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“Harrison? Is that you?”

Another prey appeared by the one I shot. It raised its head, faced me. I readied another arrow. It didn’t seem like the other two prey were going to stop me. One was hiding behind its shield. One was hiding behind that one.

“What the hell are you two doing!?”

The prey by the one I shot, is it the chief? I think so. I fired my bow. The arrow flew through the air. But the chief lifted up the fallen prey, used it as a shield. The chief wasn’t like Big Other, who could lift a prey as a shield with one hand. The chief had to use both arms, only pushing the fallen prey halfway up.

“Where’s Toby!? Why are you letting it shoot at us like this!?”

“Toby died! He charged into the building to make space for us, but the infected killed him before we could react!”

I readied another arrow.

“And the two of you can’t kill one infected by yourself?”

It didn’t seem like I could kill the chief, not with it hiding behind the fallen prey. But there were still plenty of prey to shoot. There were plenty around Big Other. It still hadn’t died yet. Surprising. But it looked a lot worse for wear. Its left arm hung limply at its side. Yet none of the prey dared to approach it, only stabbing when it approached them.

“Chief, this smart infected fights like a person. It isn’t like killing a normal infected where they bite your shield and you stab their heads. It’s like fighting a raider! I’m just a chef, what do you expect me to do!?”

“And I’m the radio guy! Why do you think I became the radio guy and not a hunter? I can’t fight for shit!”

I fired my bow. It would’ve been nice to kill one prey per arrow. But it wasn’t possible. The prey were too far. The arrow struck a prey’s butt. Other than it flinching, jumping up, it didn’t sustain any damage. It whirled around, bashing the infected that was getting close to it before reaching behind itself to touch the arrow.

The chief looked around while I prepared another arrow. I understand now. Not all prey are good at fighting. They might have a lot of experience killing infected. But that’s just infected. If they can’t bite through their clothes, can’t do any harm, experience killing them isn’t worth mentioning. That’s why they’re scared of me. And here I was, scared of them. But there’s going to be prey that are good at fighting. While they’re distracted by the infected, I’ll weaken them with arrows. Most of the infected are dead. Maybe there’s two hundred left. Maybe less. The prey didn’t speed up in killing them. My motorcycle stunt helped; the infected killed a few prey, decreasing their numbers. The fires helped too. But the first group of prey that split off already came back. And the second group are heading here right now.

“Cosmo! Perfect timing! The smart infected’s cooped up in my building. Take your whole squad and go over there to kill it!”

It seems like this prey is experienced in fighting. If it wasn’t, why would the chief single it out after realizing they needed fighters? Twenty prey are heading my way. Greeting them with an arrow would be a waste. Ten of them have shields. They haven’t been weakened at all. It makes sense; they were a group that split off early to put out a fire. What injuries could a fire give them? The group of prey came straight for me, killing a few infected that were in their way. The prey were running, not giving me a lot of time, only enough to shoot one arrow. I fired it near Big Other. A prey screamed. Good enough.

“Well, what do we have here?” The prey stopped a few feet away from the entrance, not willing to enter the chokepoint. “Is that Toby? Poor bastard. Looks like he got stabbed to death.”

“I’m counting on you, Cosmo.”

“I don’t like this situation, Chief. Do you know the number one way to deal with someone with a knife? You fucking run away, that’s what you do.”

“I’m not telling you to fight it alone. Haven’t you seen those videos where a group of people use long sticks with semi-circles on the end to catch a knife wielder in countries where police aren’t allowed guns?”

The prey are watching me, their spears ready to stab. I crouched down, pulled the shield out from underneath the dead prey. This will probably be useful. But now I see why one prey would use the shield, another using a spear. The shield is wide. It has two handles. Just grabbing one handle puts it off balance. Unless I put my arm through both handles at once. But then I can barely move my arm.

“There’s no space to maneuver. It must’ve seen people using doorways as chokepoints, and now it’s copying them. Only one person can go through at a time, and that person’s most likely going to die. No one’s going to volunteer for that. You can’t cure knife wounds with coffee, Chief. Look at poor Toby.”

“Does that mean you can’t kill it?”

“Why do you want to kill it? Leave one person behind to watch it. If it pulls out another arrow, stab it. If it can’t do anything, it doesn’t matter, right? Once we clean up the field, send some people through the windows. We can capture it alive too.”

“Capture it alive, huh? That’s not a bad idea. Alright, for now, you keep an eye on it, Cosmo. Everyone else, get back to killing these infected.”

The prey are leaving, only one staying behind. If I switch to my bow, it’ll stab me? It’ll have to get close to me to do that. I can take out the bow, bait he prey into attacking, then switch to my knife. It’s better than waiting for the prey to kill all the others. I hadn’t considered prey coming through the windows. The others never would’ve been able to do that.

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Virlyce

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