No sense me yammering...you came for this:
The door shut and Simon stood rooted to his spot for several seconds before he slumped in acceptance. It was obvious that the crazy old bat was not going to come back any time soon. He scowled one more time for good measure and then began to unload everything in the carry bag.
He still could not believe that Mrs. Raye had grabbed him when he started to chase after Shadiyah. She had told him to grab the bags and bring them along.
“But—” he began to protest.
“No time for buts,” Mrs. Raye had scolded. “Food is going to be harder and harder to come by for the foreseeable future.”
He had scooped up the bag, and that was where his current problem resided: guilt. Perhaps if he had just sprinted and caught up with Shadiyah, he would have been able to deal with a situation that she should not.
“You are been a bleeding wanker,” Simon whispered,
Did he think that he would have been able to stop what had happened to Assi? Certainly not. It was clear that the terrible events were well underway before they managed to get back to the flat. Shadiyah had exacted vengeance; certainly not a way that would have been acceptable a few Weeks ago before the zombies had come. Still, she had killed a living person—actually, she had killed three.
Simon knew from his time as a trainee that killing a person could be mentally destructive to the person committing the act. Most people were not wired to be okay with taking a life. Guilt almost always manifested itself in some manner…eventually. How would Shaddi deal with the whole situation?
Of course, if anybody could get to the other side of something so traumatic and continue on with their life, she was one of those special few. That made Simon’s eyes drift over to Assi.
He had concerns when it came to the young girl. He remembered her as being somewhat delicate. Add in her age, and this girl was a recipe for disaster. As callous as it might seem, now was not a time when you had the luxury of being able to care for somebody with serious issues.
A soft moan from the lump on the floor that was Shadiyah caused Simon to start and then scurry over to see if he could offer any help. She was trying to sit up, but there was an instant when she froze. Then, without warning, she threw off the blanket and rolled away, coming up to her knees. Her face was a rictus of malevolent anger. Her normally soft, beautiful large, brown eyes were little more than slits, and he lips curled back in an actual snarl.
“Sh-Shaddi?” Simon managed from a mouth that had suddenly gone completely dry, void of even a hint of saliva. “It’s me…Simon Woods.”
He saw her eyes dart to the figure that was her sister, and it actually made her face twist into an even angrier, hate-filled expression. It sent a chill through him and his hand had unconsciously started to drift for the metal baton he had hanging from his belt.
“Where are they?” she spat. Her eyes scanned the room and then locked on Simon. Did she think he might try to cause her harm?
“Mrs. Raye had me deposit them in the flat next door. She did not think that it was a good idea to have the bodies around any longer than necessary.” Simon forced his hand down to his side, being very careful to move it as slowly as possible.
When the woman stood up suddenly, Simon feared that she would insist on going next door to perhaps see the results of her handiwork…or perhaps add him to that list. Instead, she walked to her sister and knelt beside the girl.
“Tomorrow was to be her sixteenth birthday,” Shadiyah whispered as she stroked her sleeping sister’s face.
There was a long and, for Simon at least, uncomfortable silence. At some point, Assi had opened her eyes. Simon wished that she hadn’t. They were glazed over, obviously she was still alive since he could see her chest rise and fall with each breath, but that spark of life was absent from her eyes as she stared straight up at the ceiling.
When the sun finally dipped so low that the flat was shrouded in dark shadows that would eventually join to form a blanket of pure darkness, he felt a sense of relief that embarrassed him. He considered several times about simply excusing himself and slipping out to leave the sisters in peace.
Could they have peace? a voice taunted him from the depths of his mind.
“Maybe you should go, Simon,” Shadiyah finally said from the darkness.
Part of him wanted to protest. Now more than ever, this woman needed somebody to help her carry this terrible burden. The problem was that he had no idea how he could possibly help. With a sigh, he rose and left the flat.
“How are they?” the voice said from directly behind Simon, causing him to jump. He was almost certain that he’d let go just a bit with his bladder.
“I don’t rightly know,” Simon admitted. “The girl woke up, but she is just staring up like she has no more life in her than those deaders.”
“And Shadiyah?” Mrs. Raye pressed, getting up from the rocking chair that she’d dragged out to the hall and set in front of her door.
Simon had to blink a few times to be sure he was not imagining things. Lanterns had been placed all along the hallway in both directions to offer up just enough light to see. As his eyes scanned the scene, he was certain that the body count in this hall had increased by several new additions.
“Boy!” Mrs. Raye was now right in front of him, snapping her fingers. He shook his head and blinked.
“Sorry…umm…Shadiyah seems…okay?” He was not sure that was even remotely the correct word to use to describe her, but at least she was moving about, talking…things like that which he had to take as some sort of good sign. Right?
“Well, you and I need to make a choice here and now.”
“And what choice would that be?” Simon’s eyes came to rest on the body of a boy no older than seven. He clearly had bites taken out of his arms, but somehow that did not seem as bad as the way he had the handle of a kitchen knife jutting from one eye socket.
“Are we going to stay here and try to make the best of this terrible nightmare, or are we going to seek out someplace else?”
Simon returned his focus to Mrs. Raye. That had actually been his own thoughts just before he had encountered them while he was chasing those—
The feeling punched him in the gut with enough force to cause him to actually drop to his knees. He had been chasing some punks who were running around the tower apparently causing trouble for the surprisingly few tenants remaining here in the Towers. His mind drifted back to the past couple of days…
“I’m scared, Simon,” Miranda said before moaning and curling up into a tight fetal position on her bed.