Ditzy rolled over on her side and pulled the blankets back over her shoulder. Not comfortable enough. She rolled over on her other side. She relaxed again and settled back down into her pillow. She was beginning to doze back to sleep when she felt the bed shift as someone sat down on the bed beside her, followed by someone patting her gently through the covers.
Ditzy stirred, implying that she didn’t want to be bothered. “Mmmmm, five more minutes…”
Whoever was sitting next to her nudged her shoulder lightly and whispered to her in a soft, motherly tone. “Come on, it’s time to get up.”
Ditzy turned her head over, but kept her drowsy eyes shut. “Mom?” There wasn’t a response. “Ugh, I had this horrible nightmare mom. I remember waking up in this strange place filled with these weird, two-legged monsters. I think they were… eating each other. I tried hiding under my bed, but they found me. One of them acted nice, like it wanted to help me. …but then one of them grabbed me, and began strangling me…” She let out a heavy sigh of relief. “But it was only a dream.”
There was a short moment of silence as Ditzy waited for a response. Finally the soft voice, only not as soft this time, spoke to her again. “Um… That wasn’t, exactly a dream.”
“Wha-” Ditzy began as her sleepy brain wrapped itself around the words. Her eyes shot open as she finally comprehended what they meant. She sat up in a flash and looked around the room quickly. There, sitting beside her, was the creature that tried being nice to her. The others were standing around the room looking at her with puzzled expressions, even the gruff-looking one that had dragged her out from under the bed. She was surrounded by two-legged creatures that were all covered in blood.
She looked back to the creature sitting beside her as it continued speaking. “…And we aren’t one of those monsters. We’re immune.”
Ditzy was at a total loss for words. She looked back to the gruff one, who gave her a snarl, and then back to the one sitting next to her. Without another word from any of them, Ditzy flopped back against her pillow as she passed out again.
Francis snorted. “Yea, nice job Zoey.”
Zoey turned to Francis. “Like you did any better when you nearly scared the poor thing to death.” She said with a smirk.
Francis just rolled his eyes. He could care less how this strange thing felt. He was more concerned with what it was, and what it was doing here. Francis kept running possible explanations through his head until he turned to Bill. “I say we kill it.”
Bill was taken aback by Francis’s blunt statement. He shook his head a bit in confusion before turning back to the biker. “Why on earth would you want to do that?!”
Francis shrugged a bit. “Well let’s see. We’re stuck in the middle of the apocalypse, there’s a disease that’s mutating people into… who knows what, and from my experience we can’t trust anybody or anything, even other survivors! What if this thing is the effect of some new virus that we don’t know about? I mean, I got bitten by it!” he paused as he showed the scabbed over teeth marks in his arm. “What happens if I’m not immune to this new disease?”
The other three survivors just stared at Francis in confusion and disbelief before Bill spoke up. “…WHAT?! Francis, that has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard!”
Francis ignored Bill’s comment and continued his rant. “Think about it; this thing sounds and acts like a person would, but it doesn’t look like a person. What if it’s a mutated like those other special infected? If one disease can turn a guy into something like the tank, then who’s to say another disease can turn people into that!” he continued as he pointed his shotgun at the unconscious pony.
Bill let his rifle dangle in his hand as he face-palmed with the other. “Damnit Francis… That’s even dumber than you thinking that the zombies are vampires! I don’t know what this thing is, or even where it came from, but I’m pretty damn sure that there isn’t anything in the world that could turn a person into something like that.”
“Sure makes a hell of a lot better excuse than a talking horse with wings being natural.”
“Francis, it isn’t an infectious disease, you’re not going to kill it, and it IS coming with us! So you can just shut up and deal with it!”
There was a brief moment of complete silence before Francis crossed his arms and scowled. “…I hate horses.”
Zoey stood up from her place beside Ditzy. “Actually, I think it’s more of a pony.”
“Well then I hate ponies! Whatever!”
Louis took a step towards Francis. “Um, you guys mind keeping it down some? The last thing we need right now is for another horde to attac-”
Everyone stopped and listened. Francis grabbed his shotgun from where it had been leaning against the wall and made sure it was fully loaded. Louis quietly walked to the door and looked down the hall. It was still empty aside from a dead body slumped against the wall. The four heard the deep gurgling sound again, closer this time. They began to hear what seemed to be scratching and thudding coming from the adjacent room.
Zoey pulled out her pistol and cocked it back. “I hear a boomer…”
Bill and Francis aimed their weapons towards the section of wall that the scratching was coming from before Bill whispered to the others. “There’s gonna’ be hell to pay if that boomer gets in here. We need to get back to the roof if we’re going to fight off another horde. Zoey, you get the, uh… pony, and take it to the roof. Louis, you cover her.”
Louis slid another clip into his Uzi with a click. “Yea, ok.”
Zoey gently lifted Ditzy up in her arms and headed out the door with Louis right behind her. However, they didn’t make it far before Francis shouted out “Boomer,” followed immediately by a shotgun blast and an explosion. A very pungent smell flowed down the hall and hit Louis and Zoey like a ton of bricks. They could hear Bill and Francis arguing between each other as they ran down the hall towards the stairs that led back up to the roof.
As they reached the roof they began to hear a multitude of zombies swarming through the apartment building below them. Bill and Francis got to the roof soon afterwards, and they both reeked with the pungent smell that had filled up the hall. “…damnit Francis, how many times do I have to tell you? If the boomers are too close when you shoot them they will splatter you!” Bill continued as he reached the top of the stairs.
“Yea yea, I know.”
“So then why the hell did you run up to it and shoot it in the face?!”
“Because I wanted to?”
“But why would you ever want to… You know what? Forget it! Let’s just kill these damned zombies and forget this happened!” Bill concluded as the first zombies began to charge up the stairs. Bill and Francis both opened fire and began mowing the zombies down mercilessly. No matter how many zombies the managed to kill, more kept coming. Soon they would begin to overwhelm the two survivors holding the top of the stairs. Bill’s gun clicked empty and he began to reload. “We could use some help over here!”
Zoey carefully laid Ditzy onto the table and turned to Louis. “You go help them. I’ll take care of this.” She stated as she turned back to the unconscious pony. Louis nodded and quickly strode over to the doorway and began unloading into the zombies with Bill and Francis.
The hunter crouched at the corner of a tall building across the street. Rage and the compulsion to avenge his fallen brethren had filled his mind ever since he had been disgraced by the gruff-looking survivor with a bat. His first impulse was to attack the survivors the next time he saw them, but he stopped himself. Revenge wasn’t going to come easy for him. Oh no, not by a long shot. He knew that if he was to succeed, he would have to study the survivors and formulate a strategy for their demise.
And so he sat atop the building and watched as the group slaughtered countless of his brothers. He watched their every move, taking note of how they functioned as a team. As he watched, an idea came to him. If they worked so well as a team, maybe he and the other special infected could work as a team as well. He pondered this idea as the survivors finished killing the horde of zombies brought on by the disgruntled boomer. Yes, in order to bring the survivors to their demise he would have to use teamwork.
An evil grin spread across the hunter’s face as he began formulating a plan.
Francis finished reloading his shotgun and pointed it back down the stairs. “You think that’s the last of them?”
Louis kept looking through the sights of his Uzi. “Sure sounds like that was the last of them.” He began as he took a deep breath, but he stopped himself as the pungent smell of vomit reached his nose. “ACK! Damn Francis! What did you do, roll around in the boomer’s guts?! Jeez, take a shower or something because I can’t stand this smell!”
“Aw boo hoo.”
Bill lowered his rifle. “He’s right Francis. You need to clean that shit off or you’ll be attracting hordes for the rest of the trip.”
“Ok, so how do you propose I do that?”
“Well these are apartments, there’s gotta’ be a working shower down there somewhere. I suggest you find one.” Bill continued. “I’ll come with you and watch your back.”
Louis stifled a laugh as Francis turned to Bill with a slightly disgusted look on his face. “Bill, there’s no way in hell that you’re gonna ‘watch my back’ while I shower!”
Bill slapped his hand to his face and shook his head. “Francis… You know damn well I don’t mean it like that. Besides, you don’t want a zombie to catch you bare-ass and unarmed, do you?”
Francis paused a moment as he contemplated his options. “I guess not. But if you peek I’ll rip you face off! And I mean it!”
“Yea yea, now let’s go before another horde catches your scent.” Bill concluded as he began heading back down the stairs with Francis close behind. Louis walked back to where Zoey was looking after Ditzy as she lay on the table.
Ditzy tried opening her eyes as she began to come around for the second time. After a moment, she regained her senses and opened her eyes. She stared up at the starlit sky as she lay there on her back. Where was she now? She slowly sat up on her haunches and looked around. She figured that she was on the roof of some sort of building as she panned her vision. Then she saw the creatures again. This time there were only two, the kind one and the one with the dark skin. Like last time, they were looking at her with puzzled expressions on their faces. Only this time, she wasn’t as shocked to see them. She figured that if they had wanted to eat her, then they would have killed her by now.
Ditzy decided she may as well try to figure out what was going on. She cleared her parched throat and looked the kind creature in the eyes. “Where am I?”
The creature just stared at her for a second before it replied. “Fairfield, Pennsylvania. You’re not going to pass out again, are you?”
Ditzy but a hoof to the side of her head. “No, I don’t think so. How did I get here, and what are you… things?”
“Well I could ask you the same thing. It’s not every day that we see talking ponies with wings around here. But after everything else that’s been going on, I suppose anything is possible. I’m Zoey, by the way. And that’s Louis” she continued as she motioned in his direction. “We’re humans, in case you didn’t already know.”
“Humans? I’ve never heard of those before. Hey wait…” Ditzy noted when she didn’t see either the gruff looking ‘human’ or the other one on the roof with them. “Weren’t there two more of you?”
Zoey nodded. “Yea, but they aren’t here right now. The one who, um, ‘got you out from under the bed’ is named Francis. The other one is Bill.”
“So where are they?”
“They went to make sure that the zombies wouldn’t be following us around everywhere.”
Ditzy’s off-kilter eyes widened a bit. “Zombies?!” She remembered reading some sci fi books about zombies in her youth, but she never imagined that they could ever be real. However, that would explain the creature that she remembered seeing eat a human when she woke up. Her stomach knotted up at the recollection of the memory.
“Yea, zombies.” Zoey continued. “A few weeks ago this disease got out of control and began turning people into flesh eating freaks.”
“So earlier, when you said that you were immune…”
“Yep. The four of us aren’t going to turn into zombies any time soon.”
“But that doesn’t make the situation any easier for us.” Bill stated as he and Francis walked over to the table. He slung his assault rifle on his back and walked up next to Zoey. “If nothing else we got the worst of it all. Fighting off every last infected piece of shit that we happen across isn’t exactly the better end of the deal. Anyways, I see you finally decided to wake back up. The names Bill.” He concluded as he extended an open hand towards the pony.
Ditzy cautiously moved her hoof towards the strange appendage that had five digits protruding from it. When she reached close enough it reached the rest of the way and gripped her hoof in a firm grasp and shook her foreleg. “My name’s Ditzy Doo.” She began as she shook hand with Bill “I’m the mailmare for Ponyville. Its, um, nice to meet you all.” She said as Bill continued to shake her foreleg.
Francis huffed and crossed his arms as he watched Ditzy. “Pfft, Ponyville, what a cheesy name. I still don’t think we should trust this thing guys. Don’t you remember what it did to me?”
Louis looked over to Francis with a rather irritated look on his face. “Francis, she was just trying to defend herself. Hell, I would have done the same thing if I was in a strange new place and someone treated me the way you did when you pulled her out from under that bed.”
Francis rolled his eyes. “Whatever.”
Ditzy stopped shaking hands with Bill and stood up on all fours. “Francis, is it?” Francis glared back at her. “About what happened by the bed, I’m sorry for kicking you… and hitting you with my wings… and biting you… I was just scared, that’s all. I really am sorry; it wasn’t a very good first impression of me was it?” Francis continued to glare at her.
Zoey laid a hand on Ditzy’s shoulder. “Ditzy, you don’t have to apologize. If anything, Francis should be the one apologizing for acting the way he did. …Isn’t that right Francis?” Francis huffed and turned away before muttering something under his breath. Zoey shook her head a bit and turned back to Ditzy. “Don’t worry about him. He’ll grow on you after a while.”
Zoey paused and thought for a second. “Actually… no. Not really. In fact it would probably be better if you tried to avoid him for a while.”
“I heard that.” Francis stated gruffly with his back still turned. The others ignored him.
Ditzy turned to Bill. “So what do we do now?”