A faint yell from Wade had Dylan running for the cabin. His stomach clenched as he readied himself for another fight. Bursting through the front door, he saw his brother pinned to the floor by two of the sick and more heading toward him.
A doorway stood to Dylan's left. He pushed two of them through it and banged the door shut behind them. He threw his body against a third, surprised at its still solid weight. The sick man fell backward into the wall behind him, banging his head on the 2 x 4, and denting the plyboard around it. He let out a low broken cry as if he were gargling, then he slid down the wall and remained motionless at the bottom.
Rushing to his brother, he pulled a particularly aggressive Sick off him. Her hands clutching his shirt so tightly that it ripped as Dylan dragged her back. Wrestling the woman around, he pinned her between a wall and a couch.
Dylan started to go back to help his brother with the other one, just as a shiver went through him. Someone stood behind him. Hot breath on his neck clinched it, while the rancid smell told him who had followed him into the cabin.
You've gotta be kidding me!
With no room to swing his bow, an elbow to the face was the best he could do. It was enough to slow the sick down until Dylan picked up part of a broken straight chair and tightly grasping its smooth surface broke it over his head. This time didn't get up.
Dylan reached out to help pull Wade up off the floor. As they hurried out, Wade slammed the door shut behind them.
"That didn't go as smoothly as I thought it would," Wade said, "We need to be more careful. Maybe we need to just start, you know..."
Dylan nodded as he tried to get his breath to settle. "I can't kill 'em outright," Dylan said almost regretfully, "I just can't but if their comin' at me- well, that's a different story."
Wade shot a look over at the two remaining Sick. "I feel like leavin' those other two."
Dylan shook his head. "We can't. Ya know we can't. What if they got loose and started roamin' the mountain?"
"I know, but if they cause a ruckus, I'm doin' what I need to do."
Walking over to the sick man and woman, Dylan looked them over. Their clothes were torn in spots and just as dirty as the rest of the group. The woman's long hair lay snarled and littered with dead leaves over her shoulder.
Even in this advanced stage of the disease, Dylan thought, it seemed as though some bit of humanity seemed to cling to them. Maybe it was the lack foam coming from their mouths, making them appear more normal. Maybe it was because there was more than confusion on their faces. When Dylan pulled his knife, the woman reached for the man, fear in her eyes.
Not for the first time, his hatred of this disease hit him, and his jaw tightened, but as he looked at this couple, a new dread filled him. This could be him and Skye, who said it wouldn't be one day. They thought they had beat it, but what if they hadn't.
He pitied them and hoped to somehow get through to them. He gentled his voice as he said, "I'm gonna use this knife to cut you loose. Then we're gonna take you to that cabin until we can get ya somewhere they'll take care of ya. Okay?"
There was no nod of acknowledgment, so solid recognition of what was said, just a slight squinting of their eyes as if they were trying to understand. A quick nod from Dylan to Wade had him watching for an attack on their part as Dylan knelt to loosen them from the brush.
Dylan cut the woman loose first, slowly and carefully, so as not to startle or hurt her. But he needn't have worried even when she was loose she stood perfectly still.
Getting the man free went just as smoothly, then Dylan and Wade stepped back from the couple and waited to see what they would do. The pair, though a bit unsteady, calmly stood there, their eyes wide as if waiting for instruction.
Wade waved in the direction he wanted them to go. "The cabin's right this way," he said walking toward it . The couple gradually started to follow him. Dylan took the rear, watching their stiff, clumsy gaits as they drew their feet behind them.
The man put his hand to the woman's back as if ready to help her making Dylan wonder if the gesture had been so ingrained in him it was automatic or if he still knew what he was doing. When they arrived at the door, Wade opened it and roughly pushed back two of the sick that struggled for freedom.
The couple stepped into the house and waited for the door to shut, their wide, disoriented gaze on the men.
"I swear we'll get ya help," Dylan said, his voice gruff with emotion as Wade pulled the door shut.
This is why he couldn't just mow them all down, every time he started thinking of them as things, he was given a reminder that they were humans. Unfortunate people who had been in the wrong place and contracted this disease. A disease that made them act in a way they would never have acted when they were healthy.
They were people who had watched their whole world crumble before their eyes. Dylan didn't mean the cities, towns, and governments. He didn't care about that and didn't see why anyone else would in this situation.
What he meant were the things that mattered more than that, the things a person held dear. The destruction and loss of a home, like the one he and his brother had built. One that had been constructed and carefully tended to for years.
The items a person had proudly created. Dylan thought of the knife he carried, the handle he had carefully hand-carved and the hours he had willingly given it so it would have the perfect grip.
Most of all, though, the people who surrounded you. His brother, Skye, and the boy. The affection he was developing for the rest of their new little community.
What if he had to watch that all be taken away from him? Worse yet, stand vigil as one of them turned into one of these? Watching his dad had been bad enough, his gut twisted as he imagined how much worse it would be if he actually cared about the person.
For better or for worse, Dylan's humanity clung to him much like it clung to these two Sick, and he was perfectly okay with it doing so.
A/N: Thanks so much for reading Sanctuary! I hope you enjoyed the chapter. :) Please press the little star if you did.
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Sanctuary's Aggression Book 2: The CapturedScience Fiction
#47 in Action/Adventure, #6 in post-apocalyptic. This sci-fi post-apocalyptic survival story continues with Skye and Dylan hope to enjoy the calm of Cole's Mountain. The community builds homes, plant, and tentatively rejoice that the worse is over u...