“Crap,” I whispered to myself as I looked at the greenhouse. All of the plants were a beautiful, lush green but that was it; none of the vegetable or fruit plants were flowering. I held my hand against my forehead, pushing my brown fringe out of my eyes as I tried to think a way out of the inevitable decision.
“My, we need you in the bridge,” A voice called over the P.A. I recognised the voice as Selene’s and began walking towards the bridge.
“It’s not the bridge. It’s a fucking command centre,” Victoria argued and a smile spread over my face, the horror of what has to be done momentarily forgotten.
“Yeah it’s called a bridge dumb arse,” Selene snapped before the comm turned off. Once I reached the ladder to the upper deck I began climbing the view of the permanently grey sky awaiting me on the surface of the ship with a light breeze flicking the strands of hair that refused to stay up.
“I wonder where that is,” I said to myself as I caught a glimpse of land in the distance, the light mist and haze making it hard to see. Deciding that it didn’t matter where it was, I headed up to the bridge to find Victoria and Selene at each other’s throats again.
“TORI! SELENE!” The two stopped bickering the moment I yelled at them, both looking like deer caught in headlights.
“Sorry Mya,” the two said somewhat sarcastically.
“Why do you need me?” I asked as I headed towards the large map in the centre of a large table preparing to try and work out where we were.
“We’re getting close to Wales,” Tori noted when she saw me studying the map.
“Fuck,” I whispered again when Selene spoke up.
“We got a radio call from a boat that is sinking closer to land than we normally go. We were wanting to know whether we go and help or not?” Selene’s question gave me an excuse for us to head closer to land but I would still have to tell the twins the truth.
“Yea. We’ll go help if we can guarantee that they aren’t….” I began.
“WE KNOW!” they groaned in unison and I smiled before heading over to the radio as another call came over.
“This is the Lady Grey! We have a hole in our hull and we are sinking! Just off the coast of Wales!” A male voice cried out and I grabbed the radio.
“Lady Grey, this is the White Horse. We are currently…” I looked at Tori expectantly.
“30,” Tori whispered.
“30 miles from the Welsh coast and heading in. Can you give me your coordinates?” I asked ready with a pen and paper to write them down.
“Latitude: 51.312457 North. Longitude: -3.94048 West.” I wrote down the coordinates and passed it to Tori.
“We are on our way,” I said through the radio before Selene ran over to the wheel and began steering.
“That’s way too close to land. We’d be right in the centre of two large bits of land, My!” Tori exclaimed as I walked over.
“We need to get closer anyway. We have no food,” I told her quietly, hoping that Selene didn’t hear.
“WHAT?!” Tori snapped before beginning to freak out.
“Tori. I’ll go ashore and leave you two to take care of any of the Lady Grey that we can save. If I’m not back in two hours, you leave. If I shoot up a flare, you take this ship and leave. You don’t wait for me,” I told her. After what happened when we left land, I don’t blame her for being scared to go back to land. I really don’t want to go but we need food.
“But then we still won’t have food,” Tori explained as she continued to hyperventilate.
“You will have to go further along the coast and try again in a small coastal town. I’m going to have to go into Cardiff to find food. I will go straight there and straight back. I won’t detour and if someone is too injured for me to be able to get back in time, I will leave them. Okay?” She hesitantly nodded before Selene spoke up.
“I can see the ship!” I ran over to the window and looked out to see a much smaller boat sinking into the water with figures trying to reach the crew.
“Don’t get close. I’ll get rid of them and then I’ll take a lifeboat to get the survivors,” I ordered the girls before running for the lifeboats and grabbing my rifle as I left the bridge.
“MY!!” I heard Selene call out but the metal door to the bridge slammed shut and cut off her call.
I ran to the side of the boat and readied my rifle and looked through the scope. I could make out 4 survivors but they were struggling to fight off the approaching figures. I breathed out as I lined up a target before breathing in and holding my breath as I rested my finger on the trigger. As soon as the crosshairs were on the back of the figures head I squeezed the trigger. A loud bang echoed briefly in my ear as the bullet shot out of my rifle, my shoulder being pushed back by the recoil and the figure’s head blowing apart before the remainder fell into the water.
I lined up a second and a third and a fourth, taking out any that got close to the survivors before I couldn’t see any more of the creatures crawling up the boat. I grabbed one of the chains that went down to the lifeboat and used it to slide down, grateful that one of the girls did that while I was shooting.
As soon as I was in the lifeboat I started the engine and headed for the sinking boat finding that a family were the only survivors.
“When you said sinking, you probably should have mentioned that they were sinking you,” I said firmly as I helped the youngest boy into the boat, still surprised that Benedict Cumberbatch and his family were safe.
“Would you have come?” Benedict asked as he helped his other son over to the lifeboat.
“We would have come quicker,” I told him honestly as I aided the second boy onto one of the seats. I turned back to the couple and offered my hand to his wife who seemed a too scared to move.
“Go. Lave me here,” I looked at her confused with her words, the two boys in the boat beginning to squirm around.
“Boys, I need you to stay still. Please sit still,” I told them carefully. They hesitated but stayed relatively still as I turned back to the woman.
“Show me your hand,” I said as I offered her my hand again. She kept her left arm tight to her chest and didn’t move it but I could see part of a bite on her thumb.
“Sophie?” Benedict asked as he took a step closer to her, the boat still sinking.
“You don’t know that you’ll turn,” I comforted, hoping to get her on the boat.
“If I go with you I will hurt everyone when I turn,” She whispered holding out her hand, the bite already turning her hand and arm black with the virus.
“There is a room that we can shut you in until we find a cure. You don’t have to die out here,” I said carefully as I grabbed her hand softly, Benedict holding her waist as he coerced her forwards.
“I’m not risking it.” Before I could do anything, Sophie snatched the handgun from my free hand and shot herself. I watched mind-numbingly as her body fell backwards and into the water, the boys' screams and cries lost on deaf ears as the water stirred around her form as it sank. I snapped back to reality as the boat shifted and moved, my vision turning to the youngest as he tried to climb into the water.
“No!” I grabbed him and picked him up, taking him away from the water’s edge as Benedict continued to watch the spot where Sophie’s body fell.
“Benedict, come on. We need to go now,” I ordered, grabbing Benedict’s arm and tugging it slightly. He roused from his hypnotic state and took his son from my arms as he climbed aboard.
“It’s okay. She’s in a better place,” Benedict whispered to his son, his voice sounding broken and hurt. In all honesty, I couldn’t blame him.
“White Horse, come in. This is lifeboat 3,” I called over the portable radio as I began to steer the little boat back to the ship.
“MYA! We thought you were going to die! Sharks went under the ship as you left!” Tori’s voice sent me into shock.
“CHECK! ARE THEY STILL NEAR THE SHIP?!” I cried out in desperation.
“Starboard side!” Selene stated as she snatched the radio.
“Right side!” Tori called out sounding distant but I stopped paying attention to the twins as dark forms headed towards the lifeboat.
“THAT IS THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE!!” Selene’s voice was quiet to me. The sound of the life boat’s engine the only sound.
“TORI! Get a rifle, start shooting. NOW!” I snapped down the radio as I grabbed the eldest boy and pulled him down with me as I laid flat on the boat, turning the boats engine off.
“What are you doing?” Benedict questioned almost offended.
“Get your English arse down now or one of those fucking sharks will drag you into the water!” I snapped. He seemed offended for a second before a half decomposed shark jumped over the boat, wiggling itself to see if it could get anything.
“Fuck,” He said shakily as he basically fell down onto his back, holding his youngest close to his chest.
“Stay quiet,” I whispered. Benedict nodded before holding a finger to his lips and looking at his youngest who copied at the same time as the little boy I had next to me held a finger to his lips. The sharks continued to jump over us. Fear filling my every thought. I heard a loud thud and the boat rocked. The younger boy cried out and Benedict’s hand covered his mouth. Two more thuds followed and the lifeboat was on the verge of tipping.
A shark jumped out of the water as the boat was leaning on its side. I closed my eyes as I waited for the inevitable when a gunshot filled the silence. A loud splash followed before the boat rocked over to its other side. More gunshots echoed around us and then went silent.
“White Horse to Life Boat 3, Tori got all of the sharks. Get out of there now!” Selene’s voice was a piece of heaven at the moment. I sat up and tried to start the engine, grateful when it sputtered into life.
“Selene, get that arm ready! I don’t want to be in here any longer than I have to be,” I snapped down the radio as I steered up to the side of the ship. I watched as the metal arm began to make shaky movements before becoming smooth. It dropped down and closed around the boat before lifting us out of the water.
“MYA!” Selene sprinted over as the boat was placed on the deck of the ship. I climbed out and hugged the younger twin. The rusting metal of the White Horse a welcome sight. I turned back around and helped the older boy out of the lifeboat and checking him over.
“I didn’t get bit,” the boy said as a tear rolled down his cheek.
“Okay. Is it okay if Selene makes sure? She may even have a lolly for you,” I whispered as I pointed to the blonde as she crouched down. The little boy nodded before walking over to Selene as I stood up.
“What’s your name?” Selene asked as she began to check his arms thoroughly.
“Christopher,” The boy said before Selene took him inside one of the rooms and I turned back around to Benedict and the younger boy.
“He’ll be fine,” I answered Benedict’s unanswered question and turned my attention to the lifeboat as Tori began chaining it up, ready for another trip.
“He watched his mother shoot herself. He won’t be fine,” Benedict snapped before pushing past me and into the room Selene and Christopher had just gone.
“You just get on people’s nerves, don’t you?” Tori asked and I glared at her.
“Tori shut it. I’ll wait a few more minutes before I head to Cardiff. You see a flare, you go.” Tori nodded before walking away as I felt tears welling in my eyes.
“If you wait any longer it’ll be dark,” Tori said quietly as she walked up to the side of the boat.
“I keep telling, myself I have to go but then I can’t. I hesitate. Do me a favour,” I began and looked over to Tori. I could feel the tears still falling down my face.
“Anything,” Tori agreed as she looked at me concerned.
“Don’t wait. As soon as I’m off, go. GO all the way around the UK before you come back. I’ll have 2 radio’s with me in case something happens to one of them. Radio me when you get back here. If I don’t answer, keep going.” I stated, my voice breaking as I spoke.
“No. I may have said anything but that’s suicide,” Tori snapped. I shook my head and sucked in my lips, biting the bottom one.
“Suicide is staying here while I go over. It’s safer for everyone on board if you keep moving. We know that everything can become infected and that’s why we had to give up meat but all it takes is a bird to shit on the deck and someone touches it for everyone to die. Don’t stop moving,” I whispered when a light in one of the cabins turned on. Tori nodded mournfully before giving me a hug, the warmth of her embrace making my tears fall quicker.
“Stay safe,” Tori ordered quietly and I smiled as I saluted her. I walked over to the boat and climbed in as Tori pushed the dangling vessel over the edge of the ship.
“Good luck, My. See when you come back aboard,” Tori said with a smile but her voice was laced with sorrow.
“You too,” I responded before the boat was lowered onto the dark waves below. The last rays of gold and yellow fought to get through the clouds as the dark grey sky loomed overhead, a warning of the inevitable future that awaited me on land.
Deciding against the motor at night, I grabbed the oars from the side of the boat and began paddling towards the ferocious land behind me, the distant inhuman screams daunting and turning my blood to ice as I got closer. The sound of the water lapping against the side of the boat, once, would have been pleasant but now it only put me more on edge. The breaking of the water from the oars was barely noticeable to me but it wasn’t me that needed to not hear it. Under the surface of the water waited a peril worse than land.
The sound of waves beginning to crash on the reefs and the shore sent my body into fight or flight mode. I hadn’t been alone since all of this began. I hadn’t been alone at night since my mother died to save me when I was only 4 years old. I hadn’t been alone in a boat in my lifetime.
I stopped paddling as I took a last glance to the White Horse, seeing it as it left the harbour to begin it’s 14 day sail around the UK. There would be enough stored food for that long but no longer. I felt the tide grab hold of the lifeboat and push it onto the beach with one of the larger waves. I waited for the water to go out before jumping out and pulling the boat up the beach a bit more, jumping back in as the waves crashed over the sand again.
By the time I had gotten the boat out of the water, the sun was gone. The stars remained hidden from view and there were no lights to guide my way in the pitch black of night. I grabbed the torch from my pocket and turned it on, the blue artificial light reflecting on the damp crystal sand as I looked around. I could see the houses on the shoreline beginning to crumble away as the sand collapsed underneath it, plants and trees overgrown and destructive where they stood. I walked forwards quietly, heading for the barely visible path over the dunes. I could hear distant groans in the distance but hoped that the sound of my feet on the brick paths wouldn’t disturb the rotting corpses.
The sound of silence echoed heavily through the shops on the side of the road. The smashed and bloody windows a sure sign that there are no survivors in the building. I could feel the cold piercing through my jumper as the wind began to moan around me, the sound of zombies being drowned out by the sound.
Realising it was too risky to keep going with the weather like this, I ducked into a house on the other side of the street. I checked the street to be sure there were no zombies before bending over and picking the lock. The door opened soundlessly and I crept in, closing and locking the door behind me. The house creaked as I walked, the stale smell of smoke filling the air. I flashed my light up and looked around the room to find a cigarette on a light brown, wood table, smoke spiralling up from the orange glow on the end.,
I went to take a step forward when something collided with the back of my head and all I saw was black. I could hear muffled voices in my subconscious and I felt like I was being carried but I couldn’t move, couldn’t focus and couldn’t think. I felt weightless as I slipped between the edge of consciousness and the blackness of sleep. I managed to pull myself back into consciousness enough that I could groan in pain.
“Why did you catch a zombie?” A distant but recognisable English voice asks.
“It picked the lock to the house.” Another English voice responds.
“I’m… not zombie…” I managed to say but my words felt heavy on my lips.
“She’s human,” the voice said but my eyes were still closed and felt too heavy to open.
“14 days… 14…days,” I said before I passed out.
“How’s your head?” I opened my eyes and groaned as I turned to look at the voice’s owner. My eyes were blurry and distorted the person so I closed my eyes and reopened them, finding that it didn’t help.
“Did someone remove my contacts?” I asked, my throat sore as I spoke.
“Here,” The voice said softly as they touched just under my left eye. I opened my eye and instantly flinched a little as a finger came close. I managed to keep my eye open long enough for the person to put the contact lens in.
“Other eye,” He said and I opened my right eye to repeat the process. I blinked a few times before looking over again.
“Tom?” I asked confused. He nodded his head and watched me carefully.
“How’s your head?” he asked again as I looked around the decrepit room.
“Sore. How long was I out?” I asked noticing the sunlight coming into the room.
“10 days,” he answered and I shot up out of the bed.
“Fuck,” I cried out as an IV ripped out of my arm.
“Relax. You need to relax,” Tom stated as he tried to get a hold of my shoulders.
“No. No, I need to get out of here. My friends, they’ll be here in less than 4 days and… oh god. I need to get food to them or they’ll die. I need to get out of here,” I panicked, running my hands through my hair and down my face.
“Where are your friends?” Tom asked as the door behind me opened. He held his hand up in a gesture to stop the intruders.
“They’re on a ship called the White Horse. We found survivors on a sinking boat just off the coast, that’s why I came to shore here instead of a small coastal town.” I answered as I clenched my hair in tight fists.
“No one can survive on the water,” Tom stated disbelievingly.
“This is my first time on land in 2 and a half years, mate. People can survive on the water,” I snapped as I turned around, pushing through the group of people inside the door. I walked out and straight down the stairs, finding my guns on the table.
“You won’t survive out there on your own,” A voice noted.
“I have to. I’m the only person who can get food to my friends,” I explained as I slung my rifle over my shoulder.
“Everyone who leaves dies.” The voice stated.
“Not true,” I snapped at the blonde Australian. “My friends and I found survivors, the first people we had seen in 2 and a half years that weren’t one of the other two. They survived,”
“I lost a friend and his family because they refused to stay on land. We had to move after zombies overran our last safe house, 30 died.” Chris explained.
“Benedict refused to stay and left. His two sons and his wife are dead,” Tom explained as he joined us.
“Sophie took her own life with one of my handguns because she was scared she was going to turn. She got bitted protecting her family. Benedict and this two sons are on the White Horse. They are alive,” I snapped before storming out of the safe house to find the I was at least a two-day walk from the coast.
“They survived?” Tom asked from the doorway to the small cottage.
“Yeah, they did. But they won’t much longer unless I can get food to the White Horse,” I explained in a pleading tone. Tom looked over the horizon for a moment before turning and walking back inside the cottage, the door being left wide open.
“Fuck you too,” I whispered before turning around and heading for Cardiff. The grass around me was dry and dead, the wind non-existent in the vast valley. Each step I took was filled with the crunch of gravel beneath my feet.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I sighed and rolled my head with my eyes in annoyance. I turned around to find Tom holding a gun with two others behind him.
“Walking. You?” I snapped, still bitter at him.
“Helping you get food to that ship or to get all of you on land where it’s safe,” I scoffed at his words.
“Safe? If we don’t come to land, we don’t see zombies. We can live instead of survive out at sea,” I explained. Tom stopped walking right in front of me and I caught sight of Tom Holland and Chris behind him.
“Safe is not having to fear running out of food or losing people you care about. No one is safe anywhere but for the best or the worst, land is safer. Just remember that.” Tom whispered.
“Just remember, this isn’t a movie set. This is real life and if you hesitate, you die. You stop and think, you die. Do you still feel safe on land, pom?” I asked sardonically.
“You can stop with the attitude or we’ll go back to our safe house,” I took a step forward and was chest to chest with Tom before leaning onto my tiptoes so I was right in his face.
“Not much of a safe house if you fled there after losing people to zombies, is it?” I whispered, seeing sorrow and hurt fill his eyes as I spoke. For a moment I felt guilty but then I shook it off, knowing that I have no way to guarantee that he won’t just toss me to the zombies if they came after us.
“I watched my sisters get eaten as they screamed for mercy. I never even got to try and save my parents. At least you still have people,”
“I have friends that I made when I climbed aboard a ship in hopes of surviving. I lost everyone I ever knew so don’t play a guilt card on me,” I snapped before turning and walking away.
“Well, she’s a bag of fun.” Chris laughed as I heard footsteps begin following me.
“But she’s the only one who can get us to that ship to save everyone on board,” Tom groaned quietly. I assumed so I wouldn’t hear.
“He’s just a bit touchy. It was to try and save you because of my mistake that got his sisters killed,” Tom Holland noted as he came up next to me.
“Perhaps she’s right though, Tom. Maybe it is safer at sea than on land?” Chris questioned Tom quietly.
“How do people differentiate between you and him?” I asked Tom Holland.
“They call me shorty or him Loki. Whichever makes it easier for them,” Tom Holland explained with a shrug.
“I think I’ll call you Tommy. It’s what my sister always called you when she was fangirling,” I stated with a melancholic tone.
“So you are trying to carry how much food to a boat in the middle of the harbour?” Tommy asked looking over my shoulder as I gathered another trolley of canned vegetables.
“As much as I can. I need to keep them safe,” I answered between heavy breaths. I threw another box into the trolley then stopped to take some deep breaths.
“Are you gonna just stand there waving that thing around or are you going to help me?” I asked looking to the short Englishman who seemed like a deer caught in headlights.
“Sorry. Right, sorry.” He slung the rifle over his shoulder and grabbed a box, throwing it into the trolley and spurring me on again. When the trolley was as full as we could get it, we began heading out of the storage facility and straight for the beach.
“Could you two be any slower?” I glared at Tom as he spoke to me and I could see Tommy looking a little hurt by the harsh tone.
“I never asked you to come so don’t you dare have a go at him. After all,” I began. As I walked past him I finished my sentence loud enough for Tommy and Chris to hear.
“It’s not his fault you’re a condescending arse,” I finished with a smirk. Chris and Tommy began snickering and tried to stop the full-on laughter as Tom’s face contorted with emotions; bits of incoherent words falling from his lips.
“What’s the problem?” I asked condescendingly. “Snarky comments too far up your arse to find them?”
“I hate you,” Was all that Tom said and sent Tommy and Chris into fits of laughter on the seaside.
“Hate me all you want sweetie. Because you ain’t getting any of this,” I said pointing to myself as I turned to face him.
“Why would I want you to begin with?” Tom asked confused.
“Well, unless you’re going to go fuck another man’s wife, I didn’t see any women for you to tap back there. Just saying,” I stated cockily making Chris and Tommy fall to the ground in silent laughter.
“You’re an utter bitch,” Tom noted as though shocked.
“I know. It just comes so naturally to me. Oh my god, just like being an asshole comes so naturally to you,” I started chirping up. And I watched Tom’s face go red with anger but my smile dropped as I looked past him.
“You know what-” “Move!” I ordered, cutting Tom off and he just got even more pissed off.
“Don’t-” “LOOK BEHIND YOU!!” I screamed at him. He turned around as a zombies screech filled the salty air. Tommy and Chris scampered to get up, Tom and I facing the zombie with guns ready as more came over the dunes.
“Run!” Chris yelled as he grabbed Tom’s arm. I watched for a moment before heading for the water.
“What are you doing? They’ll kill you!” Tom snapped at me.
“GET THE FUCK IN THIS BOAT!” I screamed at him as I began pushing it out into the water, avoiding the waves as much as I could. Chris ran over and helped me push it into the water as Tommy ran and jumped in. Chris and I clambered into the boat. I ran to the engine, starting it while Tommy and Chris called out to the Englishman on land.
“RUN!” “GET IN!” HURRY UP!” Tom turned and sprinted tail down the beach and I sighed.
“Tell him to run for the jetty,” I ordered the two boys in front of me as the engine sputtered into life.
“JETTY! GO TO THE JETTY!” the boys called as I steered us down the shoreline.
“He’s not going to make it,” Chris said already going into shock. Tom glanced behind him and turned to run for the jetty. He narrowly missed a zombie as it reached for him from another boat. The sound of running steps on the decaying wood sounded so distant as we neared the end of the jetty.
“JUMP!” I yelled at him as he reached the end. He launched himself off as I began to turn the boat. As the boat finished its turn, Tom landed heavily in the centre of the mountain of food.
“GO! GO! GO!” Chris yelled at me. We began heading forward but a zombie managed to jump onto the boat. As it went for Tom, Chris grabbed it and threw it into the water.
“Did it get you?” Tommy asked looking at Chris. The Australian shook his head as he looked at his unmarked hands and arms.
“You got lucky,” I said in relief.
“No thanks to you,” Tom snapped at me.
“Here we go again. You are only alive because we are on the water. Humans turned into zombies, die in the water. That’s why it’s safe at sea. The only zombies that will get you are in the ocean,” I snapped back. I grabbed one of the radios from my pocket and began trying to get hold of the white horse.
“Tori, Selene. It’s Mya come in,” I called. When there was nothing but static I tried again.
“Tori. Selene. Come in,” Static filled the stoic lake again. The three men in the boat looked to me, two with concern and pity, the third with an ‘I-told-you-so’ smirk.
“MYA! Thank the gods you’re alive,” Selene’s voice had never brought more of a smile to my face than in that moment.
“It’s great to hear your voice, Selene. I’m in the harbour still with food. I also have three terrestrials with me,” I responded and could hear Tori laughing in the background.
“Tori wants to know if you’ve kissed Chris or Tom yet,” Selene joked down the radio.
“You know me. I kissed the zombie on the beach first,” I answered as the White Horse came into view.
“We’ll be there soon,” I stated into the radio before steering the lifeboat out to sea and straight for what I have called home.
“That’s the White Horse?” Tommy asked as he looked at the rusting blue and red vessel.
“Were you expecting a white horse?” I asked jokingly. Before Tommy could say anything a shark jumped out of the water and hit Chris, knocking him to the floor of the boat.
“GET DOWN! White Horse, we have sharks. We can’t get to you,” I stated in a panic. As I looked up, a crimson glow caught my eye and I saw Chris looking at the gash on his arm.
“DON’T!” I screamed at him as he reached for a revolver.
“I’m going to turn,” Chris sounded defeated as he spoke, the sharks forgotten about.
“Not necessarily. You may be immune and if not, I swear to you. We will find a cure,” I pleaded with him.
“No one is immune and there is no cure,” Tom noted as he looked at Chris solemnly.
“Is he alright?” I nodded my head with Selene’s words and continued to watch Chris on the monitor. After knocking him out before he pulled the trigger, gun in his mouth, I noticed that the black maze that the virus causes was not forming.
“I think he’s immune,” I noted quietly. I could see Tom and Tommy out of the corner of my eye, pacing back and forth as they waited not so patiently.
“He’s going to turn. Why don’t we let him do as he wishes?” Tommy asked as he knelt down next to me.
“I think he’s immune. Do you really want to kill someone that’s immune?” I asked turning away from the monitor for the first time in hours.
“No one is immune or have you finally gone so crazy you’re delusional?” Tom snapped at me and I sighed.
“I will leave now. Mate, if I were you I wouldn’t keep snapping at her. She can be a bitch but she always has a reason,” Selene told Tom before leaving, Tommy leaving soon after in search of water presumably.
“I can’t believe you want to watch him turn,” Tom laughed, amused and ignorant.
“People can be immune to the virus. It’s not impossible,” I said softly.
“YES! IT IS!” I turned around on my chair and slapped Tom across the face because of his words.
“You want to know why I think immunity isn’t impossible? Because I fucking am!” I yelled pulling my shirt down to reveal the pink-tinged silver scar on my collarbone. Tom stopped everything as he looked at the scar.
“What?” Tom looked confused and surprised. Guilty and shocked as he spoke. His face relaxing into a sympathetic frown rather than the angry glare.
“I got bitten as I climbed on board this ship. My mum being eaten alive on the jetty as she tried to save my life by a thing that once was my older sister,” I explained as I turned back to face the monitor.
“I’m sorry for snapping at you earlier and being rude for the last few days. I’m just… on edge. The greenhouse wasn’t producing any food anymore and…” I began.
“Don’t eat anything from there,” Tom ordered, cutting me off.
“Here I am trying to be nice and…” I begin with a harsh tone. Snapping around to face him.
“Plants stop producing fruit when they are infected. They take 6 months to accommodate and then they start growing infected fruit,” Tom explained and I held my mouth open.
“Oh,” was the only word that slipped from my mouth.
“You saved my life. I kind of owe you for that,” Tom explained with a small smile, shoving his hands into his pockets. For the first time since I met him, I took my time to look him over. His eyes were red with tears and insomnia, dark bags under his eyes. But his hair, it was dishevelled and unkempt as ginger brown strands hung over his face and in his eyes.
“Did you want to have a bath? And maybe cut your hair a bit?” I asked playfully but genuine.
“I can’t cut my hair. Believe that if I could I already would have,” Tom explained as a smile graced his lips, the first full one I had seen in person.
“Well, you could always dye it black...” I suggested and he chuckled a little.
“There is always that, mortal.” I smiled softly with Tom’s Loki impression before turning my attention back to the screen.
“I can cut it for you if you want. I cut Tori and Selene’s hair when they get annoyed with it,” I offered with a quick glance at Tom.
“I’ll take you up on that but I do need to get back to everyone that is still in the safe house,” Tom explained, the playful look dissipating from his facial features.
“It’s night right now. You aren’t going anywhere tonight. Have a shower, I’ll cut your hair and when the sun rises, I’ll help the three of you get back to shore but I don’t want to come back on land for a long, long time to come,” I noted feeling pain and hurt when I saw the slightly betrayed look on Tom’s face.
“Go have a shower, Tom. I’ll still be here when you get back,” I encouraged with a pained smile. Tom nodded his head before pointing out the door.
“To the left. Down the hall and down one level. Second door on the left. There should be towels down there,” I stated. I could see a look of confusion on Tom’s face but it seemed more like a performance than real.
“Can you show me?” he asked with a quirk on his lips.
“Only because I don’t want you ending up in my bedroom,” I teased.
“Are you sure?” Tom whispered into my ear as I walked past him.
“Most definitely. I thought I made that clear?” I said joking but the utter heartbreak on Tom’s face put guilt on my every thought and action.
“Oh, god. Tom, I didn’t mean…” I began but Tom shook his head at me.
“I get it. Don’t worry. We’ll be out of your hair as soon as we can,” Tom said coldly before pushing past me and out the door, leaving me on my own. I felt my eyes burning as tears welled up. I leaned on the wall and slid down the cold metal until I was sat on the floor, letting the tears flow freely as I let out the pain and torment the world forced on all survivors. I wrapped my arms around my legs and rested my head on my knees and just sobbed until I could cry no more.
“This is all my fault,” I whispered to myself in a mantra, over and over again. Images of Sophie shooting herself, Chris getting bitten, my dad falling to his death, my mum being eaten alive all flashing briefly on my closed eyelids but the looks of hurts, betrayal, pain and anguish on Tom’s face a constant image on my eyelids.
“I’m so sorry. I’m sorry,” I whispered briefly until I passed out on the floor, a restless slumber filled with nightmares awaiting me for the pain I had caused others.
Chapter 7: Origin: Mya
I want to say a quick thank you to Reyofgrey for your encouragement and reminding me to add more for Mya and the twins. Thanks so much. ^_^
***Day of the Pandemic... MYA***
“MUM! I can’t find my bag!” I called down the stairs of the apartment. I threw parts of the unmade bed around the room as I searched through the messy room for my backpack.
“Well, if you cleaned your room more often, you wouldn’t have this problem,” I turned and glared at my sister, her ginger hair perfectly curled and hanging around her pale face.
“Well, the next time I need advice on where to get the best dog shit to wash my hair in. I’ll be sure to ask you,” I sassed before strutting past her.
“Mya Belle Uchnik! Apologise to your sister now,” I sighed and rolled my eyes, turning to face my sister.
“Laura, I’m sorry…” I began and turned to face my mum who had a pointed glare on me.
“For?” Laura asked moving her head to the side and pouting her lips.
“For admitting that I’d prefer to look at a horses arse than your face,” I answered and the offended look on my sister’s face was priceless until my mum hit the back of my head.
“Get down to the car now. When you get home from college you are grounded for a month,” My mum snapped. I nodded my head and headed down the stairs, risking a glance in the mirror at the front door to see my brown hair was not poofy and out of the ponytail where my mum had hit. The striking green eyes looking back at me in the mirror covered with the prescription lenses of the purple framed glasses.
“Let me guess, another plan between you and Laura?” My dad’s voice echoed down the hall as I exited the apartment.
“Yea. Mum still thinks I’m just a troubled child,” I answered my dad and gave him a hug.
“Your mother is smarter than that. She’ll know something’s up,” my dad advised before walking back into the apartment as Laura exited.
“Thank you so much, My. I owe you,” Laura chirped as she gave me a hug.
“If that’s the case, bring me a signed photograph of Tom Hiddleston.” I quipped and my sister rolled her eyes.
“Yes, ma’am. Do I look good?” I looked my sister up and down, her long legs exposed to the summer sun and shoulders glowing with the same light.
“He won’t be able to take his eyes off of you,” I answered and passed Laura the packet of condoms as she asked me yesterday.
“Thanks, Mya. Good luck at college today,” I nodded my head in appreciation to my sister before she left my sight. Something inside of me broke as I watched my sister leave, something just didn’t seem right.
“Your mother is on the way down. I’d hurry to the car if I were you,” My dad whispered in my ear, making me shriek in fear.
“Jesus Christ, Dad! You scared me half to death,” I told him jokingly as I held my hand to my chest. My dad smiled jokingly before kidding my temple.
“I’ll see you when I get home from work,” My dad said softly before he headed for the carpark under the building. Stopping as he reached the doorway.
“Laura? I thought you were going out?” My dad asked as my mum walked into the hall.
“I told you to get in the car,” My mum snapped at me but I was too busy watching my dad’s face fall.
“Padre?” I asked as I got closer to my father. Mum grabbed my arm and held me back just as there was an ungodly screech from the stairwell to the carpark. My sister ran straight at my dad and bit into his neck. Blood sprayed all over my sister, the white shirt now crimson.
“RUN!” My mum screamed as she pulled me backwards. I dropped my bag and ran with my mum, heading for the exit to the apartment building. We pushed the doors open to see crashed cars on the street, people eating each other and smoke rising from various places.
“Mum?” I asked as shock began to sink in.
“Run. We need to run,” My mum encouraged as she shook my shoulder. I nodded slightly but followed her.
“Where are we going?” I asked, screaming as a body landed between my mother and I.
“Don’t stop. Head for the harbour,” I sprinted after her and noticed a motorbike on its side.
“Mum! Here,” as she turned around, I threw her a helmet from the back of the bike and took the one off of the dead rider.
“You don’t know how to ride!” My mum yelled. I started the bike and put it into first gear, riding up next to her.
“There is a lot that Laura and I kept from you. She has a fiancé, I know how to ride motorbikes. Please,” I begged. My mum’s eyes widened but she climbed on and put her helmet on as we left the city.
“Hold tight!” I yelled at my mum as people ran at us. Not stopping even when they caught fire from running through explosions.
“Left!” My mum yelled and I took a sharp left into a back alley. The alley was only just wide enough for us as we followed the twisted path.
“Why did we have to live in Dunedin?” I asked my mum rhetorically as we rode past the Cadbury chocolate factory.
“Right!” I turned onto St Andrew Street and followed the road. The tarmac slippery with oil and blood and water from the rain last night.
“Where now?” I yelled as we came up to a roundabout. I could see people with blood-covered faces on the curb. They looked at us before running for us.
“THIRD EXIT! WE WANT BIRCH STREET!” I nodded my head to my mum’s order and pushed the motorbike to its limit. As we went past the creatures they reached out for us, trying to rip us off the bike.
“MUM!!” I screamed as I came to a stop. I looked back and saw my mum on the ground. Creatures heading for her as she stood up.
“GO! GET ON A BOAT AND GO!” My mum screamed. I hesitated before I watched as my sister tackled my mum to the ground.
“GO!” My mum screamed before I watched them rip my mum’s stomach open. Eating everything while my mum was still alive. I felt sick as tears flowed down my face my brother probably long gone and my parents eaten in front of me by my sister. I turned the bike back towards Birch Street and rode as fast as I could. Only one boat was in the harbour and I looked at it, I didn’t want to be alone.
“AHH!” I turned around and pushed the thing into the water as it bit me. Blood flowing down my collarbone from the bite. I climbed up onto the boat from one of the ropes and just sat against the railing on the side and waited for my life to end.
Chapter 8: Origin: Victoria and Selene
***Day of the Pandemic… Tori and Selene***
“Why are we doing this again?” I asked my younger twin as I held the torch for her, her head the only thing blocking the light from reaching the door’s lock.
“Finding out why dad never came home,” Selene noted when the lock finally clicked. She packed her tools away and stood up, pushing the door open with a creak.
“He worked for CDC, Selene. Anything could have happened to him. Do you really want to find out?” I inquired as we walked into the file room on the boat that Dad was last on. The large metal ship containing lab equipment and reports on just about every case the CDC has worked in the last 10 years but its name still confusing me. White Horse.
“He went to Kenya to help with a minor pandemic of an unknown virus. Three weeks later they found a cure and started to inject it into the infected and it worked. Now Kenya is a dead zone and none of the volunteers that were over there are alive. Yes, I want to know why,” I held my left hand up in surrender as Selene snapped at me. She was always a daddy’s girl so I pushed no further.
“How about this, we look around and see what we can find but if we don’t find anything we leave. Deal?” I asked. Selene stopped walking and sighed.
“Okay. I just want Dad back, Tori. I just want him back,” I wrapped my free arm around her as she began to cry. With dad gone, we have no one left but each other.
“Come on then. Let’s find what those bastards did to our dad,” Selene nodded but her bottom lip still shook as tears streamed gracefully down her cheeks. We kept walking further into the ship with nothing jumping out at us to say there was something wrong and slowly the morning light began to seep through the circle windows in golden rays.
“Do you ever wonder if mum and dad wanted twins?” Selene asked as the bottom of the ship was covered in a golden glow.
“Probably not but they seemed ecstatic to have the both of us,” I encouraged before hugging my sister and closing my eyes as I vaguely remembered our father’s last words.
“Which reminds me, Happy 16th Birthday Selene,” I felt her arms wrap around my waist as we continued to hug in the growing light. I opened my eyes as we pulled away and looked to my little sister before something caught my eye.
“Oh my… Fuck!” I started as I stumbled backwards knocking something off of a shelf behind me, the jar rolling over to the edge of the ship, out an open panel and into the ocean below.
“Oh my gods,” Selene and I stopped looking at where the mysterious jar fell and looked at the decomposing corpses hanging from the roof of the ship.
“Tori,” I looked to where Selene was pointing to see a corpse with deep blue hair falling out in clumps, uniform slipping off of the shrinking figure but the tag clear as day to Selene and I.
“Dad,” I whispered. Selene was walking over to our father when a scream erupted from the jetty. We looked at each other and ran back outside leaving the door wide open as we ran to the upper deck.
“What is going on?” Selene asked as we watched people attacking other people. Some people screaming as they were eaten alive, others screeching inhumanly as they chased others.
“We need to hide,” I stated as I grabbed Selene’s arm and ran for the bridge of the ship. We would occasionally slip on the stairs as we ran but fear propelled us to the top. From there we watched as a normal day fell to hell. A woman was pulled off of a motorbike and then eaten alive, a man ripped apart just meters from the ship and blood dripping from the mouths of everyone else.
“I don’t want to die! Tori! I don’t want to die!” I crouched to Selene as she fell to the ground screaming.
“You won’t. I promise you won’t die. I won’t let anyone hurt you. Selene! Selene listen to me!” I screamed over my sister we heard a thump and Selene went quite but her whole body kept shaking as she sobbed silently.
“I’ll be back. Stay here,” I told her before getting up and looking down at the deck. A woman sat on the edge, back to the railing as her chest bled profusely. I unlocked the door and looked around, making sure there was no one around before heading down the stairs quietly. The woman would have been 18 or 19 and was now unconscious. Hearing a scream from over the side of the boat I looked over the railing. A man stood there holding what looked like a bite, black running up and down his arms where I think the veins ran. His whole body going black briefly before he began to choke and fell to the ground, blood pouring from his mouth.
“What the fuck?!” I screamed as the dead man got back up and ran after a young boy. I turned away choking unable to watch. I looked back to the girl and saw a bite mark on her shoulder and freaked out. I saw a bit of rusted metal and grabbed it. As I walked towards her I noticed that there was no black on her, not the bite, not her skin, nowhere.
“How do you know if someone’s infected?” Selene questioned our father and he chuckled.
“If they don’t show symptoms straight away we monitor them for 72 hours and if they still don’t we assume they are immune or we monitor them for a further period of time known as the incubation period,”
“Damn it, dad.” I whispered to myself before grabbing the girl and dragging her into a small room. I looked around and saw that there was a camera in the room so I left the girl in there and locked the door before running up to the bridge to see Selene watching a screen.
“Who is that?” She asked and I saw the girl I had just dragged into the room.
“I guess we’ll find out,” I answered.
“You look like shit.” I chuckled once at Tori’s comment before looking at her pointedly.
“I feel like the dead,” I joked and saw the smile quirk her lips.
“What’s up?” She questioned as she sat down across from me. The lone metal table the only source of homely feeling in the rusted ship.
“Last night but I keep thinking of my parents and my sister. I miss them,” I explained with a sigh and watched the look of sympathy on Tori’s face.
“I keep thinking of my dad. The look on Selene’s face when we found him. I keep remembering that I was going to kill you when I first saw you,” Tori noted and we both laughed.
“I’m grateful you didn’t. I think I enjoy my life 10 percent of the time,” Tori and I kept reminiscing about the first few weeks of being at sea, laughing at each other’s memories and thoughts.
“Which reminds me, can you cut my hair again? It’s way too long,” Tori questioned as she grabbed her ponytail and showed me the ends of her hair.
“Come on then. We’ll do it in the bathroom this time. I’m still finding blonde hair all through my room,” I noted and Tori laughed.
“Are you sure they’re not Selene’s?” Tori asked with a smile quirking on her lips and I could feel my cheek muscles beginning to hurt from all the smiling and laughing as we began to head down to the bathroom. When we got there, she sat on the edge of the bathtub while I grabbed my scissors, a brush and a comb.
“Alright, you know the drill,” I commanded playfully and Tori nodded before saluting mockingly.
“Can you cut it to here?” I looked at Tori questioningly as she showed me that she wanted her hip-length hair to be just above her shoulders.
“Are you sure?” I asked as I began to wet her hair. She nodded enthusiastically and I sighed.
“Okay then,” I brushed her wet hair with part of it over her left shoulder, part over her right shoulder and the rest against her back.
“Why so short?” I asked as I cut a chunk of her hair off, the dark blonde strands falling into the tub.
“I’m sick of it being in my face when I sleep,” she answered as I continued to cut her hair.
“Well then sweetie, let me tell you it won’t be any better with short hair,” I told her in an over girly American voice and she laughed.
“So what happened last night?” Tori asked as we both settled down, her hair half done. I hesitated before cutting the next bit of her hair.
“Tom. Tom happened,” I answered with a sigh.
“Oooo, pray tell. I want to know everything,” Tori stated in the same over girly American voice that I had done previously. I smiled briefly before the look on Tom’s face began haunting me again.
“Nothing like what you’re thinking, Tori. But I did seriously fuck up,” I told her as I finished the majority of her hair, evening it out the last thing to do.
“I’ve told you time and time again that you need to take a chill pill,” Tori told me in a stern, motherly voice.
“Yes, mum. No I think I fucked up so much that we probably won’t get to do more than say hi to anyone else this morning,” I told her as I finished her hair. I put everything down as she got up to look in the mirror.
“I’m sure it’s not that bad, My. You were both on edge yesterday so it’ll be better today. I’m sure of it,” Tori told me before walking out the door to the bathroom, leaving me to clean up her hair.
“Any chance I can still take you up on that haircut?” I turned to the voice and nodded politely to Tom as he stood in the doorway.
“Uh, yeah. Sure sit down,” I say startled. He nods his head and takes a few steps in before looking like he was questioning himself.
“We can do it somewhere else if that would be easier,” I offered and he smiled.
“Yeah. Can we… your room or mine,” Tom began before spitting the last bit out in a hurry.
“Sure, my room is next door so,” I left the end of my sentence open ended before heading into my room, Tom following as I went past him.
“I’m sorry about last night. I wasn’t entirely thinking and… I’m sorry,” I stuttered as I put everything on my bed, motioning for Tom to sit down.
“It’s not your fault. I like your room,” Tom stated as he nodded his head and looked around.
“Well it’s all I’ve got so it’s better than nothing,” I answered as Tom sat down on the edge of my bed. I knelt down and crawled over the soft mattress until I was kneeling behind him, his hair still dishevelled and over grown but clean and soft.
“How short do you want it?” I asked as I ran my fingers through his hair. It was thicker than I thought it would be but the ginger was hardly noticeable in the light except when it was contrasting against my fingers.
“As short as you make it,” I smiled to myself as I heard the sleepy and pleasured edge to Tom’s words.
“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” I asked as I began to cut the ends of his hair.
“Mmm,” Tom moaned in agreement and I felt my heart warm slightly. I watched the long strands of hair as they fell onto my lap and down Tom’s chest, stray strands clinging to his shirt or my hands as the brush ran through his hair. I looked at my handiwork as Tom began to stir from the relaxed state he had been in.
“Thanks,” Tom said softly through a yawn as he ran his hands through the much shorter mass of hair. I watched him carefully as he sent me a nod of appreciation and started for the door.
“I can see where you were coming from the other day, by the way. When you said it’s not safe at sea,” I noted and Tom stopped, giving me a curious look.
“This ship won’t last forever, it’s rusting and falling apart but there is stuff on this ship that may help with the outbreak we just didn’t have enough DNA to try and find a real cure,” I explained and Tom looked at me confused.
“What do you mean ‘real cure’?”
“She still hasn’t moved once. She hasn’t even twitched,” Selene told me as I walked into the bridge. I looked at the monitor to see the girl still laying in the same awkward position I had left her in.
“Well, I’m going to go toss her into the ocean then,” I stated before walking out of the bridge. The sun was out what looks like a storm cloud was catching up with us and this pile of rust was not going to be able to withstand rough seas. I jogged down the metal stairs and when I reached the bottom, I stopped dead in my tracks.
“Fuck,” I whispered as I watched the bodies from below deck attacking the door that I needed to get to. I backed up slowly and began to return up the stairs as adrenaline began to rush through my veins. When I heard clanging coming from the room I turned tail and ran up the stairs, hiding in the bridge with Selene.
My neck. The only thing telling me I’m still alive is the pain shooting through my neck. I can hear someone at the door to the room I somehow ended up in and groan.
“Coming… I think,” I manage to say as I reached for the handle. My hand missed the metal by a few millimetres and I groaned in annoyance, not wanting to move from my current, and very painful, position.
I rested my left hand on the top of the right side of my head and my left hand under my chin, putting pressure on both and twisting my head to the right side until my neck cracked, the motion relieving some of the pain. I switched my hands around and twisted my head to the left and heard the same soft pop of my neck cracking. I moved my head around a few times before standing up from the seated position and I headed for the door while stretching my back out. I grabbed the handle and pulled, the sound creating a metallic clang but the door not moving.
“What the hell?” I questioned myself, trying again a few times but finding no change in outcome. I was about to start picking the lock when an inhuman screech filled the room and echoed on the metal surfaces.
“Fuck,” I stumbled backwards and kept walking until I fell over. I kept moving back until I leaned heavily on one part of the floor, it creaked and groaned before collapsing underneath me. I fell down through the floor and landed on something then off of that and onto the floor.
“Ow,” I groaned out as I crawled forwards, my legs aching and my back feeling like someone hit me with a truck. An inhuman screech filled the room I was in and I turned onto my back, looking at the source of my current fears.
“Oh gods,” I felt around the space around me as a decomposing thing ran at me, teeth clamping against each other repetitively. My hand found something and I grabbed it, swinging it as soon as the thing was right in front of me. There was a resounding thud and the bottom jaw of the thing went flying to the other side of the room. I swung again and its skull caved in, clear fluids covering me as it fell on top of me.
“EW! GROSS!” I screamed as I freaked out and tried to crawl out from under it. I looked at my hand and saw that I was holding the butt of a gun of some sort and sighed, thankful for the small amount of relief that it brought. I looked at the gun and checked it over.
“Safety… off, gun…” I pulled the clip out to see it was full.
“Loaded. Alright, I can do this,” I encouraged myself as I pushed the clip back into the gun and cocked it before grabbing a conveniently placed flashlight from the metal table I had landed on. My back stung with each step I took but I ignored it as I walked around the lower decks of the ship.
“Please don’t hurt me!” I dropped my gun as I saw a little boy hiding in the corner. He held his arms up in surrender as tears flowed down his face.
“Hey. I won’t hurt you. I promise I won’t hurt you,” The little boy kept cowering in the corner as I reached for him. When I grabbed his hand softly he froze up for a moment before relaxing.
“My name is Mya. What’s yours?” I asked as he crawled out a little to me.
“Charles but my parents called me Chuck,” I felt a smile on my lips as he answered.
“Can I call you Chuck as well?” I asked and he nodded his head. Floppy brown hair covering one eye.
“Well then Chuck, let’s see if we can find your parents shall we?” I asked and he nodded, not letting go of me as I stood up. As we began walking out I noticed some paperwork and I walked over to look at it all. There were equations and ingredients and chemicals scribbled all over them, some of them making sense to me until the last page. Then everything clicked in place.
“Let’s go up to the bridge. We can use the PA system to get them to come up. Does that sound good?” I asked and Chuck nodded his head as he rubbed his eyes.
“Alright, let’s go then,” I aimed the gun at the door as I opened it slowly, daylight blinding me momentarily. The white deck glowed with golden light and patches of red until movement caught my eye. A group of decomposing corpse noticed Chuck and I.
“Cover your ears!” I told Chuck before I began shooting at the things on deck. The recoil initially knocking me off balance. They screeched as they ran at me some stopping short and falling to the deck as black liquid oozed out of them. What felt like an eternity passed and there were no moving things on deck except Chuck and I.
“Come on,” I grabbed Chuck’s hand and led him towards the bridge where two girls opened the door. I lifted the gun and aimed at the two of them.
“Don’t shoot!” One screamed as she stood in front of the other. I lowered the gun and walked past them, Chuck coming in after me.
“What do you two know about this?” I asked passing them the bit of paper I swiped from the desk.
“What is it?” One asked.
“This ship had a ‘cure’ on board. It was supposed to cure a highly advanced version of Ebola but all it did was activate some deeply coded gene,” I explained and the two girls looked confused.
“The so-called cure is what’s creating those,” I attempted pointing to the corpses on the deck outside the window.
“So there was a cure?” Tommy asked as everyone on board the White Horse sat at the table and waited for the sun to finally light up the eerie world that we all have the misfortune to live in.
“No. They thought they had made a cure that would eradicate a more severe strain of the Ebola virus but, it activated a gene that no one knew about. The gene allows for the virus to survive outside of a host cell,” I explained to the younger English man.
“The virus colonises in the human body and kills the person but they take over the brain and the rest of the body making the person seem to have come back to life,” Tom further explained for me.
“That would mean that everyone who is infected is actually dead and not infected,” Benedict pointed out in a shaming tone as if to catch us in a lie.
“Exactly. You either live or die with this virus. There is no reanimation,” I agreed making everyone’s eyes widen slightly in shock.
“So what do we do?” Tori asked as she looked at Selene and Benedict’s boys playing on the deck.
“What can we do?” Tommy answered as if to say that we were all doomed.
“We could find a cure for the virus which would solve the walking infection units,” Chris offered pulling smiles onto everyone’s faces.
“Or, we kill anyone that we find that is infected and try and find a way of spreading the immunity that Chris and I have so that no one else gets infected,” I added.
“Even if we do find a cure, Chris, we have no way of knowing if it’ll work without getting close to one of those ‘walking infection units’,” I continued earning a nod of agreement from him.
“Well, the suns up so we are going to head back to shore,” Tom noted as he looked out the window to show the sun managing to break through the grey clouds that always loomed overhead.
“But we all need to stick together and if you’re right then we need to be away from any civilisations or at the very least off of highly populated continents,” Chris admitted as he pointed towards Tom and I.
“What do you suggest?” Tommy inquired as some people began to go into thought for a solution.
“We all go to somewhere remote. Small population on said place and live there,” Chris explained and I glanced over to Tom to see him thinking everything through.
“We could go to Dunbar Rock,” Tori offered and I shook my head in response.
“No way to survive. There is no room for farming or water supply,” I explained when I saw Benedict roll his eyes.
“What about the Pitcairn Islands?” Tom said softly but still deep in thought.
“They’re volcanic though,” Tori pointed out.
“There are 4 volcanic islands of which one of them is mostly just water which takes it out of our playing cards but the other three are useable. Henderson can be used for farming, Oeno can be used for research and we use Pitcairn for shelter, wood, water and everything else,” Tom argued coming back to the conversation entirely.
“That could work. If something went wrong with an experiment it wouldn’t affect the rest of the group and by having the farming area further away any unseen errors wouldn’t affect us either,” Chris agreed.
“Why would we need an area for research and who would be doing said research?” Benedict questioned making quite a few others stop for a moment.
“I was finishing my course in medical research science when all of this started,” I pointed out as a stab of pain ran through my veins as the image of my parents happy faces glazed over my eyes.
“Of course you were,” Tom stated sarcastically, clearly disbelieving.
“I may have been 19 at the time but I finished school when I was 14, Tom. So yes. I was finishing my degree,” I snapped at the Englishman, our friendliness towards each other failing quickly.
“See, I don’t believe that. Maybe because you’re too young or maybe because you’re a liar. I’ll get back to you when I work it out,” Tom quipped with a pointed glare aimed at me.
“Here we go again,” Tori sighed quietly but I ignored her.
“You know what? Fuck you arsehole. I hope you die,” I growled as I stood up from my seat and stormed out of the room. Once I was out of sight and couldn’t hear Tori or Selene calling for me to come back, I let the tears flow freely down my face as I headed down to the very bottom level of the ship.
It was still dark and the hole I had fallen through all the time ago was still happily opened. The smell of rotten flesh no longer bothered me since I was used to it now. I walked over to the source of the smell and knelt down in front of the sheet covered body.
“I remember everything that happened to you. I remember that I broke my promise. That I hesitated and you died,” I mourned to the body. I sat there for what felt like hours and just cried, I had my hands on the body and my forehead rested on my forearms as I soaked the sheet with my tears. I heard the door behind me open and a set of footfalls approaching me but I didn’t care how Tori or Selene saw me at the moment.
“I’m not apologising. I can’t,” I sobbed out as I clenched my hands and tangled them in the sheet.
“I don’t want you to apologise,” I sat up and looked straight at Tom with a look of horror and shock.
“What the hell are you doing down here?!” I snapped but it sounded pathetic and weak.
“I got in trouble with everyone,” Tom admitted as he sat down nearby but his eyes were focused on the body beneath the sheet and his left hand covering his mouth and nose.
“I promised him that he wouldn’t get hurt. I told him that he would live to see the blue sky again,” I told Tom as I looked back at the unseen body.
“Who was he?” Tom inquired.
“I called him Chuck,”
*** 3 weeks earlier ***
“Can I have some strawberries?” I laughed at Chuck and nodded, watching his face light up with joy before he ran off to the other end of the greenhouse we had made and gathering some of the red fruit.
“Mya, we need you on the deck,” I looked at Tori and mentally debate leaving Chuck down here while I went to see what was wrong and figured nothing could go wrong with that.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes, Chuck. Don’t do anything silly while I’m gone,” I called out to the young boy.
“Your baby boy looks so happy down there,” Tori commented. She and Selene often joked that he was my son and I cared more for him than I did them but sometimes it did feel like it. I was sure that had the world not gone to shit and I had found him alone and abandoned, I probably would have adopted him.
“So what’s happening anyway?” I asked as we headed for the surface of the ship, too many stairs blocking our path.
“There is another storm brewing south of us that again will kill us if we get caught in it but we’ve also noticed that some wildlife has started to… um, well circle us,” I looked at Tori after her comment before picking up my pace and heading to the top faster, finding that indeed we were being circled. Above the ship, large birds of prey circled around in the air too far from land to be normal.
“It’s not just above, My,” I looked at Selene as she pointed down into the water from the left side of the boat. In the water whales, fish and sharks swam in a mass that could only be described as a horde. None of them attacked each other, just swam.
“I don’t like this,” I whispered as I watched the waves lap against the exposed scales of some fish or the skin of some of the large animals.
“What do you think?”
“I think that it’s in the water. The virus is in the water and on land which means that it’ll be in the air too,” I explained as I looked up at the birds again, this time noticing that some of them looked half eaten.
“Both of you do me a favour, there are whales and dolphins in the water but under the surface,” I began as I walked towards one of the guns that we had began tying to different parts of the boat in case of emergency.
“If they come up for air, let me know,” I finished as I ripped the gun free and began to shoot the birds above us.
“Why?” I glanced at Selene after a bird fell to the deck with a loud thud.
“Because if they are undead, just like those birds definitely are, then those two humpback whales could easily destroy this boat which will kill us all,” Tori and Selene looked at me with an annoyed look, something they had begun to do when I was apparently too blunt.
“Just watch them,” I sighed before going back to shooting the birds. Each one fell at some point or another with a loud thud or a splash but they were like a hydra. Kill one and two more would appear. There was no pattern in what would appear and what wouldn’t but I did know that they are more likely to kill us than anything else.
“They aren’t breathing,” Tori called out from my left. I glanced over and she was cowering behind the guarded railing, her whole body visibly shaking.
“Tori, Selene. Take us North and away from the storm, do whatever you need to,” I told the two girls before heading back down to the greenhouse to get Chuck.
“Chuck?” the greenhouse was empty of life except for the flora kind that seemed to be duller than when I left it.
“Mya. Look at the mousey,” I ran to the far end of the greenhouse to find Chuck with a shirt full of strawberries as he looked at something on the floor.
“What are you doing over here? You know you aren’t allowed this close to that door,” I asked the young boy but he just pointed at the floor next to me. I glanced down and saw dead mice just covering the floor outside the door.
“Not good,” I picked Chuck up and ran out of the greenhouse and up to the cabins. I opened the door to Chuck’s cabin and put him on his bed before turning around and closing the door.
“Chuck, I need you to stay in here okay? Don’t leave your cabin unless I tell you otherwise, alright?” I asked and the young boy nodded with some loose tears on his cheeks. I looked at his shirt and realised he had lost all of his strawberries in my attempts to get him away from that room.
“Thank you beautiful boy,” I whispered before leaving the room and closing the door behind me. I went back out onto the surface and ran up for the bridge to find Tori and Selene trying to agree on something.
“Both of you. Not the time,” I yelled at them before telling Tori to check the map and find us a heading so we weren’t just sailing blindly and telling Selene to keep an eye on the deck for anything living… or undead.
Slowly we managed to get away from some of the swimming creatures but not all of them as we tried to outrun the storm. As land mass began to form to our right, hours after we began outrunning the storm Selene spoke up.
“Mya. Maybe not the best timing, I understand that but um, Chuck’s out on the deck,” I looked down to see Chuck walking on the deck with his teddy bear in tow.
“Selene take the wheel and listen to Tori,” I ordered before running out the bridge and heading for Chuck. I stopped when I reached the deck and pulled out my rifle, aiming for the bird that was swooping for Chuck. I went to pull the trigger but hesitated. What if I hit Chuck?
In that brief moment, the bird managed to peck Chuck and the black veins seemed to instantly begin forming. I pulled the trigger and managed to hit the bird, killing it. But too late. I ran over to Chuck as he began crying, holding the site that he was pecked. I tried to calm him down but I could see him changing in front of me. I looked away as tears began streaming down my face before pulling out the handgun I always have on me and pulled the trigger against Chuck’s head.
I had wanted desperately to write this book but I just don't have it in me to write it so I've published all I had done with the book and below is actually the ending chapter. I will let all of you have the freedom to work out what happened in between and who the two new characters are. Sorry about not having written the rest of the book.
“My?” I startled awake when someone shook my shoulder. I opened my eyes to see Sally crouched in front of me, concern on her face.
“Are you okay?” She asked. I nodded my head and stood up, my back and neck groaning and cracking in vengeance.
“What’s wrong, Sally?” I inquired through a yawn as I rubbed my eyes.
“Tori is in her room with Tommy. I didn’t feel the want to see what they were doing,” Sally explained as she handed me her bible.
“You want me to read you a passage?” I asked looking at the worn black leather.
“We’re up to Revelations 6:1,” I sighed and nodded my head, going and sitting in the chair on the other side of my room before opening the bible.
“Okay. So I’ll read from there then,” I responded still groggy with sleep. I rubbed my eyes again before looking at the words.
“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I went to close the book and saw that Selene was giving me a ‘go on’ look. I sighed and went to read the next bit when Tori and a few others from this part of the settlement came and stood in the door way, waiting patiently.
“I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the Earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth…” I finished, my voice trailing off as I reread the passage.
… a white horse… a conqueror bent on conquest… peace from the Earth… make people kill each other… rider was named Death… kill by… famine… plague…
“Pestilence,” I realised in a moment. I closed the bible in my hand and pushed past everyone and ran for the settlement exit.
“MYA!” Sally called out for me, her voice echoing through the halls.
“TOM!” I screamed as I ran into our room, somewhat grateful that I’m not babysitting Sally now. I found the bed unmade and Tom nowhere in sight.
“What? What’s wrong?” I looked to the ensuite when I heard his voice.
“Pestilence. The first horseman of the apocalypse,” I began before opening the bible in my hands. “’I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.’ The first horseman is commonly referred to as Pestilence. The distributor of the plague and disease,” I read.
“You think all of this is the start of the apocalypse?” Tom asked confused as he stepped forwards and held his hand to my forehead.
“No. Not the apocalypse… Remember, remember when the twins… they… the White Horse was a CDC ship that returned from a country that was contaminated with a necrotic virus. No one that went over there returned home and the twins found their decomposing bodies…” I stuttered as I tried to explain and Tom nodded.
“I don’t get what you’re trying to say,” Tom noted as he grabbed my shoulders and held me still.
“Apocalypse is actually a reference to the book of Revelation… the last book of the Bible. The Greek word for “disclosure” or “revelation” is apokalupsis. Because it took on a modern popular meaning beyond its original definition, Revelation was used instead for the name of the book.” I explained desperately.
“So the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are actually the four horsemen of Revelation.” Tom answered as everything began to click in place.
“We need to get out of here, now.” Tom grabbed my arm and dragged me with him as we headed for the control room on the surface.
“Aren’t you supposed to have the day off?” one of the guards asked us as we walked into the building.
“Give me comms through the whole bunker. Now!” Tom snapped when the men did nothing.
“Ladies and Gentleman. I have an important announcement that I need everyone to follow. Effective immediately.” Tom began as I scribbled down an idea to not cause mass panic. He looked at the bit of paper and gave me a thumbs up.
“There has been a problem with a hall in the bunker and a zombie got through. There are guards standing by the hole while we evacuate everyone to a different location. Follow the guidance of soldiers and calmly make your way to the nearest exit where transport will be waiting,” Once Tom had finished he looked to me with a hopeful but stressed look on his face.
“How long have we got?” Tom asked and I looked at the calendar on the wall, the clock ticking above it.
“Less than an hour,” I answered looking back to Tom.
“All of you, get to an evac transport now. Leave your things and get out of here quickly,” Tom ordered and the men in the building scurried out of the door before you could blink.
“Get Luke and get out of here,” Tom ordered as he began to do something with one of the monitors.
“Tori will get him out of here Tom but you won’t. I’m not leaving until you are on an evac transport. I promised you that the day I helped you get back to land,” Tom stopped what he was doing and sighed.
“I know. I know you did,” he whispered, both of us knowing I wouldn’t leave him and both of us knowing that he won’t leave.
“Together?” I asked offering him my hand for the final time.
“Always,” He whispered against my forehead as he lay a kiss to my skin. Both of us reciting the curse that was left on a tablet we found when we got here. When we arrived on Henderson Island.
Revelatory death will come to those who stay on this island of peace,
On the 100th day of occupancy all life will cease.
A white horse will guide those condemned to their fate,
Their fate of death beyond that which they will have already faced.
The end of all they know and will ever be.
Of which no one is free.
“Tom,” I whispered and heard him hum in acknowledgment.
“If this really is the end of the world, thank you for hitting me in the back of the head all those months ago,” I noted and heard him laugh softly as we saw the last evac ship leave.
“You needed it, Darling,” I hummed in agreement before feeling the Earth below us shift and crack, a loud rumble emanating from deep within the Earth below us. The ending of the Earth’s final end game.