Looking down at her boyfriend of two years writhing on the pavement as blood poured down his face sent her heart through vibrations that she wasn’t used to. Her aching stomach gurgled and she ran her hands through his bloody hair. Pieces fell out, clinging to her blood soaked fingers. If it was any time before this entire outbreak she would have been squeamish, but it was too late for that now.
“Alex, I’m sorry. I…” Words failed her. She lowered him to the sidewalk and reached for the rock. It’s coarse texture cold to the touch. The creature behind the bars twitched, a low gurgle came from its throat for a moment before falling silent.
The bitter scent of blood coated everything. Death surrounded her and she stared at the rock. She needed to do this before Kyle turned on her. She took the rock in two hands and raised it. The sharp end cast a shadow across her face.
Kyle groaned, the blood flow had slowed and his pale face looked in stark contrast to the cement. He twitched and opened his eyes. “Please… before its…” He fell silent. His lips quivered, his glazed eyes watching her, wanting her to go through with it.
She knew what she had to do, the rock remained poised above her. Her muscles ached, her chest hitched in a sob and she drove the rock down into Kyle’s skull. The bone cracked, splintered under the force. Closing her eyes to the sight of the last person she loved and holding onto the memories they shared. She drove the rock into him time and time again. Kyle didn’t make a sound. Her screams echoed in the still air. Blood coated her arms up to her elbows and she only stopped bringing the rock down onto him after her hands went numb. She turned away and heaved. Nothing came out, but sweat sprung out all along her body.
She already missed him, but couldn’t bare looking at him. Casting his body aside, she stood, wavered and stumbled off the sidewalk. Collapsing into the street, she struggled back to her hands and knees. The need to survive still strong and somewhere in the back of her mind she knew the creatures would come because of her screams. The thought shot her eyes open and she scanned her immediate surroundings. Nothing so far.
Standing, she needed to get away from Kyle. She couldn’t bear to look at him; just knowing that his blood coated her arms was enough. Forcing her body to move, she started back toward the highway. Hunger ate away at her energy and she stumbled numerous times as she made her way up the hill.
“You did the right thing.” A man said.
Anna didn’t even stop to acknowledge the person who sat on the crest of the hill.
“Hey, wait a sec there. You need some food?”
The word got her attention. She looked at the man. He sat on a small backpack, his hunting rifle slung over his shoulder. His tan skin was in contrast to the orange hunting vest that he wore. He gazed up at, a grin and he offered her a package of peanuts.
The salty aroma lifted her spirits and she took a handful. They went down in a flurry and she mumbled a thank you between bites.
“Where did you come from?” The man released the peanuts to her grabby hands. She downed the remaining and tossed the package.
“Where did you guys come from?” He asked again with a bit more irritation.
“A nearby town.” She had failed to remember its name. “You?”
“Would you like to join up?”
“No.” She didn’t want another mistake of hers to cost anyone else.
“You sure? You look like you could use it.” He held out a canteen.
She took it, shook it, sniffed the contents a little suspicious of this stranger. After taking a small sip and realizing it was water, she downed a few gulps. It cooled her aching throat, washing over her tongue and lifted her spirits. “What do you have in mind?”
“I was thinking the Army base, they have more guns than I do.” The man said.
Anna stared at him. What did she have left to lose?