“What’s your name?” Anna asked. Her stomach still twisted with terror at what she just did. The smell of decay caked her hands as she rubbed them together. Kyle’s blood stuck her fingers together.
“Cal, that’s what they call me.” Cal offered his hand to Anna.
“Nice to meet you.” She shook his scabby hand. His grip squeezed down on her fragile quivering hand.
“So to the Army base?” Cal raised his eyebrows. A sly grin curled on his lips and a friendly glint in his brown eyes.
Anna became lost in his gaze and nodded. “Yeah, anywhere away from here.”
Cal helped her up and together they started down the road. Silence overtook them for most of the journey until they approached the large chain link fence. Creature bodies were strewn about starting at about thirty yards away. Chunks of their skulls were gone; flies had devoured what had remained of their brains.
Anna stopped, gasped and stared at the fence. She remembered the last time she came here and Kyle was shot. The memory shook her. They didn’t stop shooting even after they showed no interest in entering. Her knees quivered and Cal turned back to her.
“They tried to kill me last time I came here.” Anna squeaked out. Her throat seizing on her and her vision blurred with terror.
“Don’t worry. They won’t do it again.” He said and helped her up.
“You don’t know.” Anna tugged back.
“Trust me. I know.” He said and started toward the gate.
Anna flinched the moment Cal stepped within the first circle of bodies. No bullets fired off or alarms sounded. He strolled up to the gate and it opened for him. She stared at the sight. The blood still fresh on her mind she remembered Kyle screaming in pain at being shot. The fear, confusion, and anger had consumed her as she sped Kyle away before they were gunned down.
“Come on.” Cal waved her toward him.
First one step, then another and before she knew it, Anna was streaking toward the gate. Safety at last. Her heart ran rapidly as her feet slapped along the blood soaked pavement. If only Kyle could have made it this far they would be safe. Tears trickled down her cheeks as she entered the gates. They shut silently and locked with a buzz. Anna grabbed at the stitch starting in her side and coughed. Hunger pains returned in vengeance making her light headed.
“You brought her.” A familiar voice said.
A chill ran through Anna’s spine and she glanced up through the tears. She saw the General that she left for dead back at the town. How? Why? He should be dead. She heard him dying.
He stood before her. His arm in a sling, but the same angry glint in his eyes. He smirked and scratched at a scar on his neck. Teeth marks, healed, but definitely a bite. “You are probably wondering how I got here.”
The General stepped forward and pinched down on her shoulder with his good hand.
The pain shot through Anna like an electric bolt dropping her to her knees. Confusion swirled through her mind as she tried to grasp how he was here.
“Bring her with us son.” The General said to Cal.
Son? Anna pushed Cal away, but he drove his fist into her stomach. All the air and fight went out of her in one fell swoop. The world spun as Cal flung her over his shoulder. Gagging for breath which refused to come, Anna hung over his back like a sack unable to control her tears of rage.
“Why did you do this?” She finally got out of her burning throat.
“I knew you wouldn’t trust me, so I asked my son to follow you.” The General said.
They entered a building. Its pine scent fueled Anna anger, but she couldn’t break free from Cal’s grip.
Her head whipped back as Cal threw her into a chair. The cushion long gone didn’t provide any reprieve from the stiff shot up her back. She winced and kicked out with her feet. Cal didn’t flinch when she struck him in the gut and the chair slid back into a wall.
The General stared at a dark window. “You had something I wanted, but were too selfish to share.”
The light in the window went on and Anna saw the girl. She sat in a single rocking chair; dead creatures strewn about her. Two remained, but most were shriveling under the pressure of her red hot touch. As the two approached, the girl slapped each of them and their decayed flesh blistered and melted off the bone. They collapsed into quivering messes on the tile floor.
The girl would have been screaming, except for the gag that kept her in silence. Her eyes were in narrow slits full of fury. The General pointed at the bite mark on his neck. “She saved me. Lucky that you abandoned her, because I would have never been able to get her help otherwise. She was just a scared little girl.”
“Why are you doing that to her?” Anna stomach twisted with hunger, but she glanced at Cal. He stood guard, a gun in one hand. She recognized the same slender nose from the General and wished she wouldn’t have trusted the man. He seemed so nice. That was their plan.
“I am doing what is necessary for the survival of the planet.” The General said. His gaze locked on the girl.
“The survival of the planet?” Anna tried to stand when Cal brought the gun to her forehead. The same evil glare took up residence in the man’s eyes.
“Yes.” The General said. “You were the last obstacle to that goal. Now that I have the girl, you aren’t needed.” He pulled a gun and shot Anna. The bullet tore into her chest. Pain hit her like a train. Warmth spread over her stomach as blood ran from the wound in the center of her chest. She would only have moments before she bled out. She had no idea what to do and slumped to the ground as the chair was pulled out of the way.
The cold pavement felt good against her blazing skin. She tried to speak, but her mouth became awash with the coppery taste of blood. The General’s gaze never softened as he bent before her. “You should have taken my offer earlier. You wouldn’t be dying now.”
Anna spat blood into his face and grinned. A chill ran through her as breathing became harder. She refused to shut her eyes. He would have to have her gaze on him forever. He deserved much worse; he deserved to die for doing this. She had tried. She took her last breath and darkness enveloped her.
In the distance, Kyle stood waiting for her. He called for her. “Anna come on. They are waiting.”
“Those we love.”
“What about the zombies?”
“You can’t call them zombies. They won’t like that.” Kyle laughed and took her hand. All pain ceased except for the low growl deep down in her chest.