Chapter Sixteen

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The unlikely pair fought their way through the trees until they once again found open road, Lizzie whistling all the way in a chipper mood, Max doing all he could not to tell her to shut up. He liked the kid alright, she was a good kid; he had just seen too many people die. He wanted to get rid of her as quickly as possible before the inevitable happened once more.

"It's getting dark. We should try to find some shelter for the night," Max exclaimed.

"Any 5-star hotels around here?" Lizzie chuckled.

Max didn't crack a smile, firmly concentrated on his surroundings, scanning the area for a defendable position in which to camp for the night.

"Okay..." Lizzie said. "Not a fan of the jokes, ay?"

Max spotted a house at the far end of the street on his left. It was separated from the others, enclosed all around in a large metal fence. It was low enough for the two travellers to scale, but tall enough to keep out any lurking clickers.

"Perfect," Max said, setting off towards their home for the evening.

"Looks creepy to me," Lizzie whispered.

"Yeah, well creepy might just keep you alive in this world; now stay close kid," Max snapped.

"Careful Max, people might think you care about me," Lizzie grunted back, begrudgingly doing as she was told.

Max scoped the area as they approached the house; there didn't seem to be any clickers in sight, but that never settled his nerves anymore. They were always lurking about in the shadows somewhere. Waiting. As they got closer to the impressive three-storey building, the house became more and more appealing.

In the healthy, green garden surrounding the front of the home was a variety of plants and crops which looked to be growing well. Off to the left stood a small greenhouse which held a decent amount of tomato plants along with other things Max couldn't quite make out. It was more perfect than he could have imagined.

"Hate to point out the obvious here Maxie boy but this house is clearly taken," Lizzie said sarcastically.

"What do you mean?" he questioned with a tone of annoyance.

"Well these plants seem to be growing pretty damn well, and I'm guessing they haven't been watering and tending to themselves have they?" she continued.

She was right. It hadn't even occurred to him that the house might already be occupied.

"Well...yeah obviously," he stammered. "That's why I chose it, we're looking for survivors to look after you, aren't we now kid" he explained in a poor attempt to save face.

"Ah, I see, always thinking one step ahead you are," Lizzie chuckled, rolling her eyes.

"Follow me kid," Max ordered, ignoring her blatant sarcasm.

Max jogged to the lowest point on the gate before crouching down and pushing his hands together, linking his fingers as he did so.

"C'mon then. Up you go kid," Max said.

"If there's any zombies over the other side and I die, I'm coming back to haunt the fuck out of you," Lizzie laughed.

She placed her right foot into the palms of Max's hands before they both pushed up until Lizzie could grasp the top of the gate. She wrapped her fingers around the metal, pulling herself up with all her strength, and a little help from Max still pushing up her feet. She clambered onto the top of the fence before swinging her legs over the other side and jumping down.

A deafening crack filled the air as her feet touched the ground.

"SHIT!!!" she screamed. "Oh god, I've broken my ankle!" she shouted in between bursts of pain filled screeching.

"Stay there!" Max yelled back, pulling himself over the gate as fast as he could to come to her aid.

Max landed the other side and crouched next to the fallen Lizzie.

"Move your hand kid, let me see. You'll be okay, I promise," Max said softly and reassuringly.

Lizzie moved her hand to reveal her ankle. There didn't seem to be any blood, the ankle was pointing the right way and there didn't seem to be any damage at all, actually. Lizzie move her foot two inches to the right, revealing a thick stick beneath it.

"Ohhh, I think I just broke this twig when I landed, my bad Max," she giggled.

"You've probably alerted every clicker in the whole fucking neighbourhood you stupid shit!" Max spat at her.

"You sooo care about me really," Lizzie teased, still laughing.

"Don't worry, you'll be okay, I promise," she mimicked, holding back the sniggers.

Max swore repeatedly under his breath before checking around to make sure they hadn't attracted any unwanted guests. The coast was clear and Max got back to his feet.

"Get up," he demanded. "Pull anymore shit like that and you're on your own kid," he whispered.

"Thought you were leaving me on my own anyway," Lizzie snapped back.

Max ignored her, slowly turning back towards the front of the house.

Click click

Max shuddered at the noise, but it wasn't the sound of an undead.

"Not so fast," a voice boomed from behind them. "Turn around, very slowly,"

Max and Lizzie did as they were told, shuffling their feet until they faced the front door of the house.

Max looked up at the mystery voice, met only with two barrels of a shotgun pointed directly at his face.

"Well, shit," Lizzie said.

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