“I told you my place was better! God, now we’re just stuck here, wandering! Damn it Denise!” Ferrah hissed as she kicked a stray bottle that was half-submerged in a murky puddle.
The bottle clicked as it sped down the narrow alleyway, its sound echoed. Denise released a pent up sigh and stared intently at Ferrah. She always hated it when Ferrah consistently pushed her buttons.
“Ferrah, if we stayed at your house, we would’ve been dead! We made too much noise escaping from that zombie. It’s not that bad, you know. We have Tina; I almost thought we lost her,” Denise responded and turned her attention to the eight year old that was somberly walking in step with them.
Her hair was a dirty-blonde, almost a deep mahogany, and her usually frosty eyes were fixed on the damp alley-way concrete. Denise had an almost maternal feeling about Tina. She wanted to protect her, like she was the little sister she never had. Tina was far from dependent; you could see in her eyes that she could very well take care of herself.
“Denise!” Ferrah yelled, disrupting Denise’s intense scrutiny, “May I remind you that we are in a zombie apocalypse? And we don’t have any weapons, parents, or plans on where we’re going! A horde could come running in here at any moment and we would be defenseless!”
Ferrah’s light blue eyes narrowed and her voluminous red hair seemed to grow with her anger. Denise brushed off the harsh comment like the light downpour on her shoulders.
“You don’t have to remind me of anything! I know where we’re at, Ferrah! We don’t have anything to worry about. You’re taller than most zombies, anyway. If any do come our way they might be scared off by your line-backer physique!”
“I’m tired of her always bitching about me!” Denise thought as she wrapped her arms around herself and readied for Ferrah’s comeback.
Of course there would be one, Ferrah always got riled up when Denise commented on her height, which was almost six feet.
“Excuse me? You’re the one that looks like a boy! You don’t even take care of yourself! You wear sweats all the time, and you always have your hair in a raggedy ponytail! Hey, don’t turn around while I’m talking to you—“
“—would you shut up? We’ll attract a horde!—“
“—You said I looked like a linebacker!—“
Tina pointed a plump, shaky hand at the end of the alleyway. A group of animalistic zombies were feasting on a fresh corpse. Denise and Ferrah grew silent and the disgusting smack of flesh and crunch of bone filled the empty space of the alleyway. There was another exit, one to the very left they could take, but the last time they tried to take a shortcut, they ended up lost. Now they were stuck in this maze of alleyways.
“Crap, Crap, Crap!” Ferrah hissed and started to back away from the group of zombies. Denise shushed her, and Tina narrowed her eyes at the two.
“Please be quiet, or they’ll attack!” Tina hissed.
Denise and Ferrah nodded and slowly turned the other way. That’s when Ferrah slipped on the very same bottle she kicked moments before. The bottle spun away, clanking down the alley as it went.
“SHIT!” Ferrah yelled aloud as she landed hard on the wet pavement.
The horde of zombies snapped their necks in the girl’s direction, then wildly started running for the group.
“You’ve done it now!” Denise yelled, and grabbed Tina’s hand.
They both took off running toward the narrow exit, and Ferrah quickly followed behind. They were right not to trust the sharp exit; more zombies lurked in behind the turn. Denise and Tina flipped the other way and stormed down the alleyway. Ferrah yelled, but the two girls were too occupied with running to hear her.
“Denise! Don’t let go!” Tina yelled just before her hand slipped from Denise’s grasp.
Denise slowed to try and regain Tina, but the horde of zombies was fast approaching, and her body took over in a panic. Denise ran, her heart in sync with her stride; her lazy ponytail whipping around in the downpour. She could hear the zombies groan behind her, feel their hungry eyes bury into her back. She couldn’t turn around; she just kept running with tears in her eyes.
She ran. She ran down the numerous alleyways and check unmarked doors to see if they were locked. She reached a dead-end. There was only one door, and there was a slim chance that it was unlocked. She prayed as her hand wrapped around the damp doorknob, and it opened. She swung the door open and slammed it shut behind her. A zombie’s hand got stuck in the door, and she wildly kicked at the hand. Slamming her red Converse into the forearm, until thick blood stained the walls and the femur of the arm stuck out like a sharp white flag.
“Get away!” She yelled and she kept kicking the arm.
The force from the other zombies slowly pushed the door open, and numerous arms crept under the large opening. Her hands began to slip from the door knob, and she could hear creaking from behind her back, more zombies. Acid started to burn in her eyes, tears, and she prayed again that it would be over quickly. That she would die knowing that maybe Ferrah or Tina escaped.
Then a flash of light sliced across the numerous corroded arms, and they fell lifelessly to the ground. She shut the door and locked it. Chills ran up her spine as the muffled yells of the undead sounded from behind the door. She turned to face the other zombies, but was met with a particularly hypnotizing pair of dazzling green eyes.
“Well, that was close,” the especially attractive boy said with a sly smirk.
Denise felt her cheeks start to heat, and she quickly looked away from his eyes.
“Who, who are you?” Denise stuttered as the boy whipped the gleaming samurai sword.
A torrent of gelatinous blood slapped against the stained wallpaper, and he sheathed the sword. He was a tall boy, about six feet, and he had stunning green eyes and long black hair. He had a sharp nose and a wide jaw that would look weird on any other face but his. He wore a simple grey shirt and blood-stained jeans that coincided with his dirty Converse that were originally white but were now stained a filthy tan color.
The only thing that set him apart from the average passerby was the giant sheathed samurai sword on his back, and the long healed scar that ran across his eyebrow. His voice was unusual as well. A soft baritone that was as much mysterious as it was alluring. The boy looked at Denise quizzically and a grin appeared on his face.
“The name’s Ty. Ty Whitlock.” He extended an extremely calloused hand and Denise took it impishly.
“My name’s Denise. Denise Roberts.” She said, trying and failing at reenacting his suggestiveness.
Ty quickly ended the handshake and made his way towards a battered kitchen, “You were running from quite a few runners. You weren’t bitten were you?”
Denise followed his voice through the house and to a torn kitchen. Ty had a pair of glasses in one hand and a half-full jug of what looked like water in another. He filled the glasses and offered one to Denise, but she declined.
“No, no. I wasn’t bitten. But, I was separated from my friends. Um, Ferrah and Tina—“
“—Oh, you three? I’ve been tracking you guys for several blocks. You make so much noise, I hope you know that! No wonder you were attacked. Listen, I saw where the red head ran off to, but the little one? Not so sure,” Ty took a long sip of the “water” and slammed the empty glass onto the chipped wood table.
The glass cracked in response, and Denise jumped.
“You were tracking us? Well, why didn’t you try and help or something?” Denise snapped, and Ty shot out of the chair.
“There’s only one of me sweetheart, and thousands of them. Maybe if you guys didn’t yell all the time, I would’ve made myself known.” His tone was sharp, and quickly silenced Denise.
The zombies at the door hungrily moaned and scratched at the door. Ty stared intently at Denise, not in the slightest frazzled by the threat of the zombies.
“Make yourself at home, Denise. We’ll find your friends eventually. That is, if they’re still alive.”
Ty started to make his way to a room marked “bedroom” in smeared sharpie. Denise huffed and crossed her arms. She had dealt with Ty’s type before. The bad-boy, mysterious-boy, I’m going-to-get-myself-killed because I’m a hard-ass boy. There was no way she was going to let this guy boss her around, especially not at the expense of her friends. She sped up to Ty and dug her fingers into his bicep.
“No, we have to find them, now! I swear, Ty, if they die because I stayed here with you…” her voice trailed off when she noticed Ty staring intently at her again.
He let out a pent up sigh.
“It’s not every day that I get the pleasure of having company at one of my apartments. Can you at least stay for an hour, and then we can go look for your friends?” His voice had suddenly changed into one thick in loneliness.
Denise could feel a pinch in her chest and she relaxed the hand on his arm, “Yeah, yeah, alright. I’ll stay for a few minutes.”
A tempting smile broke out across Ty’s face and he gestured for her to come into his bedroom. They both sat on the floor, that was covered in miscellaneous blankets and clothing. Ty held his sword close and eyed Denise.
“Are you hungry? Are you cold? How old are you? Have you seen someone about my height with grey hair and green eyes? That would be my dad. How long have you been out here?”
He started to throw an array of questions at Denise, and she quickly retorted answers.
“Uhm. No, I haven’t seen your dad. You should know that we’ve been out here all night. I hate the alleyways; I swear we need to find an exit. You don’t have a map by any chance?”
“Yeah, I have a map, but there’s no way in hell I’m giving it to you! I can tell you how to get out of here, though. There’s a back way out that back door—“He pointed the sheathed sword at the west wall—“That will take you to another alley way. You keep straight until you pass the green door. After that there will be a right path.”
“Take it, and keep straight. You should walk onto the main road. Now, if you stay on the main road, you should be able to get out of the town. If you don’t stay on the main road, you’ll be out god knows where. Got it?”
Denise nodded and sighed.
“Where did you get the sword?”
Ty twirled the sword as something flashed across his green eyes.
“It was my fathers. When those runners attacked my house; he handed it to me and told me to run. I did, and ended up in an apartment not too far from here. I cleared out a couple of buildings and set up camp here. Then I started tracking you and your friends, because I was bored as shit. That red-head sure is tall.” He chuckled, and so did Denise.
“Yeah. I sort-of called her a line-backer, and that’s how we got in an argument. God, I was so stupid. She’s probably dead! We didn’t even try to be quiet,” Tears started to welt up in her eyes, and she quickly rose.
“I have to find her Ty. Please, take me to the main road. She might be there and then we can get out of this town.” Denise said and clenched her fist.
The very mention of the town sent anger up her back. She thought about her mom and her dad. Were they even alive?
“I’ll lead you to the main road, but I’m not leaving. I have to stay until I find my father.” Ty’s voice rumbled.
Ty lead the way to the back door. He held up a hand and safely secured the front door with a couple of chairs and bookshelves.
“I’ll take care of them when I get back,” he said whilst flashing a smirk.
Denise returned the gesture and readied herself for the alleyways. Ty handed her a crowbar.
“In case you actually need something to bash their heads in with. I hope you know how to use it.” He chuckled and flung the door open. They both ran down the narrow alleyways. Everything was clear until they passed the green door, then they made a right, and a gang of decomposed undead ran in their direction.
Ty ran in front of Denise, and mowed down the gurgling hordes of undead. Denise felt déjà vu as she bashed heads in with the rusty crowbar. Thick blood rained down on the teens as they fought through the undead, and Denise silently cursed each body she killed. One for Ferrah. One for Tina. One for her mom. One for her dad.
Then the unthinkable happened. A random zombie sank its teeth into Ty’s forearm. He yelled out in pain, and urged Denise to keep running.
“Keep going! I’ll be fine!” He yelled and cut the zombie clean down the middle.
Denise nodded and continued to run down the alleyway the concrete changed into a sandy dirt road, and she felt the long forgotten feeling of hope run through her. She looked back to thank Ty when she caught an eyeful of him cutting off his infected arm. He mowed down a few more zombies, fell back away from her.
Emotion flooded over Denise, and she dropped the crowbar.
“Ty!” She screamed.
“Just go!” Ty screamed with a pained expression.
He banged the sword a few more times while shouting, drawing the zombies away with his good arm. Most of the zombies followed him, a few sticking behind to munch on his severed arm. He kept moving back, and soon she couldn’t see his body as hordes of zombies crowded around him.
The zombies would’ve attacked her if they weren’t preoccupied with Ty. She didn’t know if he was alive or not. She couldn’t imagine him surviving that flood. All she could do was run once again. She ran down the road for a few minutes and then saw the distinctive clutter of red hair that belonged to Ferrah.
“Ferrah!” She yelled, as large tear drops starting to fall from her eyes.
Ferrah extended her arms, and they met in an awkward hug in the middle of the street. Ferrah’s smell of dead bodies and dried blood filled Denise’s nose, but she didn’t care. She was thankful to have Ferrah.
After a few minutes of hugging the two separated, and Ferrah stared at Denise tearfully.
“Denise, I can’t find Tina .”