tagSci-Fi & FantasyFrom the Blood of the Wolf Ch. 03

From the Blood of the Wolf Ch. 03

byLL_Timber©

I woke to the sound of Mitch yelling my name in a desperate tone and I tried to move but hurt too badly. My head hurt, my shoulder hurt even more. I was down at the bottom of the hill, half in and half out of the creek. I tried to pull myself up and realized that my left shoulder was dislocated. I guessed that I was in some form of shock because I didn't pass out. I sat in the mud, staring at the rocks under the water for a moment. I laughed at how clumsy I was.

Then, in a brief, painful moment, everything changed. I screamed out in terrible agony. Something was ripping into my left arm. I didn't have to look. I knew what it was. It was teeth, tearing through my shirt, sinking into my flesh. Almost instinctively, I pulled the revolver from the waist band of my shorts and prayed that the wet gun would fire as I pulled the trigger. The blast hurt my ears. The zombie that had been attempting to making a meal of my arm fell dead into the creek.

I stared at the gun in my hand and watched as it dropped into the water. Fear, relief, pain, hope, love, despair...all faded away. I was numb. I knew I was dead. It was only a matter of hours before I would be something...not me. Forty-eight hours before I ceased to exist...maybe even less time than that.

Mitch leaped down into the creek with me. "Anna!" His voice was rough and hoarse from yelling and screaming my name. He didn't even pause to check my condition before he hoisted me up in his arms and ran up the steep embankment.

If I was able to feel, I knew that I would have cried just from the look of sheer terror etched in Mitch's handsome face as he ran me to the frame house. If he only would have noticed my condition...he would have known there was no reason to waste energy to try and get me help. "Mitch," I said.

I knew that he heard me but he didn't say anything. He didn't even glance at me. His goal was the back of the house, where the man with the bow stood earlier.

I saw the stranger run to the back door of his home and open it for us. He motioned for Mitch to bring me inside. I should have been amused at the fact that just an hour earlier, the stranger was ready to shoot us...and now he urged us into his home. Everything was in slow motion, even as Mitch laid me down in the first bed I had been on in a week.

"What happened?" Asked the stranger.

Mitch stood like a statue as he looked at my badly injured arm...dislocated and zombie bitten. He gently took my left hand into his right hand. "I really don't know," he said somberly. "She disappeared after I saw her leave the barn. I had been calling her name for a few minutes when I heard her scream and then I heard a shot fired." Mitch dropped to his knees and buried his face into the bed next to me. I knew then that he knew. He knew I was dead.

"Mitch," I said.

He lifted his head. His beautiful green eyes were blood shot and watery, but he wasn't crying. Mitch didn't look at my eyes, but to my battered arm. His jaw clenched tightly as he slowly pulled the torn bits of my blood-soaked sleeve from the horrible wound. He was afraid to look into my eyes.

"Please look at me."

He swallowed hard and finally met my gaze.

I know that most people re-live the past when they are faced with their own mortality, but I guess I'm not like most people. When I looked at Mitch right then, I had a vision of what could have been. All that I would have shared with him, how happy we would have been together. I wanted to bring my hand to his face to comfort him, but, thanks to my shoulder being out of joint, that was impossible. "Please...could you get Keith for me," I whispered.

Mitch's face turned red. "No!" He shouted. "No, I won't! You aren't finished yet, Anna! Don't you give up!" As if a flood gate had been opened, the water in his eyes spilled over his lower lashes. Tears streamed down his face. "I won't let you leave me again!" Mitch put his left arm over me and buried his head back into the bed, but this time, he was sobbing.

I looked at the stranger who still stood by the bed. I noticed that he was close to our age. "I'll be right outside," he said and left the room.

I was taken-aback by how protective and emotional Mitch was over me. Seriously, we had only met a couple of days ago. Could he really already be that much in love... with me? That would totally be my luck. An Adonis falls in love with me...then I get bit by a zombie. I closed my eyes. Wait...what was the bit about leaving him...AGAIN?

"What did you mean, 'don't leave me again'," I asked him as my right hand found his left. He squeezed my hand tightly.

Mitch lifted his head and sniffed hard a few times in an attempt to fight off his raw emotions. If his hand wasn't in mine, I would have sworn he had left the room as he grew silent. Then I heard him cough to clear his throat. "I know you don't remember me...but we were in the 6th and 7th grade together in Woodland."

"What?" Mitch went to school with me? I tried hard to remember his name...his face...

I must have made a puzzled face because he laughed softly before he continued. "Yeah, I was pretty shy back then. I doubt I would have remembered me. "

I opened my eyes, turned my face to him. His right hand picked at the afghan which covered the bed. While he was looking at the bed, his focus wasn't...he was gone to another time. A faint smile found it's way to his lips as he spoke. "The first time I saw you, we were in PE. Right away, I knew you were different. Most of the Woodland girls had started acting like they were too good to play anymore, especially in PE. They'd rather sit around, talking about boys or they'd act like they didn't know how to play. But not you," he laughed again. "You were stubborn, even then. While playing basketball, you were tripped and hit your knee on the floor. I guess that re-opened a recent wound there...your leg started bleeding. I remember that you looked down at your knee and asked for a tissue. You didn't cry or even grimace in pain. I watched as you stood there, holding the tissue to your leg watching the game and checking the tissue every so often. I swear it was like three minutes and you were out playing again, acting like nothing had happened."

I actually remembered that. I did break open an old scab when I was tripped. It had hurt, but my team was winning. I wasn't about to let that keep us from beating the other girls. "You were there," I half asked and half stated.

"You were so strong and so beautiful. I fell in love with you that day." He squeezed my hand harder. "Then, when you switched to Battle Ground, I was heart broken. I so regretted not talking to you. I tried everything I could to get my parents to transfer me. And after my parents split, I even convinced my mom to move to the Valley...so I could be closer to you. I never saw you then, so I had Ben keep me up-to-date on your life."

"So, you coming with us hiking wasn't just a, 'hey, my friend Mitch has never been to Indian Heaven and he wants to go' thing, as Ben made it sound?"

"No," Mitch cleared his throat again. "I put him up to it. Actually, I begged him."

I smiled. "Why didn't you tell me this before?"

He grinned and brushed my cheek with his thumb. "What...and seem like the stalker that I really am?"

I couldn't keep down the giggle. It hurt, but I giggled anyway. "Yeah, you're pretty much the epitome of a stalker. Glad you refrained from mailing me your ear or something."

Mitch laughed. "The thought had crossed my mind." He was being sarcastic.

"Right..."

The room became quiet. I caught a glimpse of the stranger standing in the hallway, leaning up against the door jam. He had been standing there the whole time, taking in Mitch's story. When our eyes met, he came into the room. "I don't want to get your hopes up, but I know of something kinda risky that might keep the virus from advancing."

I felt both of our hearts stop. Mitch quickly looked up at the stranger. "Serious?!"

I watched the stranger. Stranger hesitated. I could tell there was something else...a catch. "It has to be her decision though...she would have to live with the possible side effects."

Side effects. What could be worse than being a zombie? "What are they," I asked.

He looked at the floor, then back to me, shaking his head. "I'm really not even sure. It's something my uncle had been messing with for about a year now. All I know is that he mentioned something about possible blindness, paralysis or advanced virility of the virus."

I considered what he said. My thoughts started to fuzz around the edges and I felt a chill. I had a fever. The virus was starting to effect my body. It was only going to get worse. "If we don't try, I'm dead anyway. A slim chance is better than none." I could sense Mitch's hope rising.

Stranger nodded. "I'll get the stuff then," he said and left the room.

I turned to face Mitch. "You have to promise me something."

"Anything," he said without blinking. I could tell that in his mind, he had already decided I would make it out of this. Perhaps the emotional condition of being in love makes those effected overly optimistic or able to believe in anything with a happy ending?

"No, I mean REALLY promise me this, Mitch."

His eyes narrowed. "What."

"If I go blind, if I'm paralyzed, if this doesn't work, you have to promise to end me." I thought about how hard it would be for me to agree to such a promise if the situation were reversed. "I'm sorry I have to ask you for this."

Poor Mitch went white. I could only imagine how difficult it was to hear me ask him to kill me. Spending the last several years wanting to be with me...and when he finally was...I ask him for this. "I won't have to," he manages to say. "This will work." He smiled, straighten up a bit and put a hand on my dislocated shoulder. "And I'm sorry for what I'm about to do..." Mitch grabbed my left hand with his other hand and quickly pushed my shoulder down while he pulled my left hand.

I felt nothing, but heard an awful, stomach-turning pop as my shoulder found it's rightful place. I almost had forgotten that it was dislocated.

"Okay?" Mitch studied my face.

My lids felt heavy and I was cold. "I'm fine."

"Anna", Mitch said.

I forced my eyes to focus on him. It wasn't easy. I wanted to sleep. I knew he could tell that the virus was slowly pulling me under.

"You have to fight," his voice was both gentle and stern. "if you don't, we might as well not even try this."

I knew he was right, but sleep sounded like the best thing on earth. I felt the darkness as it closed in on me, but it seemed more like a warm blanket than something scary.

"Fight this Anna. We need you," he said. Mitch gently placed his lips on mine and kissed me. He whispered, "I need you."

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