Five - The Final Endgame

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Cullen

I surprise myself when I finally land on Fiji soil. I knew deep down I could do it, I just needed to have a little faith in myself. I didn't make it in one trip, because that would just be too easy. No, I ran out of fuel somewhere in the middle of nowhere and managed to find an airport hangar with more helicopter fuel. It took a little bit longer than I would have liked, but I made it.

Now I'm one step closer to finding her. Unfortunately, I didn't just land in the exact place where she is, I landed at a normal Fijian airport like anybody else. My one saving grace is that Air Force One has a tracker aboard it, and I'm in possession of it.

I manage to steal a ride to the area of the island where the tracker sensor is the strongest. When I exit the vehicle, it doesn't take much to locate the source of the tracker. There is smoke lingering from small fires burning around the crash site. My stomach is in knots as I take in the damage around me. Plane debris is scattered about. There is a putrid smell coming from inside the small cabin of the plane, and I search every single body to make sure it's not her.

The island is eerily quiet. I would expect to see something, anything, but it's as if everyone died in the crash and before. I haven't seen signs of the virus yet, but the island is reminiscent of a ghost town. My stomach dips lower. I'm gutted, but I refuse to give up. Phoenix, you hang in there. I'm coming for you. I grip my backpack tighter, which is full of an assortment of weapons from the White House.

After I've searched every inch of what is left of the President's private airplane, and I'm satisfied Phoenix is not here, I begin making my way deeper into the forest. As I swivel left to right, watching my back, my eyes hone in on the largest tarantulas I've ever encountered. They are hairy, brown and black in color, and deadly looking as ever. Unfortunately for me, they are a fixture on each and every tree lining the forest. I'm a man's man, but I don't do creepy crawlers. There is just something unnatural about them. Snakes I could care less about, but spiders-I turn into a scared little girl.

Suddenly something catches my eye. An odd figure is hunched over, holding their stomach on top of an adjacent tree trunk. My stomach fills with anticipation. This is the first sign of life I've found on the island since I landed. "Hello," I say softly, inching forward. The figure snaps its neck to look at me and then bares its teeth, like a savage animal. It's the strangest thing. As I study the being in front of me closer, I notice that the stranger looks indigenous to these parts. Without warning, the thing comes barreling toward me, and I have no choice but to react. I shoot it, the blast echoing through the air.

My eyes dart around, expecting more of them, but the still, quiet air takes over once more. My senses are heightened, and I'm more alert and aware than ever. I have no idea what the hell that was, but if I can go up against biters, I can definitely go head to head with whatever that was.

The air around me begins to permeate with an odor that is both rancid and unfamiliar to me. Something about it makes me sick to my stomach, and I begin dry heaving.

Most people would want to get as far away from the smell as possible. I on the other hand, walk towards the thick smoke, unable to stop myself. As I navigate my way through, I hear a lot of commotion, and my eyes widen. Peeking through some branches, I see what appears to be some kind of roast. I squint my eyes, trying to see more clearly.

I regret that.

It doesn't take much to realize that it is a human body, naked, with a tomato in their mouth. Set up like a God damn pig, for dinner. It takes everything in me not to retch all over myself.

I hear the snap of a twig or branch, and I spin around, looking wildly for the cause. Out of nowhere,

I have sharp, shooting pain down the back of my leg. I glance back, and an arrow is sticking out of my skin. I duck quickly, narrowly missing another arrow. "Shit!" I curse, the pain excruciating.

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