"I can't believe it's been a week, can you?"
Camden shook his head at Victoria's question as he focused on his breakfast by his side, Bradley was slowly starting to eat a little more, which made him feel good. On the inside he was happy for Bradley and proud for himself.
Yet on the outside he maintained a miserable persona.
Call it conformity, but everyone else seemed especially glum today, so Camden followed suite, as Victoria, Oliver and Stephanie were miserable due to them reaching a milestone by surviving a week of this nightmare. They were now mulling on how much had changed and all they had lost.
Camden had already lost all he had. By this point he had gained something.
"Glad to see your finally eating something" Camden commented Bradley as Stephanie sat down, if Bradley was frightened by her he didn't show it.
"Yeah, it tastes nice" he said.
Camden highly doubted cereal the equivalent to wet cardboard was "nice" but the fact Bradley was eating it filled him with a sense of relief and pride. Stephanie watched the pair through brown silts, perhaps hoping to pick fault with them yet so far she was unsuccessful.
"Morning all!" Ian said briskly striding into the room, everyone store back at him with half lidded eyes and glum expressions on their faces. Ian didn't seem to pick up on the sullen mood, instead sitting himself down with a bounce in his steps.
"Seems like a lovely morn... BRADLEY!" He exclaimed suddenly making everyone jump out of their stupor's, as Oliver tipped his cereal all over his legs.
If the room was full there would be mass humiliation at Oliver's expense, as Victoria had to wipe near to "certain areas" to clean up the mess. Yet the room was empty and the only other witness in the form of Stephanie was too busy watching Ian. Who jumped off his seat, ran across the room and embraced his son in a suffocating hug.
"Oh, thank the Lord My God!" He exclaimed merrily.
"Thank Camden actually" Bradley responded quietly.
Ian whipped his head to a sheepish Camden "Well you seem like the saviour to my boy, this day seems to get better and better" he mused happily. "For some" Oliver joked from where Victoria had just finished wiping him down "Keep your pants on Mr. Mitchell" Victoria replied, as her lips curved into a smile.
The happy reunion was further bolstered by a the merry chatter of Victoria and Heather as they walked into the room.
"She's growing her first baby tooth... see here"
"She'll regret it when she gets it pulled out later in life"
"Don't say things like that! You'll Jinx my girl"
"She has you as a mother, she's already jinxed"
"You are so pessimistic it should be illegal!" Mariam replied, as the two laughed their banter cementing their new found friendship. An odd pair,but they raised the group's spirit a little more.
Breakfast drew on through the morning until finally Heather seemed to glance around and asked Camden "Where's Quincey?" "Sleeping in" Delilah replied as she entered the room. With a merry Rose in tow, Stanley followed her, both seemed to be carrying paper slips in their hands.
"My birthday invite, in two days time in this room!" Stanley exclaimed handing one to everyone, Rose embarrassed him with the one's she had decorated with pink glitter and pictures of blooming flowers yet as the happy scene unfolded before Stephanie's eyes she noticed that Quincey wasn't the only one missing.
Antonio's door creaked open, the young man peered his head upwards to see a lock of white hair.
"Qen-Cay?" he asked.
"It's Quincey to you... bull-fighter person" Quincey said sneaking into the room, he noticed that Antonio's mask was back on his face. "Me- learn- some-more-English" Antonio told him proudly.
"Bravo! Bravo!" Quincey exclaimed, clapping his hands together as he approached the bed "Just what I need to you to do" he said as he took a seat on the edge of the bed.
"Qué quieres ahora, Qen-Cay?" Antonio asked.
"Again it's Quincey, and..." he scooped up the Spanish to English dictionary from where lay on the bed from where Antonio was reading away at it. "... I- going-to-teach-you-English" he pointed at the dictionary with each word.
"No, no, no, no, no, no Stanley... all over again" Antonio told him, obviously Stanley's past pranks had scarred him. "No, me-be-serious, I-help-you!" he exclaimed looking at Antonio straight in the eyes, well his one eye.
"Si usted hace un tonto de mí, como Stanley, voy a patear el culo todo el camino a África, se obtiene que Qen-cay? Antonio babbled yet this seemed to be some sort of acceptance to Quincey's ears, so he simply said "Yes, I teach you! No prank! Me-Promise!"
"Sea cual sea Quen-cay"
Quincey wondered if the whole "Quen-Cay" fad was to rile him up, or Antonio's personal form of revenge. However in his joy he didn't care all that much, he simply got down to business. Quincey begun to teach Antonio the English language however Quincey knew why he had to do this.
For one to keep an eye on a suspected carrier.
Also, if this whole thing came out the scandal would be less confusing for Antonio if he knew English. Right now however Antonio was under Quincey's supervision whether he liked it or not, a danger he felt he had to keep and handle himself, to avoid more trouble.
"It was a shame Quince ain't here" Rose said aloud as she chucked another nail into the black dead below her, the nail successfully hit it's target sliding into the dead's mouth.
"NOT FAIR! YOU'RE CLOSER THAN ME!" Stanley roared.
"You're nearly fourteen, haven't you got some maturing to do?" Delilah asked him in mock wonder.
"Nearly, but alas I am still an out of control child" Stanley (nicknamed Stan by many of the other's my now) said in a mock sad tone, shaking his head.
It was Heather's idea, she wanted to play Quincey's game and Mariam finally succumbed under pressure from her and agreed to join her. Unfortunately Stan overheard and if Stan overhead then Rose overheard then the nagging began...
Right now everyone other than Oliver, Stephanie, Victoria, Ian, Antonio and Quincey were present at the staircase and right now Mariam was on "Stephanie duty" keeping watch on the corridor for any signs of her. The whole idea was childish but strangely enthralling for everyone involved.
"Were already going primitive and giving into our childish desires, you just gotta roll with it" Heather told Mariam when she moaned that she was in her mid forties and the whole game was a childish notion.
Yet she kept watch with wide eyes.
"You should see Antonio he is the master of this game" Delilah told them, as she once again scored another hit into a zombie's mouth. "I don't know about him, but so far you look like the master of this" Camden told her as she had scored constantly.
"Yeah, were you like in the army before?" Rose asked innocently.
This earned an hearty laugh from nearly everyone on the staircase Delilah blushed before answering. "Well, no, guess I just have good aim and a lot of luck" her formal tone slowly returning to her speech.
"Well I don't have any" Stan sulked folding his arms over his chest, he had only scored two so far.
"Remember don't tell your parents what we've been doing" Camden reminded him.
"I'm not that thick" Stan said looking horrified.
Camden accepted Stan's statement, he turned to find Bradley sitting on the staircase smiling at him shyly, where he had been sitting for the past half an hour watching the game with wide interested eyes.
"You wanna join in Bradley?" Camden asked.
"No, I'm good here" he said the rehearsed tone creeping into his voice.
"C'mon man! This game is pretty good once you get into it" Stan exclaimed to him.
"He doesn't have to if he doesn't want to" Delilah told Stan curtly.
However it seemed Delilah's words had persuaded Bradley more than Stan's moaning ever could.
"No actually, I'll give it a try" He muttered.
"What a use of reverse psychology girlfriend" Heather quipped at Delilah who stood rigid.
Bradley lifted himself and headed towards the railings he looked down upon the thousands of hissing dead, he seemed to shiver as he warped faces scared him slightly, even at a distance. "Here" Camden said quickly, placing a nail into his hand to distract him, "You just gotta throw it into one of their mouths, give it a try" he encouraged gently.
Bradley threw it meekly, the nail falling directly behind him no power in the throw at all.
"Here" Camden told him.
Just as Delilah had instructed him, with his tense body posture. Camden noted the same posture with Bradley lowering his shoulders and pulling his legs apart slightly and bending the arms, Camden held him in that poistion and then said "Now give it a go, and give it more force"
As instructed Bradley threw, his second attempt was much closer.
"That felt pretty good, It worked better" Bradley noted.
"Yeah and you'll get better" Camden told him.
After six more throws, he finally got his first hit.
"There you go!" Camden shouted merrily clasping his skinny shoulder "Nice one".
Bradley smiled back up at him. "They don't seem too scary now" he admitted with a touch of pride.
"They won't be the more you get used to seeing them" Camden admitted truthfully. The same hissing of the dead and there warped faces had grown into the same expected horror as the days flew by. One Camden was able to manage, especially with the security and stability of their new found home.
Little did he or anyone other than Quincey Jones realise that this "home" wasn't the safe haven behind the immoveable barricade.
It was hanging by a very thin thread.