Dark Fever

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Kaisaan, Apr 11, 2013.

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  1. The wind was harsh and unforgiving as it blew through the dirty and dusty town. The cracked land offered no resistance as the breeze lifted the dirt into a mini dust-storm and Gabriel shielded his mouth and eyes with his arm as it whirled around him, lifting his dirty-blond hair before moving on. Everyone around him had done the same thing without thought, shielding their faces from the harsh dust that could bring more than coughing but radiation, too. They were used to it, used to the wastelands around them and the dirt that never left anything, causing them to see the world in a constant shade of brown, rusty hues. Even the sky above seemed dull, constantly overcast and rumbling with thunder and brief flashes of lightning even during the day. The sun rarely shone through the gray canopy above.

    It was a miracle anything grew as the skies rarely brought rain, to, only sandstorms and twisters. Only death and destruction.

    It was a wonder anyone was alive in these conditions and though they'd all grown to dully accept the state of the world, everyone knew that each breath they took was a gift. In this desolate place it could be snatched away at any moment. The land was harsh and the people unforgiving. Everyone was struggling to survive no matter what the cost and everyone was wary of strangers.

    It was for that latter reason that Gabriel kept his head down and did his best to blend, to become part of the landscape and the crowd. After twenty years, he was rather good at it now. And for someone like him, it was imperative that he not draw attention. It was a risk even coming into town to trade. The government was everywhere...
  2. Several yards away, Cassandra bickered in hushed tones with a merchant. The town was a quiet, desolate one and its people downtrodden. As a result, the townsfolk rarely raised their voices on an average day, lest they draw negative attention to themselves. Cassandra knew this and despite her frustrations, managed to strike a deal with the merchant without causing a scene. She exchanged her goods in return for a hunting knife and was about to turn to leave when something caught her eye.

    Not too far away, a small band of men stood, talking with a random passerby. The men were dressed better than the townsfolk and appeared heavily armed. On the left side of their chest, each man wore a small, brightly colored badge that held the insignia for the new post-bombing, significantly darker and more corrupt government of the United States of America.

    Cassandra tensed and watched the men carefully. They seemed strictly focused on what the passerby was saying and occasionally the passerby would point in various directions, causing the men to look up and around. None of the men laid eyes on her however, so as discreetly as she could, Cassandra began to scan the area for the best route of escape.
  3. Bad men.

    The voice, though, he was used to things like that suddenly coming into his head, was surprising even so and Gabriel jumped just a little before looking around carefully. He spotted the scraggly tabby cat without problem and raised a brow at the feline as it licked its paw and simply ignored him after that. Bad men? The male scanned the area around him with outwardly casual amber eyes until he spotted the government badges.

    Cursing under his breath, Gabriel turned the other way and, making sure he was staying with the crowd and not singling himself out, he started looking for a place to duck into, a place to get away without being seen. Someone must have thought he looked strange, though, or maybe they'd gotten a look of his mouth, his eyes, something because the male heard the shout in the quiet air about a second before he sensed something was wrong. Turning his head, he made sure that he was the target. His eyes met one of the 'agents' and the man smiled, recognizing him.

    Oh sh-

    Gabriel didn't even finish the thought as he started to run, the group of men on his tail. Well, THIS was an interesting start to the day! his mind quipped as he darted around a building and looked for an escape route. Seeing none but the wall itself, the male groaned but took a few steps back and jumped. His fingers found a tentative hold in the rough stone and he clenched his teeth as he worked his way up, his body tensing and dreading the sound of bullets whizzing past at any moment...
  4. As soon as the chase began, the crowd disintegrated into panic and the townsfolk darted for their homes in a flurry, determined not to become victims of collateral damage. Cassandra remained frozen in her spot, locked in a mental debate with herself.

    He's not your responsibility. Don't put yourself in danger for him.
    But it's not fair! They are going to kill him for no good reason.
    They'll kill you too if you get involved!

    The last thought gripped her and she reluctantly decided that leaving the area to preserve herself was the better solution. She set a quick pace and began to work through the town but as she passed the alleyway where the man and the soldiers were, she couldn't help but take a quick look.

    The men were readying their guns and it would only be a matter of seconds before they open fired on the man that was progressing above them. The conclusions from Cassandra's mental debate suddenly evaporated and without a second thought, she picked up a rock and hurled it at one of the soldier's heads. "Leave him alone!"

    The soldier winced and turned around, irritated. A couple of the other men turned around as well but not all were successfully distracted. One continued to ready his gun and fired at Gabriel. The man wasn't focused and the shot wasn't a good one but there was more where that came from and the soldier was confident he would be able to bring down the young man before he escaped.
  5. Gabriel heard the shout and looked down, curious despite himself, about the same time the man opened fire. The male flinched, pressing himself into the wall instinctively though logically he knew it wouldn't help. As shots - bad ones, these guys really sucked, didn't they? - fired around him, Gabriel debated for one moment to just keep going, but the thought was as fleeting as the wind. If he left, that girl might not escape and whether she was like him or not, she'd tried to help. He wouldn't leave her.

    The male looked down again and this time when his teeth bared, it was in a snarl, revealing his fangs as he released the wall and pushed off. He knew this was going to really hurt, but it was his only option as he collided with the man holding the gun and they both went down in a tangle. Gabriel moved faster than the man he'd hit did - had he killed him? - as he scrambled off the ground and launched himself at another agent turning around with an angry and startled expression. The soldier fell as easily as the first, but Gabriel didn't stick around to see what kind of damage he'd caused as he raced toward the girl. The men behind him - there were three - now looked furious and as they raised their guns, Gabriel caught the young woman's arm.

    He grinned, dark amber eyes meeting vivid blue ones for an instant. "Run!"

    The male didn't wait for her to comply as he pulled her around the building, shots firing behind them.
  6. Cassandra flinched when she heard the shots behind them but she gathered herself quickly and matched her pace with Gabriel’s. Behind them, the three remaining soldiers followed in pursuit. They were slower than their targets but the occasional bullet zinging by was a swift reminder that they were not to be taken lightly.

    As they ran, Cassandra quickly looked around for places they could potentially hide. Unfortunately, the government agents weren’t the only danger. Now that the townspeople had seen them run, they would know they were infected. At best, they would be avoided. At worst, they would be killed or turned into the government for a bounty. The wasteland would be safer for isolation, but shelter was harder to come by. Above them, the clouds rolled and the deep boom of thunder in the distance threatened a storm. Fantastic.

    Cassandra inwardly cursed at their predicament. She looked at the man running beside her and hoped he was having better luck than her at formulating a plan. “Where are we going?” she asked breathlessly.
  7. Good question.

    Gabriel didn't say that out loud, but he sure thought it as his eyes scanned everything at rapid speed, his mind working on overdrive to figure out how to get out of this. He'd been in this town before, years ago....what did he remember about it? Stars, that was a bad question to ask himself... The male growled under his breath, knowing the chances of him actually remembering are slim, but as they passed an abandoned home on the outskirts of town - they were being driven into the wasteland where they would have no cover unless they can got to the towering cliffs about a half-hour away - his eyes caught a hold of something.

    He veered, pulling the girl with him, speaking between pants. "That house, it has a bomb shelter." If they could get there without being seen, they could hide.

    Gabriel looked behind them, noting that there really didn't seem to be much hope of his plan succeeding. Cursing inwardly, he looked at the young woman at his side and spoke to her quickly. "If you want to split up, I can lead them away. You could hide until they go." He looked up at the turbulent sky and then out to the waste, ducking another bullet as it whizzed by his head. A storm was coming....maybe...

    "Or we could go out into the waste." He knew it would sound like suicide and maybe it was, but it was probably the only way they were BOTH going to survive.
    #7 Kaisaan, Apr 12, 2013
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  8. Cassandra looked at the abandoned house and considered it for only a moment before dismissing the idea. She had already endangered herself to help the man - it would be for nothing if she abandoned him now just to save herself. "The wastes. Let's go to the wastes." She grabbed the man's arm and took off into a sprint again, heading for the cliffs in the distance.

    When it became apparent what the two escapees were doing, the agents began to hesitate. One slowed to a stop. "Wait. There's no point. There is a storm coming and they are heading for the wasteland. The wastes will kill them soon enough. Our job is done." The other two agents stopped as well but they seemed reluctant to let them go. One raised his gun and fired several shots at the two as they fled, hoping for a hit to facilitate what he viewed as their inevitable suicide.
  9. Gabriel was honestly surprised at her choice, but he didn't question it, running after her, his strides actually slower than they could be as he kept with her pace. She'd helped him when she didn't have to, when it would have been easier to save herself and not look back, not even draw attention and he wouldn't leave her behind now. When they were safe he had no doubt they'd go their separate ways, but right now, they were in this mad dash together.

    The male looked over his shoulder briefly as the sounds of pursuit stopped, but he didn't feel comforted by that fact, his eyes narrowing as he looked up at the dangerous sky. That lightning could strike them down as easily as felling a tree and now they were the tallest thing out here on the flat lands. They would need to find shelter soon. If they could just make it to those towering cliffs then they could find a-

    The thought cut off as Gabriel's side flared in agony and he stumbled with a short cry of pain, his hand flying to his side where the bullet had hit. He started running again almost immediately, adrenaline making the pain nothing but a throbbing burn as the need for survival flowed stronger through his veins.

    They couldn't stop.
  10. Cassandra forced herself not to stop running when she heard his cry of pain and her stomach churned in fear. She was tempted to look him over to see where he was hit but she suppressed the urge.

    He's still running so he must be okay. If we stop now, we'll be sitting ducks for another bullet.

    She continued to run. The agents became dark figures in the distance and eventually, they were out of sight altogether. The clouds above them continued to darken and before long, a light drizzle sprinkled the earth. It was only then that Cassandra stopped running. Her breathing was ragged and her lungs seemed to burn. The rain was a welcome coolness on her skin and she savored the relief.

    She turned to the young man. "Are you okay? Where were you hit?" she asked, in between pants.
  11. Gabriel drew in shuddering gulps of air as he bent at the waist slightly, one hand still across his stomach, his palm on his side. The rain was a light drizzle at first, but it was already starting to come down harder and depending on the sky's mood it could last for only a few minutes or days. Still, it was the only rain the land would get for a while, of the the inhabitants of the earth could count on and they'd welcome it.

    It was already starting to soak through their clothes and at the young woman's question, Gabriel looked up and then at his side, pulling his hand back. It came away red with blood and he grimaced as the rain hit the wound, but braved the sting to look it over. He concluded, with relief, that it wasn't too serious, just a really deep graze and smiled a bit at the girl. "It's all right. Nothing some pressure won't fix." he assured, pressing his hand back to the wound.

    Okay, so that had been a bit of a half-truth. It probably needed stitches as it had cut into his side about an inch and half deep, but they couldn't do anything out here as the land turned to mud at their feet and the sky rumbled and flashed ominously overhead.

    Gabriel made himself straighten, ignoring the burn as best he could and looked toward the rock formations that were closer now, but still some walking-distance away. His head tilted, estimating and he shook his dirty-blond hair, now plastered to his skin, out of his eyes, blinking the water away even though it accumulated again just as fast on his lashes, running down his face. "There should be some caves there. We can wait out the storm."

    If they didn't get fried first or swept away by the flash-floods.
  12. Cassandra watched him with skepticism. His wound seemed to be bleeding heavily and she had an inkling that he might be downplaying the severity of it. However, she realized that nothing could be done about it now and she started walking towards the cliffs. She had questions for the young man - namely who he was and how he knew about the bomb shelter in the abandoned house. The rain was pouring heavily though and would drown out any talking that wasn't a shout, so she remained quiet as they walked.

    As they approached the cliffs, Cassandra slowed and squinted her eyes as she looked for any signs of shelter. The rain obscured her vision but she managed to make out what appeared to be an opening partway up the cliff. They would have to climb up a bit to reach it but it was better than nothing.

    She pointed to the cave and looked to Gabriel. "Will you be able to climb?" she asked loudly over the rain.
  13. Gabriel looked up at where she was pointing, feeling his vision waver with dizziness from blood-loss and his head already starting to pound warningly. Yes, yes I can climb that, but it's going to hurt like hell and I really, really don't want to. Those were his inner thoughts, but all that came out of his mouth was an affirmative, nearly shouted over the pounding rain and thunder.


    Without waiting - mostly because he knew he'd hesitate if he did - Gabriel let go of the wound on his side and found a purchase in the rock, starting up. About half-way there, he looked down to see if the young woman was following and seeing that she was, he looked back at the rock, feeling his body shake and his sight swim alarmingly. He pressed his forehead to the rocks for a brief moment before taking a deep breath and continuing up the rock-face. His side screamed at him and he knew it wasn't just rain falling to the earth below but his blood as well. The sooner they got to this cave the better.

    Soon - but not soon enough in his opinion - the lip of the ledge was visible and Gabriel pulled himself over with a curse, his arms shaking. It didn't stop him from turning and reaching down to help the blue-eyed female the rest of the way up, though.
  14. Beneath him, Cassandra climbed up the cliff cautiously. The rain water made the rocks slick and she struggled to find solid footing. Occasionally, she would glance up at the man above her with concern. He wasn't giving much indication that his wound was bothering him but from the way it was bleeding, she couldn't imagine it wasn't worse than he was letting on.

    She watched him pull himself up over the ledge and she gratefully took his hand and used it to pull herself up as well. She sat on the cave floor, panting. Finally, for the first time since they began their escape, Cassandra was able to focus her attention on her companion.

    "Do you feel okay? We need to dress your wound so it doesn't get worse." Her medical knowledge was pitiful at best, but she could probably manage some basic first aid.
  15. Gabriel had found the side of the cave wall and was now sitting with his back against it, breathing carefully as the pain in his side made it hard to draw breath without a flare of fire streaking through him and his head was pounding, telling him he'd pushed it too far today, especially on so little reserves. Reserves he still didn't have as he'd been chased out of town. Great, another thing to worry about, but yeah, he should probably pay attention to he blood he was losing.

    The male realized he hadn't even put pressure on the wound again and blinked at the young woman in front of him as he moved his hand to his side. He hissed as he pressed against the bullet graze. The adrenaline had worn off and now all that was left was exhaustion and the pain. He attempted a smile for his new companion, though, despite the fact that for a moment he saw double of her before she came into focus again.

    "I'll be all right, but yeah, should probably staunch the blood somehow." He reached out with his free hand to shake hers. "I'm Gabriel, by the way."
  16. Cassandra took his hand and shook it. "I'm Cassandra. Let's see what we can do about that wound." There was no spare cloth to soak the blood so she took off her hoodie and scooted closer to Gabriel. "Try not to move, okay? This may hurt." She gently took his hand and moved it away from his side before putting the hoodie against the bullet wound and pushing gently to apply pressure. The jacket was drenched and cold and Cassandra imagined it felt miserable against his skin but she couldn't think of any other option.

    After a few minutes passed and she began to relax a little, the fatigue hit her hard. She needed sleep to recover but she wanted to ensure Gabriel was in a stable condition first. As they waited for the bleeding to stop, she ventured a question, "...So how did you know about that bomb shelter? Do you visit that town frequently?"
  17. Good grief that hurt! His body only registered the cold after the pain, letting him know it didn't like that either as it raised goosebumps all along his stomach, but that was the least of Gabriel's concerns and he forced himself to breathe out slowly and not scream at the pressure. He'd been in a lot more pain than this before, but nothing recent and pain was pain. The body didn't like it, no matter what the reason or how severe.

    He didn't move, though, or try to make her stop, grateful for her help. He was also grateful for the darkness as he knew it hid his scars from her eyes....well, unless she had night vision which was a possibility, but he'd assume at this point that she didn't. She was obviously an infected, though, otherwise she wouldn't have come anywhere near his blood. That was good to know.

    Gabriel blinked at her question, his hair falling into his eyes, but unnoticed by him as he struggled to think about the answer to her words. The bomb shelter, right. "Umm, no. I haven't been there in a few years....or I think it's been a few years. I hid there once with another infected." He smiled, the expression a bit lopsided on his face. "Guess I really shouldn't go there again. Never seems to do me much good."

    He swallowed down a cough, his stomach protesting the movement greatly and then looked back at Cassandra. "Thank you for your help. I know you didn't have to."
  18. "No problem. I hate seeing people get hurt - especially if they didn't do anything to deserve it," she answered, but silently mulled over his words. She wondered who the other infected had been and what their relationship to Gabriel was. She didn't ask however; the infected rarely got happy endings and since his previous companion was no longer with him, she could only assume the worst.

    Instead, she opted for a topic that she assumed would be better received. "How did you get these scars, anyway?" she asked casually. Guys liked to talk about their scars, right?
  19. Gabriel tensed. He hadn't expected her question and so didn't have any warning in which to control his reaction. It didn't help that he hurt and his head was killing him and he'd lost a lot of blood and just wanted to sleep.....yeah, he wasn't really at his best at the moment. So he tensed, his entire body stiffening and he even seemed to almost draw inward and away from Cassandra before getting a hold of himself and forcing his body to relax again.

    Damn, she had night vision and could probably see every cut and burn couldn't she? Still, she hadn't asked with an intention to cause him stress or raise bad memories for now that he was thinking about it, there had only been curiosity in her voice. Gabriel relaxed a bit more as that thought settled in his sluggish mind and he smiled just a little, that forced, too, but trying to reassure Cassandra that he wasn't upset with her. She hadn't done anything wrong.

    "It's...a long story." he offered while at the same time making it obvious that the subject wasn't one he wanted to speak of right now. Gabriel looked at the general direction her blue eyes would be in, no longer able to really see anything but her profile now in the dark. "Did you get hurt at all while we were running?" He hadn't thought about it earlier and now it seemed like a good way to change the subject.
  20. Cassandra was quick to pick up on his cues and his flare of tension was not lost on her. She mentally berated herself for asking the apparently uncomfortable question but she did her best to act like she hadn't noticed. "Oh, no, I wasn't hurt. I got lucky, I suppose. Or rather, you got unlucky. It's a good thing those guys didn't follow us any further."

    She looked up to meet his gaze. She knew he couldn't see more than her outline in the darkness but she was able to see him perfectly, and she took comfort in the fact that he couldn't follow her eyes to see where she was looking. She let her eyes drift over his face, lingering on his amber eyes, before moving down to the rest of his body. Without moving her head so there would be no indication where she was looking, she lowered her eyes to examine his scars further. Gabriel's discomfort about the scars had piqued her curiosity and that made her wonder all the more where he had gotten them and how. When she had thoroughly looked him over, she settled back in thought.

    He's a handsome one, that's for sure....but who is he? It's difficult to get any in depth information about him. He helped me as much as I helped him though, so he can't be all that bad though, right?

    Cassandra suddenly realized how long she had been thinking for and she hurried to fill the silence. "You must be tired. You should really get some rest."
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