Sophia wasn’t where I’d left her. By the time I’d persuaded Joe to follow me, half dragging him most of the time, she was probably already off somewhere else. I frowned at the empty patch of roof where she should have been waiting for me. There weren’t any zombies up here – I’m pretty sure I’d have heard her if there were anyway. I thought to leave Joe there for a moment while I looked for her, but look how well that turned out the first time.
I had no idea what to do. Had she been taken or left willingly? Had she been playing me the way I’d planned to play her in the beginning? For some reason that thought was as unsettling as the thought that she might have been taken.
Shoving it to the back of my mind, I paced up and down the edge of the building, scowling to myself. I didn’t know what to do. There were all these doubts weighing on my mind – doubts I knew wouldn’t even have a whisper of an existence if I hadn’t gone and gotten attached – and my head was clouded for the first time in years, drugs aside. Fuck if this was a drug induced cloud I’d have been far happier.
Pacing wasn’t helping. Thinking wasn’t helping. All I was doing was getting more and more angry at myself and at Sophia and this stupid fucking apocalypse. None of us would get out of this alive if I let myself get choked up on emotions. Closing my eyes, I took a moment and calmed myself down the way I’d learnt to when I used to feel my temper getting the better of me. I was usually pretty good at keeping it under control these days, but it felt like it was about to be set off by just about anything. Rayn called it a trip-wire temper.
I brought up the blank white walls in my head. They shut out all the shit in my head, and left it calm and empty for a while. They were easy enough to knock down if I was provoked enough, but they usually worked long enough to get myself out of situations where I’d totally lose it. Walking helped too. I wandered slowly up one edge of the building and down another, eyes on my feet as I balanced precariously on the very edge. It was a long drop. A few walkers were straying up the alley, apparently bored of the congregation in the main road.
That must have been when I saw Sophia. I don’t really remember it, I just felt my stomach flip and I nearly launched myself off the building at this walker. This dead end side road was slowly starting to fill with the walkers and now I knew why.
I couldn’t think of any way of getting them without jumping straight down into them. I was good, but I would never be good enough to kill that many.
So I did the only thing I could think of. I told Joe to wait there and that I’d be back soon enough, before racing down the fire escape again. A couple walkers noticed as I crashed around and started heading for me instead, but it wasn’t enough. I ran past them, knocking a few over as I headed for that alley Sophia was in. Ignoring the others starting to crowd around behind me, I skidded to a stop at the end of the alley.
One shot landed in the back of the walker closest to Sophia. One hit the face of the first one to turn around. The third went in the leg of a walker that lunged for me.
“Sophia!” I yelled, backing away as the walkers after her started to turn and shuffle in my direction, “RUN!”
I didn’t plan on hanging around, now I had their attention. I hoped she heard me. I ploughed through them, sending plenty flying, firing my gun a few more times to make sure I still had their attention. When I broke free into the main street, I glanced over my shoulder, pausing to face them for a moment. “Come on you ugly fuckers,” I growled, emptying the last of the round into those closest to me. After that, I followed my own advice: I ran. I ran like hell itself was on my tail.