It wasn’t that the town was very far away, because while they had spent a long time in the woods, they didn’t dare venture too deep, but the journey seemed endless. Maybe it was because they actually had a destination now, and they were uncertain as to what they might find.
Diana picked a dark blue berry and popped it into her mouth, moving it around with her tongue for a minute before finally biting down. “How many people do you think are left?” Marx asked out of nowhere.
“No way to know,” she shrugged, “we’ll find out when we get there.”
“I know, but I wish we had some idea. Don’t you think more people would have gone into the woods if they were alive? It’s not glamorous, but it’s safer than the cities.”
“Not everyone thinks that way.” Diana twirled a bit of her hair around her finger. “Most people like to stay in their comfort zone, even if it will get them killed.”
“So why are we going back there?” Marx said, “I mean- we know it’s going to be dangerous, but we aren’t acting like it.”
Diana shrugged again in cool indifference. Maybe she didn’t care how dangerous it was, because there wasn’t much hope for a future, even if they could survive a little longer. What difference would an extra couple years, months, or weeks make in the end? She couldn’t tell that thought to Marx though, because she knew he would take it personally. She wanted to be with him as long as she possibly could, but she figured the screwed up world would ruin that for her one way or another. “We need to find food anyways,” she said at last, “if there isn’t anyone left, then maybe we can find some in houses or something.”
“Yeah, and get shot for trying.” Marx sighed. Diana walked behind him, watching every move he made, taking note of his clenched fists tightening up his arms. She didn’t say anything about it though. “Stop.” Marx said at the same moment his knees buckled underneath him. Diana barely caught herself before slamming into him from the short notice.
“What the hell?” She growled.
“Turn away.” It was an order.
“Just trust me on this, please.” His voice was dry and his fists, still clenched, shook.
“Tell me what it is or I won’t listen.” She knew it couldn’t be good, but still she was curious and slightly offended that he thought she couldn’t handle it.
“Three people, dead,” he paused, “they’re mostly eaten.”
At least he was being honest with her, but her stomach churned. “Eaten? I didn’t think there were animals that large in this part of the woods.” She tried her best to hide her disgust as well as the strange desire to look at what he could see.
“It doesn’t look like an animal ate them. There are clean cuts. Diana, other people did this.”
Despite how horrible it was, she wasn’t completely shocked. “Well I guess the disease is getting worse then. We shouldn’t go near them, just in case we can get it from them.”
As they turned to go take a detour around the uncovered gravesite Diana took a peak. They were two men and a woman, but she could only tell by their faces, as the rest of them was neatly carved away. ‘I’m sorry’ she mouthed and turned away, hoping she wouldn’t meet their fate, but knowing it was only a matter of time.
Sometime later when the sun was getting ready to set, they came out of the woods. The town looked no different than any other normal day, at least from a distance, but as they grew closer that image faded. The streets were littered with abandoned cars, some flipped over, some blocking paths, and others simply stopped, as if the owners got out and decided it wasn’t worth it to try.
There were no people around, infected or otherwise, at least not in view. The infected kind were smart enough to not let themselves be seen, and everyone else was probably too scared to go near another person.
“It’s so weird.” Marx said, his arms swung as his sides and he couldn’t keep his head facing forwards. He had to look at everything, all at once.
“I know what you mean.” Diana said. This had been the place they grew up in, hell, they were still growing up. But now it was like a scene out of a video game. How long would it take for weeds and other plants to start taking over? How long until any trace of humanity was gone forever? She knew there weren’t many people left even now with the disease only being around for about a month, and those who were still alive were mostly infected, so why was she still here? “Do you think we’ll see anyone we know?” She asked.
“Do you mean alive, or infected.”
By the time they reached the store it was almost completely dark outside, although without the city lights it was easier to see the stars and moon shining, and they provided enough light to see by, at least outside. “I guess we’ll just wait till morning then,” Marx said, “it’s not like we’ll be able to find anything like this.”
“Guess so,” Diana sighed. She didn’t like the idea of sleeping out in the city, but what choice did they have? “Let’s go inside anyways and sleep there. Even the tile has got to be more comfortable than at here.” Marx nodded and they went inside. They didn’t have to worry about it being locked, because others had broken the doors down completely, probably on the first day of it all.
“I’ll stay up for now and you can sleep, then later we can switch, kay?” Marx said
“sounds good,” Diana said. Until then she hadn’t realized how tired she really was. Life had become so much more exhausting than before. They sat down against the wall and within a few minutes she had drifted off into dreamless sleep.
She woke up to a scream, and when he eyes flew open a hand covered her mouth and something was wrapped around her neck. It was cold and heavy. Oh god, she thought, this is it. It was too dark to see the attackers, and they didn’t speak as they worked. Marx didn’t make a sound. She hoped that he was gagged or passed out, although her instincts told her he was probably dead already.