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Born to Die

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avatar CaelChan
Level 48 : Master Sweetheart
Alright so this is a bit overdue but whoops. Just as some background, I first wrote this story when I was 12, (first thing I ever seriously wrote) and I remember being super proud and wanting to publish it. Now when I read it I want to gag. So in 2017 after hearing some interesting advice for improving my writing style, I decided to start from scratch and rewrite the whole thing. I'm not done yet though, and I have to say wowza it's so much better. I will never upload the original no one needs to see trash

It is written in first person perspective, between Mist and Ivory. I will indicate which in the title of the chapter with either (Mist) or (Ivory)

I don't have an uploading schedule, I'll update whenever I feel like it or when I get more done, and will definitely inform on my wall post!



Intro: Every person has a dark past. Some, more than others. But for Mist, her whole world was a walking nightmare. Forced to become subject in her mother's terrible secrets she screamed her childhood away, strapped to a gurney table. So when the world shot to hell and the dead rose from their graves, it was heaven. A chance to run, to escape the place she didn't consider home. She thought she was free, a fearless leader bent on protecting the living. But now, ten years later, her past is finally catching up, thirsting for revenge.

Ivory is lost. She doesn't remember her life before the fall, nor does she know who she truly is. Traveling with Ivan, she's on a quest to find a haven, a place where she can blend in and hunt down her previous life, instead of struggling to survive day to day, facing a world who doesn't even know her.

Chapter 1: (Mist) A Normal Day in an Abnormal World
The world shot to hell approximately ten years ago. I was seven. Now, scavenging for food is difficult. Hell, even going outside was. I grimaced, as I barely made the landing onto an adjoining rooftop. Morning runs always seemed to calm me down, especially after a nightmare. It was always the same one, but for some reason, I never got used to it. The tests, as faces pointed, laughing, and as they stared at my crimson red eyes, blanched skin, and blanched white hair. I mean, that was all that was abnormal about me. I was shorter than normal, but I had a lithe build, and I wasn’t flat out unattractive.

I snapped out of my thoughts as I stumbled, my knees buckling against the weight of my body repeatedly making the leap from building to building that normally shouldn’t be humanly possible. The key word here is shouldn’t. But I could.

I ran, legs pumping and breathing hard. Rooftops were the best since none of the undead could climb up buildings. Even if they could, I would be long gone by then.

I sucked in a breath and took in the view before me. It was one of my favorites, high up enough where the undead couldn’t get but open so I could see the surrounding area. My senses flooded with the smell of rotting flesh and the unmistakable groan far below.

This area was once a proud city, a booming metropolis before everything became chaos. I wasn’t even sure which city it was anymore. Now, the buildings lay in ruins, wrecked cars lay overturned on the street, and the constant smell of smoke and tar could be found throughout the air. The plant life was taking over, trees sprouting up in the oddest of places, and weeds growing as far as the eye could see. But there was salvageable loot out there. Somewhere. Most of it had been taken already, random trinkets traded off for food or other necessities. Much of it lay broken and buried among the rubble.

I was lucky to survive. I was even luckier finding the items I did, and an abandoned underground bunker to call home. I pulled my canteen out from my pack and took a swig of water. Bottled water was nonexistent, but boiling river water was better than nothing. The canteen though, I could get a week’s worth of rations from a trader for it.

I stowed the bottle back in my pack, another priceless treasure, and continued my run. I didn’t care where I was running, just as long as I stayed away from a certain area for...personal reasons.

I envisioned a mental map of my surroundings, noting that I was in sector 14. It was easy enough to remember the sectors. I didn’t enjoy using the system because it was developed by him, but I had to admit it was practical. Sector 14 consisted of the old downtown. The roofs here weren’t as flat as I liked, and were old and crumbly. I made a silent decision in my mind and swerved to my right, determined to run in a different direction.

That was until I saw the doomed duo fighting for their lives.

Chapter 2: (Ivory) A Brush With Death
Today was a bad day. Who was I kidding? Every day was a bad day. Living hell, to be more exact. I groaned and stretched from my makeshift mattress. Also known as the floor. The old abandoned shop of whatever it was before, had seemed sturdy enough, so I took a risk to make camp here. At least I was right. Barricading the door with wood and covering up the human stench had kept the undead away for the night. Mostly. I glanced up to find Ivan sitting on the counter, face furrowed in concentration as he tried to open a can of peaches. I never knew exactly how he got his hands on those peaches, and I didn’t care to ask either. We could pass for siblings honestly, both with ruddy red hair and the freckles that adorned our faces. This was a messy bedhead that gave him an impish look while mine was held up by a scrounged up rubber band that draped over my eye. We were both lean, starved from hunger, but not to the point where the skin would sag. One of the few differences were in our eyes. Ivan’s eyes were an emerald green, while mine was a murky brown. And our personalities. He was, bubbly, in spite of the situation we were in. He once told me I was moody, bitter, and hard to handle. I had snarled at him for that.

In honesty, we weren’t siblings. I had just happened to find him, and he stuck to me like glue. It pissed me off but, having another live human around gave me comfort, reminding me I wasn’t alone.

“Hey Ivory, help me please?” He called, and tossed the can and can opener to me.

My hands reached up and snatched them out of the air, as they had completely missed their mark. “Sure. Whatever. Then we can get out of here.”

He ate his peaches in record time, even offering a few to me. At least we weren’t going hungry this morning. I placed the empty can and the opener back in my bag and removed the barricades from the door. With a silent nod, I pushed open the door and we took off running.

We skirted along the street, careful to avoid any hordes of the undead. I didn’t know any of the faces that could potentially kill me, and I didn’t care. It would be a pain to cut them down. My katana slapped against my leg as I ran, giving me quiet comfort. Whatever came my way, I could hack to pieces.

I had heard from a traveling mercenary that somewhere around this section of the city, there was a portion of it still standing, acting as a safe haven for any refugee. That was our goal. To find this city, and at least, I could drop Ivan there if the place didn’t work for me.

Ivan and I came upon a T-shaped intersection and I paused, my eyes darting around warily. Which way to head? I glanced down the left, noting the fact that it was completely filled with the undead. “Let’s not go that way,” Ivan muttered. Duh, like I didn’t know that already.

I grabbed his arm and ran to the right intersection, and upon seeing the undead in the near distance, we took a quick left, and I realized my mistake too late. This was between two buildings and of course, it was a dead-end alley. I whirled around, ready to run back the way we came when I heard the unmistakable moan coming towards us. “Ivory,” Ivan whispered, tugging on my arm. I glanced down at him and I blanched in shock.

His finger had a minuscule cut. That didn’t bother me as much as the drop of blood that welled from the open wound. As I watched, it formed a fat droplet and slid down his finger, splashing against the worn ground.

I swore, and ripped some of my tunics and wrapped the wound, hoping to prevent more the red liquid from spilling out. I was too late though. To my horror, multiple undead turned towards us, twitching in anticipation of fresh flesh. No doubt they smelled the blood. “Idiot.” I snarled at Ivan.

“Sorry. I think it was from the can earlier. It scratched me.”

“You better be sorry that you’ll be dead..” I hissed and drew my blade. Ivan pulled out a small grenade from his pocket. I quickly shoved it back into the compartment before he could set it off. “Are you crazy? Do you want to alert every undead in the damn city?”

His eyes filled with understanding, and he pulled out a knife instead. Like that would do him any good. Then again, he was a decent shot. Maybe a few well-timed stabs could save him. I lifted up my katana, ready to fight to the death.

The first one charged, and I sidestepped, chopping his head off in the process. Black blood spewed, but I was careful enough to avoid getting any over me. I knew from past experiences that it was toxic.

Another undead lurched towards me, and I liberated it of its hands before I disemboweled it. A quick glance at Ivan showed he was holding out, playing a deadly game of chase with an undead who had seriously packed on the pounds before death. Because I was paying attention to Ivan more than me, I didn’t notice it until a zombie chick grabbed my hair, yanking my head towards her gaping, rotted mouth. I stifled a scream and rammed my katana through her stomach, but she wouldn’t budge. I stabbed multiple times, but she had a grip of steel.

This was it. This was how it would end. At least Ivan could make it out. I had cleared out enough. I closed my eyes, ready for the inevitable crunch.

I opened my eyes to find the zombie missing its head. Correction: most of its head. It had been blown off by well, I didn't know what.

Another blast shot by my head, blowing apart the female zombie. I yanked the rotted hand from my hair, desperately searching for my savior.

There. Upon the building. White hair flowed in the wind, and piercing red eyes met mine. She was… beautiful. In a deadly way. “What are you staring for?” Fight!” She yelled.

I snapped out of my stupor and plunged into a renewed frenzy, the thought of our unknown backup giving me strength.

Within moments, the undead was reduced to a pile of disemboweled limbs. The girl dropped down from the roof, and I winced as her knees went crack, but she didn't crumple over in pain. I took a moment to study her as she strode over.

Her hair was a snowy white, and her eyes were wide set, like a doe, but they were blood red. She carried herself with confidence, like a predator. Like me. She wore a tunic of the night, consisting of a snug black and red T-shirt that showed off her impressive figure, black running pants, and white bandages that wrapped around her hands and spiraled up her arms. A grey backpack was strapped to her back and a sniper gun hung by her side.

I shifted in front of Ivan as she drew near. I didn't know why or how, but I had gotten attached to the redhead. I growled at her when she was about two feet away.

She took a glance at my position, nodded, and walked by me. A silent invitation. I could follow her, but at my own risk. The way she walked, I had a feeling she knew these streets, maybe even where this safe haven was. Better risk it with her than be out here on our own. Look how well it got us. With a nod, I motioned to follow our mysterious savior.

She moved swiftly, never looking back to see if we would follow. She quickly scaled an old abandoned building, nimbly jumping from foothold to foothold. Once she reached the crumbling top, she took off running. With a curse, I shimmied my way up the building, trying to copy the way she moved. Every time I slipped, my panic grew. She probably had left us by now, running back to wherever she came from. I couldn’t lose her. It was clear she knew the area, and exactly how to survive in it.

I pushed myself over the lip of the building, my leg giving out from under me in the same moment. With a silent scream, I clawed at the asphalt, trying to find something to grab onto. The damn building went up over ten feet. A fall from here would render me helpless from the undead. Ivan was too far below me and wouldn’t be able to stop my fall. I would probably bring him down with me.

My fingers slipped, and I felt myself lurching backward. A strong, calloused hand grabbed onto mine, hoisting me up and on top of the building. Upon seeing that I wasn’t in danger of falling again, the girl quickly scaled down the building and pulled Ivan up.

After situating us on the roof, she tossed a small package onto my lap. She then grabbed some rotting wood and pulled it to the center of our makeshift circle. She quickly stripped the dry bark from the decay and pulled out an old-fashioned flint and steel. Within moments we were sitting in front of a roaring fire.

She sighed, leaned back against her bag and closed her eyes.

My gaze drifted to the package in my hand. Upon further inspection, I noted it was made of a worn white cloth, dirtied over time. I carefully unwrapped the package and gasped.

Meat. Dried Meat.

It was a couple of strips, but still. Meat was such a rarity ever since the fall. Most of the animals had gone feral or died off. And this was beef. Even rarer. Cows were almost nonexistent these days.

Ivan noticed the food and his eyes went wide. I passed him half before diving in myself. It tasted heavenly. Within moments, it was gone. I looked over at Ivan and almost smiled at his expression, the hoping he would get more..

Our savior was laying back, head tilted to the sky and quietly snoring. She looked almost serene. I took a quiet moment to asses her. I hadn’t noticed it before, but with how close she was to me, I had a better look now. Light scars crisscrossed her torso, covering her arms and disappearing under her tunic. On her palm, a tattoo jumped out at me. It was a picture of a blood red rose with a crown of obsidian in the background. For some reason, it seemed familiar. Where had I seen it before?

Chapter 3: (Mist) Who Are You Really?
We spent the afternoon seated there. I was surprised they let me sleep. Not many passed my test. Correction: No one did. The temptation of everything I carried was too great for most. I had such high-quality food on me. What else did I have?

I let my body rest as I took a moment to study my new companions. They weren’t much, but they could fight decently. Avoiding the undead though, that could use some work. I remembered what he once told me: Every survivor is precious. Every life is one less for the undead. I shook my head. No way was I letting my thoughts go back to him.

The boy wasn’t much, a little scrawny, but he had this energy that I knew meant nimbleness. He had certainly shown it when he managed to dodge the attacks of the undead earlier.

Now the girl was something else. She reminded me of myself before. Wary, but naive. She moved like a predator, scanning her surroundings and checking for overall safety. But her battle skills were, questionable. She had potential though. Both of them needed training, desperately.

The sun shone overhead, signaling it was midday. These days, days were short and the nights were always too long. That’s when the undead was the most restless as well. I reasoned we had about four more hours of daylight left.

With a groan, I sat up. The girl immediately snapped to attention, on guard. I noted the way she leaned towards the boy, almost protectively. Were they siblings?

I stood up, stretched, and snuffed out the fire. They both quickly got to their feet, awaiting my next move. With a nod, I turned on my heel and lightly jogged back in the direction of my base.

It was located in sector 3, on the outskirts of the city concealed by trees. Most of it tunneled underground, with just a small room on the surface that disguised it as a camouflage shed. Only a hidden trapdoor would open to reveal a spiral staircase below. This all was protected by a solid iron door that contained a 6 digit code to open. It wasn't hard to hack into the system and rewire it from within to suit my needs.

We arrived as the sky started to turn the beautiful hues of orange and red.. Both of them were decent at building jumping, able to spot the safest route for themselves instead of blindingly following me. I jogged over to the entranceway and punched in my code. His birthday. I hated to think about it, but otherwise, it would have been a pain to rewire it. Again.

The door silently swung open, revealing the dark gloom of the shed.

“That's where we were headed?” The girl scoffed. “Maybe we shouldn't have followed you.”

“But Ivory-”

“This was a waste. Come on Ivan, we can go find that place ourselves.”

Interesting. Ivan and Ivory, was it? I frowned. They were looking for the haven, no doubt. “I can take you there the next time I decide to head that direction.” I pointed to the setting sun behind me. “But I'm guessing you have about thirty minutes of light left, and you have no idea about the layout of the ruins. You can take your chances with the undead out there, or you could spend the night here. Your choice.” I shrugged.

The girl, Ivory, growled but didn't object. The other one, Ivan, nodded and stepped into the room. Reluctantly, Ivory followed suit and I closed the door behind them, listening for the satisfying click of the lock.

I then rearranged the piles of firewood and scrap metal to reveal a hidden hatch beneath. With a grunt, I lifted it open and was greeted by a set of spiral stairs disappearing in the gloom.

“That's where we're going?” Ivory asked incredulously. I shrugged. They could follow, or spend the night here. I didn't care.

I quickly descended down the stairs, lighting the various torches along the way. After a few moments, I heard the thump thump of two sets of feet following.

I yanked off the wooden barricade that covered another metal door and pulled it open. From behind me, I heard Ivory and Ivan gasp in surprise.

The main area consisted of a worn brown couch with a low, scratched up glass coffee table off to the right, facing an enormous bookshelf, that towered to the ceiling. It sagged from the weight of countless books, and there were miniature piles stacked haphazardly on the floor.

The wall the bookshelf leaned against didn't meet the back wall but was instead interrupted but a door that would lead to the bathrooms. Yes, I had a working plumbing system.

To my immediate right, a locked door prevented any wandering eyes from revealing the contents of the room. Further into the base on the right side stood the kitchen, where I had cleared out a space for a fireplace sort of area, and various imperfect pots and pans hung against the wall. In the corner, between the locked room and the kitchen stood my pantry, running low on my daily meals. A small worn and scratched table stood in the center of the room.

Along the back wall, another set of stairs marched their way up, turning one hundred eighty degrees about halfway. It led upstairs, to the bedrooms right above our heads. The stairs would end in a hallway, with four doors evenly spaced along the hall.

Ivory’s eyes surveyed the room, calculating the level of danger. Her eyes drifted to the ceiling and narrowed in confusion. “Electricity? How?”

I strode over to the couch and collapsed into the plush seat with a sigh of exhaustion. Most of the furniture had been here when I found it. How it got down here, I didn't know. “Solar panels in the trees that run wires underground to a small generator,” I explained. Took me a forever to find salvageable parts. The generator was already here, probably due to the fact that it was used before me. I didn't want to live by torchlight. It had seemed too eerie. “Bathroom works too,” I continued. “But I use leaves to wipe.”

Ivan bounded over to my formidable mountain of books. “Look Ivory, we can learn to read!” He picked up an old battered comic book and his eyes went wide in wonder as he took in the colorful pictures.

“Get back over here.” Ivory hissed. She then turned towards me. “I have some questions before we can trust you. This seems too perfect. What are you planning?”

“Nothing really. It's just-”

“We don't even know your name!” She exploded. “Much less why we should trust you! What if you’re going to kill us in our sleep or something?”

I waited for her to finish. “First off, you chose to follow me. I never forced you to do anything. And second, I'm surprised my hair didn't give me away. My name is Mist. I’m a hunter..” Her gaze shifted to my hair and realization dawned in her eyes. “As for what I was saying before being rudely interrupted, Every survivor is precious. Every life is one less for the undead. We the living have to be ready to defend each other. There are so few of us left.” I nodded to Ivan, who was still engrossed in the book. “He's what, 14? And you look no older than 16. Both of you are untrained. It's a miracle you've managed to stay alive until now.”

She stayed quiet for a moment, processing my words. “Fine. We’ll stay. But you had better assist us in finding the haven.” I shrugged. That was fine by me.

“My scheduled visit isn't for another two weeks. Until then, learn to read and fight, will you?”

Chapter 4: (Ivory) An Invitation
Mist. I couldn't believe it. Survivors whispered about the group she had formed, made up of 7 members. Each one an extraordinary fighter and talented in their own way. Every traveler that had met them always had seemed different from the rest, kinder, and more open.

She was the most famous bounty hunter, known for her sniping skills, able to take out an undead from over two hundred meters away.

I spent the next week learning how to read, courtesy of Mist, who sat through all my fits of rage when I couldn't figure out a letter. At least I wasn't alone. Ivan was as clueless as I was. By the end of the week, I was slowly beginning to read basic picture books and understand their meaning.

I also learned plenty about our mysterious savior as well. She was quiet and reserved but could be sarcastic when she wanted. Another thing I noted was her proficiency at any weapon I challenged her at. I couldn’t understand how she managed to master that many weapons, but she shrugged and said she had an almost perfect memory.

It was midday of the eighth day and I was sitting on the couch, trying to read a worn copy of some picture book. The cover was missing so I couldn't tell what it was. Mist was beside me, head stuck in some fancy novel.

“Did you know how to read before?” I wondered aloud. She didn't look much older than me.

She grunted, surfacing back to reality. “I taught myself the basics. Then someone I know taught me the rest.” She shrugged. “I mean, I was only-”

A shrill ring sounded from beside her and I swear she almost jumped out of her skin in surprise. She snatched a walkie-talkie from her belt and started fiddling with the buttons. A staticky voice sounded, filling the room.

“Can you hear me?” The voice asked on the other end. Definitely male.

“What do you want Eze? I'm busy.” Mist snapped. I cut a sideways glance at her. She was tense, eyes angry. I wondered what this “Eze” had done to make her like that. She never got angry at Ivan and me.

“The founding party is tomorrow evening, and I was just checking to make sure you remembered.” Founding party?

“Yeah, I know. I'm not going this year. I won't make it anyways.”

“I could come with the horses. It will only take a few hours to get there instead of the day-long run.”

Mist gritted her teeth, brow furrowed as if trying to come up with an excuse. “I said, I'm not coming.”

At that moment, Ivan popped his head out of the bathroom, eyes wide with curiosity. “A party? I want to go!”

The voice on the other end chuckled, finding a checkmate. “Looks like someone there wants to go. Expect me in a few hours then. I hope you'll be waiting.” He purred.

“Ezekiel! Don't you dare show your face here.” She yelled, but the voice on the other end had left, probably off to prepare horses. Mist glared at the walkie-talkie, and with a grumble shoved it back on her belt.

“Founding party?” I raised my brows in question.

“For the haven.” She explained. “They throw a party once every other year to boost the morale of the survivors, as a celebration of when we officially declared the place a refuge.”

She shot to her feet and headed for the stairs. “I'll be doing target practice. Don't bother me unless you want an arrow in your skull.”

I nodded. That was a serious threat. She had already almost sliced off Ivan ‘s head when she caught him peeping on her private practices. Apparently, the base had three floors, and half of the top floor worked as a training room. I had no idea what the other half was for.

I didn't see Mist for the rest of the day.

Chapter 5: (Mist) Him Again

The bow resounded in my hands, the arrow hitting the mark with a solid thunk. The idiot. He knew exactly how to push my buttons.

I scowled and drew another arrow from my quiver. Bows were bothersome to carry around, but they were quieter than the sound of a gun. The arrow thudded against the wood, joining with the others.

I heard the creak of the trapdoor behind me opening, and Ivory’s voice sounding from the ladder. She probably didn't want me to turn and shoot her in annoyance. Smart girl.

“He’s here.” She muttered before descending the ladder, “Maybe you should put down the bow before you shoot anyone.”

I scowled, but placed the bow among my other weapons, and swung myself down the ladder. Quietly, I descended the stairs to find our guest in person waiting for me.

I brushed past him, ignoring his outstretched arms waiting for my embrace. He didn’t deserve my attention. My arm buzzed from the contact. “The horses?” I snapped as I grabbed a ragged towel hanging from the backside of a chair, ignoring the feeling.

He lowered his arms and sighed, leaning against the doorframe. “Upstairs in the pens. Don’t worry about it.” I snuck a glance at him as I dried the sweat from my brow. I didn’t want to admit it, but Eze looked good. Not like he had just ridden hours on horseback, dragging another horse behind him while pursued by the undead. His messy snow white blond hair framed his delicate face, cascading down slightly past his ears, tickling his neck. His narrow face was feminine, with a slender nose and thinner lips, which I envied. But his eyes, oh his eyes. They started out a liquid periwinkle purple, but as you looked closer, flecks of lavender would start to appear, almost in a mesmerizing way. He always looked so sad, mouth pressed in a tight line and those eyes stormy, pondering some unknown thought.

His frame was lean, built more lanky than buff. He also appeared stretched out, towering over me whenever we stood together. He was wearing a battered black shirt, that hugged snugly against his chest. It was low cut, showing off powerful muscles, contrary to his build. A leather strap hung around his chest, a sash that held an assortment of knives and a sheath for his mace. His pants were tighter fitting, so they wouldn’t hinder him as he ran. They disappeared into his brown combat boots, also worn to increase mobility. Hidden knives probably were kept there. I blinked as he frowned, noticing my condition. I made myself look away.

I could feel his eyes roam over my form, taking in everything. From the sallow look of my face to the sickly way I stumbled around, I had a feeling he knew the condition of my health. And the silent unseen damage inside me. I lifted my chin high and strode over to the kitchen, where Ivan was attempting to throw something edible together.

“Here,” I said, taking the package of dried fruit from his hands. I was wary since I knew his gaze was still on me. I grabbed three ration packets and strode over to my fireplace, where a blaze burned steadily. I grabbed a full canteen from the counter and poured it into a dented pot and set it on the fire to boil. I then sat down, waiting for it to boil. It wasn’t much, but at least there was food.

I heard the couch shift, and Ivan sighed as he grabbed a picture book and curled up next to Ivory, who was attempting to concentrate on her light novel but kept glancing up at Ezekiel.

A long shadow, illuminated by the lights, cast over me. I heard him crouch down and take a seat, his bones cracking as his lengthy body folded into sitting position. His hand absentmindedly stroked mine, tracing intricate patterns and weaving around my fingers.

That simple touch was so intoxicating. All I wanted was to curl up beside him, have his arms enfold me as he whispered sweet nothings in my head. I mentally slapped myself. No. I wouldn’t let it happen again. People always turned on each other, broke each other’s trust in the end. I knew that personally.

“You haven’t been eating, have you.” Not a question. Just a statement. I felt his gaze on me and forced my eyes to meet his. Those irises, I swore they could see into my soul.

“So what if I haven’t,” I muttered. “I’ve been busy.”

He sighed. “Even so, nutrition is important. Especially with your special circumstances.” In a fluid motion, he rose, snatched another packet and sat down again, tossing it among the others.

“Staying the night then?” Please say no please say no.

“The sun is probably gone by now. Did you want me to sleep with the undead?”

I rolled my eyes. “Fine. There’s the spare room upstairs. Your stuff is still in there.”

“You haven't tossed it out? I'm surprised.” He chuckled. “Maybe I have a chance after all.”

The water began to boil, and I quickly thanked whoever was up above for giving me an escape. I signaled Ivory and Ivan and without another word I poured the water in the packets, rehydrating them. Dehydrating was a way we could preserve food, even if it didn’t taste quite the same afterward.

We didn’t speak much, the only sounds that could be heard were the scraping of my salvaged silverware against the ration bags.

I spent the next thirty minutes an hour after the meal retching in the bathroom, coughing up the remains of my meal. It was always the same. If I tried to eat anything, it would come back up within a day. I groaned and heaved myself away from the bucket that served as the toilet. I would have to throw the unwanted excretions outside soon. But not now, or today for that matter. I was feeling nauseous again already.

I heard a quiet knock on the door but decided to stay quiet. If Ivan had to go, he could wait. “It’s me.” Eze’s voice murmured concerningly from the other side of the door. “Can I come in? I brought more of the medicine.”

The last person I wanted to be in a small place with was him, but I couldn’t tell Ivory or Ivan to get the medicine without explaining my condition first. I grimaced, and after a moment, kicked open the door.

Ezekiel looked down concerningly to where I laid, curled up on the floor. With a sigh, he closed the worn wooden door behind him and took a seat beside me. He placed a metal suitcase beside him as well.

With a hiss, he popped it open, revealing five tubes of a clear liquid, each contained in a syringe bottle. “The researchers made some adjustments from the last batch, so I don’t think the side effects will be as severe.” He looked me dead in the eye. “Be honest. It’s getting worse, isn’t it.”

I nodded and rasped, “You saw how quickly it got rejected from my system.” I eyed the needles carefully. “It’s not going to influence me as it did last time, will it?”

He shook his head. “It should give you the nutritional boost you’re lacking, and suppress your urges you’ve been having. Each one should last you a week.” His lips pressed together in a thin line. “I don’t like it. This stuff is basically your lifeline. I hate watching you waste away because of something she did to you.”

“We don’t talk about her.” I snapped. “And if this will keep me alive, then so be it. I just need to get my revenge. After that, I don’t care anymore. I won’t trust another living soul in this hell” He flinched at the words. I knew they stung, but I didn’t care. The jerk deserved it, even if he was saving my life. I was dead on the inside already.

He didn’t reply, just quietly grabbed a syringe, and readied it, wiping off my arm with an alcohol wipe. Those seemed to be abundant everywhere we scavenged and lasted a while too, so I wasn’t surprised they were still around.

I steadied my breathing as he hovered the needle over my upper arm, and looked me dead in the eyes. “Concentrate on my face.” he murmured.

I did as Eze suggested, concentrating on him, the curve of his lip, reminiscing how tender they were, back when I was naive and believed he was my Prince Charming. Along with his upper right cheek, a series of scars marred his beautiful face, and I knew that underneath his shirt multiple jagged claw marks crisscrossed his torso. While he laughed it off, we both remembered that day with crystal clarity. The day I had lost myself to my instincts and had attempted to kill him.

“All done. See, wasn’t so bad.” He tentatively smiled, gauging my mood. I looked down, surprised the syringe was empty. I had been lost in my memories and hadn’t even noticed. That was good. I had a way to escape my fear of syringes. Ezekiel had saved me again. I smiled back at him, and I knew he got the message.

With a fluid motion, he rose to his feet, offering his hand out. “Let’s get out of here, shall we?”


I took a shuddering breath as I laid there, strapped to a metal table. covered in nothing but a thin nightgown. Masked faces peered down at me, concealing the surgeons who planned to use me as their guinea pig... My childish body shivered against the searing cold, wishing I was in the safety of my bed, swathed in blankets. But no, the scientists couldn’t lose their most prized test subject.

A head of red hair appeared on the edge of my vision and I whimpered, knowing what exactly would come next. She sat down on a stool, placing a silver briefcase on the bedside table. “You ready for today’s test, Natalie?” She purred, pulling out a syringe of unknown liquid.

One of the scientists blanched. “Miss, you can’t mean to use that formula again. Last time it almost killed the poor child.”

“Are you getting attached to the child? She can’t even feel emotion. Her whole existence is to see if we can...complete our goal. Shall I have you fired, then killed?”

“No Miss. Of course not. Whatever you believe is the best.” The scientist bowed his head and stepped back.

“Good.” she purred again, facing me. The needle hovered closer and I closed my eyes, bracing for the sting as it entered my flesh.

I felt the liquid spread through my body, the toxins coursing through my veins. I gasped, pupils dilating. The concoction of drugs hitting my system.

Then the screaming began.

“Mist!” Mist! Wake up! Cmon damn it.” A frantic male voice cried, hovering above me.

I cracked my eyes open to find Ezekiel’s frantic face staring down at me. Upon seeing my eyes open, his face crumpled, and he sobbed with relief. “What happened?” I croaked.

His eyes found mine, the panic still lingering. “You...you were thrashing and screaming in your sleep. I….I was so worried.” He paused, wiping a tear from my cheek. “It was that dream again, wasn't it?”

I slowly nodded, still trembling. “Did I wake the others?”

He gave me a wry smile. “Those two sleep like the dead.” I glared at him. “I mean, the dead, not the undead.” He amended. “I'll get going now. Try to get some sleep.” He rose and headed for the door.

I didn't know why, but my hand snagged the corner of his shirt, stopping him in his tracks. “Stay. Please.” I breathed.

He must have seen the look in my eye because he sighed, and tucked himself in beside me, gathering me in his arms. I buried my face in his chest, breathing in his scent. He lazily stroked my back, and his chest rumbled, calming me. “Sleep Mist. I'll be here as long as you want me to.”

For the first time in a long while, I dreamt without the fear of nightmares.

Chapter (6 PART 1): (Ivory) Finally
The way Mist acted around Ezekiel, it was clear they had history, none of it pleasant. So I was surprised when I found them curled up next to each other, Mist completely enfolded in his embrace, her oversized shirt scrunched against his bare chest. He murmured her name, pressing his face into her hair. He had probably snuck into her room in the middle of the night or something. I saw the way he looked at her.

I stomped my way over to the bed, hell-bent on teaching him a lesson. I raised my foot, ready to kick him, but in that exact moment, Mist eyes fluttered open, and her eyes locked onto mine. No. She mouthed. I wanted to protest, but the look in her eyes made me hesitate. So I just scowled and left the room.

They came out of the room thirty minutes later, Mist tense and Ezekiel with a red slap mark on his cheek. Good. I didn't like him anyways. Guys like him saw girls as conquests, not people.

Ezekiel disappeared up the winding stairs of the bunker and returned with two sets of riding leathers. “Here.” He said, tossing a set to me. “Help her put that on Mist. I'm assuming she's never ridden a horse before.”

My face reddened in embarrassment, and I examined the gear in my hand. There was a pair of knee-high boots, a leather vest and some odd contraption that looked like a complicated harness that wound over my shoulders and around my waist. It was much too big for me.

Mist strode over and stood there as I used her as a ledge, hopping into my boots. She then helped me slide into the vest, and I noted how snugly it fitted over my clothes. She didn't put that off harness contraption on me though.

She noticed me eyeing it and sighed. “It goes on both of us. So you don't fall off.”

“But wouldn't it be easier for the undead to eat us since I'm attached to you?” I questioned, skeptical.

She raised a delicate eyebrow, shrugging. “It's a risk I'm willing to take. You haven't ridden before, have you?”

I shook my head. “Then you're riding with me. Let Eze handle Ivan.” The look in her eyes was stormy, her posture stiff and breathing shallow. And from the way her head tilted whenever Ezekiel brushed by, I had the feeling she wanted to do more than just slap him.

Overwhelming protectiveness surged through me, for what reason I didn't know. Mist was my friend. My only friend, unless you counted Ivan. This past week, I had been treated as an equal, free to do whatever I wished and asked any question that plagued my mind. There was a bond, no matter how feeble, that tether was.

I stomped up the spiral staircase but looked around in confusion when the trapdoor wouldn't open.

Ezekiel pushed past me, chuckling. “The horses are standing on it again.” He rapped his knuckle against the trapdoor twice, then pushed it open with ease.

Two horses greeted us, one with a coat of chocolate brown, the other black as the midnight sky. Mist’s eyes lit up as she took in the stallions, running her hand over the sleek fur of the latter. Ezekiel pushed open the solid door, guiding the horses outside, and was greeted by a chilling gust of air that swept any traces of heat from my bones.

I noted how he fluidly swung onto the brown stallion’s back, legs straddling the harness that covered the animal. He offered his hand, and Ivan clambered up behind him. He then fastened the harness to the both of them.

Mist mounted her horse, then offered her hand. I grasped it, noting the rough calluses and the multiple scars that adorned her palm. She yanked me up onto the horse and fastened the harness. I had never ridden a horse before, but suddenly I felt powerful, free. It was an intoxicating feeling, having the power of another being under my command. I sensed powerful muscle beneath the mare’s tough flesh, ready to spring at a moment's notice. Mist sat in front of me, radiating heat to protect from the cold. I could see why horseback riding had been such a big thing in the past.

With no more than a little nudge, we were off, trotting away from the base. I glanced behind me, and to my relief the door was locked and bolted. Upon further inspection I realized the undead had scented us, starting to converge to our small group.

I nudged Mist, nodding to the growing mass behind us. Her eyes narrowed, and she clicked her tongue once in Ezekiel’s direction. He nodded, then was gone, his stallion breaking into a full gallop.

“Hang on!” She yelled over he shoulder. I gripped her torso tighter.

Then we were flying. The horse thundered at a breakneck speed, each step jostling me in my seat, threatening to throw me off, I clung onto Mist, who expertly shifted her body to counteract mine, so we wouldn't tip over. I was suddenly grateful to the harness that strapped us together. While at first, I had been skeptical, I realized it was one of the few things that had kept me from falling off.

We lept over a fallen log and let loose a wild shriek, feeling the wind in my face, blowing through my hair. Free. It felt so exhilarating. I heard Mist chuckle, but she didn't shush me. I had a feeling she knew exactly how I felt.

I didn't recall exactly how long we rode, but it was long enough for my back to feel stiff and my thighs to ache. Mist slowed the mare to a trot, coming alongside with Ezekiel.

The first thing I noticed was the watchtowers. They were close constructed from fallen logs, each one rising above a wall at about fifty to sixty feet intervals.

The place appeared to once have been a gated community but has been reinforced so nothing could get through. The walls appeared to be made out of a mismatch of materials, ranging from wood to chunks of cement.

A towering gate appeared to be the only way in, guarded by four people on the inside of the compound. It appeared to be made out of solid iron, and had two parts, like a swing door.

We entered the clearing and Mist pulled a scrap of red cloth from her bag, waving it in the air. Horns sounded from the watchtowers, and I could hear the distant holler of voices, and the clang of the gates being opened.

Two of the guards rushed out to greet us, each holding a five-foot-long spear. Their eyes wary of the surrounding undead, they ushered us beyond the gates, their colleagues cranking a lever to close the gate behind us.

Mist unbuckled the harness and slid from her mount, yanking me off with her. She caught me, but not before I nearly face planted. Face red with embarrassment, I rose to meet the two guards surveying our little party.

“Halt. Who are these two?” One questioned.

“They’re personal guests.” Ezekiel waved at Ivan and me. “Completely clean.” He then nudged the collar of his shirt downward, showing an identical tattoo to the one Mist bore on his shoulder. The guards nodded but didn’t look any less intimidating, neither bothering to lower their weapons.

“The tattoo symbolizes our rank here. If you have the rose and crown, you’re part of the High Circle. If you see someone with just the rose tattoo, they’re the guards.” Mist muttered from beside me as Ezekiel assured the guards we weren’t bitten and that Ivan and I were trustworthy. My brow furrowed in confusion. High Circle?

Mist noted my confused expression and sighed, exasperated. “War council, governors, whatever. The ones who keep order around here. There are 6 of us. I’m a weapons master. Eze is in charge of training on how to defend from the undead. You’ll probably meet the others soon..”

With a conformational grunt, the guards dismissed us, turning back towards their posts. Ezekiel saluted towards Mist, grabbing the reins to the horses and leading them away. “I’ll be at the lab.” he hollered over his shoulder at us. “Pick them out something charming for the party.”

Ivan’s eyes went wide, taking in the haven. On our right, an expanse of houses stretched for what seemed like miles. To our left, a jumble of smaller buildings that once made up a school had been redone, forming a little plaza of shops. The field behind the school beheld a mighty farm filled with crops and penned in animals. Everywhere I looked, living people could be seen, children laughing and at ease. It was something out of this world.

Mist marched her way over to the only building that stood multiple stories tall, clustered in the center of the shop plaza. It appeared to be a headquarters, with a pair of guards in tight-fitting fighting leathers, each holding a spear posted outside the doors. She held up her palm, tattoo showing, and gestured to us. The guards bowed and rushed to open the doors for her.

She stomped her way up two flights up stairs, coming to a stop before a worn wooden door that was nailed in haphazardly to the wall. Upon further inspection, I noticed the other three doors scattered in the corners of the room were of the same condition. In fact, this building was more worn than the others. The walls were weathered, multiple bullet holes and something that appeared like claws marks gouged deep into the walls. Ivan took in the room, becoming more pale with each glance around.

With a swift kick, Mist knocked open the door, revealing two startled figures hunched over a table inside. I blinked. They looked like children.

A small raven-haired girl bounded over, giggling as she leaped into Mist arms. Her thin, wiry build couldn't be concealed by a loose sweater and flowing skirt. “Hey May.” Mist smiled at the girl, snuggling the child against her chest.

“Mist! I can't believe you came back!” May beamed. She seemed to radiate happiness and innocence.

“I couldn't leave you here now, could I?” She turned towards Ivan and I. “ This is Ivory and Ivan. They’re new here, so would you mind showing them around?”

May detached herself from Mist, and grabbed my hand. “Nice to meet you. I'm May, your personal tour guide.”

“Would you cut the crap, May? Get back over here.” The other figure called, still seated at the table. My eyes drifted to the speaker, noticing the hard lines of her face, curls of blond hair cascading down her shoulders. A satin ribbon adorned her hair, clipping back the locks from covering a set of stormy gray eyes, hardened with experience. A simple purple apron dress was the only hint of the child she was, hidden by a large broadsword strapped onto her back.

Mist nodded once. “Cheery as usual Lilian.”

“Whatever.” Lilian snapped. “If you're going to steal May away, then at least get over here and review this with me. I need another pair of eyes.”

Mist rolled her eyes at me but headed over to the table anyways. “I’ll meet you in the dress shop later after May shows you around.” Without another glance in my direction, she picked up the numerous papers strewn across the table, assessing them.

“Cmon! We don’t have all day now.” May tugged on Ivan’s arm, snagging mine in the process to the door.

Chapter 6 (Part 2): (Ivory) Smarts
Apparently, this area used to be a gated community, with a private school and numerous houses. Mist had found the area, and drove all the undead out. Then she, along with a small team of survivors forged the gate and sealed all the other openings, creating a haven the undead were unable to penetrate. It was named Central Valley.

Every person we passed stopped to wave at May, their expressions lighting up when she beamed back at them. I had to admit, her upbeat attitude was infectious, and my normally sour mood was lifted by her smile as she skipped around, pointing out the multiple structures. The building we had just left acted as a town hall, where the town leaders lived and met to discuss matters concerning the haven as a whole.

Directly surrounding the hall were numerous shops, which contained scavenged items that could be traded for a multitude of items, ranging from ration packs to a story about the outside world.

The field was impressive to say the least, a bed for cultivating crops. I managed to identify wheat, potatoes, and a few berries from the books I had been reading, but the rest was a mystery to me. The penned enclosure reeked of manure, so we only took a quick peek, May pointing out chickens, cows, sheep, turkey, and horses.

There were numerous houses in the residential sector, paint peeling and worn, but otherwise in good living conditions. They were on the larger side, and I noted multiple families coming and going from a single house. It made sense since space was limited here.

“We should get you guys party clothes and surprise Mist.” May quipped, leading us back to the shops. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a simple building nestled in the corner, behind the town hall. It was different than the structures that surrounded it, an alabaster grey with only a few windows and a single pair of double doors that led inside. It was definitely not a shop.
“What’s that for?.” I motioned the mysterious building.

May’s face soured, the first time since I met her. That wasn’t a good sign. “That’s the developmental building. Fancy scientists stay there, doing various things. They scare me.” May tugged me in the other direction. “Let’s not go there.”

At that moment, I saw a flash of pale blond hair stationed beyond one of the windows. No doubting it was Ezekiel. I had some questions for him, and the researchers building honestly intrigued me. I nudged Ivan towards May. “Why don’t you two walk around and pick something out for him? I want to go take a peek at…” my eyes darted around, searching for an excuse. “The weapons shop. I could use a few more daggers.”

Ivan sputtered in protest, most likely from the thought of being with a girl alone, but with a hidden jab, he reluctantly accepted his fate sulking. May nodded, completely convinced. “You know where the shops are! Come to find us once you’re done.” She grabbed Ivan’s sleeve, dragging him away. I smirked. Let’s see how long they stayed away.

I dashed over to the building and decided against walking through the front door. Two guards were stationed there anyways. I made my way to the window where I last saw Ezekiel, surprised to find it open. I glanced inside, only to be greeted with a sight of a worn jacket. I ducked down again, realizing that Ezekiel was still there, and I had been staring at his back.

“...stable for her? The last one was full of faults.” Ezekiel snapped.

“I can assure you, this batch is stabilized, and the chance of episodes has been severely diminished.” A meek voice answered. Researcher most likely. What were they talking about?

I could almost imagine Ezekiel’s face as he huffed in exasperation. “A chance? I need a clear answer. Is this the only reason why you called me out here? I have important matters to attend to.”

A door slid open, and a pair of footsteps echoed into the room. “I can assure you, that wasn’t the only reason why we called you here Ezekiel. Even if we’re doing this all for our savior.”

“Get on with it Dr. Ronald Penne. And she’s not your savior. She’s just a girl.”

“Well, with these recent testing, along with the new equipment found, we were able to uncover some interesting information.” The sound of ruffling of papers could be heard. I dared a peek into the window, keeping my head hidden and observing the exchange between Ezekiel and a sharply dressed middle-aged man, who wore a simple grey shirt and a pair of tan slacks, worn and weathered around the edges. His back was facing my view, but I assumed his face was filled with sharp angular features. Turning, he tossed a stack of papers onto Ezekiel’s hands. “While there’s no complete cure at the moment, using our savior’s blood along with a right concoction of chemicals seem to have a small effect on the undead. In theory, it should prevent the brain from being destroyed, which the main target of the virus. If you destroy reasoning and emotion, the body is just an empty shell. The frontal lobe is undoubtedly destroyed first, as its primary functions are to serve as more complex, higher thinking thought. Slowly from that point, the brain is dissolved, as the virus attaches itself to the amino acids and chemically breaks them down. When this happens the patient enters a comatose state and effectively dies.

From that point, it’s impossible to comprehend exactly prompts the body to reanimate and seek for flesh. One thing we’re clear on is the fact the undead rely on a sense of instinct. They move towards a sound, and become a frenzy when the stench of fresh blood is in the air.” He paused. “Luckily the virus is only spread through bodily fluids, such as saliva mixing with the blood in a bite.”

Ezekiel tapped his foot impatiently. “I know how the undead operates but that doesn’t explain how Mist’s blood is making a difference.”

“Simply, Mist has an abnormal amount of white blood cells in her blood. The neutrophils and lymphocytes in the samples are extremely aggressive and will attack and produce antibodies to terminate any foreign substance, even if it’s nutrition. Thusly, they target the undead virus quickly and attack. In response, the virus multiplies itself and diverts its attention into destroying the white blood cells, giving the host extra time to seek help.”

“So not a cure then.”

“No, but it’s a start. We just need larger samples, preferably from the bone marrow itself. If you could arrange for Mist to-”
Ronald never got to finish as Ezekiel suddenly slammed his hand against his throat in a choke, lifting him. I nearly jumped at the sight. Ezekiel was strong. No doubt he could snap my neck if he got angry enough.

“Mist isn’t some test subject. She’s just a girl. Even your ridiculous religion should respect the life of a fellow human. Remember that.” Ezekiel’s voice was deathly quiet. “I’ll get her to donate some more blood. But she will not be prodded against her will. I want this cure as much as anyone, but no harm will come to the woman I love. Are we clear?” Ronald nodded, straining for breath.

Ezekiel dropped him, turned on his heels, and left.

I waited until he left, then quickly dashed away, disappearing behind the town hall. Panting and out of breath, I whirled around and ran face first into a solid chest.

“Woah there, you alright?” Ezekiel gently asked. My mind flashed to the moment when Ezekiel picked the researcher up as if he were nothing and I quietly stepped out of his reach. Back at Mist’s place, he had only shown kindness and confidence, but at that moment I knew he was deadly. I disliked him, but I had common sense. My senses prickled in fear, memory returning to a different time, a time when I was helpless.

“It’s nothing. I lost Ivan and May earlier and can’t find them.” I lied.

He nodded, convinced. “This place is overwhelming I understand. Feel free to stick with me. I’m going to find Mist.”
Abruptly the sounds of yelling grew from the distance and I could scarcely make out Ivan and May as the source of the commotion.

With a silent nod, Ezekiel and I sprinted in their direction.
Creditmy 12 year old angsty self + my bestie Ashley for original story

6 Update Logs

Update #6 : 09/07/2018 7:44:09 pmSep 7th, 2018

Added Chapter 7 + Intro

Comments : 24

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1 - 24 of 24

  • SuperLuigi77
  • Level 44
  • Master Pirate
  • September 8, 2018, 8:19 am
Great story plot.
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • September 8, 2018, 4:48 pm
  • moz44
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • August 30, 2018, 1:03 pm
Can you sort of write an intro? If not thats cool.
  • moz44
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • August 30, 2018, 1:05 pm
I see how this is confusing. By into I mean like a mini summary of the beginning like published books have?
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • September 7, 2018, 4:16 pm
Added an intro, although I'll tweak it eventually
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • August 30, 2018, 8:56 pm
Yeah I can, but it would take awhile. I'm not sure exactly where I want to go with the story and I have too many things on my irl agenda to sit and write atm. Everything I'm posting is prewritten from summer right now
  • kitt-chan
  • Level 27
  • Expert Dragonborn
  • August 24, 2018, 6:45 am
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • August 24, 2018, 5:42 pm
Ooooh indeed
  • Mangled
  • Level 53
  • Grandmaster Herobrine
  • August 13, 2018, 3:44 pm
why haven't i read this until now this is amazing and wonderfully written

teach me
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • August 13, 2018, 4:49 pm

its magicc
Haha! I like to see little talents grow out to an write artist, see my avatar, and one of the places where i look is here! I like your style and the fantasy you have. Good job, I can't wait to see more!
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • August 11, 2018, 11:48 am
  • 0514
  • Level 40
  • Master Elf
  • August 3, 2018, 7:05 pm
eeek this is so good I’m anxiously waiting lol
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • August 6, 2018, 7:57 am
totally didn’t forget to reply
Wow! This is so good, I can’t wait to see what happens next!

*sees romance in tags* HhhHhHhHhmMmMmMmmM
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • August 3, 2018, 12:33 pm
HMHMHMhmhmhHm u have to wait and seeeee
  • Aspirin60
  • Level 56
  • Grandmaster Scapegoat
  • July 30, 2018, 12:42 am
Really good job! Take care on your original story,your first one!
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • July 30, 2018, 6:04 am
Ty so much!
  • 0514
  • Level 40
  • Master Elf
  • July 29, 2018, 3:43 pm
I love this ahh I can't wait for the rest !! :o
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • July 30, 2018, 6:04 am
Thanks! It shall come someday :>
  • tae-ngled
  • Level 18
  • Journeyman Narwhal
  • July 29, 2018, 2:46 pm
ooo i like the story already I can't wait for more~
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • July 29, 2018, 3:29 pm
"credit: my 12 year old angsty self" mood and i love your writing, oof
  • CaelChan
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • July 29, 2018, 2:40 pm
Thanks so much!
So angsty

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