Outbreak (Lazarus Affliction, Part 1)Quill
“Damn it Devroe! Containment has failed! Do you hear me? Containment has failed! Now is not the time to have morals! Now shoot, goddamn it!"
Ashleign Devroe looked up into the furious face of her commanding officer, Sergeant Brandon Myers, as he replaced his rifle’s spent magazine cartridge with a fresh one.
"We can no longer discriminate,” he growled, “you have your orders, shoot to kill everything on street level. No matter what, the infection must not leave this city,”
He wasn't only talking to Devroe now. The four other shooters set up around her were looking at him with equally reluctant expressions. They shared solemn glances between each other, hardly believing their situation.
"You saw how quickly it took over," he continued, raising his voice, "if it is not stopped here, you can say goodbye to Perth and everything we know. That is the situation we are faced with. Now follow your damned orders and shoot!"
He turned away from them, raising the scope of his EF88 rifle to his eye. He fired off shots in quick succession, hardly noticing as the stock kicked back into his shoulder.
Devroe watched as the targets, some of which were clearly people, fell to the ground. She noticed a woman, who had been shot in the upper thigh, try to stand and hobble away, only to be inundated by Infected. Devroe clamped her eyes shut as the woman's agonized screams, shrill and horrific, exploded in the early morning. They were replaced by the sound of tearing flesh and animal squeals of the Infected as they ripped the woman apart.
Devroe’s mind raced, as the mass of rabid Infected on the streets below the Western Australian State Library surged forward like a wave of consuming fire.
Anything or anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the torrent, was overrun and torn apart, by what had previously been people. The residents of the city, were now reduced to beasts by the unknown pathogen that raged through them.
It had been near impossible to differentiate between the Infected and the healthy trying to flee the centre of the city. All around her, people and Infected alike, fell to the ground in a spray of blood, as roof top shooters attempted to halt the spread of the unknown infection.
Devroe fought the rising panic in her chest and attempted to control her rapid breathing enough to find a target. She didn't want another grilling from Myers, so she took a deep breath and raised her own EF88 to the firing position, training the scope on a group of charging Infected. The reticle jumped wildly from side to side with her ferociously shaking hands. None of her shots hit where they were supposed to. She cursed and held her breath, firing again as the group she was targeting found another unfortunate victim.
She bit her lip, feeling the burning of tears behind her eyes as the Infected latched onto the young man and pulled him down. Her hands shook even more and she glanced down, fighting the tears. It was impossible to breathe, as if someone held her throat in a death grip. She had to pull herself together, she had to help as many of the healthy people as she could. But how can you fight something like this?
The sharp whip-crack of a rifle to her left made her look up. The man on the street had been shot in the head to ease the pain, a small gesture of humanity in this hell hole. The shooter, Corporal Warren Jackson, squeezed off another five shots and dropped the Infected with calm precision. He lowered his rifle and glanced over at Devroe, green eyes full of sympathy. He gave her a weak smile that she didn't believe, but she appreciated the effort. Just being reminded of his presence had calmed her significantly.
Jackson was always able to do that. Ever since they met in basic, he had meant the world to her. They had been close friends ever since and when she learned that they'd be posted together, she was overjoyed. They'd now been in the same unit for over three years and they worked well together. Right at that moment, she was glad that he was there beside her.
"Myers' right Ash, you know he is," he said in his Northern Queenslander lilt, "we can't help these people. The only thing we can do for them is to make it quick,"
That was typical Jackson, the soldier's soldier, with the logical mind and calm disposition. He glanced towards the Sergeant who was too busy putting rounds into the street to notice they'd stopped firing.
“But I understand, it's madness for sure. I won't say a word," Jackson said, clamping a steady hand on Devroe's arm.
Devroe smiled her thanks and he turned away with another friendly tap on her shoulder. She inhaled deeply and sighted through the scope again. If she was careful, she could target just the Infected. Myers didn't need to know.
Her hands still shook, but she was just able to hold the barrel steady enough to line the reticle up with the torso of one of the Infected. She realized that she was holding her breath and didn't let it go until her target fell forward to become the next feast for its own kind. Damn these things. They even eat their own. What in hell could cause this?
Shot after shot, kill after kill. Yet they kept coming. Slowly, the amount of still healthy people dwindled and the number of ravaged Infected swelled. She didn't know how long they could hold the surge. The infection was rampant. How could anything spread this fast? It just wasn't possible. It couldn't be.
She begun to fear that those trying to contain it, her friends and colleagues, might contract it too. It made her sick to her stomach to think about it, but judging from its aggression, it was entirely possible.
They knew nothing about it; if it was airborne, if it was a virus or something else, but she did know it wasn’t her job to think about it. She tried to push the horrifying thoughts from her mind as the seething river of death continued below.
As the non-infected gradually disappeared in the street, the Infected became increasingly interested in the shooters above and they began to pool around the base of the library and the opposite buildings, where the teams of shooters were set up.
Devoid of all reason and restraint, the Infected began trying to climb the facade of the four tiered library to get to this new source of interest. The gunshots drew them up into one solid mass, a writhing pyramid of raging Infected, and it slowly grew as more climbed up the tower of bodies, until they had reached the second tier.
"Guys, is anyone else seeing this?” Devroe yelled, concern making her voice quiver.
"Hold your ground!" Myers ordered, "they won't get up here,"
"What about that thing they're carrying? What if it's airborne?" Someone else further down the line asked in a panicked voice. Devroe thought it sounded like Franky.
"Hold your ground! We have orders!" Myers repeated hotly.
"We can't follow orders if we're infected, sir!" Franky argued, forgetting himself in his moment of panic.
The sergeant spun on the smaller private, who visibly paled and shrank back under the withering glare. He was just opening his mouth to issue his trademark reprimand when the radio exploded into life.
It had been spewing a constant stream of information not relevant to them, so Devroe had all but ignored it up until now. But the words they heard now made them all pause.
"All units within the vicinity of Kings park safe zone, be advised, the infection has broken through containment, evacuations have failed. We need reinforcements immediately, or this sector will fall. Repeat, we need reinforcements immediately!"
There was an anxious silence after the desperate broadcast, in which the team stared at each other in confusion.
Devroe glanced at Jackson. She could tell he was thinking the same as she was. They just watched everything on the ground, be overrun and there would still be shooters on the roof with the same orders they had. Shoot everything on ground level. The streets were the last place they wanted to be.
"Carter, how far to King's Park?" Myers asked over his shoulder, as he lead his team to the rear of the building, despite their obvious apprehension.
"Just over four kilometres, sir," Carter replied quickly, referring to the GPS unit that he retrieved from its pouch on his vest.
Lance Corporal Greg Carter, was tall and lanky, with neatly cropped sandy blonde hair and pockmarked cheeks from an old shrapnel wound that he'd received in a training accident nine months previous. He was a country man, from a large sheep station in remote New South Wales. Devroe liked him; he was not a stranger to hard work and was easy going.
Although every member on the team had skills in navigation, Carter was the most interested in it, and held all the maps and handheld GPS unit.
He glanced over the Perth business district, it's multi story sky scrapers reaching far above into a sky awash with orange sunburst. Its streets, once alive with the comings and goings of the work day, were now reduced to a wasteland. The only 'life' left there now were the Infected that swarmed, that consumed everything.
His face reflected what Ashleign thought. How could they hope to reach King's Park alive?
Myers exhaled sharply, turning to the navigator.
"Find us the quickest route that keeps us away from the main streets as much as possible,"
Carter stared at the commanding officer sceptically.
"I don't know, sir, the streets are full of those things, are you sure we can't get an evac?"
Myers shook his head. "All aircraft are engaged with trying to hold the last safe zone and evacuating civilians. They'll be unavailable indefinitely. We take the streets. Get me a route,"
After a few minutes, Carter looked up from the GPS with a concerned frown.
"I don't know, sir, our options are limited. I don't see any way to avoid major roads from this point. We'll likely have to play it by ear and re-route as the situation demands," he glanced back at the screen.
"So, this is the quickest," he handed it across to the Sergeant and pointed at the route highlighted on the screen.
"But, it will still take a good fifty minutes to get there, if we don't run into trouble, and that is a big if. I would nearly say that it's too far for us to even bother going, sir,"
"Regardless, we're not doing anything here other than taking pot shots. There's too many for one unit to really do anything about," the Sergeant nodded, "good. Let's move,"
The unit rappelled down the white facade of the four tiered library into the rear carpark. Besides some abandoned vehicles, the lot was clear, and the unit fanned out, proceeding towards the road.
Ashleign Devroe followed her comrades, sweeping her rifle from side to side, nerves frayed and adrenaline burning. She could hear Franky mumbling something about being unnecessarily ripped apart by cannibal freaks, in a panic stricken whisper. She shook her head. As skittish as the man was, he was right to be terrified. She was as well. Of all the extensive training they had received in the Army, nothing even came close to this nightmare.
They were scrambled at a moment's notice by a panicked and horribly unprepared Government, when civilian law enforcement failed to contain the outbreak. No one really knew what was happening. Police and various other emergency services set up safe zones all over the city in attempt to contain it, after it had escaped from the Perth hospital. In the hours that followed, the city was plunged into wide-spread unrest, and people, who just minutes before, had been healthy, became crazed, flesh-hungry beasts.
The infection was rampant. The emergency services could do little to stop it. They reported mass casualties within only a few hours of being called out.
This all happened within forty-eight hours.
When finally the Defence force was deployed, city wide evacuations of what was left of the healthy population, had only just begun. Seven safe zones were hastily erected in towns outside a thirty kilometre radius of Perth. But it still hadn’t been enough. There had been confirmed sightings of the Infected as far East as Safe Zone Charlie set up in Armadale, thirty-seven kilometres from Central Perth.
The remaining population were depending on the Defence force to save them. In actual fact, they were no more capable of stopping its spread. It was a battle they were losing.
Many feared, Devroe included, that it would not stop. All of the surrounding areas had begun evacuations, but Devroe wondered if it would be enough.
From the helicopter on the flight in, Myer’s team saw their first glimpse of the hell they were to drop into. They had stared in silent disbelief at the chaos happening on the ground. Devroe had wondered if they were in a movie. For it couldn’t be real. They could see the desperate people running for their lives, the blockades put up by firefighters and police in attempt to stop the Infected that would then overrun them and tear them apart. The spread continued at a pace no one thought was possible.
Her mind had turned to her family. To her mother and father, hoping that the Infection would not find them. For they had lived in the coastal city of Rockingham for twenty years. Rockingham was forty-eight kilometres south-west of Perth, and Ashleign hoped they were far enough away, but she knew they were too close. Jackson had squeezed her hand in reassurance, as the fear flourished inside her.
Now, it was clear that forty-eight kilometres was not enough.
Ashleign was snapped back from her private thoughts by Myers' brash voice, as he addressed his nervous team.
"This is about to get real. I don't know what we will find out there, but it won't be good, or easy. We stick together. Have the back of the man in front of you and don't fall behind. Keep it tight,"
He gestured to Carter. "You have the GPS, so take point,"
As soon as they stepped onto the street, they caught sight of a mass of Infected stumbling down the empty road away from them. They were hunched, wretched looking creatures, with flesh torn, coagulated with old, reddish- brown blood. The only resemblance they bore to the people they once were, was the humanoid- shaped bodies. Their faces were grotesquely distorted, eyes sunken, leaking blood, mouths drawn away from jagged teeth.
Ashleign's eyes widened as she raised her rifle. From four stories above, their appearance didn't seem so terrible. They just looked like crazed people. Now, they were seeing just how wrong she was.
Jackson pushed the muzzle of her rifle down slightly with his hand, shaking his head.
"They haven't seen us. We might be able to slip past if we stay quiet," he said barely above a whisper.
Carter had dropped to one knee, sighting through his scope, but he too did not shoot. He glanced over his shoulder at Myers who nodded in affirmation. With a quick glance back towards the Infected, the team moved off with silent steps, in the opposite direction.
They continued South -West without much trouble. Only encountering small groups of Infected, which they dealt with quickly. Ashleign wrinkled her nose at the heavy copper stench of blood and putrid flesh, as she walked by the dead bodies of the infected. Franky swore behind her.
"Damn it man, these things can't be real. What the hell kind of movie is this? I mean, look at this thing!"
Ashleign frowned at him from under her helmet. Private Franklin Jones, Franky, as he was known, was prone to bouts of paranoia and it was as contagious as the infection.
"How could anything spread this quickly?" He continued, "oh, hell, it's airborne isn't it?"
Ashleign sighed, "do I look like a doctor to you? I don't know,"
Despite her irritation with the annoying little man, she admitted that she had been thinking the same thing ever since they arrived to see the city in such a state. How could it be possible?
"We're all dead, man. What are we supposed to do against that!"
"Get it together Private Jones!" Jackson chided, stopping beside Ashleign.
"I can't man, this is insane! You expect me to be ok with this?" Franky hysterically jabbed a finger at the dead creature.
"No, you're expected to do your job,"
"What is my job? Because at this point all of us are confused as to what the hell we are doing here!"
"I don't know Franklin!" Jackson shouted. "No one knows what is happening right now. We are just doing what we believe we should be doing,"
"Enough!" Myer's booming voice brought silence to the quarrel, "the last safe zone in the city is about to be lost. We don't have time for your misgivings Private Jones!"
"No, we really don't!" Private Ramirez announced in a desperate voice from behind them.
All attention was turned to the lean Puerto Rican, his caramel eyes full of barely contained terror. The rest of the team immediately recognised the source of his dismay.
From the direction they had just come, the hoard of Infected they had encountered earlier was lining the street eight hundred metres away. They were so tightly packed in between the high rise buildings on either side, that no empty space was left. It was a grotesque, writhing mass, and they were coming for Myer's team.
From somewhere within the wall of flesh, a blood curdling shriek ensued. As one massive entity, the Infected surged forward, sprinting like rabid beasts for the kill.
Amid exclamations of horror and more than a few shouted expletives, Carter and Myers opened fire and the others followed suit until the street reverberated with semi automatic rifle shots. Ashleign's ears rang with the din, as she squeezed the trigger. She had no qualms about killing these abominations now.
As the targets fell, more pushed forward to fill the void. Yet, they kept advancing at an alarming rate.
"There's too many of them, we have to get the hell out of here!" Jackson shouted, as he slapped a new magazine into place.
"Affirmative," Myers agreed, "move!"
Ashleign, Ramirez and Franky started the retreat, while Carter, Myers and Jackson covered them. The cover fire wasn't even slowing the Infected down. They were closing the distance fast. Myers urged his men to forget covering fire and run.
Ashleign glanced quickly back over her shoulder as she ran. The Infected were incredibly fast. Faster than her teammates. She brought the EF88 to the firing position and shot an Infected as it closed in on Jackson, buying him time to vault over a burnt out car. He nodded his thanks as he reached where she was now covering Myers and Carter. He urged her on.
After squeezing off a last round, Ashleign bolted after her friend, knowing the other two were on her heels. They skidded to an abrupt halt, when they realised that their way was barred by another group of Infected that had just appeared from an alley way. There were only twenty or so, but the team was now surrounded, with both sides closing in rapidly.
The team formed up in a tight circle so that they could shoot in all directions. They could not hope to kill all of them; they would run out of bullets long before they even made a dent in the numbers. It wasn't an option.
"Into the building!" Myers ordered, throwing himself past some advancing Infected to smash the window of a nearby office building with the stock of his rifle. The glass exploded in a sheet around him as he climbed through.
"Come on, forget them!" Jackson grabbed Ashleign's shoulder, as she squeezed off another short burst of five millimetre rounds.
The Infected surged after them, the hail storm of rounds the team hurled at them, not holding them back. The narrow restriction of the broken window gave the team some time to create distance, but the Infected were steadily streaming through. The sheer volume of the mass pressing on the opening, shattered it further.
Ashleign ignored the prestigious, wood trimmed, but abandoned foyer, as she followed the commanding officer up the ornate metal staircase at the far end of the spacious room. She knew the Infected were dangerously close. What were they supposed to do with no where to escape to?
The best they could hope for was to slow them down enough in the narrow passages, but she knew they had didn't have the spare magazines needed for the impossible task.
Despite the knowledge that they were running into a dead end, Ashleign powered up the stairs. Behind her, EF88 fire continued to boom in the confined space amidst the shrieks of the Infected.
They entered a cavernous office space on the second floor. Split into countless smaller cubicles by partitions, each with a desk, computer and filing cabinet. Most of them still had the personal belongings of the workers that had obviously left in a hurry. The bright photographs and whimsical posters with inspirational quotes on the walls of the cubicles, seemed a world away from the nightmare they now found themselves in. Ashleign briefly wondered if the owners of the said items had been able to escape.
"Over there!" Myers gestured to a white door on the street side of the office space.
They quickly crossed the room as the Infected spilled in after them, growling wetly.
Inside the team found a meeting room with a long wooden table stretched out before a whiteboard.
"Give me a hand!" Myers ordered as he pushed against a cracked melamine cabinet.
He and Carter slid the cabinet in front of the closed door to create a barricade, just as the door shuddered with the force of the hoard on the other side.
"What the hell do we do now?" Franky was the first to ask the question on everyone's mind.
The following silence was broken by gurgling rasps and the intermittent quaking of wood.
"We shouldn't even be here!" Franky's panic was infectious. Every anxious face was turned towards Myers, with their unspoken apprehension.
"Enough, there's nothing we can do about that now!" Myers retorted. "We'll just have to wait them out, and hope they lose interest,"
"What, after they've eaten us?"
"Watch your mouth Private!"
Ashleign concentrated on slowing her wild breathing. She struggled to ignore what the raised voices would be doing to the Infected beyond the terribly thin barricade.
"We really are in trouble," she heard Jackson say from the window where he stared at the street below. "We have absolutely no where to go,"
Ashleign's eyes widened as she saw what her friend was referring to. The street had disappeared beneath a torrent of Infected, all heading for the office building.
"They definitely know we're in here," Jackson retorted pensively, stepping away from the window.
"We should have stayed at the library!" Franky had sat himself in a far corner, staring at the door, holding his rifle in a white knuckled vice grip.
"We had orders!" Myers spat, increasingly furious with the Private's hysteria.
"Look where that got us! We don't know if they were meant for us. We were four kilometres away, I wouldn't exactly call that being in the vicinity,"
Ashleign had to admit that he had a point, but that wasn't going to help them now.
She had never really liked the annoying little man. He was flighty and nervous. How he had been accepted into the army, was beyond Ashleign. Not for the first time, she believed he wasn't fit for this work. They all faced the same unprecedented and new threat, they were all scared, but it was the job of a soldier to deal with whatever faced them. They couldn't afford to lose their heads in this crisis, and Franky was most certainly losing his head. It was likely to get someone killed.
"Is there any access to the roof?" Carter's calm voice brought Ashleign back to the present, "we could use grenades to clear a path and call for an evac,"
"All aircraft were unavailable last I heard, but we could give it a shot," Myers nodded.
Through the constant stream of radio chatter, it was nearly impossible to get through. Carter was getting increasingly irritated as he waited for a break.
Meanwhile, the excessive force placed on the door to the meeting room, began to show in the wood. Ashleign watched apprehensively as a split running vertically along the middle of the panel, bent inwards with each quake.
As the wood buckled and a gnarled, skeletal hand clawed through, Carter finally found the break he was looking for.
Ashleign was only vaguely aware of what he said, as she shouldered her EF88. Her teammates, minus Franky, stood around her, ready to defend themselves. She flicked an irritated glance at Franky, who was in a far corner of the room, visibly trembling.
Just as the damaged door gave way, the radio barked a reply.
"Affirmative, Bravo Two, this is Havoc one-seven. We have your co-ordinates and are coming in hot, ETA five minutes,"
Ashleign's heart skipped a hopeful beat, as the voice- a female to her delight- broke through the sound of splintering wood. She didn't know what Havoc one- seven was, but if they had the weaponry to put down these abominations, then she didn't care.
As the Infected began to climb over the old cabinet, the team opened fire. Several of the foul creatures were thrown back into the next advancing wave, in a bloody mess. The bodies piled up, but they kept surging through the narrow doorway.
"Oh hell, I’m out!" Carter swore as he patted down his pockets in search of another magazine. He darted back into the room, as the Infected reached for him, ripping strips off his fatigues with clawed hands.
"Bravo Two, we only have enough fuel for one pass, we'll do our best, but after that you're on your own,"
"Copy Havoc one- seven," Carter replied dejectedly, "as long as you can clear us a path out of here, I'll take whatever you can give us,"
"Copy Bravo Two, stand-by,"
The radio fell into silence. Ashleign squeezed off a few more rounds, as the room became crowded with Infected.
"I hope they hurry up, or there won't be anyone left to save," Ashleign retorted over her shoulder.
She rammed the stock of her rifle into the skull of an Infected that had gotten too close. She scowled at the mutant creature when it fell back, giving her enough space to shoot.
It was even more horrific up close. She cringed outwardly as she noticed the disturbing way the bottom jaw split in two and tapered to a point with jagged, tooth like protrusions on the end. Ashleign was both horrified and disgusted. What abomination of nature could create such a foul creature?
Five minutes seemed like an eternity, as the Infected continued to attack. There was no end to them, Ashleign knew that if Havoc didn't arrive soon, they would all have to fight with EF88 clubs, as the weapons would otherwise be rendered useless.
Ashleign was just down to her last round, when the buildings outside reverberated with the force of a helicopter's down draft.
"Bravo Two, you might want to get your heads down,"
The team turned their collective attention to the opposite building. In the reflection of the windows, Ashleign saw the slender hull of the Eurocoper Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter, in prefect clarity. She watched it in awe. Its stubby wings bristled with air-to ground missiles and the cannon on its nose was lining up targets.
"Down!" Myers yelled, as the street erupted with a whoosh of fire. Flames licked the facade of the buildings around them. The window imploded with the shockwave of the barrage, raining diamonds of glass on the team.
Ashleign felt a flash of heat skim over her head, and the concussion blasted the Infected out of the room.
"Get a grenade in there!" Myers commanded.
Several seconds later, the closest Infected were blown apart and shrapnel peppered the walls.
With the immediate threat eliminated, the team got to their feet and filed into the main office space. Those who still had bullets left took point. Ashleign unsheathed her combat knife and took up position at Jackson's shoulder.
"Hell of a day huh?" He said with a wry smile.
"I doubt it's over yet," Ashleign replied as she stepped over the shredded remains of the Infected.
The grenade had cleared most of the tightly packed Infected out of the way, but more were lingering around the cubicles and lurching up the stairs. When they caught sight of Myers' team, they shrieked wildly and sprinted towards them.
Franky, who had been reluctantly pushed to the front because he was the only one with a full repertoire of ammo, refused to fire in his panic. He stumbled backwards into Carter, who glared furiously at him.
The Infected rushed forward, swarming around Ramirez and Myers, who were trying desperately to defend themselves with their knives.
"It's ok Princess, just go to the back and we'll protect you," Carter sneered, with poorly concealed vehemence, wrenching the rifle off Franky's arm. He pushed the cowardly man back as the Infected overwhelmed Myers.
Carter fired a quick, controlled burst at the group around his commanding officer, but one of the grotesque wretches, sunk it's teeth into the Sergeant's neck before Carter could stop it.
Ramirez fought his way over to Myers, as he howled in agony. Blood erupted from Myers' severed artery, sending the other Infected into a frenzy. They pulled him to the floor, all but forgetting about the rest of the team.
Carter grabbed Ramirez as the Puerto Rican tried to go to Myers' aid.
"Don't be stupid, he's dead," Carter spat, emptying his clip into the feeding brutes with a frustrated shout.
Ramirez shot him an incredulous expression.
"There's nothing we can do! We are leaving! That's an order!" Carter gestured to the stairs. With Myers gone, Carter was the next highest ranking soldier.
Jackson pushed Ashleign forward. She was in a state of shock at seeing Myers ripped apart. Jackson urged her on and they fought their way outside. There was a small group of Infected still hanging around in the reception. The commotion upstairs had brought their attention to the stairs, but without the constant stream from the street, the team were able to deal with them quickly.
The street was reduced to smoking rubble and dead Infected were strewn all over the pavement. Ashleign, still shocked, made a point of avoiding Franky, who shuffled behind the team in silent shame.
His eyes were down cast, not game enough to look anyone in the eye. Nor did any of his teammates look at him. As far as they were concerned, Franky was invisible.
Myers had been a strong, capable leader. He commanded respect, and the team gave it to him willingly. He was a hard task master, but he looked out for his men. He brought out the best in his team. Any one of them would have given his life if it meant saving his. All except Franky, apparently. They hated him for it. Ashleign not least of all.
Suddenly Carter stopped. His face was contorted in pure rage as he turned towards Franky. The Private rushed backwards as Jackson and Ramirez grabbed Carter by the arms in attempt to hold him back. The Lance Corporal had murder in his eye.
"How do you feel now you coward?" He bellowed from in between his two teammates.
"Yeah, you can't even look me in the eye can you? How about you feed yourself to those freaks next time, instead of saving your own sorry hide,"
Ashleign glanced between the drama and the street, hoping that Carter's yelling didn't attract anymore unwanted attention. She wanted to join Carter in getting revenge for Myers, but she knew that would get them nowhere.
They could not afford to fall apart any more than they already had. They would need each other to survive this. Somehow they had to pull together, but what were they supposed to do now? Were they to keep moving on to Kings park? What would they find there? Had the city's last safe zone survived?
She got her answer when the radio suddenly exploded with activity. In the barrage of jumbled words, she made out a desperate plea for all military personnel to clear the city.
"Guys!" Ashleign called to her quarrelling teammates. They seemed not to have heard the radio at all. When they didn't respond to her, she yelled as loud as she dared.
"Guys, shut up and listen!"
They all turned to her with a mix of irritation and confusion. Their bravado evaporated, as they finally realised what was going on.
"I repeat, the barricade at the War memorial has been overrun. All defences in the area are gone. The city is lost. We cannot hold it. All remaining defence personnel are to leave Perth immediately, pending wide scale air strikes, commencing at eleven- hundred hours,"
"Evac points will be at Hyde park, Marylands golf course, Heirisson Island, Clarkson reserve, Claughton reserve and Wembley golf course. Don't be late,"
With another blood chilling screech from somewhere in the distance, the team knew they were swiftly running out of time.
Author Notes: This is the first part of the prologue. I have split it into two parts to make it easier to read. Part two will continue soon, when I have finished it.
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