in my stomach cranking up as we rocked to a stop.

“What’s wrong?” Toni said and I turned to look, feeling a tear roll down my cheek. Laughter broke from my lips unbidden.

“What’s wrong?” I said and she smiled in a reply that melted my heart.

“Apart from the obvious,” she said, holding out her hand. A wave of pain rushed over my stomach as our hands touched. Her skin was so warm, so inviting. I craved to be close, to hold her in my arms, to take in her scent. I craved to run my tongue over her neck, to bite, gently at first. As the air came alive with smells I didn’t want, my smile fell and she repeated the question with the raise of her eyelids. I took a deep breath through my mouth, holding back the ache of my empty stomach.

“It’s happening again,” I said and her face dropped.

“What’s happening again?” came an unfamiliar male voice from behind us.

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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.

Not read Season One? Here it is.

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