There was the sound of a bloodcurdling groan from behind the tin waste bins. Garth drew his baton and quickly splashed away from that alley.
David slipped in the oil and water of the puddle in the middle of the back alleyway. He scrambled up when he heard the groans from the shadows.
Alexis and two others ran by. Her hood and flapped in her face and her sleeves about her as she ran. When a bloody hand reached out from behind the bins and grabbed her sleeve she screamed and reactively twisted out of her raincoat. She turned to each of her companions and, pushing them on, followed closely behind them.
Slowly and eerily along the street, two zombies stumbled. The hair on the back of their head was not only wet, but dirty and matted with a deep dark red at the tips.
A single person ran towards them, but seeing them, she slipped in an frantic attempt to halt herself.
Another man approached, sprinting through the rain. Before the first could rise, one of the zombies scratched her shoulder after pulling on her ripping tank top.
The man knocked down the zombies and pulled her away from them. She gasped.
“It's okay." He said. "It's okay. I've got you.”
The other leaned her head against the newcomer's chest. But he was startled when he noticed the sound of bitter groaning behind the waste bins.
“Come! We have to go.”
The woman leaned up towards him, and she kissed him, but she did not let him go. Instead she, suddenly, grasped his hair and viciously bit his shoulder.
Crying out in pain, he shuddered as he looked into her hideously vacant eyes.
Presently, he dragged up his head and neck, irksomely rising to a standing position.
The zombie couple lumbered over to the collection of waste bins. They cast them aside, one after another.
However, a truck drove through that street and ran into them, speeding away with them splattered on the grill.
“Please!” Again two bleeding arms grasped at one of the people in a group running past. They held onto his back so that he could not shake out of their grasp.
He turned to the hideous sight of a woman covered in open wounds. He gathered his strength and threw her off of himself.
"Did it touch you?" One of his companions shouted, grasping him by the throat to better examine his eyes.
"No...no, I got the monster off of me. I got it off of me! I'm good! Let's go!"
They scrambled around her where she lay crouched in the roadway and fled.
The rain drizzled down her pale, wounded back onto the cold cobblestone. She had sores, gashes, and wormholes all over her body. There were several hideously moving lumps beneath her flesh.
One of the men let the others run on. He wore a face mask and was covered head to toe.
Between a wound in her thigh and one in her belly was the multi-ringed pink body of a serpentine parasite. Out of a hole in her back wriggled the remaining length of its twitching tail.
Despite all of this, her brown eyes were clear, and frantically alive, though she squinted in the rain as she pleadingly looked up at him.
“Help… me!” She wheezed.
Callum pulled on the worm, but it disattatched its tail to escape his grasp. What had slipped out of the tail writhed and twitched on the ground. The rest of the worm that remained beneath, however, was still alive.
"Can you run?"
She shakily clambered up his arm, and leaned heavily on his shoulder, but before she had taken even two steps on her own, she collapsed down upon the cobblestone.
He sounded a series of clicks on his radio push-to-talk.
"Where are we going?" She asked Callum as he lifted her in his arms. Deep in the mist behind him several lumbering figures approached.
"We have to get to the safehouse."
"Safehouse? Nowhere is safe. I have seen even humans hurt each other."
He removed his mask so she could see his face.
"Everyone is consumed by fear of the undead. Many die inside long before they've been bitten."
The radio responded with another series of clicks.
"My sister is a doctor and we are on our way back from a supply run to a fort in the middle of a lake. They have saved my life so many times."
The woman gasped as she looked behind him down the roadway. A group of zombie faces glared emptily at the two of them as they reached out towards them with hunger.
An engine roared in the distance. Moments later, a truck drove past the cluster of zombies.
When the truck reached them, it stopped by briefly. Callum laid her gently on the pickup bed. He leapt inside as the Doctor pulled her closer to the cab and began to examine her. The driver stepped on the gas just as the zombies had caught up and had begun to claw at the back of the vehicle.
"How far do we have until we get to the bridge?" The doctor shouted towards the barred and boarded back window of the cab.
"About ten minutes if we don't keep stopping for stragglers!" Ned shouted back irritably.
The Doctor hastily rolled up her jacket and placed it behind the woman's head. She mixed together a few of the chemicals in her medical pack.
"What's your name?"
The Doctor squeezed her hand.
"Alright Charlotte, this is going to sting a bit."
The Doctor poured a red substance into her wounds that repelled and poisoned the worm. After several moments, it emerged and squirmed in pain on the truck bed.
“Where is the rest of it?” The Doctor asked Callum as she shoveled the worm overboard, noticing its wounded trailing half.
“No, I kept a bit of it in an old medicine jar for you if you needed it."
The Doctor instinctively glanced at the labels on the partially filled bottles that had fallen out of the overfilled pockets of his pack.
"It isn't a jar like this one, was it?"
"Yes, actually, but it is a larger one. I have collected a bunch of medicine jars like that one since the apocalypse began."
“What? A bottle of somatropin? No! What have you done?”
“What do you mean?”
“This is a growth hormone. Was that bottle completely empty?”
Callum, wide eyed, hastily removed it from his backpack. It was now full of a hundred squirming worms fully alive squeezed inside the glass bottle.
He reactively dropped it.
His sister reflexively caught it.
“Handle. With. Care.” She instructed, placing it back into her brother's trembling hands so that she could prepare the worm's toxins once more.
However, there was a sudden bump and the truck skid to a halt. Callum did hold onto the jar this time, but the vehicle was rapidly surrounded by zombie faces. Lumbering hands barraged the sides of the vehicle as the driver attempted to redirect it to avoid a roadblock.
Suddenly, Callum felt himself viciously pulled backwards out of the truck bed, despite the others' reactive and futile attempts to grasp onto him. The jar of worms shattered onto the road, slipping from his hands as he fell out. They wriggled out, aggressively, hungrily.
Callum gasped as he frantically attempted to fend off the horde of zombies, but they quickly overwhelmed him in the puddles near the roadside.
Charlotte and the Doctor gazed towards him as the truck sped away across the bridge.