This post is brought to you by: Ted remembering he can schedule posts in advance. In reality, I'm either working an inventory on no sleep, done with the inventory and sleeping...or dead. All 3 are viable options at this point...
[Race for Safe Haven - Sick]
"Somebody keep score for me," Rhett said as he lit up a new cigarette. "Score for what?" Tara asked as Rhett hit the gas and drove into the closest zombie. "That's one!" Rhett announced as he swerved to sideswipe the next zombie in his path. Instead of trying to avoid the dead, Rhett was trying to hit as many as he could, while cutting down the distance to the station wagon. Tara and Jason were excitedly announcing ascending numbers as Rhett drove all over the place and Steve fumbled his seat belt into position.
One zombie smacked into Jason's side so hard that it cracked the window, eliciting cheers from everyone in the car. "Ugh," Rhett said, realizing he just damaged his car "That's gonna be a bitch to fix." The final zombie was dead ahead, and Rhett floored the gas pedal and plowed right into it, sending it up and over the car, crashing fatally on its head behind them. A tremendous roar sounded as the car practically shook from all the celebrating.
The group grew quiet as the trip now became zombie free. Mike eventually found his detour and the group soon found themselves traveling east again. At some point towards the evening, Rhett looked to a road sign the signified the capital was close, but defiantly not reachable before dark as it started to lightly rain. Eventually, in a sparse residential area, Mike stuck his hand out the window as they drove and indicated they were going to pull over just as the rain was beginning to pick up.
The chosen house was a sizable two story place with a front porch and yellow paint job. There were no cars in the driveway and it didn't look like anyone had made any attempt to barricade themselves inside. There was no driveway, so they parked on the front lawn right in front of the porch. They backed in so they could immediately drive out if need be. Rhett easily parked into position, while Matt struggled to drive the old station wagon through the muddy grass.
"Is this rain just passing through, or is it going to get worse?" Jason asked as he got out and looked up to the falling rain. "I dunno," Rhett said "I forgot to check the one month apocalypse forecast." Tara stood in the rain and smiled. Mike checked the street before nodding back to the others. "Let's get inside," he said.
"I got this," Tara announced as she ran up to the front door with her crowbar. She was about to ram the crowbar into the door when Rhett grabbed her arm and stopped her. He reached with his other hand and tried the doorknob, opening it easily. "Upstate people," Rhett said with a smile "They don't lock their doors too often." Tara made a face as she lowered the crowbar.
Mike and Matt moved passed and entered the house, guns drawn. "Rhett, keep an eye out," Mike said as he disappeared inside. Rhett held his shotgun while he leaned against the house and watched the others. Steve and Jason were rummaging through the trunks and pulling out bags to take inside with them. They tossed bags to Laura and Tara nearby. "Rhett, you wanna help?" Laura asked, trying to keep her balance under a pile of bags. Rhett ignored her as he looked to the station wagon.
Jenny was still in her car. The rain came down harder as everyone else hustled themselves and the bags under the cover of the porch. "Ya know, Jenny might be more comfortable inside," Rhett said as he watched her stir, but not make any motion to leave the station wagon. "I'll get her," Jason said as he walked back into the rain, Rhett and Tara right behind him.
"Jenny?" Tara asked as Jason opened her door. Jenny had been leaning against it, and made no effort to save herself as she fell out of the car and to the ground. "Oh my God," Tara said as she and Jason tried helping her up. Rhett looked at her as she was raised. She was pale and her eyes had a distant look in them. After moving a few feel, she stopped and dropped herself to the ground so she could vomit up what little contents her stomach contained.
"What's wrong with her?" Laura called out from the porch "Is she sick?" Jenny tried to catch her breath and almost fell over if not for Tara and Jason. She groaned from pain as she was lifted back up and carried to the porch, Rhett chaperoning the way. "I..." Jenny tried talking, but stopped to dry heave at the steps. Steve stepped towards her and put his hand to her forehead. He then took a big step back from her as a worried look washed over his face.
"What's going on?" Mike asked as he stepped out from the house. Steve turned to look at him and shook his head. "Jenny..." he started as he turned to look at her, more to try to convince himself he was wrong with what he was about to say "She's infected."
"What?" Mike said in disbelief.
"She wasn't bitten by anyone," Laura said.
"Are you sure?" Mike asked.
"I've seen this before," Steve said "She's got the virus."
Everyone grew silent as Jenny tried to look up around her. Jason and Tara still had her in their arms, but Jason grew nervous and was looking for an out. "House is clear," Matt said as he stepped outside. He looked about at everyone quizzically based on the tense mood. Looking to every face and finally on the scene of Jenny told him everything he needed to know.
"Inside," Mike said, motioning everyone to go. Tara and Jason led the way with Jenny and everyone followed next. They found a living room immediately and placed her down on a couch. "I need a shower or something," Jason said, suddenly feeling uncomfortable in his own skin after having so much close proximity with Jenny. "Me first," Laura said "I sat next to her all damn day."
"Guys," Mike said, watching Jenny lie uncomfortably on the couch "Do not do that here." Laura and Jason began making their way for the stairs, still arguing over who would get to shower first. "Matt, can you stay here with Jenny?" he asked "Everyone else, we need to talk." Mike led Steve, Tara and Rhett into the kitchen on the other side of the house. Mike turned to face everyone and leaned on a counter while the other three stood in a semicircle around him.
"When did she get bit?" Mike asked.
"She wasn't," Tara said.
"Obviously, she was. Was it in the club?"
"I think Eric would have done something about her then," Rhett said.
"Maybe he didn't know," Mike quickly said "Maybe she hid it."
"She wouldn't hide it," Tara said "Not from me."
"What about when the three of you went off alone yesterday?" Mike asked to Rhett and Tara.
"We didn't run into anything," Rhett said.
"Are you sure?" Mike asked, annoying Rhett.
"Unless she picked up a dead zombies head and forced it to bite her, then yes, I'm sure we didn't run into any problems yesterday," Rhett said "You wanna check her for bites? Otherwise stop saying this is anyone's fault."
"Then how else did she get sick?" Mike asked.
"She's infected because she just got infected, Mike," Steve butted in "This thing spread so fast, long before the dead were rising. Bites aren't the only way this thing spreads."
"All the dead are carriers," Tara said "We could all be infected and just not showing the symptoms."
"That's comforting," Rhett said as he wandered away.
"Then how come she's so sick while the rest of us are fine?" Mike asked.
"She's not eating," Tara said "None of us are eating all that well, but she's only eating things we scavenge. She's weak and she got infected easily for it."
"Half the group could be infected now," Mike said as he looked down and slacked his shoulders.
"No way," Rhett said "I was with an infected guy for a long while early on, and I'm still healthy."
"Were you in a car with him in close proximity?"
"We need to isolate her," Mike said to himself as he walked away "Clear out one of these back rooms for her to sleep in."
"And then what?" Rhett asked "We're not equipped to deal with this. We have no medical supplies or any idea of how to fight this."
"Keep her hydrated," Steve said "We can search this house for things like antibiotics. It won't save her, but it'll buy time."
"Time for what?" Tara asked.
"I dunno!" Steve said with his hands raised "Get her to Albany or Safe Haven. Maybe there's a cure, maybe there isn't. We have to do something though!"
"Then we keep going now," Mike announced "Let's get back to the cars and keep driving. If we don't hit anymore obstacles, we'll be to the capital by dawn."
"Matt and Rhett can't do any more driving," Tara argued "And you need to read the maps."
"Someone else drives then."
"From what? Sitting on your ass all day?"
"Mike, we've been on a frantic run through the state for the last week! We can't just keep doing this. Jenny's sick because this whole trip has taken a toll on her ability to fight off the virus. We keep this up, we'll all end up infected."
"Albany is right there!" Mike yelled, motioning as if it were around the next corner "We get there and it's over!"
"And what if it's dead?" Matt said as he entered the kitchen "What if we get there and it's no better than literally every place we've been to? Will we finally take a rest then or will you immediately start us on a sprint for the next "safe" location?"
"What do you want from me?" Mike asked with raised arms "Jenny is dying! Sitting around isn't going to save her."
"Getting her somewhere quiet and soft isn't going to stop her from dying, but it's worlds better than stuffed into a car," Steve said "Having a bed to sleep in tonight wouldn't hurt the rest of us either."
Mike sighed and looked at everyone. "Fine," he said "But we leave at the crack of dawn and we don't stop until Albany." He marched through and headed for the front door. "Where are you going?" Tara asked as she followed. "Filling the gas tanks," Mike replied and disappeared out the front door. After Mike closed the door behind him, Tara focused her attention to the nearby couch where her friend was lying on, dying.
"Hey," she said as she walked over and sat down in front of the couch, facing Jenny "How are you feeling now?" Jenny adjusted her head so she could talk clearly while still keeping her head down. "Better," she said "So long as I don't try to swallow...or move...or breathe."
"You'll get through this," Tara found herself saying. She was surprised at her own feeble attempt to sound reassuring, but Jenny didn't seem to mind. "I'm going to get you water," she said. "No thanks," Jenny said "It's just going to make me sick."
"You need something in you," Tara said as she rose "You puked everything up. You're only going to get worse if you don't eat." Either by conceding defeat in the argument, or simply being too weak to fight Tara over it, Jenny said nothing as Tara went to leave. Jenny closed her eyes and groaned softly as a new wave of pain washed over her. Tara rushed to the kitchen, not wanting to hear any of it.