Standing on the steps leading to a small cabin, the brunette swept her eyes over her surroundings, from the snow-capped mountains in the distance to the vast sprawling land in front of her. All was silent, save for the hooting of an owl in the distance.
The narrow dirt road she had traveled down was empty of vehicles. Tall grass on both sides of the road stretched to the horizon as far as she could see, swaying along to the touch of the gentle breeze. There was no sign of any living thing in the vicinity.
Her guard still up, she turned towards the dark haired man standing behind her, an automatic rifle held to his chest. Jerking her head in the direction of the open area, she spoke in a low voice, her breath condensing in the chilly air. “Watch my six.”
Steel black eyes met hers. The man nodded and turned his gaze back to the fields around them.
Supporting her rifle with one hand, she reached out with the other to feel along the top of the wooden doorway. It had to be here somewhere.
Halfway down the length of the doorway, her fingertips still picked up nothing but dust. Her heart almost sank until her fingers brushed against the metal tip of a key. She sighed in relief before slipping the spare key out of its hiding place and sliding it into the front door lock.
A light turn of her wrist and the lock disengaged with a loud click that seemed to echo within the house. She froze, holding her breath as she listened for any movement coming from inside. Seconds passed with the only sound being her quickened heartbeat.
Motioning to the man, she pointed two fingers at the front door. Once he acknowledged, she lifted her rifle to her shoulder and pushed the door open with a hand.
A quick scan of the house revealed three rooms and the living room-cum-kitchen in front of her. The windows were boarded up, leaving enough sunshine to stream in, illuminating the interior. Furnishings were simple and plain, nothing seemingly out of place.
Treading steadily across the wooden floor, she crossed over to the rooms lined up on the left. Her finger curled around the trigger of her gun. She inhaled deeply, her body tense, and in one quick motion, she pushed the first door open wide. She did a sweep of the small bedroom, and finding nothing, she exhaled softly. One room down.
She moved on to the next room and then the next. Lowering her rifle, she called out to the man, “All clear. Secure the door.”
Only once he was in and had fastened the bolt on the front door did she then allow herself to relax a little. Still, there was one more part to go before she could declare the premises safe.
“Now, check for any bites.”
~ ~ ~
No. Not again. Not this scene…
Whipping her head back as she ran, she watched helplessly as the swarm of undead swallowed up another of her teammates. The piercing shriek that followed, the cry of a man in his last moments, sent chills down her spine.
“Captain! The road is blocked!"
She snapped her attention back to the front and gasped as she saw another group of undead headed their way. Quickly weighing their options, she pointed towards a small alleyway down to their right. “Head there!”
Her small group of two remaining soldiers turned simultaneously, running like the wind as tens of undead converged on them. Another cry from the back of their pack and they were down to just two – she and her wingman. They wound their way through the convoluted mess of rubble, the sound of grunts still within hearing distance. As she rounded another corner, she jumped across the broken remnants of a building, narrowly missing the sharp pieces of metal jutting out.
A sharp hiss made her halt and turn back, only to see a small jagged wire protruding through her wingman’s winter boots, a dark shade of red already coating the black leather. Their gaze met and she gulped back tears upon reading the expression on his face.
“Sam…” she whispered, her voice breaking.
“Go, Lou. I can at least buy you some time,” the burly man said calmly while hoisting his rifle up.
She hesitated, her mind in turmoil, struggling to find a better alternative.
“Captain,” Samuel addressed her sternly. “Go.”
Her eyes widened and she nodded sharply even as her heart broke. She turned away, but not before calling out one last time. “I’ll see you on the other side, soldier.”
Then she ran. And ran. A coward who couldn’t even save her team.
Heart pounding furiously in a fit of rage, she almost ran into the barbed wire that stretched the length of the city. She hurriedly removed her backpack and hurled it over the fence, her rifle slung over her shoulder. After a quick survey of the fence, she spotted the point that appeared the slackest. With two hands, she firmly grasped the wire that hit below her hip and pushed it down. Looking back, she slowly lifted her leg and swung it-
The fence shook as an undead man flung himself onto it, his fingers reaching out to grab her. Shocked, she released her grip and the barbed wire bounced back into place. As she hurriedly backed away from the growling undead, a cut on her wrist caused her to hiss in pain.
With no time to lose, she unslung her rifle, aimed it- only to remember that the last horde of undead had spent all of her ammunition.
She gulped and scoured around frantically for any weapon to use. Suddenly, the sound of gunshots in the distance caused her to jerk her head up. Sam…
A loud animalistic shriek followed and then, one last gunshot.
Swallowing down the bile that threatened to come up, she closed her eyes, knowing that he had taken his life. She could hear them coming for her now…
She opened her eyes and continued her search but every second that passed only made her more frenzied. She took a quick look behind her. They were already within eyesight. Sweat pouring down her forehead, she looked back at the undead man. With her only weapon, she slammed the rifle butt down on his head again and again but it wasn’t enough.
She breathed heavily, at a loss. It was then that another shot echoed in the small alleyway and the undead man fell to his feet, a bullet in his head. Perplexed, she looked up. A man was on the other side of the fence, pointing a similar rifle in her direction. Her feet frozen to the ground, she watched him lower his weapon an inch. Motioning to her with a slight tilt of his head, he spoke in a cold, clinical voice.
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