Alex had clenched his eyes shut as he waited for the end. He wasn’t sad, though. With any luck they would just kill him on account of being a nuisance. That, or he could kill himself before they could take him under. Death would have been preferable to any outcome in his eyes; he never was a religious man, but still held deep within himself a hope that the afterlife was as real as the world around him. He hoped with all his heart that he could see her again, and him. He hoped that after this was all over, that he could go back to the way things were before. Before the horror, before the tears, before the infection and the soldiers, before the endless running, before the ceaseless hiding and the degrading lows simply to stay alive.
This place. It was hell.
Why won’t you just fucking kill me?
Alex could almost feel the gun being pressed to his neck, and the bullet going through his windpipe and out the other end. He almost knew what it would be like to lay there, dying in the snow right next to Hannah - his blood would mingle with hers and that would be the end of their tragic story, never again to be disturbed by inconveniences of reality.
But. Nothing. No weapon. No bullet. No death.
I don’t have all day!
Without speaking, Alex raised his head and opened his eyes. The man that stood before him was not infected. He was far from it. They always looked so vacant and empty, but this man was full of life and energy, despite his apparent age. It was rare, actually, only the fast, the strong and the youthful ever really found the power within themselves to survive for so long in a world like that, but against all the odds, this man in his sixties with an educated accent and caring facial expression stood right in front of Alex.
Instead of pointing a gun at him, the man instead pointed a flask of, what Alex could only presume to be, alcohol. Alex watched wearily as the man took a sip to show that it was not poison or some other malicious substance, before offering it to Alex again.
Looking down at his rifle, and back into the man’s eyes, he slowly raised his hand and grasped the ice-cold container, and took a large gulp of the powerful drink.
Nothing like alcohol to warm you on a winters night.
Alex rose slowly, while handing the flask back to the newcomer.
“Look. I.. I’m sorry.”
He gestured towards the two corpses at the head of the alley.
“I’ve had a bad day,”, he mused while wiping away the remnants of tears from his cheeks, and wiping his nose which had since been running from the chill of the night.
Smiling weakly, Alex introduced himself:
“My name is Alex Joel, and I am bloody glad you aren’t infected,”