| She peered around her shoulder, still having the feeling she was being followed. She couldn't be. She had gotten away from the Wanderers. Hadn't she? Just as an extra precaution, she got out her knife. She would get out her gun, but she was running low on ammunition & she didn't want to waste it on some dumb Wanderers. They were usually easy to take down, if necessary. It was only necessary if they were hostile, which wasn't often. They were usually confused, deranged, or just lost & looking for food. Food she wasn't usually willing to give up. This last group, though, had been terrible. They usually didn't wander in groups.
The group she had just come by seemed well nourished & well prepared for her. Almost as if they'd been waiting for the perfect moment to strike her, which couldn't be possible. Could it be? She had felt as if she'd were being watched the past couple months. No. She pushed the terrifying thought out of her mind. If a whole group could follow her without her noticing, then how many other people could follow her without her noticing? A cold chill crept down her spine at the thought of it. She quickly collected herself & kept walking. Suddenly, she heard a twig snap somewhere behind her. She spun around & got her knife ready in one swift movement. No one was there. She slowly backed up, & tripped over a tree root. When she fell, she dropped her knife, & her arm fell on it.
"Ow, dammit," she muttered under her breath. She couldn't worry about that right now. Someone was following her, & she had to get away. She quickly picked up her knife & pulled out some bandages. She cut a piece of it off & wrapped it around the cut. It wasn't deep, but it was big, & it was bleeding. After it was wrapped she hastily walked away from the area, when she heard a cough behind her. Who is this person? Are they hostile? If so, why din't they attack when she fell? If not, why hadn't they approached her yet? They obviously didn't care if she knew they were there or not. She turned around again, but once again didn't see anyone. Had she finally lost her mind? Would she soon be one of the deranged Wanderers?
"Up here, wild girl," a male voice called. She looked up & saw a boy in a tree. He was hanging one leg from the branch he was on. He was munching on an apple. She couldn't remember the last time she'd had an apple. Her mouth almost watered at the sight of it. He saw her eyeing it. "Want one? I've got plenty more," he said as he pulled one out of his bag. He tossed it to her, but instead of catching it she took a step back & let it fall to the ground in front of her. The boy laughed. It was a beautiful sound. She had forgotten how lovely the sound of laughter is.
"What, wild girl? Do I scare you?" he asked with a wink, "I didn't think anything could scare you," he said as he let out another laugh.
"Who are you?" she asked as she approached the tree.
"I should be asking you the same question," he said as he swung down & jumped off the tree, landing right in front of her. She stumbled backwards & almost fell, but he grabbed her arm. She jerked it out of his grasp.
"Woah, wild girl. Calm down. I'm not here to hurt you. I've been watching you for awhile."
"What?! Then why didn't you ever say anything?"
"When I first saw you, you looked so small & lost. I wanted to run out & help you. Right as I was going to, you got in a fight with a Wanderer. You were so fierce, I didn't think you needed any help. So I just stayed back & followed you. I planned on exposing myself when I thought you needed help. But you never did. Not until recently, at least. I was so scared during that fight you had with that group. I almost got involved, but I decided against it. I'm glad you're okay," he scratched the back of his head & gave her a lopsided grin.
She almost slapped him.
"You...watched me...almost get killed...& DID NOTHING?! What's wrong with you?!"
"Hey now, you're fine now. That's all that matters, right?" he asked, & once again flashed the lopsided grin. It was adorable, that much she couldn't deny. She could tell he used to it to get himself out of trouble, a lot. Well, it wasn't going to work on her.
"No, pretty boy. That's not all that matters. I. Could. Have. Died," she hissed.
"Pretty boy, huh? That seems a little harsh," he said smirking.
"Alright, listen here. I don't know how things were for you before, but that's not how it is now. You may have gotten by on some charm & looks before, but that's not gonna fly with me," she said while glaring.
"You'd almost be threatening, if it weren't for your height, the fact you have a baby face, & that southern accent," he smirked again.
"Fuck off," she said as she stomped away. She was fuming. What a tool. That was the one plus she thought would come with the end of the world, all the ass holes would finally be gone. Guess you couldn't get rid of all of them.
"Hey, c'mon. Stop. You finally find a non-insane, non-scared, non-hostile human being & this is how you act?" he asked, chasing after her.
"Well when this certain human being is being a total jerk, yeah," she said while she continued to walk, quickening her pace. Suddenly, the pain in her arm flared up. She glanced & saw the blood starting to seep through the bandage she'd hastily applied.
"Look, we clearly started off on the wrong foot. Let's start over. Hello, my name is-" he began, but was interrupted by a scream. A scream that sounded relatively close, & sounded young & helpless. Her heart began to race, as her thoughts went to her little sister, who had died in the first wave of some type of evolved flu that had aided to the world's demise. She forced the memories down & ran in the direction of the scream.
"Hey, you can just run straight towards that, no matter how young she sounds!" pretty boy called after her. She ignored him & continued running. She heard him make a noise behind her somewhere, a frustrated sigh, maybe? Before she heard him taking off after her. She came to a stop roughly 50 yards away & the sight made her want to scream, throw up, cry, & fight like hell all at the same time.
A boy, who looked to be about her age, was being held back by two large men who looked like they'd had their fair share of fights. He was struggling to get out of their grasp, kicking & yelling unintelligible things & throwing his head around violently, & they merely laughed at his clearly futile attempts. She directed her attention towards the one & only thing his eyes were locked on. A little girl, who couldn't be older than 6 or 7, was being held by one man while the other held a knife to her & asked her a question.
"Now I'm going to ask you one more time," he emphasized the words, making it clear there would be consequences if she didn't answer as he wanted, "where the hell did big brother of there leave it?"
The little girl began to cry. "I told you, I don't know! He made me stay at our camp while he took it somewhere!"
"You stupid little liar!" the man with the knife yelled as he made a cut in her arm. She let out a scream, louder & more pained than before. There a few other small slashes on her arm, but none as big as the one he'd just made.
"Don't you dare fucking touch her!" the boy, who she assumed was the little girl's big brother, yelled with blood boiling anger.
"Shut him up!" knife man ordered. Instantly, the guy at his left delivered a swift blow to his legs, causing him to fall to the ground on his knees, & the other hit him on the back of the head, knocking him out cold.
The little girl went into hysterics.
This had all happened in the minute she'd been standing there, & she couldn't watch anymore. She pulled out her knife & jumped into action. She first jumped on the back of the man who'd knocked the boy out, & drove her knife into his neck. She twisted it while it was in there, then pulled it out & jumped off his back. He fell to the ground & made terrible gurgling noises. She'd hit her target. She turned to face the other man, & found him on the ground, his head twisted at an odd angle. Pretty boy stood a foot away, ready to face the two men with the little girl. She turned around & had her knife ready, but it was too late. The man who'd cut the little girl was already in front of her, & knocked her to the ground with one hard shove, & was on top of her mere moments after. Pretty boy was ready though, he jumped on top of the man & made a huge gash across his forehead. Blood started pouring from it, essentially blinding the man. Pretty boy jumped off him, & she took her chance to buck him off. She did so, then jumped atop him & stabbed him right in the heart. She looked around, refusing to once again having to rely on someone else to save her, for the man who'd been holding the little girl. He was nowhere in sight. Pussy, she thought.
"I'll go look for him, you stay here & make sure they're okay," pretty boy told her. She nodded at him. He'd shown he can handle himself, so she let him go.
The little girl had her arms around her knees & was shaking violently. She ran to her.
"Hey sweetie," she said as she wrapped her arms around her, "it's going to be okay, everything's okay now." The little girl collapsed into her.
"Th-th-they hurt me...& my bubby..." the little girl managed to stammer between sobs.
"I know. We stopped them though."
The little girl looked up at her then. "Are you a super hero? What's your name? & your friend's name?"
She couldn't help but smile at the small girl. She reminded her so much of her own sister. Same curly brown hair. Same big, doe eyes that sparkled. Same chubby cheeks. She was adorable.
"I'm no super hero, but my name is Alaina. & my friend's name?...Well he'll tell you when he gets back. What's your name, honey?"
"I'm Cassidy!" she said with a smile that could melt even the coldest heart. "& that's my...bubby!" She suddenly sprang from Alaina's arms & ran over to the boy lying on the ground. As she ran, blood dripped from her arms. Alaina could literally feel her heart breaking, & she hated the feeling,