The Darkening Pt. 15
Hello! sorry for taking so long with this, I’ve just been writing away with this, I already have a lot more to post! I hope you like it, please let me know if you like where its going, and what you’d like to read!!!
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Amelia slept for a few hours, having slept for a long time on their journey. She opened her eyes and found Evelyn awake too, sitting up against the base of the couch, where Nina slept. She felt Amelia’s eyes on her and met them, smiling tiredly.
“Can’t sleep?” Evelyn asked her quietly. Amelia shook her head, pushing herself up, leaning on her arm. “Want to come sit with me?” Evelyn asked and Amelia nodded, shuffling to the end of the mattress and shifting on to her hands and knee’s crawling carefully across the short distance between them. She settled down on a cushion beside Evelyn and sighed softly. Evelyn took Amelia’s hand and held it tightly. They sat in silence, watching the candles flickering light.
“Owen and I….” Amelia began, she looked down at herself. “We should have been more careful, I…. feel so guilty…” She stopped, pressing her lips together tightly, frowning.
“I feel so guilty for bringing a baby into this” she said, tears dropping from her eyes, landing in dark circles on her bump. She shook her head and squeezed her eyes shut.
“Oh Amelia, I know, I know” Evelyn smiled sadly, curling her arm around Amelia, pulling her into a hug. “You mustn’t think that way, this baby will be happy, and loved, and protected, just as she would if the circumstances were different” Evelyn soothed her hand against Amelia’s back.
Amelia nodded slightly, “It’s just, its not fair, I hate that we can’t give them a normal life”
“We’ll find somewhere safe, we’ll grow food, she won’t know any different, it will be okay” Evelyn said holding Amelia tightly. They sat quietly. Eventually Amelia sighed, sniffling, relaxing further into Evelyn’s embrace, it reminded her of her mom’s.
“You think the baby is a girl?” Amelia asked, fiddling with the fabric of Evelyn’s sleeve.
“I do, the way you’re carrying, and I always guess right” Evelyn said, brushing the hair from Amelia’s forehead, letting Amelia relax into her lap. She gently played with her hair with one hand, and rest her other against the side of her bump. Amelia closed her eyes, the comfort of the situation, overwhelming her.
“Why couldn’t you sleep?” Amelia asked,
“I slept in the truck on the way too, are you feeling better?”
Amelia hummed, “yeah, I do, I hope it was just a bug or something. I just want to feel okay, normal. Though I don’t think I’ll be feeling ‘normal’ for a long time”
“I don’t think any of us will sweetie, we’ll find a new normal, hopefully you’ll feel better soon… I had sickness and nausea until six months with Megan”
“Maybe it’s Owen’s genes then”
“Did your mom ever tell you about her pregnancies?”
“No… it never really came up”
“They say the more kids you have, the easier the pregnancies get”
“This is my second…” Amelia found herself saying, Evelyn’s hand stilled briefly. “I had a baby when I lived in LA, he was born without a brain and… He died”
“Oh Amelia, I’m sorry to hear”
“It’s okay, it’s okay”
“You know I had a stillborn, long before Owen and Megan were born, until then, I didn’t know pain like that existed… I didn’t think I could survive, but… I did, and when I had Owen, the pain... it didn’t have as great a hold on me. I could see my baby, my first baby, in him, then in Megan, I still do” Amelia smiled softly, casting her gaze across the room, at Megan, and at her husband, both sound asleep.
“Is the baby normally more active at night?”
“Mostly when I’m awake, and lying down. Makes falling asleep difficult, I think she settles as soon as I drift off.”
Evelyn’s hand splayed against Amelia’s stomach and Amelia closed her eyes. “Do you need to lie down?” Amelia asked, realising that she was falling asleep. Evelyn shook her head, “no dear, I’m comfortable enough here. I don’t feel like sleeping anyhow.”
She continued threading her fingers through Amelia’s hair. Amelia sighed.
When Owen awoke, it was daylight. He felt immediate anxiety at the realisation that Amelia wasn’t in bed beside him. That anxiety immediately faded when he saw her with his mom. They were both asleep. Evelyn was reclined against some pillows against the base of the couch, with her legs outstretched. Amelia lie with her head resting in Evelyn’s lap. A woolen blanket curled around them, keeping them both warm.
Megan and Richard were awake, sitting with the children, all of them eating sandwiches. Nina was sat up on the couch, with her arms wrapped around her legs, eyes fixed on the grey sky through the window. Arizona and Alex were both still asleep, or appeared to be.
Wind rattled the single paned window, and whistled through the cracks in the wooden frame. Amelia shrugged at the wind in her sleep and pulled the blanket up to her shoulder. Evelyn opened her eyes, looking down first, at Amelia, pulling the blanket up further over her shoulder, stroking her hair back. Owen found himself smiling, seeing his mom care so lovingly for Amelia warmed his heart.
Evelyn looked up, meeting his eyes. “She woke up last night, I was already awake, I couldn’t sleep”
“You’re both okay?” Owen asked, and Evelyn nodded, looking back to Amelia, soothing her hand against her shoulder. Amelia pouted, furrowing her brows. Owen knew she was waking up. “Hopefully no morning sickness today” Owen said, crossing the room, dropping down onto the empty mattress in front of Amelia and Evelyn.
Amelia opened her eyes, closing one and peering up at Owen. He smiled, “he.y”
Amelia closed her eyes again and groaned with exertion as she sat up. She looked around, forgetting, for a moment, where she was. “Hi…”
“Are you alright?” Evelyn asked, folding her arms. Amelia nodded sharply, twisting so that she too leant against the couch base, feet outstretched towards Owen. Owen wrapped his hands around her feet and pressed the pads of his thumbs into her arches. “How are you feeling?” Owen asked, running his eyes over her. She inhaled deeply.
“Okay” she said, nodding, looking to Owen hands as they moved around her feet, “I feel okay, tired”
“Sure” Amelia replied, smiling warmly. Owen nodded, looking to his mom.
Owen looked to Richard, “I think we’re just doing sandwiches, that alright?”
The two women nodded, and pulled in their feet so that Owen could walk around them.
“I need to pee” Amelia said, looking behind her to check she wouldn’t be hitting Nina as she got herself up.
She met Owen’s gaze at the door, just as she pulled the chair away from the handle. He smiled warmly, acknowledging her.
The hall was illuminated by the light of day, and it looked entirely different than it had when they’re arrived in the night. There were pictures on the walls, of a family. Amelia moved along the hall slowly, running her eyes across the images, there were light patches on the walls where it looked as if picture frames had once sat.
At the end of the hallway shoes were strewn around the floor; a man’s, a women’s, and a small girls. Amelia cast her eyes back at the pictures. They had a baby, maybe a year old. Looking back down at the shoes, she moved forward and lifted the lid of a large wicca box, and found more shoes. A tiny red shoe, just longer than the length of her thumb sat in the corner. A heat overwhelmed her and she took in a sharp breath, leaning down and picking it up. Holding it in both of her hands. She looked back to the pictures.
Owen’s voice shook her from her thoughts, he called her name. She looked down at the shoe, and Owens hand cupped hers. Ray and Ellis moved around her and she could see them peering about, at the shoe in her hand, and then at the shoe box. Their energy was contagious, they were giggling, and nattering away. Ray, saw the other red shoe and gave it to Ellis, telling her to “Give it to Meelie.” Their exchange brought a smile to Amelia’s face.
Ellis waddled towards Amelia, singing, “Meelie, mommy” holding the shoe up to Amelia. Amelia’s smile faltered slightly, as did Owens, but they both recovered quickly. “Present” she said, handing it to Amelia with a big smile.
“Thank you baby” Amelia said, taking the shoe. Ellis reached up for Amelia as soon as the baby shoe left her tiny hand, wanting to be carried. Amelia instinctively bent to pick her up, but Owen got to her first, lifting her the majority of the way and placing her into Amelia’s arms, saving his wife’s back.
“Maybe, we could... Keep these shoes?” Amelia asked Owen, feeling suddenly exposed. Owen smiled, looking to the shiny red shoes. He nodded, and leant in to kiss her, taking the shoes into his hands. “Alright Ellis bear, will you look after uncle Owen for me while I go pee? He gets awful lonely” Amelia said, speaking into Ellis’ ear as if it were a secret between them. Ellis turned her head, looking to Owen, who pulled a sad face, bottom lip rolling. Ellis grinned and lolled backwards, reaching out for Owen to take her.
Ray stayed behind, looking down at all the shoes. “The little girl who left here, looks to be the same size Ray, you want to see if there’s a good pair of boots?”
“What if they come back to look for them?”
“They won’t, because she’ll have taken yours from your house, it’s like a swap” Amelia said, hoping the family were alive somewhere, and not gnawing at dead flesh out in the woods. Ray twisted her lips, gazing down, considering Amelia’s words. “Maybe there’ll be some comfier shoes you could wear too?” Ray shrugged, looking around. Amelia nodded, her smile reaching her eyes.
“Have a look for me, I’ll look with you in a minute”
“Can we talk through the door, I don’t want to be on my own”
“I’ll leave it open a little if you promise to guard the door for me” Amelia suggested, slowly moving past Ray into the toilet. Ray nodded sharply, pulling the bathroom door too, open a gap.
“Here, sit down” Ray directed Amelia to a chair she had dragged into the hall. Amelia allowed her to pull her towards it, and sat down. “I’m alright Ray, I don’t actually need to sit down?”
“Well…” Ray, lowered herself onto the floor amongst all the shoes she had pulled from the box. Amelia frowned curiously, taking in the little girl’s worried expression. “What is it Ray?”
“I think… well… you have a baby in your tummy… and everything is too dangerous, and I heard Owen talking to Nina in the van… and you weren’t well”
Amelia’s face morphed to one of sudden understanding.
“You had that big fight when you got me… and you almost died, and I don’t want you to get hurt, you or the baby… So I just…” she looked up, spanning her gaze around Amelia, and at the chair.
“Oh Ray, Come here” Amelia said, reaching out her hands. Ray climbed to her feet and moved to Amelia, who held both of her hands. Ray pouted, keeping her gaze from Amelia’s, staring pointedly at Amelia’s stomach instead. “Ray, back then… I wasn’t being as careful as I am now, and plus everyone is looking after me.”
Ray nodded gently, furrowing her brows. Amelia pulled her on to her lap, wrapping her arms around her. “I’m okay, Ray, I promise. I was just sick in the truck, which is normal when you grow a baby” Ray nodded again. ”Everything will be okay… alright?”
Ray smirked, pressing her lips together and nodding. Amelia kissed her on the cheek and held her tightly, “Breathe little one” she whispered, feeling some tension leave Ray. Ray swung her feet and smiled wider. “Oh, look at those lovely shoes” Amelia said, peering down at the red boots on Ray’s feet, they were much like the tiny pair that she’d found earlier. Ray smiled proudly, and nodded.
“They fit nice”
“They do? Well I guess it was meant to to be” She said, hugging Ray tightly, dotting a kiss to her cheek.
“Are we leaving?” Amelia asked, moving back into the room with Ray at her side. Amelia had a nearly new pair of sneakers on her feet.”Yeah…” Owen said, walking to her and handing her half a sandwich. Amelia took it, nodding slowly, looking around at everyone.
Bags were being restuffed, and heaved over shoulders. Ray sped from her side, over to Ellis and her bag and her toys, and her cat Ginny, who’d become a tame and well behaved version of herself.
Amelia felt the prickle of a shiver sweep over her body as she entertained the idea of being out on the road again.
She wrapped her arm around her stomach and swallowed back a ball of tension in her throat. “Sit on the couch Amelia dear, we’ll get everything sorted” Evelyn spoke kindly, her hand pressing firmly against her back. Amelia released a restrained breath and looked down at herself, moving to the couch without looking up.
Richard stooped over the sofa and passed Amelia another sandwich. He paused behind her, eyeing everyone around the room as they packed their bags. He glanced down at Amelia, at the hand she had pressed firmly against her stomach. He sucked in a chestful of air and pursed his lips. He quashed his worry for her, and for the baby. He met Owens gaze and they exchanged a stream of concern. Richard smiled tightly, and turned away, back to his bag.
Amelia finished her sandwich and smoothed her hands over her bump, closing her eyes. Owen grit his teeth. His worry became weighty, and a sudden dizziness overwhelmed him. He winced, swallowing hard, looking down at his feet, at his bags.
“We ready?” Alex spoke, pulling the door open.
No one answered verbally, they simply began to file out of the room. Amelia walked ahead of Owen. She was tired, Owen could tell that much from the extent of her waddle. His eyes watered at the prospect of not being able to give her what she needed right now; safety, and certainty. She paused at the door, taking in the morning mist, and the cool grey sky. Owen bit his lip, and ran is hand across her waist. She shuddered slightly, startled, before nodding, stepping out.
The grass was crisp under their feet, ice melting. The van bounced up and down as everyone jumped in. “um, how… how long will we be driving?” Amelia asked, taking Alex by the arm.
“Uh, I don’t know… we… Hey Owen… You and Amelia sit up front with me? Seeing the road might help your sickness” Alex said, gaze locking with Amelia’s again. She inhaled and smiled, awash with relief at the idea of not having to ask to be sedated again. Owen nodded, slinging their bags into the back of the truck and tucking the pillows he was carrying higher up under her arms. Amelia took a step back so the doors could close and moved against Owen’s chest. He pressed a kiss to the back of her head and she smiled, turning to him and briefly dropping her head against his shoulder.
The van part the mist as it sped along the barren road, the sky was white. Amelia sat with her back to the window, pillows surrounding her, her calves on Owen’s lap. The window wipers were the only sound, thumping and sweeping against the window. Amelia gazed lazily out the front window, eyes drooping every so often.
Owen and Alex’s eyes were wide and observant, out at the road. They drove along a forest road for what seemed like an hour. Amelia fell asleep after a while, comforted by the repetitiveness of the forest blurring either side of them.
“Are we heading back to the house?” Owen wanted to confirm.
“Yeah we are, on the off chance that no one has found our stash of supplies”
“You know the way?”
“I know the direction, I’m hoping to see something familiar eventually, we might need to hit the edge of the city”
Owen nodded slowly, looking back to the road, then across at Amelia. Owen brushed his hands up and down her legs, and them moved one to her bump. He closed his eyes, letting his neck go slack, resting his head back. Under his hand he felt a slow fluttering of movement, and he pressed his lips together, suppressing his smile.
A loud thump woke them both with a start, and they opened their eyes to find blood splattered against the window. The truck bobbed and bounced as it ran something over. Eyes widened, “Alex, what…” Amelia began, but Alex interrupted her.
“It’s okay, it was one of those… things, a zombie dude.”
It took the couple a while to relax, and to settle back into their seats. They both eyed the front window, as the window wipers streaked blood across the glass. Owen felt Amelia’s cold hand against the back of his, holding his against her. Soon the blood was gone, apart from a few smears at the corners.
They were out of the forest now, rushing along a straight road through frosted fields. Amelia pulled her legs towards her and folded them at the knees. She shuffled to sit up further and hummed, opening the window a crack. Wind crept in and played with the hair at the top of her head. She tilted her head back so she could inhale the cool air, eyes dropping shut. “Are you feeling sick?” Owen’s voice pierced through the sound of the rushing wind. Amelia nodded, uttering “A little, it’s fine.”
She closed the window after a few minutes, pulling a blanket up to her shoulders. “You know what I miss?” Amelia said, breaking the silence.
Both Owen and Alex peered her way, Owen’s eyes lingered on her. “Waffles?” Owen smirked, raising his brows.
Amelia smiled back, shaking her head, “yes but, no… I miss tumours, big butterfly tumours…” She placed her hands at the back of her head and sat back, smiling.
Owen saw the glint in her eye, one he hadn’t known he’d been craving.
“All of them, I miss surgery.”
“I miss waiting at the intake doors of the ER, for the ambulances to arrive… the anticipation of it” Owen said, nodding.
Amelia smiled, so did Alex.
“I miss the simple things…” Alex began, half smiling. “I miss the kids and… just seeing them get better… and go home”
The group beamed, their smiles lingering as they settled their eyes back at the road.
Up ahead, they could just make out the figures of people staggering in and out of the road. Amelia folded her legs in tighter and sat forward, eyes widening to take in the sight. Alex slowed slightly as they passed them. A man, dead, naked, was covered in darkened and blackened blood. The fingers of one hand were missing and the side of his face was mangled and bloody. A little boy followed, also seemingly dead. He walked slowly, on the balls of his feet, head hanging down. His hair spiked towards the ground, soaked and darkened by blood. He wore a oversized tshirt and the remnants of a pair of green shorts. Another man limped along side the boy, randomly changing direction and drifting into the woods as they passed by in the truck. “Fuck” Amelia muttered, sinking heavily into her chair. Alex and Owen both shared the sentiment.
LINK TO CHAPTER 16
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