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by Jezzcm
Rated: 18+ · Serial · Sci-fi · #1819364
I am writing a novel, this feels like it could be a short story within that book
Sarah looked down at the flat tire, panic slowly washing over her face. Tears started to pool in her eyes as she realized the horrible future that this simple tire had just thrust upon her. She stayed still kneeling by the side of the car, staring, just staring. Like looking at this shredded piece of plastic could magically fix it, reform it into a lifesaver rather than the cause of her death. After some time, when the pain in her knees forced her to stretch, the panic was replaced with anger. She started kicking the car, then slamming her body into it as if attempting to flip the damn thing over for daring to do this to her.

Finally she allowed the rage to reach her throat, “GOD DAMMIT YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT!” she repeated until her throat went dry. Adrenaline started pumping through Sarah, an insane contorted look came across her face, settling in her eyes which were now open wide, streaked with red veins. The air was now gone from the tire, the time for duct tape had now passed, Sarah smacked herself for not at least trying to fix the gash. Stranded on the edge of the city, trying to get as far away as possible before they got to her and now drained because of the childish tantrum, she felt even more alone. She hadn’t slept in three days, she knew from experience that hallucinations would soon join her, but she couldn’t risk sleeping. She could try to hide in the trunk, she had done it before, the problem was that it was hard for her to sleep when the claustrophobia kicked in. She could head back into the city and try to find a tire, but she would have to teach herself how to change a damn tire first. Sarah fell back against he car and allowed the tears to gush from her eyes, no more anger, no more panic, that was too tiring, just let the tears out and then try to figure this out before they found her. Survival, that was all that mattered, just stay alive long enough. This is where her logical side started to take over, long enough for what? You can’t live a real life without people, you’d go mad, so why stay alive, why keep going? The depression had officially kicked in and she laid her head on the cement road, curling up into a protective ball.
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Blood. Blood on the walls, blood on the floor, blood in her hair, but luckily none of it reached her eyes or mouth. Sarah was still breathing heavily, gripping the tire iron as tight as she could, her live saver, the thing that got her through this mess, it never failed her. A body to her right started to twitch, without thinking she swung and cringed at the sound of metal meeting bone, a sound that by now was all too familiar. Funny, a few months ago she would have been imprisoned and then probably put on death row for the carnage at her feet. Now it was common practice and even praised, well it would be if you could trust anyone you came into contact with, but of course they would just be another victim of her massacre. She pulled the tire iron out of Manny’s skull, this man who had offered her help now bore gashes and wounds caused by her own hand. But you cannot trust anyone, that is the rule, trust no one, no matter how normal they appear, none of them are, none can be trusted, period. She would repeat this in her sleep, making sure that it was now instinct to attack first and ask questions later.

Sarah grabbed the cleanest bit of fabric should could find, even that still had stains of blood, but she needed to clean the piece of metal that had so much more work to do. “Right, now, take off the tire. How the hell do I do that, come on Sarah he showed you, just do it.” Sarah spoke to the now silent room, she looked down at Manny whose head now had a giant hole oozing fresh blood, she was about to ask him to repeat him instructions, but stopped herself. A giggle escaped her lips, she laughed insanely at herself as she thought about questioning a corpse, the small giggle increased momentum and soon became a full body laugh, the adrenaline of the massacre was finally starting to release, unfortunately in a very loud way. She knew she had to stiffle herself but she couldn’t, she fell to the floor still laughing uncontrollably, “Stop! Stop” she laughed out words in protest, but it wouldn’t, it couldn’t stop.
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Sarah sat in the shed surrounded by the mass of bodies until nightfall, she knew she had to move but logic was replaced by paralysis. The mania that caused her laughing fit was finally over, main because of the growing stench of blood and decaying flesh which caused her to wretch on one of the lovely strangers she had just beaten to death. Now fully awake and aware she realized just how much trouble she was in, miles away from her car in a room filled with bodies which would surely come to their attention at any moment, bu where could she go? Hiding seemed like her best hope but this small shack filled with random assortments of survival gear stock piled over the last few months didn’t have much in the way of hidey-holes.

Lights started flashing through the windows, “Shit, shit, shit!” Sarah whispered aloud, then clasped her hands over her mouth, how dare it betray her like that. No place to hide, well that isn’t quite accurate, there was one possibility but she really wasn’t going to like it and tried as hard as she could to find any other solution.

“Fuck it!” she tore the sleeves off her shirt and covered her mouth and eyes then peeked under the blindfold and grabbed the first body within reach. She laid down and wiggled under this moist putrid thing still oozing infectious blood and said a silent prayer, hoping that she was shielded enough so she would catch the disease. Making sure she had the body placed over her enough so that she would just blend in with the crowd, Sarah waited, and waited not daring to breathe too hard or even check to see if the lights were still searching outside.

Then she heard the door creak open, her heart sped up and she started to weep silently, squeezing her eyes as tight as she could, wishing the men away.
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The footsteps were coming closer with each passing breath, Sarah wasn’t sure how much longer she could hide without checking to see how close they were. Their words were muffled, only adding to Sarah’s panic. If only she could release one ear, but when she attempted to move she saw a dark leather boot standing on top of Manny, her deceased body-guard. Too scared to move, too scared to stay still, Sarah was again paralyzed almost unable to draw even one breath. The boot just sat there triumphant on top of her, Sarah could feel Manny slowly crushing down, pinning her to the ground. Tears started flowing again but this terrified her even more, she couldn’t risk the blindfold getting wet and allowing the possibly infected blood in, she squeezed her eyes shut. A swift kick to the ribs forced Sarah to open her eyes, since all of her focus had been completely on trying to stop crying she flinched instinctively.

Survival, survival, she chanted to herself, a mantra that had kept her going for these last several weeks. Sarah forced her body up as fast and as hard as possible hoping that she shock the person attacking her. Unfortunately she didn’t realize how heavy Manny was, a lifetime dining on fast food and donuts didn’t make him the easiest body to throw, and she barely managed to budge him.
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Another swift kick hit Sarah’s ribs far harder than before, pain radiated from her side convincing her that something had been broken. This time Sarah couldn’t help but scream out, a meek scream, far more girly than she would have liked. A muted voice responded with what Sarah thought was “We got a breather.” Fear, agony, and adrenaline mixed in her blood giving her enough of a boost to grab hold of the boot before it could land another hit. She pulled as hard as she could and twisted her body from under Manny, ready to flee or fight at any second. What Sarah didn’t know was that while she was hiding so cozily for an unknown amount of time, the bodies that filled the shed had been taken out and were replaced with a group mercs, who were very much alive. So, when Sarah had managed to pull the kicker down and move herself into a half standing, half slouching position, being that her rib was most definitely broken, she was met with a great number of angry faces. Not just faces, but guns and a variety sharp objects, and all Sarah had was her trusty tire iron caked in brain tissue and other body fluids she didn’t want to think about.

“Is she clean?” a voice shouted, Sarah couldn’t help but think what a stupid question that was being that she had just spent perhaps several hours under a dead man. “Check her eyes” a bright light from one of the nasty looking guns was shined in Sarah’s face, her eyes still slightly covered by the blindfold. “Dammit I can’t tell,” another voice shouted. Sarah was in shock and far too confused at the moment to expect the swift kick to back of her knee, the booted man had found his feet and was aiming them once again in her direction.

“Fuck” was all that came from Sarah, not exactly what she wanted to say but all that she could manage at the time. She fell to her knees, unhappily using the slimy floor to keep her face from hitting any extra body bits they had failed to remove. The kicker grabbed the back of Sarah’s head, yanking hard on her ponytail and pulled off the blindfold, she tried to keep her eyes closed but his grip on her hair force her eyes to peer into his. A set of bright blue eyes took in every bit of her, from the bruises on her cheekbones to the flecks of green in her hazel eyes.

“Yep, she’s clean. For now. Get her in the van” the kicker said in a commanding voice, then let go of her hair and kicked spine, pinning her to the ground. Another man came over and pulled her arms behind her back, she kicked and wriggled as much as she could but being that she hadn’t eaten in a day and had taken out an entire shed of people not too long ago, the fight was pretty much tired out of her. Riot ties kept her arms in place as they dragged her out of the shack.
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Night had fallen while Sarah was hiding in the shed, the little bits of outside world she was able to see from the van showed nothing but darkness. This was the worst time of day to be out and especially to be vulnerable, she was both. Bound and anchored to the freezing van floor, a foot holding her down. No one spoke to her, none of them even looked at her. She couldn’t decide if they were infected or clean, the way they were treating her felt too brutal to be clean but they didn’t look infected. As panicked as she was hearing them approach in the shed, this was different, she couldn’t hide, she couldn’t run, she didn’t know what they wanted. She didn’t have anything to defend herself with, they stripped away every protection, she felt utterly naked. The ride itself didn’t help how she felt, the floor rocked and bounced, often forcing her head to smash up and down with each bump and turn. Time clicked away but she had no sense of exactly how long she was pinned, it felt like hours but it could have been minutes. It took a long time before she gathered up the courage to speak to her captors, but where could she possibly begin, what could she ask without pissing them off or worse making them kill her without a thought.

“Wh…where are you taking me?” words were harder to string together than she expected and her voice barely raised above a whisper. Silence was her only answer, no one even made a movement in response. She squeaked out with a little more effort “Where are you taking me?” A muzzle to the face was not the answer she wanted but it gave her enough that she knew to keep her mouth shut until they offered something other than pain. Blood started gushing from her forehead, things started to go fuzzy and Sarah gave into the oncoming darkness.
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Sarah felt her body moving, arms pulled without regard to the pain it was inflicting, her legs were dragging against prickly concrete tearing away the skin exposed by her town jeans. Her eyes fluttered open, a blinding light sent a shock wave of burning fire into her brain, she let out a yelp and regretted it right away. Whomever was hauling her around threw her body to the ground like a rag doll, her head bounced off the hard surface making stars appear in her eyes and the wound on her forehead reopen, blood stained the surface beneath her. Blackness swirled in her vision but she saw boots, lots of boots, and voices shouting, it could have been whispers but as bad as her head felt it was more like a round of gunshots piercing her ears.

“Why the hell did you bring that here?” a booming voice echoed around her. It was angry but controlled, someone who deserved respect, a leader. “Damn, she’s banged up pretty bad, you guys do all this to her?” the voice moved closer and finished while standing over her. A kick to Sarah’s side rolled her onto her back, which sent a whole new array of shrieking pain down her spine, she forced her mouth closed but her eyes open, the light was far worse but she could see the face staring at her. “Not too bad on the eyes, but not useful either, so I will ask you rats again why did you bring her here?” No one responded, the air was tense as she heard feet shuffling, nervous men afraid to give the wrong answer, one stepped forward, brazen enough to take the heat for this possible screw up.

“Sir, we found her in a shed, she had taken down a great number of them on her own. We could use her, sir” respectful but still somewhat abrasive, as if he didn’t like his authority questioned anymore than his commander did. Sarah turned her head towards the man complimenting her, at least she hoped it was a compliment, he was the same one from the shed, the kicker.

“Sir, we should get her…”

“You don’t tell me what to do, you don’t question me, we are alive because I tell you what to do,” Sarah could feel the anger and animosity flowing between these two men, two alphas staring each other down. The commander took a step towards Sarah, placed a foot on her stomach the pressure moved something inside her, she bit down on her lip and tried not to cringe. “Now, take this down to the cells and then come see me,” he released her and pushed her body forward with is boot towards her somewhat hero.

A forced acknowledgement from the man and he pulled Sarah up from the ground, helping her to her feet.

“We don’t take in strays, we don’t need any extra baggage and from the looks of her she is no better than garbage now. Throw her in the cells."
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Sarah wasn’t sure if she should speak or just allow the uneasy silence to linger in the air as the man led her down the vacant hall. She had seen pictures of places like this when the war began, bunkers that were supposed to be safe havens but she had never been able to find one herself and honestly hadn’t believed the government propaganda. No one had gone out of their way to help her before, definitely not the higher authorities, well at least not until tonight. Sarah gazed up at the man who had risked insubordination to speak for her, she didn’t trust him, everyone had their selfish motives, but she couldn’t help but wonder why he had done this. She apparently had stared too long at him because he stopped walking and turned towards her, “Look, I didn’t do it to be a friend or anything, okay. We need people and you seem better than most of the breathers we find.” He was cold, but honest, Sarah couldn’t fault him for that, she had met enough people in the past few weeks who had lied to her, the truth was refreshing.

He continued to half drag, half carry her down the hall until they reached a row of cells some filled with people, if you could call them that, they were half dead by the looks of them. Knowing that she would be tossed away at any moment, Sarah got up enough nerve to ask this man a single question, a useless one but it would drive her nuts if she didn’t ask. “Um, what’s your name?” she felt like a silly girl and immediately looked away from him as a blush rose to her face. She couldn’t look back at him to see his response fearing that any respect he had for her as a fighter would assuredly have been wiped away with that question. The man stopped walking, making Sarah trip over her feet, he turned her toward an empty cell, filthy but at least it had a somewhat clean bed to finally lay on, she hadn’t seen a bed in weeks. He let go of her and very gently pushed her into the room and then closed the door. Before he turned to leave he looked toward her and said very quietly, “Chris,” and then he was gone. Sarah was once again left alone.
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Despite the distinct smell of stale urine that lingered on the mattress, Sarah slept quite well with fewer nightmares than her previous nights sleeping in her car. Her body didn’t ache from being cramped in the backseat of her piece of crap car, however the bruises and cuts she gained during the previous day’s fighting were only slightly healed and threatening to break open at any moment. She moved her arms above her head and pushed out her limbs, enjoying the release that only a good full body stretch could provide, a brief euphoria that she allowed to mask the inevitable reality that was no doubt about to smack her awake. Her body forced out a brief sound of relaxation, which awoke something in the cell next to Sarah’s, it stirred in the darkness and started to growl. Sarah froze, hoping that her fears of it being one of the infected would not come true, maybe it was a drunk or some feral child they found in the wilderness. The low guttural vibration increased in pace and intensity, Sarah slowly turned her head to see what was making the noise, but she was only able to make out a brief image as it paced back and forth in and out of the small light of the hallway. Sarah was confused by this strange creature, because it felt like one of the infected but not. It sounded like a large wild cat stalking prey but it was hairless and looked human enough, its eyes locked onto Sarah’s and wouldn’t let her go.

A sharp banging pulled Sarah away from the thing’s gaze and onto the soldier hitting the cell bars with a large stick, “Shut it!” he yelled into the creature’s cell.

“What is it?” Sarah asked more to the air than to the soldier, she knew she wouldn’t get an answer anyway.The soldier walked away and Sarah no longer heard anything coming from the adjoining cell, the beast had also stopped pacing but its eyes glowed yellow in the darkness.

Sarah sat there for several minutes trying to decide what her next course of action should be, but it all seemed a bit depressing being that she had no clue where she was or even how to get out of her cage. She didn’t have the patience to wait for her captors to come along and give her any advice or help, so she spent some time checking her wounds, cleaning in them as well she could with the little bit of fabric she could spare from her shirt. Her clothes were horribly dirty, caked in mud, blood and several piece of red squishy things she really didn’t want to think about. As happy as she was to have been able to sleep, what she wanted more than anything else at this moment was a shower and clean clothes, food would be nice to, but she was left to herself for what she assumed was several hours.
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