We All Fall Down
.:.MrMystic & DotCom.:.
You see this crazy, fuckin' awesome banner? You want one? YOU SHOULD. Lillian Thorne will HOOK YOU UP.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
She'd been tracking him for three days. Ever since he'd left the quarantine zone, which, since supplies in the area were growing scarce, was becoming more like a prison, and less like a home. Ellie thought life in what remained of the Dylan Master's Boarding School for Orphaned Children had been rough--but it was nothing compared to life in the Delta-Omega quarantine zone--or what had once been greater Boston.
Breaking out of the 'school' itself wasn't difficult. Most of the students were down to two meals a day, so it wasn't like the warden was looking for extra mouths to feed. Really, Ellie supposed she ought to count herself lucky she was only fourteen. Two years later, and she would have been trying to survive on the street by law, and not by choice. Things were rough as it were. Her status as 'child' meant nothing any more. The fact that she had a mouth and two hands and working legs meant she would need food and water, could use a weapon, and had the means to get any of the above. And if she had them, no one else could. Two weeks before she'd found the boarding house, a man in his thirties had attacked her for a piece of fruit she'd been stupid enough to eat in the open. Fruit was a luxury these days, on par with ammo, nearly, and Ellie had been saving the single segment of orange for two whole days until she was so hungry, she couldn't stand it. She'd barely sunk her teeth into the first bite, when a lead pipe over her shoulders sent her sprawling.
Ellie was a tough kid, but damn, that shit hurt. Worse than that was the fact that three or four other people passed her before anyone decided the help. The woman that finally chased the man off (with a loaded gun) then demanded everything Ellie was carrying on her at the moment, which was just a flashlight and some batteries.
But that's how it was now. Ellie had grown up with it, in the Boston quarantine zone, and didn't really see much of a way around it. Her earliest memories were of the boarding school. She'd never asked about her parents, and had no interest in doing so. Parentless children showed up on the steps daily, maybe left by parents who couldn't or didn't want to care for them, maybe just because they'd heard the place could afford to give a meal or two. It was in exchange for some awful things, though.
For the younger kids, it just meant foraging for anything useful in the streets in the early hours of the morning, leaving the school in teams of ten, which made it difficult to avoid detection, but safer on the whole. For the older kids, like Ellie, it could mean anything from prostitution to thievery at knife point.
So, she ran. If she was going to swindle and lie for her livelihood, it would be on her own terms, and the man she was tracking now, if poorly, looked like he knew where he was going.
She'd been watching him for some time before he left, thrown out or kicked out, or perhaps just fed up with Boston, like she was. In any case, he was making no friends, not that anyone was these days. He was a drug dealer, and he traded weapons, too, for ammo, food, water, medicine, whatever. She would follow him into the shady alleys where what was left of 'the law' didn't dare venture, and watch him beat the tar out of anyone who tried to go back on a purchase. He was big and mean and ruthless, and Ellie knew if she was going to make a run for it, it'd be behind him. If nothing else, he'd take some of the heat off her back.
She'd packed up her bag, an old canvas rucksack, with some food an water, her switch blade, and a roll of bandages. She didn't have much else on her to carry, and if she was running, she wanted to stay light. She wore only her jeans, an old, nearly ruined pair of Converse, and some old band tee over a long-sleeved thermal. Ellie had red hair that was more often in her face than not, and big, green eyes surrounded by about a million freckles. Big, Mean, and Scary didn't seem to have much of a destination, but she didn't mind that. Neither did she. It was dangerous beyond quarantine zones, where you didn't just have to worry about the brutality of survivors, but the Infected as well. So far, she and her unwitting guide had been lucky enough to avoid detection.
But it had been three days, and she was beginning to doubt her luck could hold.