‘Stripped’

“Olivia?”

“Brad… how is the group doing?” Olivia said, her back still facing Brad.

“They’ve taken it pretty hard. Nic’ was a popular girl. To lose her… well, everyone’s shocked. They’re hurting, they still can’t believe it.”

“I see.”

“I just wanted to check in, see how you were doing? It must have been horrible for you, being there when it happened.”

“Me? I’m fine.”

“You don’t seem fine; you’ve hardly said a word. They’re worried about you, Olivia. The group’s lost someone they looked up to so naturally they’re asking questions.”

“What kind of questions?”

“Questions that need answering, they want to know what happened out there. You’ve still got Nic’s gun, how did that happen?”

“We… we got overrun by a herd of zombies, we got careless Brad. Now I’m here and Nicole’s gone. She’s gone because of me. What is this about, Brad?”

“I’ve wanted to bring their concerns to you. You’ve already said you got overrun but how, where? They want to know.”

Olivia thrusts an arm out as she faces Brad.

“They want to know?! Why didn’t they want to know when Ted died? Why didn’t they want to know when Paul died? What’s so special about Nicole?”

Brad shrugged his shoulders, his mouth ajar with no words to fill the void.

“The group wants a leader until she makes a tough decision they don’t like. I’ve told them everything without going into the gory details. What’s this really about?”

“It’s about Nic-“

“You’re supposed to be with me, Brad! You’re supposed to be on my side!”

“I’ve always been on your side-”

“Don’t lie to me. Do you want to know what happened to Nicole, Brad?”

Brad took a couple of steps back, his body turning slightly.

“She got cornered by a group of them.”

Olivia walked closer.

“She’d gone for more supplies and left her gun with me while I was on watch.”

She walked closer, looking past Brad.

“I got distracted, just for a second and before I knew it her flesh was being stripped like bacon from a roast. She begged for me to shoot her, she begged until the blood filled her throat and she could beg no more.”

“But there were so many…”

Brad’s turned completely, his back now facing Olivia.

“I ran. I grabbed what supplies I had in my pack and I ran.”

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