Flesh
Author:Kylie Scott

She kicked, punched and flailed. His hard chest stopped her fist short, jarring her wrist. Pain shot up her blood-smeared leg as she kicked. She wasn’t getting anywhere but she wasn’t giving up, either. Whatever the fuck he wanted, he couldn’t have it. She’d fight till her last breath. The big bastard took her down with ease, pinning her to the floor. Not crushing her, but giving no leeway.

 

Hot tears of frustration scalded her cheeks as she screamed words of abuse at her captor. They were a torrent, jumbled and nonsensical. She screamed till she choked. Then her cries morphed into gulping pleas for him to listen, to let her up and let her go. To leave her alone. Why the hell wouldn’t he listen to her anyway? What the fuck was wrong with him?

 

This man was every bit as good at the silent treatment as she was. In truth, he was better.

 

Eventually, she stopped. The tears, the words, all of it.

 

They lay on the pastel linoleum floor in a mess of sweaty limbs. She could barely move with the big bastard on top of her, holding her down. Her arms were pinned by his hands and her legs trapped beneath his. Effortlessly, he contained her. Ali shut her eyes tight, blocking out his determined gaze. Now he’d take what he wanted and all she could do was survive. A cry caught in her throat. She’d seen a woman dragged out of her car and raped on the Neilsens

 

’ front lawn not long after the infection hit, when the police first

 

abandoned the streets and chaos took over. But the man on top of her made no move. Apart from his breathing, he remained immobile.

 

Waiting was the worst part. She’d suffocate on the scent of him before long. The house was oppressive, humid, with every door and window locked tight. Claustrophobia dug into her, its razor sharp fingers sinking through her neck, clawing at her throat.

 

Everything was locked out. She was locked in – with this stranger – with no escape. She was cornered.

 

The man said something, chanting it over and over. His breath was hot on her ear, and his body hovered above her, caging her in even though he carried his weight on his arms. She couldn’t quite hear him over the pounding of her heart and the shit running riot in her head.

 

There was no air. No hope. No nothing. Sweat poured off her face as she gulped for breath. Her body was giving up, signing off, as all good little ensigns eventually did.

 

“Breathe, damn it. Breathe.” The man was in her face, staring down at her, blue eyes shot with concern. “You’re having a panic attack. Do you hear me? It’s a panic attack. You’re safe. Everything’s okay. Now breathe. That’s al you need to do. Just breathe for me.”

 

His words unlocked something, flicked a switch in her head. Her airways opened and stale, fetid air rushed in.

 

The sudden rush of oxygen was magic. She couldn’t get it down fast enough. Her head swam.

 

“Easy. Easy now, that’s it.” He stroked her arm, murmuring on and on.

 

Eventually he stopped too, rolled onto his side.

 

They lay in silence, him with a leg and an arm thrown over her, holding her down. He needn’t have bothered. Exhaustion had already won the war. She wasn’t going anywhere.

 

Both of them stared up at the hole in the ceiling as their heartbeats slowed.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

 

“You weigh a ton,” she said.

 

Daniel lifted his head off his little ray of sunshine’s chest, ridiculously gratified by the calm, even thumping of her heart, and the steady, measured lift and fall of her ribs. She was alright. Never mind the griping.

 

His girl was okay, and on some subconscious, unchartable level, that equated to trust. It had to be trust. Or maybe she was just worn out. Oh well. He’d settle for what he could get, for now.

 

“Hey.” He held both of her wrists in one hand, and used the other to wipe at the dirty tear tracks on her face, to tuck a strand of oily hair behind an ear more adorable than any ear had a right to be. He was grinning again, and he didn’t bother to fight it. She was every Christmas all at once, tinsel and trees and the whole shebang. Sure, last Christmas had been spent fighting for survival, but this more than made up for it. What a wonderful present. He’d even gotten used to her smell. “How are you feeling?”

 

“Squished.”

 

“Right. Sorry.” In deference to her future goodwill, he shifted more of his weight off her and onto his side, leaving a leg thrown over her and her hands trapped, for safety’s sake. Thankfully he had gotten his cock under control a while back. “Better?” he asked.

 

By way of a response, she snorted and stretched her fingers as if she was working out the kinks.

 

“Did you know it’s Valentine’s Day? And you still haven’t told me your name,” he said.

 

“It’s Valentine’s?”

 

“Mm hmm. February fifteen. I’ve been keeping track.”

 

“Valentine’s is the fourteenth.”

 

“What’s a day between friends? Anyway, we were talking about your name. Which you were going to tel me,” he prompted.

 

She didn’t even blink.

 

“Whenever you’re ready. No rush at all.”

 

Her focus remained fixed on a point above his head. He didn’t need to look. He knew what she was staring at so wistfully – the gruesome hole in the ceiling. Her own perceived gateway to freedom. That bubble needed bursting. Obviously she’d been holed up in the attic since the shit hit the fan, given the state of her.