“You said you had to see me?”
President Beric is at the battlefront. The Vice President are close by. I guess with everything they had going on they just assumed that people wanted to see them out in the fields.
“I —-uh——- “
Beric cuts me off, “Stock the grenades higher. When these zombies come we need to make sure we get a good visual to hit them with! No higher than that! You want to be an appetizer for one of those cold bodies Jones! Oh———Channing, you still here? What did you need?”
He’s shouting because it’s busy everywhere. There were small parties arriving at the wall while squadrons of horses and old beat up Jeep Wranglers slipped in as close as the gates to carry off livestock, portable supplies and men so as to deprive defenders of even these.
”Spit it out Channing, kind of busy here.”
I’d come here to talk about Sunday. I’d come to tell the President how Sunday could possibly be the reason an entire horde was about to fall on Little America. It took everything in me to come out here and do this. I knew that I had to. My loyalty was to Little America…not Sunday…
”Sir…I discovered something…”
”A new plan to defeat the Cold Bodies?”
”A strategy for emergency escape?”
Beric gives me the look. That look I give an annoying kid who just isn’t getting it. All around Little America people were looking more and more like the 2nd Apocalypse was coming and right now our president had a lot of things on his plate.
”With all due respect soldier…unless it can help me survive what’s coming then I don’t really care.
“Perhaps it can…”
I had no idea. If Sunday was the reason the Cold Bodies were headed our way maybe he could be the reason why they stopped too. But what would that mean? For him? He looked so scared when Mitchell told me he was the reason for the horde headed our way but at the same time he didn’t seem surprised.
I’d seen this boy come back to life. Clearly he was special. Clearly I was struggling to separate the man from the the carrier of this disease
I continue slow this time. Apprehension is lodged in my throat.
“There’s something you need to know…” I start off with Beric, “It’s about Sunday…”
“Sunday?” Beric asks, all of a sudden seeming interested in the conversation.
A lot of names wouldn’t spark interest in a time like this but the one name that would was Sunday. The look on Beric’s face and Vice President Mary Longtreet’s face showed that there was still so much mystery behind this boy. There was so much that we still hadn’t discovered about what the effects of the S3909 virus has had on Beric.
Damn it. What would Beric do if he knew that Sunday was the one who was bringing the horde on us. I didn’t know Beric well. He was some famous guy who everyone immediately fell in love with when he came to Little America. All you really know about Beric was that he was popular and charismatic. He had the voice of a leader, but honestly I always used to think that he probably just played a leader on TV in the old world and got everyone fooled. Is this the kind of guy that I wanted to trust with sharing such a delicate secret?”
“Well he is—-“
“You should be very discreet in what you say next,” Vice President Longstreet says “It could be a matter of life or death.”
It’s very strange how she looks at me. It sends a shiver down my spine. I don’t get why she says it but I understand how it makes me feel. It makes feel like if I told Beric West about Sunday’s effect on zombies that Sunday would be in danger. And this is the most important moment of my life.
“Go ahead, spit it out…” Beric asks, “What is it you have to tell me about Sunday?”
I look back at Longstreet. She definitely had this weird look on her face. Weird as fuck. The kind of look that tells you that I needed to be worried. And I was.
And I stop talking.
“Jesus Christ. Channing get your ass back to your post with your team and STOP wasting my time,” Beric orders, his voice booming from slight attention he gave me and didn’t focus on the defense of the city.
I walk away feeling as though I made my decision but at the time I knew that decision was probably what could have fucked over the entire city.
“Have you fucking lost your mind?” Lyle asks.
I feel stupid. Stupid enough that I have to confess to what I’ve done. Who else to confess to but Lyle and Missy. They are both looking at me like I’m not the same Channing that they knew before. I’ve disappointed them. By the angry voices I see that maybe it was the best option not to tell Beric.
“That’s what good ass will do to you,” Missy says grunting and grabbing her crotch as though she had a dick to grab.
I roll my eyes. She can be rather crude sometimes. She was the type of girl you wanted with you in a fight but not exactly the kind of girl you wanted with you when matters of the heart were involved.
“I didn’t even have sex with him,” I admit, “It’s just…I like him.”
She rolls her eyes, “Jesus Christ. You could have at least fucked him if you’re going to keep a secret that may end up wiping out our entire city.”
Was it that bad?
Had it become so horrible?
“The theory makes sense,” Lyle says, “He has a connection to the virus. It’s possible that Sunday is the most important person in the world right now. We can’t keep this kind of secret from the President, Lyle.”
“What if he is killed?”
“What if YOU are killed? What if I am killed? What if Missy is?” Lyle asks, “Do you care more about this boy you have a crush on than your own life, Channing?”
He had a point.
“Fine. But I don’t want him hurt,” I state, “Not unless we have to.”
I look at my friends knowing damn well they couldn’t guarantee that. Missy stares at the ground. Lyle just gives me a look where I can tell he’s basically running through different scenarios in his head and the likeliness of success in the most Lyle waay ever. We were at a dead end and we didn’t know how to proceed. We couldn’t guarantee Sundays’ safety, not if we went through the President to get Sunday. We needed to go another way.
Sirens. Sirens were going off.
“It’s started. The Horde is here…” Lyle states, “The sirens make sounds when they are approximately 10 miles away from the walls. Millions are swarming around the peninsula. There is no way out.”
We didn’t have time to figure this out. We had to act now.
“If Sunday brought the Horde here, it’s possible he can stop the Horde as well,” I state.
“How possible?” Missy asks, “We have teams that are at the wall. We are the leaders of that team. You guys are talking about abandoning our fucking teams!”
She had a point. A really good point.
She’s not asking me. I’m not the guy who could think about things like this. We both look over at Lyle . He’s thinking about it.
“Gimme a second,” Lyle states.
“We don’t have a fucking second!” Missy barks, getting up and grabbing Lyle, “Should we go after Sunday or should we go help our friends at the wall?”
She grabs Lyle by his collar. I knew how aggressive Missy could be. She was rude loud and abrasive. She was the kind of person who didn’t take maybe for an answer. I remember one time Missy had a crush on a guy in the Vault. They argued over how strong she was. She literally threw the guy over her shoulder, took him to her room, threw him on the bed and had her way with him. Let’s just say she won that argument. Missy wasn’t the one you wanted to fuck with.
“Missy let him think…”
A few seconds pass. Lyle takes a deep breath. He’s sweating. Now he sees how uncomfortable these sorts of situations are.
“I can’t guarantee that Sunday knows how to stop the Horde. What I do know is that if he can this, he can stop a lot of bloodshed. If he can somehow stop the horde then we should go get him. Now…”
That’s all Missy needs to hear. I watch as she grabs her sawed off shotgun that she has.
It’s Missy who gets up, “We take him into custody ourselves. That way no one gets hurt.”
“He has friends. Powerful fucking friends…” Lyle states, “Valentina and Iggy are not the kind of people that we want to fuck with.”
I grab my pistol.
“I’m getting to Sunday. I don’t give a fuck about what his friends say.”
They had warned us. They had told us it would be the worst attack we’d seen. They told us that they would be able to break past the wall. What we didn’t expect was how soon they would be able to get over the wall. There are already zombies in the city. Already.
Missy’s gun rings out like a bell as she clears the way. We don’t see a horde yet. Not even a swarm. But what we do see is there were indeed Zombies inside the city.
“They couldn’t have gotten over the wall. Right? Not yet. Maybe a few of them found some secret way around it. The wall couldn’t have fallen yet. Right?” Missy asks.
No one answers.
We’re all worried about the same thing. If the wall was having trouble minutes into the attack then Little America was doomed. I notice the tremor in Missy’s voice. If she is afraid then we all had reason to be terrified. We are getting closer to Sundays’ house and the zombies are become more excessive. The re-animated flesh swarm towards us like locusts onto green plants. I shuddered to remember their inhuman groans from their drying, stiffened flesh. The rotting smell that permeated in the air wherever we went in the city meant that more were coming. Many…many more.
As we approach the house 10 come at us. My gun is hot from shooting wildly. We form a circle. A tight circle. The way we taught our teams. The same teams that we had abandoned on a wild risk to go get Sunday.
“Clear a way. Don’t kill the slow ones in the back. We only need to get to the house,” Missy instructs us with a heavy grunt in her tone.”
They had a sloppy gait as they approached slowly. Their jaws dislocated showing their torn tongues and blood stained teeth. Had they already killed someone? Had they already had victims? We get closer to the house and we see the dead. Soldiers. Black uniformed soldiers. Missy’s team. If she recognized the faces, she doesn’t react. She wouldn’t show weakness now.
“Channing to the right!” Lyle shouts.
I was distracted by the bodies. I turn to the right and see a zombie get close. Quickly. A runner. Fuck! I shoot wildly. The runner pauses for a moment, moaning as it smelt the blood in the air. Although they did not beat, you could see the organs were torn, how their blood had turned into a thick turbid brown and how their stomach slowly digested the flesh that was their own.
I shot. This time point blank. This wasn’t luck. This was desperation. The runner fell to the ground.
“Good shot,” Lyle statates.
“Pay attention idiots—-there’s more!” Missy shouts.
The slow circular movement wasn’t working because right down the street a swarm of zombies were approaching. Several dozens. Something was definitely wrong with the wall. I smelled them before I could see them. The smell was becoming unbearable! They had deformed bodies, and limbs sticking out at odd angles.
My heart in my mouth, I recoiled in horror. R The fear gripped me just in time.
We get to the porch.
“The doors locked…” Lyle is saying.
“Bust the window!” Missy shouts.
“They are boarded!” Lyle argues.
Would make sense that they would board up the windows.
The Cold Bodies approaching were destable to look at. The Cold Bodies had dirty yellow eyes staring at me looking so empty and void of life.
We shoot wildly. Too many
WAY TOO MANY!
They were coming and we were going to die! Right here on this porch. Everything was going to end. We hadn’t even put up a fight against these things. All this preparation for nothing. I should have known. Little America wasn’t prepared. We were never prepared. We had spent so much time laughing and taking these things for granted.
This city was doomed from the beginning.
The door opens. We stagger into the house and whoever opens it is the same person that locks it right behind us with a loud hard thud.
Lyle collapses on the floor. Missy has her gun up not feeling safe yet and hugging it with sweat raging down her forehead as though it was storming outside. I was just breathless…still immobile from fear and the sudden tapping at the front door that lets us know the Cold Bodies were starving right outside.
“Didn’t you hear us struggling for our lives?” I ask.
“If it was up to me—–the door would have stayed shut,” a serious dark voice says.
It’s Iggy. He’s standing on the opposite side of the room near the couch. It’s clear it wasn’t him who had come to open the door. I knew he wasn’t joking about letting us die. It seems in his character. I look up and notice the person who saved us.
It was Mitchell.
“Of course,” he states.
Things were weird between Mitchell and I. I knew he had a crush on me. I should have been more aware. I shouldn’t have crossed the line with Sunday without making things clear with him that I didn’t want to come between their friendship. My attraction to Sunday was just so strong for some reason.
“What are you all doing here—barricading the windows?” Missy asks, “You ABANDONED YOUR POST!”
She was pissed. Looking over at Iggy I don’t see him being affected at all by the idea of abandoning his post. I never had the feeling that this was his post anyway. I knew it was a bad idea to just let him run free after he basically betrayed us for his mother. The idea that they thought he wouldn’t do it again blew my mind.
“Wait—-are you at YOUR post right now?” Valentina argues.
Valentina had a point.
“Does it really matter?” Iggy asks, “These fucking idiots don’t know what they are doing. They have a soap opera heart throb for President because he’s a so-called ‘survivor’. Couldn’t even protect his own group. This city is going to fall faster than Channing’s underwear every time Sunday comes into the room.”
That’s what this was about.
“So that’s why you didn’t open the door? You were jealous about me and Sunday?”
“Jealous of what?” Iggy asks, “The ONLY reason that he kissed you was because he was upset with me.”
“You sure about that?” I ask.
“So you and Sunday are a thing?” Mitchell asks.
I look over at Mitchell. Trying to get back at Iggy, I had completely forgotten about the fact that Mitchell was also in the room and he was clearly hurt in a way.
And it sucks.
“Mitchell we need to talk…”
“Not now,” Missy cuts in, “Now we need to get Sunday.”
“For what?” Iggy asks.
“You’re standing up like you’re about do something,” I react almost immediately.
I’m usually not this kind of aggressive guy. For some reason Iggy brought it out of me. He was such a fucking asshole. One of those guys in high school that thought he had show that he had a bigger dick no matter where he went. The kind of guy who always wanted to compete with other guys to prove that he was the Alpha male.
“Sunday may be able to stop the horde…”
“Why would he do that?” Iggy asks.
I think I’m hearing things when Iggy says that. I look over at him. Missy, Lyle and I all look over at him. He seems honestly confused on why Sunday would want to help Little America.
“Sunday is responsible for bringing the horde on us. I think he can control them…”
Lyle keeps trying to drill this in their head. I look over at Mitchell and Valentina. All of their heads were down as though they were letting Ignacio speak for them.
“They all know that already,” I let Lyle know, “They are OK with Little America being destroyed.”
I was right…
“We helped you guys,” Missy states, “We took you in when you were in dire need of help.”
“You could NEVER save us,” Iggy laughs us off.
I’m about to argue that point when Valentina jumps in to respond toning down her brother as always,
“What Iggy meant to say is that we appreciate you taking us in. And we thank you, but unfortunately we aren’t in the position to return that favor.”
“Good, we don’t need your help. We need Sunday’s help,” she says.
“Sunday tried all last night to stop the horde,” Valentina states, “The results weren’t good…”
“Weren’t good?” Iggy corrects her, “He passed out…twice…”
I’m shocked. Not at the fact that Sunday tried. Knowing Sunday if he knew that he could possibly control the Horde he would have tried. I’m surprised that it had some sort of effect on him. It seemed like the boy was literally invulnerable to everything because of S3909.
I look over at Mitchell. Out of the three of them I have the feeling that Michell wouldn’t lie to me.
Mitchell nods, “They are telling the truth. He had nose bleeds. I think he had a light seizure as well. I’m pissed at Sunday right now but he honestly tried. He just doesn’t know what he’s doing. Every Time I’ve seen him talk to the Horde was in his sleep.”
“Try harder. The entire city is at risk,” Missy states.
“Missy’s right,” Lyle explains, “The chances of survival are considerably low.”
Iggy shrugs, “Like I said. We can’t help you. Sunday is upstairs asleep right now. I don’t plan on waking him up.”
He sits back down as though it was nothing. I hate this guy.
“Sunday is the only hope to save us,” I argue with Iggy.
“It’s not our fault you guys are weak. He gave you a warning that they were coming. If you ask me, that’s good enough. As soon as he wakes up from his rest, we are out of here…” Iggy responds.
“You’re a fucking dick, you know that?”
Cussing Iggy out doesn’t really matter to him. He probably knows he’s a dick.
“It’s enough I have to worry about Mitchell slowing us down,” Iggy states, “I’m not taking on a bunch of other weaklings. It’s Survival of the Fittest.”
I was getting more and more pissed as time went by. They refused to help. They were OK with the end and I wasn’t having it.
“He’s going to help us whether you want him to or not,” I respond.
I start up the stairs and that’s when I see Iggy shuffle into effect and run to the stairs.
“You aren’t going upstairs…” Iggy warns.
“You aren’t giving you a choice,” Missy states.
Missy’s gun is raised and it’s pointed at Iggy.
“I see choices,” Valentina corrects Missy’s threat against her brother by raising her own gun and pointing it at Missy.
“NO GUNS!” I state.
I never came looking for a fight. I was a pacifist by nature, but in this world you had to be tough. Survival of the Fittest. That’s what Iggy told me.
I didn’t know who threw the first punch, but suddenly my fist was slamming into Iggy’s face while he sunk into my stomach. Blood pooled in his mouth as I gagged. We stumbled apart for a brief second to catch our breaths before diving back at each other, eyes narrowed by determination. I dodged his fist and came up with my own; for a brief second his eyes widened before managing to tilt his head back and slam it into mine.
Lyle attempts to stop.
“Don’t interfere,” Missy states, “We have to prove something to these assholes…”
I knew what Missy was talking about. We had to prove to Iggy that we weren’t weak. Otherwise he’d never let us near Sunday. He was so overly protective of Sunday and he didn’t trust us with him. Not if we were as weak as he thought we were.
This was a test.
He steps back, easily evading another punch, “Is that all you got, Little American?” he crowed, smirking infuriatingly at me.
I growled and threw myself at Iggy, changing direction in the last minute.
My blood hummed in my veins as determination and anger took over.
He threw his body weight behind the fist that edged closer to my face. It hit my jaw with such force blood pooled into my mouth. With my own two hands I grasped his head in my hands and brought my knee cap up to his nose, there was a blunt crack and I released his dark curly haired head. Red leaked from both his nostrils and his nose was twisted right. He drew his fist back again and it ploughed into my stomach, it was like hitting a train head on.
Iggy was a tough motherfucker.
My guts smashed together, blood vessels bursting. I repaid this by punching his jaw, my fist collided with all my body weight. I continued this battering until he fell to the floor. His chest gently rose and sank with each shallow breath he drew in.
“Enough,” Valentina interrupts.
I’m exhausted, unable to walk. Unable to move.
But I proved myself.
“I won’t let anything happen to him,” I state looking down at Iggy’s blood covered body, “I need Sundays’ help but I WON’T let anything happen to him.”
It took us both beating each other to a bloody pulp before Iggy finally seemed to realize that I was stronger than I looked. I wasn’t some weakling who didn’t know how to defend himself. I wasn’t some weakling who didn’t know how to protect Iggy’s most precious possession.
Sunday was important.
Like Lyle said, Sunday was the most important person in the world possibly.
And I had to show him that I understood that.
“Fine…” he finally states, “But if anything happens to him. If you push him too far and he goes into a coma and doesn’t wake back up…I’ll kill you.”
Not hurt you. Not attack you. He’d kill me. Looking at Iggy I knew that he would kill for Sunday. I had a feeling that he had already done it. This sinking determination in his eyes that said he was dangerous when it came to Sunday.
The kind of thing that I didn’t want to fuck with.
“Lyle, can you go upstairs and wake Sunday up.”
I knew Lyle didn’t like Sunday but I was too fucked up to walk up the stairs and Missy wasn’t exactly the kind of person to deliver a message. Lyle does what I say.
In the meantime it’s Valentina who walks over to the kitchen and returns with two bags of ice.
“I’ll never understand boys,” She states, “Couldn’t we have accomplished the same thing with a conversation?”
I look over at Iggy. He may not like me. I may not like him. But we had an understanding in that moment. The most understanding we’d ever had. He respected me a little bit more now and that mattered to me.
“When he saves your city we’re still leaving,” Iggy tells me, “My mother is coming as well..”
I nod, “OK.”
It hurt knowing Sunday was leaving but this is what I needed to agree to so that Sunday can try one more time to talk to the Horde.
It’s our only hope.
That’s when Lyle comes running down the steps.
“We have a problem?”
“What problem?” I ask more confused than ever.
“Sunday isn’t in his room…” Lyle states, “He’s gone…”