Chapter one of The Embers of Amour.

Hello everyone! This is the first Chapter of my novel The Embers of Amour! Enjoy! If you would like to read more the ebook is only .99 cents on amazon!

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-Chapter one-

Abby woke in a sudden outburst of tears and sweat. She gasped for air as her lungs burned, and her skin crawled. Above her was a very large hole in the second floor, she could barely remember the floor caving in under her; but she could remember falling through. She felt cold on the outside but very hot on the inside, and as a drop of water rolled down her face she felt the pain coming from her leg. Her plush lips pressed together as her dull blue eyes darted down in horror. She tried to swallow, but a lump in her dry throat stopped her. Her thin round face went pale as she let out a loud scream. She shot up quickly. Her head spun, and her eyes blurred, but she knew what was happening to her.

The undead was digging its sharp jagged teeth into her left thigh. Abby let out a screech as her hands fumbled forward reaching for the monster. Her body was shaking so violently that when she first tried to grab the undead, her hands just pushed past its head and she almost fell on it. She pulled her arms back up and screamed as it ripped at her leg. It looked up at her with hollow eyes. She saw her own meat hanging from its mouth. It made her head spin, and she was sure she would vomit. It made a low growl in its throat as it moved upwards to bite her again. She cursed and pushed its head back from biting her face, shoving it away.

It quickly came back at her with such force that it knocked her down onto her back. She began to sob as it clawed at her. One of her arms was keeping it from taking a chunk out of her face, while the other dug around her for anything that could stop this thing from killing her. Finally she felt something large and hard and brought it upwards, smashing it into its head. It made a loud groaning sound as she hit it again and again, before finally its skull caved in. Its body fell on her, and Abby used all of her energy to shove it off.

Abby looked down at the object in her hand and noticed it was part of the second floor that had fallen with her. She closed her eyes tightly as she took in very long, deep breaths. Her eyes opened again as the wound on her leg stung and burned with such pain that she finally did vomit.  She began to choke on it before turning her head and letting it out all over the floor next to her. She gasped for air and pulled herself upwards.  It took everything in her to do this and all of her might to look down at her leg. The moment she did she let out a load cry and began to sob.

Abby’s hands shook in front of her as she tried to figure out if she should touch the wound or not. The undead had shredded the top of her thigh and had ripped a good chunk of meat out.  Blood was gushing out, and Abby knew she did not have long before she passed out from blood loss. She needed to bandage it up as soon as possible, but she paused for a moment as her lips shivered. Did it even matter? She knew no one survived a bite from one of those monsters… everyone and everything would die and then come back as a monster.

Fear filled her as she looked around her making sure nothing else was there. To her luck, she was all alone. Abby heard a gunshot followed by a scream far in the distance.  Her eyes widened, and she waited as tears streamed down her face. She heard nothing. She was not sure of what to do. She was sweating uncontrollably. She finally decided she did not want to die in a dark high school hallway. She would find somewhere she could lock herself in so she could hurt no one.

Abby slowly started to move. Every part of her body hurt as she used the half burnt wall to her right to support her. The school had been set on fire with the workers and students inside. Some were shot, while others burned alive. Abby had come across a few of these buildings before. The ones who had done this were trying to do it out of the good of their hearts. They thought that killing innocent people would help stop the virus. But it only just prolonged it.

Abby let out a holler as she stood up leaning her whole body onto the wall. Her left leg felt like it weighed a hundred pounds, and the blood that poured from her wound felt as if it were cutting into her. Her stomach turned, and her throat felt as if it were going to close. She gritted her teeth hard and started to push herself along the wall, letting her left leg drag with her. It hurt so badly that she was sure she would faint and die right there, but she kept pushing and breathing.

She glanced downward at her bloody blue t-shirt and black pants and tried to see if her necklace was still there. Abby could barely make it out in the dim light of the hall, but she could see it there swaying as she hunched over on the wall. It was a silver necklace with a small ruby heart that had little diamonds surrounding it. She touched it with her bloody fingers and faintly smiled through the pain. She was happy it was still there. It gave her a strange sense of hope that maybe, just maybe everything would be okay.

Abby thought of Aaron, the man she swore she still loved dearly; the man she knew was gone. She could still see his golden hair falling towards his deep dark brown eyes. She could see his bright smile as his tan muscular arms wrapped around her. Tears fell from her face as she tried to remember what his laugh sounded like. She stopped and clutched at her necklace, closing her eyes. She listened to her shallow heartbeat and focused on the blood dripping down her leg tickling her in the worst kind of way.

Pain shot through her leg hard, causing her to fall forward, landing on her knees with a loud bang. She screamed and bit her lip. Blood filled her mouth as she used her hands to protect her face from hitting the ground. She felt one of her fingers snap and let out a cry as her teeth slammed together. She spat out a tooth as she cried trying to get herself back up.   Her right hand was shaking badly.  She forced herself to look at the finger that had snapped. Her pinky was bent out of place.

Abby was not sure of where she was going or why. She was dead no matter what happened to her. If she found someone from her group, they would kill her on the spot. She did not blame them, because she would do the same thing. No one lived from this… everyone turned. Once bitten, the virus would travel through you attacking all of your good blood cells and infecting them. Your body starts to burn as it goes through you; and once it hits your heart, it would kill you; then it attacks the brain. You would come back except not as yourself but as a mindless cannibalistic monster.

Abby knew the best thing to do would be to find a way to kill herself, so she would not hurt anyone after she turned. However, she did not want to die. She was sobbing and could taste the bile in the back of her throat. She felt as if any moment would be her last, and she would fall onto the cold floor and die. She pushed herself around a corner and saw light at the end of the long hallway. She swallowed blood and gasped. She could hear soft moans coming from one of the rooms around her.

Everything tingled and felt very strange as sweat dripped down her forehead. She wondered if this was the virus making its way into her head.  Her vision kept blurring, but she kept moving forward. She was not sure of where to go, just that she wanted to be anywhere but there. She frowned, nothing could help her now. She knew that bitter truth, but a hope inside her told her to not stop moving.

Abby poked at a missing tooth in her mouth and moaned in pain. She stopped and gasped for air as she cried. She heard more gunshots from somewhere in the school and paused. A tremor ran down her body. She felt very hot, but her skin was ice cold.  She closed her eyes tightly before walking again.  She wandered past a classroom door and leaned on it to take in some more air.

She glanced through the glass window, and her heart sank a little. The children that had gone to this school were still inside. Sitting in their seats, some slumped over the desk, and others slightly hanging off. They had been burned alive in them. Abby’s teeth chattered. She stared at the tiny bodies then at the back of the wall where the teachers had been shot. Bullet holes covered the wall behind the collapsed bodies. On the wall written in red paint was Fear the living.

As fear suddenly traveled through her bones, Abby pushed herself from the door and headed for the light at the end of the hall. It was a glass door that had been broken a long time ago. She rubbed her chin with a shaking hand, before she made the painful move through the broken door. Her left leg tried to snag on some of the glass, but she forced it through causing her to lose her footing and fall forward.

This time she was able to catch herself on a bench right outside the door. She cursed and started to breathe heavily. Abby felt as if she had no more tears inside of her now. She looked back from where she came and saw inside the dark gloomy halls. She felt as if something was lingering in there watching her, and it scared her. She looked forward into the blue sky and at the emptiness around her, carefully listening. She could not hear anything. Not even birds, or insects, just pure silence.

Everything around her was a mess and ruined. If it was not burnt, it had been shot at. She saw a few old, rotting corpses lying around. The air was full of rot and death. She swallowed hard; her vision blurring still. She felt more hot tears roll down her red cheeks. She sniffled and wondered where she would go from here. What would she do now?

Abby saw an ambulance sitting in the middle of the school yard. She glanced down at her shaking leg and touched her blood soaked pants. She needed to find something to help her stand, so she would not have to crawl. She scanned for a long time, before she frowned then slowly sat down on the ground and turned her back towards the ambulance. She started to drag herself towards it. Every movement hurt as her broken finger drug on the ground.

Abby stared at the doorway to the high school and watched it carefully. She still was feeling as if something was watching her. She felt paranoid and sick. She wondered why she was even trying to help herself. She hated the thought that she would die and turn, but she also hated the thought of just giving up.

It took her a few minutes to drag herself all the way to the ambulance and at least a few more minutes to finally pull herself upwards. She glanced at three dead bodies and saw that they were all in army uniforms. She reached for the door handle of the ambulance and hoped it would open, and with a hard pull it did.  Abby felt herself let out a breath of air as she pulled herself inside closing the door behind her.

Her dark red hair fell in front of her face and stuck from sweat. Her big, round eyes were trying to close, when she rubbed her small thin nose with the back of her bloody hand. She managed to pull herself onto a gurney that was sitting perfectly behind her. Her body felt numb and icy from head to toe except for the sharp throbbing coming from her broken pinky.

Abby took in a long deep breath before looking down at her leg. It was covered in blood; but the wound seemed to not be bleeding anymore. There was strange yellow goo seeping from it and it smelt of mold.

She needed to do something about her leg, before the pain in it came back; more importantly before she passed out from blood loss. She reached over to a small storage container next to her and started to search. She pulled out a lot of medical supplies that would be helpful for her leg and placed it next to her. She found ointments, bottles of aspirin, many different kinds of bandages, and a few splints, then placed them on her lap.

Wind began to howl outside, and Abby swore she heard faint growls and moans twisting in it. She paused and stared at the two windows on the back door, waiting. Nothing happened, so she allowed herself to breath. The thought of her whole group being dead made her feel ill inside. The thought of them being alive and leaving her behind was worse. She met them almost five months after the virus had gotten out of hand and had stayed with them for ten months now.

Abby scrambled around looking for something to drink and found a half empty silver water bottle. She opened it slowly and looked in. It was no telling how old the water was or who had been drinking from it, but she had no other choice. She took a sip, and the water slid down her throat with a dirty taste. She closed it before setting it to the side of her. She then looked at her leg and at the yellow goo coming from it. It made her head swim.

Abby looked at her pinky and saw how the bone was sticking out and then at the splints by her. She picked one that looked as if it would fit. Her breathing became heavier as she prepared herself to push the bone back in. She reached for it with her left hand and barely touched it when pain went rushing through her right hand. She cursed and closed her eyes. When she opened them, she grabbed her pinky and snapped the bone straight. She screamed and fainted for a moment.

Her eyes rolled back into her head as the pain swam through her and a ringing in her head filled the silence around her. It took her a few moments to get the courage to sit back up and look at her finger. She took another sip of the water and started to cough heavily. Afterwards she took some gauze and slowly wrapped it around her finger tightly before putting the splint on. Every little touch on her finger hurt, but she was starting to get used to it and was not sure if that was a good thing or not.

After the splint went on, Abby wrapped more gauze around it and taped it.  She stared at her pinky and frowned. She had no idea what she was doing and was only going by what she had seen on tv shows. She hoped it would help her finger heal. She quickly forgot her finger when she felt a strange tingling feeling on her bite wounds. She looked at it and saw that more yellow goo had come out of it with some blood.  She shivered and looked around at the things she had collected on the gurney.

“I don’t…I… what am I supposed to do?” Abby cried as she reached around all the different things. She decided to pour the water on her wound to clean it. Her hands shook as she lifted it above the wound. She looked at it and noticed her skin around the wound was turning green and blue. She looked away as she tilted the bottle, so it could spill onto her wound. It stung but not as badly as she thought it would. She looked back and saw the goo being washed away with some blood. After she was done, she grabbed a hand full of gauze and lowered it to her wound; so she could clean it more.

Abby was not sure if it was a good idea or not, but she had no idea what else to do. She gritted her teeth and softly touched the wound. This time she did feel pain, and it made her cry. However, she kept cleaning the blood and goo. The goo smelt horrible, and her blood looked black. She quickly stopped when the pain started to become too much. Her hand stumbled through the supplies around her as she searched for something that may help the wound not get infected. She stopped when she found peroxide and grabbed it. She stopped suddenly and let out a laugh filled with tears.

“I’m going to die…” She mumbled through tears as she closed her eyes and lowered her hand towards the peroxide. “I don’t want to,” She whimpered.

It did not matter what she did to the wound. She would turn no matter what, and she knew that. She felt stupid for trying to patch it up. She felt foolish for having hope for life. She thought about Aaron and wondered if he had been bitten and if he was walking around dead.  She shook the thought away and struggled to take in a deep breath.

Abby opened the bottle and poured it on the wound. It started to bubble; the white bubbles quickly turned dark red. She looked at the windows in front of her and was glad she was inside the ambulance. At least when she turned she would be trapped and would not hurt anyone. That was really all that mattered.

When it was done bubbling, she grabbed some gauze then went to put it on the wound. She gave the bite marks one last long look and pressed her lips together in disappointment. She placed the gauze on the wound then wrapped some more around her whole leg before putting tape on it. It looked horrible, but it made Abby feel a strange clarity. She licked her dry lips and grabbed the aspirin she found and poured a dozen pills in her hand with the broken finger. She gave the pills a hard stare, rocking herself back and forth.

She could take all of them and fall asleep and not have to feel the pain of dying from the virus. It would be an easy and painless death. She closed her hand around the pills and shook her head.

“I’m sorry…” She whispered shamefully.

Abby put the pills back into the bottle and took only three. She lay back onto the gurney. Her eyes had milky foam in them, and her face was very thin and pale. She could feel icy coldness moving through her body, and she swore she could feel something moving around her skull. “This must be it.” She thought.  She would die there without anyone ever knowing. She would die alone and confused. And worst die not knowing what had happened to Aaron.

“I’m sorry Aaron…” She choked on her words as she started to drift off to sleep. Sleep would take her; and when she woke, she would be a monster. However, a monster locked away in this ambulance. She would not hurt anyone; and she hoped if someone found the ambulance, they would not be dumb enough to open it without looking.  Abby’s eyes closed slowly, and she took in a deep breath as the darkness took her.

“What do you mean by that?” Abby’s voice slipped and cracked as she tried to contain her composure.

Aaron was pacing around the room with his hand over his mouth and his eyes looking everywhere but at her. She watched his arms move slowly, and the muscles in them contracted as he turned towards her finally. She sat on their red sofa with her arms upwards towards her mouth, and her eyes full of worry. She was fit and plump and tan with long auburn hair that was thick and tangled. His dirty blond hair bounced in front of his dark eyes, and he rubbed a hand over his caramel skin as he tried to find the words inside of him.

His eyes found hers, and he frowned deeply. She could tell he was scared to speak and that it was taking everything for him to find the courage to do so. It made the hole in her stomach larger, and her head fill with fear. He crossed his arms and shook his head. He was wearing his firefighter’s t-shirt and blue jeans, and Abby stared at the strange red stain on his shirt.

“They said the virus hasn’t become airborne, but it is spreading faster than they expected. They believe it has somehow gotten into the water supply, and that is how it is spreading.” He voice was shaky yet calm and collected. Abby glanced over at the ten large cases of water Aaron had brought in when he came home, and she frowned.

Abby felt herself shake as she leaned back onto the sofa, bringing her knees up to her to wrap her arms around them. He saw her and hurried over, sitting next to her. He pulled her closer to him and kissed her on the forehead. She could feel the warmth of his body and smell him. It made her feel better.

“It will be okay. It still hasn’t gotten here… it is states away. We have time. The government says they have a new vaccine they want to try out and…” His words trailed off with a queer grumble in his throat. She felt him stiffen, and she looked up at him. His eyes were fixed on their flat screen tv. She realized he was looking at himself. She saw them huddled together. They looked so small.

“And what?” She said almost in a whisper.

She felt his body shake as he pulled her tightly to him. He placed his nose in her hair and took in a deep breath. It was almost as if he was trying to take in all of her scent, so he would never forget. After a moment of silence, Abby pulled away and glanced up at him with wide eyes. She saw that he had tears in his eyes and that his tan chiseled face had grown pale. It made fear crawl through her bones.

“What is it, hun?” She asked softly as she brushed her fingers lightly on his cheeks. He grabbed her hand and pressed his lips into the palm of it. He laid his face on her hand then gave her a long hard look. His oval brown eyes looked deep inside of her. Finally, he looked away from her and let go of her hand as he took in a deep breath.

“They are calling it liquidation. It…” His voice cracked, and he cleared his throat, then he continued, “If a town is showing signs of the virus… if a certain amount of people are quarantined and sick then they will.” He shook his head, and she saw him rolling his eyes as he cleared his throat again.

“They will send the army in to cleanse it.” He looked at her and hoped she would understand what he meant so he would not have to explain it more. And she did. Her stomach was twisting in knots, and she felt lightheaded. She leaned forward, closing her eyes.

“You mean they are going to kill them?” He did not answer, so she looked back at him, and his face said it all.

“Fire apparently kills the virus. They’re going to start the liquidations tonight. The guys at the station are all stocking up on food and M.R.E.’s from the army store down town. People are talking about going up to the mountains to hide.” He told her, his voice becoming less scared and stronger. She could hear a hint of suggestion in his voice, though she didn’t provoke it.

“But you just said the virus is states away. That we are fine here. We are going to be okay… right? That is what you told me… ” She turned towards him and put her hands onto his arms and squeezed.

He looked at her with narrowed eyes, and there was a sadness in them. He was hiding something, and she knew it. She reached up to his face and touched it. He felt cold. She begged him for an answer with her tear filled blue eyes and chewed at her lip.

“Sometimes I’m not always right…” He said flatly with the shakiness coming back to his voice.

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