Angelica stared through the scope of her .30-06 from the roof of an old 24 hour movie store. Across the street, standing in front of a convenient store, were her companions Grant and Raleigh. They were scouting the place out, making sure there was no one else around before they went inside. Angelica scanned the streets then went back to them. Raleigh had the door pushed open and Grant rushed inside, his 9mm held out in front of him in case he had to shoot. These supply runs were always the most dangerous, especially in cities like this, but they had no choice. They had a small group that needed food and medicine. They would take whatever they could get. She scanned the streets again, her scope freezing on one of them, the creatures that had climbed out of the blackness and now ran rampant through out England and Scotland. They were pale and think, their ribs protruding from their sides as if they were severely malnourished. Black eyes shown like onyx stones, burning with an animalistic hunger. Their noses, which stood out sharp and hawk like from their emaciated faces, could smell prey from a mile away. Despite their outward appearance, they were extremely fast and had a mouth full of razor sharp teeth that could render flesh from bone in a matter of minutes. The public called them zombies, humanoid flesh eaters, a sort of cannibalistic creature that was always hungry. If you did manage to escape one, you ran the risk of infection. The bacteria in their mouths drove men mad, turned them into blood thirsty monsters that were less intimidating than the pale ones. These were called secondary zombies.
The pale creatures, dubbed Speeders, were far more volatile and it was better to avoid them completely if possible because where there was one, there were usually ten more. She picked up her radio and clicked the button. “Grant, Raleigh we have a Speeder, hurry the fuck up before you become zombie chow.” She whispered, her eye never leaving the monster.
“Two seconds Angelica. If you must distract it, you’re immune anyway.” Grant replied softly, his tone almost amused.
“Oh yeah you ass, I totally want to get in a confrontation with one of these fuckers again, just move your ass before I come in there and kick it.”
She took a quick peek at the store then back at the Speeder who was sniffing the air and moving toward the store. She looked back at the store and caught a glimpse of an arm waving from around the corner of the back of it. They were out. She watched as they ran across the field in the back then Raleigh tripped and let out a loud grunt. The Speeders head snapped up and it let out a screeching sound before racing toward her companions as more of the pale, thin creatures pushed open a manhole cover and swarmed out. “Shit.” She growled and picked up her radio. “Get the fuck out of here, I’ll meet you at the library.” She tucked her radio into her back pocket and opened fire on the Speeders, hitting them in their heads and backs. She stood up, swinging her rifle over her shoulder and pulling out her hand gun. “Hey fuckers, come and get some.” She screamed and fired a round into the air, catching their attention.
Grant and Raleigh knew they didn’t have to worry so just ran as she distracted them. Immune and able to kick just about anyone or anythings ass if it came down to it she would make it to where everyone waited. When they arrived at the library they unlocked it then made sure to lock it back, Angelica had a key. Everyone was relieved when they came back and obviously had manged to collect supplies. “Is there food?” little Chelsea asked. Raleigh tussled her hair “yes, come now”
Grant had to admit a little worry was settling into him when Angelica finally came in, panting from sprinting. “Finall” he said in a teasing way, never letting on he ever worried in the slightest. “Bite me”
“did they?’ She punched his arm and he laughed “eat with us and rest”
“sorry i fell” Raleigh said when Angelica sat down “No problem, things happen” Though Angelica didn’t see Raleigh at fault in the slightest she still beat herself up. Always wanting to impress Angelica but never quite managing.
“So what’s for dinner tonight?”
“We managed to get some hamburger helper.” Grant replied.
“Better than beans and rice.” Angelica sat down between Grant and Raleigh and ate quickly, starving after her run.
“So, how did you get away from them?” Grant asked.
“I ran through a bunch of stores then jumped into a garbage can, it’s why I smell so rank, but it masked my scent then I had to wait for the tenacious bastards to move on. Pisses me off when they just keep sniffing around.” She rinsed her dishes and sat them in the drainer then headed down to the basement where they had set up the showers. Grant and two of the other men had set up a system where the water was drawn directly from the river. It was freezing in the winter time, but it was better than being filthy. “You going to follow me into the shower?”
“Only if you let me.”
He just shrugged. “Want me to get you some clean clothes and a towel while you get the shower started.”
“Yes please and thank you.” She smiled once he was gone, unwilling to admit that she loved his sense of humor. She feared losing him and it kept her at arms length. She had tried so hard not to love him, her brave rescuer, but she had fallen for him anyway. She knew if she lost him, she would be devastated. She switched on the water and started pulling her clothes off. She heard his footsteps, but she really didn’t care. Modesty wasn’t something she was worried about anymore. He came in with his eyes covered and sat her clothes and towel down on the counter he had built.
“If you need anything just holler.”
“Can you go and tell Emilia that I’ll be in to see her and the others once I’ve taken a nap, I’m sure they’ll want another blood sample.”
“Alright lo…uh see you later.” He hurried out of the basement, his heart hammering uncontrollably in his chest. He had almost told her he loved her without thinking.
Angelica may have caught it if she wasn’t so tired and so unaware her feelings were reciprocated. She washed, dried, dressed then went to where she slept without thinking twice of Grants stumble in his words. Angelica woke to the sound of Chelseas laugh filling the library. It sounded as if Grant was playing with her again which put a smile on Angelicas face. She got up and brushed her messy hair before walking over to the lab part of the library. It was very fortunate for them all that their city had such a large one. It was making a nice home in this horrible time.
“good, we’ve been needing some more blood” Emilia said when she saw Angelica. Angelica sat down and rested her arm for the blood draw. “you guys any closer?”
“always, it’s just a struggle using only what we have. I mean, we have a lot just not everything we would have in a real lab but you know all this, I’m on repeat again” Angelica smiled “don’t be stressed. ”
“They had another opportunity to rip you up today. You die and so does our chances of ever having a normal life again. I can never tell you that enough” Emilia began drawing blood while they continued talking. Chelseas laughs could still be heard through most of the conversation but died out most likely when Grant needed a break.
“thank you again”
“you’re the one working almost non stop”
“what else is there to do”
“sleep, read, you know”
“I actually have been reading a bit lately, when I need a break from working”
“Is it good?”
“I wouldn’t say amazing but it keeps me reading”
“Tell me when you’re finished with it and I’ll give it a whirl.”
“Alright, oh and if you happen to get bit make sure you come straight here so we can draw fresh samples.”
Angelica smiled. “Will do.” She left the lab and went to the main entrance where they had set up their living room. Chelsea and the other children were sitting in front of the TV watching a Disney movie. She smiled, remembering the day Grant had insisted they go out and get one so the kids wouldn’t get bored. He told her that bored kids could cause trouble so they needed some form of entertainment. Two of the men, Adam and Taylor, and one of the women, Rachel, had stayed with the children to watch over them while they were engrossed in their movie.
“Taylor, where’s Grant and Raleigh?” She asked.
“Out back with Thomas and Anne, the guys are showing Raleigh how to fight with a knife again.”
“They don’t have to keep practicing, she’s good enough.”
“She insisted after her spill today. She was pretty upset with herself.”
“Alright, thanks.” Taylor waved and she headed out back. The area was fenced in by a stone wall and at one time had been a playground parents could leave their children in while they browsed books. There were large windows facing out so the children could be easily seen. Grant had had them covered when the library had been made into a shelter.
Grant showed Raleigh once again how to disarm her opponent and go in for the kill. “Remember, kidneys, between the ribs, or in the throat. You can also try for the solar plexus, drive the knife in and up.”
“Okay, I got it.” Raleigh said.
“You don’t have to do this, no one’s mad at you. I tripped a few times when this all started up. Running away from those things is good cardio so just look at it that way.”
“I have to get better. I want to be as fast and smart as Angelica.”
“You’re plenty smart and as far as being as fast as her, well I think the Speeder mutation may have given her an unfair advantage. Just a tiny one.” He squeezed her shoulder. “You’re doing just fine Raleigh and if you weren’t Angelica would say something.”
“yes I would” Angelica said as she came out. Raleigh smiled “It never hurts to get better though”
“want to practice with me?’ Raleigh face lit up “sure” Angelica and Raleigh practiced while the others watched. Grant wondering if Angelica had noticed what he almost said. It was looking good for him that she didn’t since she didn’t find him after her shower or pull him aside now. They kept at it until they both needed a break for water. Angelica, Grant and Raleigh went inside to pour some clean water they had collected.
It was becoming harder and harder to find water that wasn’t polluted in some way but they managed to keep enough for everyone to drink when they needed. There were even a few stores left they could walk to that still had soda they could drink. Chelsea often wished for milk but without proper refrigeration that wasn’t an option and most animal species had been wiped out at this point, atleast as far as they knew. For all they knew there could be places unaffected by this atall but they had no way of knowing this and een if there were, those places obviously didn’t care about what they were going through.
“I hope it rains soon.” Grant said.
“Me too, it’s been so hot lately. I think the kids would love to play in it. So, what all did we get besides hamburger helper?”
“Mostly food, Raleigh found a bottle of Tylenol and I found cough drops and some of those little hand warmer bags. You know you rub them and they heat up?”
“Supplies are getting scarce around here Grant, soon it’s going to hard to keep the little ones fed and healthy.”
He rubbed the back of his neck. “What do you think we should do?”
She glanced at him and then away. “You know.”
“The city?” He said loudly then looked around to make sure no one else had heard. “Angelica, that’s suicide. The cities are crawling with Speeders and Secondaries.”
“I know, but we have no choice Grant. I wouldn’t suggest it if we had any other option. We don’t have fishing poles or nets and finding wild game has become just as hard. Most of the animals moved on when the Speeders came because they could sense the danger. We have to go into London, it’s the only way.”
He sighed. “I’m with you all the way, we’ll leave tomorrow. Should we bring Raleigh?”
“If we don’t she’ll just follow us. She’d do anything to keep Chelsea fed and from sickness so sure, go ask her. I’ll tell the others, Emilia’s not going to be happy.”
Grant just nodded and went over to Raleigh who was cleaning her gun while Angelica went inside. She pulled the other adults aside and explained what was going to happen. They were all worried and some of them wanted to go, but Angelica told them they were needed at home base to protect everyone. They were disappointed, but knew she was right so let it go. She then went to the lab where Emilia was still hard at work with the others. “We need to talk she said.”
“About what Angelica?”
“Grant, Raleigh, and I are going into London to get more supplies.” Everyone in the room froze and Emilia turned her gaze on Angelica.
“That’s insane, you get killed. You’re all we have.”
“I know Emilia, but we’re running low in the stores here so I have to go and I’m not sending Grant and Raleigh on their own. I have to go, you and I both know it.”
“What if Grant or Raleigh get infected?”
“I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. You just keep working on finding a way to stop this. I’ll even let you take extra samples before I go so you have enough to work with in the even of my death.”
Emilia sighed “alright then, come here. I know theres no convincing you to stay and we really need more and better supplies” When the blood samples were drawn Grant, Angelica and Raleigh checked and loaded their guns before preparing a small bag of supplies to help them get to London and back. They double checked to make sure they had plenty of extra ammo before hugging the other members of their group.
The three received good lucks as they walked out the door and into the dangerous world around them. They walked close together in silence. They didn’t want to attract attention and they needed to be constantly aware of everything around them. Raleigh was especially serious, feeling the need to make up for tripping. She was determined that this time she would make Angelica proud.
They perhaps should have slept before leaving but who could sleep when you were going to be doing somthing so dangerous. If any of them absolutely needed rest one could stay up and let two sleep for a few hours. Angelica only truly needed five hours of sleep and could function well on four so if she had to sleep she would only rest four hours. Grant and Raliegh were the same way so sleep while they were exposed wasn’t too big of a deal.
“I can’t believe we’re actually going into the city.” Raleigh whispered when they stopped to rest for a couple of minutes.
“Only our of necessity. If we had a choice we’d be back at the library.” Angelica replied.
“How long are we going to have to walk?”
“About ten hours and that means passing by other smaller towns, but we’re not going to stop at them unless we have to.”
They sat there for a couple more minutes then got to their feet and started down the road again. Angelica would have liked to stay off the roads, but she knew it was the fastest way to get to their destination. They kept going until their legs were to tired to carry them and Grant took first watch. He sat in between the girls, his gun in his hand and his eyes and ears open. Night time was the most dangerous time since the Speeders could see in the dark a lot better than they could. Emilia like to compare them to jungle cats. About an hour into his watch he heard movement behind him and slowly glanced over his shoulder. He saw it was a Secondary and placed a hand over both girl’s mouths. They jerked awake and he gestured with his head.
They looked behind him and slowly got their feet. They couldn’t use their guns in case there were Speeders near by so they just backed away. The Secondary reached for them, moving at a shambling, stumbling gate, drool running down his chin. His mouth gaped open, revealing yellow and black teeth, no sound escaped from his throat. Secondaries could be easily lost and as soon as you were out of their line of sight they would give up. The area they walked in was pretty flat so they took off at a jog, only slowing to a walk when the zombie was out of sight.
“I hate you girls didn’t get more sleep”
“we’re fine, tell us when you need a rest”
“That got my adrenaline pumping so I’m good for awhile” They walked so close their arms brushed one anothers, not wanting to be separated in unfamiliar territory at night. It was eerie how soundless everything was. No matter how many years the land had been this way they couldn’t get used to not hearing owls, crickets, people. For the world to be soundless was just wrong. They all would hate for the small children to grow up only knowing what the world had become.
After about two hours Angelica asked again “do you need rest?”
“I’m fine, I’ll let you know”
“We need you if speeders come. Don’t pretend to not need rest”
“I’m seriously not. I swear I will tell you two”
“Ok” They went an hour and a half further before Grant wanted just a short sleep “Just an hour” he said as he laid down “alright” Angelica answered then suggested “why don’t you sleep more too Raleigh? If I get bitten it’s not as big of a deal as if you get bitten”
“alright” Angelica cleared her busy mind, just listening and looking out into the night. You would have thought sombody knocked Grant out with how fast he fell asleep. She knew he had to be exhausted from going so long without rest. Sitting wasn’t the same as getting some sleep. She was grateful when the hour passed without an attack. She woke them up quietly and they began their walk again.
They ate and drank as they walked, barely saying a sentence between the three of them. When the city came into view, Raleigh gave a little gasp of wonder. It was as if she had discovered something new. They stopped and Angelica took her rifle off of her shoulder and raised it, looking through the scope. “Anything we should be worried about?” Grant asked softly.
“A lot of abandoned cars and quiet streets, but you know that can change in an instant.” She put her rifle back over her shoulder and pulled out her knife, Grant and Raleigh following suit. “We slink in like cats, no noise. Remember Raleigh walk toe to heel to move silently and only use the gun if you absolutely have to.”
“I understand, no noise.”
“Good and both of you be careful.” They nodded and they all started down toward London. They had all forgotten how massive it really was and saw every building and empty bus as a potential hiding spot for Speeders and Secondaries. Since food was easier to get to, they hit the convenient stores first, filling Angelica and Raleigh’s bags as they went along. The whole time they kept their ears and eyes open. A couple of Secondaries stumbled by and they hid, breathing as shallow as possible to keep themselves from being found. Once the zombies had moved on they made their way slowly to the hospital.
“Shit, the door’s been chained and padlocked. Not usually a good sign.” Grant said with a frown.
“We could always try another hospital.” Raleigh suggested.
“This is the closest to our exit and chances are no one has dared go in because of the lock.” Angelica replied. “Let’s check around back.”
Grant and Raleigh followed Angelica. Grant not sure how he felt about trying this one since it was most likely filled with atleast secondaries. He knew another hospital might be the same so wasting more energy and making this journey longer wasn’t worth just the chance the other hospital was ok. Their supply of medical needs was sad at best. Heavens forbid anybody be in major need while they were still gathering supplies.
They were disappointed to find all doors padlocked but Angelica pointed out a fire escape “lets try. I really don’t want to have to shoot a lock off” Raleigh wouldn’t say it out loud but her first thought was “do you really trust that thing?” Angelica read her face and honestly had the same concern so said “Let me walk up first just to see if it’ll hold. Maybe I’ll find a window loose on the way up”
“Oh no, you are needed back home.” Grant said as he dropped his bag to the ground.
“You weigh more than me, let me do this.” Angelica argued.
“Not happening.” He started up the rusty old ladder, not giving her another moment to argue. Angelica crossed her arms and glared at him, fearing for his safety. Grant was relieved when he finally found a window that had been broken out and peeked inside before signaling for the others to come up. Angelica grabbed Grants bag and started up the fire escape. He helped her inside then signaled for Raleigh to follow.
Once they were all inside Angelica handed Grant his bag and would have slapped him if she was sure nothing would hear it. “Idiot.” She whispered angrily.
“Don’t be mad, I’m just not letting you risk your life. A fall from that height could have caused real damage.”
“Exactly so don’t do stupid things.”
“Jesus just kiss already or maybe you two would like me to wait out in the hall.” Raleigh said in a scolding tone.
“Sorry, we shouldn’t be arguing in here. Come on.” Angelica slowly opened the room door and looked up and down the hall. When she didn’t see or hear anything the stepped out and went to the right. They followed the sigs that lead them to the stairs, wanting to get to the pharmacy portion of the hospital.
As they descended they found dead secondaries laying on the floors and stairways. From the looks of them they had been cannibalized by the speeders. Secondaries wouldn’t eat each other but Speeders would eat the secondaries if they couldn’t find anything else to eat. Angelica and the group could only hope that at sompoint the speeders would go for eachother but it didn’t seem likely.
The dead secondaries may be a bad omen so they tried to focus even more for any approaching danger in these halls. It was hard to look at the bones left behind from humans that were eaten fully instead of turned. They’d eat the small bones but most seemed to leave the larger bones a body possessed.
They hadn’t seen any live zombies when they arrived at the pharmacy. They started shoveling things into their bags, wanting to carry as much as they could so it would be a long time before they had to come back. Grant was grabbing bottles of Amoxicillin when the shelf broke due to old age and lack of care in the desolate hospital. It was then they realized they had been lucky thus far not to run into speeders. One of their loud, painful screeches was heard not far away
They scrambled to grab more supplies, taking as much as they could so they wouldn’t run out as fast. “Come on, we have to go now.” Angelica said and they all ran out of the pharmacy as one of the Speeders rounded a corners, it’s eyes glazed over by that wild need to consume every living thing in its path. “Run.” Angelica ordered and they sprinted down the hall.
Grant only glanced back for a second, but he could see more of the pale creatures joining the first and his heart gave a fearful stutter. They knew they couldn’t use the front door and going upstairs would be to slow so they headed for the door to the basement. Their shoes slapped loudly on the floors, the sounds of the Speeders odd grunts and heavy breathing seemed so much louder in the dead quiet of the hospital. Grant pulled out his handgun, firing blindly behind them and hitting one of the creatures in the abdomen so it fell to the ground. It’s brothers jumped over it, uncaring if it died or not. The door came into view as the Speeder’s drew ever closer and Angelica slammed into it, falling through with Raleigh on her tail and Grant coming through last with one of the Speeders. Raleigh slammed and locked the door as Grant tumbled over the ground with the Speeder and Angelica scrambled to her feet. Grant screamed as the thing latched onto his arm and Angelica shot it in the head.
“Fuck.” Grant yelled as he rolled it off of him and got to his feet. “Damn it, fucking damn it.” He wiped the blood angrily from his arm.
Angelica just stood there in shock and stared at the puncture wounds in his arm. Her heart gave a painful wench in her chest and she felt herself get sick. The look on Grant’s face was a mix of anger and sorrow and he was shaking. “Angelica, what do we do?” Raleigh asked from the door. The Speeders were slamming angrily against it, but it was holding. When Angelica didn’t answer she grabbed her shoulder. “What do we do?”
“I…I don’t know.” Was all she could say.
“Grant’s been bit and we have to find a way out There has to be an emergency exit right so lets find it then we can deal with Grant.”
“There’s nothing to deal with Raleigh, you know what you’ll have to do.” Grant shot back, his voice angry. “You’ll have to blow my brains out and that’s that.”
Angelica slapped him, tears in her eyes. “You stupid asshole, you fucking moron.” She punched him this time so he staggered back. “How could you get bit.” She went at him again and he grabbed her, pulling her into a hug so she cried into his chest.
“I’m sorry, so sorry Angelica.” He felt himself choke up and buried his nose in her hair.
“You should have been in front of me, I should have been watching your back.”
“I couldn’t let anything happen to you Angelica, you’re far to precious to me. At least I got to spend my last day with you and if it’s to be my last day then at least let me say I lo…”
“No, don’t you fucking dare.” She pulled back and looked up at him. “You don’t dare say it until you’re cured.” The Speeders had stopped slamming against the door, but the could still be hears moving around like they were trying to find another way in.
“That’s not going to happen Angelica.” Grant said sadly.
“Shut up you moron. Raleigh, we need to find a place to hunker down until tomorrow morning. I’m going to try something stupid and risky.”
“I’m going to use some of the medical supplies to transfuse some of my blood into Grant.”
Raleigh got a conflicted look on her face but she just nodded. She was worried somthing could go wrong since they weren’t trained medically but they couldn’t lose Grant. “You coudl die Angelica” Grant protested. “I’ll die if i lose you” she answered honestly. Grant kissed her head “Ok, but you better be careful”
“when you not being careful caused this situation?”
“Mushy later guys” Raleigh interrupted then continued “They can’t seem to get in here. Lets clear the entire basement then get to work.” They walked quietly through the basment, glad there were no other windows or doors. Only decay and waste laid down here so they went into the best part of the basement there was and pulled out supplies for what Angelica was about to do. “Raleigh, I know we’ve just cleared it but I need you to just guard us. You never know”
“Everything will be fine”
“Don’t bullshit me Angelica. I could lose both of you”
“Have more faith in me than that” Grant looked at her with a deeply worried face as Angelica began “Please let me say it” he asked in fear he would never get to tell her he loved her. “No, I refuse because you aren’t dieing. You’ll tell me when you’re better” They were quiet as she began, Raliegh all concentration to defend them if they had somehow missed one or they figured out a way in. It was better she was looking around anyway. Raliegh didn’t know if she could watch Angelica and Grant even if she tried.
“Do you even know your blood type?” Grant asked as she prepared the tube then stuck the needle in his arm, using medical tape to keep it in place.
“Nope and yeah I know it could make you really sick or kill you, but that’s better than you becoming one of those things.” She took the other end of the tube and stuck the needle in her arm then opened it up and watched as her blood moved quickly up the tube and into Grant’s arm.
They sat there in silence holding each other hands, both of them terrified. Angelica started to feel dizzy and Grant went to take the IV out, but she slapped his hand away. “Angelica, that’s enough.” He said worriedly.
“No it’s not, just a little more. Haven’t you ever donated blood? I know when it’s enough, just trust me.”
Time ticked sluggishly by and after five more minutes of them sitting there, Angelica closed off the tube and took the needle out of Grant’s arm. She put a band aid over the small hole then did the same to arm. Angelica swayed and Grant grabbed her before she fell over then pulled her close so she sat between his legs. “Stubborn woman.”
“So, you like me that way.” She smiled.
“Raleigh hand me a bottle of water and one of those candy bars we grabbed.” Raleigh went through one of the bags of food and handed Grant what he asked for. She then closed the door to the room they were in and switched on her flashlight, sitting on top of a box so it lit up the side of the room they were on. Grant opened the candy bar and held it up to Angelica’s lips. “Eat it or I’ll make you and then you’re going to drink some water.”
She took a bite of candy, slowly chewing and swallowing. “How do you feel?” She asked then took another bite.
“Well if our blood types weren’t compatible I’d been extremely sick by now, virus wise I don’t know. We’ll have to see in the morning if I’ve started showing symptoms.”
“Raleigh would you wrap Grant’s arm please. There’s no reason he should get an infection.”
“You’re so confident” Grant said, looking unsure and worried about her. “You’ve got my blood. I’m resistant. You’ll wake up and be fine”
“Then will you let me hold you?”
“When Raleigh is done sure” Raleigh finished with a smile. She knew the others would be happy aswell they were finally confessing to one another. “PG guys, I’m right here. I’ll keep watch while you two sleep. I don’t want to take chances”
“Thanks Raleigh” Grant laid down, feeling awkward about cuddling since it wasn’t somthing he did much even before all this happened. “Just lay flat you idiot.” Angelica said and he smiled, doing what she said. She laid her head on the top of his chest, almost his shoulder and he wrapped his arms around her “can i say it yet?”
“In the morning if you’re still well since you aren’t confident”
Angelica dreamed she and Grant were standing together on a hill looking down into a valley, their fingers laced together. She smiled at him then looked back down into the valley. The sky suddenly darkened, ominous clouds moving in with the threat of rain. Lightening flashed and when she looked back at Grant he was a drooling, rotting abomination. His hand was locked onto her wrist and he pulled her closer, his yellow teeth sinking into her throat.
“Angelica, wake up.” Her eyes flew open and she found herself looking up at Grant and Raleigh, Grant’s hand clamped over her mouth to muffle the scream that had risen in her throat.
She pulled his hand away. “Grant?”
“Last time I checked.”
She came up on her knees and pressed her forehead against his. “No fever, thank god.” She took a deep breath and flopped back into a sitting position. She rested her face in her hands, crying.
“Angelica, it’s okay.” He moved to sit next to her and pulled her back into his arms.
“Don’t ever, ever do that again you idiot. I don’t think I could do that a second time.”
“I’ll do my level best.” He kissed her temple. “We need to get out of this hospital and back home. I’m sure Emilia will want blood samples from me.” He said softly.
“I’m just glad you’re alive.” She wiped her face.
“Can I say it now?” He ran his fingers through her hair.
He smiled adoringly at her. “I love you with all my heart.”
“I love you too” she answered then pulled him into a brief kiss. They wanted more but there would be time for that after they brought supplies to the rest of the group. Raleigh was smiling happily “come you two.” They checked their guns, gathered their bags then went to the door and listened. The speeders seemed to be away from the door now so they got the door open, Angelica peeking out first. “they’re somwhere else in the hospital now. Lets go” she whispered and they all quietly walked out. They went at a steady pace as quietly as possible, successfully making it out without detection.
Angelica now took Grants hand, her blood still pumping much too hard due to how stressful it was to have Grant in the open again. Practically power walking they began their way out of London and onto the road home. At random Grant would lay a kiss on Angelicas hand along the way back. It elicited a smile from her every time which was partially why he did it.
Excitement arose from the group when they walked in the library. Everyone was amazed at how much they had managed to collect and bring back, grateful for their bravery. They asked the others to put their supplies away while they talked to Emilia in the lab. They knew the instant it was spoken of Grant was bitten it would cause panic so they’d rather have the conversation held in private.
“Are you serious and he hasn’t changed?” Emilia said as she looked Grant over, looking at his eyes and listening to his heart and lungs. “This is amazing.”
“Not really, Angelica transfused her blood into my body.” Grant replied.
“That’s incredibly dangerous and stupid.” Emilia looked a little upset.
“Yeah, I know, but it was either that or lose Grant. I chose the latter because I need him.”
Emilia sighed. “Well at least you finally told each other. Alright Grant, let’s draw some blood.”
Angelica sat nearby while Emilia took a few blood samples. Grant smiled at her the entire time Emilia was reprimanding him for not being careful. She let him go when she had enough and told them to both get something to eat. “Oh and if you want put your bed in one of the other rooms. I’m sure you two will be up to a lot I don’t care to hear or see.”
“Emilia.” Angelica said, giving her a little glare.
“You’re both adults so stop being dramatic. Go on, get out of here, eat and shower. Maybe Grant’s blood will get us closer to a cure now that we can see how your blood effects someone else. Go, shoo, be gone.”
Grant chuckled as they went to grab some food and drink. They wanted showers too but their stomachs were in pain from hunger. They had their fill while talking about their journey with the others, now telling them about the happenings with Grant since Emilia knew and wasn’t worried. It was only a minorly difficult sell for the others to be comfortable, then they were just amazed and happy he survived. Angelica could barely get enough water in her. They drank so little while traveling and giving Grant her blood had made her incredibly thirsty, it was somthing she hadn’t quite caught up from yet.
When they were finished eating Grant asked “do you want me to move our bed and then we can shower together?” she smiled “sure but I’m helping”
“No, just grab us towels, soap and changes of clothes.”
“I guess” Grant kissed her cheek then got up to move their bed into a room where they could be alone. Angelica took what they needed then started the water. She was only just in when Grant came down, stripping along the way. Angelicas eyes widened at the sight of Grant naked, He smiled a bit smugly but she didn’t notice as she admired him. “we need to get clean” he said with a laugh and she jerked back into reality “sorry”
“don’t be, you are breathtaking with clothes on or off so i was more ready for the sight of you.”
“Trying to be smooth since we’ll be in a room alone tonight”
“No, I’m too tired for that to be honest. Your presence makes it hard to focus on anything but you aside from when we are in danger because then all I want to do is make sure you’re safe”
“You never have to worry about me.” Angelica grabbed his hands and pull him into the water.
“Holy crap, that’s cold.” He said and gave himself a minute to get used to it. “And yes I do have to worry about you, I love you and it’s my job to protect you.” He tugged gently on her hair, making her tip her head back. His lips found hers in a gentle kiss. He nibbled at her lower lip until she parted them, allowing his tongue to explore the warmth of her mouth. He pulled back, leaving her breathless and stroked his knuckles over her cheek. “I can never thank you enough for saving me Angelica, but you must promise me you will never do something that risky again. I didn’t like seeing you that pale.”
“Now we’re even, you saved me once and I finally got to pay you back.”
His eyes overflowed with his love and adoration for her and it sent her heart into overdrive. “You being alive and loving me is payment enough.” He kissed her forehead. “Alright, lets get clean, I think my entire body is numb.”
They quickly washed then rinsed and dried. The only good thing about bathing in cold water was that your body was always warmer afterwards. They walked exhaustively to their room and flopped down on their bed. Grant covered them and pulled her into his arms so her head rested on his chest. “Do you think things will ever be normal again?” She asked sleepily.
“Yes as soon as Emilia and the others can turn your blood against the Speeders and Secondaries we’ll be able to have a real home with a yard and if we can find one, a dog. We’ll have the perfect life.”
“I miss dogs”
“Me too, if any ever pass us by we’ll have to save it. All the stores still have tons of dog food, even here”
“I know Emilia and the other scientists can figure out how to get our world back. It may be weeks and it could be years but they’ll figure it out. You getting bitten actually helped the process so they may have a course of action for us even sooner.” Angelica yawned again so Grant gave her another kiss before saying “lets just go to sleep. We both need it” Angelica sighed a tired but happy sigh then let sleep take her away. Grant did the same and they laid undisturbed until the children playing woke them.
Their noises carried easily through the library but it was somthing nobody cared about. They were happy the children could even still play and be relatively happy during all this. Grant and Angelica found somthing to eat and began to fill themselves for the day. Emilia was nowhere in sight but chances were she had worked through the night since she had new information to use.
“I’m going to take Emilia something to eat.” Angelica said and made her a bowl of oatmeal. Grant watched her walk away and she glanced behind her, giving him a wink so he smiled. Emilia and two of the scientists were at work and jumped when she came in. “Brought you breakfast Emilia.” She sat the bowl down on the table next to Emilia and turned to the other two. “You guys hungry, I can run back out and get you something.”
“We’re fine, we ate some breakfast bars.”
“Okay, don’t be afraid to ask.” She turned her attention back to Emilia who had stopped and picked up the bowl of oatmeal. “So, any closer?”
Emilia nodded as she swallowed. “Watching your blood mingle with Grant’s was extraordinary. He’s really luck you two were compatible, it gave us a better understanding of how your blood fights off the Speeder infection. I mean it has really sped up our progress. Jaques said they can start trying to make a vaccine or a bio weapon, maybe they can try for something that does both. A vaccine for humans, but if one of those ugly fuckers bites you your blood acts like poison. Soon we’ll be free of these creatures.”
“Then England and Scotland can go back to normal. I have to say, I am glad those things can’t swim. The whole world infected by Speeders and Secondaries would be terrible and far more catastrophic.”
“I’d say give us six months an maybe we’ll have something you can shoot at those things to see if it kills them.”
“Better make sure I can coat arrow heads in it, using my rifle would be too risky.”
“Got it and thanks for breakfast.”
Grant got to his feet when Angelica came out of the makeshift lab and pulled her into his arms, giving her a long kiss in front of everyone which had her blushing much to everyone’s surprise. When he pulled back she had a love struck look on her face. “I love you.” He whispered.
“I love you too.”
Time seemed to move a lot faster over the next months as Emilia and her team worked. This dreadful world wasn’t nearly so bad now that Angelica was with Grant. One day Emila and her team called a meeting, excitement glistening in their eyes. Everyone gathered, even the children to hear what Emilia had to say. She cleared her throat “As you all know Angelica performing a blood transfusion with Grant helped massively with us trying to figure out how to use whats in her blood to kill off the speeders and save the secondaries. We’ve worked hard with this information over these months and I am standing here to tell you we can have out land back. We have concocted a poison for the speeders and we’re fairly sure we have a vaccine for the secondaries. We can’t test of course but it should work”
They clapped and a few hugged Emilia and the other scientists. Emilia began explaining how to coat weapons in the antidote and poison, assuring them neither was deadly to a human. They decided to take turns going out in groups to cleanse the land of the horrible creatures that were unleashed five years ago. All were eager and more than willing to venture out. They might all have gone but there always needed to be people at the library to protect the children.
Angelica and Grant moved quietly through town with Raleigh watching from the top of a building with binoculars. Angelica held her hand up to tell Grant to stop and she withdrew the vial of blood she had asked Emilia for. She threw it so it broke and splattered on the side of a car then they waited in silence. It didn’t take long for one of the Speeders to crawl out of the rubble on an old laundromat. It scented the air and moved quickly towards the blood, it’s eyes hungry. She wondered how long the thing had gone without food. Both she and Grant pulled an arrow from their quivers and set them in place, drawing their bow strings back. The minute its back was to them they let their arrows fly, one hitting it in the shoulder, the other in the spine. It hit the ground, writhing and screeching as it tried to dislodge the arrows, but it was already to late, the poison was rushing through its veins and killing it from the inside.
“Got another one and this time we didn’t get mobbed because of the screeching.” Grant said with a relieved smile.
“Yeah, that wasn’t fun, but at least we had Raleigh.” They walked over and tugged the arrows out of the dead body of the Speeder. They used their bottles of water to rinse off the arrows before slipping them back in their quivers then Grant pulled Angelica into him and kissed her.
“I love you more than life itself Angelica.” He said in a soft, intimate voice.
“I love you too my brave warrior.” She grabbed her radio. “Come on Raleigh, we’re going home.” Grant smiled and laced his fingers through hers as they walked back through the city they had reclaimed, excited for their future in a Speeder free world.