ROTU BC Please Note: This is a serial novel written by Annelise Ianthe.

© 2012 – 2013

All Rights Reserved.




Chapter 8



We scavenged the 7-Eleven store along the way, taking everything we were able to carry. Perishable foods were left behind, though we did take several of the sandwiches from one of the refrigerators. The food would tide us over until we were able to find a more suitable location in which to live in. Making our way back to the garage, we distributed the filched boxes, bottles, and cans into several plastic crates. There was enough to keep us fed for a week or so. After that, we’d have to head out once again to scavenge for whatever we needed.

Lighting one of the candles we’d swiped from the store, I made my way to the leftmost corner of the garage. Tucked up against the wall, I set the lug wrench aside. I pulled my knees against my chest, and wrapped my arms around them, resting my chin in the small hollow. A soft sigh escaped me as my gaze swept around the room.

Mary and Mallory were now sound asleep in the middle of the room. Emma and Grady lay nearby. Their soft snores broke the monotony of the silence that surrounded us. Chase was curled into his side near the right door of the carport, his left arm flung outward as he slept. Joe lay on his back with Sergei curled against his right side. Both were out cold. Rosa sat across the room, partially hidden by the shadows. I had a feeling she wasn’t asleep, either.

The fever was now running rampant throughout my body. It wouldn’t be long until it consumed me completely. I prayed I wouldn’t become one of those things. The thought of hurting my family tugged upon my heart. I knew I should have told them about the bites. Rosa knew, but she kept that little nugget to herself. I think she hoped I’d make it known before something else happened to us.

My mind reeled with the implications of what we’d gone through, so far. Truth be told, I’m scared. I don’t want to worry the family, either. We’d come this far. I couldn’t allow them to worry about me, too.

Deep inside, I knew Rosa would take care of things if I ended up changing. She wouldn’t like it, but she’d do it, none-the-less. Their survival meant everything to me, and she knew it.

My reverie was broken as Rosa sat down beside me. She handed me half of a ham and cheese grinder and a can of soda. I accepted both with a wan smile. Unwrapping the sandwich, I took a hearty bite out of it.

“Everything ok?” Rosa prodded as I popped the can of Coca-Cola open.

“I suppose.”

“I’m worried, Meg.”


“Everything. Wh – What if you turn?”

I knocked back a hefty gulp of the soda, and set the can down. “I won’t,” I lied.

“You don’t know that.”

“If I do, you’ll put me out of my misery, and keep on trucking.”

She glowered at me, and picked up the can, taking a dainty sip. “That’s not funny!”

I smirked, and took another bite of the sandwich. “Wasn’t trying to be.”

“Seriously, what if . . .?”

I sighed deeply, and set the sandwich down. “If I turn, Rose, you’re under orders to kill me. Once you do, you take my car and the kids away from this stinking hellhole. You survive. Got that?”

“But . . .”

“No, but’s, cuzo. This isn’t the time for second guessing. You’ve seen what’s out there. There’s more of those things popping up by the minute. We either survive, or we die. Now what’ll it be?”

She chewed on her lower lip in thought as her troubled gaze swung toward the sleeping children. I was well aware of her worry. Rosa had every right to be concerned. There was no way of knowing if I’d turn soon. My body was already feeling the effects of the poison. It wouldn’t be long until I succumbed to it. I honestly wish there was a way I could reassure her and the rest of the family, but I could think of nothing that would set their minds at ease.

“We should get some sleep,” I suggested.

“Meg . . .”

I placed a hand on her shoulder, and squeezed it gently. “Tomorrow, Rose. We’ll deal with everything then.”

“But . . .”

I set the rest of the sandwich and soda aside. Leaning against the wall, I closed my eyes, and feigned sleep. I hoped she’d take the hint.

Several moments passed before she sighed with discontent and moved away. A sigh of relief slid past my lips. Deep inside, I prayed I’d live to see another day. Making myself comfortable, I allowed the sickness raging through my body to take over, and sunk into an uneasy darkness.