4 - The journey begins

Brie slowly peeked her head around the battered basement door. It had been silent for a few hours now, so they assumed they were alone. Hopefully.

She creeped out, cringing as the glass on the floor crunched under her feet loudly. She was thankful for her boots. They shielded her perfectly and kept her sprained ankle in good shape. Her limp had almost disappeared, leaving her with a slight sting whenever she bent it awkwardly.

Adam followed behind her, hoisting Melissa up onto his back since she didn't sleep as much.

"Where are we going?" She asked innocently. "Will we be looking for my family?"

Brie paused for a second. "We'll keep an eye out for them, but our priority is food. You don't want to be hungry, right?" She smiled and unhooked the lock from their front door.

At first glance, the street looked oddly normal. Birds were chirping loudly, there was a slight breeze. It was just another normal day.

However, once you glance again, you'll spot the unnatural. Red splatters dot around the road and a strange smell was wafting in and out of their senses. Brie didn't think much about it, but a knot in her stomach told her it wasn't a good scent.

"It seems safe enough." Adam declared and jogged to her side quickly. He took in the sight, then Brie saw him go pale. She followed his gaze and gasped as she spotted a lump of torn meat on the road. It was impossible to tell if the shape was human or not.

They stared, astonished. Brie couldn't find the right words, but when she did, she regretted speaking.

"What animal is that?" She gulped.

Adam shook his head softly. "Don't ask, let's just go."

He led them away in the opposite direction, happily taking the lead for this adventure. They hadn't seen a single sign of life except for birds.

Brie glanced around as they silently sped through the streets. Some houses were unlocked, with their doors wide open. Others seemed to have forced entrance. It looked like a huge creature went door to door, looking for people to eat, but it politely entered one house and smashed the door down in the next. Brie let her imagination run. She wondered how many monsters would be lingering in the shadows around them. A shudder crept up her back as she glanced around suspiciously.

Brie sidestepped over a puddle of red, almost gagging as a stench hit her nose. She covered her nostrils quickly, glaring back at the source.

"I feel like I'm swallowing metal." She struggled to speak but managed to rush away.

"Ignore it." Adam repeated once again.

Clouds covered the sun. The atmosphere was sad, yet the birds sounded happier than ever. Arguably, they were happy. The humans weren't here to bother them, they could do what they wanted.

Brie felt the breeze whip her hair back and forth and realized the wind was getting stronger by the second. Was it telling them to turn back?

The chaos around her seemed to be screaming at them to leave. She thought back to the movies she watched where the world ended and the protagonist would spend months searching for life. In a way, this gave her a lot of strength. It strived her to be better for the world, to stay alive, and to help others get through these difficult times. However, it also terrified her. That meant there was a plot twist, a hook. Just like any movie.

Adam halted as they reached the stores. The lights were off but the doors were wide open, inviting anyone to roam the aisles of treats.

"Here's the plan," Adam muttered quietly, as if there were people hiding, listening. "One of us will go in and collect as much as we can. We don't need a lot right now, only food, medical supplies, and water bottles."

Brie awkwardly scratched the back of her head. "We're stealing?"

"Does it look like anybody is in there? Don't worry." Adam finally put Melissa down to let her stretch her legs.

"Okay, I'll go in while you look-out for me. Melissa, keep watch!" Brie teased, smirking as Melissa stood straight and motioned a salute.

"Aye, aye!" Melissa whispered, surprisingly keeping her voice down. She was a smart eleven year-old.

Brie turned around, pulling her backpack further up her shoulders and treading into the store. She squinted as her eyes struggled to adjust to the dark, but the sunlight from nearby windows gave her a helpful dim glow.

She was shocked to see that a lot of shelves had already been raided. People must've panicked and ran to buy supplies they didn't even need. She scoffed, picking up a few cans of food.

"I've never stole before. It's a rush, I like it." She mumbled to herself quietly and traced her finger along the shelves as she walked.

As she scanned the items, her eyes stopped on the DIY section. She specifically noticed a lot of sharp objects.

She picked up a knife, tearing it out of the package and pulling off the cover to reveal the sharpened blade. It caught the light from the window and glinted menacingly. Nodding to herself in satisfaction, she put the cover back on and slid it into her back pocket.

"Just in case..." She grabbed another knife and dropped it into her bag. It would be relaxing to know they had weapons on them.

After collecting a few more items that they'd need, she turned around and looked back. She'd made her way to the back of the store, therefore having to navigate through the aisles to find the main entrance.

After a few seconds of walking, she jumped as a large clash came from the aisle to her left.

"It's the wind making things fall." She guessed and turned her head, ready to continue, but another noise made her halt instantly.

"Aa-ah... my toe..."

Brie felt herself almost stop breathing and she fell into a squat, staring through the shelves that separated the aisles. Peering, she spotted a person swaying in place. It was a man with long blonde hair.

As Brie got a closer look, she noticed the blood dripping from his face. His eyes were open, but she couldn't seem to see his eyeballs.

Was he blind?

She crept quietly, but the man heard her footsteps.

"Who is it?! If it's another freak I'm going to stab your eyes out like you did to mine!" He yelled out, his voice cracking in pain. He thrust his arm out, batting at the air like a cat.

"I'm not a freak. I'm just collecting supplies and leaving." Brie's voice trembled as he staggered towards her. He bent over and pulled a small butterknife out of his foot. She didn't notice it before and was confused as to how it even got there.

In a way, he was similar to Mr Anderson. Pain didn't bother him. He sounded crazy and was drenched in blood.

Did that mean he was infected by this crazy disease?

Brie backed away quickly. He heard and lunged forward after her.

"I want everyone to feel my pain!" He roared and swung his knife in rage. Brie took a deep breath, feeling the adrenaline rush to her head.

Quickly thinking, she realized he was blind.

Stepping lightly, she managed to reduce her noise. If he couldn't hear her, he won't be able to find her.

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