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Chills rush through my entire body, freezing me in place.

"Shawn!" America calls next to me, but it feels like his voice is miles away. I feel his hand grab my arm. "We have to get out of here!"

Elias' screams gargle as the zombie continues to attack him. His light flashes around the alcove like a strobe.

There is nothing I can do for him. Even if I helped him fight the creature off, he's still been bitten. The infection is burrowing its way through his bloodstream. He's a dead man.

My nose burns as I pull a breath of icy, damp air into my lungs, and I run. America pulls me along as he and Star shine their headlamps ahead. The beams cast long shadows over the rocks and stones littering the cavern. I makes sure each step I take lands on flat ground, terrified of tripping or twisting my ankle if I misstep. If I stop for even a second, one of the zombies might pull itself from the ground and attack me.

I can't fall. Not right now.

I grit my teeth against the pain and keep going.

When America and I reach the ledge at the edge of the alcove, we leap the four feet to the base of the main chamber. I land solidly on my good leg, but my toes slip on the wet mold beneath me. Skidding forward, I throw my arms out in front of me and catch myself on my hands and knees. Without missing a beat, I scamper back to my feet. The lights of my only remaining crew mates—the only other humans left on this entire planet—beckon me.

Finally, America and I reach Star.

"They got him!" I gasp, leaning over and bracing myself at the knees as I pant. Sweat slicks my skin, stinging and burning the tiny cuts on my face and neck. "They bit him."

"We know." America says. He glances away for a second, the beam of his headlamp illuminating the dirt at his feet. Finally, he returns his gaze to me, careful not to shine his light directly in my eyes. "We all saw."

"Come on," Star puts her arm around me, trying to push me along. "We've got to keep going. We've got to get out of here."

"How?" I pant. "We're still trapped down here. It's only a matter of time before those monsters get back up, or worse, Elias as what happened to Devin—"

"Wait, over there!" Star interrupts me before I can finish the thought I was terrified to say aloud. Star directs her light at the far end of the cavern, beyond the stagnant lake. "Look." Her headlamp casts dark shadows around a small gap carved out between the jagged stones near the top of the cave wall. It's a tunnel—one that leads up!

"Do you think it might lead out?" America asks in a rasping pant.

There's no way to know for sure, but it's the best option we have—the only option we have.

I nod "It will." It has to. "Let's go."

The growling and croaking of the undead humans grow behind us. Star lets her light flash over to the alcove for only a second, illuminating the forms of two of the creatures as they slowly pull themselves off the ground. Blood drips from their smashed in faces, and their limbs bend at awkward and unnatural angles. One of them uses its left arm to snap the joint in its right arm back into place. The crunch and clunk of bones scraping against bones echoes through the cave.

"Great," Star hisses under her breath.

Without another word, the three of us run. I limp along beside America, trying to keep as much weight as possible off my ankle. Star rushes ahead. She glances at the stagnant pond as she charges around it. Her light reflects off the deep red surface.

It's the closest I've been to the water—the clearest look I've gotten at it. It's not as opaque as I thought it was when we first found the chamber. Now, with light shining directly on it, I can see a few yards into the murky liquid. Beneath the surface, clouds of red swirl like a whirlpool in slow motion. Out of nowhere, a huge, dark mass moves through the water like a ghost, dragging the current along with it.

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