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The smart infected got out. We heard it doing something, but we figured it was eating the people who had died inside. Who would’ve thought it’d cut down the wall? If it was planning on leaving, why didn’t it pick a room with a window in the first place? That way, we could’ve pincered it at least. Maybe that’s why it didn’t do it. Is it that smart? Somehow, I don’t think so. Even regular people don’t plan that far ahead. However, underestimating it is a serious problem considering how much trouble it’s caused. It’d be best if someone ran outside right now, tackled it to the ground, and killed it, ending our troubles once and for all—until another smart infected shows up at least.

That’s the best plan, but no one wants to be the hero. All the heroes died a long time ago. The people who’ve survived up to now are those who’ve abandoned others, ran away, avoided conflicts. The only exceptions are the drug addicts and that’s because they’re fucked in the head. Instead of sacrificing themselves out of heroism, they kamikaze attack in the name of blood for blood. We didn’t even set any traps on the southern road; that misunderstanding hasn’t been cleared and never will be since the last few drug addicts died.

“Isn’t this dumb?” Jen asked. She was examining the three groaning people on the ground. All of them had arrows stuck in their legs.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, it’s dumb how we’re being pushed into a corner by this one infected. Do you think it followed us all the way here? Why the hell is it so obsessed with us? Why can’t someone just kill it already?”

No one responded. They were too busy trying to tend to the injured people’s wounds. Arrow wounds to the limbs aren’t fatal, at least, not immediately. Sure, getting shot in the abdomen usually guarantees they’ll die within the next few days, but getting shot in the limb is almost as bad. Someone who’s injured to the point of being unable to walk is simply a burden. They eat food, require care but are unable to help the camp. People have been abandoned for less.

“Well, killing it isn’t that easy,” one of the people said. He was staring up at the ceiling, gritting his teeth, probably talking to distract himself from the pain. Someone was cutting the arrow with a knife, and the tip was probably destroying whatever it touched inside his leg.

“What do you mean?” Jen asked. “We literally killed almost a thousand infected yesterday. And today we can’t even kill one?”

“Ah, shit, that hurts.” The man’s breaths shortened, and he shut his eyes. There was a cracking sound as the arrow in his leg snapped, leaving a tiny piece of wood sticking out of a bloody wound. “Look here, if you think killing that smart infected is easy, why don’t you go outside and do it yourself? I’ll tell you why you won’t: you’re afraid of dying just like the rest of us. One injury can lead to death. Look at my leg; I’m pretty much fucked.”

“By any chance, do you feel a heroic spirit rising within you?”

The man turned to stare at me as if I were crazy.

“You said it yourself. You’re fucked. Why not help the rest of us out and kill the smart infected before dying?”

“Chris!”

“What? Am I wrong?”

The man pointed at my shoulder. “You’re injured too. Why don’t you do it?”

“If the infected came here right now, I could still run. But you?” His leg was a mess. I don’t know where the smart infected got its arrows or if it made them itself, but the arrowhead is nasty. If it was a simple mass-produced plastic arrow, removing it wouldn’t be a problem, but the infected’s arrows are designed to cause as much destruction as possible—to injure, weaken, and kill, which is the point of an arrow, I guess.

“Don’t do it!”

“Chief!”

Before the man could respond, shouts came in from outside. What was the chief doing? I stood up and went to the door, poking my head outside for a quick check. Once I confirmed there wasn’t an arrow waiting to plant itself into my face, I extended my head further, towards the commotion, but I still couldn’t see anything. It was coming from around the corner. I grabbed a shield that was leaning against the outside of the building. Jen made a motion to follow me, but I stopped her by shaking my head.

“Don’t stop me!”

“You really can’t!”

I rounded the corner, and the sight was … baffling. The chief was fighting off three people, struggling to keep his arm in the air. He was holding a set of keys that the people around him were trying to grab. It seemed like the chief spotted me. “Chris! Help me pull these buffoons off!”

“Uh, I’m injured. And what’s going on?”

“The smart infected’s hiding inside the room again! I’m going to—”

“The chief wants to drive a motorcycle into the infected!”

“Don’t cut me off when I’m speaking!”

It’s not that bad of an idea, but…. “Can a motorcycle even fit through the hole the infected left behind?”

The four people stopped moving. They turned to stare at the destroyed portion of the wall that the smart infected was hiding in. “Shit,” the chief said. “You’re right. I don’t think it can. But I’m seriously losing my mind over this! None of you are willing to kill it, but even worse, none of you are willing to let me kill it! What the hell do you people want!?”

“We want it to die without us getting hurt.”

“It’s already killed five people and put arrows through four more! We’re past the point of not getting hurt!” The chief shook off the people holding onto him. He looked around. “Everyone’s gathered?” Well, with that commotion, who wouldn’t stop dragging bodies around to check? “Good! The eight of you, split up into two groups of four. Stand on either side of that entrance. If it comes out, stab it to death! As for the rest of us, we’re going to the bonfire, getting burning logs. Chris, go to the kitchen and get a tank of propane, and don’t give me any of that you’re injured bullshit.”

The chief’s really mad. It’s not that surprising considering what we’ve been through. He probably feels responsible for everyone’s deaths. He’s too good of a person for this world.

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Virlyce

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