bury the hatchet // bury a friend

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6:41 AM.

The city of Concord, New Hampshire was beginning to wake up. There was a chill in the air, signalling the coming of fall in the upcoming months, but it wasn't too noticeable. Bakeries were preparing for their early openings. Kids were eating breakfast and moaning and groaning about the school day that would soon begin. September was in full swing. Downtown remained drowsy, but it would soon perk up as Concord came alive with the movements of its residents. Day to day life consumed the world, but it would soon lose its grip. The city had no idea what was coming.

7:02 AM.

The first call in to emergency services that day happened. A customer in line at a Starbucks passed out from a possible stroke. The paramedics were sent out. People whispered about it, but it doesn't even get registered as news as the customer was sent off to the hospital. Life continued on. In the hospital, they tended to the new patient, but no one thought much of it.

7:51 AM.

The patient awoke. Strange behaviours plagued them, groaning and grumbling, clawing at nurses and specialists, but they tried their best to treat the patient, at least. They had no idea what was happening to the young man, whose skin was rapidly decomposing, his body grasping for things that weren't there. Screams erupted from his hospital room when he reached out and sunk his teeth into the arm of the nurse tending to him. Security guards and other staff rushed in to help her.

8:20 AM.

The nurse was feeling unwell. They contained the original patient, but she soon started to exhibit the same behaviour. The hospital was overrun by the time anyone understood what was happening. It made the news. Reports of similar "riots" happening started to spread worldwide. First, in Canada. Next, in France. In Iran. In Thailand. In Mali. The world was falling apart before everyone's eyes. Traffic accidents on gigantic scales started to occur in the city as the infected started to roam the streets.

8:59 AM.

The pharmacy was small, but good enough for doing small errands. The small tv hung up on the wall stopped receiving cable, for some reason, but no one paid it much attention. There were only a few customers in line. In front, a teenage girl, talking hurriedly to the pharmacist through the plexiglass. The pharmacist looked apologetic. Harley was behind her, but at a respectable distance, for privacy reasons. Behind her, was an elderly man, and a middle aged woman. Everything seemed fine with the world...

Until a little boy stumbled through the glass doors of the pharmacy, looking barely even 10 years old. His arm was torn up something fierce, dripping blood onto the pale blue pharmacy floor.

It had begun.

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Viverescribere

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It was Harley's day off, so that meant errands had to be run. She was only in the pharmacy to pick up her contraceptive pill, which wasn't even used because she was in a relationship, rather to help control and regulate her unreliable period pattern. It was supposed to be a quick drop in, but the girl in front of her had been talking to the pharmacist for 15 minutes now. Harley had thought everyone would be in work or school by this point, so it should have been quicker to get what she needed, yet here she was, still stood in line.

Her eyes briefly drifted to the television, but thought nothing of the static, merely rolling her eyes in amusement at what she took to be shitty connection or a broken device. Her weight shifted onto her other foot and her hand reached into her pocket to change the song on her playlist on her archaic iPod. She went between her phone and her old iPod when it came to music, preferring the latter for when she was on the way to training, matches or just running errands so her phone didn't run out of battery while she was out.

If it ran out of battery and Susan Miller tried to call and Harley didn't answer - fucking hell, the woman would think she was dead in a ditch somewhere.

Harley reached her free hand up to cover her mouth as a yawn overtook her, mind once more drifting to the cozy blanket she would be snuggling under with a cup of mint tea as soon as she was done with her errands. She still needed to pick up some groceries, plus a book she had ordered. Maybe she'd even treat herself to a Starbucks on the way home... a hot chocolate would go down delightfully...

Her thoughts were interrupted as whispers and calls for concern soon made their way around the pharmacy, causing the 25-year old to partially turn in the queue and lean forward slightly in an attempt to get a better look at what was causing all the fuss, eyebrows raised in curiosity.

"Jesus--" The beginnings of the blasphemous curse slipped past her lips without her realising, but she caught it just before the second half of it could join the first. "Is someone going to call an ambulance for the poor kid? Where're his parents?" She thought out loud, receiving a shake of the head and shrug from the gentleman behind her.





Harley Nora Miller


NAME
Harley Nora Miller
NICKNAME/S
Harls ||
BIRTHPLACE
Bangor, Maine
AGE
25
NATIONALITY
American
EDUCATION
High School || University of New Hampshire || Animal Behaviour Minor || Animal Science (B.S) Major ||
OCCUPATION
Veterinary Assistant/Nurse || Part-time dog groomer ||
TATTOOS
A paw print print from her dog's paw || upper left ribcage || just to the side of her breast ||
Flower image || Right upper thigh || As displayed in link ||
PIERCINGS
Left ear || standard lobe x1 ||
Right ear || standard lobe x1 || helix x1 ||
MARKINGS
Small eyebrow scar || Cuts slightly into the end of left eyebrow || from getting hit by a hockey ball when 21 ||
Burn blister scar on stomach || just below and to the left of belly button || from cooking bacon in a bikini while on holiday when 18 ||
Beauty spot || above right corner of lip ||
Beauty spot || upper right chest ||
Mole || on the back of left shoulder || near to base of neck ||
Slight freckling along the tops of shoulders ||
FACE CLAIM
Danielle Campbell || Actress || Prom || The Originals ||



PERSONALITY
Working in jobs that means frequent human interaction, a lot of the time calming down worried pet-parents, Harley is a steady and calming personality who will always try to say the right thing to the right person. Her time in a customer-based industry means she is rather good at keeping a smile on her face and reassuring those if necessary. However, she can be rather anxious about what people think of her and what impressions she makes, often thinking back on what she had said in worry it had been the wrong thing. She enjoys a laugh but is a hard worker who will get her head down so the job gets done.

LIKES
Red wine || Watching NHL || Animals (mainly dogs) || Gin and lemonade || Playing field hockey || Watching MLB || Reading fiction || Thick-knit/crochet blankets || Mint tea || Hot chocolate ||
DISLIKES
Dark chocolate || Tonics with drinks || Being woken up abruptly/by loud noises || Sand (sandy beaches) || Long distanced running || Horror movies || Conflict || Overly sweet desserts || Pork (except in sausages) || Cold water shower/baths ||
HOBBIES
Playing field hockey || Watching NHL || Watching MLB || Reading || Crocheting ||
TALENTS
Crochet ||
FEARS
Dark, enclosed spaces || Death of family members || Motorcycles ||
__________Background
RELATIONSHIP WITH FATHER
Michael Miller and Harley Miller have a rather enjoyable relationship. They often attended NHL and MLB games together since Haley was five, allowing them to have a close relationship. Michael Miller often attended Haley's field hockey games, taking her to and from the matches when she was too young to drive herself. He supported her decision to go to New Hampshire, helping her fight her case against her mother who wanted her closer to home.

RELATIONSHIP WITH MOTHER
Susan Miller and Harley Miller have a little more of a strained relationship. Ever since the death of their youngest child, Theo, Susan Miller tried to get a tighter grip on her two older daughters, Harley and Rosie. She fell out with Rosie over her move to Germany, making it difficult for Michael and Harley to talk about Rosie when it become awkward in the presence of Susan. The Miller matriarch was also ademently against Haley moving (not even that far away) to New Hampshire for University and then eventually for work. However, she was talked around this time by Michael.

SIBLINGS
Had a younger brother (Theo), however he died in a motorcycling accident at the age of 24. Harley was 20 at the time.
One older sister (Rosie), but she moved to Germany after meeting her husband at University on her course. Rosie and her husband have two children, one of which she was pregnant with before marrying Lukas, which caused a bit of tension between Rosie and her parents.

FRIENDS
Harley has a few friends that she continues to stay in touch with from her days at University, and they meet up once a month to have a catch up as they all live in different counties/states.

EX-RELATIONSHIPS
Harley has had a few romantic relationships, including one serious relationship where she believed an engagement was immanent. However, she found him to be messaging other girls through dating apps and broke it off.

PETS
Had a corgi from the age of five until it passed away when Harley was 20 (the corgi lived until he was 15). His name was Winston.

OTHER RELATIONSHIPS
Work colleagues - Harley gets along well with everyone at the veterinary clinic she is an assistant/nurse at, and also the place she is a part-time dog groomer. She hasn't formed close enough ties to hang out with anyone from there yet, despite having been there for eight months, but she is able to have a joke and a laugh with them regardless.



Hex Code: #25241e
 
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PavellumPendulum

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No one seemed to know what to do for a few moments.

The boy wasn't even crying, which was amazing, considering the awful shape he was in. His shirt was spattered with blood, all fresh and dripping down into his shorts and onto his sneakers. He limped further into the store, expression dazed, before the adults finally sprang into action. The pharmacist pushed out from behind the pharmacy counter and another employee at the till rushed to help the boy, bombarding him with questions, in gentle but worried tones. The employee got the boy to sit down on the floor, against the large windows of the pharmacy, but he was unresponsive, breathing heavily but not replying to any of their questions.

The pharmacist pulled out her phone to call emergency services, but dropped it in fear when a car suddenly swerved across the street, crashing violently into the side of the building. The lights flickered, but managed to stay on, but the glass of the windows immediately burst inwards, shattering both employees and the young boy with shards of glass. The pharmacy filled with screams, as the middle aged woman and elderly man both cowered in their initial shock.

There were faint screams in the distance.

The dirty, red car was banged up, with the safety bags deployed. "God, what the fuck is happening?" the teenage girl finally got out from behind Harley, holding onto the pharmacy counter in disbelief. Smoke had risen up from the wrecked car, and goods had fallen from shelves that had been nearby from the shock to the building.

The boy had thankfully, not been hit, but his body was slumped down on the ground now. His arm was bleeding profusely, with bone protruding from the skin. The employee that had been tending to the boy was cowering, sniffles coming from them, but they were still responsive. The pharmacist hurriedly leaned down, picking back up their phone, but seeing that the screen was shattered, and that it would no longer turn on, turned towards Harley.

"Can you call 911, please? I... I don't know what's going on. I'll go get the first aid kit from the back." They seemed both bewildered and distressed, but they didn't give the woman much time to respond, scurrying off to the back of the pharmacy in order to retrieve their medical supplies.

The little boy remained on the floor, unmoving.
 

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Having just seconds before seen the car, Harley was quick to turn her back on the incoming vehicle, throwing herself towards the pharmacy counter with the other young girl who had been before her in the line. Her thoughts mirrored that of the other customer: what the fuck was going on?

She pushed herself away from the counter to check on the elderly man and middle-aged woman, only leaving them once she was certain they weren't too banged up to get closer to the little boy and the pharmacy employees. Her face paled at the sight of the protruding bone, which caused her to halt a good few feet away simply because of the nausea that rolled in her stomach.

Grateful for the distraction, she swallowed back the bile that was lodged in her throat, and fished for her phone in her pocket with a shaking hand. "Shouldn't we-- shouldn't we put him in the recovery position or something? Or-- at least-- is he even conscious?" She called over her shoulder to the retreating figure of the employee.

Since she wasn't about to get an answer, Harley looked back and down to her phone to punch in the three necessary numbers: 9-1-1.

As the line rang, she approached the employee that had been helping the young boy, reaching out to try and help them simply sit up, "You alright? Any bumps or pain?" She questioned, briefly glancing towards the car that had crashed into them next, "We need to check on the driver, they might need help too."
 

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The middle aged woman and elderly man were both talking to each other in hushed voices, but neither of them seemed to be anything worse than a bit shaken up. However, they didn't really make any moves to help out, leaving Harley and the two employees to take charge of the situation. The employee that had been previously tending to the boy was obviously just a teen, now covered in glass particles and shards. He seemed to finally gather himself when Harley spoke, nodding silently and shakily getting up to go check on the driver of the rogue car.

The little boy was cold to the touch. He was heavy, unmoving despite the woman's attempts to help him sit back up properly, head lolling and limbs rag dolling. His skin was incredibly pale and nearly discoloured where it wasn't caked in blood, both old and new, but upon closer inspection, Harley would be able to see something that would disturb her even further.

Teeth marks.

They were pronounced and the skin around them was horrifyingly raised and irritated. The bite marks were visible up and down the boy's injured arm, so many that it was hard to count with all the ones that overlapped. They didn't look like animal bites in the slightest and anyone who had ever seen how a human bit into an apple would be able to realize that this boy had been injured by people, not a freak accident or wild, rabid animals roaming the city.

The line began to beep. Emergency services was busy and Harley couldn't get through.

She would soon have to worry about other pressing matters though. As if the boy had suddenly come alive with vigour once more, his hand snaked up with a mind of it's own, despite his arm still being in tatters. His tiny fingers gripped around Harley's ankle, digging his nails in with force that a child, especially an injured one, shouldn't have had.

A guttural noise, inhumane, rose from the child's throat.
 

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Harley's inspection of the boy's arm, and the marks that had been imprinted into the skin, only served to make the bile rise back up her throat. It was unlike anything she had seen before, and if she had, it had only been in the movies and television programmes she had watched. It wasn't possible, surely? They couldn't be human teeth marks, could they?

The beeping line on the phone caused her to swear in frustration, clicking an end to the attempted call. As she began to punch the numbers back into the device, she cried out as the child's hand came to snatch around her ankle, swearing loudly at the sensation of his nails digging into her skin.

"Fucking hell!" She leaned forward to attempt to pry his hand from her ankle, phone still in hand. The need to relieve herself from the little bastard's painful grip overtaking any though of putting her phone back in her coat pocket. "Someone come and help me get him off--" Harley cut off at the guttural, grating noise that emanated from the little boy.

She swallowed hard, freezing for a split second before struggling with more vigour than before. "Seriously! Someone! Help me out here!" She yelled, now no longer just using her own fingers to try and peel back the kid's but also slamming her phone down against his wrist, realising now that there was no point being gentle.

Harley may not have watched a lot of them, but she had seen enough zombie programmes to start fearing - whether or not it be petulantly - that the boy gripping hold of her was something inhumane now.
 

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If the elderly man and middle aged woman could hear her struggling, they'd decided not to help. From where Harley was, near the shattered window, she couldn't see them past the rows of general goods the pharmacy was selling, but at the very least, the teenage girl that had been in front of her, came to her aid, trying to pry the boy's fingers off as they attempted to sink deeper into Harley's skin. Even slamming the phone down against his wrist didn't seem to do anything. There was a horrific clicking noise, presumably from his wrist breaking, but his grip still didn't falter.

The teen girl gave up on trying to be gentle eventually, chewing on her lower lip and hurriedly, stomping down on his arm with her foot. At first, this only made his nails drag down Harley's ankle, but after a few heavier, more violent stomps, he finally released his grip on her. The sounds persisted. His body was twitching.

The girl coughed, wheezing from the panic that was overcoming her body. She shook her head, backing away slowly, "Something... Something's wrong with him." She was stating the obvious, but no one could blame her. What else was there to say? Where was the pharmacist? The other employee that had been checking on the driver?

Their questions would be left unanswered as more screams echoed in the distance. "... Let's get out of here. I- I don't know what's happening, but we should go to the police ourselves if no one's answering the emergency lines." The girl pleaded, looking to Harley.
 

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"Fuck me!" Harley swore as the nails tore at her skin, leaning forwards to inspect the damage that had been done. "Christ, what's wrong with him?" She pushed herself to her feet, taking a few steps back to put distance between herself and the boy to avoid the same thing happening again. She didn't fancy having a matching set. It stung, like any other scratch, but it didn't feel like it was anything that she needed to be worried about.

"Thanks, nice to know that someone was willing to help." She then turned her attention to the teenage girl, pointedly looking towards the other two customers that refused to get involved. She didn't care what their reasons were. They just stood by and watched, that was what mattered.

At the sound of the girl wheezing, Harley focused back onto the person who did help her, frowning slightly, "Hey-- hey now, just... just calm down. Breathe, okay? Deep breath in--" She took one in herself, before releasing it, "And deep breath out." She instructed, keeping her voice soft as to not evoke any more panic which was what the girl was seeming to fall prey to.

She glanced around, hesitant to just leave when there was such a big mess. What if the police wanted statements about what happened? Maybe it had already been reported, surely they ought to stay?

But at the sound of the screams outside, Harley felt less and less keen to remain in the pharmacy. Something was going on, and she was hoping that her stupidly horror-driven mind was wrong. That perhaps the bite marks on the boy's arm weren't what they were. Maybe she had just seen them wrong.

"A-alright. Alright." She swallowed hard, finally agreeing with a nod, "It's only three blocks away, right? Not far at all." She cleared her throat, moving passed the boy's body, by eyeing it suspiciously as the noises continued to gurgle and growl from him. "We ought to keep trying for the hospital too, while we're on our way." She peered briefly back to the teen, "Just... stick close, yeah? Whatever the fuck is happening, you need to stick close."
 

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If Harley was hoping that the other two customers had heard, she would soon notice that they'd disappeared from their hiding spot in the back of the pharmacy during the last few seconds. Off to where, no one knew. Still, the teenage girl seemed to be thankful for her instructions, smiling weakly. It took her half a minute, trying to slow her breathing, but she managed to get it under control, despite her eyes flitting about the room, still nervous that another crazy situation would hit and be added to this insane chain of events.

They were just two strangers, caught in a dangerous situation, but at least they had each other for now. Leaving the writhing, gurgling body of the young boy on the tiled floor, the girl lead Harley through the shelves and out the emergency back down, which was thankfully, unharmed. This way, the two wouldn't have to carefully tread over broken glass: the girl was wearing worn out, black flats that certainly wouldn't have protected her much.

There was no one in the back alley behind the pharmacy. This was to be expected, but somehow, it was still eerie, considering what had occurred just on the other side of the building. The teen girl hurriedly turned right, heading down the alley so they would come out on a Main Street, checking behind her to make sure Harley was following as well. They passed by the back entrances and dumpsters, but not a single person.

The faint sound of sirens. More screaming. Gun shots...?

The teen girl fidgeted with her fingers, looking to Harley with obvious anxiety in her expression. "... I'm Aurora." she introduced herself, though seemed embarrassed after she'd spoken, knowing that this wasn't really the time for small talk, "I hope we can get this figured out soon."
 

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Exhaling heavily, Harley followed after the girl, despite feeling bad for the leaving the body of the young boy on the floor. With everyone having disappeared to god knows where, she couldn't help but feel as though someone should have stayed with him just in case any more shit hit the fan. Her mind couldn't stop seeing those bite marks on his arm, however, plus the protruding bone would leave her feeling sick for days. She wouldn't be touching a lamb shank again for a while...

Forcing herself out of her own mind, Harley shoved her hands into her coat pockets and walked down the alleyway, pulling up alongside the teenager so they could walk side-by-side. She flinched at the sound of gunshots, briefly pausing before continuing on, uncertain as to when the last time she heard gunshots going off in Concord.

Soon, though, she was smiling faintly at the introduction, trying to keep an easy energy as to not have the girl get anymore freaked out. She seemed highly anxious as it was, Harley didn't want to add to that for her. She needed to act calm and composed, like everything was alright.

Even if she too wanted to freak out.

"Aurora? I'm Harley." The young woman responded lightly, "Nice to meet you." The smile faltered briefly, but Harley quickly covered it up with a shrug, "Hopefully so. Luckily I haven't got any place to be today.... what about you? You might need to call somebody if they're expecting you home or at school or something, y'know?"
 

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It was not as if Concord had never been touched by violence. Like all cities, it had seen its fair share of crime here and there, but there was something distinctly wrong about that day. Aurora couldn't even remember the last time she'd heard a gun shot in person, but here she was, listening to the crisp pops echo out from somewhere in the city. Perhaps a shooting was happening? That would maybe explain why the car had suddenly swerved and why the boy was injured (to her, at least, since she hadn't seen the bite marks like Harley had).

Aurora was a skinny little thing, all bones with no meat and standing no taller than 5 feet tall total. She looked anxious, but Harley's calmer demeanour did seem to help as they passed through the back alley. She hesitated when Harley mentioned her potentially needing to call someone, but she shook her head, forcing her gaze forward instead.

"No one's expecting me anywhere. It's fine." she stated, distance in her tone, as if she were trying to put her foot down. Of course, it was a school day and she definitely wasn't finished high school yet, so she was probably lying, but with how things were at the moment, perhaps getting to the police station would be better than sending her off alone to school in the meantime.

The faint scent of gas wafted by them. Car alarms. More screams. When the two finally made their way out of the back alley and onto a busier street, it would be hard to not be alarmed. Multiple cars had crashed and blood trickled from their shattered windows. Smoke lifted from their hoods and one had been turned upside down, crashed right into stoplight, nearly making it topple over. There were multiple civilians, running amok in panic, but no one seemed to be moving in the same direction. A few bumped into both Aurora and Harley, but none apologized, quickly disappearing back into the mess of fleeing people.

The police station was a few blocks away.
 

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Harley looked at the young girl dubiously as she responded she didn't need to contact anyone, not really believing for a second that wasn't true. However, she was only a stranger, and definitely not the girl's mother, so who was she to push her for a better answer than what was given? Perhaps should have done something, especially with what was going on. It was chaotic.

It was hard to believe what she was seeing as they stepped out onto the busier street, and the young woman physically stopped in her steps as they took in the scenes in front of them. She didn't even get upset at the people barging into her, too occupied with trying to comprehend the scenes in front of them. All sense of organisation, care and concern were gone. No one was checking on anyone, and Harley was starting to wonder if there was even any point in going to the police station - clearly enough shit was going on.

"I don't... I honestly don't even think anyone'll be there to care about what we've just gone through when we get there." Harley confessed, reaching out to take hold of Aurora's arm so the girl also halted in her step. She didn't want the teen continuing down the street without realising Harley wasn't following.

It may have been selfish, but Harley was beginning to consider if just going back home was best. It was like something off the fucking Purge out here.

She glanced to Aurora, hesitating as she didn't want to leave the girl to walk to wherever she was going alone. "Look, shit's going crazy here, it's going to be mad even getting through all that. Clearly what we saw wasn't the first accident and I'm sure it's probably even been called in by now. Why don't... why don't we just head back to my place? I can call you a cab and you can get home to whoever's waiting? I don't think it's safe for anyone to be outside right now."
 

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It was true that the street they were on was in shambles. Surely it couldn't be this way in the entire city, right? Still, Aurora's hands shook slightly as she looked past the traffic collision, to the taller buildings in downtown, off in the distance. Faint puffs of smoke rose from the streets that were visible, even from her. ... Perhaps it was too optimistic to assume that this chaos was only affecting their little section of Concord. The world was being set alight and everyone's panic fed into more and more chaos being sown. The teen girl stared up at Harley, fear mixed into her dark eyes, but she nodded in agreement at the woman stating that perhaps there was no point in going to the police.

If they weren't handling the situation out here, it was doubtful that they'd care about the same thing happening down the street.

Her suggestion made the girl visibly hesitate. Considering the state of things right now, it didn't particularly make sense for her to refuse a safe place to stay, but clearly, she had some things on her mind, or she was grappling with some major stranger danger. Still, she didn't keep Harley waiting too long, still getting bumped around by crowd.

"Okay. Let's go."

With that, they had to make their way to Harley's place, which unfortunately, was towards the smoke. There hadn't been any sounds of explosions, so one could only assume the smoke was coming from... Maybe some more vehicle accidents? Harley and Aurora pushed through the crowd, crossing the street. It was hard to make out what anyone was saying over the general rush of swelling noise around them: there was talking, yelling, screaming, but so much of it was unintelligible.

"Is your place far?" Aurora had to nearly shout as she followed the other, so that she would be heard.
 

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"Not far. About ten minute walk from here--" Harley responded, although she realised that was from the front of the pharmacy. They had come out the back end, and she wasn't sure how much more of a difference that would make. "Well, I mean I think it's ten... it should be. Not much of a difference being at the front or the back of the place, issit?" She rubbed the back of her neck, now slightly nervous herself.

She quickly moved to the left to avoid being barged into again, leaving a space between herself an Aurora before turning to her previous position. She slowed to allow the girl to catch up, not wanting to lose her in the chaos.

"This is all fucking insane." Harley then murmured, eyes darting along the skyline to observe the smoke that was blooming in different spots within the sky, "Like, there was nothing on the news about any tense political stuff was there? So surely it isn't like, an attack or something like that. If it was nuclear we'd all be dead by now."

It was difficult trying to remain calm with Aurora beside her. She knew she had to, because the two of them freaking out wouldn't be good at all. Besides, the girl still looked young, Harley couldn't expect her to be the one to carry them in terms of composure. But fuck, she hadn't ever had to look after someone before. She was the youngest, her sister was in Germany and her parents were back in Maine. The only person she had to really look after was herself.

Then it hit her. Her mother hadn't called. If it was just Concord that this was happening to, then it would be on the news and Susan Miller would have been calling again and again and again to reach her.

Harley pulled out her phone to check it, but it was on loud, and there were no missed calls.
 

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Ten to fifteen minutes would be about right under normal circumstances, but who knew with all the chaos going on. It was entirely possible that there would be routes cut off to them, seeing how many traffic accidents were occurring, along with the fact that no one really seemed to be making it easy for them to cut through the crowd. One could only wonder what was really happening. It wasn't as if the two could stop to watch the news, but hey, it did seem like some news outlets were reporting on the chaos. Over downtown, a few helicopters whirred away, presumably letting the world know about the panic surging in Concord. Unfortunately for them, it was likely that no one was listening.

Aurora shook her head, following after the other as they continued down the street. "I haven't seen anything, but uh, I don't really watch the news." she admitted, her eyes flitting about. There was a fallen stop sign that they had to step over, along with various other street instalments that had been knocked about in the chaos. At the very least, the two of them weren't injured. Navigating the streets shouldn't have been too hard.

Emphasis on shouldn't.

They'd managed to get down two blocks of the mess before they came across an area where the crowd has thinned. People were still rushing about, trying to get away from something, but Aurora froze in her tracks once they laid eyes on what everyone was running from.

On the sidewalk, laid a middle aged man, clad in a suit and tie, screaming bloody murder, thrashing wildly. On top of him? A girl, perhaps not even much older than Aurora, tearing into him with her... Mouth. "Oh, FUCK, FUCK, HELP ME-" he was wailing, unable to kick the woman off of him, fear bright in his eyes.

Aurora had never seen such a thing before. There was so much blood. How was he still screaming? His white button up and blazer were torn open. She could almost SEE inside of him. She lurched forward. "W-We have to help him," she sputtered, her eyes searching around them for a weapon to get that... thing, whatever it was, off of him, "He's going to die."

She felt sick to her stomach.

There didn't seem to be many options for weapons around them. A metal trashcan with a lid stood near the wall of the business beside them. A shoe had been abandoned on the curb, probably from someone who had been too scared to stop running. They'd have to think fast.
 

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Instantly Harley reached forward to grab Aurora's arm, not wanting the girl to go any closer to the scene that had everyone else running for their lives. Her fingers remained gripped there for a moment, frozen as she was unable to tear her eyes away from the scene. It was monstrous, horrific, like something she'd only ever seen in the few horror films she had been forced to watch.

The screams were sickening, tearing through Harley with so much pain and fear it almost knocked her over. It was beyond uncomfortable to listen to, let alone watch and see as the girl on top of him continued to rip into him. Literally.

"No-- no. Aurora, no-- stop. Listen to me. He's already dead. Look at all that blood." She pulled the girl back, shaking her head frantically, "We need to get out of here. Now. Before that thing decides it has had enough of him-- got it?" Harley's heart was pounding by this point, fight or flight taking point in her system and adrenaline beginning to pump into her blood. "Look at me-- Look at me! He isn't making it through that. Even if we do help him, an ambulance isn't getting through any of that in time to help him."

The young woman wouldn't ever want to leave anyone in pain, but this was unlike anything she had ever seen. This person wasn't like the little boy who was just laying there, hurt. This man had his attacker still on him. Who was eating him alive.

"Turn, and run. Now. That's what we got to do. Just like everyone else."

Harley began to turn, hand still on the girl's arm in the hopes she would listen, "Aurora, please."
 

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It was impossible to go your entire life without ever seeing a little bit of blood. Aurora had seen fights before, violence in games and on tv. The world was not one devoid of suffering. Still, she'd never seen that much gore before. She was shaking, her eyes wide and fearful, unable to contain herself as Harley shook her. Her head was still attempting to turn, to keep her attention on the wailing man as she hurriedly tried to yank herself away from the older woman, shaking her head. "N-No, we- we can't, we can't-" her eyes were brimming with tears, but when the woman insisted that she look at her, she finally stopped resisting, holding Harley's gaze, her lower lip trembling once more.

She couldn't see through all the tears blurring her vision, spilling over and coating her cheeks. She'd never considered herself a crybaby, but they just wouldn't stop.

Turn and run. Aurora nodded meekly, slow to follow after the other at first, but she eventually started running. She couldn't even respond verbally, since as soon as she heard the screaming end, she knew he was dead. They'd only gotten about twenty feet away before he was gone. Instantly, her mouth filled with vomit, but she forced herself to swallow it, not wanting to stop just to spit it out.

Screams surrounded them. The smells of gas, blood and autumn air all intermingled as they ran, coming closer and closer to downtown. Things seemed to be in even worse disarray, the closer they got. More dead bodies on the ground. More people attacking each other. Wails of terror, shrieks for help. It was horrifying, but all they could do was keep running. More and more gunshots rung out, adding to the never-ending onslaught of noise assaulting their senses.

As soon as they stopped, even momentarily, on the street, Aurora almost keeled over, instantly losing her breakfast on the sidewalk.
 

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Harley was beginning to wonder if she had made the right decision in having them turn and run back the way they came, as things had grown worse and worse around them. At all times she kept her eyes on Aurora, not wanting to let the girl out of her sight after what they had seen. What if that happened to either of them? What if either of them soon found themselves on the floor with someone tearing into their stomach or throat or skull?

The thought alone caused bile to bubble up her throat, leaving her gagging for air as she continued to run and coughing as the taste of it got onto her tongue.

Not that the air was any fresher, now stained with the scent of smoke and copper. And the noise, it had been so quiet only hours ago, with people slowly waking up and shaking off that Monday morning feeling. Now everything was in complete and utter disarray.

When they finally came to a stop, Harley had pulled Aurora as close as possible to the wall of the building they stood beside on the street to avoid them getting trampled on. She bent over, hands resting on her knees as she fought to catch her breath. However as the other girl lost the contents of her stomach, Harley was quick to get of the way. She positioned herself just beside the teen, rubbing at her back as she looked up and around, surveying the area.

Her eyes were wide and frantic, desperately trying to figure out what to do next. "We need to get out of the city. Fuck getting home, we just need to get out of the city and away from all of this. Away from whatever the fuck that was." Harley spoke eventually, hand raising to press the heel of her palm against her forehead before she pushed her hair back from her face by scraping her fingers through her hair, "Are you okay? Just-- just breathe, okay? Like before in the pharmacy. Just breathe."
 

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Everything felt like a fever dream, a nightmare gone wrong. Nothing made sense and the more Aurora tried to wrap her head around it, the less she knew what to do. She felt slightly better, getting rid of the food that had kept bubbling out of her now, coughing briefly before standing back up straight. The running, the panic, the anxiety: all of it was just keeping her in a loop of dizziness and nausea. She wiped the tears from her eyes with the backs of her hands, before looking down at her school uniform. Ah shit, she'd gotten it dirty.

Her mother would be furious. The uniform was expensive, clearly from one of the fancy private Catholic schools in their city. Whether Harley would recognize or not was a toss up. Aurora stared down in disdain, before sighing, chewing on her lower lip and watching the older woman speak.

Her eyes widened when she spoke of leaving the city, clearly not on board with the idea, despite Concord already being in shambles, falling apart more and more around them by the second. "Wh-... What do you mean? Where?" she replied, genuine disbelief in her voice, "Do you even have a car?"

It wasn't as if she meant to be belligerent but she wasn't prepared to just leave the city, just like that. The fear of staying was seeping into her, yes, but without a plan, it seemed ridiculous. The closest big city was down south, Manchester, but what would they even do when they got there? Tell the cops that there was an outbreak of traffic accidents and cannibals in Concord? It was insane.
 

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"I-- I mean... I do. But it's-- it's obviously back at my place. I don't live far from the pharmacy so I walked there but I do have a car... so long as it hasn't been crashed into or... or stolen." Harley swallowed thickly, nervous now at the prospect of what may have happened to her car. Or to her flat, for that matter. She had no idea what the fuck was going on, and while she ought to be nervous about what was going on around her, she was also now panicking about the state her home might be in.

Harley wasn't even really thinking of where they ought to go. All she knew was that they needed to get out of Concord. Whether they just drove away from the city and waited for it all to calm down before returning, or went somewhere else for help, she had no idea. But then what if everyone else had that idea too? All these accidents would block the roads, and she wouldn't be able to drive then.

"Fuck." She exhaled, hand running raggedly through her hair. She then looked to the girl, taking in her appearance and her brow furrowed. The uniform, one she wasn't very familiar with since she was still learning the area and had no need to really know any of the schools, was now not as clean as it once was. Either due to the vomit or whatever may have gotten onto her while they were running.

Her hand remained on the girl's upper back, seemingly stuck there as she tried to figure out what to do. For the both of them. It was nerve-wracking, having to worry about another life now as well as her own.

"Right, we need to find another way back to my apartment. We can get you into some clean clothes, see if my car is still intact, and we can get the fuck away from here until it all calms down. You can call whoever you need on my phone too. Your parents maybe? They've got to be worried sick."