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“Finally, the goddamn safe room!” Nick sighed in relief.

He had enough of this God-forsaken swamp. He was tired, cold, wet, and about 30 other things that left him miserable. His once-pristine white suit was probably no longer salvageable. A Hunter nearly drowned Ellis, Coach was at the mercy of a Jockey on more than one occasion, and sometimes, he’d be sniping Smokers only to find his team had moved on. Not to mention, you can’t see Spitter shit under the murky water. Rest was just one wooden ramp away. And even with that, there was some goddamn Witch moaning and sobbing, probably out in the reeds or something. 

Nick was the first one up the ramp, eager to finally get inside. He backpedaled up the short walkway, on the lookout for the incoming horde – they tended to conveniently appear whenever the team reached the safe room. Luck was never on their side. (He was still alive, though, so that had to count for something…)

Something made contact with the back of his calf. Nick nearly tripped over it, but fuck he were to actually let that happen. Brow furrowed in annoyance, Nick turned to see what it was. 

He’d never sprinted so quickly in his life. 

The goddamn Witch had been standing up. She was making that horrible, guttural growling shriek of hers, and Nick wondered how he didn’t notice how close he was to her. 

Nick dashed down the ramp, brushing arms with someone else, heading in the opposite direction. It was Ellis, prancing up with a chainsaw and no care in the world. 

“ELLIS!” Nick yelled after the boy. He was bound to get himself killed if he didn’t realize…

“Don’ worry Nick! I got this!” Ellis called back over the revving of his chainsaw. Nick grimaced and started to follow.

Ellis’ agonized cries a few seconds later told Nick that he didn’t really “have this” in any way, shape, or form.

The team converged to take out the Witch, then proceeded to carry Ellis’ bloodied mass to the nearby safe room.

“Usu'lly works…” he mumbled half-consciously.

The kid was still alive, thankfully, but he definitely needed at least a couple of nights’ rest before they could keep moving. They weren’t sure if they had time for that, but it was important to stay as far away from half-dead as possible when out of the safe rooms.

As Coach was doing the best he could to patch up Ellis’ injuries, Rochelle grinned at Nick with amusement. He returned her a quizzically indignant look.

“Your face back there… you sure you didn’t wet yourself, Nick?” the woman chuckled. The angry expression she got in reply only made her chuckle more.