“What’d he say?”

 

“…Zombies…aren’t blind?”

 

“Damn…That changes things a bit…”

 

“How can that be? The one’s at school were definitely blind.”

“Hold on, looks like he’s waking up a bit.”

 

*Cough* *cough* “Ugh…”

“Take it easy dude. You look pretty beat up.”

“They…saw us…not safe…”

“Dude, don’t worry we’re boarded up in here. they can’t get in and they don’t know we’re here.”

 

He’s wearing some kind of uniform. His pants are ripped down one leg and he’s missing his left sleeve. “He’s got guns. Lots of ammo in his pack. Some kind of chewy bar things too.”

“Hey dude, anything you can tell us? What happened to you out there?”

 

Teddy takes a few sips of water, spitting out the first two due to coughing. “Think he’s sick?”

“…Not, sick. Out of shape. Had to run…hard to get away…”

“Out of shape? Aren’t you a soldier?”

“…A guard…”

“A guard for what?”

 

“Hold on, hold on. You said they could see…did you mean the zombies?”

 

“Yeah…we were in the clear, moving slow…we saw one ahead of us so we try to duck around it…it wasn’t facing us…it was, looking up…

“Frankie…my partner, she was ahead of me. I looked back…to make sure none were close behind us…then the one ahead stopped moving and looked right at her…tilting its head slightly up and down, assessing her…

“She looked back at me…it broke into a sprint straight at her, it saw my gun. It knew to try and make me miss…slammed her head against a tree, killing her instantly…

“I shot it in the head when it tried to eat her…”

 

“Did she turn?”

“No. It has to enter in through an open spot on the body. Like, the mouth or the eyes.”

“What does?”

“The bile. Looks like sweat but, the mutation makes them create bile on a high level and secrete it through the skin. That’s the only way it spreads.”

 

“I’m, I’m gonna be sick…that’s gross. I’d prefer to just get bitten.”

“How, do you know all this?”

 

“We were, guarding the town up ahead. Making sure, it wasn’t more destroyed than it already is. We have a research team there, working to…better understand the virus. 

“Frankie and I came out to try and find a couple more subjects. One would distract and the other would put a top around its neck from behind. Once it was down, we’d put a rope between it’s jaws and drag it through the trees back to town.”

 

“If it was just the one zombie, why did you run?”

“Wasn’t just the one. After I shot it, others heard the sound and I saw them…I saw them seeing me. They’re faster, when they see you…they become more like a pack of hunters.

“…I had to leave here there…I ran, and kept running. Fell down an incline, thought I was safe. 

“One of em jumped down after me…wen’t for my neck, I used my arm to try and stop it, missed my flesh and tore off my sleeve…”

 

“What about your leg?”

“It caught up, couldn’t catch my footing. It grabbed my foot and started to drag me, right past a jagged rock under leaves.”

“How’d you get away?”

“Kicked it in the back of the knee. When it fell, used the rock to get rid of the brain.”

“No more of them chased you?”

“Didn’t wanna waste time to look, or wait to find out…thank you.”

 

“Don’t mention it.”

 

Vic and Izzy exchange a look, of skepticism. I’m on the fence about him but he has more supplies so, it’s a plus. “What, do you think changed in them to make them see now, at least some of them anyways?”

“I, don’t think it was something inside.”

“Why not?”

“One we saw was, for some reason, staring straight up. You guts notice the eclipse?”

“Yeah. Drove right through it.”

“I think that’s the source. Whatever the mutation did to make them go blind, the eclipse reversed it…or, improved it…”

“But, not all of them can see now right?”

“Just a few, that I could tell. Unless all of them happened to look up all at the same time.”

 

“Vic, what’s going on?”

“I dunno, just, something seems off. Like, he knows more than he says.”

“I mean, give the guy a break. He did kinda just escape with his life.”

 

“No, Flo, there are just a couple things that don’t sit well with me.”

“Like?”

“Well, we you guys picked me up at the candy store, I had a story to tell but the shock of it all, was a bit too much for me to want to talk.”

“Everyone handles shock differently.”

“…There’s just something about him. Something’s, off.”

 

“At least we have a few more answers as to what these things are and how it spreads. Connor.”

“What’s up?”

“You get any kind of vibes from this guy?”

“Not really. Why?”

“No, reason. I think, I’d feel better if we were able to see this town he’s been guarding.”

“We’ll stay here tonight and head out in the morning. Gives us time to come up with a game plan.”

 

Leanne is sitting by the window, peering out into the trees. “Hey. “

“Huh, oh hey.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah, just.”

“What?”

“…*Sniffle*”

“Oh, hey…It’s alright. We’ve all been through a lot. Let it out, it’s okay. We all went through this…” She, nestles into my shoulder. 

“It’s worse, it’s always worse…when, does it ever get better?”

“I, I don’t know. But, I think that’s why we have to stick together. We have to try and find ways to make it through whatever comes at us.”

 

Teddy hobbles over to us, staring out of the crack in-between boards blocking the window. “I don’t think you girls have anything to worry about. They can’t see through walls. We’re safe for the night.”

Neither of us says anything. Leanne wipes her eyes on my shoulder. “So, Teddy. Who hired you to guard this town anyways?”

“Private company. They set up in town a week before all this happened. I showed up a couple days later. Said they, ‘…specialized in new organic approaches to previously toxic scientific approaches.’ Whatever that means.”

“What were you guarding for them?”

“A few buildings in town.”

“No idea, what’s in those buildings?”

“People now, but I don’t think they got to do much of what they wanted on account of all this.”

 

He reaches his hand into his ripped pant leg pocket. “Hey, you look like you enjoy pumpkin pie. Try this.”

He hands Leanne one of his chewy bars.

“Gotta be honest with you though, it smells better than it tastes. Still, close your eyes and it’s almost like the real thing.”

“How much like the real thing?”

“Twenty percent, all pie crust too.”

“Haha, ooo a whole twenty percent.”

“I could just take it back.”

“No, I’ll give it a shot.”

Leanne smiles as she takes the first bite, then coughs and glares at Teddy. “Think, your math is off.”

“Now you’re stuck with it.” Teddy rips open a second bar and taps it on Leanne’s, “Cheers.” 

 

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