Series: The World Without End #4
on April 27, 2015
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When the zombies rose, we thought the world ended.
It didn’t—it just broke, in a way we couldn’t fix. And we found ways to continue, reasons to fight.
Faith. Family. Politics. Obsession. The most dangerous of all—hope.
But when all of that is stripped away, and nothing remains but rage and betrayal—that is the true end of the world.
Return to the World Without End, for a final battle for hope and survival in the exciting conclusion to Nazarea Andrews’ phenomenal series.
The river is wider than I remember, and the very edge of the west. I crouch on the bank, and my second steps up next to me. We’re in the stretch of land that is unclaimed—the river stands at the divider, and everything East belongs to the dead. But this close, no one living ventures. It’s not safe—even far scouts don’t come this far east.
We might have ceded everything east of the Mississippi, but the truth is, we gave the zombies everything. We hold the Havens, and everything else belongs to the dead.
“Sir? Rice and Payton cleared the bridge.”
I nod, and shift, coming out of my crouch to stand. Fisher looks nervous—they all are. He doesn’t look like a priest, not dressed in the fatigues we commandeered from the Army when we swept through two months ago.
He is, though. Omar would never let me have anything less than a fully loyal Black Priest at my side. His way of controlling me, the situation. Fucking bastard.
I shake my head, shake the anger that wants to rise. I can’t indulge in that right now.
Some anger makes you better. Sharper. But this anger is the kind of consuming rage that gets people killed and I can’t afford that right now.
“Move out,” I murmur. Fisher snaps off a salute, and jogs away. I stay at the water for a longer minute, watching the steady glide of the river, and then I follow him.
The forward scouts did a good job—there are no infects on the bridge to trip us up as we take the river. It’s eerie how clear the bridge is. Not because cars stopped moving on it, but because when we ceded the East, we cleared the bridges, and barricaded them. Even from here, I can see the stone wall that spans the six lanes of traffic, bleached white and gleaming in the morning sun.
The infects who had wandered on the bridge hadn’t come from the East.
Fisher is back, his eyes worried as we cross the bridge in silent formation.
There are no threats here, not in front of us, and we have enough eyes to keep an eye on our six. But all of us move across the arched expanse with tense caution that can’t be taught—it’s ingrained in the children of the change.
You don’t grow up with the dead walking and not figure out how the fuck to stay alive.
“Tuck,” I call, and a wiry solider—one from the Army instead of the Order, breaks ranks, jogging ahead. He hits the wall at a sprint, and I hear an appreciative whistle from Payton as he scrambles up the wall. I admit, privately, that it’s impressive. The man is like a fucking spider, clinging where there is nothing, moving lightning fast and gracefully until he perches on the top of the damn wall like some G.I. Joe Humpty Dumpty.
I snicker, and Fisher’s head snaps around, his eyes wide as he watches me. I whistle, and Tuck nods, swinging his rifle around.
“There aren’t many, boss,” he calls back to me.
“Just clean it up. You know our orders.”
Fisher shifts next to me, and Tuck sights down his rifle. There’s a soft puff of air and then a shrill scream.
Killing one is a sure fire way to draw the attention of the others. I hear a body scrambling at the wall, broken fingers scratching, and my stomach turns.
I’ve had very little taste for killing since we left the Outpost, four months ago. It’s still what I’m best at. But I no longer can lose myself in the fight—not when the screaming infects take me back to my own dead. There are three more shorts, quick and silent, and the screams go still. I glance up at Tuck, grinning atop his wall, and nod.
“Bring it down.”
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