Travis had forgotten where he was, his mind fooled him into thinking that he was laying on his own bed with an epic comedown for the books. That trick of the mind was so convincing that he chuckled to himself while rubbing his eyes. What the fuck did I take? The thought rattled around his head, searching for an answer that he didn’t have.
His blurred vision could make out a dark shape in front of him but not much else. He sat up and realised that he was on a cold, hard floor, not his bed. There was a patch of damp around his crotch and the fog began to lift. He remembered pissing himself after seeing the horde of infected race down the hallway, tearing, biting, and butchering everyone in their path. He rubbed his eyes with more vigour to clear his vision.
He was in the hospital room where they had tried to convince William to take them with him. Mick had pulled him back in during the infected attack and shoved the bed up against the door. Then… what? He decided that he must have blacked out.
The bed wasn’t against the door anymore, it was overturned in the centre of the room and the door left wide open. The dark shape in front of him were the bodies of Mick and his two sons, the throats of the young boys were torn out, deep gouges ran across small blood smeared faces and their bodies were crumpled and broken. Mick’s head had been torn from its body and sat upright at Travis’s feet, cloudy, dead eyes staring into oblivion.
Travis gagged and pushed himself back against the wall.
“Oh shit, shit,” his voice high pitched and full of terror.
Footsteps sounded in the hallway, just outside the room. Travis used his hands to cover his eyes; he didn’t want to see anything else.
The footsteps were in the room now, moving towards him.
“Please, just leave me alone, mate,” he whimpered. “Please.”
Someone, or something was standing right in front of him and he knew it was a monster, he could hear the laboured, phlegmy breathing. Travis wasn’t sure why it hadn’t killed him yet but he still couldn’t find the courage to look. There was a long, throaty sigh and whatever was in the room with him tapped his shoulder three times.
He jerked away, hot tears flooding into his hands. “Please, don’t,”
Three more taps, harder, more insistent.
He slowly took his hands away from his eyes and saw an infected crouching on its haunches right there in front of him. He tried to back further away but was already against the wall. The infected wore a dark red hooded top with the hood pulled firmly over its head. Travis furrowed his brows and stared into the grey skinned, criss-cross scarred face of the thing that still hadn’t killed him.
The infected reached into the pocket of its hoodie and pulled out a small see-through baggie with a tiny amount of white powder inside. It held the baggie between index and middle finger.
“What’s that?” Junkie curiosity raged against common sense, and a hunger deep inside his soul told him that he wanted that white powder.
The hoodie infected tossed the baggie at Travis and it landed on his urine soaked jeans. Travis gazed down at the bag, unsure of what he should do. This creature was killer, why would it get him high?
This time, the hoodie infected reached down and tapped the baggie. Then it looked him in the eye and tapped his chest three times. The warmth of fresh urine seeped into his jeans and he wiped the tears from his face.
“Taaaake,” the hoodie infected hissed.
Travis knew that he had no choice. He took a deep breath, grabbed the bag of powder, popped the seal and sniffed the contents. “Smells like strawberries,” he said.
The infected placed an index finger over one of its nostrils and motioned that the powder should be snorted. “Taaaake,” a twisted grin revealed small flaps of rotting flesh stuck between bloodstained teeth.
Travis was hoping that the powder would kill him instantly; it would be a better way to go than this thing eating him alive. He emptied the contents of the baggie onto the back of his hand and with one sharp sniff, inhaled it up his nose. It felt like a white-hot sledgehammer had just powered through his nasal cavity. His eyes filled with tears and he coughed as the powder burned its way down his throat. The hoodie infected gave a knowing smile and nod.
The high came quickly. Travis was used to a different kind of high, but this felt better than anything he had ever used before. The powder overpowered all of his fears and paranoia, replacing them with anger and spite. Fury seethed deep within his body and he felt strong, as if he could sprint for miles without losing breath. The blood on the bodies of Mick and his young boys smelled sweet and he licked his lips.
He tried to speak but his tongue lolled around in his mouth, fat and useless, like it didn’t belong. His eyes became uncomfortably hot and he scrambled to his feet, rushing across to the sink and staring into the mirror.
The colour in his eyes exploded in tiny, almost imperceptible flashes until there was nothing left but white. He was surprised at how much better he could see, everything was brighter, colours were more vivid and even his peripheral vision was focused, as if the powder had removed the blinkers and given him real sight. Pain tap-danced through his head with oversized boots and although he tried to scream, he only managed to groan through the thick phlegm that was gathering in his throat.
He turned away from the mirror and fell to his knees beside the hoodie infected. He knew that he was infected, but he felt something else, like he belonged, like he mattered.
Thoughts struggled to take form until there was only one. “Kill,” he said, almost involuntarily. The word sounded foreign to his ears, not like a word at all, more of a grunt and a cluck of the tongue.
The hoodie infected got to its feet and rested its hand on Travis’s head. “Welcome, brother.”
Two more hoodie infected stood in the doorway and yipped like excited dogs.
The Travis infected smiled. It felt immortal.
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