#SampleSunday – After The Virus, Chapter 9:
Over the next 12 weeks I will be sharing a chapter of my novel After The Virus each sunday. Warning: for coarse language and brutal content. This is a post-apocalyptic love story. I hope you enjoy getting a peek. Feedback is welcomed and appreciated. If you are so inclined, purchase links can be found on the side bar. – Meghan
The clothes didn’t fit, but she didn’t care. They were clean and actually pretty, well, compared to the black cargo she’d been swathed in. The shower had been hot, just like he, Will, had said. There was honey and vanilla in the soap and she’d almost started crying at the smell.
When she’d stepped out of the shower to make sure the door was locked, for the second time, she noticed that B.B. was asleep on the floor. B.B. feels safe, she chided, but then chafed at the idea of a man protecting her. What if, what if, her brain clamored, but never completed.
She’d heard him calling when she was dressing but, still testing him, didn’t answer. He passed her open door on the way to the bathroom.
“Rhiannon? Dinner,” he called.
“Yeah?” she murmured. He turned back, and she, only wearing a skirt, made sure her bareback faced the door. She knew he’d caught sight. All the air sucked from the room. She pulled her shirt on, noting in the mirror that he stared steadily away.
“You up for some dinner? We found some canned meat for B.B.,” his voice broke slightly, but maybe only a trained ear would have caught it.
“Thanks. We’ll be right there,” she turned towards him, but he didn’t look at her as he left. She felt oddly aroused, or maybe disappointed, but definitely awake.
Later, post dish washing — he’d dried — she sat in the living room bay window and watched the sunset burn the sky behind the mountains.
B.B. slept by the unlit fireplace.
Will read a book, World War Z, of all choices.
She breathed. She hadn’t been this calm in — maybe ever. She watched Snickers, who was crashed on the sofa and cuddled up with her shotgun. She felt the moment Will’s attention hit her.
“We’re locked in for the night, if that’s what’s worrying you,” he whispered.
She shook her head and indicated the gun, ”Not loaded, is it?”
“Wouldn’t do her much good if it wasn’t,” he replied and returned to his book.
“That your answer for everything?” she asked.
He laughed and then soberly stated, “It’s a world gone mad.”
Quickly changing the subject, she tried, “How long have you guys been here?”
He shrugged and guessed, ”Two months, maybe, for me. Ten days for Snickers.”
“Snickers?” she asked.
“Were what she was eating,” he answered.
“Amazing she didn’t get snatched; if it’s not the rebuild humanity one-rape-at-a-time group, it’s murderers or The Infected,” she sneered.
“The Infected?” he asked and she was glad she had recent news to offer for his generosity. She never did like owing anyone.
“They figured out how to stave off death.”
“What?” he couldn’t get his jaw up. “Jesus. Not a cure, though?”
“No,” she replied, “but the blood of the immune can sustain them indefinitely.”
He was reeling, working it out, “But the virus burns through the body’s resources, like consuming The Infected from the inside out — “
“Large doses of blood,” she added, “sustains them, but the virus symptoms are still present, so they’re sick, but fast, strong, angry — “
“ — And in need of our blood,” he whispered and glanced at Snickers, who was now sucking her thumb. “Living, breathing, monsters. Nice.”
“Rebuild Humanity keeps them as pets,” she added casually; nevertheless, she could feel the questions he didn’t ask practically burning her.
He settled on, “You lost someone?”
“With 99.9% of the worldwide population wiped out, we all lost,” she countered, but he just shrugged. Then there’d been no one special for him, before. She could say the same and they could bond over never being truly loved, but she didn’t.
That night the terrors started. She was trapped in utter darkness with one of them, The Infected, its putrid snot dripped on her face right before it-
She woke, hoping she hadn’t screamed.