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I didn’t want to go inside to warm up just to cool down. Truth be told, I was running a fever, and the cold actually felt good. Besides that, I liked being able to see everything with the garage door open.

I think that’s why Boden stayed outside, but I’m not completely sure. He had the map unfolded in front of us, and we were both studying it when Daniels, Serg, Max, and Stella went inside the house.

“We’re coming up to the city,” Boden said. “We’re going to have to go around it.” Using his finger, he drew a half-circle on the map around the dot on the map.

“Do you think that’s far enough away?” I asked. “Or should we go more like this?” I drew my own half-circle about a centimeter out from his.

Boden shook his head. “I don’t think we need to go out that far. We’ll just be wasting time.”

“But after what happened last time we tangled with zombies, I don’t really want to go through that again,” I said. “We’ve lost three people in the last two days, and all our guns. We couldn’t handle something like that again.”

“I don’t want that either,” Boden said. “But it’s getting colder. How much longer do you think Stella can handle walking around in this without getting sick? She’s malnourished and exhausted as it is. Do you want to add pneumonia on top of that?”

“No, of course not, but I think that a zombie attack is more imminent than an illness.”

“This is a safe enough distance,” Boden insisted. “But it will cut half a day’s walk off our trip.”

I opened my mouth to argue more, but there was a commotion inside the house. Banging, grunting, and Stella screaming. Then Max began calling my name.

“Max!” I shouted and was instantly on my feet.

I raced toward the house, my feet slipping in the slush. The few steps up to the front porch were horribly slick, and I almost fell on my face before regaining my footing. The handle to the front door turned, but the door itself wouldn’t budge. It was stuck.

Max had stopped yelling for me, which only made me panic more. I slammed my shoulder into the door as hard as I could, but it still wouldn’t move. Then Boden was at my side, hitting it with me, and the door finally flew in.

“Max!” I yelled and dashed through the house, racing through the empty front rooms.

“Remy,” Max said, and I saw him standing in the kitchen doorway at the back of the house.

I ran over and picked him up. It wasn’t until then, when I had him safe in my arms that I really looked around. Serg was lying on the kitchen floor, bleeding. Daniels was bent over him, pressing an old towel to the wound on Serg’s stomach, but the blood was seeping around it.

“She took her, Remy,” Max was telling me, his voice thick with fear.

The house’s back door was off on the kitchen, and the door was wide open, letting snow blow into the room. Boden went over to it, peering outside, but he must not have seen anything, because he turned back to face us.

“I tried to stop her,” Serg said, wincing as Daniels put pressure. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” Daniels said, trying to comfort him. “You did the best you could.”

Somewhat reluctantly, I put Max down. He was getting heavy, and he didn’t really need me holding him.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Bishop came and took Stella,” Serg explained. “She tried to get Max, too, but Daniels held her off. Then Bishop got my hunting knife from me, and she stabbed me with it.”

“She wasn’t a zombie yet?” Boden asked.

Daniels shook his head. “Not yet. But she grabbed Stella and took off out the back door. I don’t know what she plans to do with her.”

“And she has your knife now,” Boden said.

“No, she dropped it over there.” Daniels pointed to a bloody knife on the floor.

Serg grimaced. “Sorry. I didn’t – ”

“It’s fine.” Boden waved at him, but his eyes were on me. “What do we do?”

“She couldn’t have gone far,” I said. “Not yet.”

“I didn’t see her out there.” Boden motioned to the open door behind him. “Bishop was always fast. She’s probably even faster and stronger if the virus has started taking effect. Not to mention she’s infectious.”

“You have to go get Stella!” Max sounded appalled that we were even talking about this, and his brown eyes were wide. “You can’t leave her out there!”

“Max, can you go find me some thread?” Daniels asked, cutting his protests short. “I need to stitch up Serg. I have a needle, but I need some thread.”

Max hesitated, looking between Boden and me, but when Daniels said his name again, Max moved. He ran through the house, and I heard him throwing things about as he searched for it.

“How is he?” Boden asked, turning his attention to Daniels and Serg.

“He’ll be fine,” Daniels said. “I think she missed all the major organs. A few stitches, and he’ll be right as rain.”

“She didn’t bite him, then?” Boden asked quietly.

“No.” Daniels shook his head. “Serg’ll be fine.”

I stepped over Serg and brushed past Boden, walking out the back door. Boden followed me.

“Remy,” Boden said, so I stopped and turned around to face him.

“I’m going to find her,” I said firmly. “Even if it’s too late, I have to try. You’re the one that said you don’t leave anyone behind.”