Infected (An Original Group Story)
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Cover done by me
Serenity "Ren" Lowe
On the opposite side of the window, struggling to avoid being struck by bullets, Shorty wiped his brow, a smile plastered on his pale face. To my slight surprise, the five foot one teen appeared to actually enjoying this little skirmish. Then again, I remembered, he had only joined us a week ago. Everything was thrilling to the boy.
"Quite the racket out there, eh?" he shouted over the sound of bullets flying. One sped by my face as I tried to peer outside, which led me to decide that I would not be doing that again.
"You do realize," I said, my Southern accent thickening as it always did when I grew irate, "that we are under attack, and thus, this isn't the time or place for chitchat?"
Shorty shrugged, his shaggy black hair falling into his bright eyes. "It's still exciting, Ren!"
A frustrated sigh escaped me softly before I could stop it. New Pirates were so exasperating, and they usually got themselves killed within a few days because of their ignorance. It was incredible that Shorty had lasted so long, but he was starting to get on my nerves.
I hadn't been like this when I joined two years ago. I thought to myself in annoyance. Had I? Hopefully not.
Robbing the bank in Nashville had appeared to be an excellent idea at the time when the leader of our group, Bacchus, had announced it. We hadn't gotten to any new places as of late, with some Rangers on our tail couple of days ago, but now that we'd lost them, some simple bank robbery couldn't hurt. Besides, there hadn't been a law that was followed in about a decade, before the Infection had spread. Nobody was going to stop us.
Everything had gone smoothly, just as planned, until a pair of Rangers had spotted us in the act and were now firing upon us fiercely. Thankfully, only four of us had been assigned to go rob this facility (Shorty, Harrow, Abbott, and I) so our entire group wasn't being wiped out. The other two Pirates were opening fire on the other side of the room, clutching the money we'd nabbed.
Those weren't their real names, of course. No Pirate ever used their true title; it made us very easy to be remembered, and they weren't as...catchy. Abbott went by his last name, for instance, and Shorty's real name was Joseph. I merely shortened my own name, finding it somewhat girly for a Pirate.
A shout from Abbott interrupted my thoughts. "Ren, Shorty! These boys ain't gonna let up soon, so how're we gonna get out without lead in our chests?"
My brown eyes darted about the bank, not finding any other ways out, other than the shattered windows and the front door. Exiting through those would be suicidal. What we needed was some kind of distraction to draw their attention away from us, so we could flee unharmed.
Harrow called out, his deep voice emotionless as always, "We'll have to go out the windows and run for it. Bacchus said he'd be waiting in the woods not to far off, so we'll go that way."
A bullet barely missed my head, eliciting a nasty word from yours truly, and I drew my pistol, pausing before firing out the window and ducking back inside.
"Got it!" shouted Shorty, drawing his own gun, looking eager as always to begin the action. His phoenix tattoo, which was a bright orange color that stood out starkly on his skin, was revealing itself to me as his sleeve slipped down, exposing his left forearm.
"On three!" bellowed Harrow, holding up a hand, black eyes narrowed in warning. We all froze, awaiting the cue. My heart pounded in my chest as I considered what might occur if those bullets shot true and hit me. God, this was suicide too, but it seemed better than waiting here all night for them to leave.
Bullets flew like shooting stars, lead balls glinting in the afternoon light.
I gripped my gun tighter, ready to fire if necessary.
Shorty jumped through the window before I could even move, and I heard the others doing so, as well as surprised noises from the Rangers outside. I leapt out as they came to their senses and continued firing, noting that Abbott fell with a glassy look in his wide hazel eyes as I bolted after Harrow and Shorty for the woods.
Yells came behind us as we ran for our lives, and Harrow stopped occasionally to fire back at the men, killing one on his second stop. I shouted at him to toss me the two bags he held (one being Abbott's, one being his own) so that he wouldn't be weighed down, and he obeyed before firing at the remaining Ranger.
The blond-haired man grunted before collapsing face-first into the grass, unmoving as the remainder of our group raced for the woods, laughing at our good fortune.
The small clearing where they'd set up camp was filled with the nine other Pirates standing around, talking and musing over supplies. They all immediately turned to look at us three when we entered the clearing, expectant and eyeing the bags we held.
Bacchus stepped forward, his gold tooth almost blinding me for a brief moment as his dark eyes studied our expressions. I forced mine into one of no emotion, one that I had grown particularly well at creating for the past two years.
"Where's Abbott?" he demanded. "What happened?"
"He's long gone," explained Harrow, which elicited a few murmurs. They all knew what he meant by that. Not all of us made it out alive in some cases, and Abbott was one of those unlucky people, I suppose.
"What happened?" Bacchus repeated, not fazed by this information.
Harrow was the calmest of our trio, so Shorty and I remained silent until he was through with his explanation. I hoped we would not be reprimanded for being held up so long by those Rangers.
The leader sighed, running a calloused hand through his hair. He said, "A loss is a loss, I s'pose. Let's get out of here before we're spotted."
Everyone set out to grab anything that we needed, as well as covering up any indication we were there, as Harrow, Shorty, and I handed Bacchus our bags of cash. He winked at us each, acknowledging his satisfaction at a job well done, and flipped a coin into each of our hands as a sort of payment.
As I shouldered my bag, I felt a smile tug its way onto my face involuntarily. While being a Pirate wasn't the safest lifestyle, it certainly had its rewards, and without Piracy, I would probably be dead.