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Infected: The Realization (Chapter One)
Nothing like the smell of rotting zombie in the morning. Oh and by the way, it’s not even breakfast yet.
These thoughts ran through Juliet’s mind as she slowly pulled her favorite knife, covered in blood, slime, and other zombie… fluids, out of the corpse. Well, I guess it was a corpse already, she thought. So does that make it a dead corpse now?
She pondered these useless questions on the way back to the house to distract herself from the smell of rotting flesh. Funny to think that three years ago, she couldn’t see herself killing anything, and now she was the unofficial leader of five teenagers who killed zombies every day. Possibly the last five teenagers still alive.
This pathetic zombie had somehow figured out that there were humans up in the treehouse and had attempted to shake it. Seeing as no one else was awake, Juliet threw her best knife, hitting it directly between its eyes (most of them preferred unusual weapons instead of the cliché gun, except Ben). She had to scurry down the tree, drag the body a few hundred feet away so they wouldn’t have to smell the awful thing, and retrieve her knife. Now that she was back up in their deluxe treehouse, she could focus on finishing the bacon and eggs she had started.
Luckily for the teens, Ben’s parents had been amazing scientists and put together an incredible four-room treehouse that even had electricity. They had their own living room, kitchen, and two bedrooms. The only thing they lacked… was a bathroom. Luckily, however, there was a lake nearby for washing, and a port-a-potty next to it for… business. Not the best accommodations, but it was private. Not many zombies were found out in the woods beside Washington, DC.
We’re all lucky to be alive anyways, and to have each other, Juliet thought as she flipped the bacon. She and Arizona had been best friends since they were kids and the two of them plus Juliet’s boyfriend at the time, Tyler, had been at an arcade the day the infection hit New York City.
It was been an amazingly fun night to start out with, and it was supposed to be safe. Police had blocked off the entrances to the city because news of the zombie infection was spreading, but one of them must have gotten through and started biting and killing. It spread rapidly throughout the city so while she and Arizona were having a Pac-man tournament, the screaming started.
She searched around for Tyler, but he was nowhere to be found. “Stay here!” she ordered Arizona frantically as the chaos took place all around them. “I’m gonna go find him!” She pushed through the crowds of panicked screaming teenagers for what felt like hours. At one point she tripped and was nearly trampled. She decided to turn back and get Ari when there was no sign of Tyler.
She ran back toward their spot to see something she did not want to see. The good news? She had found Tyler. The bad news? He was a rotting, bloody zombie, and he had her best friend cornered, ready to bite.
“Ari!” She screamed. He looked over at her with his dark blue eyes peeking out from his blonde bangs and meeting hers. They showed no fear. In fact, Juliet wasn’t sure what kind of look this was or what it meant. They were sad, but tinged with something else that she couldn’t figure out. He mouthed something to her that she couldn’t understand and if she lost him… she’d never know. She couldn’t lose him.
From the corner of her eye she noticed a long metal pole. She picked it up and with tears in her eyes, ran forward and stabbed it into what used to be her precious Tyler. He fell to the ground and empty, dead eyes looked up at her. On a normal day, if Tyler had been killed, she would’ve cried her eyes out into the comfort of Ari’s shoulder… but this was not a normal day. She wiped away her tears and cleared her mind. They were still in danger.
“Come on, Ari,” She was the only person alive, aside from Bunny, who was allowed to call him Ari. “We have to check on our families.”
“I know,” he said quietly. They ran out onto the streets where in the mass chaos, they dashed through the crowds, trying to find their car.
“Over there!” Juliet yelled above the noise. Sitting alone in the corner was their families van. They dashed over, jumped in, and Juliet crammed the keys in the ignition faster than she ever had before. As she started to drive, they exchanged a sad, worried, and very scared look. Neither set of parents were answering their phones, and they had no idea if they were okay.
Suddenly Juliet had remembered something. “What did you mouth to me?” she asked.
“Oh,” He looked down. She never got to know what he asked because at that moment, a zombie jumped into her windshield. Quite the night to remember.
“Wha..?” she mumbled sleepily.
“The kitchen’s on fire.”
“Oh!” she jumped off the couch, nearly tackling Arizona. “Wait, wait, I don’t smell smoke,” she pivoted her head. “What are you talking about?”
“Oh, it was the easiest way to wake you up,” Ari grinned, his eyes sparkling.
“Hah. Hah. You’re hilarious. Why not leave the joking to Ben and the annoying me to Keith?” she plopped back down on the couch, dizzy.
“Well it wasn’t completely a joke, you burned our breakfast, but luckily no fire,” He smiled wider. “How do you manage to fall asleep in the middle of cooking?”
“I didn’t realize I had. I was just… thinking about something and I guess I dozed off.”
Ari frowned. “Were you up all night planning again?”
“I have to lead this group. I need to have our next search planned and ready to go.”
“Juley…” He was the only person alive allowed to call her Juley. “You’re only human… please start getting some rest” He lightly touched her arm. “It worries me.”
“AWWW! Look at the early morning lovebirds!” Ben cracked himself up walking in.
“Did you two get up early to make out or what?” Keith followed closely behind. The evil twins, Juliet thought.
This in itself was a strange thought. Although the two grew up like brothers in DC, they were totally different. Ben was your typical tall, scrawny video game addict with spiked red hair, glasses covering his always joking brown eyes, and a sarcastic sense of humor.
Keith on the other hand, while still tall, was strong, stubborn, and a complete womanizer. Couldn’t stick with one girl to save his life, but most girls hadn’t minded too much, considering that by most standards he was gorgeous. Tan, with dark hair swept over his right eye, which was a deep forest green. Sadly for him, he only knew two females who weren’t zombies. Herself being the most available, but she wasn’t interested whatsoever. There was also Bunny, but Arizona would never let him lay a hand on his sister, so Keith was just out of luck.
The two boys were as different as night and day but had grown up closer than most brothers. When the infection started, Ben’s parents disappeared, presumably dead, while they round Keith’s parent’s bodies mangled and awful as if they’d been tortured.
For months, the two hid out in the hi-tech treehouse and learned to fight until Arizona, Juliet, and Bunny made their way there and found them. The five teamed up and had been together ever since with Juliet taking the place of leader as the calmest, most skilled one willing to take the job. Although not everyone always agreed with that…
“Wow you guys are SO funny! Want to know what’s funnier? I burnt your breakfast.” She smirked as the guys groaned.
“One more reason why I should be leader,” Keith said, rolling his eyes. “I wouldn’t pull this type of thing".
“KEITH. If I hear one more word about you wanting to be leader, I will knife you. Right in the throat. Think I’m joking?”
“So sorry oh mighty leader,” he stuck his tongue out at her and she returned it.
“Juliet?” A sleepy voice came from the girl’s bedroom. “Where’s breakfast?”
Everyone looked at the door where a short girl with long brown hair, innocent chocolate eyes, and a bunny-eared headband stood holding a scruffy brown and white kitten, Mashed Potatoes.
“I’m sooo sorry, Bunny. I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I fell asleep while making breakfast.”
Bunny gasped, “Is everyone okay?”
“Everyone’s fine kiddo, she just burnt our breakfast.” Ben grinned.
“Here,” Ari offered, turning to Juliet. “I’ll make breakfast so you can rest, bud.”
“Thanks, Ari,” Juliet smiled. She really did pick a great best friend. While Ari disappeared to the kitchen to redo the bacon and eggs, Juliet told the others of her morning kill. “Pretty ninja, if I do say so myself,” she laughed.
“Pretty cocky, if I do say so myself,” Keith snickered.
“Know what Keith? You can take your bad attitude, and shove it up your-” She went silent because a strange noise was coming from below them.
Everyone ran to the windows and looked down to see that one of their worst fears had happened. Their hideout had been found. Surrounding the trunk of their tree were countless zombies.
“Juliet, you idiot! You didn’t leave the body far enough away! They smelled the d*mn thing!” Keith yelled at her.
“I took it nearly three hundred feet away! I bet they heard your big mouth,” she glared.
“Yeah, because you’re little miss perfect and you never do anything wrong, right? You’re just a bossy brat who can’t stand not getting her way. You can’t lead this team worth crap and-“
“SHUT UP!” Arizona emerged from the kitchen, his eyes burning into Keith. “Don’t you dare talk to her that way.”