Thirteen months after the first official case of Nero Disease
“Wisteria, run!” Rebecca O’Leary screamed over the radio.
Wisteria Kuti whipped around and came face-to-face with the blood-red eyes of a hungry flesh-eating biter. The biter was a man, infected by Nero Disease, who had long lost his mind. He looked more animal than human and he wanted one thing—to feed on the flesh of uninfected people. The biter growled and staggered toward Wisteria.
She fled down the deserted road to the nearest house. The front door was locked. She kicked at the door, but it didn’t open. Taking out her handgun, she smashed through the window of the door.
“Ugh,” more biters growled behind her.
She spun around, fired once, and hit one in the head. She unlocked the door by reaching in and turning the lock. Once inside, she chained and bolted the door.
Crash—a biter smashed through another window into the house.
Wisteria’s heart jumped and she darted up the stairs as fast as she could.
“Get out of the house, Wisteria!” Rebecca radioed.
A biter grabbed her ankle as she ran. Falling hard on the steps, she wailed in pain. “Ah.” No time to cry, Wisteria. She fired at the biter holding her. One bullet left.
Three more biters appeared below and started coming up the stairs. Leaping up, she sprinted to the top floor and dashed into the first open doorway that led to the master bedroom. Locking the door, she headed straight for the window.
The infected clawed at the door, tearing it apart and snarling as they entered
His head started to hurt as he forced himself to think. Whatever the darts contained made it hard for him to concentrate. As he lay back down, he thought back to the cohort, Felip and Enric. They had to be safe. Enric would ensure Felip survived. Bach was supposed to have secured them before leaving. If anything happened to them, it would be his fault—all his fault.
Banging his aching head against the pillow as he thought back, he fought to recall what made him abandon them when he could’ve easily saved them.
“How are you feeling?” Wisteria entered.
Her, the scavenging opportunist. He’d been distracted by her. He remembered now. Because he’d had to save her, a Terran, he couldn’t save the people who were important.
“Try and eat something?” she asked.
“No, I do not need anything expect for rest.”
“Bach, at least eat a little. You’re not going to feel any better starving to death.” Lighting a candle, she placed it next to him on the floor by the mattress.
“This place smells like a toilet,” he complained. “No, it smells worse. How did you come to bring me to such a place?”
“Bach, you picked this place. And we were lucky these people let us in during a swarm. The biters would’ve eventually picked up our scent.”
“Your scent, Wisteria, not mine. The infected are only attracted to the pungent stench of Terrans.”
“You’re not making any sense.”
“Let me break this down for you.” It was typical for Terrans to be so easily confused. “You should have just left me on the street instead of bringing me to this hole.” This wasn’t where the Sen-son was supposed to be. If the Family saw Bach here, he’d be thoroughly humiliated.
Wrapping her arms around herself, she moved away from him. Once again, humiliated and feeling foolish. “Goodnight, Bach!” She strode angrily to the side of the roof in order to climb down.
He grabbed her and held her back
The guy came here just to tease her, yet again! Didn’t he know he was hurting her? Didn’t he care? “I’m tired of all this nonsense. I’m actually tired and need some sleep. I’m done with this. All of this!” She should’ve left the roof when she saw him appear. “Let go, so I can go.”
“Wisteria, it is not that.” Exhaling heavily, he released her. “My people could kill you if they knew I wanted you.”
This wasn’t at all what she’d expected him to say. “What?”
“I am in love with you. I do not know why, but I am. And it is selfish, because I just want you for myself.” Sadness filled his eyes as he spoke.
“Why would they do that to me?”
“Because you are human and because we see humans as Terran, or dirt people.”
“And you believe that too? So why are you here, living among us, if we’re so disgusting?”
“You are not disgusting. You are beautiful.” Rubbing his temples, he seemed troubled and bewildered. “But I chose Earth, because I came here as a child. Your people treated me so badly in the past. When I learned about the Nero disease, I wanted to see your world die.” He paused. “You were right when you said there was something wrong with me.