Authors: Kristen Middleton
“There,” pointed Bobby.
Belinda sat up straighter and stared at the tall headlights creeping towards them. Her eyes narrowed. “Now,
“Friends,” said Bobby, with a wide smile.
No, this had been a bad idea
, she thought to herself as she reached under the seat and grabbed the revolver.
What in the hell was I thinking, coming out here with the boy and the dog?
“It’s okay,” said Bobby as a
black Sierra, with a large grill-guard in the front, pulled up to the curb on the opposite side of the road.
“I guess they haven’t
noticed us yet,” said Belinda, watching the truck nervously. She pointed to the seat. “Why don’t you get down, Bobby.”
But Bobby had other ideas.
Before she could react, he threw open the door, jumped out, and ran over to the pickup.
“Bobby!” hollered Belinda,
opening her door quickly and scrambling out.
, barking excitedly, leaped out and chased after the six-year-old.
She caught up to the
boy and the dog just as the door opened up on the passenger side of the truck.
need help?” asked the middle-aged woman as she climbed out of the truck and scanned the streets nervously.
Belinda smiled at the stranger, who thankfully, looked about as threatening as Goldie. “No, we’re fine.”
The driver of the truck, a man with glasses and dark hair, leaned over and smiled grimly. “I take it the C.D.C. is closed for renovation?”
Belinda glanced at the building and nodded. “We wish. No, as you can see it’s been abandoned. Either the employees turned into zombies, or just plain took off.” She decided not to mention the professor, just in case these people weren’t as friendly as they appeared. Besides, the military was probably still looking for him, and from what she knew, he didn’t want to be found.
Goldie jumped onto the woman’s knees and began licking her hands.
“What a sweet puppy,” she said, bending down to pet and hug the dog. Smiling, she turned and looked at Bobby. “Is she yours?”
“No. I’m watching her for someone else,” he replied
, gazing at the woman in fascination. “You miss yours, don’t you?”
“Uh, you could say that,”
replied the woman, smiling sadly.
Goldie, her tongue hanging out, decided
she wanted more attention and leaped into the truck.
he man laughed and started petting her. “Never thought I’d get to see another dog,” he said as she licked his face. “Doesn’t she look like Maggie, Rene?”
s filled the woman’s eyes. “Yes… she kind of does.” She turned to Belinda. “Maggie was our last Golden.” Her voice grew thick. “She passed away last year, before any of this happened, thank goodness.”
Belinda smiled and pulled Bobby closer. “
I reckon so. Where you from?”
“We’re from Minnesota,” replied the woman, brushing at
her tears. “We came out here to find our family.”
Belinda’s eyes widened. “Oh really?”
“Yes. I just hope we can find them,” she glanced towards the C.D.C. “It’s not looking very good right now. We thought for sure they’d be all over this thing. But, obviously, nobody has a handle on anything.”
“It looks th
at way. I’m Belinda, by the way,” she said, holding out her hand.
Before the woman could take it
, Bobby introduced himself. “I’m Bobby De Luca,” he said proudly, extending his hand like his brother had been teaching him.
The woman smiled and
shook it. “Hi Bobby, I’m Irene Wild and that’s my husband Steve.”
“See,” said Bobby, turning around to look up into Belinda’s eyes. “Friends.”
“Well I’ll be damned,” whispered Belinda.
“They went back?” repeated Irene, wiping fresh tears. Belinda had brought them back to the hotel, to try and find a way to soften the blow. Unfortunately, there had been no easier way to tell them that their granddaughters were on the road.
Belinda nodded, hating to bring them more bad news. It was horrible enough that she’d had to inform them that Dave and Kris had died, but now to find out that their grandkids were somewhere between Atlanta and Minnesota, it made everything that much worse. “Yeah, a couple of days ago. Hopefully they’ll be back soon
, but it’s hard to say. It’s not like we have a way to reach any of them.”
just can’t believe they did that,” sighed Irene. “With so much danger on the roads.”
sat down on a club chair, the news of Dave and Kris’s death still sinking in. “I just can’t believe it,” he replied, his voice husky. “Dave left me a message a few days ago, saying that they’d made it out here. Now you’re saying that they were murdered, and not even by the damn zombies?”
Belinda swallowed. “Um, yes. That’s right. The ones who did it were part of the mob,” she said, leaving out the fact that s
he’d been related to one of them. “But, Dave and Kris, they saved a lot of people. You should be very proud of them.”
“We always have been,” sighed Irene, stepping over to her husband. She grabbed his hand. “Haven’t we?”
He nodded tearfully.
Belinda raised her index finger.
“I’m sure you’re aware that Allie beat the virus after getting bitten, but your other granddaughter did as well. Cassie was sick for a couple of days, but she also pulled through.”
er mentioned anything about Cassie,” said Irene, looking relieved. “They both pulled through and there were no complications?”
“Yes. They were very lucky girls.”
“Or maybe it’s something else,” said Steve. “Some kind of immunity
to the infection.”
You know… that that might also explain how Victoria survived getting bitten, too, Steve,” said Irene, turning to him. “Maybe our family has some kind of immunity?”
“Maybe all of the remaining survivors have some kind of built-in immunity,” he said.
“Or they just didn’t get the vaccine,” she answered.
“Who is Victoria?” asked Belinda.
“Our other granddaughter. She’s in Texas right now, staying at zombie fallout shelter with some friends. We were going to check on her next. Tell her the news about her parents.”
Belinda frowned. “Where they killed?”
Irene sighed. “We believe so. They’d been on a cruise with Judy, Steve’s ex-wife, and… well, we haven’t heard from either of them.”
“What a nightmare, huh?” said Belinda.
“Much worse than a nightmare,” replied Steve. “You can’t wake up from this.”
Irene rubbed her forehead. “I just can’t believe the girls took off
like that. When we heard that everyone had made it here, we just assumed that Allie and Cassie were safe.”
“Nobody is safe,” said Belinda, glancing at Bobby. “Not here. Not anywhere.”
“I know,” she replied. “And that’s why I’m so scared.”
He patted her on the back. “Rene, it’s okay. We’ll find the
She looked up at him. “
I hope so. We can’t lose anyone else.”
“We won’t,” he said, his voice cracking.
As Belinda stared at them, she couldn’t help but feel slightly responsible for the turn of events her dysfunctional family had created. All her life she’d had to put up with their crazy, violent ways, and she’d longed for the kind of relationship that these people had. Now, ironically, it was her family that had ruined theirs. She reached over and placed a hand on Irene’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“We’ve all lost,” replied Steve. “I’m sure you’ve lost plenty of family yourself.”
“Yes, but yours is nothing compared to mine.” She glanced at Bobby, who was looking at a picture book on the floor and felt nauseated at the thought of losing him. “That little guy, however, I don’t know what I’d do if he ever got hurt.”
“Oh, is he yours?” asked Irene, turning to look at the small boy.
“Actually, he’s your granddaughter’s future brother-in-law.”
“What?” they gasped in unison.
Belinda chuckled. “I take it you’ve never met Bryce De Luca?”
Irene shook her head. “No. Cassie is engaged? Seriously?”
“Seriously. He’s a nice guy, too,” said Belinda. “Handsome, strong, a real fighter.”
“Well, she’s a little young to be engaged,” said Steve, frowning slightly.
“Maybe, but Bryce adores her and believe me, he won’t stop searching for Cassie until he finds her.”
“Let’s hope he finds Allie and Kylie, too,” said Irene.
“He did,” said Bobby, out of nowhere.
They turned to him.
“What was that, Bobby?” asked Belinda, walking towards him. She bent down. “What did you say, honey?”
“Bryce gave this to me” he replied, holding up his book. “He loves me.”
“He certainly does,” agreed Belinda, ruffling his hair. “We all love you, kid.”
“Well, what do we do now?” asked Irene, turning to Steve.
“We go back,” he replied, picking up his rifle. “Find our granddaughters.”
“I’m coming with,” said Bobby. He stood up and walked over to them. “Let’s go
. Right now.”
oney, you have to stay here,” said Belinda.
“No,” he said. “I have to go and save the baby.”
The adults looked at each other, surprised at his response. “Baby, what baby?”
“They call her the ‘Chosen O
ne’,” he replied.
“The ‘Chosen O
ne’?” asked Belinda.
“Yes,” he replied. “And s
he really needs me.”
“Oh, Bobby… I’m sorry honey, but you’re not going anywhere,” said Belinda. “It’s
much too dangerous to go on a road trip right now.”
“They’re going,” he replied.
“That’s different,” said Belinda.
to leave with them.”
She knelt down next to him
His eyes took on an intelligence that shocked
her. “Belinda,” he said evenly. “You don’t understand. We are running out of time. All of us.”
Allie and Kylie
“Did you hear that?”
“No,” whispered Allie in the cold, musty darkness.
“I think someone’s coming.”
It had been a few hours since the girls had been taken to an old house somewhere in Minneapolis by Billie. There, they’d been welcomed by a small group of people, who were now holding them prisoner in a bedroom up in the attic.
sat with her back against the wall, staring down at the quiet baby in her arms, who surprisingly, hadn’t slept or fussed for hours. In fact, Adria gazed up at her intently, and she almost felt like the baby was trying to somehow console
“Don’t worry,” she whispered down at her. “I’m scared too, but I haven’t given up yet.
Neither should you.”
“Hey, did you hear me?”
Allie sighed. “Yes,” she replied, trying to remain calm. As much as she wanted to remain positive, the truth was that they were being held prisoner by a bunch of psychopaths, and
knew where to find them. Not Cassie, Kristie, or even Bryce. “Well, maybe they’ll bring us some food, I’m starving.”
The noises out in the hallway drifted away and Kylie crawled over to them. “I wouldn’t trust eating their food.
They might poison us or something. Anyway, we have to try and escape, before they hurt Adria.”
She held the baby closer. “I’m surprised they haven’t tried taking her from us.”
“I think they’re afraid to touch her.”
Good. Crazy whackos. Do you really think that Adria is what they say she is?”
Kylie lay on her back and stared up at the ceiling.
“The ‘Chosen On’?”
She paused for a few seconds. “Oh, I don’t know. Heck, I don’t even know what being the ‘Chosen One’ really means.”
“What about the ‘End of Days’ thing you were talking about before. The signs of the apocalypse and all that?”
Kylie sighed. “I don’t know. I mean, they never mentioned anything about a baby or any other kind of person saving the world. This just doesn’t fit in to what it is supposed to say in the bible.”
“Have you read it?”
“No. I’m just going by what I saw on cable.”