Chapter 21: Vincent
Greenhaven Cove, Washington
I awoke to a cool sea breeze winding itself through my hair. At least, that's what I thought it was. This seemed like a relatively pleasant way to wake up, considering the ordeal I had been through earlier. No one had bothered to clean up the gash that now festered in the middle of my face, but at least it had stopped bleeding heavily. The horrors of last night were blurry; all I remembered was the Mayor, Rosalyn, fighting of those creatures with the help of…Kyra. My dearest loved one, where was she? Where was I?
I struggled to turn myself to the side, but I eventually did so and found myself looking at a sideways shot of a tired woman wearing clothes that were much too big for her. She was sitting uncomfortably on a rock in front of a fire, turning a fish on a spit. I blinked a few times to try to get the sleep out of my eyes. My arms and legs seemed stiff and I wasn't ready to move them yet. Focusing in more on our surroundings made me realize that I was in a cave. Looking up to the highest extent my eyes would allow I also caught a glimpse of what I guessed to be the ocean. "Um," I spoke up feebly, causing my companion to look up.
"Oh," she said, forgetting about the fish momentarily, "You're awake," she walked over and sat down beside my head, "Do you remember anything?" she asked.
I narrowed my eyes, trying to think, "You're Mayor Rosalyn, right?" the woman nodded, slightly relieved. "What happened to Kyra? How did we escape those monsters? What happened to that man you were struggling with…uh….Vic?"
Rosalyn sighed, "After the struggle at City Hall I drove you and Kyra to a house in the suburbs of Reyesent. While Kyra was asleep I had gone out to try to find us some food. I hadn't even gotten into the city when I began to see smoke in the rear-view mirror. I quickly turned around and came back to the house and discovered a small fire that seemed to have started in the dining room. I ran around to the back and came through the porch door. I wanted to drag you out first since you were closest to a way out. After bringing you to a safe distance away from the house I went back in to look for Kyra, but she was gone,"
"Wait," I jerked my head up too fast and a shot of pain traveled down my spine, but I ignored it, "Do you mean gone as in…" I couldn't bring myself to finish the sentence. Rosalyn shrugged and my heart began to pound widely, its horrible pulse echoing in my head.
"I don't know," she replied. Then, seeing the alarmed look on my face, she quickly added, "But I don't think so. See, if she had remained asleep, like you, she would've died on the couch. But when I re-entered the house I didn't see anyone on it, leaving me to believe that she'd gotten up and somehow found her own way out. Then again, I couldn't exactly see clearly because of all the smoke that had gathered by then," Looking downcast, Rosalyn looked down at me again.
I was unsure of what to say next. Could Kyra be dead? And if she wasn't, what was she doing now? But if she was, could I ever find someone else to love? I shook my head, trying to dispel the thoughts. In an attempt to focus on something else I tried to raise my body to a sitting position. After a few failed tries I looked up at Rosalyn, "Do you think you could help me to sit up?"
"The biggest wound you have is on your face," she replied as she got up and dusted off her pants. "You're stiff and you're a little cut up, but it'd be in your best interest if you started exercising your muscles again," Seeing the logic in her direction, I attempted to get up. After a few more tries, along with some grunting, groaning, and cracking of my old bones, I finally managed to prop my back up against the cave's rocky wall. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back, ignoring the sharp rock that poked at my skull. Sadness quickly enveloped me like a dark cape. Happy memories of me and Kyra together flashed through my head. They were vivid, too vivid, and it wasn't long before a tear slid down my cheek.
I opened my eyes to the sound of Rosalyn coming back over to me and crouching down yet again. "Look," she gently touched my shoulder, "I know you're sad, but chances are, Kyra's still alive and out there looking for you. Don't worry, the two of you will be reunited soon,"
After she got up and continued to look after the fish I wiped the tears from my eyes, leaving a light blue smudge on my finger. I was surprised that my makeup had stayed on that well throughout the whole ordeal- up until now. "Hey," I spoke up, suddenly remembering something, "I forgot to ask; how did we get down here? And where ishere?"
"We're in Greenhaven Cove, I think," Rosalyn replied, "After I got us out of the house we made it over to the back yard a few houses down. The people who lived there had a long stairwell that lead down to a rocky beach below the cliffs. It took a while, but I managed to get both of us down stairs, onto the beach, and into this cove,"
"And where did you get the fish?" I asked as my hunger was finally recognized.
"There were some fishing poles left on the dock," Rosalyn replied, "I'm not that great at fishing, but I managed to catch this," she motioned toward the small blue fish that was finally beginning to turn brown.
"But wait," I said, knowing very well that fish wasn't exactly something I was fond of, "Why didn't you just get food from one of the houses up there?" I looked up at the cave ceiling as if my imaginary x-ray vision could look into the houses above.
Rosalyn's face darkened and she didn't say anything for a while. Then, after a moment of silence, she said, "Most of those houses are destroyed anyway. Besides, I don't think I want to go back up there. That fire wasn't natural," seeing as she was no longer in the mood to talk, I let my mind sink back into the pool of memories I now feared would drown me.
Somewhere in Southwest Asia
The bottle of whiskey was slammed down on the table, throwing drops of clear liquid into the air. Dr. - was happy. No, he was ecstatic. He had given the orders for Pozik Sukaldea Poltsak to forge an alliance with an American, and that they had. Not only had they cruised through the order, but they had moved onto Dr. -'s plan as well; begin testing on the undead. True, zombies weren't a thing he had planned on to use against the Americans, but they were. Not only that, but there was something making them half alive again, some powerful substance that might have come from the very bombs he had designed to destroy the enemy country. And with the combined technology of both governments, this power might be discovered, harnessed, and used to rein terror on those who opposed him forever.
Looking down at his map again, Dr. - began to acquire the feeling of boredom. With the push of a button, another obstacle was put in the path of the residents of the United States.
Greenhaven Cove, Washington
It seemed to take ages before Rosalyn was done preparing the fish. She had skipped the step of actually cutting the fish and held it out to me, "You can have the first bite," she said. I looked down at it in disgust and tentatively reached my hand out.
One touch of the slightly charred, but still raw, scales of the sea creature made my nose wrinkle and my eye twitch, "No," I said firmly, "I'm sorry, Rosalyn, you have cared for me and made…food," I glanced down at the fish, which seemed to flop a little now and then, "But I think I'll take my chances above ground this cove isn't exactly a great place for me to…heal," I got up, surprisingly easily, and slowly made my way over to the cave's opening. My joints were still stiff but as I looked upon the steep metal staircase that awaited me I figured it wouldn't be long before I was as loose as I had been before.
"Vincent!" Rosalyn called out, "Come back! You might not make it back alive!" I smiled a little, shaking my head. I had begun to think that the old mayor was more than a little paranoid.
As I walked along the shore of the beach I found myself wishing to take my shoes off. I didn't, in fear that I would step on something sharp, but the sand looked so comfortable and warm. When I got to the dock I saw in dismay that I would have to pull myself up onto it, seeing that the platform one would walk on was raised to the height of my shoulders. My arms were feeling a little weak, so I decided to rely on the strength of my legs. I took a few steps back and took a running jump, stretching out my arms to try to catch the metal platform. My upper limbs shook like jell-o when they and my hands connected with the dock. I gripped onto the surface as best I could and dragged myself onto the platform. My chest felt a little sore and my arms were slightly shaken, but otherwise I was fine.
It was when I brought my foot down on the first step that I realized that the sound of my assent up the stairs was the only sound to be heard. I turned around and stood completely still as I looked over the ocean. There were no waves, no seagulls flying above; not even the smallest fiddler crab could be heard scuttling over the sand. There was a breeze, yes, but all of a sudden it seemed suffocating; as if it were the same air people had already breathed over and over again. Shaking the thoughts away I concentrated on stepping on the stairs and getting up the cliff at quick but safe pace.
When I got to the top and my feet met soft grass I looked around and saw that Rosalyn was right: most of the houses were destroyed. A lump suddenly caught in my throat when I looked to my left and saw the charred remains of a house. I could feel the tears start to come, but I wiped them away, remembering my hunger. My eyes gleamed when I saw a house- completely untouched by fire or destruction. I ran over to it, the stiffness of my limbs a memory, the weakening hunger a reality.
I laughed a little when I discovered that the back door was unlocked. Entering the house I was a thrown off a little by the post-apocalyptic appearance of the place; everything seemed to be exactly as the former residents had left it. But why would they leave it? This thought would not stop nagging me in the back of my head, It seems perfectly safe, it wasn't touched by anything. Where are the people? But these thoughts were quickly overruled at the sight of a working refrigerator. Laughing again, I swung open the door to find myself face to face with a food wonderland. I reached for a jug of milk but when my hand was an inch away from the handle my vision suddenly blurred.
I yanked my hand back, startled. The blurriness had only lasted for a second. I must've imagined it. I reached for the milk again, but the blurriness came back, more intense this time, accompanied with the sound of static. I back away from the refrigerator and shook my head, trying to clear it. The static had gone away. I reached my hand out and touched the appliance's door with the intention of closing it, but it was too late. Static filled my ears and eyes. I couldn't see anything, the confusion was making my eyes spin, sometimes entering the back of my head. A pounding in my head grew more and more intense. I could myself breathing heavily as the static from my eyes cleared, only to be replaced by shimmering spots that made myself feel nauseous.
"No," I groaned, clutching my head. I sank to my knees, trying to block out the sound of static, but it was in my ears, in my head. My body started to get hot and spots started to grow larger, making everything look like it was in a kaleidoscope. It was like a migraine, only one hundred times worse. "No," I said again, louder, but my voice was choked by an invisible force. From the last clear part of my conscience I thought I heard a woman come in, crying out my name. "No! No!" I screamed, trying to clutch at my throat and my ears at the same time. My vision was overcome and the static was joined by a sharp scream that sounded anything but human.
My head hit the floor.