Walking Distance

1694 Words
ELLIOTT "I had a weird dream last night and since then, I'm having this feeling that something isn't right. I told Jean about it but he said not to worry about it much. I'm writing this journal while making breakfast for Elliott. He had been nagging about how much he hates eating alone so I've decided to wake him up early to have food together." "Jean had just returned from a new heist that he and his neighbour friends put up with. He had said that Keith's parents had invited us over for lunch on the weekend. They are nice people. To be honest, I don't feel like going to work today. Not only because of my bad dream but the possibility of something troublesome happening. But Jean was a different species. His work came first." "Seems like I'll have to end it here today. Until next time! P.s. I hope I get through today just fine." That was the last entry of the journal Elliott was reading. The last entry was dated 12th October, the same day years ago the robbery at the bank where Martha and Jean used to work. The day they died. He stared at the rest of the empty pages of the journal, dazed. But he felt cold breath against his skin. He looked to his side to see Asami laying her head on her shoulders and sleeping soundly. Elliott stared at her for quite some time, trying to figure out if she was still alert while being asleep. Did she trust Elliott to an extent where she wasn't worried about him hurting her in her sleep? Maybe she knew him too well. Because at that time, staring at her face, never once did the idea of killing her cross his mind. He didn't move or push her away. Instead, he leaned his shoulder down to the level of her head for her comfort. He slowly pushed her strand of hair behind her ear. Staying as still as possible, he stared at the attic wall in front of him till his eyes closed. His head pressed gently on the wall behind him as sleep dawned on him. The night felt peaceful and her presence beside him was faint. It was as if she was there but she wasn't. ~ The next morning, Elliott's eyes opened and he sat up. He remembered the event of the previous night clearly, yet he found himself sleeping on his bed and not in the attic. "Wait," he murmured to himself wide-eyed, "an attic?" He looked up at his ceiling, bewildered. There was no attic. He never had an attic because he lived in an apartment with a terrace. Neither did he have any pictures, any belongings or any journal. He took nothing from his parent's house after they died and he left for the foster home. Last night, whatever had happened, was it all just his imagination? Or was his mind tricked again by someone he remembered too clearly? His head throbbed with the stress he felt trying to figure it out. All the memories he had revisited the night before, was it all made up? ~ "We got information about the plans of the Mayor about this situation. They seem to have given up on the thought of catching Phoenix. They are stressing more on giving people bribes and clearing out evidence till everything gets under control," Fred explained. Elliott had reached the basement after school. "But isn't that more troublesome?" Isis asked. Nish and Meraki were still on the way to the basement. "They're helpless now," George sighed, leaning back on his chair, still feeling out of it. "Their troops or Security General, both turned out to be useless. What can they do?" "This is a state of emergency for them, right?" Jack asked, giving them a meaningful look. "Whatever you're thinking, consider it our last resort. And let's hope things don't get down to that," Fred warned. Elliott felt completely distracted that he didn't understand what he meant. Maybe, it was something he would get to experience later. He didn't want to know. Suddenly, a shrilly but unbearably loud alarm started blaring from outside. Everyone flinched and stood up, shocked. The emergency alarm also brought the noise of footsteps and the voices of people crying out. "It's the town evacuation drill alarm. Something is up," George said, grabbing hold of his cane and rushing out of the basement. "Damn it," Jack spoke out and ran after George along with the others. "Wait!" Meredith called out and everyone halted. She closed her eyes and opened it only to point towards the trunk placed in the corner of the basement. "You'll need weapons." They rushed out of the basement with guns and bullets hidden under their clothes. The sight in front of Elliott was chaotic and messed up. People were running wildly everywhere. No-one stopped even to take shelter. The streets were filling with terrified people who were looking for a safer place. The alarm never stopped and soon, police vehicles started showing up. "Split!" George ordered and they split in half. While Garry, Fred, George and Meredith ran with the crowd on the left, Isis, Jack and Elliott ran to their right. Sticking to the edges and seeping through thin alleys, they kept moving forward to the town hall. Around the corner and through the hopeless screams, the three of them reached a lesser crowded area surrounded by numerous buildings. Elliott looked up at the terrace of those buildings and immediately spotted people hiding behind the railings. "There...", Elliott said, pointing out. "Isn't that Nish and Meraki?" Isis gasped, wanting to rush to them quickly but Jack held her hand and pulled her back. "You're sick, follow after us," he said. Even though his tone sounded cold, he was worried. Elliott had doubted it before but he knew Jack had started opening up to her more than he had expected. "That was a long time ago," Isis said, restlessly. "Please," he murmured. His eyes looked too concerned to be ignored, "I can't take any risks, not with you." They stood staring speechlessly at each other while Elliott watching with an unsaid awkwardness. He cleared his throat, snapping them back to reality. "Let's continue this after we're safe," Elliott abruptly let out and took the lead. Jack quickly stormed past him, replacing Elliott and taking the lead. He was quite competitive for a teenager. Carefully and avoiding contact, they somehow managed to reach the back door of the building where Nish and Meraki were stuck in with others. After breaking the door open, they climbed up the rusted stairs with hushed footsteps. The whole building was eerily silent and vacant. They reached the terrace, scaring everyone as the three of them barged through the terrace door. "Ah! You!" Nish jumped up, her face flushed with relief. But Meraki was still crouched on the floor with her eyes focused at a distance from the building. She was looking down at something. "What's going on here?" Elliott asked, staring at the faces of the other anxious people who had taken shelter there. "Come here," Meraki hissed in a low voice and Elliott crouched down beside her to have a look at what she was seeing. Everything that he was expecting to see failed in front of what he was witnessing. Rotting corpses were walking around the streets of Spring Market in search of prey. Their skin was ashen, pale and decomposing but their low growls made them look like animals. But Elliott recognised them immediately. They were similar to the corpses that came alive the day Gabrielle died. Everything was again her doing. It felt like Asami was treating herself with innocent lives again. "I'm calling Fred," Jack said, immediately dialling his number. The corpses were rather slower than the ones Elliott had seen at Bernsville. And they were only getting agitated at the sight of alive humans. "We can burn them up again," Meraki suggested. "But we don't have our powers," Nish added in anticipation with her fidgety posture. "If we can somehow contact Meredith..", Isis murmured. That's when Jack rushed to the edge of the terrace and peeked out of the railing. Then he pointed out at the alley behind where the corpses were gathered. Elliott saw Meredith and Fred signalling to them from the alley opposite to where they were. But to reach that alley, they had to cross the crowd of corpses with an intent to kill. "She's calling us over," Meraki said, frowning. "I'll go," Elliott said, still somehow believing his intuitions. Rather, he wanted to test it out himself. He wanted to know if the corpses would still ignore him like last time. "We don't want trouble, Elliott," Nish said, unknowingly. "I'll be fine. I'll be left unscathed that's why I'm taking this up," he spoke out, feeling confident in his words. Even if last night felt like a dream, he was sure Asami was still her ally. "Okay, I'll do that," Jack said before hanging up the call with Fred. Then he turned to look at Elliott and then at Nish. "Meredith's calling over Elliott and Nish. We're supposed to stay back." "M-me? How am I supposed to go there? I don't have my invisibility," Nish said, starting to panic inside. Her restless eyes looking gravely at Elliott. "You'll be okay if you stick to me," Elliott said, unsure of his security and hers. ~ Elliott stood at the exit of the building, gaping at the street ahead, swarming with dead people. He slowly opened the door wider and stepped out alone. Nish stood behind the door, watching him with horror. He was panting with his fear-stricken footsteps. Once he was out on the street, suddenly, the faces started turning to him with growls of rage. The corpses turned to face him over Elliott's thumping heartbeat and trembling hands. But minutes passed and no one came his way. No one tried hunting him nor hissing at him. They ignored Elliott like he didn't exist. He let out a deep breath, his stomach crumbling as the tension released.
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