Alone at the End of the World Ch. 03

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Sorry that this was down for so long.

Editors removed it because there was a plot point where Ben got raped by Mark. Wasn’t graphic. I just described how Mark threatened Ben not to tell his family afterward. However, the editors are a bunch of pussies, so now it should be back up, but with a large part of it deleted.

Suffice to say. BEN GOT RAPED BY MARK AND COULDN’T TELL HIS FAMILY. This is a classic example of show, not tell gone horribly wrong. But fuck, what am I supposed to do about it?

All Characters WHO HAVE SEX are 18+*


The sun rose on the forth day of Jonah’s absence.

The sixteen survivors were all early risers now, but it was cloudy, so most of them didn’t rise until much later.

Vera woke up blearily in the attic of the large farmhouse that had become their home. She could feel the comforting weight of Davis’s burly arm across her thin shoulders. Her stomach felt queasy, and her period was almost a week late. Only part of the sick feeling in her stomach was from bundle of cells attached to the uterine wall. She was afraid. She couldn’t quite put her finger on how she knew, but she knew the group was no longer coherent.

Jonah’s departure had shaken the group somehow. Everything was tense. Mark and David had gotten into a fight, and no longer spoke. Everyone was walking on eggshells. Mark had become brusque, and even cruel to his watch partners, or anyone who had to interact with him.

Vera shuddered, and moved closer to Davis. Half-asleep, he pulled her in closer. Davis was the kind of partner he hadn’t had since college. The casual kind. They didn’t have condoms, and Davis tried to pull out, but he didn’t always make it. How would he react to realize that he had fathered a child in this uncertain world? How did she feel about it? She opened her eyes in the dim light of the cloudy afternoon, and she could see a couple of her man’s shirts hanging from a rafter. They were on gleaming wire hangers.

The glint of rosy light from the cold copper wire sent a pang of deathly cold fear through Vera. The cold started in the back of her throat and shriveled her stomach and ended with a sick ache in her quickened womb. For a second, it looked like the hanger was shiny with blood.

It wouldn’t come to that. She told herself. The hanger gleamed mellowly, and the light curving off of the copper wire seemed to mock her.

In the bedroom of the upstairs hallway, the one furthest to the right, Janet and Ned were sleeping peacefully in the big bed. Annette wasn’t as untroubled.

Annette was doing pushups. She had been doing them for a while now, and her shoulders and arms were shrieking at her to stop. She couldn’t though, not until her muscles would no longer support her.

Annette realized that something bad was going to happen to their group, and she wanted to get out. She had been squirreling away supplies from the cellar, taking secretly. She hadn’t told Janet or Ned, the light of her world.

Mark was crazy, and David wasn’t stopping him. Annette was just starting to suspect that something horrible had happened between Jonah and Mark. Ever since the slender young man with the pale serious eyes had fled, Mark had just been getting worse.

Harold had been Mark’s watch partner the night before, and Annette had seen them argue over something, and out of nowhere, Mark had delivered a sudden and brutal beating around Harold’s face and shoulders. Harold had lost a tooth, and his face was swollen and bruised, the color of blood plums.

Mark was still walking around. He hadn’t gotten chastised, or detained, or even argued with. No one had said a goddamn word.

Annette swore softly as she collapsed, and she got up, her shoulders and pectorals shrieking with discomfort. She moved onto her back and started doing sit-ups. She felt soft. She needed to toughen up. She needed to be ready.

It was the end of the world, after all.

Jenna and Bert and the twins had a bedroom to themselves. The parents slept on the bed, and Franklin was snoring lightly from his nest of blankets on the floor.

The door opened, and Ben limped inside. Mark hadn’t left any bruises on his face or arms, but he limped nonetheless. The bruises were elsewhere.

Ben limped to the edge of his parent’s bed, and looked down at his sleeping father, tears spilling down his soft hairless cheeks. After a long minute, he went back to his blanket nest, moving like a crippled deer.

In the bedroom on the end of the hallway normally housed four men. Jess was out hunting, and Mark’s side of the bed was empty.

The Doc was a huddled motionless form, but David was sitting upright, every muscle in his body flexing and relaxing in a nervous rhythm. It was just something he did when he was anxious. First his arms, making his biceps swell like they were being pumped full of air. Then his torso, then the chords in his neck. Tectonic plates moved under his skin, tendons stood out like cables, and veins moved in sinuous Çankaya Escort rivers, like streams of water down windshields in the rain.

The door opened, and Mark walked in on velvet feet. For a split second, their eyes locked. David didn’t say a word. His face was a blank expanse of stone. Mark got on his side of the bed and turned away to sleep. David didn’t move, except for his flexing and relaxing muscles.

The Doc woke from his sleep when he heard a low gritty sound. It sounded like a block of stone dragged over concrete. It was a sound that set him on edge, a bad sound. He couldn’t find the source.

Then he found it. David was grinding his teeth. Mark wasn’t the only man on the razor’s edge.

On the roof, Harold and Melvin were keeping watch. They looked out on the garden that Jonah had cared for so tenderly. The garden that was already starting to regress without his constant care. They looked out over the field of tender knee-high corn. Past a certain area, the corn was thin and stunted and choked with weeds. They could only care for so much of it, and the deer and birds were feasting on the acres and acres of land that the survivors couldn’t easily take care of.

Harold’s face was swollen and dark. The color of blood plums. Harold had always looked up to David, and to a lesser extent, Mark. He had made some off-hand comment about how much better it was now that the queer had decided to run off. Mark had gone insane.

Melvin shifted. “They’re almost an hour late. I wonder if anyone is awake down there.” Harold shifted, but didn’t speak. Melvin eyed him warily. “I don’t mind, I like it up here. Do you want to go down? It’s Davis and Vera’s turn.” Harold still didn’t answer. He just got up and went down through the attic window and the ladder propped up on the sill.

Harold hadn’t spoken a word for twenty-four hours.

Jess was hunting, his brows pulled low over his eyes.

He still didn’t know why Jonah had fled. At first he had been sure that Mark had killed him, and was saying that he ran away as a part of an alibi to save his ass. But Jess had followed the trail for several miles. Jonah had fled, and Jess wasn’t going to try and bring him back.

He just hoped that Jonah would be okay. He felt like such a goddamn coward.

Jess looked up, startled as he saw birds rising in a cloud in the distance. Ever-so-faintly, he could hear gunshots, faint popping noises. He swore and started to jog, feeling a sudden and overwhelming feeling of helplessness. He was more then ten miles away from camp.

He waited for the gunshots to stop, but they didn’t. They just kept going. The time, (though few were keeping track) was almost noon.

It was a new day for the sixteen survivors.


Thad woke up, and Jonah wasn’t by his side. His fear was sudden and enormous and groundless, and he jerked out of the bed as if shocked.

Jonah came in from outside, muffling a cough with his forearm and zipping up his jeans. His face was so pale it glowed. His lips and cheeks were colorless, and the only color on his face were the dark grey bags under his eyes and the small hard spots of color high up in his cheeks.

Jonah looked at Thad with eyes that were watery and bloodshot and somehow animal. He leaned against the doorway, and hacked into his arm weakly. He spat up a gob of phlegm, and it was streaked with blood.

Thad moved forward and enfolded the feverish boy in his arms. Jonah went limp, resting his aching head against Thad’s chest. The beat of his lover’s heart soothed him.

They had to get ready. Jonah was a little better, but the sickness had made him weak. He was still disoriented from that cruel blow to the head, and being dog-sick made it worse.

Thad packed the two bags. Food was the most important. He packed all of his precious supply of cans inside his large pack. He put lighter things, like clothes and jackets, inside Jonah’s lighter pack. He kept his gun on his belt, and put his limited ammunition in his pocket. He added a pot to boil water, and matches. He packed duct tape and candles and filled a gallon jug with treated water. He looked inside his last box of shells. His gun was loaded with twelve shells, and the box had twenty-three extras. That was all, and he felt so vulnerable.

A large quilt was the last thing he dared to pack. His own bag was dangerously heavy and overfull. He wasn’t sure how long he could hike with it, especially having to take care of his weakened lover. They would be so vulnerable out there, exposed to crazies and looters and disaster. What if Jonah broke a leg? What if he fainted during the day? What if Thad got injured? What if… What if the crazies attacked?

Jonah hefted on his light pack and hesitated by the door. He looked so afraid. Thad realized that he didn’t know why Jonah was afraid. Was it because of the journey? Or because of the end of the journey?

Thad moved up to him and embraced the young man tightly. Keçiören Escort “It’s time to go Baby.” He murmured. “I want to stick with the daylight.”

Travel was surprisingly fast and smooth for the first half of the day. Jonah was weak, but Jonah walked right behind him, muffling his coughs with a rag. After Jonah lagged behind a few times, Thad dug in the pack for a length of twine, He tied one end of the twine to his belt, and the other around Jonah’s wrist. That way he could always know that Jonah was there, and keep an eye on his surroundings.

They paused often for sips of water. Jonah looked awful, pale and sweaty and as if he would throw up. But he was strong, keeping up with him easily enough.

Twice, Thad heard heavy crashing in the underbrush. Both times, they huddled down in the bushes and kept quiet for several minutes. Jonah kept his face pressed against Thad’s shoulder, shivering with terror.

Traveling was dreamlike, and somehow dazed. Thad’s back and shoulders felt strangely weightless, despite the heavy pack. It was a cloudy day, so cloudy that Thad feared it would rain, but it never did. It was so dark, so hazy. A thin mist clouded over the stream. It was so quiet, like something in a dream.

Thad stopped them near the stream, to rest and to eat a little. He had cooked the soup, and now they split the cold soup between them. Jonah ate very little, despite Thad’s urging.

Thad was finishing up, when Jonah spoke. It was the first time he spoke all day.

“We’re getting close.” He whispered foggily. His voice was a hoarse rasp. He coughed twice into his arm, and continued. “When I left, I was going so slow. It hurt to move. It still hurts.”

His voice was so faint. Thad helped him up, and then he saw the dull maroon blotches on Jonah’s inner thighs.

Silently, but with something like panic in his eyes, Thad turned Jonah around, and his stomach lurched. Blood soaked through the fabric of Jonah’s jeans all the way down to the inside of his knees. Blood had sopped through the fabric at the seat of his pants.

“Jonah.” Thad whispered. “How long have you been bleeding?”

Jonah was pale, so incredibly pale. “Since we passed the wreck.”

A wrecked blue ’92 cadillac. That had been nearly two miles up the road. Thad took Jonah’s shoulders and sat him down in the steep grassy ditch at the side of the road. “Sit, rest.” He said curtly. He was angry. Thad was furious. Jonah had been bleeding, why hadn’t he said anything? He was furious toward’s Jonah for suffering in silence, especially when worsening his injury could get them both killed.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Thad struggled to keep his voice level. “I would have stopped, we could have taken a break!”

Jonah started to cry. “I w-w-was scared. A-A-And we w-were making g-g-good t-time!”

Thad jumped, and Jonah moaned. Gunshots. Gunshots split the air, and they were close. Startlingly close. Thad stripped out of the pack, rolling his shoulders.

“Come on.” Thad muttered. “We have to hurry.” He looked at Jonah, pale and trembling and his jeans soaked with blood. Both running or fighting would be laughable with Jonah so weak. He took his gun and touched the box of shells in his pocket for reassurance. Thirty-five shots. That was the absolute best he could hope for. There were bound to be one or two misfires as well. As soon as these shots were gone, he would be weaponless.

Thad lashed the packs to the branches of a pine tree to hide them from view, and the gunshots continued. He helped Jonah to his feet, and the young man was shivering weakly in his arms, tears still leaking down his face.

“Come on.” Thad growled, “We have to see what’s happening.”

They moved together down the side of the road, towards Jonah’s home.

Jess ran through the forest, cursing and crashing through the undergrowth. The gunshots were coming more sporadically, but he still heard them. He counted between the pops, hearing them get louder and louder.

David had made it a rule that they shouldn’t go to the road if they could help themselves at all. The farmhouse wasn’t visible from the road, at least when the trees were in full leaf. David didn’t want to draw unwanted attention from looters or refugees.

Jess had to break that rule. Going through the forest was slow and wary. There was always a chance, however small, that you could bump into one of the remaining crazies. He ran down the side of the road, his pack bouncing on his back, and his rifle over his shoulder, the safety on, but within easy reach.

He cursed softly. He could see a couple of refugees. They weren’t crazies, one was supporting the other, and that was something only humans did. Jess’s home was in danger, he couldn’t stop for possibly infected, possibly dangerous refugees.

Jess sidestepped into the woods, and cursed again when he stumbled, crashing through the brush. He could hear one of the refugees cry out with fear. He swore Etimesgut Escort again and moved through the forest, trying to be quieter.

“Jonah, get behind me.”

Jess froze. The voice was deep rough and scared. Jonah? Was that Jonah? Jess moved behind a tree and called out. “Jonah? Is that you?” He gripped his rifle tight. Who was the new guy? Was he dangerous? Why were they here?

He heard Jonah’s voice. Soft and clogged and scared-sounding. “Jess? J-Jess, where a-are you?”

Jess peered around the bole of the tree. They were on the road, and Jonah was clinging to the tall black man for support. His face was flushed and sweaty, his eyes surrounded by deep bags.

“Who is he?” Jess demanded.

The black man was soaked in sweat, wearing a thin white t-shirt and dark denim pants. His thick muscular arms gleamed in the dim grey lights. He was holding the gun with both hands, pointing it at a 45 degree angle from his body, scanning the forest.

“Jess? P-Please, what’s h-happening? Are there c-c-crazies?”

“Who is he!” Jess snarled. “Tell him to put the gun down, and I’ll come out.”

“Please Thad… P-Please, it’s Jess! He’s m-m-my friend! H-He wont hurt y-y-you.”

Jonah’s head ached dully. He felt like his brain was a drum, stretched tight and painful on a frame. Every word and noise was like someone tapping their fingers on the surface, sending painful vibrations. Every gunshot was like a sharp strike, making him want to crumple to the ground and weep.

Thad’s eyes were wild. He called out. “I’m putting down the gun. Jonah’s sick, he needs the doctor, we can’t waste time.” His voice sounded forcibly calm. He bent his knees slowly, and put the gun on the pavement. He backed away a few steps into the center of the road. Jonah was leaning on him for support, and Thad’s muscles were tensed and trembling. He was going against every instinct in his body to abandon his weapon.

Jess loped out of the woods, his rifle on his shoulder. He looked from Jonah to Thad and scooped Thad’s gun from the road in one fluid motion. Jonah was clinging to Thad’s arm, looking lost and sick. Blood soaked his inner thighs, making them a dark maroon. Jess trained the rifle on Thad again, circling the pair of refugees.

“What the fuck did you do to him?” Jess snarled.

“It wasn’t me, put that gun down before you hurt someone.” Thad’s voice was strained.

“Please Jess…” Jonah whispered foggily. “Please… He saved my life.”

“Then how come it looks like he beat you half to death?” Jess’s voice was shrill and angry.

“That wasn’t me!” Thad barked. “Put the fucking gun down, we need to see if we can help the others.”

Jonah clung harder to Thad’s arm and whimpered. All of the shouting was making his head throb sickly. Like the meat of his brain were exposed and someone were drawing their fingertips across the crumbling surface.

“Jess! It was Mark, okay!” It took every bit of his energy to shout that, and he went limp, with only Thad holding him up from the ground. Jess flinched, and suddenly his hands went loose on the rifle, his shoulders sagged, and the tip of the gun eventually pointed at the cracked asphalt of the road.

Thad cradled the crying feverish boy in his arms. “He made me promise not to tell.” Thad said in a low thick voice. He just needs to get better, and then we can go.

A volley of gunshots from up the road, and a high feminine shriek of pain.

Jess glared at Thad, not sure if he could trust the huge man. Then he saw how the semiconscious boy in his arms clung to him and buried his face into Thad’s chest. Jess handed Thad the gun, butt first.

“Let’s go.”

The farmhouse was surrounded, not by crazies, but by humans. Jess could count ten. All ragged men, a few in bits and pieces of military apparel. They were all behind cover, trees, vehicles. They were shooting steadily at the windows of the house. Occasionally one would fire back.

Jess saw a man stand up, wearing combat boots and an old green army jacket. He was scruffy and bearded.

“Send out your women, each with a pack loaded with food. We know you have five! If you don’t, we’ll kill all of you!”

He ducked down as soon as he finished his demand and a bullet ricocheted off of the tractor he was ducked behind.

“Do it, or we’ll set the fucking building on fire!”

Thad set Jonah down a hundred yards away with both of the packs. Jonah looked weak and pale and he was coughing silently.

Thad took his pistol, Jess took his rifle. They exchanged a few terse words, and then they split up.

The man who had shouted the threat was the first to go. The rear attack was quick and unexpected and devastating. Jess shot two, the threatener and a large man with a ragged beard. The bearded man still ran, blood streaming from between the fingers clasping his wounded shoulder.

Thad was far deadlier then Jess had anticipated. He had a short-range gun, but he charged into the field after his first shot. His arm was completely steady, and the bandits had not expected an attack from behind, so most were too surprised to fire back.

These weren’t killers. Jess had been hunting deer since he was a kid, and Thad was a trained police officer and a veteran. The bandits held their guns with clumsy hands and their eyes were filled with a frightened disbelief.

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