On The Road Again

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Sneakers scuffed against the corroded tile floor of the 400 hallway in Lincoln High School. The teenager made a sharp turn, before pressing her back against a tarnished wall, trying to contain what little breath she had not exhaled in the past several minutes. She could hear the gnarled groaning of the infected approaching. The brunette knew she couldn't stay hidden for very long, any minute an infected would pick up on her lively scent and chase after her.

Backing away from the corner, the teenager lost her balance. She tumbled, her spine making contact with the floor. The brunette hissed in pain, as her skull was the next thing that took a blow. A wave of dizziness followed. She shook her head left and right, hoping to diminish the unsettling feeling. As the teenager began to sit up, she felt something tugging on her pant leg.

"What the hell?" The brunette muttered, while glancing down the length of her jeans.

A gasp escaped the barrier of her lips, as she began bashing the tarnished cheekbone of a eleventh grade Chemistry teacher with the heel of her sneakers. The teenager's body shuddered in utter disgust. She struggled to free herself by trying to crawl away, but it became an epic fail when she felt jagged nails digging into her shoulder-blades.

A scream filled the hallway, as a pair of arms clamped around her shoulders. The brunette soon felt her whole body being pinned down by excessive weight. Terror was evident in the teenager's olive gaze. Her jaw clenched together, as she fought through the mass of bodies that were congregating upon the terrified human. 

Pain. It felt as if someone impaled a shovel into her chest and stomach and then began scooping all the entrails from their vessel. This whole scenerio reminded her of a scene in Jurassic Park, where the velociraptors performed a surprise attack on the poacher fellow. The poor man was still alive, while the carnivorous dinosaurs devoured. 

The teenager's vision was blurring, as her cries for help became more and more raspy. The last thing she saw, before truly giving up, was a gnarled face of one the many students leaning in to withdraw a chunk of flesh from her jugular. 

THUMP

"Jess?"

THUMP

"Jessie, wake up!"

THUMP 

The brunette groaned in annoyance from the child-like voice echoing within the back of her mind and the persistant thudding against the back of her skull. Couldn't Andy leave her alone for another hour to sleep in? Come on, it's the weekend. 

"JESSIE!!!"

The teenager jolted awake in the leather seat of the 2012 Ford F150. Jessica's body ached as she shifted around until her olive gaze settled upon the little girl in the back seat. 

"Annie, what wrong?"

The eight-year-old's pigtails shuttered against her shoulders. Frightened, Annie curled into a ball within the cramped space behind the driver's seat. Her small index finger quivered, while pointing in the direction of the passenger window behind Jessica. The brunette's head swung around, her stare locked with another's.

Pounding the window with semi-open fists was a repugnant man. The whole left side of his unshavened face was missing flesh. Many of his tendons were unsnapped and dangled from his open jaw. This caused his bottom mandible to look lopsided. His entire left eye was washed out, not even a pupil resided within the glossy sphere. The left ear was completely gone, only shredded musle was forgotten.

Jessica continued to watch for another minute or two until she opened the glove compartment and began fishing for her sheathed butcher knife. The brunette's trembling hands grasped the leather, that covered the blade of the kitchen utensil, before maneuvering over the middle console into the driver's seat. Just as Jessica was about to open the door, she heard a thunk against the passenger window then a gargled, raspy breath. 

Her gaze shifted to the other side of the vehicle once more, except there wasn't an infected leaning against the door beating it's misshapened fists into the glass. Instead, there was grayish blood smeared against the smooth surface. 

Annie released a gasp, as she took notice of a figure gradually making their way around the hood of the Ford. "Sean!!!"

She was right. Making his way toward the driver side, while cleaning his blade with rag from his back pocket, was Annie's older brother, Sean. Jessica managed to relocate her bottom into the passenger seat just as the driver-side door opened. Sean scooted in then locked all the doors. Before buckling, he shifted in his seat until he was face to face with his younger sister. "You're okay, Annie?"

The only repsonse he got from the eight-year-old was a nod. Sean's auburn gaze landed upon Jessica. "How about you?"

She gave a simple nod. "I'm fine."

His eyes scrutinized the other teenager. "Are you sure?" 

He reached over the middle console and gently laid a callused hand against her scorching skin. Sean loosened a disheartened sigh. "You're still burning up." He diagnosised. "And sweating."

It has been two days since they left the high school. Two days since they left Tallahassee. Two days since Jessica was bitten by her younger brother, who she tried to save. Over the past forty-eight hours, the brunette hadn't been able to do anything except sleep. She wasn't sure it's because her immune system is trying to fight the virus or it was slowly taking over her body. Every so often, like at that moment, they would stop along the highway and explore some of the abandon vehicles, scavenging for anything; clothes, food, weapons, and most importantly medicine.

Jessica released a discontent sigh. "This infection is not going to wear off." Her olive gaze locked with Sean's. "One of these days, it's going to take over. You might as well leave me here and continue on."

Sean's fingers interlocked with Jessica's. "I'm not going to let that happen. You're going to be fine."

The two teenagers had this discussion before and the results were always the same; Sean convincing the brunette that she was going to survive.

Jessica simply nodded. "So, do we have a destination?"

Sean untangled his fingers from Jessica's. He opened the middle console, moving things aside, until he came across the map. He unfolded the map and laid it against the dashboard. 

"While you have been resting, I came across a radio frequency saying there is a safe zone in Thomasville." Sean explained. "We could head that way and check it out. "

Jessica shrugged with her good shoulder. "What other choice do we have."

Sean bobbed his head, signalling he agreed

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