“Time to get up kid!” I could hear Ethan telling me. I can’t believe he woke up before me. I thought, frustrated. “I have a name you know.” I said irritably as I opened my eyes. “What time is it?” I asked as I stood and stretched. “The sun just came up about a half hour ago. It’s still early but I thought we would want to get moving before it got much later.” He looked at me smile still on his face but his eyes were filled with the unspoken question. “What do you mean ‘we’?” I replied, fully awake now. I don’t think I can take him even if he is still bruised from yesterday. “There is no we here. We agreed to split the supplies today and go our separate ways.” I looked at him fully prepared to bolt. He was smiling and looking at me, then he glanced at the floor and looked back up at me, still smiling.
“Look Dante you’re a tough kid clearly. You have to be to survive out here, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay on your own forever. I think it would be best if we travel together, it’d be good for both of us.” He was looking at me seriously now, his smile was still there but it was much smaller than normal. “No, that was not the deal. I don’t know you and I don’t trust you. Why would I trust you?” I was starting to get angry now, and I looked at him furiously. “Listen I know that wasn’t the deal, and I know you don’t know me but I’m starting to hate being left alone with my own thoughts. Even if I am great company.” He started smiling again before continuing. “It’s dangerous out here by yourself, and I could use a partner who is capable of handling themselves.” He looked at me seriously again with the unspoken question left unsaid. “So what, you’re just going to hold the supplies forever then?” I replied sarcastically.
Why am I even considering this? I thought confused. It’s not like my last partnership ended well. He started smiling and started speaking. “How long have you been out here by yourself Dante? I’m going to hold the supplies because I have the backpack and I’m going to be able to move quicker with them.” He said bluntly. “What, you think because I’m small I can’t carry things? I’ve been out here by myself for over a year now. I wouldn’t still be alive if I couldn’t carry things.” I yelled at him. Great the first person I start to trust is someone who is going to discriminate against my height. I thought as I started getting angry again. “No, I don’t think you can’t carry it. I just think it’s going to be easier for me to carry.” He said looking me square in the eyes. “He isn’t lying to me. At least I don’t think he is.” I muttered quietly. I have no rationale for thinking that. “Fine, but where are we going?” I said before I realized it was coming out of my mouth.
His smile got even bigger before he started to speak. “We need to get out of the city. The gangs here are getting progressively more hostile towards each other and I don’t want to be caught between any of them.” He grabbed his crowbar off the ground and looked at me seriously. “Leave the city?” I said incredulously. Where the hell does he think we are going to go? I thought confused “How exactly are we going to get out of city in the first place. And second, where are we even going to go?” I asked already regretting teaming up with him. “You say we need to get away from the gangs Ethan but they control the bridges in the center of this city. Makes it a little hard for us to get away from them and out of the city.” I said bitingly. “I know they do, but we need to go west and try one of the towns in the country. Besides the gangs only control two of the three bridges in the middle of the city. They don’t control Hawk Bridge, which is only a few blocks from where we are.” He said this as if it was the most obvious plan in the world.
“Oh so you plan to bypass the gangs by taking us across a bridge covered with infected.” I snapped at him. What an idiot, there is no way we will be able to get across that bridge. When the nukes started falling 3 years ago, those of us who lived through the blasts thought we were safe, but we were wrong. The radiation seemed to have almost no affect on humans, but after a few days animals everywhere began to change. It was as if every animal became feral and started attacking humans. This in and of itself wasn’t too much of an issue but everyone who “lived” through their attacks became just like the animals. The only differences being – if a human bit you, you didn’t become a mindless zombie like they did, No. You just became sick and you died. I don’t know what happened with the rest of the world, but here in Rork, the infected people were cordoned off in selected areas – Hawk Bridge being one of them. So I had no clue how he thought going across there was a good idea.
“You want to take us across a bridge full of zom-.” I started to say before he crossed the room and grabbed the front of my shirt. “Do not call them that! You strip them of everything they were by calling them that.” His anger was barely controlled and I wasn’t going to press it. “Fine, sorry but they aren’t people anymore. What should I call them?” I asked trying to calm him down. “Just call them the Risen.” He said simply as he let me go. The Risen? That’s the corniest thing I’ve ever heard. I thought amused. “I know it’s corny, so you can go ahead and take that smile off your face now, because yes my master plan is to have us cross that bridge. And we need to get going if we are going to want to get across for nightfall.” He said heading for the door. “Fine.” I said with a laugh. “But I really don’t think this is the best way to cross over to the west side.” I remarked following him to the door. “There’s no other way to get across that river in the center of this city. Trust me, I’ve looked.” He replied seriously.
After a half hour of climbing over debris and cutting through buildings we made our way to the foot of the massive metal bridge. The bridge was blocked by a mass of cars, trucks, and buses. It was the only way to effectively seal “The Risen” on the bridge. We were crouched next to a small hole on the far side of the bridge that would let us in. “Ethan, I think now that we are here you need to explain to me a bit more clearly just how you plan to get us across this bridge.” I was starting to feel nervous since we were actually there. “We are going to sneak by them by hiding behind the debris that’s scattered on the bridge.” He said handing me his crowbar. “What am I supposed to do with this?” I asked puzzle. “Defend yourself if need be.” He replied, pulling a big knife out of his backpack. “Whoa whoa, this does not seem like a smart plan.” I said, shaking my head. “I didn’t peg you as the smartest person but I didn’t think you were stupid either.” my voice was shaking now even as I insulted him. He started smiling and said “Not the smartest no, but is the only plan, and besides it should be fun.” With one last smile he crawled under the cars and onto the bridge. “You’re an idiot!” I yelled after him. ”And I’m an idiot, too.” I sighed as I crawled in after him.
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