Over three years ago, the Nero virus infected eighty percent of Britain’s population. It turned otherwise normal people into biters. The biters were violent and angry creatures and only interested in one thing—eating the flesh of the uninfected. Months after the disease broke out, society fell apart. There was no more government, no police, and no army. There’s no shopping, no television, no internet, no mobile phones and no news about what was really going on.
Three Days Ago
“We’re not going to make it,” Zola Bonnet’s eighteen-year-old boyfriend, Juan Montaño, turned to her, as he fought to steady the controls of their helicopter.
The helicopter they’d commandeered from the American Embassy in Paris was now descending quickly into a thick fog over the English Channel.
“No, Juan, you promised you’d get us to safety,” Cheryl Donaldson yelled at the older boy. “We can’t die up here!”
“Trust me, we not going to die up here. The crash will kill us,” Juan retorted, irritated at Cheryl’s constant and never ending whining.
This time, Zola shared Cheryl’s concerns. She’d never faced dying this closely before. Luck had always been on her side. When the biters overran her school, Zola wasn’t there because she’d skipped that day. Later, when a swarm infested her stepmother’s boutique stepmother worked, Zola had been hanging out at the American Embassy with her boyfriend Juan.
The survivors in the American embassy were able to withstand the siege of fleshers for years and she was saved in the process. When the American Embassy finally fell to the biters, Zola and her group had gotten out just ahead of the swarm. Next, they had accidentally stumbled across an abandoned, fully functional, fuelled FRANCE 2 news crew helicopter. She also learned then, that Juan knew how to fly it.
Now Juan was telling her that their luck was running out? Her gaze dropped to her ivory hands and she remembered the carnage when the Embassy in Madrid finally fell to the infected. The four teenagers had been the only survivors when that compound ran out of ammunition. Cheryl’s father, the American Ambassador of Paris had been one of the first to be infected.
“Do we have any parachutes?” Desperately, Cheryl started to unfasten her seat belt.
Zola stopped her.
“Cheryl, there aren’t any parachutes, this is a news helicopter,” Seventeen-year-old, Dale Winters the fourth member of their survival group added.
“At least we weren’t ripped to death by biters,” Cheryl tried to joke.
Zola forced a grim smile, even though it wasn’t funny.
“We’re going down—guys,” Juan gritted out through clenched teeth while trying to guide the helicopter.
Dale gripped her arm, as the craft plummeted. “Z, I know you know this—”
“Please don’t,” she implored. “Dale, don’t go there. Not now.”
“I need to say it. I love you!” His clutch tightened.
“Crud.” Zola glanced at her boyfriend, Juan.
He was obliviously focusing on trying to keep them alive.
“Dale, don’t do this, it’s not fair. Juan is sitting inches away, are you---?” she replied.
“I don’t care and right now that doesn’t matter. I love you. I’ve loved you from the first moment you tried to steal my dad’s car,” Dale continued. “Since we’re dying? You need to know.”
This wasn’t the way she wanted to die, awkwardly trying to decide what to tell one of her best friends. “Dale, this isn’t fair. This isn’t the time.” She glanced around and saw Cheryl sitting with her eyes tightly shut, seemingly petrified of what terror might await them when they hit the ground.
“There won’t be another time. I know you feel the same way.”
“You don’t know how I feel.”
“I see it all the time in the way you look at me. Before we die, just tell me I’m not alone in this. For once, please be honest with me,” he pleaded.
“We’re not going to die.” She closed her eyes and lied. “We’ll talk about it later.”
“No, just tell me the truth.”
Placing her hands against his dark chocolate skin, she kept her eyes closed and shook her head.
“I get it. Your father didn’t want you dating a black guy, but Zola, that was a whole world away. It never mattered then, and it doesn’t matter now.”
When she’d met Dale, she thought he was smart, amazing and incredibly hot, but her father hadn’t been thrilled about him because he was Jamaican. But that wasn’t the reason she’d never acted on her attraction to him. It was because she was with Juan and he was a great guy.
The helicopter jolted downward.
“I thought you could fly this thing, Juan?” Cheryl shrieked.
“Z, you do like me? I mean really like me,” Dale whispered.
“Yes.” She nodded as Dale kissed her tenderly.
“I…” She kissed him back lightly, and then it became intense. She didn’t know why she did it, but it just felt right.
“Zola—” Juan glared back at her in confusion.
She jerked away from Dale.
“Are you two serious? Is this the path y’all going to take right now?” Cheryl shrieked. “Seriously!”
“I’m going to kill you!” Juan exclaimed.
“Look, there’s land.” Dale pointed below.
“Don’t even speak,” Juan growled the words back at him.
“No, Juan. Look, there’s land!” Cheryl banged against the glass. “There’s an island down there. There’re houses down there and that means—people!”
“Can you land?” Zola looked out of the window. Through the thick fog, she glimpsed the hills and houses below.
“If there are people, biters are probably down there too,” Juan warned. “If we crash, then we’re going to attract the infected from miles around.”
“But it’s an island, so there won’t be a lot of biters out there. We might be able to overpower them.” Dale estimated.
“Or—they’ll kill us all,” cried Cheryl.
“But we’ll drown in the channel if we don’t get more fuel.” Zola pointed out. “We’ll land, so at least, we’ve got a chance at surviving. If we don’t, we’ll die out here.”
“If he can even land,” Cheryl stated as tears ran down her plump red cheeks.
“Girl, shut up,” Zola snapped as she clenched her hands together.
Dale put his hands over hers, holding them tight.
She was amazed at how much safer she felt because he did that.
“I think there’s enough gas.” Juan fought to keep his hands on the cyclic stick which manoeuvred the aircraft. “Just have a little faith and we might—”
Violently, the craft rocked.
Juan swore as he struggled with the throttle control.
The helicopter bounced and jolted them all violently. Then, silence fell all around them, with only the panicked sounds of their rapid breathing echoing in the small interior.
Amazingly, he was able to get them down in one piece, albeit with a loud crash
“We made it!” Cheryl unbuckled her seat belt and rose up.
“Juan.” Snapping out of her seat belt, Zola jumped into the front seat next to him. Her first instinct was to explain to him what had happened with Dale. “I’m sorry, I…”
He was hunched over the dashboard.
“Babes.” Zola shook him gently, but he didn’t respond. “Can you hear me?” Lifting is head back, she saw blood trickling down the side of his face.
“He hit his head on impact,” Dale assumed as he moved to the front, next to her.
Checking his pulse, she felt a weak heartbeat. “He’s alive.” Relieved, she kissed Juan’s bloody forehead. “We‘ve got to move him from here and get to safety before biters show up.”
“Um, I don’t think we’re going to be able to move—him,” Cheryl stuttered. “It might be—better to stay in here for a while.”
“Cheryl, unless you’re going to be helpful, keep your mouth shut.” Zola wasn’t ready to listen to anymore of Cheryl’s whining, especially where Juan’s safety was concerned.
“No, I’m serious. Z, we can’t take him anyway,” she replied.
Irate, Zola turned back to face her friend, but paused when she saw about twenty armed men who were moving towards them.
“Like I said, there‘s no way we can get out of here.” Trembling, Cheryl turned back to Dale and Zola. “What do we do?”
Dale looked over at Zola. “At least they don’t look infected.”
“We’ll talk to them,” Zola decided aloud. “It’s not like there’s anywhere we can hide and Juan needs a doctor.” She moved to open the side door.
One of the men outside yelled something.
“What did you say?” Zola continued to open the door, but they fired at her.
Shutting the door, she ducked down into the aircraft and waited.
After a few minutes of strained silence, a man called out, “Stay in the vessel.”
“We get that!” Zola screamed back as she climbed back into the seat next to Juan.
There was more silence, as they waited for what would come next.
Soon, the side door opened and a teenage boy with curly hair looked inside. “They’re just a bunch of kids.”
“My boyfriend is hurt.” Zola pointed to Juan who was still out cold. “Is there anyone here who can help him?”
The teenager had a crossbow strapped over his back. “Sure, we’ve got a few doctors on the island. But you’ll probably have to talk to the Major about that first.”
One by one, Zola’s group were led out of the helicopter and were checked thoroughly for weapons. Juan was taken away by a few men, but no one told Zola where he was taken.
While this was going on, she noticed a tall black bearded man watching from the distance. The crossbow boy told her he was the Major, but she wasn’t sure if the man was an actual major, most likely he was some local who wanted to feel important. Either way, he seemed like the man in charge and the one who was going to tell her what was going on.
She marched up to him. “You need to tell me what’s going to happen to us.”
“I don’t have to tell you anything.” The Major walked away.
“Why did you try to kill us?” She chased after him.
“Those were warning shots, you were in no real danger.” The Major inspected the damage on the helicopter. “And most importantly the vessel is still in good shape.”
“You think I’m going to give you our helicopter?” She demanded.
“Your helicopter? You work for the FRANCE 2 News?” Major gave her a cynical smirk as he signalled to his men. “You’re all going to be quarantined.”
“I’m not going anywhere until you tell me where Juan is being taken.”
“Funny, how you think I have to answer any of your questions. You have two choices; either do what you’re told and stay on the island or take your helicopter and leave now.” The Major strode away.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
By Bisi Leyton
Copyright© 2012 Bisi Leyton
No part of this story may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied for reviews.
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