|Love is for the Living by Nicholas Kinsley|
The zombies have arrived, and Blaine needs to escape. He'd always thought of his London neighborhood as a place of safety, but then his infected neighbors tried to eat him. Blaine packed a bag and fled through growing numbers of shambling, voracious monsters--people, he had to remind himself, they're people--toward his family in Bristol. He would surely have died without the turn of luck that brought him Commander Andrew Peterson. Together, they face the horrors and adversities of the apocalypse, trying to protect their loved ones, and—if they’re lucky—find love for themselves. (M/M)
Blaine nodded again, and Andrew could see him mentally preparing himself. He had a strong feeling Blaine wouldn’t let him die, but he wasn’t too sure about Blaine getting himself killed. He’d seen selfless kids like that before, looking to be a hero or prove themselves. He’d been a selfless kid like that before. With a final deep breath, Andrew opened the door, shooting the throat of the walker just outside it.
There was a quick moment of unease when Blaine wasn’t right at his side, but soon enough Blaine had run around the bonnet and joined him again. Andrew raised his rifle firmly, aiming for the general area of the head, and the ones that didn’t instantly fall, Blaine picked off one by one. Andrew felt the familiar mixed feeling of adrenaline, disgust, and excitement.
He could kill as many of these as he wanted and feel absolutely no guilt. Nobody would hate him for these deaths.
They cleared the walkers on the street easily. It was the mass sure to be waiting in the stairwell that Andrew dreaded. Clenching his jaw, Andrew stepped through the shattered entryway, glass crunching beneath his feet.
It didn’t look like anyone living was still here, but Andrew quickly pushed down any other dangerous trains of thought.
Blaine shot first, taking out a walker that lurked just down a side corridor with a single well-placed bullet. Andrew was grateful, but he’d also felt the whizz of the bullet as it shot past his ear, and Blaine had not followed the plan.
“I said to finish off anything I don’t!” Andrew snapped over his shoulder. He would have spun around and given Blaine a proper glare if he hadn’t been otherwise occupied with the infected in front of him.
“It was already so close, it was practically kissing you,” Blaine countered. “On your left, on your left!”
Andrew groaned and turned left, shooting the walker that was coming out of an open doorway before returning right.
“I didn’t need that image in my head,” he muttered as he continued onward and upward.
Andrew navigated through the stairwell, trying to save ammunition by targeting the head. There were only so many flats in the building, only so many floors, and Madison had to be on one of them.
“Madison!” Andrew called out.
She hadn’t been in Flat 1 or Flat 2, she wasn’t in Flat 8 or Flat 9… Andrew was starting to find it hard to think properly with how desperately he began searching.
“Is your family rich or something?” Blaine was mumbling behind him. “Seriously, what uni student can afford these?”
Infected poured in from the corridors, crashing through the already battered doors, and it often got to the point when Blaine and he walked on bodies. It seemed the majority of Oxford wasn’t to be seen on the streets, but inside, where they’d been told to lock themselves for safety.
“Jesus, Andrew, does she live on the bloody roof?” Blaine asked from three steps behind him.
“There’s only a few more flats left she could be. We’re almost—”
Blaine’s hand yanked Andrew back by the collar of his shirt, sending them both tumbling into the wall of the previous storey. Andrew quickly saw the reason for Blaine’s outcry when it dropped from the ceiling and landed neatly, scampering towards them.
A crawler. Her shirt was ripped, baring one of her breasts, and the lower half of her jaw was gone. She was also missing a leg, making her one of the more deformed crawlers they’d seen. For being so handicapped, she was certainly making good speed.
Blaine was still semi-crushed between Andrew and the wall, so Andrew raised his rifle and fired, pulling the trigger until a clicking sound signalled depletion. The crawler lay sprawled on the steps, her body so full of holes that she was almost entirely drenched in black blood.
Andrew took a step forward, breathing heavily. It was eerily quiet in the stairwell, and maybe that’s why Blaine didn’t immediately continue their journey upwards, because he too was puzzled by the sudden calm. Andrew didn’t move for a different reason.
There, on the crawler’s wrist, was a flash of silver, a bracelet so wide it could almost be considered a bracer. It was an accessory Andrew knew well, had been handed down through generations and worn at all times, ever since his mother had died, even though the style was so old it looked almost medieval. Andrew took one step closer, then another, not wanting to check and see if the inlaid gold pattern would look familiar, but knowing in his gut that it would.