Chapter 1 -The Truth-
"Hey Mar, what's up?"
She came to my side and kept pace with me. By the expression on her face something was bothering her.
"You know, I was all for this new place thing, but the further we get away from "home" the more empty and scared I become." She looks at me with a worried look. Marla was a strong woman, both physically and mentally, for this to be bugging her made me second guess this whole situation even more.
"Yeah, I get what you mean. Don't let it get to you Mar, life loves to kick us in the face once in awhile to make sure we don't get to comfortable. If we let our guard down, then life will walk all over us."
I wasn't very good at comforting. I was more of a listener and if I did reply, it would come out awkwardly.
A smile formed on her elegant small face. It was forced, but a glimmer of hope shined through.
"I suppose you're right Amee. Besides we have each other to get through any bullshit."
"That's right Mar. We'll always have each other's back." I put my arm around her shoulders as we walked along the path.
The sun was starting to go down and I wondered if we were any closer to this place. Terra said it would take three days, by foot, to get there. Day there was quickly coming to an end and before I could figure out my next action plan, an ear piercing whistle shattered the somber crowd. I winced, the sound always hurt to the point I felt like my ear drums might pop.
"Ugh! Why can't he find another way to get someone's attention."
I rubbed my ears and groaned while Marla just giggled at me.
"Everyone listen up!" Jax looked over the crowd then stopped on Marla and I. He gave a corner mouth smile and continued his speech.
"What was that all about Marrr...la?" I looked over at her now blushing pale skin.
"SHHH! He has something important to say."
I wondered when the two would hook up. Took long enough. They are like yin and yang but they go well together. I can't say I blame her, he is a handsome guy and powerful.
"I wanted to announce that we will be approaching our destination in a few more miles. It will be dark and we want all of you to be as prepared as you can be. I know Terra has promised us safety but it is never a bad thing to be cautious."
Why was Jax giving this talk? Kye should be, unless he has stepped down? Naw, Jax is Kye's second in command, it makes sense to pass on simple tasks to him. I looked around for Kye but did not see him anywhere close to us.
"Who you looking for?" Marla whispered at me. I looked to her confused face and smiled.
"Just checking out the area is all."
Yeah like she bought that story. Nope. But before she could counter with her own thought, Jax continued.
"We will be camping here tonight and continue in the morning."
The group roared with protests, grumbles and just pure exhaustion. Everyone wanted this to be over, life has been good for the last several years and now it feels like square one again. Jax puts up his hands to motion for the group to calm down.
"I know all of you are done with this bullshit.... so am I, but, would you rather rest and eat, regaining your strength with some sleep or jump into the unknown in the dark and possibly risk your life even further?"
Everyone great silent. No more protests or grumbles. After a short pause the people began to spread out in search of a spot to spend the night. Jax said no more, he looked in our direction and before I could react, Marla was grabbing my hand and dragging me over to Jax.
"What are you two up to?" Jax had a beautiful deep voice that melted most of the women in our group, but his heart belonged to Marla, always has.
"Just watching you run the show."
I gave Marla a disgusted look. She was so googly-eyed over Jax in repulsed me a little. I hated mushy shit. Over rated garbage that always ended badly in the end, but these two are my best friends and it wasn't horrifyingly gross, just a little.
"It's about time you two get together."
I raised and lowered my eye brows at Jax while nudging him in the side. Marla gave me a look while, for the first time ever, Jax's face turned a light shade of pink. Was he embarrassed? That was a first.
I left the two love birds to do whatever they do, and decided to look for Kye. He had been acting strange since that night when he announced the move. I looked all around the camp site, visited with a few of the members and bandaged some minor wounds people got from the trek through the woods. By the time I got to the end of the trail of people, I was exhausted. Forgetting that I haven't slept much or eaten anything today had finally caught up with me.
I let out a long sigh and was about to give up my quest to find Kye when I noticed movement from the corner of my eye. Turning my tired gaze to the left of me, I see it is Kye sitting on a fallen tree next to the tree line. Relieved, I start walking towards him.
"Hey Kye." I call out to him as I approach his side. He looks to me with and even more exhausted look. Man, this must be really getting to him. I thought to myself, I felt pity for the guy.
"Amee. Why aren't you over helping cook dinner for everyone? Slacking on your womanly duties again I see."
Really? All compassionate feelings for this ass-wipe left the building. I stop just a few feet from him, crossing my arms and giving an irritated look.
"Maybe you should reevaluate the situation, leader. Jax is doing your job you lazy bum."
A big grin crosses his face, followed by an overly expressed laugh.
"You haven't changed much over the years I have known you. Gives me reasurrace that if I were ever to leave this group, you, Jax and Marla will keep these people safe."
What the hell is going on? I had enough of the games, it was time to figure out what the hell was going on.
"Okay, I am tired of the games Kye, you have been acting strange since Terra came into town. What the hell is going on with you?"
I knew something wasn't right and I grew impatient and my calm demeanor began shift. I looked at him with angry eyes and crossed arms, waiting for his response. The forest grew quiet, Kye's amused grin faded as he looked within the forest. I watched him as his body stiffened an overwhelming feeling of sorrow can over me. What the hell was this? Goose bumps began to cover my body and as I was about to speak Kye motioned for me to keep quiet. I understand crossed my arms and placed my hand on my knife I always kept at my side. Could be an Infected, even though a decaying smell usually fills the air before we see or hear them.
Kye slowly walks backwards to me, not once turning his attention from the tree line. He stopped beside me, leaning in he whispered in my ear.
"We need to leave, now."
His voice was that eerie calm that he always used during serious situation that required full attention or you could possibly die.
My heart was pounding hard against my chest as adrenaline surged through me, putting all my senses on high alert. We started to slowly move backwards, being careful not to remove our eyes from the forest, for if we do, whatever is watching us will pursue us. Why, you may ask? Because this world has changed, and the predators are more intelligent. Once you turn your back, you become prey and will be taken down quicker then you take a breath.
What did Kye see? Could it be Infected?
The thoughts rolled in my mind until I was distracted by movement to my left. A small bush was swaying about and before I could motion to Kye a strong hand gripped my arm and pulled me back. I gasped, whipping around to fine Kye.
"RUN!" He yelled and yanked me to the front of him as we both took off in a full sprint, heading back to the group.
I didn't look back, but I knew what was there as the smell of rotting flesh filled my senses. It was the Infected. I ran as fast as my five-foot five frame could take me. Heart pounding, memories of the passed swarmed my mind.
"Amee, we can't go back to the others."
He was right. If we did, people would die. No one would be prepared quick enough to fight these things off. I wanted to know how many were in pursuit, so I got brave and looked back. I wished I hadn't. It was a swarm, they were getting louder with footsteps and inhuman groans.
"Where do we go? We can't run forever Kye!"
He motions for me to follow as we take a hard right turn into the trees. Surprised by the sudden steep downward hill, I trip and start tumbling down, hitting a few branches and smashing my leg on a huge rock I finally catch myself and slide to a halt. Before I could get my barrings, Kye scoops me up, throws my over his shoulder and continues down the hill. I look up to see a few of the disgusting bitches following us.
Before I could reply, I felt a tickle in my stomach and the feeling of falling quickly down. I look down to see us quickly approaching open water and just then, SPLASH! We were under water. The icy cold temperature shot pain throughout my body as I struggled to swim to the surface. I wasn't a good swimmer, water terrified me and I only learned to swim enough to save my life or possible someone else's. The pain in my leg grew the more I kicked to push myself to the surface and just before my breath couldn't be held no more, I broke the surface with a gasp. I coughed, opening my eyes I see the cliff we just fell from. Looking up I see at the edge was the Infected that followed us. They, too, were terrified of the water. I noticed this a few years back when it rained, I caught site of one screaming in pain as it was caught in a trap. But the pain wasn't from the trap, the rain seemed to melt the creature slowly.
I snapped back from my thoughts and remembered Kye was with me here in this water. I turned around looking for him. He wasn't anywhere around me. Dread filled my heart as I thought of the worst that could have
I heard his voice and turned to see him swimming to me.
"Fuck Kye, what the hell are you doing?! I thought you drowned!"
I was relieved to see his stupid face.
Once he finally reached me and caught his breath he told me this.
"Why did you trip?"
What? After all that he simply ask "why did you trip?" My face radiated an irritated expression and he backed up a bit.
"I'm going to ignore that question and instead thank you for saving me.... yet again."
He gives me a slight grin.
"We need to get out of this water or we will catch hypothermia."
I agreed and we started for the shore on the other side of the river. It was fairly swift, that would be why Kye ended up so far away from me. I struggled to keep pace with him and fighting the current with an injured leg made it even more difficult. He must of noticed because soon he was wrapping an arm around me and paddling for the both of us.
"Kye, stop, I can get there on my own, you'll only wear yourself out more."
All my words and more didn't stop him from pulling me to shore. He was strong for na old man.
Once we got to the other side, we flipped onto the grassy shore to catch our breath. I laid on my back looking to the darkening sky, shades of purple, blue, pink and orange laced the sky. My leg throbbed in pain to the beat of my racing heart. I sat up and gently pulled my pant leg back to reveal a bruised calf. Ugh, this is all I needed. I grumbled at the site
"At least you didn't break or cut open your leg."
I looked over at Kye who was still laying on his back with his eyes closed. I stared at him for a moment and thought about the past, how we used to be inseparable. I learned much from him and wondered what happened to our friendship.
"Yeah, that would make me even more of a target."
I changed my view and looked out to the swift moving river, then to the cliff we fell from. The Infected we gone now, probably catching up to the rest. I paused. No. What about the others, they'll be catch completely off guard.
Kye jumps up to his feet ready to fight. As he looked around us, I gimped my way up to stand on my feet. Well, one, while I rested the other as much as possible.
"What the hell was that about?"
Kye relaxed his stance and looked at me questionably.
"The others, we have to get to them before...."
I looked to him surprised at what he had just said.
"What do you mean by no?"
As he stood stretching his five feet and ten inch tall thin frame, his voice grew deep, filled with authority and demanding respect.
"If we go now, we'll die and put them in more danger. Jax and Marla know what to do and Terra is very skilled in battle. The best thing we can do now is head in the direction leading to Utopia."
I've never heard that tone come from him. I've always saw him as weaker then most, even though he held copious amounts of knowledge, he just never held the strength and demeanor of a powerful leader. I was shocked at the sudden change. Hell, I even think his eyes changed to a deep blue instead of brown for a moment.
I was lost for words. I've always stood my ground and challenged him. Even when we were closer, but it felt wrong to do this time.
"Amee, I know the last thing you want is to be stuck with me, but trust me on this."
What the fuck is going on?
"Tell me first.... what the hell are you?"
Confusion rushed acrossed his face as we stood there staring at each other. A wisp of air danced around us, sending a bitter chill up my spine. It was getting cold out here and if we didn't start moving soon the cold would claim us tonight.
With a long sigh, Kye turns his gaze to the ground. He was silent for what seemed like forever, then what he tells me next shakes my world.
"Amee, there is more to this world then you or I could ever comprehend. Things that can't be explained."
He shifts his body weight, seeming uncomfortable. He takes in a deep breath and let's it out slowly.
"I am a shape shifter from the Fifth Dimension."
My body stiffened, fear rushed over me like a tsunami. I've heard of these creatures even thought some of our members might be one. I stared wide eyed at him, debating if I should run or stay.
He looks up at me and the deep brown eyes that was once familiar was now an ocean blue, glowing and primal they seemed to stare straight through me.
"W-why?" Was the only word I could bring forth. Shaking and confused I stood there, consumed by his gaze.
He began to speak, and as he did, something more happened. His body made a popping sound, he groaned.
"The human world is dying, soon all of your species will either be in other dimensions or you will perish here on your dying planet."
That was straight forward. Let's not sugar coat anything even a little.
Before I could say anything in response I watch, in horror, as my once human friend started to change. Bones shifted making a horrific cracking sound, the skin on his face melted away and took the shape of a wolf. All human existence quickly faded away. Mouth gaped open and eyes wide, I now stared at a massive wolf figure. He stood on all fours, his muscles rippled with each movement and his black glossy fur shined as the moon now lite the night sky. I couldn't move, I was shaking so bad I thought I would shake right out of my skin. This moment seemed more terrifying then dealing with the Infected.
That is all I could say. He shook and slowly turned his massive head to look down at me. His ocean blue eyes glowed as he lift his lips to show rows of sharp teeth.
"Don't be afraid Amee."
His voice, or I thought was his voice, flowed from him and crept up my spine.
My mind and body then decided it wasn't safe to stand here any longer and even though I knew I couldn't out run this beast, I tried anyways.
Before I knew it I was sprinting the opposite way from Kye. Adrenaline was at its peak causing me not to notice the screaming pain surging through my ankle I had sprained earlier. I weaved through the trees not knowing where I was going, just wanting to get as far away from that creature as I could.
I can't believe this. My whole world is caving in on me, again.
I glanced over my shoulder to see, nothing. He wasn't following me, or so I thought. I only turned away for a moment but in that moment I ran into something hard. I flew backwards hitting the ground hard, I let out a cry of pain and looked up to see what I hit. There he stood on his hind legs looking down at me with those glowing predator eyes.