Bored. Bored, bored, bored, BORED! It was the same dreary thing every damn day. The doctors peeked in her room, came in, and started talking to her. Sometimes, they brought something that may have been food at one time, but she had no appetite for it, she never did. For a laugh, she would bite the doctors and nurses, but they put this stupid bite mask on her. She had stopped fighting the straitjacket a long time ago, and she was figuring out how to get around with it. The young girl could independently stand up and walk around now. Pretty good for someone who’s arms are bound. She had been locked away in this cell for a very long time, around the time she painted that pretty picture with the neighbor girl. She had the most beautiful crimson paint Ash had ever used.
"...What's this...?" She muttered, seeing a change in the monotonous pattern of the institution. Her long, thick, black hair hung down in front of her face as she leaned forward. The lights flickered and everything went dark. A loud clank signalled that the heavy iron door was now unlocked. She cautiously got to her feet and walked over to the door. The padded floor was cold to her bare feet, but that was nothing new. Unable to see anything, the girl leaned up against the door pressing her face against the cold steal, her breath fogging up the small glass window, and it opened. There were some people, doctors and patients alike, lumbering around the halls.
‘That's odd’... She pondered silently. She couldn't help but grin as she walked around. “Ash doesn't get in trouble!” She snickered, remembering last time she got caught outside of her cell. Her steps were slow and uneven, due to the simple fact that she'd been in that little room for far too long. As she approached some of the people, she noticed that they had dried blood all over them, their clothes in tatters, and their eyes were blank.Lifeless...
"How lovely!" Ash exclaimed, joyous that others were seeing the beauty of the red paint. Some of them made a low growl as she passed by them. She felt something grab her leg. When she looked down, she saw that a man with twisted legs had a hold of her ankle. She gave an awkward smile and he bit down on her foot. Jerking her now-injured foot away from the man's mouth, she almost lost her balance. Sensing the danger, she fled awkwardly the other way, her bleeding foot leaving a trail behind her. Not knowing or caring where she was going, the girl rammed a set of double doors with her shoulder and suddenly found herself outside. The city was in ruin, wrecked cars and random fires littered the streets.Gun shots and explosions echoed through the devastated skyscrapers. Ash laughed maniacally at the beautiful chaos that ran rampant through the city. "This'll be fun!" She shouted so loud, the night sky agreed with her.
Ash’s body ached as she walked around the empty(ish) streets. Well they weren’t exactly empty but the hordes of people wandering them where. Her thin lips felt numb as she breathed heavily, trudging along to nowhere, just like one of them. Exhausted, she found a nice little hidey-hole to sleep in. As she laid down, she coughed heavily, sick with something. Angrily yelling at the unseen ailment, she curled into a tiny ball, pain wracking her entire body.
"Make it stop!" Ash shouted to no one. "Stop it now!" Her ravings continued. The overall pain increased, overwhelming the girl. Ash shook her head madly, shouting at the top of her lungs to drown out the pain. Her screams turned into long, eerie howls. She opened her mouth so wide, her cheeks began to tear. What was she turning into...she didn’t want to change...Ash wants to be Ash, not some lumbering human on the streets she saw out there. A...Zombie...
"What the hell is that racket?!" An angry, raspy voice demanded. Ash’s pained screams diminished to pained sobs.
"Who... who's there?" The black-haired girl asked nervously, mostly afraid of what was happening to her. The thick, dry coughing got louder as someone poked their head into the alley. Tumory-things covered one side of his face and his skin was dark and discolored, but the dead giveaway(ha ha) that he was Infected was the absurdly long tongue that hung from the tall man's mouth.
‘No! No go away! Ash is human-Ash is not a zombie!’ She frantically yelled, but no sound came out. Ash was terrified...
"What the hell are you...?" He muttered quietly, bringing a cigarette up to his lips as he stepped closer. Unable to use her arms, Ash used her feet to kick away from the smoking zombie.
"Leave Ash alone!" She pleaded pitifully. Unable to tell whether if he was coughing or laughing, the girl looked warily at the smokey zombie.
"You're pretty funny." He laughed/coughed. "Since you can understand me, you're obviously one of us." He explained, bemused.
"What...Us...?" The girl asked.
"You can call me Graham." The Smoker introduced himself casually. "Seven's around here somewhere, but you'll be fine." he puffed on his cigarette.
Ash may have been crazy, but this was too much. ‘Talking zombies...Smoking talking zombies?! Ash is not a zombie-she can’t understand it...She can’t be a zombie...But what if she is...’
"What's going on...?" She asked quietly, scared of her alien surroundings and predicament. "Why can Ash understand you?"
Graham looked at her, surprised.
"You really don't know?!" He hacked. "You're Infected. As am I." He explained rather bluntly. "You can understand me because..." He chuckled. "We’re special..."
"Infect...ed." The black-haired girl repeated slowly."Ash is special...?"
"You don't know about the Infection?! Wow, you must've been in there for a while..." Graham made a pitiful attempt at a whistle. "To put it simply, people who aren't Infected are going around shooting at people who are Infected. People like me or you. Don’t really know why...maybe we look funny to them..." He continued. "So we do what we can to kill them." This piqued the girl's interest. "Belive it or not, it really is quite fun." The Smoker chuckled.
"...really fun..." Ash said quietly, toying with the idea as she remembered the pretty red paint. "Ash is happy to meet Graham..."A wry smile formed along her torn lips. ‘Maybe this isn’t so bad...Ash doesn’t seem very different...Ash is special...Ash is a zombie...’ Her mind wrapped around the new reality. "Will Ash get to paint with their blood?" She asked hopefully. Graham smiled slyly, seeing Ash’s insanity and not caring.
"Only the best." He nodded, coughing as he did so. "Only the best paint, Ash." Graham repeated, seeing the mad joy dancing in the Screamer's eyes.