All That Remains

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Jessica turned her head to look upwards, squinting against the brightness. “We’ve been breached!” she shouted back, pointing downwards to where a cluster of people were shoving and pushing their way into their building. Jessica turned back to them and continued to fire. Amelia watched as bodies fell.

She turned away from the window. “Come on!” she shouted urgently, panic rising up inside her like a wave.

Sam jumped up quickly. He was light and strong, a professional runner. Amelia envied him. She could run too, but not as smoothly as Sam and after a while the plastic of her prosthetic chafed where it met her skin, even though she couldn’t feel it much due to damaged nerve endings. But it could still start to bleed after a time, leaving her more susceptible to infection. To the virus, she thought without wanting to. She shuddered at the implications and shouldered her bag of hands and feet.

Jeremy was already out the door, shouting behind him as he disappeared. “East exit that leads toward the park! Remember our emergency plan!”.

Amelia ran back to the window. “We’re going to go out the back east exit!” She shouted down to Jessica. “Emergency protocol is active!”

Jessica flashed a thumbs up before turning back to her task. “Got it! I’ll be right there!”

Amelia ran. When she was three floors from the bottom she heard noise – a loud popping and splintering of wood. She heard the squeak of running shoes and the stomp of others on the polished tiled floor of the building lobby. They were inside.

She moved as fast as she could, gripping the stair handrails with her good hand and jumping down a couple stairs at a time.

By the time she reached the narrow metal door that led out into a dirty alley cluttered with garbage that hadn’t been picked up for months, the others were gone.

Where they were headed was in the opposite direction from where Sam had wanted them to go on the map, but it was closer to where Amelia wanted to head for. The ocean.

They’d found their emergency plan gathering point when they’d first found the office building and were looking out over the city from the rooftop. It was a train station. The terminal where all the trains that came to the city stopped. It was full of passenger cars, which could be securely locked. They’d scouted out the station and the trains when it had turned night and the creatures had slowed down with the drop in temperature, finding places to hibernate, and the ones they did encounter were sluggish and easy to pick off.

It was empty. All the passengers and train crew had left when the city had ordered all trains stopped – in a bid to contain the virus. A lot of the trains were missing, leaving empty tracks, but there were still a few there, when people thought the city might have been a haven. Others, perhaps smarter, took the train away from here ignoring the government orders not to spread infection outside, trying to find respite elsewhere. Amelia wondered if they had.

She shoved the door open and slid the switch on the side of her arm, pushing the blade out fully. She burst out of the alley and immediately ran into an infected who had been rummaging through an over flowing trashcan of rotting food and garbage.

The man, thin and wiry with blue eyes and dark hair that had grown past his ears was young-looking, around Amelia’s own age, she guessed as she slashed at him with her knife when he lunged toward her, his lips pulled back, exposing his teeth in a guttural snarl.

She jabbed towards him, her knife slicing easily through his stained shirt, what had once been a nice, probably expensive, button-down, and cut him across the chest and stomach. His pale blue shirt blossomed red and he howled in pain. He reacted by reaching towards her, trying to claw and scratch.

She jumped backwards and stumbled when her fake leg hit the ground awkwardly.

The man moved toward her again, almost oblivious to the blood that was pouring from the gash across him.

A shot rang out, so close by that Amelia screamed, but the man jerked as the bullet hit him, and then fell to the ground in a heap.

Amelia turned to see Jessica sprinting towards her, just before Jessica grabbed her by the elbow. “Come on!” she encouraged, pulling Amelia along until she found her stride again.

The gun had given away their location. Jessica shot their way through the ones coming towards them in the direction they were headed, clearing a path and Amelia went for others as they got close enough.

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