All That Remains

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It Is Written

Sam brought the train to a crawl as the wall grew steadily closer.

Amelia couldn’t do anything else but stare. The wall inched closer, almost glaringly bright. It seemed to be made of smooth stone, maybe marble.

Sam brought the train to a halt with the squealing of metal tires against tracks. It stopped a few metres in front of the wall.

Amelia felt Jessica’s presence like a ghost standing behind her. Since the accident, Amelia had become more sensitive to her personal space. And, she reasoned, it was probably also due to the existence of the infected people. If you weren’t aware of your surroundings, you didn’t last very long anymore.

The three of them stood, silent, collectively holding their breath. After what seemed like an eternity, Sam broke the silence. “Well, we better take a look.”

Jessica nodded in agreement and followed Sam out the nearest door, jumping down to the gravel that flanked both sides of the tracks, skidding to a stop.

Amelia clutched the door frame, nervous, not wanting to leave the relative safety of the train, even though she couldn’t see any wolves anywhere nearby. She watched Jessica march confidently along the wall, close enough to touch it, holding her rifle across her body defensively.

Amelia sighed and gingerly climbed down out of the train. She was glad she wore her trusty boots with the thick, heavy sole.

She glanced at Jessica who was already a good few yards away. She could hear the rustle of the long, dry grasses parting as Jessica and Sam moved through them. She decided to go to Sam. Jessica could take care of herself, she’d proven as much.

Amelia ran to catch up to Sam, her bag swinging across her back like a metronome. “Sam!” she called out as she neared him. She saw he had removed his long bladed hunting knife from its sheath that he always wore around his left thigh.

Sam slowed, allowing her to catch up, but didn’t turn around.

“What are you doing?” Amelia asked keeping pace with him.

“What do you think?” Sam answered, a bit harshly. “Finding a way through.”

Amelia didn’t know what to say to that, so stayed quiet.

They walked in silence a moment, until the silence was broken by Jessica. She was yelling something.

They stopped and turned. Amelia gripped her running foot which she was still holding, more tightly as she saw the fear on Jessica’s face. “Where are they?” she said, looking around them. She didn’t see anything or anyone nearby.

Jessica was sprinting, the action made Amelia’s heart race. There was only one thing that made you run: wolves.

Amelia glanced around her again, and again all that met her gaze was miles of brown dry grasses. “What is it?” she asked, panic in her own voice as Jessica reached them. She raised her prosthetic defensively.

“Haven’t you seen it?” Jessica said, her voice rising, stricken.

“Seen what?” Amelia and Sam echoed.

“Look!” Jessica said, pointing at the wall. Amelia saw a smudge of red on the wall, and further down made out black, standing out starkly against the pale stone. She took a step away from the wall to get a better look. It looked like words.

Another step, and then another, and another. And then…

She felt the blood drain from her face and her knees went weak. She had to put her running leg into the ground to lean on for support or she would have collapsed.

She looked down n the wall in the direction Jessica had come from and could just barely make the message scrawled across it. Turn Back! It read. And: Behind The Wall has fallen.

Fallen. Over run by infected. Amelia read the message in front of her in, what she hoped was red paint. Do Not Enter. This land behind this wall is forsaken. The wall stretched across the dry land as far as any of them could see, cutting the continent in two.

Sam and Jessica joined her. They could see writing all down the wall, most of it mostly faded away with just a few letters here and there and the odd whole word.

“Are we all that-” Jessica began.

“No!” Amelia shouted, knowing exactly what she was going to say. She hated that phrase. They looked at her, shocked by the outburst. “No,” she repeated, this time more softly. “We can’t be. We can’t think like that. We can’t be all that remain.” She shook her head hard, as if trying to convince herself. “We just can’t.”

Chapter 6 To Rise Again

She began pushing her way through the tall grass, walking parallel to the wall. She opened her back and took out a prosthetic with a long, blade that curved like a scythe that could be folded up on itself for safe storage.

This time it was Jessica and Sam who ran to catch up to her.

“What are you doing?” Jessica asked, her voice uneven with worry.

“Where are you going?” Sam asked, clutching his knife at his side, and removing a pistol that sat at his hip.

“We can’t be it,” Amelia said, her voice hard, determined. “We have to keep going.”

“But-,” Jessica began, jogging awkwardly holding the rifle in front of her. “The wall-” She stopped at Amelia’s look.

“Haven’t you ever heard you can’t believe everything you read?” Amelia said, realizing her voice was becoming scarily high-pitched. She ignored it. “We can’t give up.”

She stopped suddenly and Jessica and Sam almost walked into her. She stuck her leg out, the plastic bottom of the missing part of her limb glinting in the sun. “I didn’t give up,” she said. She could feel her throat start to tighten as tears threatened behind her eyes. She couldn’t cry. That wouldn’t be much of a rallying speech, she thought. “After the accident.”

She saw Sam and Jessica look away, uncomfortable. Amelia wasn’t going to go into what happened to her. She hadn’t when she’d met each of them, because they never asked. She was just looked at as the warrior girl that was part human part Werewolf-slaying weapon.

She swallowed and blinked back tears that tried to escape. “I didn’t give up. And we haven’t given up, all this time. Even when the whole world was…” She tried to think of the right word. Destroyed? Ruined? Damaged? Those were words she could use to describe herself, she thought with a suddenness that tightened her chest sharply. But instead she said the word that she had always thought now described the new her. Changed. “The whole world was changed by the virus.” She continued. “But we’re still here. We can’t let a wall stop us, make us throw the towel in and just give up.”

She looked at Sam, trying not to make it seem like she was glaring at him, then turned to Jessica. She hoped it was an encouraging look and followed it up with a small smile.

They gave her weak smiles in return, and in silence they continued, walking until the setting sun began to turn the sky a dusky purple.

The wall continued, seemingly never-ending, but Amelia Brown never gave up, and plowed onwards, flanked by two people who had been strangers, but were now the only people in the world she had left that she could call friends.



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