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I feel fine

By Joanne Jones

Scifi / Horror

Chapter 8

The survivors came in dribs and drabs once they heard the SUV rumbling through town towards the docks after each re-con for food and supplies in those first few days until nearly fifteen lived in the old nuclear fallout shelter beneath the warehouse then came the horrible day the bus rolled into the compound.

The Larggette hoard couldn't get through the razor wire fencing that surrounded the shipping yard (actually Ianto's old warehouse where Lisa had been kept), next to the one he always thought of as Myfanwy's as he passed it each time. The beasts tried each chain-link section periodically as though checking for weaknesses and he was again reminded of Mickey's Jurassic Park comment.

With one of the containers fashioned into a secret entrance for the underground bunker, they had thought it invisible but today Francine had pinned the washing to the inner fence to dry in the afternoon heat.

Ianto had been jumpy after the attack in London and Jack was more than happy to limit the inductees into their group. They had settled into a routine and security was tight.

Their first warning of visitors was gunshots from overhead and distant screaming.

Everyone ran for the armoury when Mickey sounded the alarm from the rooftop lookout. Jack had wanted Ianto to stay behind but knew saying it out loud would have insulted him deeply so he steeled himself and stepped forward, putting aside "Jack" and becoming the leader again.

They swung the gates open as Mickey and Martha laid down supressing fire, allowing the bus to rattle into the yard. At Jack's wolf whistle Rhys and Joe swung the heavy gates shut again. The black rat creatures threw themselves at the wire fence screeching and biting at the linked wire. Mickey casually walked along with a cattle prod, shocking their muzzles until they slunk back.

Best toy so far! Ianto has all the best stuff. Mickey grinned at the weapon in his hand and twirled it like a baton as he patrolled his world inside the wire.

Jack stood in "Captain" pose facing the bus doors. Gwen stood beside Jack with her gun raised and Jack could feel his lover's heat as he practically plastered himself to his left side.

The doors groaned open and a woman stumbled out, losing her footing on the last step and she would have landed on her face if not for Ianto who shot forward to catch her. As she clung to him, Ianto gently lowered them both so he was sitting on the ground with her in his lap.

Her eyes were wild and she panted with fear, Ianto's arms around her like he was keeping her from flying apart.

A small boy, five or six exited next. His shaggy blond locks fell in curls around his face. With a Cupid's bow mouth and wide eyes, were it not for his fear he would have been beautiful. He looked over at Ianto and the woman then gave a shout of surprise, running to her and hitting Ianto's arms.

"Hey, No" Tish yelled, grabbling at the boy as several more people exited the bus.

Ianto soothed the boy who glared at him from Tish's arms as the band of people slowly struggled around the side of the bus. Four men, six women and three children. Ianto frowned as he felt an unsettled finger of dread down his spine.

He noticed one who stood straighter than the rest, his eyes more cunning and he seemed to be weighing up Jack who was currently talking to a tubby man in a purple leisure suit. His eyes flittered between those with guns and the bus doors.

"Jack" Ianto said in warning.

Jack looked at Ianto then followed his gaze and realigned his stance. So, this is the leader.

"Captain Jack Harkness, welcome to Torchwood.5." Jack held out his hand.

The man stared at him in disbelief then took it in his own, pumping it furiously.

Ianto released the woman who held her arms out to the boy. Tish released the child and watched him fall into the woman's embrace as Ianto rose unholstering his gun, looking into the dark interior of the bus.

Mickey caught the motion and slowly moved to flank Ianto as he boarded the bus swinging his gun at each corner. A shuffling noise drew him to the back and Ianto could make out bodies, several people huddled together. At first Ianto thought they were just afraid but after a moment he realised the smell he was ignoring was a metallic sweet smell of illness.

"Mickey, get out!" he ordered stepping back towards the door, never looking away from the moving mass.

"Jonesy?" Mickey asked with surprise. Ianto had raised his gun and he could see his shoulders were tight with tension.

"Mickey, OUT" Ianto roared as the mass moved.

Jack became aware of a problem as Ianto's yell filtered out through the door. He moved forward knowing Gwen would automatically follow him into the gloom.

Mickey was plastered against the wall breathing hard as Ianto seemed to be laying on something, shit. Fuck. Jack felt sick.

Larggette victims. At least three adult bite victims in various stages of the disease. Jack remembered watching a bite victim die in his Time agency days and he prayed they were not contagious as Ianto struggled to free a duffel bag or something that appeared to be trapped under the body of a large adult.

After a moment Gwen barrelled past, pushing Jack into the seats as she rushed to help Ianto. The swaddled little girl seemed to realise someone was trying to help her and her small kitten like cries were heart rendering.

Ianto pulled her into the light, her face ashen and her eyes black from the blown pupils that filled her whole eye socket.

Jack felt cold, deathly cold as he looked down at the helpless child. Gwen was trying to soothe it and gently took it from Ianto's arms, cradling it against her breast.

Jack jerked with shock as it lunged, the gun shot was loud in the enclosed space and Gwen screamed with horror as the child's head exploded blasting brain and blood into her face, hair and decorating the roof of the cabin.

Gwen stared at Ianto with undisguised horror as he calmly stepped back to the seething mas and began to casually shoot each person in the head.

The cries outside grew and then died as Martha's shotgun rent the air to regain peace.

Jack grabbed Gwen and propelled her out of the bus into the light. Rhys barked with shock at the vision of his wife wearing a blood mask while Jack shoved her at him then turned and headed back into the slaughter house. Tish quickly raced to get water as Gwen stripped her top off not caring who saw her in her bra, just wanting the rotting meat smell off.

Finally Jack stumbled from the bus pulling Ianto, with his gun still smoking pale and shaking in his arms.

"Jack? Report?" Martha said as she watched her sister and mother clean Gwen.

"Larggette victims. Five total. Three men, a woman and …" Jack swallowed compulsively, "A small toddler."

"Oh God. Are they …" Martha looked at Mickey who stood staring over her shoulder at nothing.

"Larggette bites must be treated within an hour or they are irreversible. Once they turn you can identify the virus by their blackened eyes. No iris, no whites. Like a shark." Ianto finally informed them, "The baby had no marks so I believe the woman must have breastfed the baby while …. Gestating."

Gwen doubled over retching at the thought and Tish held her mother who had begun to shake.

"So you … shot them? Rhys gasped.

"Dead already. Owen would have told you … shoot 'em in the head. The only way." Ianto nodded dreamily and Jack realised he had gone into shock.

He pulled Ianto into his shoulder and tried to soothe him but Ianto was sift and unyielding.

"I'm sorry Gwen. The baby was going to bite you, it was lunging at your face and I..." Ianto gasped, tear flowing now, "I couldn't bear the thought of having to … take care of you. Not you."

"Oh Pet!" Gwen sobbed, ripping him from Jack's arms. He sobbed brokenly into her neck and hair as she kissed his cheek and neck. "Oh baby boy."

"I'm sorry Gwennie, I'm sorry you had to … I did that … you're all wet" he pulled back.

"It's OK love, its ok," Gwen soothed touching his face as Ianto fussed over her nakedness, his hands shaking at he pulled his jacket off to cover her.

Jack and Gwen nodded silently to each other as she let Ianto lead her inside whilst informing her she needed a nice hot shower and he'll make a nice cup of tea. Yes tea is best for this kind if shock Gwennie.

Jack watched the most precious two people on the face of this cursed earth walk safely back inside with Rhys following at a discrete distance, gun still hanging in his grasp. Good man.

Jack then turned and faced their leader again, this time the grin was gone. The Captain was in the house and boy, was he angry.

"You endangered my family" he said flatly, eyeballing the man.

"We didn't …" the man swung his arms about then sighed, "OK, we hoped there was a cure. Somewhere help might … well fix them. We kept them tied up partitioned off at the back of the bus, I don't think we really knew what we were thinking. These last few days we've just been trying to survive and losing any more of us is unacceptable. God, the baby!"

"We've lost so much. My Husband, our oldest son. Both torn to shreds … we hoped those bitten could survive." The woman Ianto had caught stood hugging herself with grief.

Jack nodded and sighed. As he contemplated whether or not to accept them in, Mickey made their mind up for all of them as he scooped the boy up and asked him if he wanted an ice-cream.

The little one's shriek of delight at seeing the ice cream truck sitting in all its glory in the dank warehouse filled them all with hope and as he ran to help Mickey crank the motor and start the ice-cream machine Jack wondered if they were going to make it.

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