Chapter Five Part Two - Pony

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“Did you see that?” Jackie asked, slamming her foot onto the brake.

“Couldn’t really miss it,” Fiona replied. “Haven’t seen anything in the sky since all of this began. Nothing man made, anyway.”

“I didn’t really mean the helicopter,” said Jackie as she put the Land Rover into reverse gear. “If anyone was left on board they’re definitely dead. That helicopter was coming down ridiculously fast and hard but someone jumped out before it passed overhead.”

Utilising the vehicle’s four-wheel drive capabilities Jackie drove the thing in reverse for about three hundred yards. She slammed her foot to the brake once again and headed down a gravelly track that wound through the forest. Shrubs and trees flashed by, branches smacking the vehicle regularly due to the overgrown and underused nature of the track.

“You know that whoever it was that jumped, it wasn’t Annalise?”

“Aye, unless she managed to get hold of an Army helicopter somehow, I’m aware of that. Thing is, I wouldn’t feel right if we left a potential survivor out here alone.”

“We’re pretty close to the first hotel we located, aren’t we?”

“Yeah, we are.”

“Then the chances are that those bastards there saw the helicopter, too.”

“We’d best be quick then,” said Jackie, turning to face Fiona briefly, a smile upon her face. “Get in and out before they have a chance to get down here.”

 "Do you think ‘Lise came this way?”

"I don’t know,” Jackie replied, honestly. “I do know Annalise though, and I suspect she’ll be back at the hotel before we are… I couldn’t just sit around waiting though, just in case.”

"Besides, Jack and…” Eyes wide with fright, Fiona slammed her hands to the dashboard in front of her whilst screaming, “watch out!”

Jackie saw the pony too late to brake and instinctively pulled down hard on the wheel, causing the Land Rover to veer wildly to the left and head on into a tree.

***

Jackie came too. Her head felt heavy, painful, and opening her eyes caused more of the same pain to attack every inch of her body.

When she did manage to get her eyes open and to keep them as such, she looked straight ahead and saw that their vehicle was severely damaged, wrapped as it was around the tree. Steam rose violently from the engine block which itself was quite visible in place.

She was vaguely aware of a worrying noise to her left. A glance in that direction brought her to full consciousness pretty quickly as she saw a knocked out Fiona lolled forwards in her seat, her arm protruding through the shattered glass of the passenger side window. The noise she had heard was that of pair of Zeds chewing upon Fi’s arm.

“Oh, shit..!”

She went to open her own door, but looking out of the window she saw at least five more Zeds approaching reasonably quickly through the trees.

"Double shit!”

Just when she thought she was either going to die in the Land Rover or have to take her chances running – and most likely fending off, by the time she managed to get out of the vehicle – five Zeds, she heard first one gun shot then another, and the two Zeds that had been gnawing on Fiona slumped against the four-wheel drive.

A third shot went straight through the still-unconscious Fiona’s head, and embedded itself in the headrest behind.

“Out!” A female voice yelled. “And quickly. I don’t wanna’ have to waste ammo when I don’t need to.”

Jackie did not need telling twice and with a final glance at Fiona’s corpse, she clambered over her dead companion and shouldered the passenger door open.

"This way!”

Jackie could not see whom it was that was shouting but she could easily discern from which direction the shouts were coming and she broke into a run, leaping through bushes and dodging trees. Within seconds another female was running beside her.

"Thanks,” said Jackie, panting.

"Don’t thank me yet,” the woman replied, showing no signs at all of being short of breath as she ducked a low hanging briar. To their right, spooked by the rapid movement of the humans, three ponies bolted and soon the women were following in their wake. “Passed over a town before I bailed, looked like there was a hospital.”

“That’s good, I guess,” Jackie replied. “You don’t look injured though.”

“I’m not,” the woman replied, “but you are. That head wound looks pretty nasty. We need to clean it up as quickly as we can.”

As she ran, Jackie touched the tips of her fingers to her forehead. She hadn’t even realised she was hurt but sure enough, there was a large amount of blood there, running forwards from a deep wound just beyond her hairline.

“Oh, crap…”

“Don’t wuss out on me now. Just gotta’ run a couple of miles due east and we’ll have it sorted.”

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