Chapter Five Part One - Soaked

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"Captain... Captain..."

There was no reply from the man at the helm, gripping the controls tightly as the Chinook lurched left, banking sharply.

"Captain!"

Bates made a grab for the controls but without warning the Captain's head lolled back, the momentum causing his entire body to fall to the right and as such, the Chinook lurched violently to the right. The sudden movement knocked the wind out of Bates. Had she not been wearing her safety harness it's quite likely she would have fallen through the cracked glass that served as a window.

That small mercy was short-lived, however, when the Captain raised his head and turned to face her. His eyes red and bulging, manically searching for a meal, yet still his hands gripped the controls.

"Oh you dumb fuck! Why didn't you tell me you'd got yourself bit?"

The now-Zed Captain was wearing his safety harness, just as Bates was. Another small mercy, as the things were quite restrictive. Bates had seen what the Zeds were capable of though, the feats of strength they were able to accomplish.

That was the sole reason they had breached the base just outside Douglas, the sole reason she and Captain Hammond had been the only two survivors of the base and now, the sole reason she was about to be Zed food high above the ground.

OK, not that far above the ground, she thought as she risked looking out of the window. The lurching to left and right had severely decreased the Chinook's altitude. She guessed at fifty or sixty feet and getting less by the second.

There was nothing for it. Unless she wanted to be an extra crispy lunch for a newly turned Zed, then she was going to have to make a jump for it. She highly doubted she had time to get into a parachute, so instead she unclipped her harness put her boot through the window, and searched the forest below for the closest thing she could find to a soft landing.

She saw the lake – well, no more than a pond really, but it would have to do. It was off to the left so as quickly as she could, keeping an eye on Hammond she lashed out with her left leg, catching the stick with enough force to drive the Chinook into a sharp bank in that direction.

Then, having quickly ensured her side arm was in place she grabbed hold of her rifle, took as large a handful of ammunition as she could carry, and leapt through the window.


***


Thankfully the drop was only around twenty feet. As Bates hit the water the impact knocked the wind out of her and for the briefest of moments she floundered, sinking like a stone. Her feet quickly came into contact with the bottom though, and she pushed off, her head breaking the surface within seconds.

She gasped for air, attempting to fill her lungs whilst simultaneously expelling what seemed like vast amounts of vile, rancid pond water.

Bates swam for the nearest shore, retrieving her rifle from where it bobbed upon the rippling surface. Reaching dry land she dragged her soaked body out of the water.

"Fuck," she muttered. She removed her pack, not nearly as heavy nor bulky as she would have liked, and opened it up. Most of what was inside was as soaked as she was, however towards the bottom was a waterproof section where she knew she had sealed a spare pair of clothes and a packet of cigarettes.

Moments later she had laid her soaked clothes out on the grass, hoping that the Sun would dry them quickly. The contents of her pack was similarly placed. A few rations and some cooking utensils would not take long to dry but the map was ruined. Upon that was marked the location of the New Forest Military Encampment. She had studied the map well enough though, and she hoped that she would be able to locate it from memory.

Her ears pricked up at the sound of an engine and tyres driving reasonably quickly on gravel. Instinctively she reached for her rifle. Just because she was dressed in what were essentially a pair of cut-off jeans and an old Iron Maiden t-shirt, she was plenty capable of defending herself.

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