Cooler Than the Midnight Sun
A scream erupted in Alice’ ears, raspy and terrifying.
Only when she felt the pain that caused it did she realize the mouth uttering the cry was her own. She woke in a pristine room, white with a hospital’s sense of sanitation, on top of a frosty, metallic slab. Wires anf tubes were everywhere, sticking out of her skin from the sharp point of needles. Shakily, the blonde ripped an IV feed from her arm, then a long needle from her temple. The latter hurt the most and she was certain it would cause a headache that went on for days. One by one, she wrested the foreign objects from her naked body, trembling.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. She couldn’t be one of Umbrella’s ‘inhumane’ experiments, but that was how she felt. Alice had been taken from the mansion, from Matt, the only other survivor - against her will, and when she was put under…
Alice shuddered and fell from the table, her body crippling with weakness. She wanted out, and she wanted out, now. It didn’t matter to her that she was covered only in a thin sheet, like the kind of paper a butcher wraps raw meat in. She needed to be out of Umbrella’s reach and she would have to get out of this room to do so.
Suddenly, Alice was woken from her dream. Her hands shook on top of the blanket that was wrapped around her. It was that cold, and she was that overcome with emotion. The blonde hated nights like this, where her sleeping hours were possessed by memories from the years earlier. They were so common that she hardly slept as it was. To fight off the nerves she got up and packed her things. It didn’t matter to her that it was only three in the morning. She could get an early start on the road and drive away the madness by putting rubber to pavement.
Her BMW K1200R was kicked into gear and Alice rode off. Desert sand flew from her clothes and motorcycle; the illuminated crystals shown like snow in the moonlight before they fell back to the road. If only Alice’s past was so quick to disperse from her present state of mind.
Last edited by Project Alice; 10-15-2012 at 04:14 PM.
The desert sun had yet to even rise, but that didn't stop Claire from being awake. Awake and alert as she ever was.
The stars were bright; something she had noticed was one of the few positive sides of the outbreak. There weren't many- positive sides that is- but Claire always tried to find solace in the little things. If she didn't, how else was she to find hope and comfort? She had no family to return to and no future to look forward to. All she had was the nitty-gritty existence that was survival. But Claire was an adaptable creature, and she became accustomed to it. She'd gotten used to the one-eye-half-open way of sleeping, the sensation of starving to the point she envied the infected's seemingly endless buffet of human organs and the familiar weight of the gun in her hand. She existed on very little, but she wasn't going to stop fighting for what she had, or what she could have.
So Claire Redfield always kept on the move with her head up, eyes forward and a purpose to her steps. What if there was something just over the horizon? What if there was hope just waiting to be found? It's all she had left. This magical world of 'What If's'.
She'd been hunkered down in the small one gas-station, two house and a diner town for a week now. Well, not directly in it as she'd slowly been killing off the infected that had somehow managed to swarm there and returning to her vehicle before the night was over. She knew there was food and water, and even gas, at the station and she couldn't risk going any further without knowing for sure she could last that long. So she'd bunked in the back seat of her Humvee and made day trips to 'Stop-n-Go' until, finally, she could get what she'd come for.
She sat there for who knows how long, eyes glazed over with the cool metal of the car under her and the already warming air above her. It wasn't until the sun broke the horizon that she stirred and got down from the Humvee roof. She started up the Humvee and made her way towards the station. There were only a handful of infected left, and today would, hopefully, be the day she could eat. She'd gotten used to the hunger pains, and her lips were so dry;she had no saliva to spare herself the thickness of her parched throat. Praying to the God she didn't believe existed, Claire stopped a hundred yards from her destination and got out. She pulled the machete from the backseat and held it in her left hand while her handgun, a Samurai's Edge, was clasped firmly in her right. "Let's do this, Claire." she told herself before making her way towards the town. She stopped and climbed a hill to try and locate the remaining six infected, all clustered around the station, before she ventured closer.
She stopped behind a rusted bucket of scrap car and peered over. There was a tall man with overalls, and the remaining five looked like a once obese, happy family of five. The mother was standing still, staring at the sun and swaying ever so slightly. Her husband, a portly, hairy man was near the pump with the two sons who looked like they may have been twelve and sixteen when they died and reanimated. A little girl of four, in an all pink outfit with Pooh on it and her hair in pigtails was shuffling around with her mouth opening and closing endlessly. She felt like a monster, but in a sense, she was. She was just a woman trying to survive the end of the world, and they were just standing in the way.
She took care of the kids first -the girl, then the two boys- with a well-aimed bullet between the eyes. The mother reacted first and lurched towards the sound, but Claire sent another bullet to her head. The overall'd man stumbled over her and fell, and she took care of him as well. It was the father, now halfway across the parking lot, that she realized she was out of bullets. She was trying to horde bullets, but the supply was so far in between she was running low. That last one was, indeed, her last. She took out her machete and took off at a jog towards the oncoming zombie and heaved one mighty swing at his head. Before his head hit the ground, Claire was nearly inside.
She stumbled through the trashed aisles until she reach the freezer and pulled out a bottle of water. It was hot, but it was such a welcome relief she had to measure herself or she'd make herself sick. She rested against the door and slid down, her head tilted back and eyes closed. Finally, she had made it.
Last edited by The Monstah; 10-19-2012 at 05:07 PM.
The road was a welcome friend. Alice could spend all day driving, dodging abandoned cars and stumbling undead. They would never catch her on the back of her torque-ridden BMW, though they were certainly welcome to try. The blonde was easily breaking 100 miles an hour and was ready to take it up to 150. Unnecessary speed was one of the few things that made her feel alive anymore. Wind buffeted her helmet and made her coattails dance behind her as she twisted the accelerator to dangerous levels.
She had checked her map an hour ago. There was nothing on the worn paper for another forty miles in the direction she was traveling, so it was quite a surprise when she passed a diner on the side of the road. She quickly turned her head around, her bike peaking at 135, to catch another look at the derelict building. Her superior eyesight was so sharp that in half a second she read the name of the diner although it was falling far behind. "Joe's Diner" had seen better days, but why hadn't it been on her map? It was one of the best road atlases one could have and should have marked any stops for food or gas.
Alice turned her eyes back to road, just fast enough to see that if she didn't correct her course she was going to crash straight into a gold-colored Humvee. She cursed under her breath, but the roar of her engine ate up the simple word like she had never said it. Braking from such reckless speeds was not easy but she had barely enough space to do it. If she turned off the side of the road now she would definitely wreck in the ditch. With a steady hand she laid on the brake. Her bike slowed down but she was running out of pavement and time. She lowered her body on the machine and braked harder.
The blonde had only feet left between her and the Humvee when the back of her bike lifted off of the ground. Her momentum made the bike do a front wheelie but finally brought it to a stop. Gravity pulled the heavy vehicle back down, while Alice manhandled the steering bar so that she wouldn't lose balance and fall off the front end. The rear tire hit and bounced, but Alice stayed in control the entire time.
In the next moment of peace, Alice swallowed unceremoniously. Her heart was racing and her breathing deep, but her lips turned upwards in a grin behind her visor. That had been the most fun she'd had in days.
She’d been in heavenly bliss, or as close as she could get to it, for about five minutes when something foreign caught her attention. Several months ago, the roar of a motorcycle engine would have been as familiar to her as the sound of a heartbeat. Now, though, it could mean so many different things that she was sent through all ten of them in the split seconds it took her to jump up, leap over a clutter of boxes and dash out the door. Fear, excitement, longing, hope….
The bike was coming up fast –and by fast, she meant dangerously fast. She barely had time to realize the speed when the thing was barreling past her and…towards the Humvee. Her heart plummeted as the bike refused to slow and kept on a steady track for collision. “Not the Humvee. Not the Humvee. Not the fucking Humvee.” She repeated through gritted teeth as she started out at a run after the bike. She waited for the explosion, but the bike began to slow, but even that wouldn’t prevent the two vehicles from colliding. But to her astonishment and confusion, the motorcycle came to a complete and total stop only inches from the side of her precious car from a near fifty miles an hour to a dead stop. The rear wheel was poised in the air, the front tire firmly rested on the dirt. The dust plume finally caught up with the motorcyclist and Claire raised her arm to protect herself from the sudden gust that buffeted her clothes.
When it settled, the bike was both-wheels on the ground and the cyclist was sitting there like he hadn’t almost lost his life. Before she could rationally think out what had happened or whether this person was good or bad, she was storming across the parking lot with a look that could set fire to an iceberg. “The fuck is-…what are you-….how dare you-….Fuck me! The hell is wrong with you! That almost cost me a vehicle! Do you even care that you almost die-….”She stopped mid furious, scathing stream of profanities and paused. This was not a guy that was for certain, and she could actually pass as attractive if Claire could only see her face. Then what had happened finally sunk in, “The fuck just happened?” she asked, one arm half-raised in a ‘what the fuck’ manner towards the driver.
The redheaded tempest striding towards Alice was a woman in every sense of the word. Her rigid posture spoke volumes about her character. The lines on her face diminished none of her beauty. Alice's shaded visor darkened her features somewhat, but when the blonde removed her helmet - she saw the sun play on the woman's brightened hair.
Alice dismounted her bike in fluid motion, keeping her helmet at her side. The stranger's words from before had been somewhat muffled, but Alice answered. Her low voice rougher than usual from lack of use.
"I'm sorry," she apologized - not exactly sincere but not mendacious, ether. "I didn't see you - or your vehicle."
She let the woman's inquiry about her concern for her own life slip away with all of the dust her wild ride had disturbed. Truth be told, Alice cared very much if she died, but she could never decide if she wanted to live or die more. It was a constant battle of extremes; the pinnacle of opposite desires and it was always on her mind. Except for right now.
Right now there was a seemingly angry and astonished redhead halting progress.
Had it been any one else -a man, for instance, Claire would've probably punched him in the face. Well, if it had been anyone but this woman, she would've punched them in the face. However, that wasn't the case. This was the woman she was dealing with and her anger was, momentarily, blindsided. She lowered her arm and stared for a moment. This woman was beautiful, in a way that wasn't fake or glamorized. She was natural and gorgeous and Claire was instantly jealous. Mostly because she could never pull off helmet hair like that, and this woman's eyes were so blue is was dangerous. So, instead of punching this woman in the face, Claire crossed her arms and offered a huff of irritation. "Yea? Well next time....watch where you're going. It's a bright ass motherfucking humvee. It's kind of hard to miss." She unfolded her arms and spared a glance at Alice.
"Pretty impressive riding, though. I wouldn't have pushed one oh five, much less...what? One thirty? And I consider myself a fan of bikes." she clarified, face slightly quizzical in a curious, but cut way only Claire seemed to know how to pull off in such a seductive way. One eyebrow was slightly raised and her eyes narrowed just so, with her head cocked ever so slightly to the side where her ball-cap shaded half of her face. One bright, piercing green eye watched this mysterious woman. "My names Claire. Claire Redfield if last names are important to you now-a-days." She cleared her throat, surprised at her loss of words when, normally, the woman was so verbal. "What are you doing this far west? Heading somewhere?" she asked. She herself was heading, well, anywhere. To California ultimately, to search for her brother, but more or less she had no destination.
Claire Redfield was a fan of bikes, was she? Then Claire Redfield was in for a treat. Alice smirked, sure Satan himself could not give her a run for her money - if money mattered in the slightest. No, the only things that were of any importance now were bullets and the guns that housed them. Well, that and whatever cheap thrills and small amounts of joy were still left to be had. Alice was in the grips of an inner dilemma, trying to decide what card to play when she realized that she should probably introduce herself first.
"My name is Alice," she responded, offering a half-gloved hand to shake. Her fingers met humid air but they were begging to caress the hand of the only other soul Alice had seen in weeks.
"Alice?" She paused, thinking it over for a minute. It was strange. Now that things were post-apocalyptic, for some reason she imagined everyone's names being something drastic like 'Bulldozer' or 'Sally Two-Knives' (That last one she'd read in a book once. About zombies, ironically. So Alice just seemed so simple. Simple, yet sweet. Claire oculdn't say she didn't like it. Alot, actually. She offered her own hand to shake, the action seeming so unfamiliar, but once their skin touched and Alice returned her firm grip and shake, suddenly it felt just so good and reminded her of home. Home being before the outbreak, that is. She longed to hold the touch, but she slowly released Alice's hand and let it drop forlornly at her side.
"So, you didn't answer my other question." she said with a tilt of her head, "You headed somewhere Alice?" There it was, that sweet mouthful of sound that made her heart race and fought to bring a smile to her face. A smile she, now, only let show just a slight bit. Maybe it was having been alone for so long that the presence of another human being was like a smoke of a cigar after trying so, so hard to quit. "Maybe we're going in the same direction?" she added thoughtfully, leaving the suggested second question unsaid. Perhaps they could stick together for awhile, until they had to part ways. Right now, she really hoped Alice was the type to like company.
"Yes," Alice answered. "I'm headed anywhere but where I've been." It wasn't much of a response but it was the truth. She never had a destination in mind so long as she was far from the reaches of Umbrella.
"Are you alone?" the blonde asked. Alice couldn't let herself be burdened by the needs of too many. In fact, she usually passed up offers to travel with others after doing what she could to help them. But something was begging her to make an exceptions this time. Maybe it was the way Claire had been smiling.
Anywhere but where she had been, huh? Claire thought that that was quite a motto to go by. She nodded briefly to show she understood before crossing her arms. She hated asking, because she thought it sounded weak, but she really, really needed company. She was in the verge of asking when Alice asked if she was alone.
Immediately her mind went there. To that place she hadn't been in a long, long time. Her face flushed and she nodded, knowing Alice hadn't intended it that way. "Just me and the Hummed." She fidgeted for a moment then ran her fingers through her hair, "Look, usually I don't ask this but...you want to stick together for a bit?"