Decision

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The gunshot echoes through the trees and over the silent hills. A few birds that were hidden in a tree not too far away fly out in surprise and fear, their small, slick, black bodies bumping into the fragile branches.

I watch them as they fly away into the dark night sky, on their way to find a new tree to hide out in for the night.

When they're out of my sight, I let my weight go and fall flat onto the grass. Not just my hands shake. My entire body is shaking with emotion and exhaustion. Pain pierces through all of my body. I can't help but let out loud moans of pain. I try to catch my breath and struggle as everything crashing down.

Brenda's dead body lies beside me. A hole pierced somewhere through her skull. I haven't looked at her and I don't plan on it. But she's silent, and I know I killed her. Quick and easy. What she wanted.

The stars twinkle up above in the night sky. The moon shines through the leaves that rustle on the trees. I wonder how close we are to fall. Probably soon. I can tell the leaves are becoming slightly colored, just on a few trees I've passed by. And the way they fall off easier than usual.

Pain continues to pierce through my body. My head throbs and my hip aches. I'm afraid to move, worried that one single move will send me into a whirlpool of pain.

I just killed her, I think to myself. I just killed my friend.

What will the others think of me when they come back?

If they come back.

My mind tugs back and forth between me being the bad guy or them being the bad guys.

I just killed a living soul, but they left two endangered and wounded souls all on their own. Either way it was done out of fear and need for survival. But that doesn't justify anything.

As I lay on my back staring up at the stars that dance in the night, I begin to feel lonely yet peaceful. But as the night goes on I become more alert to my surroundings. The gunshot has brought the infected back to me. I know most of them get stuck in the ditch and can't manage to get back out, but maybe some will find a new way or a new path that'll lead them straight for me.

I grow more worried for my health. The food and water are in the bag up in the tree and I'm too hurt to move. There's no way I can get the bag and get the food and water that my body needs. Not only that but I can barely move, leaving me vulnerable to attacks.

And who knows how long I'll be stuck here. If they don't come back, I'm dead.

I can hear the sounds of the infected in the silent and eerie night. They growl and groan, their voices gone. I can tell but wonder why they can't talk. Why they turn when they get bit or scratched. Why they get angry and feverish before they die.

But the number one question that plays in my head through the night is why haven't they come back?

There's the option that maybe they got stuck. Or maybe they got caught. Or maybe. . . Maybe they just don't want to come back.

I know I'm not the greatest fighter. I'm not able to kill when I should be. I'm always hurt. I'm weak, and I've always been weak and maybe that's why they didn't come back.

Maybe they thought I was too weak to kill Brenda and they just assumed shed end up killing me.

Too many maybes. They just didn't want to come back, face it Alice.

Not only did they leave me, but my own family left me. I'm not meant for this world.

I hear the sound of the infected get louder. I grab the gun and hold it close to me, looking in every direction to see if they're coming close.

Then I see one.

It's slow and it looks confused. Long black hair hangs from its scalp like curtains. She's pale but her eyes are wide. Blood covers her chest and I get a glimpse of a large chunk ripped from her neck.

How has she not bled out yet?

Her eyes lock on mine and she starts to walk faster, her arms reaching out to grab me though she's not close enough to. I pull up my gun and aim it at her. I don't pull the trigger until she's right above me, afraid that I'll aim wrong. The bullet pierces through her chin and out the top of her skull.

Blood rains down on my face and I close my eyes tightly to avoid the blood from getting in my eyes. Then I feel her heavy body land on my legs. For a split second an urge of fear charges through me because I think she's still alive and is going to bite my leg. But no, as I open my eyes I see her lying motionless on me. I kick her off with my good leg, tears forming in my eyes.

I don't know how to really use a gun. I know the trigger is to shoot, but I know nothing else. I can barely aim correctly, especially if the target isn't close.

I look over from the direction she came from and see two more infected coming at me. I don't know how many bullets are left and I don't know how many infected are coming.

Tears begin to stream down my face as I realize that death is coming, and it's coming fast.

I don't want to die like that, I think. I don't want to be ripped apart alive.

I press the gun against my temple and stare up to the sky, tears interfering with my vision. This isn't just an option, it's my decision. I suck in a deep, unsteady breath and pull the trigger.

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