Anna jolted up in bed, the comforter still hung to her head. She ripped it down, her heart pounding, her breath stuck in her throat. Through the morning light, she searched the room. Dust cascaded through the beam of light shooting across her vision. With her nerves on fire, she turned to Kyle, but he was gone.
The sheet next to her still warm, so he couldn’t have gone far. Throwing the blankets off, she rushed to the door of the room and ripped it open. Its hinges squealed, but she bolted out into the hall frantically searching for Kyle or the source of the noise.
She stopped at the sight of her uncle on the ground, his blood congealed around his head. She bit on her tongue to stifle the vomit induced by the stench.
Above her, dust fell onto her shoulder. With her hand over her mouth, she stepped over her uncle and pulled another pool cue off the rack.
“Kyle?” She called out, but her voice died in the thick morning air. The rummaging from above sent a shiver down her spine. Maybe Kyle went upstairs to die because he was going to become one of them? She shook the thought out of her head. He wasn’t bitten.
With the cue in hand she started up the steps, they creaked as she tried to stealthily make her way up on whatever was making the noise. “Kyle. This isn’t funny.” She said, twisting the cue in her hand. The wood was comforting.
A small scream erupted from her so quick that she scared herself. She shook her head, had to get her game face on. The top of the steps were right there. She reared the cue back, ready to strike at whatever made the noise.
The hall split off in two directions and now that she was up here, she cursed herself. She didn’t listen close enough to know which way to head.
The ground shook and a rumble ricocheted down the hall to her left so she headed that direction. She wanted to call out for Kyle, but all words died somewhere at the back of her mouth.
The last door stood before her, dust floated before her. Her uncle needed to clean more. She grabbed the knob. It twisted easy enough, and she pulled the door open. The muscles in her arms and chest clenched as she expected the worst. A blur flicked by and she swung. The cue broke against the doorway, and rocked her hands.
She yelped, dropped the cue clattering to the floor.
The person in the room faced her, a gun raised in an instant at her. She expected the blast, and the darkness, but it never came.
“What are you doing here?” A man said. The gun hiding his face, but the scabs on his knuckles had cracked, blood dripped off his fingers.
She stood there dumbstruck and started to think of an answer. Her mind failed her and she uttered, “What?”
The gun lowered revealing a pair of beautiful hazel eyes. That was the only part visible behind the bandana around the man’s lower face and the beanie hiding his hair. “You live here?”
She shook her head, still trying to figure out the man’s purpose. She braved a glance and saw Kyle on the ground; his wound uncovered and had healed well. In the corner of the room, a pair of hunting rifles rested and a few handguns were set underneath them.
“Kyle?” She said. He looked better, but still didn’t appear to be very healthy. His skin hadn’t returned to full color yet.
“That’s his name?” The man said.
“Good. I’m Donovan.” The man lowered his bandana. His scruffy face looked out of place for the sharpness of his eyes.
She tried to smile. “Can I see him?”
Donovan nodded and moved out of the way. She hurried to Kyle’s side and touched his skin. The wound was a bit warm, and he flinched.
She turned to see a young girl curled up in the corner. She held her dirty blanket close to her face and everything clicked. That was Donovan’s daughter. She smiled at the girl, but she covered her face.
“We need answers.” Donovan said as he sat on an overturned medical waste bucket.