The Infected

Monsters, death, and painful memories. Travelling through a dense forest without a clue as to where I am; where anyone is. What awaits me at the end?

Author's Note: Keep in mind, I was awfully young when I wrote this, but feedback is always appreciated! :)

I was terrified. My body seemed numb, almost like sitting in the snow in below zero weather. I couldn't stop running, though; I had to keep going...needed to.

"Sunny! Slow down, I'm not as fast as you!" Was I fast? I couldn't really tell. Perhaps it was the adrenaline.

"Kenzie, we have to keep running!" My voice sounded hoarse even to my own ears. We hadn't drinken any water in two days, worried that it would be contaminated...infected with whatever caused everything to happen.

"There's nothing behind us, I think it's okay..."

"Don't you understand?" I could hear the pitter-patter of mice feet, probably trying to run away. "There is always going to be something behind us! We just...we have to get out of here."

"Where though? Is there anywhere to go anymore?" We had stopped running, we had stopped all movement; the only sound I could hear was the rustle of leaves and our laboured breathing.

"I...don't know..." I didn't like those words, I didn't like not knowing. "I wish I knew, Kenz, but I don't know anymore..." Sometimes I found myself laughing at our age difference, Kenzie - my cousin - was seven years older than me, but I always seemed like the older one. Making the decisions, deciding our next move - at least, that's what it seemed like ever since...the epidemic hit.

We were quiet after that; dark was settling over the sky, making the forest around us seem ominous, eerie... I shivered, my thin sweater the only form of jacket I had.

"Remember that time at your birthday party...?" We usually would talk about memories, it kept our mind off our current situation.

"So, I was thinking once this was all over..."

"Shush, listen..." I held out my hand, halting our movements. Her eyes were wide, fear settling over her, reminding me of the first time we watched...

"Ahh!" She shrieked, and I probably would have hit her and called her a butt-head...if there wasn't a huge creature chasing us.

I scrambled over the fallen leaves, my heart beating against my chest. It reminded me of a bad horror movie, I could almost hear the suspenseful music. Maybe I was going crazy?

"Sunny! No time to get lost in your thoughts, we need a plan...now!" Of course, leave it up to me!

"Um...I only have one plan, right now."

"What would that be?" She seemed desperate, and I didn't blame her. It was like outrunning a huge dog; except, I didn't even know what was chasing us! I just knew to run.

I could hear menacing growls behind us and my eyes probably looked like saucers. My weak legs picked up speed. She got the message.

I took a deep breath as we approached a tree; Kenzie gave me a look, already guessing my plan. I sped up even more. I jumped up grabbing a thick branch and lifted myself into the tree. It was a difficult feat and required incredible speed. The constant fear kept me going, however; somehow being frightened made me far quicker.

Time suddenly seemed to freeze. Like a horrific movie, except it was terrifyingly real.

I couldn't breath, but everything happened before my eyes in a second.

She was dead...my cousin - no, my best friend - was dead.

My eyes burned with unshed tears and my throat clenched painfully as I fought back a sob. My eyes fluttered closed, tears sliding down my cheeks, I couldn't watch.

I had seen many people die in the few days that this...infection had hit. Many people had basically been devoured before my eyes, the monsters - killers - they fed on human flesh, human blood...people. Everything changed in the matter of one week.

Teachers attacked their students; their only thought was their need to feed. They lost their memories. They lost their lives. Everyone did.

All I could do was watch.

My mouth was dry, my cheeks were damp...I just wanted to curl up and cry. I cringed. The thing looked up at me and growled, snapping its jaws menacingly. Like I cared anymore.

No, keep going.

What did it matter anymore?

You'd be giving up, imagine all the people that died.

Exactly.

You're still alive, though. You can make it.

To what? Everything is gone, there's nothing left!

They'd have wanted you to keep going.

Who would that be?

Everyone. Kenzie, your grandma...your parents.

My eyes stung. I hated my subconscious. I knew it was always right. I had to keep going, mom and dad would have wanted me to.

I heard a growl and sneered at the creature below. My tears and sadness were replaced.

By anger; cold-blooded, mind numbing anger.

Before I could comprehend what I was doing I had my pocket-knife open and in my hand.

"Monster!" My voice was shrill and suddenly I didn't care what heard me. I didn't care if all the monsters inhabiting the forest heard me. I wanted revenge.

The dog-like creature lunged at me, snapping its sharp jaws. I'm pretty sure I had closed my eyes, but next thing I knew, it was lying on the ground at my feet...motionless.

I was filled with pride. Sick, I know, but I was proud of what I did.

I barely had any thought, but soon I was holding Kenzie in my arms. She was cold and I knew soon...she'd be just like the rest of them, possibly even worse.

The thought made me nauseous.

I pushed it away, opting for the moment to just stay connected to her, despite the fact that she was already gone.

I wasn't aware I was crying till I felt droplets hitting my hands. I sniffed, sounding like I had a cold. "Remember that time..." I began lamely, wanting to believe for a second - wishing - that nothing had happened.

My senses came back to me and I became aware of my laboured breathing. It was coming out in short, sharp gasps. I could feel the panic well up inside of me as my mind wandered. My heart pounded in my ears, like heavy punches. I could feel the once limp body in my arms become animated.

I wished it would all end.

I pushed her away lamely and stood up; her eyes fluttered, close to opening. Kenzie - no, she wasn't Kenzie anymore...she was nothing.

I could hear pounding footsteps in the distance, running towards me. I knew who it was. They had probably heard my cry and started towards me.

For another meal, no doubt.

So, I did the only thing I could think to do.

I ran.

---

It felt like I had been running for hours, in reality it was only a few minutes. I couldn't stop, though.

I can't stop. I have to keep going, I must make it! For everyone who died...

Next thing I knew, I was sprawled on the ground; my foot was stuck beneath a gnarled root. My knees throbbed from the impact and I felt like crying again. I pulled at my foot, but my ankle was twisted awkwardly.

I felt as if the wind was knocked out of me when I realized my predicament. I could taste dirt on my lips and in my mouth from my fall. All I could do was pull. I wanted to cry out in pain when I could hear and feel a crack from my ankle.

I wasn't going to be escaping anytime soon, let alone standing!

There was a loud shriek in the distance; it was akin to the sound a hungry dog would make. I gulped down my fear and tried to think of a way - it didn't matter how - I could get out of my current situation.

First off, I cut at the root imprisoning my ankle, at least now I could move.

Then, I began to crawl.

My stomach clenched painfully when the footsteps drew nearer. I knew it was difficult to outrun them, now all I could do was crawl. I knew I'd have to endure the pain if I wanted to survive.

I pulled myself up, which took a lot of effort on my part. My eyes burned with tears from the pain, as I manoeuvred my way through the thick underbrush of the forest.

I was close to screaming when I could see the outline of "people" running towards me, drawing nearer and nearer...

I only had one choice in the matter: hide. Despite my hiding places being increasingly limited the closer the came, I managed to squeeze my way underneath a thick bush. My fear rised ten-fold when I could hear them snarling and moaning. Their telltale sounds.

I held my breath and pulled my legs tightly against my chest. My eyes snapped shut, hoping they wouldn't see, hear, or smell me.

Please don't find me, please don't find me. God, please don't let them find me...

It was futile; I knew they were going to find me. They were so close to my hiding spot as they ran by. My pulse beat in my ears loudly, making it difficult to hear anything. My blood soared through my veins; surely the amount of blood flow would draw them to me?

It didn't. They ran right by, and for a moment I thought it too good to be true. Way too good to be true.

So, I stayed in my spot. Hidden from everything, imagining I was back home, under the covers, where I could hide from the evils of the world.

---

I didn't realize I had fallen asleep, but when I woke up light was breaking through the trees, and for a second, I almost felt safe. But, I knew in my mind, I was never going to be safe; not until I got out of the surrounding area. Would leaving the country suffice?

I didn't know the extent of the virus - infection - disease...whatever it was. I only knew it was deadly, and everyone I once knew was dead.

Could I survive?

As the sun rose in the sky, and the tall trees rustled in the cool wind, I knew I could escape. It didn't matter how, and it didn't matter when, but I knew I could.

And that's what I told myself as I trekked through till dusk in a dead forest.

The only problem, though... I'm really clumsy with knives...

Who knew dead things could smell so well?

---

THE END

 

 

The End

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