Previously on Five Seconds: Parker and Andy make it out of the warehouse with the twins, Kevin, and Yohan. The group splits up to find supplies, and Andy finds her aunt’s favourite candle. The Crazies find the group however, and Andy narrowly escapes with her life. But her hiding place in Stanley Park is compromised.
Is it Parker or Newt?Click To Reveal Results
Perhaps I’d be greeting death tonight, but I wouldn’t go out without a fight. I gripped the stick, ready to defend myself against whatever, or whoever was in that bush. The bush rustled violently. Whoever was hiding in it clearly didn’t care if they were spotted. Or perhaps they could see I was easy prey. What was a twig going to do as a defensive weapon anyway?
A dark mass crept out of the bush and leaped at me. I slashed with my stick but dramatically missed. The shadow violently forced me to the ground and began attacking me with it’s… tongue.
It took a few moments for my brain to process the licking and connect all the dots.
“NEWT!” I gasped, tears immediately springing to my eyes.
My dog bayed in response.
I dug my hands through his fur and held on tight. His tail swung back and forth, shaking his whole body. I scratched his back and rubbed his belly. I buried my face in his fur, warmth spreading through my chest.
The world was going to hell, but in this precious moment here with my dog, none of that mattered. It was just me and my dog.
It felt like I was home again, curled up on the couch with my dog hogging the heated blanket.
Newt seemed bonier and his fur was matted. I rubbed his face between palms. “What hell did you go through to get here?” I muttered.
He responded with a large stinky lick up my face.
I wiped my wet eyes and opened the bag I had forgotten about resting against the trunk, and pulled out some stale beef jerky. I grabbed a handful and fed it to Newt. “Here you go bud. You must be starving.”
I searched the bag for the bottle of water Parker and I had found on our journey for supplies. Newt and I were both in need of some serious rehydration.
I shifted through the few items I had collected in those few sobering hours, and froze when my hand brushed against a cold glass object.
The previous high I had felt with Newt’s arrival hardened and shattered to the ground.
The candle. I took a deep breath and pulled it out. I shouldn’t have kept it. But, it was too hard to leave it behind.
Newt had already inhaled his jerky, and shoved his big nose closer to the candle to sniff. He looked up at me with his big brown eyes, and a whine escaped his mouth. Tears pricked my eyes again, and a lump formed in my throat.
“Me too Newt,” I whispered. “Me too.”
I shoved it into the bag without another thought, and brought out the water. I guzzled half the bottle before pouring the remaining in my palm for Newt to slurp down.
The air was cold, and the rain chilled me to the bone.
Where did we go from here? Had the crazies killed them all? Parker, Sam, Yohan? There was an explosion. It must've been the Jeep. Which meant that Yohan and Sam were dead. Did Parker make it out okay? He had been right by my side.
I took a sobering breath. No. There was no way Parker survived. I didn't dare give myself that hope.
I was all alone.
The world had never felt so big before.
The cold air burned my throat. It hurt to breathe but I knew that if I stopped I would collapse and succumb to death and all his friends.
Newt and I continued sprinting over the treacherous forest floor.
The Crazies had found us. And they were out for blood. They called after us, taunting, whistling, hollering. I tried my best to block out their horrifying sounds, and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.
I pumped my arms and stretched my legs out, gulping down greedy breaths of air, and ran. I ran through the damp trees, branches ripping at my clothes like skeletal claws. Scratching. Ripping. I couldn’t tell if the Crazies were all around us, or if the dark forest was just echoing their chants.
My foot caught on a root, and I went tumbling to the ground. I landed hard in an unforgiving ditch, half buried by the underbrush. I clawed at the tangle of fauna, shredding my skin and ripping my nails, trying to escape its deadly clutches. But every ounce of strength I put into escaping just seemed to burry me further. It was as if the earth was swallowing me whole.
Then Newt was by my side, pulling at vines, and shoving branches away – but it was all in vain.
“Run, Newt,” I ordered. Perhaps if they got to me first, he would still have a chance at escaping. A chance at life.
My poor dog. All alone in the world with no one. It broke my heart to think about, but maybe Parker got away. Maybe they would meet up and Parker would take care of my dog.
The voices grew louder – the Crazies were close.
“Dammit Newt. Get out of here!” I snapped in a hushed tone.
But the dog didn’t budge. Instead he crouched low, and disappeared into the shadows of the brush.
The voices continued to grow, and I felt, more than heard, every branch they snapped. Every bush they crashed through. I closed my eyes and held my breath. The terrifying noises grew, to the point where they felt like they were over top of us. And then, almost impossibly, they began to shrink.
I lay there in the ditch, still as a corpse, waiting for the Crazies to find me. But the noises continued to shrink. My eyes popped open to a dark and silent forest.
They were gone. They had missed us.
I attempted to take deep, calming, steadying breaths, but they turned rapid paced and shallow.
I had once again escaped the clutches of death.
By the time I had managed my way out of the ditch and back to the city, dawn was breaking. Between the mountains and ceiling of thick rain clouds, the sun poked through and warmed my face for just a moment. But the clouds quickly swallowed the sun and the promise of a new day it held.
I spun in a circle, trying to get my bearings. Once again, I was on Robson. I walked down the deserted street, the previous night’s catastrophes were mere memories.
It was a ghost town. It was as if I was the only one left on the earth.
“Where do we go from here?” I muttered.
Perhaps Newt and I could make the journey back home, and forget this nightmare ever happened. Or maybe we could go to Disneyland like I said I would. But logic told me that if Vancouver was left in this much destruction, Anaheim would be a mirror image. The whole west coast would be a wreck.
Maybe we could go to Alberta and visit the water slides.
Or maybe we could stay and fight for something. For all the stolen lives. For all the destroyed homes. But what was one person and her dog against the whole world?
I sat hard on the sidewalk, in front of a Safeway, my chin resting in my palm. Newt sat beside me, and I ran my free hand along his back.
What did we do now?
Newt’s ears perked up and he turned his head to the right, sniffing the air.
Electricity coursed through my veins. What did his ears pick up that mine didn’t?
Something echoed in the alley. It could’ve been a raccoon, it could’ve been a Crazie.
I got down on my belly and slid under a truck that had been abandoned in the earthquake. Newt came up beside me, still sniffing the air, black eyes locked on the shadows in the alley.
“Watch what you’re doing with her,” an unfamiliar voice argued. “She wants them alive, not dead.”
“What’s it to her if we hit her head a few times. We already knocked her unconscious,” another voice said. “Besides, we need to keep her under until we reach The Orpheum.”
“Yea, but then we need to make sure we can wake her for the big plan.”
Big plan? Who were these people? And why did they need to drag a body all the way to The Orpheum? They could’ve been another group of survivors, and The Orpheum was their hideout, but why would they be dragging an unconscious body?
“This big plan better work, otherwise I’d have been haulin’ ass for the past two months for nothin’.”
“I hope it works too. Otherwise we’ll be no more better off now than we were before the earthquake. We got lucky with the earthquake. Evened the playing field for us and the government.”
“Yeah, until they brought in the damn military.”
“Was to be expected. They’re the government. They’re greasy. They don’t play nice.”
“Well, neither do we. They call us the ‘Crazies’ for a reason.”
The two voices broke into snickers.
Immediately my heart stopped, and I had to remind myself to breathe.
The Crazies were kidnapping people and taking them to The Orpheum for some plan of theirs. It couldn’t have been a mass killing. That wouldn’t sway the government enough for whatever they wanted.
But if the Crazies were talking intelligently right now, did that prove Kevin’s theory? Yea they were acting irrationally, but they had an intent.
“Hurry up, I want to get back to The Orpheum before I freeze to death.”
Finally, the two voices came out from the alley, dragging a woman behind them. I recognised the hair immediately. It was Leena. And they were dragging her towards the truck.
I bit my tongue and cursed under my breath. I had nowhere to go. I was stuck.
“Any word yet on yesterday’s raid at the Canada Post?’
I held my breath.
“I heard they took quite a few prisoners.”
“And our Queen. She made it out alive?”
“I don’t know. I would assume so, I mean, it was her plan after all to win the hearts of the civilians and then turn on them so we could gain more all at once.”
That bitch! The whole entire group of innocent people had been double crossed. Had their trust ripped to shreds and uprooted by one evil person. But by who?
The answer was simple.
“Queen Amie better hope she has enough people by the time the 24th roles around. How many days we got?”
The two hauled Leena into the bed of the truck. I watched the dirty boots climb into their seats. They turned the truck on, and I lay flat against the pavement, keeping dead still.
“Play dead Newt,” I whispered into the dog’s ear.
I willed myself to just melt into the pavement, and hoped to the heavens above that they would just see me as another casualty in this war of survival in their rear-view mirror.
The drove off, and thankfully didn’t run me or Newt over. But then I heard the screech of the breaks and a door open.
I kept my eyes closed and continued playing dead, even though my heart was thundering in my chest at the speed of lightning. We had been caught. Obviously. This was such a stupid idea. If I had really been a dead body, they would’ve seen me before they parked their truck—
“Damn idiot for forgetting your knife!” A voice yelled from the truck.
“Well I was too busy carrying all the weight of the girl. Maybe if you actually did something,” his companion yelled back.
And then I heard the sound of the truck door open and slam, and the vehicle once again took off, this time not stopping.
I waited and waited on the cold hard ground, not believing my luck. I wasn’t quite sure if it filled me with elation or dread that I blended in with all the destruction and death around me.
Clearly, I needed a shower. Badly.
After what seemed like forever, I finally lifted my head when I was sure they wouldn’t see me.
A new found flame sparked inside of me. The Crazies had been taking people and stuffing them in The Orpheum as some sort of weight against the government. Amie was their leader, but had been playing nice in getting a group together just so she could steal them all for her stupid plan.
I had almost seen it. The way she acted as if her dead friend was real, the way she wouldn’t let anyone have an opinion. The way she threw me out when I tried to stand against her and call her out, and it was only then when the Crazies had arrived to raid the warehouse.
When I got my hands on her…
I stood up off the ground, not bothering to brush the dirt off. I walked towards the Safeway, Newt by my side.
I had two weeks to figure out how to save all those poor souls before they turned into pawns in a plan against the government.
The grocery store had already been heavily picked over, and didn’t really hold anything that would help me free all those people.
I needed explosives. Or something a little less dramatic and safer. I stuffed my hands into my pockets, and scanned the area with my eyes.
Two weeks to save all those people.
Where did we go from here…?
I sauntered through the aisles, looking at what the store had to offer. Nothing but some rotting flowers and a box of cake mix.
That flame that I had held in my chest for what felt like only a few moments snuffed out. I was right back to where I had been. Stuck. Only now it felt worse because I had something to do, but couldn’t do anything about because it was impossible.
I felt like I was being swallowed whole by the earth again.
I made my way back to the front, and decided to camp behind a till. I was stuck until I found a solution. And I didn’t know if I would find it in two weeks.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when I found someone cowering behind the desk.
It wasn’t a Crazie, and it certainly wasn’t anyone from the military.
“Parker!” I exclaimed.
Newt ran up to him, and excitedly greeted him.
“Newt!” he gasped. “Andy!”
How the hell did he get out of last night’s terror?
“You survived?” I said with wide eyes.
“Yea, I told you I used to play soccer,” he replied between dog kisses. “I ran around town, and house hopped before I finally landed in here with Leena.” His face grew darker. “They took her. There was nothing I could do.”
“I saw.” I crouched down to his level and explained to him my night, and the conversation I had overheard a few minutes ago.
“So what do you think this plan is?” Parker asked, finally throwing my dog off of himself.
I shook my head. “It could be anything. A peace offering to the government so Amie won’t get arrested. A challenge to overthrow—”
“Amie’s dead,” Parker stated.
I looked at him with wide eyes. “What?”
He nodded his head. “She fell into the fire. She kept saying something about being saved, and then she just, fell.”
I sat back, and leaned against the desk. “So what are the Crazies going to do when they find out their leader is dead?”
Parker shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe they’ll let them all go. Maybe they’ll kill them all. Whatever they do, I think it’s above our hands.”
“So this is it. We just, go back to whatever life was before this?”
Parker didn’t respond.
“We go home and pretend this never happened, or we fight with nothing but our fists.”
“The latter sounds like a death sentence,” Parker muttered.
“The former does too.”
What do Parker and Andy do? Try and rescue the people from the crazies, or escape while they still have their lives?
If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.