We looked into each other’s eyes, mine wide, hers the same. She shook her head in reply at my question spoken only with a screwed up brow. She didn’t know who it could be, but still she turned away. I looked down at myself, the dark dried blood cracking each time I moved. I stepped to the side, out of view of the door when it opened. Moving to the foot of the stairs, I saw the van parked outside, saw the matching dark ink blots across its front, saw the policeman circling its perimeter and remembered the stains on the back doors, the jagged bullet holes in and out. I turned to Toni, taking her dishevelled appearance, her long hair, scrunched up and thick with knots, thin splashes of what would have once been blood up her arm and across her t-shirt, but still she pulled the door open.
I listened intent on the depth of the new voice and could see his jacket reflecting yellow into the room. I listened to the pause in his flow.
“There’s been an accident at the chemical plant near,” he said. I watched as Toni gave the expected reaction, her face a picture of concern, staying hung high with surprise despite the officer not completing his words. I could practically see his face as he changed from his practiced script. “Are you okay miss?”
Toni raised her eyebrows, set her mouth in a toothy smile, her voice high and spritely as she explained about the strawberry jam she was making. The officer gave no response, I imagined his raised expression and waited for the questions to flow. The question came from the second policeman who’d been circling the van, but appeared around the other side looking towards the door.
“Is this your van?” he said.
Toni shook her head.
“Do I look like I work for the BBC?” she said. There was a second pause. “The guy next door works for a TV company, he’s always bringing home the props,” she said with laughter in her voice, running her fingers through her hair and pushing out her chest. There was a pause for a moment that was too long for my liking as his brain tried to work out the consequences. He wasn’t to know of the real chaos up the road and he continued with his prepared speech.
“Okay, Miss. The advice is to stay indoors. Keep your windows closed and stay off the roads. There’s a lot of military coming in to help with the clean up. It’s nothing too bad, but best to keep to what I say. Do you understand?”
I watched as she took a moment to think and then let out a nod before closing the door.
“A chemical spill,” I said as she stepped away.
“They had to say something,” she said, then pulled her mouth wide, flashing her teeth as she spoke. “Sorry, a group of government scientists just up the road are bringing people back from the dead, only to let them escape. They’re coming your way, so stay inside. If you don’t you’ll get bitten and you’ll join the massing undead army.”
I stood still for a minute.
“I guess not,” I replied and hurried up the stairs.
My first shower in how many days I couldn’t remember, felt like it cleansed through my entire body. The act of lathering up, washing myself down, watching the water turn from red to clear again, untangling my hair as I ran my fingers through, felt like I cleaned away all that had gone by. As I dried my body, I was shrouded in optimism, the bite wound now barely a scar, I felt an uplifting sense it was all going to be ok. I stepped from the bathroom, retracing my steps, Toni’s wide open smile greeting me as she stood pulling off her white lace bra that matched the knickers already laying to the floor, doing nothing to dissuade my mood.
The hunger was back, but not the same as before.
My eyes fell to the clothes she laid at the bed. My clothes, I thought as my heart fluttered. A red pant suit I’d left behind in my rush to get away, two years ago now. I stared, memories of pleasures flooding back and I turned to see her standing beside me, her warmth radiating through my towel.
“What you smiling at?” she said.
“You’re smiling too,” I replied, looking at her nipples pointing in my direction. Her grin raised higher as I let the towel drop to the floor, the soft material electrifying across my nipples as it fell. Her eyebrows flashed high and she bit her bottom lip.
“No time for that,” she said, her mouth bunching in a pout. I didn’t say a word, but my eyebrows lowering did all the talking as I ran my hand between her shoulder blades. “No,” she said stepping away.
“Why?” I said, my voice coming out wounded, kicking myself for the control she had. She disappeared through the door towards the shower, her words echoing before the door closed at her back.
“I’ve found her.”
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.