Episode 8 – A Timely Save

Episode 8 – A Timely Save

As she moves through the settlement, Rania’s gaze roams from one face to another, her eyes scanning the faces of those around her. Beside her, Mireya walks quietly, her small hand clutching Rania’s. The kitten trails after Mireya, its tiny paws padding softly on the ground. The settlement buzzes with activity, but Rania’s mind is already on the journey ahead. They need to head back out and find more survivors.

As they approach the edge of the settlement, Rania spots Cael standing near the gate. He’s been here for a few days now, helping where he can, but always staying on the outskirts.

“Rania,” Cael calls out as they draw near. His voice is steady, his expression serious. “Can we talk?”

Rania nods, her grip on Mireya’s hand tightening slightly. “What is it, Cael?”

He takes a deep breath. “I want to join you and Mireya on your search for survivors. I can help.”

Rania considers his words, her eyes narrowing slightly. “Why do you want to come with us? What’s in it for you?”

Cael meets her gaze without flinching. “I’ve been alone for too long and seen what happens when people are left to fend for themselves. I want to make a difference, and I believe that the best way for me to do that is by joining you.”

Rania looks at Mireya, who nods slightly, her eyes full of trust. Sighing, Rania turns back to Cael. “Alright. You can come. But know this: I’m trusting you with our lives. Don’t make me regret it.”

Cael nods, a look of relief washing over his face. “You won’t.”

The settlement disappears from view as they plunge deeper into the forest, the sounds of civilization fading away and being replaced by the rustling of leaves and chirping of birds. Rania leads the way, her senses on high alert. Cael follows close behind, his movements silent and deliberate. Mireya walks between them, her presence a comforting bond that fills them with warmth. The kitten scampers after her, occasionally sniffing at the underbrush.

Hours pass as they navigate the forest, the path gradually sloping downward. The sun is high in the sky when they reach a small clearing. Rania stops, her eyes scanning the area. It appears calm, but she remains vigilant. She motions for Mireya and Cael to stay close.

Suddenly, a low growl breaks the silence. Rania’s heart skips a beat as zombies emerge from the trees. She draws her machete, ready to fight. Mireya clings to her side, the kitten hissing at the approaching danger.

“Stay behind me,” Rania commands, her voice firm.

Cael steps forward, his eyes narrowing as he assesses the situation. “I’ll distract them,” he says quickly. “You take them out.”

Before Rania can respond, Cael moves, his actions swift and precise. He pulls out a sturdy crowbar and swings it at the nearest zombie, drawing their attention. The zombies turn, lumbering towards him, their groans filling the air.

Rania takes a deep breath, her mind racing. She needs to strategize, to take them down without putting Mireya in danger. She scans the clearing, her eyes landing on a cluster of rocks. An idea forms.

“Cael, over here!” she calls out, motioning to the rocks.

Cael understands immediately. He leads the zombies towards the rocks, leaping and dodging their grasping hands. Rania follows, her machete ready. As Cael reaches the rocks, he climbs up; the zombies struggling to follow.

Rania takes advantage of their distraction, attacking from behind. Her machete slices through the air, each strike precise and deadly. She takes down one zombie after another, her movements a blur of efficiency.

Mireya watches from a safe distance, her eyes focused and alert. She clutches a small knife, ready to defend herself if necessary. The kitten stays close to her feet, its fur bristling. Regardless, Rania and Cael have the situation under control.

With the last zombie dispatched, Rania and Cael take a moment to catch their breath. The clearing is silent once more, the only sound their heavy breathing.

Rania turns to Cael, her expression serious. “You did well,” she says, her voice steady. “Thank you.”

Cael nods, a small smile tugging at his lips. “It’s what I’m here for.”

As they regroup, Mireya notices a slight cut on Rania’s arm. She hastens toward her. “Rania, are you okay?”

Rania nods, her eyes soft. “It’s just a scratch.”

Cael steps forward, his expression serious. “Let me look.”

Rania watches as Cael examines the cut, his movements precise. He pulls out a small first aid kit from his bag, cleaning the wound and applying a bandage.

“You’ll be fine,” Cael says gently. “Just a scratch, like you said.”

Rania feels a surge of gratitude towards Cael. She knows they need people like him if they’re going to survive.

They continue their journey through the forest. The encounter with the zombies reminding them of the dangers they face but also of their own capabilities.

Rania leads the way, her senses on high alert. Cael follows, his eyes scanning the surroundings, always ready for any threat. Mireya walks beside them, her steps light. The kitten stays close, occasionally darting ahead to explore before returning to her side.

The sun dips below the horizon, casting long shadows through the trees. Rania knows they need to find a safe place to camp for the night. She spots a small, sheltered area and leads them there.

As they set up camp, a quiet focus takes hold. They know the journey ahead will be challenging, but they are ready to face it together.

Rania watches Cael as he prepares a small fire, his movements efficient and practiced. She feels a sense of relief knowing he is with them. The kitten curls up next to the fire, its tiny body radiating warmth.