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With this posture, it’s easier to shoot. My arrows are more accurate. But now the prey are close to the fence, shooting isn’t as useful as stabbing. Both injure prey. But stabbing is better; there’s no downtime. With the bow, I have to grab the arrows off the wall, adjust them, pull the bow’s string back before I can attack. With the spear, I thrust. That’s it. There’s only three prey left. One prey stopped moving after it was hit by many arrows. Another prey stepped in a pitfall, tripped, impaled itself on the fence. It might not be dead. But it’s not moving.

There’s still the big prey, the one that can carry other prey around. There’s a smaller prey behind it. But it’s bigger than me. And there’s the prey with the bow.

Thwip.

It’s annoying. I’ll have to position myself in front of the big prey, keep the bow-using prey behind it. It can’t attack me if I use its companion as a barrier. I’m surprised though. The prey are working together. They didn’t scatter after two prey died. A normal group would’ve betrayed each other to escape by now.

But the prey aren’t the only ones with companions. There are still over eighty others here lined up against the fence. They’re pressing down on it. It’s creaking. I hope it doesn’t break; the prey will have an easy way in if it does. For now, the prey are stalling at the fence. It looks like they don’t know how to approach. The big one still hasn’t dropped the prey it was holding. And it was the only one that I could shoot, the other prey hidden behind it. It’d be a waste of arrows if I shot it.

“Brett, are you okay?”

The sound came from the big prey. Or it could’ve been the prey it was holding. They’re both wearing domes, their mouths behind the dark glass.

“I’m cold. It’s so … cold. Why…?”

It seems like the prey that fell on the fence didn’t die. It could still speak.

“Vlad! Can you break off the spikes holding him up?” The sound came from behind the big one. “If you slam down on it, they should snap right off.”

“I can’t. The smart one is pointing its bow right at me.”

It was talking about me. Interesting. I didn’t know the spikes on the fence could be broken by hitting them down. They’re designed to stop dumb others. They’d never hit down, only move forward. It makes sense.

“That’s … sorry, Brett.”

“I’m cold…. Perry, are you there? Perry…?”

“Perry’s on his way, Brett. He was shot in the hip, but he can still move. He’ll be here in a sec.”

I’m not sure what to do. The big prey isn’t moving because I’m pointing my bow at it. If it lowers its shield, I’ll shoot. But if it doesn’t do anything, is staring at it the only thing I can do? I can shoot the prey that’s on the fence. It seems like the prey behind the big one want to rescue it. How surprising. Not only do the prey not run, they try to save each other. Except for the prey that’s being used as a shield. Maybe it’s being used because it’s already dead. Then I’ll wait. When the prey in the back try to save this one on the fence, I’ll shoot them when they show themselves.

“I can’t … see. It’s … so … cold.”

“Brett? Can you hear me? Brett?”

“He’s gone.”

“Shit.”

Did the prey die? That means the other prey won’t expose themselves to save it.

The big one took a step back. “What’s the plan? Retreat? The fence doesn’t sound like it can hold much longer.”

Were the prey thinking of running? Why did they even come here if they were just going to leave? Did they get what they came for? But they didn’t even get past the fence. Then they’re scared. When I want to retreat, there’s lots of danger, enough to threaten my life. The prey must feel the same way. There’s a lot of others, much more than three prey can handle even if one of them is abnormally strong.

“But it’s right there.”

“Sure, right there, across your fucking fence beside dozens of infected. Not to mention it has a bow.”

A bow? Was I the reason the prey came? Other than on me and the prey, there aren’t any bows around. No, there’s another bow in the grass way back there. It used to be on the shield prey’s back. But that bow is back there, not across the fence beside dozens of infected. Only I am.

“Are we really going to let Nelson and Brett die for nothing?”

“We? There is no we. This was your idea. Their deaths are on you.” The big one moved back again. “If you have a way to kill it, go ahead. If not, I’m retreating: My arms are tired, there’s a fucking hole in my foot, and this whole place smells like shit.”

Thwip.

I ducked. An arrow flew over me, hitting the wall. I was paying too much attention to the big prey; I didn’t notice the bow-wielding prey step out from behind it. Luckily, the sound is loud even when I’m next to groaning others. I stood up, got into the arrow-shooting posture. And … the prey is hidden again. It was my idea to hide behind the big one. Why is the prey stealing my idea? But it’s not the only one that can move from side to side. I moved to my left. And bumped into an other. …Maybe the prey was the only one that could move from side to side. If I try to reposition myself, the others will take the spot I’m currently in. How annoying. And the big prey is still moving back at a constant pace. Do I shoot at it anyway? Even if it has a shield? Can I hit it any other way? Spear, no. Metal stick, no. Knives, no. Throw a brick? Still no. Try to break the fence to let the others out into the field? Then they’ll eat the big one’s muscles. It might turn into an other. But it won’t be able to move. There’s no point in turning the prey into an other if it can’t move.

Letting prey go like this, I don’t like it. But they left behind one body. It’ll be a pain to retrieve it without the others interfering. I wonder if I even can.

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Virlyce

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