Click the link to catch up with Part One, New Black Plague.
Click the link to catch up with Part Two, Survival of the Fittest.
Sleep had engulfed most of the group, now incarcerated in the dining room of the large house. Some simply couldn’t sleep. They were too terrified about what their immediate future held.
Ryan hadn’t wasted much time worrying. In fact, he’d been the first one to fall asleep and was propped up in a corner of the room. Georgina had soon followed his example, nuzzling into her lover and allowing herself to feel safe and warm in his strong, muscular arms. Nobody knew what was to come, so why waste time worrying over it? That was Ryan’s take on the situation. It was pointless to lose sleep over the unknown.
The sound of quiet animation from outside the room caused a few of the group, including Ryan, to stir. He just about made out the words, “In there,” from one of the rebels and the door opened shortly after.
In stepped a man who, it had to be said, was far from impressive. He was around 5”8’ in height with an inch or so of dark brown hair across the top of his head that grew around a pair of reasonably big jug ears. He looked boyish in appearance yet was likely in his early forties. Whatever intelligence appeared absent in his blue eyes was made up for in dangerous intensity while a scowl that looked as though it was perhaps a permanent fixture adorned his thin-lipped mouth. He looked quite lean, though it was hard to tell given the thick jacket he wore with black bootcut jeans and CAT work boots.
The man peered around the room, his expression unchanging. He’d obviously worked hard on his poker face and had perfected the art of appearing apathetic. “Who’s the leader o’ you lot then?” he asked in a nasally, stereotypical Mancunian accent.
Jay, who had since awoken, went to stand.
“Don’t you fuckin’ get up, dickhead! I didn’t tell you t’get up!”
“Fine,” Jay mumbled, inwardly aghast at the fact that this man was from the same neck of the woods as he was. “I’ve been leading the group.”
“And you are?”
“Tell me, Jay… what’re you doin’ in one o’ my safehouses?”
“We didn’t know it was anyone’s safehouse. We saw an empty house and decided to stay here the night. It might be an idea to label it as one of your safehouses in future so people know!”
“I’ll let you have that one, but, if you sass me one more time, it’ll be t’last thing you do!”
“If we’d have known it belonged to somebody, we’d have carried on going,” Jay said, unruffled by Sharkey.
“Fair enough, kidder. Problem is, rules are rules. In t’old world, if a man killed somebody, he’d get sent down whether he knew it were against the law t’kill somebody or not. Ignorance weren’t an excuse then; it ain’t an excuse now.”
“You’re gonna condemn us because we came here to get some kip? We were gonna move on first thing. We were never a threat to you.”
“I’m guessin’ t’first place you were gonna head to was the town down t’hill. That’d make you a threat to us. That’s our town.”
Jay tried to think of a response. It was becoming quickly clear that Sharkey would have an answer to everything no matter what was said, so he stayed his tongue.
“What were you doin’ out there anyway? Some o’ you look like military. Thought you fuckers were mindin’ t’safe zones.”
“We’re rebels. We had a self-made safe zone that ended up becoming compromised. We were the only ones who managed to escape before the army swooped in. We’ve been on the run since.”
“You’ve got medical equipment in one o’ your vehicles. What’s that for?”
Jay looked tersely at Kas, whose eyes went wide with warning. “It’s stuff we salvaged from the safe zone before we left. We’ve been trying to figure out how to use it to no avail.”
“Are none o’ you lot doctors or owt?”
“The best any of us can offer is basic first aid.”
“What you’re basically tellin’ me is you’re all good for fuck all?”
“We’ve been resourceful enough to survive so far,” Jay defended.
“Not resourceful enough to know when you’re trespassin’ on someone else’s patch though, eh?”
“Look, just take what you want to take and let us go. We’re balls deep in a zombie apocalypse; what else is more important than us each having a stab at surviving it without killing each other in the process?”
“Where you see an apocalypse, I see opportunity. I also see danger: an opportunity for you lot to take some sort o’ revenge if I let you go, so that won’t be happenin’. I’m gonna have to go away and think about it for a bit. You sit tight and make yourself comfy.”
“What, and that’s it? We get to sit here and wait to see if you decide to murder us or not?”
Sharkey looked at Jay with a slight smirk on his gaunt face and then made for the door without another word, leaving the room.
Jay trembled with fury and Ryan spoke up before he had the chance to go on a tirade. “I’ve dealt with guys like Sharkey my whole life. Maybe I should go and speak to him.”
“You?” Jay looked suspicious.
“I can do no worse a job than you have,” Ryan said pointedly.
“Except get us all killed when you start running your mouth.”
“Hey, at least we get it out of the way sooner rather than later if I do. I’d rather that than sit here waiting for it to happen.”
Jay never knew when to take Ryan seriously; something in his tone suggested he was only half-joking on this occasion. The scary thing was that Jay was forced to admit to himself that Ryan was probably right. He sighed loudly. “Alright. I guess it’s worth a try.”
Ryan went to stand; a gentle hand on his arm pulled him down before he did. He looked to see Georgina smiling, though the concern was written heavily on her face.
“Be careful,” she muttered.
Ryan kissed her softly on the lips and looked her reassuringly in the eyes. “He won’t be able to resist my charm offensive.”
She giggled uncertainly and then pulled him into a quick albeit tight embrace with another kiss on his lips before releasing her grip on him.
Ryan stood and walked assuredly to the door of the room. His calm exterior belied the brisk pace of his pulse as the blood pumped around his body at speed and the adrenaline surged. He knocked upon the door.
“What?” Came the simple, muffled response from outside.
“I want to speak to Sharkey.”
“He’s just spoken to you. Sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up!”
“I’m not the one he just spoke to. I have something to say that he’s probably gonna want to hear.” There was no apparent threat in Ryan’s words nor his timbre, but it was no less an evident undertone.
“Okay,” came the response after thirty or forty seconds of silence and the door opened shortly after.
TO BE CONTINUED
Read ASAS: Consequence–Chapter One now!