I got to work on punishing Rainer and Grovesnor the next day. Rainer, while a sick, twisted bastard like his counterparts, had done little to harm the rest of us. Grovesnor, on the other hand… He had hurt someone I cared about, and he was going to pay. I waited til Robin was on guard duty, knowing he wanted to see justice followed, and slipped into the apartment we were holding the two of them in. Rainer watched me with cold, calculating eyes as I walked towards the two of them at a calm and leisurely pace. I didn’t care about him. Grovesnor glared at me, his usual spray of insults directed at me, but he stopped short when he saw what I was carrying. Down in the basement, with the rest of Dante’s spare tools, had been a small hacksaw, though whether it had ever been used was anyone’s guess.
“What’re you gonna do, get a new leg for the wetback?” he laughed, but I could see the fear in his eyes.
I didn’t answer him at first, simply getting closer to him, until I was right in his face, staring him down. “First, I’m going to cut off your leg, courtesy of Maria. Then, I think I might cut off your dick, since it seems to be all you think with. And then, when you’re dizzy from the blood loss, I’m going to set you lose outside. See how long it takes the zombies to notice your stench” I said icily, hearing him try to swallow a lump in his throat.
“He’s only messing, Grovesnor. LT’s too much of a pussy to do something like that” Rainer said confidently, but he didn’t sound entirely convinced.
I kept silent, running the saw across Grovesnor’s thigh as hard as I could. The fabric of his fatigues ripped, and a thin line of blood began to swell up, a dark red line marking my swipe. I didn’t know how long it would take me to go through his entire leg, but I wasn’t too worried. As far as I was concerned, I had all the time in the world. It makes me feel a little sick to say it now, but at the time, I enjoyed every swing.
Blood soaked the carpet around Grovesnor by the time I was done. I didn’t doubt that it would have soaked through to the ceiling of the apartment below, and I made a mental note to apologise to whoever lived in there, before ripping a strip of fabric from Grovesnor’s fatigues, tying them around what was left as his leg as some half assed attempt at a tourniquet, before leaving. If Robin had anything to say, he kept it to himself. I wouldn’t have listened, anyway. I made my way down to the laundry room, throwing my fatigues in the wash to try and wash out the blood. The material was never really clean, these days, but they were washed well enough to get most of the dirt and grime out.
I was lying awake that night, staring at the ceiling, when I heard Rae walk in. I hadn’t been sleeping all that well for about a month, and the other symptoms I’d been suffering from matched a condition most soldiers know well; posttraumatic stress disorder. It was hardly surprising, given the situation we were in, but I’d figured I’d be the one to keep it together the longest. I guess Natch, Rainer and Grovesnor were the straw that broke the camel’s back. On nights that I did manage to sleep for more than a few hours, my dreams were swamped with images of the destruction outside, of Jack’s death, of what might have happened if I hadn’t found out about Natch and the others.
I sat up, turning to face Rae as she sat down on the mattress, but she moved behind me, kneeling down. I let her pull my t-shirt off, not entirely sure where things were heading. I felt her hands on my back, and she moved them up to my shoulders, rubbing circles into the tense muscles beneath my skin.
“You’ve been so stressed lately,” she said, still massaging my shoulders. “Let me help you relax”
I felt her press a few kisses against my back, the cold tip of her nose a shock against my warm skin. She massaged my shoulders a little while longer, before moving to sit in front of me, her hand on my thigh.
“Rae, there’s something I need to tell you” I sighed.
Everything with Kat had been weighing heavy on my mind, and I’d been trying to distance myself from Rae a little to try and avoid having to bring it up. I know I could’ve just lied, or not told her about it, but it felt wrong leaving her in the dark.
“It can wait” she smiled.
“No, it can’t. Kat’s pregnant”
“I fail to see how this is relevant” she said, laughing slightly.
“I slept with her”
“When?” she frowned.
“Thanksgiving. We were both drunk, and it just sort of happened”
“And you think it might be yours?” she asked, and I nodded. “She slept with Rainer, too; it’s probably his. And if it is yours… We’ll make it work”
She kissed me before I had a chance to protest, pulling her vest off over her head, the two of us dissolving into a tangled mess of limbs, warmth and passion.
The next morning, I put out a message for everyone to gather in the lobby that evening. Me and Robin spent most of the day scraping what was left of Natch off the walls, and by the time everyone else had made an appearance, the walls were only a faint shade of pink. Robin and Sekani had dragged Rainer and Grovesnor down to the lobby, a little more literally in Grovesnor’s case, and the two of them were being held near the front door.
“You all know who these two are, and what they were planning on doing, so I think we can all agree they deserve some kind of punishment? But more than that, they need to be stopped, so they don’t get a chance to do something like this again. I’m tying them to the side of the building, and no matter how much they beg, or cry, or scream, under no circumstances should anyone help them. Anyone tries to help them, and I’ll shoot you myself. Am I understood?” I questioned.
No one questioned me, and once everyone had left, Robin and I set to work securing our two prisoners outside. The stench of blood on Grovesnor’s clothes would attract the zombies like flies, and if they didn’t get him, the infection that would more than likely occur in his leg, would. Robin talked to me while we did it as if we were emptying the trash, or something equally as routine and mundane. He informed me that Riley and Joe had split up, and that while nothing particularly significant had happened between the two of them, Robin had been helping Riley out in the garden a lot, and the two of them were, in his opinion at least, bonding a lot more. As thrilled as I was for him, at that point in time, I honestly didn’t care. Days were drifting past in blurs for me, and the little things like that slipped my mind almost as soon as they entered it. In all honesty, it was like living in hell, but I had to let on that everything was fine, for the others more than for myself.
The next week was filled with the sounds of their screams. The blood wasn’t giving off as strong a scent as I thought, and the dehydration set in first. After that, it was just a waiting game. Their yelling was what finally attracted the zombies; a huge swarm of them all fighting to reach the two animals ready for the slaughter. I don’t know how long they were alive for. I don’t know if they ever turned. All I know is that at the end of the week, all that was left of them was two skeletons, the meat picked clean off their bones. I didn’t bother giving them a soldier’s burial. They weren’t worthy of that kind of respect.
I’d spent most of the week locked up in my apartment. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to deal with anyone else, or their issues, no matter how serious or petty they might be, but supplies were thinning, and I’d have to take action soon. So the day after, me, Dante, Kat and Sam headed out on a supply run. We’d taken a few supplies with us, since I was anticipating a long trip, planning to scour from one end of the city to the other, in case we missed something, but my plan fell short when we drove by an abandoned hospital. It wasn’t the hospital we’d picked Riley and Jack up at, since it was on the other side of town, but there was some kind of commotion coming from it, and my instincts told me to investigate.