----------------Emilie positioned herself between Abby and Caden as they abandoned the truck. He took the left side and she took the right. They stuck to the middle of the street but even though they knew they had to run fast, a jog was all they could muster. The dark was as thick as the air and the smell of rotten eggs became more prominent as the night settled around them.
Shuffles moved at their right, followed by slashing breathes. Somehow his ears perked enough to distinguish the ragged grunts between the wanted sighs of desire. Slaps led to shoves and the roar of the damned came next, their feet falling in fast.
Their legs pumped harder and Caden grabbed Emilie’s sleeve, pulling so she wouldn’t fall behind. Feet slapped behind them, hard and fast. Caden fought the urge to look back, hearing Abby’s warning in the back of his head, but knowing he wouldn’t be able to see them anyway sealed his decision.
They ran to the end of the block and were about to turn right when he noticed the sea of Consumed filtering toward them. Their shadows were thick, but covered their skin now instead of hovering over head. Skin that had been ashy was turning darker now and the dim hint of light on their faces showed widely disproportionate features.
He realized how much the Consumption had changed them. These people weren’t human anymore.
Emilie screamed. Caden followed her gaze behind them. Consumed swarmed like bees to the hive. They encircled them, coming from both sides and from behind. There were fifty, maybe more. They were clearly outnumbered.
No Consumed were in front of them and he fought the urge to add a yet to that thought. Entering the next block, he pulled on her sleeve and took Cass from her arms. “Emilie! You have to keep moving!” Cass’s bellowed cries heaved against his chest and he covered her head against it with the hand that held the gun.
Abby continued to guard the right side, the knife glimmering in the moonlight. She was almost calm in that job and he wandered how much worse it would get if this didn’t alarm her. She looked across at Emilie, seeing her frantic cheeks and wide eyes. She saw baby Cass in his arms and her mouth closed, lips straightening in a flat line. Finally she sought him and didn’t hesitate once, almost yelling to him but not quite. “Caden! Keep going. I’ll take the rear.”
He stumbled over a pothole. “Abby! You can’t!”
She slowed. “Just go.” And she whirled, slowing to a backwards jog.