Alice in zombieland, p.62

Alice in Zombieland, page 62

 part  #1 of  White Rabbit Chronicles Series

 

Alice in Zombieland
 



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Page 62

 

  His words were as powerful as mine, and I found myself trying to sit up to reach him. “Daddy, I love you. Please, help me. You have to help me. ”

  A howl rent the air, followed by another and another. The zombies that had formed the wall, wanting a go at me, were collapsing, their bodies spasming.

  “Ali!” I heard from across the room.

  Cole! Cole was here!

  Maim—

  No! I thought again. NO.

  My dad straightened, turning to confront the newest threat.

  “Ali!” Cole shouted again.

  “Cole! I’m here. ”

  More howls erupted, this time followed by groans of pain.

  The battle between zombies and slayers had begun.

  My dad fought beside me, tossing his fellow zombies into the walls, away from me. Adrenaline pumped through me. If I stayed in this spot, he would, too, and one of the slayers would kill him. And with the way my dad was helping me…well, I couldn’t let that happen. He was fighting the evil, too!

  I closed my eyes and tuned out every ounce of my pain. It wasn’t easy, but I found a way, the intensity of my determination allowing nothing else. Slowly, my spirit began to rise from my body…rise…I can do this…the moment I was completely free, I experienced a rush of strength, the cold air battling the fever heat. Cole tossed me two daggers.

  A zombie rushed toward my dad from the left, but he was occupied with the one on his right. Leaping into action, I crisscrossed my arms—nailed a jugular—parted my arms, swung—nailed another. My body arced forward and back, my feet constantly moving me through the swarming masses. But even if I’d lacked skill, I would have dominated. These zombies were weaker than any I’d fought.

  I lost sight of my dad. From the corner of my eye, I spied Cole, fighting just as fiercely as I was. He was covered in black gunk, riddled with scratches, but still he fought. For me. To save me. To kill those who would destroy us all. Haun was behind him, but he wasn’t on his feet. He was lying flat on his back and unmoving as my dad—no, no, no—burrowed inside his body, vanishing, then rising and moving on, black goo on his chin. Trina fought in front of Haun in a desperate bid to save him, even as zombies chewed at her legs.

  I battled my way toward them. Someone hit me from behind, knocking me down. My forehead banged into something—a body. At least it cushioned my fall. A second later, teeth were in my leg and more fire was winding through me. I kicked with my other leg, dislodging whoever it was.

  Cole was there a second later, sword ending that particular clash.

  “You’re good,” he said, already engaging another foe.

  “Yeah. ” No way I’d confess otherwise. I went low, double-teaming the zombie with a blade slicked over the backs of his ankles, dropping him to his knees.

  I turned to my next target and caught sight of my father again. He rushed toward Cole, teeth bared. The two engaged. I watched, horrified as my father tried again and again to bite him.

  “Stop,” I screamed, but I didn’t believe they would.

  Cole dodged my dad’s chomping teeth while swiping out with his sword. I dropped my blades. My father might want to save me, but he would never have that kind of control with others. Eventually he would act as Pops had. He would hit me, try to harm me. He would destroy everyone I’d come to love.

  I couldn’t let that happen.

  I had less than a second to make a decision, and so I made it. I looked down at my hands. “You will light up,” I said, and they instantly obeyed. From fingertips to shoulders, I glowed.

  With tears leaking down my cheeks, I reached out. My arm shook. Lord, give me the strength.

  “Daddy,” I said.

  He whipped around to face me.

  “I’m sorry. ” No other way. Has to be done.

  “Ali,” he said.

  Contact.

  He disappeared in a burst of ash. I think…I think he’d been smiling.

  Just like that, my dad was gone.

  Dead forever.

  Because of me.

  Cole had been in the process of swinging his sword, a blow my dad’s body should have absorbed. Only, my dad wasn’t there anymore. I was.

  Metal sliced through my belly.

  At first, I felt nothing. A few seconds later, I felt everything, a pain far worse than anything I’d ever before encountered sweeping through me.

  Horror bathed Cole’s expression. A shout of denial rose from him. Cruz and Frosty were suddenly there, helping me ease to the ground. Black dots winked in front of me.

  “Ali!”

  I tried to reply but coughed instead, feeling the blood ride up my chest, pool in my mouth.

  “I’m sorry, so very sorry,” Cole said, and I knew he was hovering over me.

  This was the vision we’d had, I realized. What do you know? It had come to pass quickly.

  He gathered me in his arms. “Do not die. You will not die, do you hear me?”

  After everything I’d endured to get here? “Wouldn’t…dream…” Another cough halted the rest of my words. Something tugged me up…up…up into a never-ending expanse of white.

  18

  Alice’s Happy Beginning

  I had no idea where I was. Clouds, so many white clouds, surrounded me, hazing my line of vision until—

  Emma walked through the fluff, no longer wearing her pretty pink tutu. Now a gleaming white robe draped her, flowing to her feet. Her hair was down, long and sleek and so beautifully dark. Her eyes were as bright a gold as ever, a mix of differing emotions.

  “Am I dead?” I asked, at peace with the thought.

  “Not for long,” she replied. “You killed him, you know. ”

  The memories flooded me. My dad, a zombie. My dad, about to hurt Cole. My dad, dead—because of me.

  “I’m sorry,” I croaked. “I’m so sorry. ”

  “I know,” was her sad reply. “I wish I could tell you that was the end of the zombies, but I can’t. I wish I could tell you that was the end of Anima Industries, but I can’t. I wish I could tell you all will be well between you and your Cole, but I can’t do that, either. ”

  No. I refused to worry about any of that. I had faith, and if I had faith I couldn’t have worry. “Everything will be better, you’ll see. ”

  “You had so much toxin in your system, Ali. Do you really think they could neutralize it all? And the humans are so angry. They’re angry and they want—”

  “Ali,” a voice called.

  Cole’s voice.

  Emma’s image began to fade.

  “Don’t go,” I cried, reaching for her. “Please. ”

  “I’m not the one leaving, Ali. You are. ” Such a heartbreaking smile…the clouds enveloping her…until she was gone, no hint of her remaining.

  “Ali. ”

  In the distance I heard the beep, beep, beep of a machine. “Goodbye, Em,” I whispered. “For now. ” I’d see her again; I knew it.

  I wish I could tell you all will be well between you and your Cole, but I can’t do that, either.

  “Ali. I know you can hear me. Your fingers are twitching. ”

  I pushed my sister’s words away, and concentrated on the boy who’d helped bring me back from the dead. I knew refusing to worry wouldn’t save me from hardship, but it would save me from ruining the moment. I’d take each day as it came, and deal with whatever obstacles were thrown into my path, but one thing I knew. The toxin had been completely neutralized. I knew because I was alive, my mind clear of evil.

  “Come on, sleeping beauty,” Cole said. “You’ve been out for days, and it’s time to stop punishing me and wake up. ”

  My eyelids fluttered open and closed, every blink clearing away some of the fuzz. Cole sat in a chair next to my bed, his elbows propped on the rail, and his shoulders just kind of sagged with relief. Maybe it was the drugs clearly working throug
h me, because I felt no pain, but I could have stared at him forever. He was a beautiful sight. Scabbed up, bandaged, but clean and total warrior delicious.

  For a moment, I wondered if this were a vision. But, no, that came next—

  —we were sitting on a porch swing, holding hands, talking softly, laughing. My head rested on his shoulder. The sun was in the process of rising, lush colors sprinkling gold and pink through the sky.

  “No questions for me today?” he asked.

  “Of course I have questions for you. Actually I have thousands. ”

  “Let me have ’em. ”

  “First up. Why aren’t you kissing me…?”

  I wasn’t sure how long the vision lasted, but when it faded to black, tears had fallen and dried on my cheeks. A happy ending for me, I thought. Or better yet, a happy beginning.

  Finally.

  See? Everything would be all right.

  As for Anima Industries, they had already played their best card. My father. And they’d already lost. I’d mourned the loss of him, and they could no longer use him against me.

  And okay, yes, what I’d had to do still hurt. My father had tried to battle through for me, because he loved me that much. Yet still I’d destroyed him. I’d destroyed his second chance. Me. No one else.

  I would have to live with that.

  I comforted myself only with the knowledge that what had happened had been necessary. He’d fought the evil but the evil had won. He would have hurt my friends over and over again if I’d allowed him to live.

  “I liked that vision,” Cole said, fingers tracing gently over my hand.

  “Yes. ” The single word was no more than a croak, my throat raw.

  He lifted my hand, kissed my knuckles. “I almost lost you, Ali. Twice. Your heart stopped. But you came back. ”

  “Stubborn,” I said.

  “And thank God for that. ”

  We shared a soft smile. “How much butt did we kick?”

  His expression turned serious. “Most of Anima escaped, but all of the zombies that were there were killed. We didn’t even have to fight them. They just began to drop, one by one. They stopped moving, and we were able to light them up without any problems. ”

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