𝕰𝖎𝖌𝖍𝖙

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░▒▓█ 8 █▓▒░

EITHER MY mind's playing tricks on me or I'm going insane: the lurkers are grinning at me like a freakin' Cheshire cat. It's creepy and I want them outta my damn face.

I lift all my fingers up and place them back down on my baseball bat, tightening my grip in a bruising hold as my knuckles go white. The lower my hands are to the handle, the more strength my swing will have. Here goes. I raise the metal bat into the air: 1, 2, 3-

"Get down!" a voice screams from up ahead.

I know that voice and I trust it enough to drop down flat; the others doing the same after me. Next thing you know bullets are blasting in the air above us. The sound is harrowing. I stuff my palms tightly against my ears. Eventually, the firing ceases and the final lurker drops-dead right next to me, its yellowy eyes with ruptured blood vessels staring into my pupils.

I quickly shift away, standing up. "Amber!"

She walks over to us. "What took you so long, big bro?"

I'm only born a minute and 30 seconds before her and she still calls me 'big bro'.

"Jesus Christ," Jace is taken aback, pointing, "that's your sister?"

"Yep, Jace, that's the sis." Brayson gives Amber a fist pump. "Whaddup, Amber?"

"Hey, Brayson," she smiles and faces Jace, "Jace...you too?"

"Yup, me too. It's nice to meet another Sylvester. I was kinda getting bored with this one," he smirks at me.

Dick.

Amber smiles at him, staring at him for a second too long before hastily breaking eye contact and facing me. "Is it just us?"

"No, Ella and-wait, where the hell did you get a machine gun from?" My eyes refocus on the assault weapon hanging from her shoulder.

"Oh, this?" she lifts it up casually. "A...a dead soldier."

I stare at her, bewildered.

"After the phone call I made with you, I heard loud shots being fired from somewhere close," she explains. "The lurkers must have followed it because when I came out from hiding, the library was empty. Down the foyer, I found him...killed by a headshot...with the gun still in his hands."

Noise attracts them.

That shouldn't come as a surprise but why am I fucking surprised then? Why can't we ever have deaf zombies for once!?

I think seriously to myself for a moment. Once you die from the infection, there's a period where nothing happens before entering the 'seizure phase'. But that period varies... For instance, Sam took a long while before he started seizing whereas Ms Mills didn't. I don't know why that difference is except the rest follows the same - 8 seconds and...and that's it. Nothing about you is humane anymore.

"Lucky we didn't stay like Ms Mills told us to," Brayson scoffs. "Staying for a lost cause, pfft."

"Don't, Brayson," the flashbacks makes my heartache, "she's dead. Show a lil resp-"

"What?" Amber cuts in.

I cringe, knowing I shouldn't've said that. I turn away from her, feeling like it's all my fault that my Bio teacher died; including Mr Damien.

"Ms Mills - her and Coach are dead. Sam too," Jace informs her quietly.

"What, how?!" Amber exclaims.

"Long story," I turn back around after putting a face on. "We'll talk about it later."

~~~~

We meet back with Ella and Carmen.

"Els!" Amber runs to Ella with her arms out.

"Amber!" Ella grins as they both embrace. "I'm so glad that you're okay! We wanted to help but Dean said it was too dangerous."

Since when was my sister and she best friends anyway?

Carmen stands up, patting the dust off her grey skinny jeans. "Can we get outta here now before they nuke the place?"

The boys and I hesitate to reply.

"What?" she looks at me questionably, then at Jace and Brayson.

"N-nothing," I quickly say. "It's nothing."

"Her?" Amber takes Carmen's attention away from us. "What's she doing here?" she judgingly faces me for answers.

"Amber..." I murmur.

"Yeah, Dean, care to explain?"

I sigh. I put my arm around her and guide her away from the group. "I couldn't just say no..."

"Dean," she shoves my arm back at me, "she's a two-faced-backstabbing bitch!"

Brayson clears his throat and awkwardly grins at Carmen.

"Jesus, can you say that any louder?!" I hiss at her.

"SHE'S A T-"

"Amber!" I mutter with gritted teeth. "Stop being fucking childish..! She like lost three of her closest friends today. How unremorseful can you be?"

"And I should tell her-" My point literally goes over her head.

"No, what the fuck?" I grab her arm, clenching my jaw. "I know what you're trying to do and now's not the time."

She purses her lips in anger and breathes heavily.

"Look, just don't worry about her," I insist. "If she holds the group up, we'll throw her out - simple."

"But, Dean-"

"Amber just trust me okay?"

She exhales frustratedly, "fine, but I'll be the one to kick her out."

"Deal."

We rejoin the group. Amber stands behind me, arms crossed and glaring at Carmen. Jeez, I don't wanna haveta break up some catfight. We are already fighting the dead!

"So what the heck now?" Brayson questions on behalf of the group.

"Now we get the hell outta this damn school," I answer.

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