Word Count: 1,098
The car pulling to a stop woke me up.
I wasn't sure how long I had been asleep but it only felt like mere minutes. The car was freezing cold and my limbs were stiff. I stretched out, wondering where we were. It looked like the countryside somewhere, vast green hills stretched on endlessly, looking black in the night. The leaves rustled on nearby trees and the sound of crickets filled the air. We were on another side road, ahead of us was a large house with a Land Rover parked in the driveway. Cancer's expression was grim.
'It's time to try our luck again.'
Rayn and I followed him out of the car and this time Cancer handed me a gun. 'We don't want a repeat of last time.'
The gun felt heavy in my incapable hands and I held it like it was going to go off any second. Knowing me, I'd shoot myself in my leg or something. Then I'd really be screwed. They'd probably leave me behind.
'I have a knife,' I showed him the blade I had gotten from Johnny's stash. It had serrated edges and a very sharp tip.
'Only use a knife if there's one walker. Ideally we don't really want to attract more.'
Cancer and Rayn both kept a grip on their own weapons and they started forwards, up the drive. We could be ambushed at any second; there certainly wasn't enough light to get any sort of warning. Gravel crunched beneath our feet and with each step I took, I cursed it for being so loud. So much for the element of surprise.
No windows were smashed in and the door looked heavy enough; so far so good.
Cancer turned the doorknob; it was unlocked. We all shared a look before tentatively going inside.
The hallway was empty and there was an ominous chill in the house.
'Let's split up,' Cancer whispered. 'If there's any trouble just shout. Meet up back here. I've got the downstairs floor, Joe you take upstairs, Rayn you take the basement.'
'What?' Rayn practically shouted, incredulous. 'You take the fucking basement. I'm not going down there.'
'For fucks sake, fine. I'll take the basement you big baby.'
By this time I was already halfway up the stairs. My desperation to rest had left me feeling reckless and more brave than usual. The lights were all off but there was a funny smell coming from one of the rooms. I instantly recognised it: blood. The metallic scent replicated the scene back at the hotel. Sure enough, blood stains decorated the walls. I tried to ignore this as I carried on. I wondered if I should turn a light on, did I really want to advertise our whereabouts like that? The house was on top of a hill and was the only one for miles; a light would be detectable from a long distance. I decided to leave it and relied on my own senses instead.
I started off with the first bedroom. It was a small bedroom with posters of various bands stuck onto pink walls. The bed was unmade. No one was going to be making it anytime soon. A clock on the bedside cabinet was frozen at 20 past 6. After bringing myself to check under the bed and in the wardrobe, I found that it was completely empty.
I moved onto the next room: a master bedroom. A large double bed, completely immaculate stood in the centre of the room, underneath an oval mirror. I stared at it, finding a ghost of my former self. A tall skinny ginger kid with sad, scared eyes and a trembling grip on a gun looked back at me.
The next one was the bathroom which was also empty. However, as I approached the last room, the smell grew more potent. There was definitely something behind those doors. I was almost too afraid to look, I almost went back downstairs to get either Cancer or Rayn to check but I forced myself to grow up and not be such a coward. I could do this myself.
I pushed the door open and winced as it creaked. The room was dark, I couldn't make anything out straight away. Stepping inside, I almost gagged. The odour got right into my lungs and I took a shaky step backwards, back into the hall. There was no way I could see what was inside without any lighting; this room was set in the back of the house, away from any moonlight. The curtains must have been drawn shut too. That meant I could turn the light on, just for a few seconds and just to determine whether or not it was safe.
My fingers fumbled along the wall until they connected with the switch and I plunged everything into light.
The sight that greeted me would stay with me forever. A strangled cry escaped my lips, followed by a much louder one. The image before me was etched onto my mind and I knew I would see it wherever I turned.
Cancer and Rayn came running up the stairs, guns at the ready. Once they saw what I was staring at, they immediately stepped backwards, just as I had done.
There was so much blood. It was all up the walls, it stained the carpet and dotted the bedding. Five bodies lay on the floor, all staring up towards us with hollow expressions. A neat hole in each of their temples told us how they died. The one holding the gun was also dead, he lay right next to the door. A family, taking the easy way out.
The thing that disturbed me the most was not the blood. It wasn't even the fact that they were dead. It was the small bundle in the corner of the room. I already knew what it would be, but I stepped forward anyway.
It was completely still.
I pulled the corner of the blanket that it was wrapped in away and bile rose in my throat and tears stung my eyes.
A small baby with wide blue eyes and tufts of brown hair lay motionless on the floor. It had also been shot.
It was too much. Everything was too much.
'Holy shit,' I heard Cancer mutter behind me. It coincided with Rayn's 'Oh my God.'
I picked the lifeless baby up in my arms. It was so unfair, so cruel. It hadn't even had a chance at life and it was already gone.
I cradled it in my arms, close to my chest.