Sunday afternoon, 3:30 pm
The sweltering heat of the day had reached such a fevered temperature that it hurt to breathe. Georgia, Lorna and Iris waddled along, each of their steps growing smaller and less productive than the ones before. Carrying Rebecca on that makeshift stretcher didn’t make anything easier for them.
But Rebecca seemed to be holding up well, given her horrific circumstance. She didn’t feel much pain at all, but also didn’t have much control of her movements. So perhaps her neck wasn’t broken. Maybe it was just a spinal injury or maybe there had been some sort of nerve damage. There was no way Georgia could really tell. She was a pre med student and was knowledgeable on a lot, but didn’t know everything. Immobilizing Rebecca was far more important than a proper diagnosis, given where they were and where they would be until the following morning when help arrived.
They walked all over those woods, getting so lost at points that they had to stop to readjust their bearings. They got so overheated that they stopped to rest in the shade, from time to time. And all four of them were growing more and more dehydrated, the longer the day went.
It was so hot outside it didn’t seem possible this heatwave would end without one terrific downpour to break the humidity. And they all were praying for that possibility.
“How is she doing?” Lorna asked, she and Iris carrying one side of the front of the makeshift stretcher.
“She seems stable,” Georgia said from her carry of the back of the stretcher. “But she keeps falling asleep. I guess that’s a good thing, provided she keeps waking up every now and then.”
“Her condition is gonna make the rest of this day more difficult,” Lorna said, getting choked up. “Will she be alright until tomorrow?”
And at that moment, the gnarling sounds of the waddling dead filled the nearby woods, echoing off the trees and reverberating back in whatever direction they came from.
“Okay, girls,” Georgia whispered to them. “Let’s step to the side and get behind that tree but we have to keep her level.”
The three of them carefully stepped to the right, getting behind the tree and slowly kneeling down.
“Gently, and I mean gently place her on the ground,” Georgia whispered, already looking around for whichever zombie had just made that noise – but seeing none in the nearby areas.
“This is what I’m talking about,” Lorna whispered with tears in her eyes. “How are we going to be able to protect her like this?”
Georgia looked around again, seeing nothing nearby and not knowing how to respond to Lorna’s question.
Then Iris’s eyes grew big and wide as she held her right pointer finger up in front of her lips. Motioning for them to crouch down as low as possible, she pointed behind Georgia and to the rogue zombie that was wandering about 30 feet away. But this zombie wasn’t wandering aimlessly. It seemed to be looking for something, perhaps the living souls that it knew were somewhere nearby.
“It’s Olivia!” Iris mouthed silently, Georgia and Lorna now growing wide-eyed as well.
Indeed, it was Olivia – the girl who was yanked out through that cabin window by her face. She was obviously bitten and had turned into yet another waddling dead zombie, as if there weren’t enough already. And as if there wasn’t enough risk of present danger, it was at that moment that Rebecca woke up.
“Shh,” Georgia shushed her, leaning down and whispering softly in Rebecca’s ear. “We’ve got to stay absolutely quiet right now.”
Thankfully, Olivia never heard them and never saw them. Oh, she more than likely knew they were nearby. But as the girls would shortly learn, Olivia was looking for someone else just then.
And after Olivia had waddled a good distance away, the girls stood back up and picked up Rebecca, continuing their never-ending journey to return to the meager civilization of main camp.
“Wait,” Iris said, studying the pathway to their right – then looking around. “This is the back end of the nature trail.”
“Thank God,” Georgia said, exhaling. “Lead the way, girls.”
Cautiously but with renewed hope, the three of them carried Rebecca on that stretcher – straight down the nature trail. But they kept a very watchful eye in several directions. Not only were they looking for more zombies, but they were looking for hiding spots – should zombies have suddenly appeared.
“Where are we?” Rebecca said with a groggy and almost inaudible tone.
“We’re on the nature trail,” Georgia said, she and the others still keeping lookout. “How do you feel, Sweetie?”
“Usually with my hands,” Rebecca said, trying to lighten the mood – but to no avail as tears welled in her eyes. “But right now, I can’t feel much of anything. What happened to me?”
“You just took a fall, Becky,” Georgia answered, trying to downplay how serious the injury was as to not put the girl in a hysterical state. “But you need to stay flat until we can get you help.”
“Well,” Rebecca said, chuckling nervously. “No problem there.”
“What is that?” Iris said, seeing something setting up against the sorting log activity ahead.
Lorna took hold of both sticks on the front of the stretcher so Iris could run up to the object. Picking it up, she showed it to them.
“Okay,” Georgia said, she and Lorna carrying the stretcher up to Iris. “It’s someone’s baby bottle that got left here.”
“Not just anyone’s baby bottle,” Iris said, showing them what was written on the bottom of it. “Ursula’s baby bottle.”
They all stood there in silence, allowing that fact to sink in, though they still weren’t sure of its significance. Georgia, however, had indeed been piecing it together.
“Don’t drink from it,” Georgia said emphatically, thinking back to her conversation with Britney last night. “I wanna get a look at that well again.”
But before another second passed, a blood-curdling scream filled the woods of the nature trail – Georgia and Lorna carefully but quickly carrying Rebecca back behind the closest bush they could find. Iris joined them as they all squatted down and got quiet.
The hideous scream continued as Hillary limped up the nature trail, coming from the direction of main camp and suffering from some sort of ankle injury. Chasing after her and closing in her very quickly, were Heather, Olivia, Raquel, Denise and Eva – the five girls who had followed her when they were still fighting to stay alive. Now, they followed after her in death, all possessed to introduce the same virus to her that they were infected with.
Rebecca looked straight up at Georgia, unable to turn her head to watch the horrific scene but studying Georgia’s reactions and not wanting to look then. Helpless to do anything without risking themselves and Rebecca, Georgia, Lorna and Iris watched as Hillary struggled to get away.
It was Hillary’s right ankle that was not merely injured but likely broken. And for as much as she tried to hop away with swiftness, she couldn’t escape her familiar pursuers. After collapsing to the ground, she flipped over onto her back and tried to crawl back away from them, but the Horde five surrounded her.
With nothing to lose but everything, Hillary swiped the legs out from underneath two of them, then kicking at another one of them before flipping over onto her belly and trying to crawl away again. But it was Olivia who pounced on top of her, taking a handful of Hillary’s hair and yanking her head back before biting into her forehead.
Pinned to the ground, Hillary looked directly over at the hiding girls, seeing them and screaming one last time before she died. The Horde five stood over top of Hillary until they sensed her final heart beat passing. Then they wandered down the trail, heading away from main camp.
Georgia and the girls sat there in hiding, shocked and disturbed by what they had just witnessed. But their time of quiet recovery was short-lived as it seemed more were approaching them from the direction of the well.
Continue on to Episode 23
……………….. The ABDL Twisted Books