Angelica and Grant fired arrows at a couple of Speeders skulking along the railway. It had been six months since Emilia had manufactured a cure for bitten and a poison for the pale creatures from the dark. Even so, some of the bitten had died upon being cured since their bodies were too far gone to be saved. They had managed to move their group of people into London and into one of the hospitals after clearing it out. All the windows had been boarded up and the emergency generator had been turned on. It ran through out the day and was shut off at sundown. It was going to take a long time before all of London was cleared out. Emilia was trying to find a way to synthesize a gas so they could just let it loose in the city and in the mine where the Speeders had originated.
“That’s two more, feels like we’re not even making a dent in them though.” Grant said as they got to their feet and walked over to the motionless Speeders and tore their arrows out. “Do you ever think things will be normal again?”
“You know, for awhile I accepted this existence, I thought this was what we would be for the rest of our lives.” Angelica wiped the creatures blood off on her pants then stuck her arrow in her quiver. “Then I almost lost you and now I refuse to stop fighting until things are as normal as they can be. We may never be completely rid of these things, but at least we can cut down their numbers.”
“You’re lucky we’re outside, hearing you talk so passionately about the future really gets me hot.”
She punched his shoulder. “Perv, get your mind out of the gutter.”
“It’s kind of hard to do that when I’m walking behind you all day and the way I keep myself entertained is staring at your butt.”
She didn’t want to laugh, but it slipped out anyway and she gave him a loving kiss. “When we get back to the hospital you can do whatever you want, but be good until then.”
“Yes ma’am, if I must.”
They started back for the hospital, keeping their eyes and ears open. When they got there, they knocked on the door and waited patiently for one of the others to let them in. They saw Emilia’s face look through the small window and then heard the chain being removed from the door. They had made it a rule to keep the door chained at all times so nothing could get in or out without invitation. “How was the hunt?” Emilia asked.
“Same as always. Raleigh and Sirius back yet?” Angelica asked.
“No, but they radioed in saying they were going to some of the stores to find tampons. I guess one of the others asked them to make a stop before heading back.”
“We’re going to shower then head upstairs and relax for a bit.” Grant said.
“Right, rest. Well, I’ll send someone to get you for dinner then.”
They both thanked her and headed for the locker room. They had managed to get everything running again, even the large boiler that provided hot water. It was a miracle to everyone. Grant was impatient for Angelica and stripped her down the moment her bow and quiver were put down. Her giggles turned to moans as he lifted her up against the lockers and made love to her. She clung tightly to him, tears sliding down her cheeks as he sent her careening over the edge. They took their time in the shower, Angelica playing with his bite scar. She had been so close to losing him, so close to never being as happy as she was now. They dried, wrapping towels around themselves and tossing their dirty clothes in the large bin then grabbing their equipment and heading upstairs to the Dean of Medicine’s office. It was a large room with windows on all sides. It gave them a view of the surrounding area and was close to the stairway so they could easily grab their rifles and snipe from the roof. They tossed their towels aside and flopped down on the bed they had put together, falling quickly asleep after such an exhausting day. Loud banging on their door woke them a couple of hours later and they quickly pulled clothes on before yelling at whoever it was to come in. It was Emilia.
“It’s Raleigh, she and Sirius were attacked.”
“Speeders?” Angelica asked as they pulled on their shoes and grabbed their guns.
“Sirius said humans. They beat the crap out of him, stabbed him, but he’ll live. He said…he said they were looking for you and Raleigh, she…she claimed to be you to protect you.” Emilia was near tears. “They said they wanted your blood, that they were going to manufacture the cure from you like we had and then…and then release the Speeders into the world and sell it. You have to stop them, have to get Raleigh.”
Angelica was pissed at the humans and pissed at Raleigh for letting herself get hurt pretending to be her. “assholes” she was mainly saying about the jerks who would dare attack her friends. Angelica sucked air through her teeth when she saw Sirus. He looked even worse than described. “damn it” she cursed. If they would do this to him, what were they doing to Raleigh? How much blood would they take from her until they figured out where she was and kicked their asses for messing with her.
“Do they have any idea what the hell they’re thinking? Have they even been paying attention to this place?” Grant snapped.
Angelica shook her head as she brushed hair off of Sirius’s forehead. A couple of men from their group rolled in a hospital bed and Angelica slipped her hand into Sirius’s as they wheeled him away. “Tell me exactly what happened.” She said as she followed the bed.
“W…we were at the…the store and when we came out there were soldiers. They…they wanted to know where you were.” His eyes welled up with tears. “We knew, we just knew they’d kill us and Raleigh, she…she said…”
Angelica could see he believed he had failed and she gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. “It’s alright, just take a breath.”
He sniffed. “She instantly said she was you. I tried to stop her, but they attacked me. She was screaming at them to stop and they told her either she went with them or they killed me. On…once they had her, one of them stabbed me, but he missed his mark. I could hear her screaming.”
“Which way did they go?”
“South, six of them, military dressed. We were at the store on Parkmore.”
“Okay, everything’s going to be okay, I promise. You just rest and let Emilia patch you up.”
“I have to go back for her.”
“Hush now, you need to get better or Raleigh will kill you.”
He hated himself right now and nothing anybody here said would make him feel better. He had let them hurt and take the woman he loved. What kind of man was he? How could he fail her?He kept the words to himself but everyone who was helping him saw it on his face. “we’re going now Grant” she said and they got ready to adventure out. “Be careful” Little Chelsea said and Angelica hugged her “we will baby” They wanted to rush but rushing could mean them not being prepared so they got ready properly and didn’t allow themselves to leave the safety of their home until they double checked their bags.
“I can’t believe someone would do something like this.” Angelica said when they finally headed out. “They have to know their plan is ridiculous and would just backfire. It’s like they never watched a horror movie.”
“Greedy people do stupid things.” He grabbed her should, making her slow down. “You have to stay calm baby, we can’t think with our emotions or we’ll get caught too.”
She took a deep breath and let it out. “I know, it’s just it’s Raleigh, she’s like a sister too me and she has Chelsea who needs her.”
“And don’t forget Sirius, that boy is head over heels for her.”
“I know, I hate he blames himself. I know if he had tried anything, he would have been worse than stabbed, they probably would have shot him in the head. He’s lucky to be alive and Raleigh wouldn’t blame him.” She sighed. “She should have told the truth and let them come looking for me.”
“Don’t say that, losing you is unacceptable. I love you too much.”
“I love you too.”
“Hey, you know she’s probably okay. They wouldn’t risk hurting her thinking she was you. Your immunity is far too important so the worst they can do is strap her to a table or throw her in a cell.”
“I know, I have to trust she’s okay.”
Grant slid his hand into Angelica’s to both comfort her and keep her at a reasonable pace. In a world like this no matter what was going on they had to remain careful, vigilant and calm. They arrived at the store and went in to investigate. There might be something they dropped that could give them more insight. The more knowledge they had going in the better. They went inside and despite the fact they looked around thoroughly they found nothing that looked like the people who took Raleigh dropped it. Angelica sighed “lets head south like Sirius said”
Raleigh woke up in a white room, the smell of antiseptic filling her nose. She remembered Sirius being hurt, remembered being pulled away from him kicking and screaming. They must have sedated her, afraid she was going to hurt one of them. She sat up, looking around the padded cell. They obviously thought she would hurt herself as well. She pulled her knees up, wrapping her arms around them as she felt tears burning in her eyes. “Sirius.” She said softly. ” She hoped he was okay. She hoped she would be forgiven for allowing these men to take her. She was afraid what they were going to do to her. She hadn’t wanted them to get a hold of Angelica and had said the first thing that popped into her head. It wasn’t like they knew what Angelica looked like so they easily believed her lie.
Angelica became frustrated when the sun started to fall. When it got dark, they would have no choice but to hide inside. There were still Speeders hunting as well as zombies and she didn’t want to have to waste her ammo on them when she might have to kill a bunch of military personnel. “We’ll get her back.” Grant reassured.
“It’s just frustrating.”
“I know, but we have to be careful, take it slow and make a plan. I know you want to go in guns blazing, but we need to do some recon and find out what we’re against before we head in there.”
Angelica nodded, demanding herself not to shed any tears. They found the nearest shelter, an abandoned Kmart. They weren’t overly large stores so easy to clear and would have somthing for them to eat. Once inside they locked the doors then split up so they could each clear half the store. It didn’t take long since the creatures didn’t like to stay in buildings like this. “Lets eat something okay?” Grant suggested and they went to the food section. Angelica nabbed what she could fit in her bag of Raleigh’s favorite candy. She’d probably need some comfort food when they had her back in their home.
After that they grabbed some protein bars to munch on. “These are pretty good” Grant said for conversation. She laughed “thank you but you don’t have to force a conversation baby”
“I don’t want you worried”
“well lets talk about some sort of plan. I want conversation to be productive. We can’t let them hurt her Grant”
He took a bite and thought for a second. “They’re military so that means a base and more than likely armed guards. They probably have transportation, but since Sirius didn’t mention a helicopter, that means they either walk or drive. I mean they could have a chopper, just not for going out on a kidnapping mission.” He took another bite. “So four walls, probably a fence to keep the zombies out and some sort of system to scare off or kill the Speeders.”
“So nighttime would be the best time to sneak in.”
He nodded. “They probably also have patrols so we’ll have to watch them as well. Getting caught might be a pain or a blessing. I doubt they’d go to easy on me though and once they found out you were you they wouldn’t hurt you. I know you want to get in and get out, but I think once we’re there we survey the place for weaknesses, find out where they keep their weapons as well as where they’re keeping Raleigh.”
“If it comes to it, I can always be bait for them. They’re more likely to comply if they know who I am.”
He reached over and grabbed her chin, making her stop mid bite to look at him. “I would really hate that, so let’s try avoiding it.”
“You know that would be my last option baby but she sacrificed herself to protect me. I owe it to Raleigh if the need comes” Grant gave Angelica a long, passionate kiss. It was torture living in a world he had to worry about her so much like this. Even when they were out regularly. She was tough, immune and always clear headed when she needed to be but somtimes even when you do everything right it still doesn’t keep you safe. “I love you so much Angelica” he said as he looked deep into her dark blue eyes.
“I love you too and it’s all going to be okay”
When the finished eating, they laid down facing the front door and made sure their guns were in grabbing distance. Grant wrapped his arms protectively around her and they slowly drifted off together. They woke the next morning before the sun was fully up and grabbed a few more energy bars before stepping outside. They checked to make sure there was nothing waiting for them then headed South again. “Isn’t the psychiatric hospital this way?” Grant asked as they picked their way over debris and around old cars.
“Yeah, it’s probably infested. The mentally ill wouldn’t have stood a chance.” Angelica responded with a hint of sadness. Many had been left behind when the Speeders had come.
“But what if it’s not. It’s a medical facility like the hospital. It would be easy to fortify and there would already be plenty of medical equipment there, plus it has a big roof.”
“For a helicopter.”
“Exactly, it’s the perfect place to do experiments on someone who might be immune.”
“You’re so damn smart!” she kissed him “lets go” Her spirits were up ever so slightly now that she felt she knew where Raleigh was. South could have lead anywhere but thankfully her intelligent and amazing boyfriend had thought of the psychiatric hospital. When they knew they were getting close they slowed their pace, ready for traps, patrols and whatever else these horrible people threw at them. They didn’t know what to expect from morons who wanted to make people suffer even more during a time like this. Wasn’t the world suffering enough?
They found a good vantage point to observe from and looked through the scopes of their rifles. They could see there were two guards out front and another on top of the building with a rifle of his own. There were flood lights attached to the outside that would more than likely be turned on the moment the sun went down. There were also motion sensor lights that had been put up when the hospital was still up and running. “Two more patrolling to the East and two to the West.” Grant said. “They’re watching the roads and fence line.”
“I know you don’t want to hear this, but I might have to go in alone.”
He raised his head. “I should have your back.”
She looked at him, leaned over and pressed a kiss to his lips. “You will, from here. You can see everything but the back of the building and anything on that side I can handle, trust me. You watch the front and if any of these bastards come for me, you rain hell down on them.” She rested her rifle on the ground. “Keep this so you don’t have to worry about reloading.”
“You just get back to me, you understand. I can’t lose you, I love you too much. We still have so much to do, not just for this country, but in our future.”
She smiled. “I’ll be back before you know it, just keep your eye on that scope and try not to get distracted by my butt.”
He almost laughed “Even now with your jokes” he stroked the side of her face “You’re my everything. I can’t help but worry but I do know you can handle yourself” She kissed him again then got moving. They could be doing anything to Raleigh and the more time they were talking the more time they had to do it. Grant positioned himself, ready to shoot the second he needed. Even when she got out of sight he planned to stay ready to protect her from anybody who might try to chase the two women out.
Raleigh kicked and screamed as they hauled her into the examination room. She knocked one of the trays over and one of the men yelled for help. Two more came in and grabbed her ankles and they slammed her down on the hospital bed and strapped her down. “Now be good and maybe we’ll let you go.” One of the guards patted her cheek and she bit him, tasting blood before he was able to get away. “You little bitch.” He went to strike her when he was stopped by a man in a lab coat.
“Now, now, there’s no reason to start hitting people.”
“She bit me!”
“Why don’t you go do something productive like stare at the street.” The guard shot him a dirty look as he snatched up some gauze and left the room. “Animals, all of them.”
“Let me go.” Raleigh demanded.
“Calm down, I just need a few samples and for you to answer a few questions.”
“Fuck you, I hope a Speeder rips your guts out while you watch.”
“Now that’s not nice, don’t you understand that this will be good for the world, you’ll be credited, taken care of, you’re special.”
She spit at him. “Die pig.”
Angelica ducked down behind a car as the patrol went by and checked her gun. Safety was off, a round was in the chamber. She slipped it back into its holster, making sure not to close the snap. She peeked over the car, waiting until the patrol was further away before she moved quickly across the street. Her eyes darted to the two guards at the front door and then to the one on the roof. They hadn’t seen her yet, but she kept moving, not wanting them to have a chance. She knew if they even tried to raise the alarm, Grant would silence them immediately. He was a good shot and fast, they wouldn’t have time to squeeze off a single round.
Raleigh didn’t care how pointless it was she struggled the entire time the doctor drew blood. He sighed when he was done “You made that much more painful for yourself than it needed to be. Now please, just answer a few questions for me” She didn’t answer, finally still for the first time since she had been brought in there “Look, I don’t like violence. I’d prefer just to talk to you but if I go out there and don’t have answers other people will come in. I’m not trying to threaten you, it’s just facts.”
“Don’t act like you’re innocent. You’re helping them”
“Find a cure”
“That they only want to make money”
“the cure will be found though”
“If you just cared you’d come back with us. Youd let me free and help me out of here. We’re trying to figure out how to get rid of this plague and we’re doing it with no plans to exploit anybody”
“We couldn’t get out of here”
“anything is possible”
Angelica was surprised when she came around the corner and there was a guard standing there. She froze for only a breath then sprinted at him. He was so surprised, he couldn’t speak and she punched him right in nose then the throat so he choked and dropped his gun. He was doubled over and she brought her balled fists down on the back of his head. She dropped to his knees then fell over. She took a deep breath, trying to slow her heart. That had been mush closer than she liked. She bent down and patted him down, finding a pair of handcuffs, extra ammo, a key, and flashlight. She cuffed him to the fence then tore off a couple of strips from his shirt, stuffed one in his mouth then tied the other around his face so he couldn’t scream for help. The ammo, key and flashlight she took for herself then picked up his gun. It looked like they had replaced part of the fence with a gate probably for easy escape if the need arose.
“You don’t understand, my friends will come for me and they won’t give up until they get me back.” Raleigh tried.
“In this world? Yeah right, I actually believe that. Did you know when we first took this place there were zombie patients and even starved corpses. No one cared about them, they just left them here with the doors open.”
“Not everyone is like that. The group I’m with are family, they’re good people. Please, just let me go, I won’t attack you. I just want to get back to my sister and…and even Sirius if he made it.” She teared up, hoping he had. “Please, this is wrong, these people are all so wrong. If they let the Speeders loose, there will be so much more devastation that what has already happened to this country. You can even bring all your research and work with our doctors.They’ve already made a weapon from Ang…my blood.”
He caught that stumble in words but he was mostly focused on being with a better group of people. He had only stayed with these people because there was safety in numbers and it seemed to him everybody had become rotten and selfish in this type of environment. But this woman seemed so genuine. Hope was in her eyes, she truly believed they were coming. She looked healthy and untouched by violence besides what she had endured here. Regardless it was worth a try. He’d either end up in a better group of people or he’d be alone again and there were many times he thought alone was better than living with heartless thugs. He leaned down, whispering in her ear “Just talk to me. These people are idiots so I just have to look like I’m doing something or that we’re talking about intelligent, relevant things and I can let you stay in here away from them while we wait for your friends to come. Just please, let me actually go with you” She nodded her understanding and he started asking her basically random questions.
Angelica glanced around the corner into the adjoining hall. There was a security camera, but it wasn’t moving. That didn’t mean it wasn’t working, just that they hadn’t set it to rotate. It was pointed toward the front of the building at the moment so she pressed herself tight against the wall and moved slowly, ears and eyes open. She paused when she came to the next corner, hearing footsteps and a voice coming her way. She thought she heard the person cursing under their breath about being bit and how he would kill the girl if he got infected. Angelica felt her lips twitch into a smile at the thought of Raleigh biting someone. The footsteps were right on top of her now and she stood as still as possible. The guard was so engrossed in being pissed that he past right by her and she stepped out behind him, pressing the barrel of her gun to the back of his head.
“Turn around and I paint the wall with your brains.” She said. “Take your hand off your gun.” He did and she reached over and took it and tucked it into her holster. He had a knife too and she removed that as well. “Alright, hands up and turn slow, try anything and you’re dead.” He did as he was told and she took a couple of steps back, not wanting to be in grabbing range.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Angelica, the real Angelica. Where’s my friend?”
“I’m not in the mood dick head, tell me where she is or I’ll find someone who will. You’re lucky I don’t kill you now for how you treated her and Sirius. I bet you’re the one that stabbed him.”
“What if I am?”
She pointed at his knee. “One kneecap and you won’t be able to outrun a Speeder, two and even the slowest zombies will be able to keep pace.”
He was too selfish to not answer. His words were more of a growl than speech as he told her where to go. When he finished she quickly knocked him out with the pistol and drug him into a spot where he wouldn’t be seen. “damn you’re a heavy sob” she grumbled in a whisper before going back to quietly walking around. She sighed, annoyed when she saw people outside the doors she needed to get through to get to Raleigh. She never liked shooting people unless she had to but there were two against her, she couldn’t hold them both at gun point and she couldn’t possibly sneak close enough to knock one out before holding the other at gunpoint.
She looked around for anything and she spotted the fire alarm. Since the electricity was on that meant the fire alarms were on and if they still functioned properly, they would make for a good distraction. The door she was standing in front of was a utility closet and she tried the nob, happy when it turned. She peeked back out at the guards and watched them as she reached for the switch. She pulled it and it went off. Lights started flashing and the loud buzzing and ringing filled the silence. She pushed back into the utility room, her fingers clutching her gun as she waited for them to run by. She heard one set of footsteps sprint past her then she pushed open the door. Both guards were gone, but the other had obviously gone in the other direction. She stepped out, gun up and read to fire as she moved to the examination room door. She jiggled the nob and found it was locked.
She cursed under her breath and slammed her shoulder against the door. She heard the frame crack and then it gave, causing the door to slam against the inner wall. The man in the lab coat looked shocked and Angelica pointed the gun at him. “Wait.” Raleigh said from the bed. “He’s not bad, he’s not.”
“I’m not, I swear.”
“Let her go then.”
He turned quickly and started unbuckling Raleigh. “Sirius, is he okay, is he alive?” Raleigh asked as she got up.
“He’s fine, he made it home.”
“Thank god, I was so afraid for him. This is um…”
“Yeah, Lee and he wants to come with us.”
“Whatever let’s just get the hell out of here, we’ll discuss things later.” The alarm turned off. “Much later. Grant has us covered from outside so just keep moving.”
Going for speed instead of stealth they all ran as fast as they could. They knew people were behind them but they soon started hitting the ground once they got outside. Grant, Angelica knew she could count on him. They made it to him and soon they were all hauling home. They had to turn and shoot a few times but eventually they werent being followed and could catch their breath. They took shelter again when they found a good place to. They needed the rest and Angelica wanted to learn more about Lee before taking him all the way to where they lived.
“Let me look at you love.” Grant said and pulled Angelica close to examine her, not giving her any time to protest as he looked her over for any bullet wounds. He crushed her to him when he saw she was okay and kissed her forehead. “Thank god.”
“You should know by now I’m too lucky to be killed.”
“Still, I’m glad you’re okay.” He let her go and flopped down, taking a deep breath. “Damn assholes.” He looked at Lee. “No offense.”
Angelica looked him up and down. “So, Raleigh wouldn’t let me kill you, so why were you with that lot?”
Lee sighed. “Because I’m a scientist. They promised to fund my work, to let me do experiments on the zombies and Speeders then they put me on a short leash. They threatened me, told me if I breathed a word of my work to anyone they would toss me to the undead. I didn’t expect them to kidnap a young woman for their agenda, but I didn’t think there was anything I could do, but work on a cure. I lost everything during the outbreak…everyone.” He frowned. “I just resigned myself.”
Angelica huffed. “We’ll see what Emilia has to say, she’s our head doctor. If she thinks you can benefit her research then we’ll keep you. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.”
“I’d appreciate it.”
“You’ll like everyone.” Raleigh said, trying to reassure him as she sat down. “I just want to get back to Sirius and tell him it wasn’t his fault. I know he’s blaming himself, he always does, even if I get a scratch while we’re out.” She smiled. “He’s such a goofball.”
Angelica smiled aswell “he’ll be so happy, everyone will” Angelica talked to Lee until they were all ready to rest. She was going to have Emilia give the final decision but she was still bringing this man to her family so she still needed to know all she could about him. He answered everything without hesitation. Lee understood her worry. The people he had been with didn’t exactly say good things about him. Her being so curious only made him believe more that these were good people. The next day they arrived home and were eagerly let in. Everyone had been worried since in this world they couldn’t stay in contact while out.
“Sirius is in his room if you want to see him Raleigh, he’s supposed to be resting so if he’s working out, slap him for me.” Emilia said and Raleigh instantly took off. Emilia shook her head. “Those two need to just spit it out all ready.” Her attention then turned to Lee, her eyes looking him up and down. “Who is this?”
“This is Lee, he was kind of forced into work by those jackasses, he’s a scientist.” Angelica gave her the shortest version.
“Scientist huh? Well Lee the scientist, if you plan on helping with our research you can stay, but I will be keeping a close eye on you.”
“That’s fine, I guess I’ll call this the testing phase then.”
“Good, no complaints, you’ll fit in just fine.” She then turned to Angelica and Grant. “I know neither of you got hurt, but I’d like some blood and saliva samples anyway.” They both nodded. “You can help me Lee. You see Angelica is completely immune. The virus is in her blood, but it’s not transmittable through bodily fluids. However she gave Grant a blood transfusion when he was bit and now he too carries the same compound that has given her immunity. Maybe a fresh pair of eyes will see something I haven’t that way I can vaccinate us.”
“I’ll do my best.” Lee replied with a small smile.
Emilia and Lee talked as he helped her and were still talking back and forth as they walked away with their samples. Grant took Angelicas hand and pulled her to their room, eager to have her to himself and held against him. It had been so nerve wracking as he waited to see her again. He had just had to sit there, waiting, hoping they wouldn’t kill her and destroy him in the process. He began stripping Angelica and she laughed but began to pull his clothes off aswell. She had expected him to make love to her but surprised her by only wanting the skin to skin contact. They laid their intertwined, Raleigh was safe, Emilia had help finding the cure and they could return to their lives. Their lives were far from normal but they had eachother and the little family they had built for themselves.
~ The End