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For the guests

I've noticed a lot of random guests visiting the site, maybe I should repost our (now finished!) L4D story to entertain them? :P


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

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Status: Offline
Posts: 1565

Will be getting back to work on LT shortly - in the meantime, please enjoy "Dead Origin" by The Underdog and me. smile


Mark had been keeping watch through the attic skylight of his sister's student flat for nearly three hours now, and it was starting to get dark. He hadn't seen any of the Infected since yesterday, but he knew they were out there. He still could not believe what was happening.

Mark hadn't even been in Edinburgh when it had started. It had been all over the newspapers - a royal navy warship limping up the firth of Forth and then violently exploding. The smoke had apparently been visible for miles around, and had formed a dense pall that had drifted down over most of Edinburgh, blanketing the city in thick white mist and grounding all flights from Edinburgh airport for several hours. But the acrid smoke had brought something else with it.

The day after the accident had passed just like any other, bar the clean-up operation at the now fire-gutted ship anchored behind the Forth rail bridge. The day after that, people had started getting sick. Dozens of people were admitted to hospital in the early hours of the morning, and as the day wore on that number became hundreds. And then thousands.

Mark had driven back to Edinburgh when Kelly, his sister, had called him up and told him that their parents were both sick. He had never seen anything like it - an entire city brought to a standstill overnight. Trains were stopped, flights cancelled, and all businesses ceased trading as there was almost literally no-one to run them. By the third day chaos reigned: there were no more beds in the hospitals, and even the doctors were falling ill with the same violent flu-like symptoms. More and more people were forced to suffer in their own homes, and medical personnel and supplies were brought in en masse from all over the country. As it became increasingly obvious that something was seriously wrong, the MoD were forced to admit that the HMS Dauntless had been carrying large quantities of a potential pathogen, confiscated from an unspecified source. An accidental leak had caused an outbreak among the crew, and that had forced them to seek help in the closest port. Exactly what had gone wrong and caused the Dauntless to explode was still unknown, but it had released the rest of the virus into the air. The MoD assured the press that the virus could only survive airborne for a day at most, but of course it didn't matter by then. The damage was already done. The evening news was full of nothing else; Edinburgh was in chaos, and all over the world thousands of people who had passed through the city on the day of the outbreak were being urged to seek immediate medical attention and be tested for the infection.

On the fourth day, Mark had driven through practically deserted streets to visit his parents at the royal infirmary, but had been turned back at the gates by a harried-looking guard who had told him something about security problems and riots in the wards. Confused, Mark had seen nothing for it but to turn round and drive home. Disturbingly, on the way back he heard reports on the radio of the same thing happening elsewhere. People who had been quarantined abroad after flying from Edinburgh had turned violent, in the throes of a delirium that the newsreaders had compared to animal rabies. Mark hadnt had time to dwell on it; he was preoccupied as soon as he got home by the fact that Kelly too had fallen ill.

Day five was when all hell had broken loose. Mark had woken to news of riots on the streets of Edinburgh, of relief workers murdered and mass violence on Prince's street and Royal Mile. At around midday, with his sister bed-ridden and feverish in the next room, Mark had looked out the window and seen the chaos first hand.

Kelly's flat was some distance from the main road, but Mark had still been able to see the mass of people storming down Calder road, breaking into houses and shops, clawing, kicking and sometimes even biting in a running battle that was terrible to behold. A number of bodies were still clearly visible several days later, lying in the street where they had fallen because no-one was left to move them. Even the rats and birds wouldn't touch them.

It was then that Mark had locked the doors and pulled all the curtains, switching off the TV and anything else that might make a light or a sound. The doors to the student house were solid enough, but the downstairs windows were another matter entirely, and Mark had no real way of boarding them up. He couldn't keep them out, so he knew he had to keep whatever those things were from realising he was there. He only dared watch the news through his laptop in the attic, with the headphones in and a blanket pulled over the screen to prevent any light getting out. The internet reports made for grim viewing. The outbreak in Edinburgh was now being called a national disaster, and any survivors were repeatedly warned to stay in their homes and avoid contact with the Infected. Though the virus was no longer airborne, it was still extremely infectious. Through study of the quickly-contained victims in other parts of the world, it was apparently easily passed on through infected blood, saliva or mucus. Infected humans were irrational and aggressive. In Edinburgh, where the infection was still out of control, a full military lockdown had been put into effect. The army now had a cordon around the city, and was preparing to move in. There were military helicopters flying back and forth over the stricken city with loudspeakers, advising anyone still uninfected of evacuation points they should make for, or else to stay in their homes and wait for the army to arrive. It was for these helicopters that Mark was keeping a lookout for from his Broomhouse flat, but it was now eight days since the outbreak and he was starting to think that the army wouldnt be able to make it to him in time. All he had seen were Infected prowling below; dishevelled people with watering eyes and foam at the corners of their mouths, some wandering blearily as if in a dream, others snarling and lashing out at each other or inanimate objects, stopping only to cough and throw up blood-stained vomit. Once Mark had seen a different Infected, with a horribly-swollen body and a face disfigured by ugly green tumours, who vomited some kind of dark green slime onto the pavement outside his flat. He hadnt known what to make of it, but it scared the **** out of him.
The electricity and water were still working for now, but he was running out of food in the flat, and living on cold rations because he didn't dare light the gas cooker for the sound and smell it might make. Every day the chance that the Infected would find him grew larger. And when Kelly had turned...oh god.

Mark was about to turn away from the window and try and catch an hour or two of fitful sleep, when he saw movement on the street outside and froze. A car was turning into his cul-de-sac, a black Ford running with its headlights off. He frowned - he hadn't seen any of the Infected driving a car, or heard about anything of the sort on the internet news. It couldn't be the army. Might there be someone else uninfected? Cautiously, Mark crept closer to the skylight for a better look.

-- Edited by [BOSS]Fenix on Sunday 12th of December 2010 11:40:28 AM


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

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Sean had arrived in Edinburgh the day after the Dauntless incident with his new girlfriend Chloe. Instead of the usual outings in their local city Aberdeen the pair fancied a different weekend; Chloe had suggested Edinburgh and it was quickly agreed upon by the pair - a decision they both soon regretted.

When they arrived in Edinburgh the pair found the streets full of activity and they even caught a glimpse of the charred warship as they drove across the Forth bridge. Tired from their journey after leaving late the pair decided to check into their hotel and get an early night; however the night was constantly disturbed by sirens.

The next morning Sean heard much from hotel staff and visitors about people suddenly falling ill and being rushed to hospital. Originally Sean blamed something they ate but was harshly dismissed when the young girl at the reception said half of Edinburgh didn't eat the same thing, and admitted she too was starting to feel unwell, and shouldn't even be working but was forced due to everyone else falling ill.  Then suddenly before his eyes Sean saw with horror the girl turn a ghostly white, her breathing start to stagger and then she began to sway before suddenly collapsing. In a panic he had leapt over the reception desk to check on the girl and asked Chloe to get help.

The ambulance soon arrived and nearly all the hotel staff and guests began to admit they were also feeling unwell. Fearing an outbreak everyone in the hotel was asked to go to the hospital. For two days despite feeling fine Sean and Chloe were forced to stay in the hospital and watch in horror at the chaos around them, people were coming in thick and fast and the staff were hard pressed; Sean even offered his help where possible, carrying people in, fetching supplies - he even assisted in CPR when no-one else was available.  Sean reflected on his two years wasted at university doing nursing, wasn't such a waste after all he thought. Eventually the hospital released the pair when they continued to show no symptoms. Their weekend away ruined, Sean and Chloe were adamant about going home and hurried back to the hotel to get their car.

For a day the pair queued in an unmoving traffic jam until eventually a man walking in the opposite direction approached the car, tapping on Sean's window and waking him up.

"You might as well leave your car and turn back," he had said, "No-one is allowed to leave or enter Edinburgh without going through a full quarantine check, and it's slow as hell."

Angrily Sean protested, but he was met with only a shrug. Telling Chloe to stay in the car he made his way to the top of the queue where a mass of people were currently protesting to the soldiers. Casually he pushed his way to the front of the mass and caught sight of his friend Bradley in uniform. Desperate for answers Sean called him over; Bradley pulled Sean aside and told him of the current crisis and the riots and killings and told him every solider has been called up from every regiment, even part-timers like himself. Secretly, Bradley slipped Sean his sidearm, telling him to find somewhere, hold out and look after himself. If there were new developments he would call him on his mobile.

With nowhere left to go Chloe and Sean were forced to walk back to the hotel. In the distance they could hear the riots and taking her by the hand Sean ran to the hotel. After arriving they noticed although the reception desk was empty the lobby was full of people, fear and suspicion on all their faces. Picking up their room key Sean and Chloe cautiously went back to their room, locked the door, and waited.

For several days they held out, Sean constantly watching his phone. Luckily all electricity was still on allowing him to keep it charged; the water was still running as well and the mini bar was full allowing them to live in some comfort. Every day Sean would dare to look out the window at the chaos engulfing Edinburgh, and take notes on the Infected. There seemed to be different types of them now: a fat one vomiting green slime, one with an amazing jumping ability, and one that belched smoke as it walked. Each sounded slightly different, and he carefully noted all their different cries. Sean counted his blessings that not one ever approached the hotel, or maybe they had already swarmed the hotel while they were away - no matter where they were Sean had no illusions about the direness of his situation: he was stuck in a hotel room with supplies running short, surrounded by monsters and with only a handgun with one magazine. He had to act for his and Chloe's sake. He was going to survive, he was determined to survive.

While deep in thought gazing out the hotel window, Sean didn't realize that one of the leaping creatures below was staring in his direction, until it leapt at the window. In a panic he ducked and suddenly the sound of a window shattering followed, but it wasn't his window and next door he heard a terrified scream...

-- Edited by [BOSS]Fenix on Sunday 12th of December 2010 11:43:43 AM


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

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"Help me!" A male voice echoed from next door, "Please!" he called again, in vain. In selfish fear Sean sat on the bed next to Chloe, holding her close as the screams got louder and more desperate; then slashing could be heard and the screams got fainter.

Come on Sean you wimp he thought to himself, guilt starting to build. Was it his fault the creature looked up or had the man next door been standing at the window lost in the same chain of thoughts? A thousand thoughts passed through Sean's head; he began to sweat and tremble, he was urging himself to suck up all fear and save the man - was he going to cower like a child through this situation or stand and fight? But hope for survival was slim, eventually he too would be attacked and killedthat situation loomed over his head casting a heavy, dense fear of death on his shoulders. And what about Chloe, she was in this situation as well - only 17, what could she be thinking? Sean never even thought of asking her how she was faring, too consumed in his own fear. The way she trembled in his arms hit Sean hard; she was terrified and he was her only source of comfort.

He would not fail her - he would return her home and if he was to die he would die fighting. Looking down Sean kissed Chloe's soft blonde hair, then got up and went for the door.

"Come on, lets go save this guy and get the **** home."

"You really think we can make it?" Chloe asked fearfully.

"I'm not going to sit and wait for them, I'm going to fight - you can come with me if you like."

"Of course I'm coming, I ain't staying here alone!"

Sean clenched his handgun tight, flexing his finger on the trigger, and pressed himself against the door. He listened intensely but all that could be heard was his neighbour's screams. He had never used a real gun before and didn't even know if the safety was off but he knew he was a good shot - well, with a paintball gun anyway, can't be that much different - and when younger his grandfather had taught him how to shoot using a hunting rifle as well as doing a bit of archery... Steeling himself, Sean unlocked the door and cautiously stepped out into the hall; not a single soul stirred.

Sean took a deep breath easing his nerves and told Chloe to stay in the room. Without wasting another moment Sean immediately turned to his neighbour's door and tried in vain to ram it down.

"Damn electronic locks!" he cursed. Thinking back to an episode of Brainiac he once saw Sean remember in order to kick down a door you must kick it at the handle. This had been successfully done by a wimpy-looking man so Sean tried it. It took three swift kicks before finally the door broke and swung open.

Aiming his pistol Sean jumped into the room and was greeted by a sight which nearly caused him to vomit. The monster was on top of an elderly-looking man, clawing and punching his body and biting his neck, tearing off skin and muscle and chewing wildly, blood splashing with every bite giving off a horrible squelch.  Large amounts of blood filled the room and it was clear to even the slowest mind that the man was dead. The sight caused Sean to hesitate as he gazed in disbelief, and suddenly the creature looked up and stared Sean directly in the face. An icy chill passed through his body; the wicked creature wore a black hoody, the hood up shading his eyes in a black abyss yet Sean could feel its gaze. The creature salivated at the sight of him, then it gave off a hideous cry and leapt at Sean in a blink, not even giving him time to fire. Sean instantly felt the weight of the creature on him, pinning him to the ground and making him drop his gun; the creature dove to bite into Sean's neck, his mouth opening wide revealing yellow teeth stained with blood. Sean pressed his forearm against the creature's neck holding its vile mouth back, it continued to screech blindly swinging its arms and hitting the side of Sean's head. Using his spare arm Sean caught the wrist of the creature and both Sean and the creature's feet flailed as both fought to get over the other, when suddenly the boot of a white trainer hit the creature in the head causing it to leap back. Reclaiming his gun Sean sprang to his feet, faced the monster and fired three shots. The first two missed terribly, Sean's aim shaky with fear and inexperience not to mention the pounding headache, but the third scored a lucky hit, hitting the creature in the chest just before it leapt and causing it to fall back. Amazingly it got back up shaking the shot off.

"**** this!" Sean yelled, running at the creature and flying at it feet first; the monster fell back and out the window with a defeated cry. Triumphantly Sean looked out over the window and saw the creature lying in the car park in a pool of its own blood. Exhausted Sean smiled, turning back round to Chloe and embracing her.

"That wasn't so hard," he said between breaths.

Using a first-aid kit found in the room's bathroom, Chloe tended to the bleeding cut on the side of Sean's head.

"Thanks for the save," he said, relieved.

"No problem, we have to look out for each other if we're going to survive,"

"Oh aye," Sean agreed getting to his feet. He looked down at the dismembered body of the elderly man. His eyes were wide, staring at Sean as if it was his fault, his mouth wide open.

I'm sorry, Sean said silently, If I was braver...

"So what now?"

Sean looked around the room and spotted a set of car keys on the bloodied desk.

"Lets get the hell out of here."

As soon as he picked up the keys a roar echoed down the streets, as if an angry mob were heading their way. Quickly Sean ran to the shattered window and watched in horror as a swarm of Infected ran down the streets.

"****!" Sean cursed loudly, "Were they alerted to by the gun fire? Come on Chloe we've got to move."

Sean grabbed Chloe's hand and dragged her thought the halls of the hotel, heading for the stairwell. He swung open the door only to be greeted by several Infected powering up the steps. He fired off one round, hitting the closest creature hard and causing it to roll back down the steps taking several other Infected with it, and slammed the door.

"Sean!" Chloe yelled, pointed down the corridor to where angry Infected were sprinting up the hall. In an instant Sean had grabbed Chloe by the hand and began to run towards the elevator, praying it still worked. Suddenly bursting out of a room came an Infected who tried to grab Sean; swinging his arm heavily Sean punched the monster in the face, knocking it back through the door. Another creature leapt from a second room, this one knocked back by a kick from Chloe. The pair ran hard into the elevator door, banging the button. The elevator dinged and slowly made its way up to them; desperately Sean continued to bang the button, glancing over his shoulder to see the Infected getting closer. After seconds that seemed like hours the lift opened.

-- Edited by [BOSS]Fenix on Sunday 12th of December 2010 11:49:02 AM


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

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"Come on!" Sean yelled jumping in the lift.

"Help!" Chloe yelled, causing Sean to turn around; wrapped round her neck was what appeared to be a tongue.

"What the ****?" Sean yelled, grabbed the tongue and aiming carefully fired in the direction it was coming from. To his surprise he hit home at the creature standing at the back of the horde, which burst into a cloud of smoke. Dragging Chloe to her feet Sean pressed the button for the first floor. The door closed mere seconds before the Infected came, the horde slamming into the door as the lift descended. Sean could hear the banging. Out of breath, he immediately pressed the stop button, halting the lift between floors where he knew it was safe. In their small metal container dangling between floors he slid down the wall, catching his breath, Chloe mimicking the action, each exhausted.

"Why've you stopped us?"

"I don't know what it will be like when we reach the entrance and we need to be ready to run, so let's catch our breath."

Chloe nodded, reaching into her pocket and producing a cigarette before pointing the packet towards Sean.

"Smoke?" she smiled.

"I'm trying to quit, remember?"

"I think we have bigger health risks at the moment," Chloe smiled, trying to add humour to the situation.

The elevator door dinged after reaching the entrance hall, and pressing himself against the side of the elevator - his hand ready to press any floor just in case - Sean peered out. The entrance was clear and he relaxed. Upstairs he could still hear the creatures searching tirelessly for him and Chloe, and he laughed at their stupidity. Cautiously they made their way to the car park and Sean began pointing the set of keys at the few cars, pressing the unlock button. After the third attempt a black Ford's indicators flashed.


Things were finally starting to look up for the young couple and they jumped into the car.

"I hope this thing's got plenty petrol," Sean said, starting the engine and to his luck the car had 3/4 of a tank. Sean took the time to get to know the new car, trying every button, and flicking on the headlights. Sean stared wide-eyed at the sight before him: hidden in an alley a horde of Infected stood completely oblivious to him.

Well, until he had put the lights on.

They stood and stared at the car, Sean returning the gaze.

"Ooooh ****," he said, turning to Chloe. Biting his bottom lip he slowly put the car into reverse and began to ease the car back, but this alone was enough to cause the creatures to charge.

"**** it, let's go!" Sean yelled, slamming the car into gear and taking off, crashing through the car park barriers and swerving before hitting the mass of creatures. Tirelessly the monsters chased the car, banging on the back window until finally the car got up to speed and took off ahead of them. Yet they continued to chase, never running out of breath; suddenly they stopped, their attention mysteriously turned, and they ran to another street. Was it another survivor or did something scare them off? Either way against such a large horde Sean was not wanting to find out, and wished the best for the person if it was a survivor. Learning from his mistakes Sean turned the headlights off and allowing himself to calm down drove through the burning streets of Edinburgh. Surprisingly Sean noticed lots of Infected yet none paid any attention to the car, just aimlessly walking through the streets. Looking at the boarded up windows Sean wondered if they would find any survivors - were they alone, and if not what would these survivors be thinking, seeing a car drive calmly down the streets? Were they all just selfish like he was before, cowering where it's safe not wanting to help people? He completely understood that feeling and did not judge these people, but since he was stuck here Sean felt the need to try and meet willing survivors to help each other escape.

"Where are we?" Chloe asked looking around as they drove westward down the dual carriageway.

"I have no idea," Sean replied, peering at the houses either side and deciding arbitrarily to hang a right at the next roundabout.

"We lost?"

"This is my first time driving in Edinburgh, I haven't a clue where we are."

"Well where we going?"

"I don't know, I don't know where to go,"

"Can't believe we're lost, ask for directions," she smiled.

"From who? Besides I don't need directions."

"Typical men!"

The pair burst out laughing.

"Let's try down here, it actually looks clear," Sean turned the car into a cul-de-sac and came to a stop, "Hey no Infected," he said with glee, "Thank ****, I need air."

"You're going out!?"

"We've been driving for ages, my legs are cramping."

Slipping a cigarette into his mouth and lighting it Sean stepped out of the car, closing the door silently behind him as Chloe stepped out too. The air was cold on Sean's legs and arms - he was wearing only a yellow t-shirt, now stained with blood, and a  pair of brown shorts which came down to below his knees and were riddled with pockets. The handgun sat tucked into the back of his shorts supported by his belt. Chloe fared better with her white ripped jeans and yellow tank top underneath herwhite hoody, which she had zipped down slightly.

"Thought you quit?"

"I think we have bigger risks to our health at the moment." Sean replied.

-- Edited by [BOSS]Fenix on Sunday 12th of December 2010 11:53:04 AM


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

RP Expert

Status: Offline
Posts: 1565


Mark watched as a young man stepped out of the car and cupped his hands round a cigarette. Was he insane? There could be Infected lurking out there! But then, surely he wouldn't be acting so nonchalant if there were... Mark leaned to one side, trying to get a better angle on the street below. The lights in the attic were off, and it was getting dark outside too; he thought that would be enough to hide him from the sight of anyone below. He was wrong. As he moved, the man below turned his head upwards and looked straight at him. And then, to Mark's alarm, he dropped his cigarette and pulled a gun from somewhere behind him.

"Jesus Christ!" Mark swore aloud, stumbling back from the window and flattening himself against the floor. He lay there for several seconds, but no shots came. Where the hell had he got a gun? For a few seconds more he didn't dare move, and wondered how he was going to contact the other survivor without getting shot. Then another thought struck him - the survivor below hadn't fired, but if he had mistaken Mark for one of the Infected he was probably getting back into his car and preparing to drive away. The only other uninfected person hed seen was about to disappear. He scrambled to his knees and slid down the attic ladder before bolting downstairs to the front door of the flat, fumbling with the keys.

He pushed the door open and saw the other man still standing with his gun held at full extension, pointed at the roof window of his flat, and he could hear someone else still in the car pleading with him to get back in and go. The young man spun as he heard the door open, and the gun pivoted with him to point straight at Mark. Mark put his hands up. The other held the gun awkwardly but with a steady grip - steady enough, Mark thought, to hit him at a range of ten metres which was all that separated them. The man's yellow t-shirt was spattered with blood.

"Get down on the ground." the man with the gun said.

Mark hesitated, his eyes still fixed on the muzzle of the gun, "What?"

"Get down on the ground!"

Mark snapped out of his trance and obeyed, dropping to his knees on the doorstep.

"Put the gun down, Sean, he's not infected," said the person in the car - a girl judging by their voice.

The man called Sean lowered his aim slightly, but his face was still wary.

"Are you infected?"

Mark was pretty sure he wasn't. He hadn't shown any symptoms over the last few days, and he wasn't going to admit doubt when another man was pointing a gun at him.


"Come on Sean, he's clearly not going to attack us," said the girl in the car, "And we've never heard anyone infected speak."

Slowly, Sean lowered the gun a fraction more, and then let his arms drop to his sides. Mark let out a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding. His heart was still thudding in his ears as he got to his feet. He looked around - there was still no sign of any Infected, but the sky was rapidly turning from pink to grey as night fell.

"Come on in," he said to Sean as the other tucked the pistol back into the waistband of his shorts. A young woman stepped out of the passenger side of the black Ford, and she moved quickly to Seans side as he locked the car and followed Mark into the flat.

"Sorry but we've had some bad experiences today so we wanted to be careful," the young man explained as Mark locked the front door and checked that it was secure, "I'm Sean and this is my girlfriend Chloe."

"I'm Mark," Mark replied, turning to look at the two newcomers. They were his age, give or take a couple of years, and they looked harrowed but healthy.

"How long you been here, Mark?" Sean asked.

"Since it started. My sister called me up when my mum and dad got sick - this is her flat."

"Is there anyone else here with you?"

Mark bit his lip, "No. You're welcome to stay but I don't have much food left. There's a Tesco up the road in Costorphine but I don't fancy walking it with all of them about."

"Well we've got the car now."

"The place is locked up though, has been since all the staff got sick. I doubt we can break in through the steel blinds, not without making enough noise to attract any infected people that are hanging around."

"There might be someone else alive to let us in," put in Chloe, "It's the perfect shelter - plenty of supplies, secure."

"Maybe," Mark admitted, "But I don't think we should try anything until tomorrow. There always seem to be more of them around at night. You heard anything from the outside?"

"Only what my mate Bradley told me, but he gave me his gun so it must be serious. That was a good few days ago though - you?"

"Just what I see on the BBC website. Ive phoned some of my friends down south to let them know I'm here, but I doubt they can actually do anything about it."

Mark went on to listen to Sean and Chloe's story of how they had escaped the hotel. He hadn't quite believed Sean when he related how the hooded Infected had jumped two stories to smash through their window, and how another had grabbed Chloe with a slimy distended tongue that Sean swore had been at least twenty feet long. He couldn't see how that was even possible, to which Sean had replied angrily that he hadn't imagined what he had seen. Mark proceeded to make his guests some supper from the food he had left before showing them upstairs. Kelly's was a fairly typical student flat - a downstairs living room, with a three-man sofa and a TV that Mark hadn't dared to switch on since he'd barricaded himself in after the Infected began to run riot; a small but serviceable kitchen; a dingy basement that Kelly had been quite happy to leave locked most of the time; and upstairs the bathroom and two double bedrooms for Kelly and her flatmate. Mark had taken over Kelly's flatmate's room and slept there when he wasn't keeping watch from the attic, and it was to Kelly's room that he showed Sean and Chloe for the night. It was still full of her things, and a number of bits and pieces were still strewn over the floor. Mark stood silently in the doorway, looking at his sister's room. Despite the mess on the floor it still looked lived in, as if Kelly was just out for the day at uni and would arrive back at any moment, throw her rucksack down on the bed and start getting changed for a night out with the girls. Mark hadn't told Sean and Chloe outright what had happened to Kelly, but he was pretty sure they had guessed when he had said that no-one else was in the house with him.

"When did she get infected?" Sean asked, confirming his thoughts.

"Four days ago," Mark replied. He could see Sean working it out in his head - that meant she must have turned violent two or three days ago...

Mark looked away, and following his gaze Sean and Chloe saw that he was staring at one of the objects spread haphazardly on the floor. It was a wedge-shaped piece of stone, big enough to hold in one hand, and on one flat surface was the clear imprint of a spiral shell. Kelly had found the fossil on a beach in Portugal during a family holiday and had kept it as a memento, but the first thing that Sean and Chloe noticed was that one edge was stained with something dark.

"There wasn't anything I could do," Mark said quietly, and as he explained to them the unpleasant memory swam back to the front of his mind.

Over the course of two days Kelly had got steadily worse. On the seventh day after the explosion, Mark had left to check the news from his laptop before bringing up a glass of sugar/salt water for her. She hadn't been able to eat or drink anything for over a day now, but it didn't stop Mark from trying. When he had quietly pushed her bedroom door open, she had been lying in bed unresponsive. The light was off and the curtains drawn, not only to help hide them from the rampant Infected outside, but also because the light had started to hurt Kelly's eyes. Even in the dark Mark could see that his sister was deathly pale.

"Kelly?" he had said softly, stepping up to the bed. Her skin was clammy with cold sweat and he could barely detect her shallow breathing.

"Kel?" he asked again when she didn't show any signs of having heard him. At the second call, his sister's eyes had snapped open. And then, before Mark could react, she had leapt at him.

A hair-dryer, the fossil and a framed photo of Kelly with her boyfriend all went clattering to the floor as she dived over the bedside table at him. She was smaller than Mark, but the sudden attack took him by surprise and he fell back, the glass flying out of his hand and breaking against the wall. Kelly pinned him to the floor, striking at him with her fists, attacking with the desperate strength of a person deranged. Mark yelled at her to stop even as he tried to fend her off; his right hand searched blindly for something to help push his crazed sister off him, and his groping fingers closed around the fossil. Without thinking he brought it up as hard as he could into the side of Kelly's head, and then suddenly he was free and his sister was sprawled on the floor next to him, unmoving, a deep cut oozing blood into her hair. The stone dropped from his hand, hitting the carpet with a dull thud.

Sean and Chloe listened in silence as Mark talked. They had seen - and done - similar things in their desperate fight out of the hotel, but it didn't make Marks story any easier to listen to.

"I'll strip and change the covers before you move in," Mark said, clearing his throat, "I don't know if the infection can spread through sheets but until we know for sure theres no point taking chances..."


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

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The rising sun woke Sean early in spite of the drawn curtains. He glanced blearily at his watch on the bedside table, then slid out of bed as silently as he could so as not to wake up Chloe as he headed out to the bathroom. On his way back he heard a door shut quietly downstairs followed by the sound of a key turning in the basement lock, then Mark appeared coming up the stairs. He stopped when he noticed Sean, looking slightly surprised.

"Guess I'm not the only one who can't sleep in nowadays," he said, "I've got some spare shirts in the other room if you want, just help yourself."

He gestured towards the yellow t-shirt that Sean was still wearing - the bloodstains on the fabric had dried to rusty brown spots overnight.

"Cool, thanks."

After changing his shirt and getting dressed, Sean went downstairs and found Mark in the kitchen.

"What do you want?" he asked as Sean walked in, "I've got corn flakes or weetabix. No milk, mind." he added, twisting his mouth.

Sean grimaced, "You got any tea?"

"Yeah, as long as you don't mind it black."

"I think we need to do a Tesco run, mate." Sean said, smiling wryly.

"I still dunno about that..."

"Trust me, unless you make a bright light or a loud sound the Infected don't even notice you. We drove past loads of them on the way here and they didn't so much as look up."

Eventually Sean managed to convince Mark, and once Chloe was awake they took a last look round from the attic skylight to make sure the coast was still clear before slipping out of the house and climbing into the borrowed Ford. Sean drove, and Chloe sat beside him in the front passenger seat while Mark took the back. Following Mark's directions they pulled out of the cul-de-sac and drove away towards the shopping centre. As they took the long straight down Meadow Place road, Mark sat and looked out the window, first nervously, and then with a kind of disturbed awe. There were no cars on the road although many were parked - or even crashed - at the kerbside, and it was almost completely silent. He had seen Edinburgh in the early hours of the morning before but this was a different kind of calm, a different kind of stillness. In the distance, smoke still hung in the air from fires in the town centre that had burned themselves out overnight. The houses they passed were all locked and dark, though a few showed signs of being forced, with windows broken and doors standing open. There was a dead body on the doorstep of one of the houses. Twice they passed groups of living Infected and Mark's pulse jumped each time, but as Sean had said they paid no attention whatsoever to the black Ford as it drove past them. They stood alone or in small knots, pallid and sickly looking, and one was slumped on the pavement outside a house with his head in his hands as if suffering from a migraine. They moved listlessly, as if dazed, their bodies seeming to lag half a second behind their heads. An Infected woman in mud-spattered clothes leaned against a parked car, retching. Another Infected stumbled into her, causing her to let out a semi-vocal rasp and lash out at him with her free arm, before almost immediately doubling over again and vomiting on the ground.

What was wrong with them? Mark thought.

"I feel sorry for them." he murmured aloud.

"Try that when there's a horde of them chasing you down." Sean growled in reply, "Left here?"

Mark nodded, and they turned into a large and completely empty car park with the locked up Tesco building and a petrol station on the other side.

"Might as well fill the car up while we're here." said Chloe, looking around and seeing no Infected in the area.

"The pumps will all be off," Mark pointed out as Sean brought the car to a stop, the engine idling, "We'll need to turn them back on from inside the shop."

Cautiously Sean and Mark opened the doors of the black Ford, taking in their surroundings. The petrol station was brightly lit, with the early morning sun bathing the area in serene beauty; the wind was warm and soothing but carried the scent of a burning city, and the ghostly cries of the infected reminding the three survivors that the evil still lurked on the most beautiful of days. The station was deserted, with the exception of an abandoned car on another pump. Sean could feel his heart racing - at any moment some creature might appear as if from no where and with less than 10 bullets left in his handgun he feared he would not last long.

"Sean look," Mark whispered, pointing at the kiosk. The windows has already been shattered, the shelves ransacked, and perhaps someone had already tried to loot petrol with their own plans of escaping because Sean noticed that the parked car had containers around it - whoever was trying to escape had been planning on stocking up for a long non-stop trip, but for some reason they hadn't make it back to the car.

"Ok I think we're clear, but we gotta fill up fast," Sean said clearly not wanting to waste anytime.

"Yeah - oh and we should fill up they containers as well, we could use the extra fuel. Someone should fill the barrels while someone else loads the car, and whoever turns on the pump grab anything that may be useful just in case Tesco's is a no go," Mark suggested.

"Good idea I'll fill the car," Chloe said stepping forward gladly and taking the keys from Sean.

"I've got the containers," Mark added leaving Sean with turning on the pumps.

"Right-o lets hurry."

Sean jogged to the kiosk door, peering in through the broken glass and immediately noticing the bloodstains which littered the small shop. Slipping his hand to his handgun he readied himself. He looked back to see Chloe and Mark busy carrying the containers to another pump and then reality hit him again - firing a gun in a station could be disastrous. Sean cursed his situation. Gently Sean tried the door only to discover it was locked and he had to ease himself through the broken glass of the door, cutting his arms and legs. He winced with the small cuts but forced himself on, wanting this task done as quickly as possible. Holding his gun in two hands Sean crept through the kiosk, walking through the bloodstains and broken glass which crunched under his feet; he could hear flies buzzing, yet despite this and the blood no body was present. The few paces to the counter were torturous but with a sigh of relief Sean made it, looking back over his shoulder then out to Chloe and Mark who were standing expectantly at the pumps. Leaping over the desk Sean landed with a squelch and found the floor moist and sticky. Looking down he immediately turned and vomited at the sight before him - he had wondered where the body was and there it was before him, a mutilated torn-apart body of a man, lying face down with his body ripped open allowing his entrails to spill out. Flies harvested the rottingbody which had obviously been half devoured. The smell swam up into Sean's nostrils making him even more nauseous; steeling himself he took a deep breath holding it and the vomit in and turned to the bloodstained computer Sean turned on the pumps and looked to Mark and Chloe who greeted him with thumbs up as they began to gather petrol.

-- Edited by [BOSS]Fenix on Sunday 12th of December 2010 12:20:40 PM


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

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"Ok now to find something useful," Sean said to himself looking around the building trying hard not to look down immediately he grabbed several bags and started his hoarding by grabbing cigarettes. Sean had quit smoking a year before seeing his folly, but in this situation he found himself in dire need of his previous addiction. Then he noticed the cigars and his thoughts were cast back to his home in Aberdeen, his parents, his dogs, his brother and sister and his friends, Sean had last spoken to his mother on the phone back on the 4th day when he and Chloe were allowed to leave the hospital - she had been worried and Sean had spent the entire time telling her not to be and that everything would be fine. How wrong he had been, but then inthose early days no-one could have known how quickly the infection would spread and that it would turn people into monsters. When things got worse Sean had tried phoning home but got no answer, he then tried phoning his family and friends mobiles but got no signal from anyone - Chloe was the same - now Sean feared how far the infection had spread and what was going on in the world. Being unable to phone anyone he felt alone, but still he hung on to Bradley's last words to him:

"Keep your phone on, and keep it charged, I will phone you when I can get you out, and look after yourself."

With a smile Sean picked up a packet of cigars and looked back to the lazy summers; him and his friends sitting in a summers night near the end of a party - any party - and having a cigar. They all hated them but it was tradition.

Still smiling, Sean turned round the cash register and noticed an open drawer. Curious, Sean opened it to find it full of pointless paperwork, however underneath he found a gleaming combat knife of silver metal with a black handle. He picked it upand examined the blade; it was polished and Sean could see his face on the blade's oiled surface.

"This could come in handy," he said to himself. Quickly Sean gathered what he could in the shop, bottles of water, sandwiches and the like, and left to see Mark loading the last heavy container into the back of the car.

"It's a start," Mark said when he saw the food that Sean had brought, "But we could use some stuff that's going to last a bit longer - we don't know how long were going to be holed up here."

"Surely the army'll be moving in soon?" Chloe ventured.

Sean shrugged, "Shall we check out the main building then?"

"As long as were quick..." said Mark, glancing back towards the car park entrance. He could hear them in the distance, but no Infected had wandered into the car park - yet.

Quickly, the three jogged over to the main doors to the supermarket, scanning for threats as they went. The roof was clear of Infected, and the lights that spelled out the supermarket's name were out. The steel blinds over the main doors were down and securely locked; they knew it would be pointless to try and force them up. Chloe shot Sean a quizzical look.

"Well, let's see if anyones home..." Sean muttered, and tapped gently on the metal barrier. Chloe was right, it was the logical place for people to take shelter. And unlike the petrol station shop, it showed no signs of an attempt to force entry. Which of course might also mean that it was simply locked and empty. Sean waited, but there was no response. He licked his lips, and knocked again.

"Hello?" he called as loudly as he dared, making Mark glance nervously back up the road again.

"We could try ramming it with the car?" he suggested when there was still no sound from inside after a good ten seconds pause.

"Do you have any idea how much noise that would make?" Mark hissed in reply.

"You're right, maybe we should just take what weve got and..."

"Listen!" Chloe hissed suddenly. Both men stopped immediately and looked around, Sean drawing the pistol from his waistband. Chloe was standing with her ear to the steel blinds.

"Did you hear that?" she asked, motioning them closer. Sean pressed his ear to the metal and listened hard, but couldn't hear anything.

"You sure?" he asked Chloe.

"I definitely heard something."

"Hello?" Sean called again, this time banging his fist against the steel blind and causing it to reverberate.

Mark rounded on him, "What are you doing? For all we know its the Infected in there!"

"So what if it is? They can't get through any more than we can. And if it's a survivor theyll let us in!"

Mark went quiet, and Chloe stood back and bit her knuckles as Sean pressed his ear against the steel blind once again. Chloe was right, he was sure he could hear something...

Something struck the metal screen from the other side, so hard that Sean yelped and staggered back clutching his ear, half-deafened by the sound. At the same time, a circle of steel blind the size of a dustbin lid coned outwards not two feet from where Seans head had been.

Sean swore, and the three survivors backed up as another echoing blow struck the steel blind, causing a second section to blister outwards.

"What the..." Mark began.

He never finished as the third hammerblow ripped clean through the blind. The metal split and peeled back like the skin of a banana, and then the three caught a glimpse of a massive fist withdrawing back into the building interior. It was big, impossibly big, with fingers large enough to close around a human torso with ease. The skin on the hand was greyish, the knuckles deeply gashed from the sharp edges of the metal and oozing dark liquid. In the split-second that Sean, Chloe and Mark stood immobile the hand reappeared, gripping the broken edge of the steel blind and ripping it back like tin foil to reveal the creature behind.

It was hunched over, but still stood fully twice the height of a normal human, with monstrous arms and huge grey slabs for shoulders. Its torso was similarly massive, jarringly out of proportion with the legs that supported it, and distorted with muscular bulges and grey-green blisters. But most appallingly of all, nestled between the massive shoulders like someone's cruel idea of a joke, was a small twisted protrusion still just recognisable as a human head. The vestigial knob of flesh turned towards the three survivors, black eyes sunken almost into invisibility, tongue lolling. It retained just enough features to contort into a snarl of rage as it focussed on them.


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
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Sean swore and raised Bradleys pistol as the monstrous Infected smashed through the remains of the steel blinds and charged them like a bull. Chloe screamed. Sean fired. A dark wound opened up in the sickly grey-green flesh of the things chest but it didnt stop; it didnt even stagger. Sean fired again, and again, finally pumping the trigger as fast as he could out of panic as the Infected seemed to simply soak up his bullets. New bullet-wounds burst in its pectoral, in the massive slab of its shoulder, and in the front of its right arm, but each time thick walls of muscle stopped the small bullets before they could damage anything vital. If the Infected could feel any pain from the hits it was too maddened to care.

"Shoot it in the head!" Chloe yelled.

"I'm trying!" Sean snapped back, but the erratic movements of his target combined with his own shaking hands had made it impossible, and he had no time to take another shot because now the Infected was right on top of them. The horribly-mutated creature was cumbersome and slow to accelerate, but bounding along on the knuckles of its distended arms it had built up a savage momentum. It flailed its arms above its head as it came on, and the three survivors dived aside just in time. Mark threw himself one way, Sean and Chloe the other as the creature's fist came down and split the concrete where Sean had been standing, sending a spider's web of cracks and fissures snaking out across the asphalt. Mark scrambled to his feet and ran, looking over his shoulder just in time to see the massive Infected tug up a concrete slab that had been broken off and now sat canted in the crater the Infected's fist had made. The flat triangle of rock was four feet across and six inches thick, yet the creature hefted it as if it were nothing and, to Mark's horror, slung it towards him. He stumbled and threw himself flat, the hard asphalt grazing his elbows and the palms of his hands as the slab of concrete sailed over his head and slewed across the empty car park in front of him. He heard the firework crack of Sean's pistol, then an inhuman roar, and realised that his two new friends were trying to get the Infected's attention and draw it away from him. Mark pulled himself to his feet, one of his bleeding hands automatically going to the knife Sean had given him, but only to check that it hadn't fallen out of his belt as he ran. In a fight like this, he knew, the weapon was worse than useless.

The car
, he thought, I've got to get to the car! Pick them up and get out of here!

Sean and Chloe meanwhile had retreated behind one of the trolley shelters, trying to put something - anything - between them and the seemingly invincible creature. Sean didn't know how many shots he had fired in the confusion, or how many bullets were now left in his single clip after he had fired again at the creature's back to distract it away from Mark.

Goddammit! he swore aloud as the Infected swung round towards them, ropes of muscle coiling like snakes under its grey skin. Sean and Chloe circled, trying to keep the monster on the opposite side of the trolley shelter, but it didnt try to go round. It just went through. Plastic shattered, and a column of shopping trolleys clattered away on their sides as the creature smashed its way through. Sean and Chloe split to either side and broke away, sprinting towards Mark.

Mark had tried to loop round the back of the petrol station building, rather than run to the car in plain sight of the monstrous Infected. His heart thudded in his ears as he turned the corner along the reverse side of the shop. He immediately leapt back, flattening himself against the graffiti-covered brick wall.

Round the back of the petrol station was a footpath, the pedestrian entrance to the Tesco, and through the bushes Mark could see part of the road. There were a number of Infected running along it.

Mark swore under his breath. They must have heard the commotion. The external stimulus had seemed to galvanise the Infected - no longer hunched and listless, but practically sprinting down the road, still retching, but with eyes wide and darting about for the source of the noise. Throwing caution to the wind Mark turned on his heel and raced back the way he had come, straight for Sean's car and in plain sight of the hulking creature in the car park. He saw Sean and Chloe running in his direction.

"Get in the car!" Mark shouted, "They're coming!"

No sooner had he said it, a number of Infected ran past the wide main entrance.They caught sight of the two survivors running in the car park and the monster that was bellowing after them and snapped round, emitting a loud, sucking howl.

But above the noise, as Sean fumbled frantically with the keys to the black Ford, Mark suddenly realised he could hear another sound - a deep, rapid whirring, and it was quickly getting louder. Mark looked up and saw a helicopter sweep by overhead; a sleek, snub-nosed Lynx AH7 painted in military colours. For a second he was frozen in shock; he had always thought of helicopters as loud, but he hadn't heard the Lynx until it was practically right on top of them. It hovered above them, spinning round in a graceful half circle to reveal a thin black tube protruding from its side hatch, and Mark's reeling mind only recognised it as a 20mm cannon when a stacatto report rose above the sound of the rotors. Fearing for a second how easily they might be mistaken for one of the Infected, Mark Sean and Chloe all threw themselves flat, but they quickly realised that they were not the chopper's target.

Under the car's wheels, Mark saw two dark red cones erupt from the big Infected's chest as it barrelled across the car park towards them, blood and shredded flesh spraying out across the tarmac. Mark actually saw chips of concrete thrown up as the high-calibre shells ripped straight through the creature and kept going. A further three hits tore the monster to shreds even as it pitched forward in a welter of bone shards and pulped tissue.

The mass of Infected on the road were screeching, faces twisting into a mad rictus of hate as they sprinted into the car park towards the noisy helicopter. Mark watched in awe as the Lynx simply twirled in midair to bring its gun to bear, and paused. It seemed as if the crew were debating whether the newcomers were survivors looking for rescue or violent Infected, but their decision became clear enough as they opened fire on the crowd fifteen seconds later.

The Infected simply vanished, as if a scythe had swept across the car park. The Lynx kept up its merciless fusillade, its door cannon cycling with a stacatto tak-tak-tak as it swept back and forth, sending chips of stone and puffs of blood leaping into the air. Mark saw a group of 20 men and women literally torn limb from limb in the space of 10 seconds, and fought back the urge to vomit.

"What did he say?" Chloe yelled over the blood and the noise, and it was only then that Mark was able to tear his eyes away from the carnage and realise that someone on the helicopter was speaking through a megaphone.

" any uninfected survivors, remain in your homes; I repeat, stay in your homes. Military units are moving in to secure the city and evacuate survivors. They will be making a house to house search and have been issued..."

Mark could not make out the rest of the message as the helicopter dipped its rotors and swept away towards Broomhouse and Sighthill.

"Get up, signal them!" Sean hissed.

"Are you mad?" Mark shot back, "They won't be able to hear us shouting, and if we run towards them they'll think we're infected and gun us down!"

But the chance was gone regardless - the sound of the rotors began to fade into the distance, and as it did so another more sinister sound rose to prominence. Screaming. Dozens of voices, all emitting the same high-pitched shriek.

"Hurry, get in the car." Sean said, and all three leapt to their feet. They piled into the black Ford, and no sooner had Sean turned the key in the ignition then the first Infected ran round from the back of the petrol station, a young man with his shirt stained by blood-laced vomit, his feet bare and torn bloody from running the stone- and glass-strewn streets without shoes. His mouth was foaming and his head switched rapidly from left to right, then his bleary eyes cleared as he focussed on Chloe's face through the side window. He launched himself at the car as Sean floored the accelerator and pulled away, and the Infected scrabbled and then tumbled across the tarmac as he tried and failed to find purchase on the car door with his fingernails.
The car almost skidded across the empty street as Sean pulled out of the Tesco car park, slewed through the remains of the 20 dead Infected, and hauled the wheel over to the right to take them back the way theyd come. But as the main road swept into view Sean and the others could see that it was not empty at all. The Infected who had been running towards the Tesco, or chasing in vain after the long-gone helicopter, whipped round towards the new sound of the car as it revved out of the car park. One of the Infected ran straight towards the car, Sean didn't try to swerve or slow down, and Mark and Chloe both yelled out as they hit the man head on. There was a loud thump, then the car jolted horribly as the Infected bounced off the radiator and rolled under the wheels. A half-dressed Infected leapt over the broken body as it flopped to a halt behind the car, and hammered his fist against the rear window, but he stumbled as the car gained speed, and then the crowd sprinting in from either side fell behind as Sean slammed the Ford into third gear and roared off up the single carriageway.

The car's acceleration seemed almost painfully slow; Infected surrounded them now, pouring from the doors of the dark houses either side, forcing themselves over the razor-sharp glass of broken windows, climbing or even leaping the waist-high railings that separated the road from the pavement. Mark saw at least one Infected miss the jump and sprawl across the road, splitting his chin open on the asphalt. He just coughed, snarled through broken teeth, and scrabbled on his knees in an attempt to follow the car as it swept past, but Mark soon lost sight of him as he was swamped by the other Infected running past him. The Infected screamed in delirious rage, tumbling away to either side as they tore their fingernails trying to latch onto the door handles and wing mirrors.

Chloe screamed and slammed down the door lock stud under her window as an Infected woman with sickly pale skin grabbed hold of the passenger side door handle, and despite being dragged along the rough tarmac managed to hang on for several seconds before falling away to roll across the road in their wake. More Infected simply vaulted the fallen woman, arms pumping or else outstretched towards the car as they raced after it. But the car was too fast and the sickness quickly caught up with them; they began to fall behind, coughing and vomiting bile onto the road. Those who were still running lashed out furiously at the doubled-up, dry-heaving Infected that were in their way.

"You still pity them now, Mark?" Sean snarled as he drove, "Huh?"

"Sean," Chloe soothed him, herself just being glad to be alive.

A speed camera flashed behind them as Sean sped through at well over the 30mph speed limit. A grasping Infected had pulled off one of the Fords wing mirrors and the cars front was dented and bloody from the head on collision with the first Infected, but otherwise they were unharmed. Sean slipped the car into fifth as houses and trees flashed by on either side. A few Infected alerted by the onrushing vehicle leapt up from the kerbsides as they approached, but none could hope to catch or latch onto the car at the speed it was moving now. Mark saw a dark shape swathed in a hoody and loose trousers crouched on a house roof, and his heart leapt between his teeth as it launched itself off the tiles. Two metres up and twenty along, an impossible jump, but it missed the car's roof by a split second and fell snarling into the tarmac behind them. Sean barely even noticed.

"Where to?" he asked urgently, as below the railway bridge ahead the roundabout at the end of the road came into view, "We need to lose these bastards before we can head back to the flat."

"Go right," Mark replied, "There's no houses up there, just the industrial estate and a couple of car dealers. We can double back along Calder road."

He looked up at the railway bridge as he spoke, "Oh ****."

There were Infected sprinting along the railway track from either side, pounding up the grassy hill and onto the bridge where the first ones there were already beginning to climb the railings. And they were going to pass right underneath them.

"What?" Sean said urgently, and then saw the half-dozen Infected getting ready to leap off the bridge, "Oh ****!" he swore as the first one hurled himself off the bridge towards them, "OH ****!"


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

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The first Infected landed square on the bonnet of the black Ford as he jumped from the bridge, cracking the windscreen and causing Sean to swerve involuntarily as his vision was blocked. Chloe screamed. Two more Infected banged off the car's roof and slid off the back, but the first managed to hold on even as Sean threw the car into a sharp turn, skidding round the roundabout the wrong way as they reached the end of the road. Hanging on with one hand, the Infected began to pound the splintered windscreen with the other, leaving blood on the widening fissures as he fought to make the fist-sized hole bigger. He was gashing his knuckles and breaking his fingerbones on the toughened glass, but that didn't stop him and the glass quickly began to give, making the Infected's blows even harder and more frantic as he got closer to the survivors inside. The Infected behind the car were still in hot pursuit.
Sean yelled incoherently, fumbling for the pistol while trying to keep control of the wheel with his other hand. Chloe seized the gun, and pointed it through the spider-webbed windshield just as the Infected's screaming face appeared on the other side. The shot was deafening in the confined space, and the Infected's face crumpled as the bullet blew out the back of his head, as well as lifting off most of the top of his skull. Sean braked hard and the decapitated body sloughed off the bonnet, Sean shouting at Chloe to kick out the rest of the glass so he could see clearly as he slammed the car back into second gear and tore away.

Sean kept up the speed until they had left the Infected horde far behind, and then he slowed down so as not to draw the attention of yet more Infected as they doubled back towards Mark's flat. They saw no living Infected out in the open - perhaps they had been flushed out by the military helicopters passing overhead. Broomhouse was, thankfully, completely deserted. All the same Mark didn't breathe a sigh of relief until they were back in the house with the doors securely locked.  His hands were still shaking as he closed the worn front door behind him, but he eventually managed to fit the key into the lock and turn it.

"So," Chloe said after a moment, "Anyone for tea?"

Mark and Sean looked at her for a second, then Sean cracked a grin and Mark couldn't help laughing out loud. The idea of doing something as normal as sitting down and having a cup of tea seemed ridiculous given what they had just been through, but at the same time it was completely welcome.

"Hang on," Mark said, "I'm going to fire up the laptop and see if the news has anything new. If there's helicopters flying around then the army must be doing something."

In the end however, the BBC news website told them little that they did not already know. While Sean kept a lookout at the attic window, Mark and Chloe huddled round Mark's laptop, sharing a pair of earphones. A breaking news banner at the top of the webpage proclaimed "Martial law escalates: shoot to kill order confirmed for Edinburgh operation". They clicked on the link and watched a video clip of the prime minister making a statement to the press, with the journalists erupting into uproar at the end of the speech. There was also another clip, this one of an army officer being interviewed on the matter while soldiers in full NBC gear climbed into transports in the background.

"Our cordon has contained the outbreak, but we know that a number of people have received phone calls from inside the city meaning there are still uninfected survivors there, and we have been authorised to move in, secure the city and evacuate any survivors that we find, starting immediately."

"How long will this operation take?" a reporter's voice asked from off-camera.

"We will be performing a house-to-house search so obviously it will take some time to clear the whole city. Survivors in the city are strongly advised to wait in their homes and avoid taking any unnecessary risks until we can reach them."

"Is it true that you have been authorised to shoot to kill?"

"Our highest priority is the safety of the uninfected survivors still inside the city. The Infected are a danger to themselves and to those still free of infection. For these reasons, lethal force has been authorised."

"****." Chloe breathed, disentangling herself from the earphones and creeping over to the skylight where Sean was kneeling.

"I wish Bradley would hurry up and call," Sean said, pulling out his phone and looking at it irritably before putting it back in his pocket.

"I'm guessing he's pretty busy right now." said Mark, checking his own phone. As usual he had several worried texts from his relatives down south wanting to know if he was still alright. He began typing a reply.

"What was that?" Chloe hissed suddenly.

All three of them went silent, Mark pulling the headphone out of his ear, but there was no sound. Sean craned around to get a wider view from the window, but the street below remained empty.

"What was what?" he whispered at last.

"I thought I heard something downstairs."

"Looks clear," Sean frowned, "Better check anyway..."

"I'll go," Mark said quickly.

"We should all go." Chloe argued.

"If one of them snuck in, it's better it doesn't get all three of us." Mark replied.

Reluctantly, Sean nodded and handed him the gun. They had checked the house when they had got back, and he doubted that a lone Infected had approached the house without them seeing, let alone forced a door or window without them hearing, but it wouldn't do to assume anything in their current situation.

Mark passed Sean the thick knife from the Tesco shop; if he was overwhelmed downstairs he wouldnt want to have taken all of their weapons with him. Then he clambered over to the ladder and flicked the safety catch on Bradley's pistol.

"If you hear me shout," Mark said, "Pull up the ladder."

Sean nodded. Chloe bit her lip. They heard Mark step off the attic ladder and his footsteps in the upstairs rooms, then heard him padding quietly down the stairs. There was a quiet rattle as he checked the front and back doors, followed by the sound of interior doors being softly opened and closed. Finally they heard the basement door creak open, shut softly again after half a minute, and the key turn in the lock. Then Mark's footsteps sounded on the stairs once again, and eventually his head reappeared at the attic trapdoor.

"All clear." he said, and as he flicked the pistol back onto safe, Sean and Chloe let out a breath they hadn't realised they had been holding.

Later that afternoon, they began to hear the popping of distant gunfire.


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

RP Expert

Status: Offline
Posts: 1565


Chloe jolted awake in the middle of the night, her heartbeat loud in her ears and her face damp with sweat. Beside her Sean was still asleep. She rolled over to look at her watch. The glow-in-the-dark hands indicated that it was nearly 2am. She groaned, kicked off the covers and pulled herself out of bed. She couldnt remember much of the nightmare - she just had a vague memory of gunfire, the distinctive sucking howl of the Infected, and of someone sobbing plaintively. Being careful not to wake Sean she padded softly to the bathroom to pour herself a glass of water. She didnt like the way the bedroom door creaked as she stepped out onto the landing. The house, completely dark with all the lights off and all the curtains pulled shut, seemed unnaturally still and menacing. It wasn't silent though - there was a susurration of gunfire and howling, still so distant it was almost like a soft but constant breath of wind. It did nothing to dispell her unease. It took a second for her to conquer her fear and step out onto the landing, and she was just about to take a step forward when a new sound stopped her dead.

It sounded like someone crying.

At first she thought it was just a memory from her dream, but then she listened again, and the sound didnt go away. It was very faint, muffled by closed doors, but it was definitely there. Someone was downstairs, and they were weeping.

She took a step out onto the landing, intending to peer over the banister. Her heart rate spiked as she heard a creak of floorboards. Now someone - or something - was creeping towards the stairs.

"Sean!" she tried to call out, but the words stuck in her throat and all that came out was a strangled whisper. She glanced back towards the bedroom door, but didn't dare to move. She swallowed hard to clear her dry throat and try again but it was already too late - a dark silhouette had appeared at the foot of the stairs below, and as she watched it turned its head up towards her.

"Jesus Christ!" Mark swore, almost stumbling in surprise. Chloe nearly jumped out of her skin. Then she felt a wave of relief, followed by embarrassment.

"Sorry," she whispered, feeling her cheeks grow hot in the dark.

"What are you doing up?"

"I could ask you the same question!" Chloe hissed back, "I was just getting a drink, and I thought I heard something."

"Probably just me, sorry. I couldn't sleep so I went for a glass of juice."

"No, it sounded like someone crying."

Mark hesitated, "Crying?"

"Yeah. Did you hear it too?"

Mark seemed to twitch, but in the darkness she couldnt be sure.

"No." he said.

"What's up?" hissed a voice from behind Chloe. She turned to see Sean standing in his t-shirt and boxers, alert but squinting slightly in the dark with Bradley's pistol in his hand. After the battle at the Tesco, it only had two bullets left.

"I heard something, Sean." Chloe said.

"It was just me." Mark replied.

"It wasn't you, unless that was you crying." Chloe said pointedly. Mark's eyes didnt look red or puffy; if anything, he looked strangely guarded.

"Crying?" Sean asked in confusion.

"I definitely heard someone crying!"

"You must have imagined it." Mark insisted.

"I didn't! Listen, there it is again!"

"Infected don't cry," Mark began, "And anyway they couldn't have got in without-"

"Shut up and listen!" Sean snapped at him. He couldn't understand why the usually-cautious Mark was being so blasé about the possibility of an unknown intruder sneaking into the house. Mark reluctantly fell quiet. For a few seconds there was silence, though the menacing background whisper of muffled gunfire and howling crowds continued. Then Sean heard it too. A definite coughing, choking sob. It was scarcely louder than the distant screaming, but it was there. And it was coming from downstairs.

"Stay here Chloe," Sean said in a low voice, and raised his pistol. To his surprise Mark, still standing halfway down the stairs, held up his hands to stop him.

"Wait..." he said, his voice strained by anxiety. His eyes were wide.

"Why?" Sean hissed in confusion, stepping down onto the top step of the staircase.

"I...I can explain..."

Sean looked at Mark for a long time. Then his face hardened, "Mark, whats down there?"

"I can explain..."

Chloe put her hands over her mouth as Sean tightened his grip on Bradleys pistol. Marks eyes flicked desperately between the two of them.

"What's down there!?" Sean hissed again.

Mark's eyes snapped back to look at Sean. He was silent for a second, and then he said quickly, "Kelly."

"Kelly?" Chloe asked, confused, "Your sister Kelly?"

Then she fell silent as she realised what that meant.

Sean looked at Mark in numb shock. When he found his voice, it was all he could do to refrain from shouting.

"You told us she was infected! You said you killed her!"

"I'm sorry! But she's not like the others I swear, just listen to me..."

Sean looked at Mark as if he'd never seen him before. Now his attempt to dismiss the noise made sense, as did his eagerness to be the one to check the house the previous day. It also went a long way to explaining why Mark felt an inexplicable sympathy towards the Infected - he was trying to convince himself that he could save one of them. Sean had thought it had just been naiveté stemming from not having encountered a fully-enraged Infected up close. Yes, they had been human, but whatever it was from the Dauntless that had poisoned their bodies and destroyed their minds had made sure that they weren't any more. Encounters with the minority of victims who had been horribly mutated by the pathogen had completely disabused Sean of that notion. The thought that Mark had kept a rabidly dangerous Infected in the house, putting him and, worse, Chloe at horrible risk without even telling them, filled Sean with almost enough rage to attack him on the spot. The only thing that made him hold off was the fact that the sound could well attract more Infected.

"Where is she?" he growled, biting down hard at the end of each word.

"In the basement."

Now the fact that he always kept that door locked made sense too. Sean suddenly remembered how early Mark had got up the morning before, and how he had heard the key turning in the basement lock. He must have been checking on Kelly.

"How did we not hear her before?" Chloe asked from the landing.

"I told you," Mark said, "She's not like the others. Please, just..."

"Show me," Sean growled, cutting him off.

The two followed Mark downstairs, and stood well back as he pulled out his keys and unlocked the basement door. The strangled, plaintive sobbing was louder down here, a haunting sound muffled by the thick door. Sean gripped the gun tightly in one hand, his palm slippery with sweat. Chloe was holding onto his other hand so hard that she was almost crushing his fingers. The key turned in the lock, and Mark pushed the door open with a soft squeal of hinges that brought Seans heart between his teeth. He expected a feral Infected to leap at them out of the darkness, but the coughing, choking sobs continued unbroken. Mark was twisting the cap on a screw torch he had picked up from the kitchen table.

"Are you mad?" Sean hissed, not daring to raise his voice above a whisper, "Light sets them off!"

"Don't worry," Mark said softly, and he shone the torch's weak, orange beam carefully down the basement steps, "It's okay."

Very slowly, Sean and Chloe inched forward towards the basement door, and looked down.


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.

RP Expert

Status: Offline
Posts: 1565


The basement was full of junk from previous tenants - black bin bags full of old clothes and miscellaneous rubbish, a broken table, even a traffic cone that Kelly and her flatmates must have stolen on a night out with their friends. There was a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling and a pull string inside the doorframe, but the light was off. Mark's torch barely illuminated the room, but Sean and Chloe could just make out the dishevelled figure hunched in a corner, from which the crying came.

Kelly was sitting with her legs pulled up to her chest, with her arms wrapped round her knees and her head down. Her hair was falling limply over her face, but she made no effort to push it away. Over her left temple her hair was still crusted with dried blood where Mark had hit her and knocked her unconscious, before presumably moving her down to the cellar. She had lost weight, and the thick pyjamas she was wearing hung loosely off her emaciated frame. Her thin shoulders were trembling as she cried.

There was a glass of water sitting on the floor not far from her, but it was untouched. The sugar and salt that Mark had put in it to try and rehydrate her was beginning to crystallise on the sides of the glass.

"How did you get close enough to put that there?" Chloe breathed.

"She doesn't respond to anything." Mark replied, though in truth after being attacked by her once he hadnt had the courage to talk to Kelly in more than a whisper, or touch her.

"Neither do the others," Sean growled, "Until you make a loud noise or a bright light."

She could hear people talking, but the voices seemed indistinct and far away, and a woozy sea-sick feeling made it difficult to focus. She was freezing, but her head burned - throbbing with a dull insistent pounding that would not go away. She gripped her head with both hands, but stopped when she felt a sharp pain at the points of contact. She looked at her hands, struggling to bring them into focus. Her fingers felt stiff and sore, and she had trouble moving them. Squinting down she could just make them out; her fingers looked hard and slightly crooked, and the nails had fused with her fingertips, forming sharp points that must have been the source of the pain as she clutched her head. They looked like talons. She shut her eyes so she didn't have to look at them any more.

She couldn't remember how she had got down here in this dark room. She wasn't even sure if she hadn't just been here forever. Her memory was too hazy to tell. There was a...a...dammit! A glass. There was a glass of water on the floor next to her. She was desperately thirsty but even looking at the water made her want to throw up. She wasn't sure how long it had been there. She had a vague memory of a voice talking to her, whispering quietly, but the constant buzzing in her ears made it impossible for her to make out what it had been saying. The voice had faded like a dream, and when she looked up - minutes, or possibly hours, later - the glass had been sitting there. Almost as if it had appeared out of thin air.

There had been something familiar about the voice. Remembering it, she was struck again by a nagging sense of déjà vu. She knew the voice from somewhere, but when she tried to recall where, the answer kept slipping away. Her head hurt too much to think clearly. Oh god, what was wrong with her? Surely no-one would blame her if she cried.

Sean took a step backward, "Mark, you can't keep her there."

"But look, she's not doing anything! She doesn't look up, she doesn't touch the food I bring her..."

"They're all like that, until you make a sound or a noise! Come on, you've seen them. How long before one of us accidentally stumbles on the stairs or drops a plate in the kitchen and sets her off?"

"She's locked in..."

"Yeah, and the noise she'll make trying to get out will attract every goddamn Infected in Edinburgh. It's not safe for us with her here Mark, and you know it."

"She's different! How many of the other Infected cry?"

"All of them, for all we know! We haven't exactly hung around them enough to tell! And if she is different, that means she's like those leaping bastards from the hotel, or even worse, that thing we ran into at Tesco."

"Does she look like one of them?" Mark snapped. He turned to Chloe, his voice pleading, "What if they find a cure? What if they can save her? They say this infection's like rabies, well that's curable, right?"

"Not after it's got into the brain," Sean answered, almost pityingly, "Look, Mark, you haven't convinced me that that thing down there is safe - how are you planning on convincing the army? You know theyve been ordered shoot to kill."

"Only for dangerous Infected!"

"That thing down there IS dangerous!"

"That thing," Mark snarled, "Is my sister!"

"Mark," Chloe said gently, "I know it's hard, but you have to stop thinking of them as people. As long as she's down there, she's putting us all in danger."

"Look at her," Sean joined in, "Listen to her. If you really want to help her, put her out of the misery this disease is putting her through."

He had only taken a tiny step forward, but in a flash Mark had pulled the bowie knife from his pocket. He held it out towards Sean and Chloe, who stepped back in instinctive alarm.

"You're not touching her," he said, his voice calm and deadly serious. Sean stared at him in shock. He had not seen the knife in Mark's pocket, and he cursed himself for the slip.

"Come any closer and I'll stab you."

Sean raised his gun, "Don't do this, Mark."

It was an uneven match up and he hoped that Mark would see that. He didn't want to shoot Mark, and he wasn't sure if he even could, but his promise to protect Chloe was foremost in his mind.

"Okay," he said slowly, trying to lower his gun just enough to appear non-threatening without actually pointing it away from Mark, "Just calm down. We don't need to fight, but that thing has to go."

Mark shook his head, tears in his eyes. He was still holding the knife steadily, and the fingers gripping the handle were white.

"She has to go." Sean repeated.

"No, you have to go." Mark shot back, "The both of you, get the **** out!"

Sean stared at him, "And go where? With all the Infected stirred up by the army? Hell, with the ARMY?"

"Stop it, both of you!" Chloe said desperately. She took a step towards Mark, slowly raising both her hands.

"Chloe!" Sean hissed, but she kept her eyes fixed on Mark's. She took another slow step forward.

"Come on Mark," she said soothingly, "We can talk about this."

She made to take the knife from his white-knuckled hand. But as she touched him, Mark - who had until then been standing mesmerised by Sean's gun - regripped the knife and jerked it towards Chloe's face to ward her away. In his alarm, he flicked it forward rather harder and faster than he had intended.

In panic, Chloe pushed him away as hard as she could. Mark's eyes opened wide as he lost his balance and fell backwards. The torch fell from his flailing arm, and bounced off the bottom step with a sharp spang before spinning to a stop in the middle of the floor, still lit. He instinctively grabbed for the only handhold available, which was the light cord, but it came away in his hand. He landed hard, cracking his back against the wooden stairs with an impact that knocked the breath from his lungs and made him drop the knife in his other hand. The basement light, switched on by Marks accidental yank on the pull-string, guttered for a second, and then blazed bright. As soon as it did so, there was an earsplitting shriek.
It was like having a white-hot poker jammed into her head.  The pain was enough to tear a scream from her parched throat.  She was blind.

Make it stop!  Make it stop!  Oh god, make it stop!

Throwing her arms over her eyes made no difference.  Her vision was red and blurred, but the pain sharpened it, resolving the image into crystal clarity.  There was someone next to her, scrambling to his feet, and behind him was the source of her pain: the light - blinding, agonising, and she couldn't make it stop because the person next to her was in her way.  She lashed out in desperation, forcing her aching body to respond, the pain giving her strength.  The person flew back against the wall from the force of her blow.  She couldn't look directly at the light and so she swiped blindly at it; the talons that had replaced her fingers caught on something, and ripped it down from the ceiling.  Almost instantly the light went out, but ahead of her she could still see stairs, and a doorway, and in the doorway were two more people.  Her pain vanished in a flash of rage - pure simmering rage at the people who had made her hurt so badly, and oblivious to the screams of protest from her sore muscles she hurled herself at the two, arms spread wide.  She saw them stumble backwards, and then something closed in her face, blocking her path.  She smashed her fists into the obstruction but it would not move, and she shrieked her frustration as she beat her fists bloody against the unyielding wood.

She pounded on the door until her fingers broke, and that bright flash of pain made her fall back against the wall.  She lay there, hyperventilating.  As the adrenaline faded, the nausea returned - worse than before.  She hunched over and retched, spitting green bile onto the floor.  The acid burned her throat, but there was nothing more to come up.  Her broken hand burned.  Her head throbbed.  As she lay there shivering, she noticed a dull orange triangle on the floor.  It was a dim glow, not enough to hurt her eyes, or at least not enough to register against the symphony of pain now wracking her body.  Looking at the glow seemed to stop the room from spinning, so she focussed on it.  The light was coming from a narrow black tube on the floor.  She knew the word.  What was the word?  She struck her forehead with the palm of her good hand until it came to her.  Torch.  That was it.

She crawled over to it, cradling her maimed hand.  Something stabbed her shin through her pyjama trousers as she crawled, making her stop and look down.  She could just make out splinters of glass under her knees - curved shards, and a piece of, filament.  How had that got there?

She looked up.  The torch-beam was still there, projecting a narrow shaft of light across the floor.  It illuminated a dark shape that was crumpled in a heap against the wall.  She realised that it was a person - the light was shining onto what was recognisably a face.  That was it - she had thrown him out of the way to get to the light, right before she had torn it down.  That's where the broken glass had come from.  The person wasn't moving.  As she looked into the face, she felt a spark of recognition.

Oblivious to the glass underneath her she crawled closer.  Now she was next to the body she could make out the ragged gashes that had been raked across his chest by her hand.  His torn shirt was stained by something dark, almost black in the dull orange light.  Her eyes moved upwards to his face.

There was something familiar about that face.  She knew that face.  It had floated unbidden into her mind once or twice, when she had heard the distant voices.  She struggled to make the connection, fighting against her pain-fogged mind.  A name came to her as she looked down.


Now she remembered.  NOW she remembered.  And she screamed.

Sean and Chloe ran blindly, Kelly's shriek still ringing in their ears.  From down the street they heard an answering howl as the other Infected reacted to the noise.

"Go, go, go!" Sean yelled at the top of his voice, still half-dressed and barefoot as he sprinted across the cul-de-sac and fumbled with the keys to his car.

A thick sea haar had come down over the city during the night, reducing visibility to almost zero.  The fog was cold and clammy against Sean's skin, and the sucking howls of the Infected cut through the whiteout like a knife.

"Oh god." Chloe kept saying as they piled into the car and slammed the doors, "Oh god, oh god, oh god..."

"I told him!" Sean said to her as he tried to start the car and check Bradley's gun at the same time, "I ****ing told him!"

There were two bullets left in the gun. Two bullets left, and a whole city full of Infected around them.

"Sean, put the lights on!" Chloe screamed, "We can't see a thing!"

Sean weighed his options, decided that he would crash for sure if he didn't, and flicked on the Ford's fog lights.  He regretted his snap decision almost instantly.  There was an uproar of screams all around them.

"****!" Sean swore at the top of his voice as what looked like a solid wall of Infected came charging out of the fog directly behind them.  He stamped on the accelerator.  The car lurched forward, then slowed with a grind of protest as he tried to switch up to third and missed the gear.  Something banged off the car roof, and then Chloe screamed as the long green tongue of a Smoker punched through the rear window and coiled around her headrest.  One of the leaping Hunters scrambled up the bonnet of the car, his hands hooked like claws, and snarled at Sean through the missing windshield.  His face was a mask of blood.  Sean let out a yell that was half defiance and half dispair as he shrank down into the footwell, trying to ward off the monster's lashing arms.

It was the instinctive duck that saved his life as a thunder of gunfire ripped through the fog.  Bullets scythed through the car, blowing out the remaining windows, and riddling the Infected above Sean with hits.  It howled, arching its back in pain, then fell heavily forward against the car from the force of the impacts before rolling away to one side.  There were more shrieks and half-glimpsed puffs of red amid the fog as the other Infected met a similar fate, and then abruptly there was silence.

"Check the car!" someone yelled.

"Don't shoot!" Sean shouted in panic, "Don't shoot!"

Still half-lying beneath the dashboard, he turned towards Chloe.  She too had ducked as the muscular tongue wrapped itself round her seat, putting her out of harm's way a split second before the firing started.  The tongue had now fallen slack, while the seat was riddled with bulletholes, but Chloe herself was shivering in the footwell, shaken but unharmed.

Sean reached out to grab her hand and squeezed as a black gas mask appeared at the driver's side window.  Preceding it was the barrel of an L85 assault rifle.

"Don't shoot!" Sean said again.

The soldier lowered his weapon immediately, "Are you alright?"

His voice was muffled by the gas mask.

"Yeah, fine..."

"Get out of the car, quick." The gas-masked soldier glanced back over his shoulder and yelled, "Two more here, Corp!  Get 'em tested and see 'em to the camp!"

Sean and Chloe climbed out of the bullet-riddled car and let the squaddie usher them past the piles of dead Infected, and round the slab-sided bulk of a Warrior IFV as it rumbled past, foglights blazing.  Single shots rang out intermittently as the advancing soldiers made sure that the Infected stayed down.

"Jesus Christ!  Hey, Sean!  Sean!"

Sean spun round.  The soldiers advancing past him all looked identical in their NBC gear, but he recognised the voice.

"Bradley!" Sean shouted back, "You said you'd call us!"

"I tried about half an hour ago - you didn't answer!"

Sean realised belatedly that he had left his phone at Mark's house, on the bedside table.

"Hows it going?" he asked instead.

"It's a ****ing bloodbath!  We've pulled out a few dozen survivors so far, and had to gun down ten times that many Infected.  Some of them aren't even human any more!"

"Come on," the other soldier chivvied them, "We need to run a quick blood test - it'll only take a minute.  After that we'll see you safe to the camp at Riccarton."

Sean just put his arm round Chloe and allowed the soldier to lead him on.  Now that they were safe, he was beginning to question himself, and to regret some of his actions.  He had kept his promise, to keep Chloe safe, but could he have done more?  Now that he realised how close they had been to rescue, Sean found himself wondering, could things have turned out differently?  If they had sat tight and waited for the army, might they have agreed with Mark instead of him - taking Kelly away for study and, just maybe, a cure?

All he knew was that there could have been three of them here right now rather than two.  And maybe, just maybe, there could have been four.


Captain Thule: We have yet to meet our betters, alien. All we have seen are deluded tyrants, heretics and alien scum.
Farseer Taldeer: You should have looked beyond your mirror then.


Status: Offline
Posts: 1086

Thats alot of posts. Sorry ive been pretty inactive wow Cata was released earier this week and ive been on pretty much non stop. Dnt worry the addiction is starting to wear off now.


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