“Stop. Breathe. Don’t turn around. Go back to running.”
“When did it come to this? Why did we have to be the only ones left?”
“Its mouth was disgusting! What was in between its teeth?”
They ran. Bolted through the thin spaces between the trees. She. No, not she. It was now one of them. An it. It attempted to close in behind them. It spoke so kindly that it was off putting. They knew better than to turn around and answer its calls. Strikingly similar to the appearance of their longtime friend but now so vastly different.
An outbreak is what they deemed it. Nothing like anything man had seen or created before. Here they were, running from Anna. But she had already reached stage 2. The unsettling happiness in such grim circumstances should have been the first sign. They should have sought out something to help it. But, they had no hope in finding a cure.
So they abandoned it. Fending for itself in the woods, now hunting them down for what could potentially be its final meal.
“We have to do something,” the child. So innocent, so hopeful. They couldn’t let him get caught.
“There’s nothing we can do, Zee! She’s gone!”
The child froze in place. A scream erupted from his small lungs as teeth sank into his shoulder. That agonizing sound of gulping tore the teenagers from the sight and they ran faster than they had before. Distracted by its undying thirst and hunger it didn’t care when they ran.
Pausing from its meal it let out an echoing laughter that would haunt their ears forever. A voice, so familiar, tainted by the disease that had infected her.
“Come on guys! Come enjoy your main course!”
Author: Aislynn Whalen
Fall Contest 2021