Prologue (Flash Forward)

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The rain lashed Max's face like molten lava as he raced through the dark. He stumbled and fell to the floor, slicing open his knee and crying out in a mixture of agony and exhaustion. The puddle beneath him turned a deep red as he agonizingly pulled himself back to his sodden feet with his last remaining energy. The glistening drops of blood danced through the water like branches on a tree, painting a picture of death and misery. He snapped his head back up, not daring to linger for a second longer. They wouldn't linger. They never stopped. He wasn't far from safety, but as he limped heavily down the shadow-filled street, he could hear the groans and the clicks behind him growing louder. Growing closer. He did not dare look over his shoulder. He knew they weren't far behind.

The undead were on his trail, and Max was on his last legs. He stumbled down the next street to his left, praying that he'd finally escaped them, and desperately trying to stay on his weary feet. As he rounded the corner, barely able to catch his breath, he stopped dead in his tracks as yet another horde of undead lay waiting for him menacingly. They were everywhere. Max felt like he had been plunged into a never-ending nightmare.

For a moment his heart stopped, time stood still and gut-wrenching fear swallowed him whole. His way was blocked, he didn't have the strength to outrun these creatures anymore. Turning back, Max took the only other available road, scampering down it as fast as his legs would allow. His legs knocked against each other and his feet scraped along the ground as if he was a car with an old engine, struggling to splutter into life. He chanced a quick glance behind him, regretting it instantly. They couldn't be more than ten seconds away. He felt sick to the very pit of his stomach.

His mouth was dry and he could taste the unmistakable metallic tang of blood in the back of his sore throat. Tears began to form in his eyes, joining the heavy rain in pouring down his fear-stricken face. He clenched his teeth and forced himself onwards, turning his head back to drive himself onwards. Max was frozen with fear once more, the sopping wet soles of his shoes glued to the road.

Beyond him undead poured out of gardens to the either side of the street, sweeping onto the road like deadly assassins. Each undead body thumped into the one next to it, violently competing to be the first to sink their teeth into the soft flesh of Max's body. And that's all he could think of, standing there alone, frozen to the spot. The images of teeth and claws tearing him limb from limb, his warm blood flowing down the throats of these monsters. It would be a slow and painful death, and that petrified Max.

He was now enclosed in this nightmarish circle of the undead. All exits had been closed off. They were herding him like sheep. Herding him like prey. It was so organised, almost as if it had been a trap, set for him all along.

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