“Chris, do you mind leading the—never mind, you’re injured. I’ll do it.” The chief was about to pass me his shield, but he held it back at the last second. He pushed open the door, holding the shied up to protect his torso and waist. Nothing happened. “Zack? …Logan?”

There was no response. The chief stepped inside the building, shining a flashlight with his free hand. The sun was out, but the building didn’t have that many windows. After the chief went in, the rest of the people followed behind. I went last with Jen. Of the people who survived yesterday’s fight, over half of them were injured badly enough that they should’ve been resting in bed, including me. However, when there’s so many things that need to be done to survive, rest is put off to the side along with morals and sanity.

“Zack! Logan!” the chief shouted. I don’t know if it was because he found them or not. Were they dead? Or was my overactive imagination right? Maybe neither. They could be in the process of being eaten alive. No one informed me of what happened to the smart infected. We’re not sure if it died. Maybe someone killed it and then got killed by a junkie. Maybe it escaped. Maybe it killed Zack and Logan.

The building isn’t very large. It’s the size of a studio. A living room separated by a wall and door that leads to a bedroom. The door to the bedroom was shut, and the chief was standing in front of it. He knocked on the door. “Zack? Logan? Are you two alright?”

Like earlier, there was no response. The chief handed the flashlight to the person behind him, using both hands to grab his shield. He kicked open the door and crouched, covering himself with the shield but almost completely exposing the person behind him with the flashlight. Nothing happened. “See anything?”

“No,” the person with the flashlight said. Was he too stupid to realize he was exposed? Well, it didn’t really matter. If someone wanted to attack him, they’d have to trip over the chief first unless there was an arrow or something. …Maybe I should warn them. The chief grabbed the flashlight and swept it through the room. I was too far back to see if there was anything of note inside. I don’t think I’d even be able to fit in the room if everyone tried to go in.

“Zack? Logan? Are you in the closet?”

Is this their way of telling us something? Because if it is, it isn’t funny.

“Shit, there’s blood.”

Something heavy pressed down on my shoulders, causing a burst of pain to come out of my wound. Jen had climbed onto my back to see over the crowd. “It looks like someone was dragged inside,” she said. A moment later, she hopped off. “Oops. Sorry, I forgot.”

“It’s fine.” It isn’t, but I’m not going to admit that. “What do you mean by someone was dragged inside?”

The chief was preparing something up ahead, but there were too many people in the way to see. Not to mention my field of view already wasn’t that great because the door to the bedroom was narrow. He had entered the room with a group of four people, not wanting to overcrowd it I suppose.

“Like, you know in horror films, there’s a monster that drags people into dark rooms and they’re clawing at the floor while leaving behind a bloodstain? The bloodstain kind of looks like that, but at the same time, it looks like someone tried to wipe it to hide it. Did we miss a junkie?”

“No, they were all accounted for,” the person in front of us said. “Could it be the smart infected?”

If there aren’t any junkies running free, then it’s definitely the smart infected. A regular infected wouldn’t have been able to kill Zack in the first place even if he was asleep, not to mention it wouldn’t drag him into the closet.



Someone stumbled from one side of the doorframe to the other, disappearing from my view. From the glimpse that I had of him, there was an arrow embedded in his neck. It seemed like the chief pulled the same maneuver that he had when he opened the door to the bedroom, crouching down to protect himself while the people behind him were exposed, and the person holding the flashlight was the unfortunate victim.

“Light! Shine the light on it!”

Someone ran past my narrow field of vision of the room from one end of the door to the other. A moment later, they ran back, carrying a flashlight. “Who are you!?”

I grabbed Jen’s arm and took a step back. It seemed like things were getting a little hectic. There was someone in the closet, most likely the smart infected, that ambushed people with arrows the instant they opened the door. What was that person going to do now? An arrow would only work on one person; it takes too long to reload.

“Stab it!”

“Fuck! That hurts!”

It sounds like someone was stabbed. I couldn’t hear the stabbing sound, but the curse was enough to let me know.

“It smells like shit! It’s definitely the smart infected!”

Infected did smell bad. That’s probably how they can tell each other apart. If an infected took a bath, would other infected try to eat it? I’m sure the chief’s done some experiment on that and wrote down the results somewhere. Maybe I’ll ask him later. If he survives, which he will. There’s only one infected. No matter what it does, it’s dead. Even a junkie—basically a better infected because they both don’t feel pain—would die in a situation like this, cornered in a room by twenty people. Well, the junkie would surrender before he died, but I don’t think the infected can do that. No, even if it could, there’s no way in hell anyone would accept that. Today, it dies.


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