On My Wheels
A/N: This chapter will have action. Violence, death. I still feel the need to put these disclaimers in notes despite the nature of this book. Remember; darker than the ocean, deeper than the sea. But anyway, enjoy.
Our window to leave hadn’t yet opened and it was now nighttime. But a situation had come up. My mother was going into labor. And getting her out of here would take time if it was even possible. I think she had known this since morning, and I had been too dense to notice. That demon I locked away? I had uncaged it yet again as I sat crouched outside of the door while I heard pained groans coming from the room alongside the soothing voices of my sister and a doctor we had managed to find on campus.
Suddenly, there was a loud explosion outside. One so powerful it shook the building causing lights to flicker. Jin was beside me while everyone else was near Jonas’ truck. I got up, walking over to a window at the end of a hall. There was a massive hole that was torn into the chain-link walls. Then out of the flames came a large van skidding to a halt in the courtyard, loud music blaring from it. And then a swarm of infected swarming in behind it. And then the gunfire came. Panic filled me, but it was different this time. I knew what I was doing. I had to keep my parents safe while they were vulnerable. And that van was doing nothing but drawing more and more in as there was a large speaker blaring music atop it.
“Jin! Shoot open this window!” I commanded, seeming to catch her by surprise. But she obliged, blasting open the window with a deafening gunshot just as I stepped out of the way.
“Watch the other end of the hall. Kill anything infected that gets here.” I added, turning my attention to the open window.
Readying an arrow, I lined up a shot. I was shooting from above the van by about four stories. My arrow should hold onto its power to disable the speaker if I hit it just right. Letting loose, the arrow flew, the bowstring kissing my arm painfully. I hit my target, but it seems it wasn’t enough as the speaker continued blaring with a screech as I must have shorted something. Just as I lined up my next shot men streamed out of the van, making my heart drop. On their backs was an owl I hated seeing. The insignia of The Sleeping Owls. How could they know Jonas was here? He was the only reason I could see them being here. I quickly fired my next shot, neutralizing the speaker. I turned to run to get to Jonas as soon as possible. There’s no telling what they’d do to him if they found him.
But before I could make it past the door my family was behind my dad emerged, looking shaken. He had PTSD from combat, so I could imagine how he was feeling.
“Isaac! Where are you going?” He asked, glancing around.
“I have to get to Jonas. He’s in trouble.” I explained hastily, about to take off again.
But I was caught by the shoulder and stopped in my tracks.
“You can’t go out there. You might get killed.” My dad argued.
“I have to. He could die out there without me.” I shot back with as much conviction as I could muster.
“I’ll be careful.” I sighed, being taken into a surprising hug.
“Hurry back.” He sighed, seeming to know he couldn’t talk me down from this.
I turned and left, pausing to take one last look at him as he watched me go. Approaching Jin, I tapped her shoulder grab her attention.
“Don’t let anything happen to them. Okay?” I said simply, cocking a testy eyebrow at her.
“Consider it done. This is my playground. They are safe with me.” She assured me, clicking her tongue.
I heard screams and gunfire from within the building when I burst into the stairwell. Infected were surging in as I readied myself. I launched myself at one coming up the stairs with reckless abandon. If they got past me, Jin might be overwhelmed. Hitting the body of the infected I took an arrow from my quiver, running it into the head of the snarling man. A cold shock ran through me as I stood up, readying my bow, firing a shot, and making another clean headshot. I ripped the arrow from the skull of the infected I stabbed and retrieving my other arrow as I stalked past. I didn’t even want to look back at them. I had to keep going; because if I faltered now Jonas could die. I broke into the next hall on the floor below my parents, closing the door with such force it’d have to be kicked open. At the end of the hall, there was an infected, in the middle of eating a woman.
I wolf-whistled, catching its attention. As expected it ran at me with freakish aggression, screams, and all. I hoisted my bow on my shoulder, redirecting it into a wall with some added force, knocking it out with a nasty crack. I ran to the woman’s aid as she clutched at her bleeding throat.
“I’m sorry.” I said sincerely. She was probably heading back to her room from the lab seeing as she was still wearing her lab coat.
She was struggling to speak as her body convulsed. I would have put her down but she was probably turning into a tweaker or the other variant. I continued down the hallway, looking for the next stairwell. Luckily most large buildings like this were similar and I found one, practically flying down the stairs. My heart was pounding, every sense ready and sensitive to every tiny detail. I came to an abrupt stop just outside the door. Utter carnage went on around me. Three opposing forces, the militia, the infected, and Jonas’ gang; The Sleeping Owls. Suddenly I was snatched down to the ground behind a raised garden.
Not wasting any time I elbowed my attacker with all my might. Reeling a bit as I heard a familiar yelp. It was from Daniel.
“Fuck I’m sorry. Where’s Jonas?” I asked, seeing Oscar and Ellis were here as well.
I winced, ducking down a bit more as gunfire rang out, striking the wall behind us.
“He’s at his truck. There are some guys there. He told us to find you.” Ellis grunted as he repositioned himself with his rifle.
“That idiot.” I huffed.
“I have to get to him. You all can head inside. It’s probably safer there.” I explained, going to get up.
“He was adamant about you staying inside.” Oscar warned, tugging me back down.
“Those men will kill him!” I shouted, my voice almost being drowned out by all the background noise.
I tore myself away from him, peeking past the wall seeing it was relatively clear save for some infected snarling around. I left the cover and slinked off into the darkness hearing complaints coming from the trio I just left behind. An infected ran at me. Though I somehow moved quicker and slammed it into the wall by redirecting it. I took me mere moments to run to the side of campus Jonas’ truck was parked on. They had him on his knees, hands tied behind his back.
“You left us hanging Jo-Jo. Your own family.” Julius, this state’s gang leader chuckled as he paced back and forth before Jonas.
As much as I wanted to do something I’d be quickly outnumbered. It was as if Jonas knew I was here and looked directly at me. And just as fast he looked away as I ducked further into cover. Readying an arrow was done more so for my anxiety. I knew it would be useless if they got this close to me.
“And you let your brothers die?!” Julius shouted, a sickening thud traveling through the air.
I heard a pained grunt as Jonas seemed to try and be silent. My breath was coming out heavily in gasps, forcing me to cover my mouth, dropping my bow softly to the ground.
“They died to protect me!” Jonas argued indignantly.
He’d just get himself killed if he kept talking back. Julius wasn’t the man to test. And the times I met him I felt sick to my stomach. Moments later as expected the was another sound of pain being inflicted yet again. The sound of a slap was followed by a suppressed wince. I realized now he was actually doing that for me.
“I-Isaac...run...” Jonas spluttered suddenly. But by the time I saw the shadow loom over me, it was too late.
My limbs flew out desperately to defend myself but I was slapped senseless, my hair gripped painfully in a pair of rugged hands as I was dragged from my cover. I was then harshly thrown into the loose ring of men.
“Oh, would you look at that.” Julius sneered, his lips pulled back in a menacing manner.
And just like that the monster I had let out to play ran whimpering back to its confines as I was shaken down to my very core.
“Was it for your best friend here? I know you two go to the same college.” Julius smiled, coming to crouch before me. I was terrified, and he saw that.
“Le-let him go.” I stuttered.
“I think the fuck not.” Julius cackled, slapping me across the face, leaving my cheek stinging.
“Kill him.” Julius instructed, the men all poising their guns on Jonas.
That’s when everything seemed to slow. Jonas couldn’t do anything. And they would shoot him, I knew that. I instantly thought back to this morning when he told me he’d give his life for me. And what kind of person would I be if I didn’t offer him the same thing? This could get me killed but I’d do it anyway. I lunged at Julius who had just turned his back on me, clinging to him intent on choking him.
He staggered on his feet under my assault. Though I wasn’t expecting him to do what he did next. He backed himself into Jonas’ truck with such force it knocked me dizzy, my grip failing as I slipped down the truck.
“So he does have some balls huh, Jonas?” Julius chuckled, seeming confident that he had subdued me.
He was right, I felt like I was dying as my vision slowly collected itself.
“Y’know what? Get him on the hood. Jonas gets to live and see this one.” Julius commanded.
His men did as he said, gripping me by the shoulders as they hoisted me up on the hood of Jonas’ truck as I struggled against them.
“A ’lil birdie told me that you were a fag. Is that right?” Julius questioned as he loomed over me with a cocky smile.
I was beyond being scared now. I’d already committed to attacking him. Though I felt like that was a massive mistake. Though I couldn’t back down now. If he had his way with me I’d regret it.
“What of it?” I questioned, debating whether I should spit in his face as he was that close.
“I don’t have Troy with me at the moment. He’s off around here somewhere. And he’s been wanting a boy to get into for a while now.” He retorted, a cold shock of fear bolting through me.
“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Right?” Julius asked, pulling a blade from his jeans.
“Leave him the fuck alone!” Jonas shouted.
“I would enjoy you for him. But you see I’m only into women.” He cooed, running the blade near my throat as I tried to free myself from the hold his men had on me.
“And I happen to also think Jonas would hate seeing that.” He snickered.
“Leave hi-” Jonas began, being silenced by a kick to the stomach from Julius.
“Now speak again and I’ll crush your god-damned windpipe boy! Troy is going to have his fun and then we may speak.” Julius sneered, taking out a walkie-talkie.
“Hey, Troy my boy. I’ve got something you might like.” Julius said matter-of-factly.
I noticed for a second that the men holding me down had loosened their grip. I tried to surge forward in an attempt to free myself. But the moment I did that I was forced back down abruptly.
“Keep squirming and I’ll have to hurt you, you whore.” Julius threatened, gripping my jaw as he glared down at me.
We were screwed. And it was all my fault Jonas had received more abuse. My attention was captured when I heard a pleased laugh echo in the air around me.
“Is he for me?” A gruff man asked.
Rugged men were something I liked. But he looked so sleazy that I wouldn’t let him touch me if he were the last man on Earth.
“Fuck. Off.” I grunted, fighting against them enough to glare at the man near me.
“Fiesty too huh?” Troy questioned, already unbuckling his pants.
There was no telling what disease this man harbored. So I fought as hard as I could, still being overpowered.
“Yeah, he’s got a temper. He’s Jonas’ but he’s no longer family so you can have him.” Julius shrugged, angering me even further.
“Oh, he’s yours? I’ll have to give it to him better than you could ever then.” Troy teased Jonas who glared up at him indignantly.
I was growing light-headed as I felt like I was going to throw up. And in the moment I was slipped down the hood of the truck as vile hands roamed my body. I squirmed in protest as another pair of hands held me down.
My belt gave Troy some trouble but he had it off as he tried working my pants down. I clasped my legs shut to the best of my ability. But they too were yanked down to my ankles. Then out of nowhere there was an animalistic growl as the weight of one man was yanked off of me. I looked forward to seeing that Jonas had tackled Julius to the ground, his arms still restrained. What happened next left all of us stunned.
Jonas sank his teeth into Julius’ throat with such force it sent a spray of blood flying everywhere. I took this as a way to break free. I tore myself from the three men before leaping forward and attacking one of them with all the fury that had been boiling within me. But I was swatted aside, stunned as I rolled over the ground. I looked up to see that it was Jonas who had broken his restraints.
“They’re mine.” He shouted, ripping the gun from one of them, quickly killing each of the men save for Troy.
“Oh shit man.” Troy stuttered, trying to crawl away.
“You won’t be touchin’ anyone you sick fuck.” Jonas bellowed, looming over him.
I had the urge to look away. I probably didn’t want to see what was to come next. I heard sickening blows land and cries for help. It wore on for what felt like ages until there was a nasty snap followed by silence.
“You okay?” I heard eventually, opening my eyes and looking up.
Jonas was covered in blood. His chin still dripping it all down his grey shirt.
“You...” I tried, collecting myself clumsily as my pants were still around my ankles.
“I did what I had to do Bambi.” He sighed, wiping away the blood on his face and chin with little success.
I pulled up my pants, my body shaky at what almost happened to me. I was careless. And that did this to Jonas.
“Hey?” He said softly, seeming to want to reach out and touch me. But stopped as his hands were also drenched in blood.
I didn’t flinch away though. I couldn’t do that to him at this moment. Though our moment of peace was short-lived as a group of infected came screeching into the area. For now, I’d have to pack away my emotions. Me and Jonas had to get back to my parents. This was going south fast.
“Cover me while I get my bow?” I questioned, taking off.
Jonas gave me a quick nod, firing away as I dove for my bow. I somehow recovered flawlessly into a kneel, readying an arrow and firing a shot at an infected that has broken off and charged me. I vaulted over the slab of concrete I had hidden behind, firing an arrow into an infected that was charging Jonas from behind when I landed.
“How’s your mom doing?” Jonas asked as we took off together.
“Still in labor. We have to hold this place down until she’s done.” I told him as we ran around to his truck, climbing inside.
Before I could even get fully into my seat Jonas peeled off through the compound.
“Where are we going?” I asked, gripping onto the overhead handles with all my might.
“Around back. This place is about to fall. We need to get out of here.” Jonas explained, still trying to wipe away the blood on his chin as he skidded to a stop right before the main exit on the rear of the building.
Getting out, I ran around to the back of Jonas’ truck, opening the tailgate. With a heave, I clambered inside, grabbing more arrows. When I hopped back out Jonas was waiting for me. He needed rest. He was probably more stressed than I was.
“Let’s go.” He said, calling me from my thoughts.
I followed behind him into the building, arrow at the ready. The bottom floor was quiet, something that made both of us nervous. The gunfire outside had died down. Either meaning the militia lost to the infected and the gang. Or the infected won. It was likely that the infected won as we all could become one and a battle could be flipped on its head quickly. For the first time, it looked as if we would take the elevator. It was something we were told not to do in case the generators failed. But it seems Jonas was tired. It took no time at all for the elevator to reach the floor my parents were on. Waiting on the other side of the door of the elevator was my sister, a gun drawn in shaky hands.
“Thank goodness you’re okay.” She sighed, her aim that was poised on us falling to her side.
“I could say the same about you all up here.” I huffed.
“Oh no, are you okay Jonas?” Alisha asked, looking him over for what I assumed were bites.
“Yeah, I’m cool. Izzy saved me.” He smirked, resorting to the other nickname he had given me.
It had been years since he called me that. It made me wonder what made that change. But now wasn’t the moment.
“Mom?” I asked her.
“Ellis is helping the doctor. She’s still got a ways to go.” She sighed.
“Oh my gosh are you guys are okay?” Daniel gasped as he came up to us.
“My brother is pretty unkillable.” Alisha grinned, being the most positive I’d seen her since this all started.
“I woulda never expected Alisha to know anything about guns.” Daniel remarked.
“My mom taught me and Issac. But this one stopped coming on trips to the range with us a while ago.” Alisha explained, butting my shoulder.
I would have joined in on the light-hearted festivities but there was a more pressing business I had to see to. Over by the busted window was Oscar, staring down. He turned to me as I approached.
“There’s more coming in.” He sighed, seeing that the militia had seemingly been defeated.
“It’s almost like moths to a flame.” I commented as more and more infected seemed to stream in, looking around wildly.
“They’ll be here soon, we have to go.” He added, stepping away with a sigh.
He had a point. But we couldn’t go anywhere until my mother recovered enough to travel. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I felt another presence behind us. It was my dad, a grim look on his face.
“Oscar is right. We do have to go.” He sighed, stroking his graying facial hair.
“What do you-” I began, being cut off by shrieks.
I spun around seeing infected busting down the door. Daniel pulled Alisha out of the grasp of an infected just in time while Jonas fired a devastatingly loud shot from his shotgun. My ears were ringing as the action unfolded around me. But nonetheless, I notched an arrow, drawing it back and firing an arrow into an infected that was rushing through the door as more muffled shrieks filled the building.
“Run this way!” I shouted, my voice sounding like a whisper in my still ringing ears.
My unborn siblings were in a room that needed protection. Everything was unfolding in slow motion as everyone took on an infected as they closed the gap. I was nearly taken out in my shock until Oscar rammed into one, crashing through the thin wall into the next room. My shoulder was shaken violently, somewhat clearing up the fog.
“You all need to gather up and get out of here.” My dad shouted, my hearing finally returning.
Everything was happening so fast as I was pulled into the room alongside Alisha. It was like nothing that happened was real and I blacked out. When I finally came to my senses I saw that everyone was in the room, silent as snarling and shrieks went on outside. I looked over at my mother who looked exhausted, eyes barely open.
“At this rate, the babies won’t come.” The doctor fretted.
“Listen to me, Issac. You all have to go.” My dad began, looking up at me from his spot beside mom.
“No...” I said bluntly.
“I can’t let you die when your father gave his life to save mine. If you get out you live.” He attempted to reason.
He played a painful game. My biological father died in combat when I was just four. I don’t remember much of him. But I knew he made me happy when he’d be back stateside. It was something my stepfather; my biological father’s best friend carried with him to this day.
“Not going to Colorado anymore.” Ellis sighed, seeming to resign to staying as well.
“You should listen to your father. You all go. And I’ll stay and keep them safe.” Jin reasoned, showing empathy for once.
“Or you all stay and die because of me.” My mother finally spoke, right before being wracked by another wave of pain.
I went to her side, already feeling tears welling up in my eyes.
“I can’t leave you mom.” I tried, taking hold of her hand.
Her grip on my hand grew tighter as she opened her eyes with that fire I was used to seeing.
“You go now, and take care of your little sister. Me and everyone else who is staying will be okay.” She said sternly.
“Now go.” She tacked on harshly as if to urge me off.
They wanted me and Alisha to live more than anything. Even if that meant they couldn’t see it. But it still hurt trying to stomach the idea. Pulling me by the hem of my shirt was Jonas. He looked just as pained as I felt. But I figured he made the decision.
“Jo-Jo, look after Issac please. He’s a handful without even realizing it.” My mother chuckled weakly.
“Yes ma’am.” He replied curtly, his voice tense with emotion.
“You all can go through the doors of each room starting with this one. It should spit you outright at the stairwell.” The doctor informed, turning his attention to this ragtag group.
“And Ellis here should go too.” The doctor tacked on, offering us a small smile.
“I should stay and protect ya’ll.” Ellis argued.
“And they will need someone to take care of any injuries.” The doctor reasoned.
“I’ve got them for now. I’ve got enough ammo to last me a while.” Jin added, giving Ellis a push towards us.
“O-okay. I’ll go.” Alisha sniffed, heaving a sigh and regaining her composure.
She was stronger than me by leagues. I honestly felt like crying myself into a coma. But we had no choice. If we stayed here we’d all die. And I couldn’t drag other people down with me.
“We should go.” Ellis sighed, seeming a little frustrated.
I returned to my mother’s side for what could be the last time ever, bending down to place a kiss on her forehead while my sister looked on.
A/N: In case it hasn’t been noticed yet, the chapter names give hints as to how the story will be told. This was a pretty action-heavy chapter; as many of this story are. So needless to say it gets a bit mentally exhausting.