Zaire stood on the outside of the fence of Quinn’s compound staring through a crack. From where he stood he could see three medium sized guards standing in front of the front door. He knew he’d have to sneak around them; there’s no way he could just bust in and survive. These guys were trained for one purpose: shoot to kill. Normally, someone wouldn’t look at him and think ‘I need to shoot that person’, but since he failed to bring in Josef, everyone was looking for him, not believing that he was killed in the process. Faking his death was completely out of the picture.
But he had a plan. One he was truly hoping wouldn’t fail him now.
First, before putting his plan to action, he had to find the nerve to step foot onto the premises. Where he stood now, outside of the fence, he felt fine, safe – but as soon as he steps inside – all hell will break loose.
Josef was eager to help as much as he could, which wasn’t much, but it was something. After Zaire walked out of the house, the butler came running after him screaming for him to stop. Josef had decided to send him off with a pistol, two knives, and a first aid kit. Once he found places to put everything, to hide, he made his way, on foot, back to Quinn’s compound.
To wait for the perfect opportunity.
He thought about nightfall, but not only does that make it hard for Quinn, and her people to see, it will be hard for Zaire to see. He tossed that out of the window. His best plan of attack is just to do it. Of course, he wasn’t planning to use the gun or knives; he wanted to do this as clean as he possibly could and shooting, or stabbing someone isn’t doing that.
The more he stood there, the more he wanted to run. He knew if he was going to do this – he needed to do it now. He looked up and down the large, long fence and decided that his best bet was to begin from the back. Her compounds sit on 87 acres, most of which were all trees. He knew that the trees would work in favor of him and against them. During his time of being sick he has lost a lot of weight and can hide behind a tree trunk.
Finding a way into the compound is where he foresees the issue.
Zaire didn’t want to leave anything for chance. He knew he was only getting one shot at this, and if he failed, he pretty much would fail at life. As he ran along the fence trying to find either an opening or a way to jump, his mind ran rampant. He knew there were many ways this could so south, but he wasn’t going to give up.
He needed to fight.
At the top of a small hill the fence turned, taking a corner. At the end of the corner was four tree stumps. It seems as if someone cut them down to build the fence straight, but then changed their mind and went around it instead. He stopped, measuring in his mind whether he could use them to jump the fence – safely.
He carefully stepped up onto the first trunk. Grabbing the top of the fence for balance, he lifted his leg and stepped up, almost a leg and a half of his, and brought his bought up. Before stepping up on the last trunk he paused, peeking over the fence he scanned the property. Looking left he saw the beginning of the trees, if he had gone any further he would have entered through the land that was covered in trees. He glossed over the idea of jumping down and going through them – but would he be able to find another spot with trunks like this? Did it want to risk it?
He scanned the yard in front of him and saw nothing but what looked like burned grass. Looking to the right he saw the building with blacked out windows – he paused, squinting toward the building.
“Are those claw marks? How did I not see them before now?”
His eyes were glued to the building as they darted back and forth – massively large claw marks looked as if it tried to shred the building multiple times. Some marks looked older than the rest. He tilted his head to the side and began wondering, is this why there are so many guards?
The thought was grand, but he didn’t want to risk being shot. He brought his head back, looking straight he saw two guards, approximately 100 feet away, looking in the opposite direction.
Something had their attention.
He knew if he was going to have the opportunity to get in, this was it. This – was his open door and he was going through it. With one quick, swift motion he jumped up onto the last tree trunk, and swung his body over the fence, landing on the other side a little too hard leaving a slight fuzzy feeling in his legs and feet. He stood momentarily, trying to get his bearings. Something caught his attention to the right – a guard.
He needed to get away and fast. He turned to his left and took a run, as fast as he could, to the trees. He found the biggest tree and stopped behind it – catching his breath. Cautiously he peered around the side of the tree. The guard was gone, but the two, who now were in a heated discussion – flinging their arms in all directions, were still over there.
His plan wasn’t working out. He needed a better one. He turned toward the mass number of trees behind him.
If I walk a little further into these trees, and then around the property itself, I might be able to get around those guards.
In his mind the plan seemed perfect. But as he crept further, light beginning to fade into the woods, he wondered if this was such a great idea. A cool chill formed, giving his skin tiny red pimples, and making his hair stand on ends.
The surrounding trees felt like they were going to swallow him whole. Birds no longer chirping, crickets nowhere to be heard – the only noise left for him was the sound of him cracking fallen branches, crunching dead leaves and his heart beat, which was a lot louder than he could remember.
Zaire never stopped moving, attempting to circle around the back of the compound. He still hoped that once he got far enough around he would be able to go around the two guards that stood in place, protecting whatever Quinn hid from the world. But as he continued onward, the forest never ending, he questioned himself on whether he turned too soon, and was now too far into the forest to find his way back out.
He turned around, determining that he should probably find the light. It cannot be too hard, right? He has basically been walking in a straight line, except for the one time where he turned to his right.
Walking back, in what he thought was the way he came from – he looked around and noticed things now that he hadn’t seen before. A wave of panic swept through him and he started zig-zagging through the trees. He wasn’t sure what compelled to do so, but the more he ran, the faster he began. His heart beating hard in his chest – maybe too hard?
What is too hard?
The panic didn’t ease up any when he heard the first crack of thunder. A flash of light caught him off guard and his foot missed a step, tripping over a large root in the ground, he fell to his knees and rolled, head over feet, down a hill and landed hard at the bottom. He didn’t move, a searing pain in his left thigh. Closing his eyes, he grabbed at the pain feeling something wet surrounding something large, and wooden. He cursed, pulling his hand away, he opened his eyes. His hand was now red, and his stomach heaved. He flipped himself over on to his side and vomited on the ground next to his head.
He groaned rolling back onto his back. “This cannot be happening.”
Zaire carefully sat up and opened his bag and pulled out the first aid kid that Josef had given him. Did he know what he was going to have to do?
He needed something to bite down on knowing this was going to hurt. He patted around on the ground blindly – but was unable to feel anything except leaves and hard, dead grass. He cracked his knuckles and placed a hand on the end, of what he thinks was a large piece of tree – counted to four and yanked.
The pain seared through his thigh and up into the rest of his body, throwing his upper torso backwards. He lay on his back heaving, his breath coming in spurts – his left leg limp, bleeding all over the ground.
Zaire knew if he didn’t move he was going to lay there and bleed to death. He needed to get up and keep moving. He needed to find shelter – there had to be something. He cracked open the first aid kit and grabbed a white bandage, tape, and Neosporin. He took his shirt off and ripped it in half, his strength surprising to even him, and cleaned off the spot as well as he could. Squeezing the whole tube of Neosporin on the wound he wrapped all the bandage around his thigh, taping it as securely as he could. Just for a good measure he took the other part of his shirt and tied it around the bandage.
Shakily and unsteady, he stood up. He wobbled a bit before he got the feeling back into his feet and began walking.
After a couple minutes he felt rain drops on his face. He closed his eyes and kept walking, his irritation obvious. Thunder rumbled above him, and a flash of lightning flashed before his eyes. His eyes freaked for a second before trying to focus back on the dark surrounding.
The rain began to pick up making it completely impossible for him to see.
He needed to rest, especially since he couldn’t see where he was going anyway. Stopping, he found a large rock nestled closely next to a large tree. The rock was still dry – the tree must have enough leaves yet that it is basically a roof. He slid up, as well as he could, and sat, curling up against the tree and began waiting for the storm to stop.
He knew he hadn’t been sitting there long but it felt like a million years the rain led up a little. It was a crucial moment, he couldn’t stay there forever, so he jumped down off the rock, his sore leg bending slightly off kilter – he fell.
This fall, however, wasn’t as bad as the last and he stood back up. Just as he got completely straight, ready to take his first step – a noise, behind him, got his attention and he paused.
His heart thumping hard in his chest.
A deep growl rumbled around him. He swallowed hard, remembering all those crazy stories his mother used to tell him when he was a kid about things that live in the forest. He slowly turned, wanting to face whatever it is that was behind him.
Whatever it was stood, on his hind legs, another growl flew from his lips. The only thing that Zaire could see in the dark was huge, angry eyes blaring into his soul. His mouth dropped open, and turned as quick as his sore body would let him and sprinted. His feet flying, hopping over tree trunks, and dead plants. Rushing through spiky plants and down through bushes.
A long, loud clap of thunder rumbled through the sky, as streaks of lightning lit up his path. If it doesn’t get worse, he figured he would be able to make it out.
Another flash – blinding him for mere seconds, unbalancing him forcing him to slow down, he struggled, but eventually picking up a stride, getting away from the figure behind him, lightning flashed around him striking the ground. He dodged a strike just as a bolt of lightning flew just passed his face, pushing him over onto his back. He rolled underneath a broken tree and flung himself forward, getting back to his feet and without missing a beat he continued to run. He could feel his heart beat in his toes but pushed forward hoping to escape. But where exactly was he? The scenery around him was all brand new so he couldn’t tell.
He was scared, a feeling he hadn’t felt in a long time, but tonight as he made his way through a forest trying not to trip, he felt it. He didn’t waste time by stopping and looking back to see if he was out running them, or try to find things to hurl at whatever may or may not be behind him. He didn’t like the chase he was in, but he must keep going; had to let it keep following him to get to where he needed to be. The scariest part for him was the lack of knowledge. He had no idea what, who – or even how many were behind him. All he knew is that he had to move faster before it caught up with him.
His breath hitched, and he came to a complete stop as his body encountered a large oak tree. Falling backwards he slammed hard onto the ground, a tiny puff of dirt flying up around him. His head was groggy, but he could see the figure standing above him. It didn’t move, instead it just stood there staring down. He felt the thing’s eyes bore deep into his soul. A small growl rumbled around him as his eyes fluttered shut.
I’m dead. I messed up and died way too soon. It wasn’t even the disease that killed me. I killed me. Now what?
Zaire sat up on a large cot and looked around. IT was dark except for a small light peaking in through the bottom and top of the door, the smell of urine overtaking his senses. He touched his lap making sure it wasn’t him.
Dry. Well, that’s a good sign, he thought.
He looked around the room trying to see through the dark. He couldn’t tell someone why, but when he is in a blacked-out room he attempts to use some ability, he doesn’t have, to see around the room. Is this even a room? He had no idea if he was underground, or on top of the ground. For all he knew he was correct and he was dead, and this is hell.
Someone bandaged my wounds?
His attention was stolen from thoughts of himself to something outside of the door.
Are those… footsteps?
He listened hard, trying to make out anything he could. But his spider senses just weren’t kicking in.
The noises stopped, and it was quiet again. His heart rate started to settle just in time for the door to swing open, slamming hard into the wall. His eyes widened at the figure of a woman standing in the doorway illuminated by the lights around her.
“Zaire, did you think it was going to be that easy?”
He sighed – Quinn. Of course, it’s her. Of course, she is the one who would trap him in a small, dank room and cut him off from the world. What would make this any different?
“Did you really think you could just walk back onto my compound and take what’s mine?” Quinn’s voice grew louder, almost heavy. It was if she didn’t care who heard her – that everyone on Earth new what she was up to.
He stood up bracing himself for whatever she was about to throw at him. His body hurt, but a part of him knew it was going to come down to this. Her and him.
He took a step backwards putting more room in between them.
“You should have known how this would end. You fail with the mission and then you try to get back onto my property. Did you really think you’d get the cure from underneath my nose?”
“I had to try.”
She scoffed. “You had to try. Bravo Zaire, bravo! You try and fail. Do you try and fail at everything in life? Or am I just seeing the special guy in front of me?”
“I told you to begin with this isn’t how I wanted to do things. I didn’t want to do this.” He waved his hands around in the air. “I just wanted to be left alone in my house to die. I didn’t want to come here. I didn’t want to be another one of your puppets.”
Quinn took a step into the room, just as Zaire took another step backwards – his back touching the wall. “You have nowhere to go, Zaire – you’re trapped.”
“If you’re going to kill me, just get it over with.”
“Oh Zaire, no, no, no. You don’t understand how all of this works.” She took a couple more steps toward him before dropping her head, almost in thought, and putting her hands behind her back. “I had no plans of ever killing you. I had hoped you’d kill my Uncle, so I wouldn’t have to. But I guess it’s time I just do it myself.”
“Yes, Quinn.” A deep authoritative voice behind her startled her. “Yes, I think it’s about time you finally just come at me yourself.”
Quinn didn’t turn around, “Josef, Uncle, it’s nice to see you. It’s been too long.”
“I’m sick of the games Quinn, your mother wouldn’t want this for you.”
“She also wouldn’t want my only Uncle, her only brother, to treat her niece like this.”
Josef shook his head and flicked a cigarette onto the floor, stepping on it. “How am I treating you? I offered you many positions to work with me. TO help me. To live with me. But you turned them all down saying you shouldn’t have to work. I should just give you stuff for free.”
She turned to face Josef, a light lit up her face – anger in her eyes. “I shouldn’t! I should just be loved by you enough that you would just give me things. You were supposed to give me the world. Don’t you remember that when I was younger?”
“I still want to give you the world, but not like this. Not the way you want it. You cannot just kill me and pretend that I never existed and attempt to take over my world.” He stopped, his voice dropped to almost a whisper, sad, “You cannot be me.”
Quinn was quick, probably too quick. Before Zaire had noticed she was across the room at Josef. She grabbed a pipe that was beside the door and swung, connecting with his face. Josef wobbled slightly before gaining his composure. She took another step toward him and kicked his calf, knocking his feet out from underneath him.
Josef fell landing on his stomach. He stood and looked down at Quinn. “I’m not going to do this. I’m not going to fight you.”
“Then I guess you’re going to die.” Quinn jumped, swinging her right leg up colliding with Josef’s face. His head jerked, unbalancing him, until his whole body slammed into a wall.
“Quinn, stop!” Zaire heard the words escape his mouth, but he had no idea why. Why does he care what happens between these two if it didn’t involve him? If Josef killed Quinn, he would be safe and would be able to go home. If Quinn killed Josef, she would finally get what he wanted all along and maybe, possibly she’d let him go.
So why is he telling her to stop?
Quinn looked back eyeing Zaire, “stay out of this Zaire, no need for you to get hurt because of it.”
Just as Quinn turned back around to face Josef, he was gone. She looked behind her, her head turning back and forth, and then in front. Without realizing it, Josef was standing behind her brandishing a gun pushing it into her back.
“I’m sick of this. Do you hear me, Quinn – I’m tired of your games and you thinking you can get away with all of this.” Josef spoke quickly, the words tumbling out of his mouth.
“Uncle, you wouldn’t be able to live with yourself if you shot me.”
“Quinn, you don’t know me. You don’t know what I’m capable of doing.”
Zaire spotted the gun and backed himself up into a corner. Now he absolutely didn’t want to be a part of this family drama. When guns get involved, he tends to get out of the way and away from the whole thing. Sadly, for him, tonight, he cannot do that.
Quinn elbowed Josef in the stomach, turning, she grabbed his hand that held the gun. They wrestled for a moment before Quinn shook his hand. He lost grip and dropped the loaded gun onto the floor. It hit just hard enough it fired.
They both stopped.
I knew I was going to die, Zaire thought to himself. But I always figured it would be because of the illness, not because of careless, heartless people. Both Josef and Quinn have no idea what they’re doing to the people around them and probably never will. As for me, I’m kind of glad it happened like this. At least I know that I was taken out by accident rather than purpose. I’m not sorry that I didn’t kill Josef when I went to his house and I’m glad that Quinn wasn’t able to remove his life. She doesn’t deserve anything – ever.