As I sit on the cold floor of the armory with one hand on my gun and the other on Nell’s head in my lap, I begin to think about my life before all this chaos.
How happy I was with my little family. Christian and I had a very good relationship. There was no fighting and barely any arguing. He kept me on my toes and laughing. If I had a hard day at work he would always rub my feet as I expelled all the negative energy of the day. There was a day that I got into an argument with my commanding officer about something stupid but I was so livid about it. I got home and it was like he already knew that there was something wrong. He put Lucy down for bed, drew me a bath, and gave me a glass of wine. It was a perfect ending to a bad day. I love and miss him so much.
Then my mind begins to wander to deeper and darker things. I try not to think about what was going on across the room with Martinez let alone the craziness going on out in the world. The memories keep coming at me in waves about how it all started. There were theories about a virus that was released from a top secret lab, super rabies, and even a poison gas that was sent over by another country. I didn’t believe any of these theories, well my first thought was rabies, but I know them not to be true after meeting Nell. She has to be a part of whatever is going on. I need to find more about her if I am going to be able to help her.
Martinez is in such a deep sleep that it looks like he isn’t even breathing. I have to get up and check on him. Walking closer to him I notice that his collar is wet and so is his hair. Is he sweating? I crouch down next to him and feel his forehead, he’s burning up. How can that be? I treated his wound but maybe I was just too late to stop the infection from spreading to the rest of his body. Who knows how long is has been since he was shot.
I pull up the blanket that was covering his leg and slowly peel back the bandage. The wound reeks of infection and now the pus has turned into a puke green color. I had to cover my nose and mouth from the stench. It is the worst infection I have ever seen on anyone and I have seen my fair share of wounds being a medic. Looking back at the wound closely it looks as if it has its own pulse. I put the bandage back down and cover him back over.
His breathing is very shallow, almost undetectable, and I know he didn’t have to much longer to live. Whatever type of infection this is it’s very aggressive and fast acting. My next instinct was to look at his pupils and see if they are responsive. I pull back his eyelid and I am taken back with what I saw. They are the same milky blue as my neighbor Bill.
“This can’t be happening , right now” I said to myself.
I scoot back over on my butt to Nell, trying not to make any noise or sudden movements. Covering Nell’s mouth with my left hand, I startled her awake. She starts to fight me but once she opened her eyes and realized it is me she stopped.
“Corporal Martinez is very sick” I whispered. Thinking of the best way to console a child without frightening her.
“I know. He is changing.” she replied.
“Changing? Changing into what?” I was more shocked at her coldness in her voice rather than the words themselves.
She looks down at her hands and just shook her head.
“Changing into what Nell?” I demanded a little louder.
It is too late, she shut down and I know I’m not going to get anymore information out of her now.
Earlier that night I packed another go-bag with MREs, ammo, more knives, and four more handguns, and one twelve gauge shotgun. I also found a smaller sawed off shotgun that I placed over my shoulder and a silencer for my nine millimeter. The only door to the room seems to be about a mile away from where we are sitting. We start to move very slowly towards the door on our hands and knees. Martinez is not moving and to me he seems to be dead.
Nell pulls down on my arm for me to bend over to her, “he is dead but he is going to wake back up,” her voice shaking.
We only cross the room a few feet,when I hear the most disturbing sound I have ever heard in my life coming from the other side of the room. We freeze in place. I can feel Nell’s grip tightening on my arm as if bracing for impact. It sounds like a moan from a human but also like when a tiger chuffs.
“This can’t be good.” I mean to say that in my head but it escapes my lips.
Nell let out a whine out but I cover her mouth. I decide that it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and make it to the door. It is still about 30 feet away.
So I push Nell back into the corner and cover her over with the blanket. Martinez has to die in order for us to get out. I can’t risk him chasing us through the complex and I know when he gets up off the floor and sees us, we won’t have a chance to make it to the door.. With my experience with the infected I have learned that they are as quick as I am and sometimes even faster than me.
Gun in hand, I move slowly around the table to be on the same side of the room as he is. He still has not gotten up off the floor yet, that’s a good thing, “maybe I can just sneak up and shoot him in the head.” I think.
I made my body move inch by inch, closing in on his disgusting smelling corpse. The pus is running down his leg and I notice that the blood is already coagulating. His moaning stops when I am about three feet away from him. My mind flashes to all the horror movies that I have watched in the past, the bad guy always seems dead until the person is right on top of them and jumps up for one last scare. To hell if I make that mistake, I stand up so I can get a clear shot. About to pull the trigger when Nell let out a little whine and I turn my head to see if she is ok.
“Shhh….it’ll be ok” I whisper over to her.
The moment I look back he is standing in front of me and lunges. Pulling the trigger the bullet missed his head and lodges in his the neck. He pushes me back against one of the cabinets with such a force that I drop my gun. I have no idea where it slid off to either. Using my arm against his neck is the only thing that is stopping his teeth from sinking into my throat. I manage to get my leg up between us and push him backwards off of me.
His body hits one of the steel tables. I bet it was a rib that just snapped but it did not faze him. I look on the floor for my gun, I still don’t see it. Nell makes a squealing noise and it snaps Martinez’s attention and he lets out an ear piercing shriek and starts to moves towards the noise.
“Hey, over here you son of a bitch.” I scream.
It works, his milky blue eyes are locked back on to me. I run as fast as I can at him and catch him around the waist. I do not know if it was the adrenaline or mother’s instinct but I was able to pick him up off of his feet and slam him onto the floor. I want to scream at Nell to get out but I do not know what is on the other side of the door. So I have to deal with this crazed version of Martinez ,”but how?” I wonder.
I put my knees on his arms to immobilize him and I pull the sawed off shotgun from my back. He was thrashing around and still trying to bite me, so I put the gun in his mouth.
“I’m so sorry” I whispered, turned my head, and pulled the trigger.
The recoil of a shot that close sent lightning pain from my wrist to my shoulder. It almost feels like I dislocated it. My right ear is ringing and my vision is beginning to blur with tears.
There is blood and brain matter everywhere including all over me. I get off his chest and stumble backwards. “What kind of person am I becoming?”, I know that I had to do it but I still just murdered someone, again. I can’t think about my morality right now, I need to think about Nell’s.