Lila chased after the fleeing horde, firing a shot or two into the crowd as Joshua burst into the dining hall from the stairwell--directly into the wave of careening zombie flesh. He let out a wordless scream that turned into a gurgle of blood as each of the undead soldiers of the beast indulged in one final bite for the road. Lila stopped running and took aim. By her count she only had two bullets left. She shot twice into the crowd of zombies, tossed her gun aside and crossed her arms over her body to unsheathe two wickedly serrated hunting knives from her belt. She bellowed and started running again, plunging a knife into the temple of one dead man. She pulled it free and caught Joshua as the last of the zombies made it into the stairwell and left his torn body without enough support to remain standing.
“Boss,” he said to her, coughing up blood. She cradled his mangled torso and forced a smile for him, knowing what she was going to have to do.
“Lila,” he said, losing all pretence of formality, “don’t let me... turn into them.” Joshua started foaming at the mouth, his body began to shake and Lila threw him against the wall, slamming a huge blade up through his chin.
Joshua’s body stopped convulsing and he fell limp as Lila released a roar comparable to Felicia’s angry cries. She pulled the knife out with such force that it sprayed blood that was quickly blackening and turning into dead, congealed sludge. Joshua’s body remained standing for a moment and then fell forward as Lila stepped into the darkness of the stairwell.
She heard Donovan calling out for help and spotted his dim outline on the landing of the floor below. Zombies were all around him and Lila leapt down the stairs to help him although she knew he had no chance against so many. She made it to him just as the zombies had passed and she reached out to grab hold of his arm. It was too dark to see if he’d been bitten, but chance wasn’t in his favour. Lila cursed under her breath when Donovan started shaking and twitching.
“Dammit,” she breathed, disappointed in herself. Charles had just seen a glimmer of hope in Donovan and he had to go and become zombie food on her watch. She readied her knife to end his misery when he opened his eyes and screamed a very human scream into the dim stairwell.
“Let me go! Let me go!” he yelled as he pushed her away and scratched at the skin where she’d been holding him. “Don’t touch me!” He backed up into the corner, crouched down and started rocking back and forth.
Maybe he wasn’t bitten, she thought. Lila bent over beside him and put an arm around his shoulder. He batted her hand aside and cried as he looked into Lila’s eyes. His lips quivered as he struggled to speak, his breath came out in a shattered sounding whisper as he stumbled over his words. “Wh-wh-what... what are you?”
Then, a scream traveled to their ears from above. It sounded like Eden. Lila looked at Donovan and shook her head. “Wait here,” she said as she ran back up the stairs. She reached the apartment where Eden and Corrigan were still hiding from the chaos and found Eden on her knees, frantically trying to pull something invisible from her back.
“It hurts so much!” Eden cried as Corrigan tried to comfort his sister.
“What hurts?” Corrigan cradled Eden in his arms as she rocked back and forth. She screamed even louder then and her hands sprang out to grab hold of her face. She fell from Corrigan’s grasp and started rolling around on the floor, screaming and wailing like a mad woman, her hands clawing at her face as Corrigan tried to calm her down.
“What’s happening to her?” Lila asked as Corrigan held Eden close.
Eden shuddered and her screams downgraded to frantic pants. “Jacob--” she whispered and looked up at her brother.
“What does that mean, who’s Jacob?” Lila demanded as Eden fell limp in Corrigan’s arms. Her chest rose and fell only slightly with her laboured and shallow breaths.
Corrigan turned his tear-streaked face to Lila and said, “He’s our brother.”