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Sometimes, in life, there are things people don’t want to do that they have to do anyway. Eating vegetables is one of them. Shooting a friend with a few arrows to get supplies is another. I didn’t want to kill Vlad—I really didn’t. My hand was cut by an infected arrow. He said he’d tell everyone back at the Breakfast in Bed what happened. If I showed any signs of turning in quarantine, I’d be killed. I don’t want to die, so he has to instead. But we were companions for a really long time; I couldn’t bring myself to kill him. I only injured him a bit, enough to slow him down to prevent him from chasing me. It was the least I could do.

If only I hadn’t decided to come to this damn place. Bern came and told us about how his camp was overrun. He was quarantined for a week. Why did the infected horde stay in place for a whole week? It should’ve been an easy mission with maybe one or two infected to deal with. Canned foods, bottled water, packets of instant noodles, macaroni and cheese, weapons, tools, clothes. Infected don’t need any of those; they’re always left intact in places that hordes go through. A low-risk, high-reward mission, who doesn’t love those? So why did it end up this way?

How can an infected use a bow and arrow? It was smart enough to trick me too. I thought I killed it, but it was actually a scheme. Not to mention the fact that it taunted me. Bern was right about it not having any arrows. But when it took off its helmet and poked Brett with a spear, how could I not take that perfect opportunity to kill it? It was distracted and in a vulnerable position, but the instant I fired, it ducked behind the fence like it knew I was going to shoot it. The traps it left behind too. Bern said wasn’t the one that dug holes and disguised them with plastic wrap. The infected had to be the culprit, but how is that even possible? If more infected were as smart as it, would humans even stand a chance?

How did it do it? How did it retain its rationality while turning? If I don’t figure that out, then I’m going to become like the rest of the infected. I don’t want that. I’m better than that. If I’m turning, I’ll rule over the infected, bend them to my will like that smart one. But first, I have to remove this arrowhead from my hip. I got the first-aid kit from Vlad; there’s needle and thread inside. Stitching it shut wasn’t a good idea out in the field, but I think I’ve gone far enough away. If I leave the tip of the arrow in there, there’s a chance of infection, not to mention it hurts like a bitch now that my adrenaline’s gone. I swear it’s scraping against a bone, but I’m lucky it didn’t puncture anything serious like my bladder or intestine.

I’d like to climb up a tree, but I’m afraid I might lose my balance from the pain and fall off. Not to mention I can position myself more easily if I’m on the ground. The infected horde was stuck behind the fence, and even if the fence broke down or the infected got over, Vlad’s there to distract them. I don’t think I’m in any danger, and I didn’t hear any infected in my surroundings. It’s quiet. If anyone approaches, there’s no way I’d miss it.

Bern did a good job with the gauze. It’s really unfortunate that he died. I’ll cut away the gauze and remove the bandage he applied to the arrowhead. Tearing off the bandage sends jolts of pain running down my leg, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. Luckily, Bern left enough of the arrow head for me to grab. Pulling it out is easy, it’s just a matter of willpower. It’s going to hurt, but that’s not going to stop me. I’ll take in a deep breath, and … pull!

I screamed.

It hurt a lot more than I thought it would. But the arrowhead is out. My hands are shaking, and my leg is twitching, but it’s out. I should’ve bit down on something to prevent myself from crying out, or maybe even drank some vodka. But I went far enough into the woods, there’s no way any infected heard me. Maybe there’s some in the vicinity, but infected aren’t scary when they’re alone. Sure, they might be able to infect people with one bite, but they have to break skin. And it’s a lot harder to bite through three layers of clothing than one would expect, especially with flat teeth like ours. Infected are only scary if they get the drop on you, or if they’re smart. But the only smart infected to ever exist is stuck behind a fence. If not behind a fence, it’s eating Vlad. I’m safe.

The arrow left behind a circular wound. It’s bleeding but not too heavily. Hopefully the bleeding stops after applying some pressure with the gauze. The most dangerous part of an injury that isn’t fatal is infection. Thankfully, the arrow’s made of carbon fiber and not wood. There’s no splinters that may have come off inside, and any scraps from my clothes should’ve came out with the arrowhead. I’ll let the blood flow a little to wash out the interior as I bunch up this gauze. The smell might attract infected, but if none are coming because of my earlier scream, I don’t think they’ll come from some blood. I should wash out the wound with alcohol, but it was a pretty deep puncture. Besides, I’ve already been cut by an infected arrow. An infection from this wound isn’t my top priority. As long as the bleeding stops, that’s good enough. Hopefully it does, otherwise I’ll have to stitch myself. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to do that. Pulling the arrow out already hurt enough. The only thing I can do now is wait and apply pressure.

Crunch.

What was that? Please don’t tell there’s an infected here. I’m not scared of being killed by it, but I don’t want to have to move around right after pulling the arrow out.

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Virlyce

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