Chapter 1

A Costly Decision

Saeko let out a sigh as she watched Takashi and the others being helped over the wire. She hadn't wanted to split away by herself but Rei had taken a nasty landing from the Humvee and she knew Takashi would protect her. She couldn't help smile despite her predicament; the feelings shared between Rei and Takashi were very deep and though they had a lot of scar tissue to carve through she knew they could do it with her out of the way.

Turning away from the scene she began walking at a hurried pace down the street before her. This was an area she was unfamiliar with and everything looked the same due to the carnage wrought by 'them'. Buildings were torn asunder with fires spread throughout them and blood, so much blood, was coating much of the scenery like a thick, repulsive paint. The streets were littered with trash and vehicles; most were destroyed beyond repair and even the ones that worked were nothing more than magnets for 'them' with the engine noise.

Stopping at the front of a convenient store Saeko felt her stomach growl in annoyance at the lengthy period without food. The door was already shattered and barely hanging on with one hinge as Saeko stepped into the deserted store to look for something to eat. Passing through the aisles she snagged a small knapsack to hold whatever she could find. Who knows how long it could be before she was able to find edible food again? A lot of the city had lost power due to the buildings simply being so destroyed by looters and fires. It was only a matter of time until everything perishable went bad and much of the nonperishables had already been snatched by desperate citizens at the onset of the panic.

Grumbling about the lack of selection Saeko managed to grab a few honeybuns, some pretzels and a few bottles of Coca-Cola. Not exactly the nutrition she was looking for but everything else was either spoiled or gone. As she exited the store she emptied the register. 'Not like anyone is going to need it here, who knows if I end up needing this somewhere?'

Exiting the store she noticed two of 'them' shuffling out of an alley. They appeared to be a couple, or at least they were a couple before. One was a male with a business suit on; his left arm dangled limply and was bent in an impossible direction while he slowly dragged his now scuffed dress shoes across the pavement. To his right was a blonde woman with her hair in an intricate bun wearing an expensive looking dress but was missing footwear, most likely heels.

Saeko knew they couldn't see her; they were driven simply by sound and she hadn't made any. This fact however did not register with her as she felt her breath quicken, pulse begin to race and whole body tingle in anticipation. Anticipation of the violence she was about to unleash.

With practiced grace she sprinted silently across the street with her bokken in hand. In the fraction of a heartbeat she delivered two swift yet powerful blows to the skulls of both creatures splattering blood, brains and bone fragments against the brick building behind them. Standing over her prey, Saeko felt her body regulating and sighed in disappointment; it was over too soon.

Hours passed by and the sun was getting low bringing a small chill to the air. Saeko was frustrated at wandering aimlessly but at least she hadn't run into any more of 'them'. She smiled in spite of herself. It almost would have been better if there had been a few to help pass the time. With a sigh she pulled out a honeybun and looked it over, turning the sinfully sweet treat over in her hand. "Well," she said to no one in particular. "I guess it will have to do."

As she continued down the road to nowhere a scream startled her from her thoughts. Everything she knew told her to continue walking as if nothing had happened but when she heard it again, she could make out the sound as that of a young girl perhaps Alice-chan's age. Growling at herself she sprinted in the direction of the sound. 'I'm going to get myself killed. But what kind of monster would I be if I ignored such a cry for help? I'd be no better than them.'

Rounding a corner Saeko gasped. Hanging from a second floor window for dear life was a young girl with black hair in pig-tails and wearing an elementary school uniform. As she had suspected the girl was similar age to Alice-chan. Rushing to the girl she called up to her as quietly as she could but loud enough to be heard. "Drop down, I will catch you!"

Looking down with wide, scared eyes the girl nodded before shutting them tightly and releasing her grip on the ledge. She let out only a small squeal before landing in Saeko's waiting arms. Eyes as big as saucers stared up at Saeko before the girl threw her arms around the older girl and hugged her tightly as she cried into the soft, indigo hair.

Smiling and holding the child tightly, Saeko allowed the girl a moment to compose herself before setting her down. "I'm Saeko Busujima, what's your name?"

The little girl smiled back, her fear obviously abated. "My name is Korone Eto! May I can you Saeko-san?"

Taking the little girl's hand in her own, Saeko nodded. "You sure may Korone-chan. Do you have any family nearby?'

Nodding enthusiastically the little girl pointed down the road in the opposite direction Saeko had come from. "My mama and papa live a few blocks down there. I was here with my auntie but she… she…" Her eyes filled with tears and her lip quivered as she sniffled repeatedly in an attempt to not cry.

Squeezing the hand she held gently, Saeko offered a small smile. "We'll get you to your mama and papa then Korone-chan. Let's go."

After walking for a short while Saeko was surprised at the lack of 'them' in this area. It seemed that most had migrated to more densely populated areas already leaving the occasional straggler but no actual groups. One thing that made her wary was the amount of bodies they encountered in their walk; some were 'them' but some were unbitten but riddled with bullet wounds or slash marks. She wasn't sure if this was an incident that had gotten out of control or a group of people who had taken advantage of the lawlessness that had befallen the city.

"Well, well. Looks like we got us a keeper this time."

Saeko spun at the sound of the gruff voice behind her and let out a frustrated growl as she ushered Korone behind her. "Just let us go. This girl needs to get to her parents bef-"

The man before her laughed, interrupting her. He was bald with a jagged scar from his left ear to his chin, likely made from a blade of some sort. His leather vest barely fit over his muscular frame and the cigar in his mouth rolled from one side to the other as he appraised her. Blue jeans and black boots completed his ensemble and Saeko found herself wondering if this man was responsible for the chaos down the road.

"You seem to be a little confused there girlie." He laughed again and Saeko turned around, realizing Korone was no longer holding her hand. Looking up she saw that Korone was hugging the leg of a man standing a dozen paces away beside a woman and both were dressed in similar apparel to the man she first encountered. What worried her was both of them had pistols that were obviously taken from police officers. Police and military were the only groups allowed to carry pistols in Japan and the people standing before her resembled neither.

"Korone-chan…" Saeko started before being interrupted by the red haired woman who was now holding the little girl's hand.

"I'd say thank you kid for saving my little girl but you see, we're the ones who sent her over there when we saw you a few blocks over. We were sure that there would be more of you seeing as how impossible the odds are for some high school tramp to have survived out here alone." She looked around in disappointment. "But it seems we only got you. I suppose that will be fine though, Takagi-san over there lost his wife to this, infection," she spit the word out. "so you can replace her."

She had been tricked. The little girl was likely in no real danger, possibly having one of the thugs in the upper window to hold her until Saeko had rounded the corner. Rage filled her but she knew that no matter her skill she was no match for their weapons.

Saeko took a step back and looked around, aware that the man behind her, Takagi, had taken a step towards her. "I think I'm going to have to pass." Without waiting for a response she turned and sprinted down the nearby alleyway hearing their yells and a few close rounds ricochet around her as she dashed for the other side.

Before she reached the street however, two more thugs stepped in from the other side. This was not just a few people who had lost their mind in the madness of the outbreak but a gang of like-minded scum that preyed on the weak. Seeing that they both carried guns as well, this time shotguns, she turned and jumped up a fire escape and pulled herself up the stairs as fast as her legs would go. Brick sprayed her face, causing her to stumble back as a too-close round hit the wall in front of her.

'This is insanity; people should be working together to overcome this not killing each other!' Her mind still argued the situation though she knew it was human nature to desire control especially in a world lacking structure.

As she crossed the rooftop she could hear the angry grunts of her pursuers. They were certainly persistent; she had to give them that. Jumping down to a building beside the one she had climbed, Saeko rolled behind a vent just in time to avoid a peppering shotgun blast at the area she had landed.

"Get back here you little whore! We're not going to kill you, just pass you around for morale!"

Staying low Saeko ignored them and continued to the other side of the building before sliding down a drainage pipe and landing softly in the alley. Looking both ways she saw no threats and decided to continue running in a direction away from the original encounter. Her lungs were burning but her muscles still had a bit left in them due to her conditioning in kendo. She made a mental note to add more cardio when this was all over and smiled to herself.

"She's over this way!" A female voice from a window above her cried out.

This was impossible, they were everywhere. Saeko broke into a dead run down the street heedless of the direction she was going, not like she knew the area anyway. Before long however her lack of direction sense caught up with her.

"Nowhere to run now girly." A few of the thugs had their shotguns aimed at her as she backed up as far as she could.

Behind her had once been an overpass for train tunnel but at some point had collapsed entirely leaving her on the ledge of a rather frightening drop. It wasn't so much the distance of the fall but the jagged rocks and pieces of twisted metal that deterred her from simply jumping.

As the two men approached her Saeko closed her eyes and fought the urge to vomit that was threatening at that moment and offered a strange smile before leaning back and disappearing over the edge.

The two men rushed over to the side in disbelief. Looking down, they couldn't see her but amidst all the wreckage it was unlikely to anyhow. There was no way she had survived such a fall. Sharing a look they shrugged. "Boss is gonna be pissed." With that they both turned and walked back towards their waiting leader.

Saeko felt as though everything happened in slow motion; it was almost as if she watched her own body fall from the ledge and into the wreckage below. She saw her body go limp and narrowly miss numerous jagged rocks and cables that would have impaled her. She watched as she struck the side of something metallic, gasping at the impact before falling face first onto grass. As impossible as the odds had been, she had missed numerous objects that would have killed her instantly and had landed on grass, not stone or tracks in the end.

She could taste blood and her entire body was numb from striking the train car siding. Her breath had been taken from her both from the original impact then again when she struck the ground. Looking up with blurry vision Saeko wasn't sure if she could survive her wounds. A terrible sound alerted her that her wounds may be the least of her worries as a few of 'them' shuffled out from the shadows.

'Not like this.' She thought to herself. 'I can't become one of 'THEM'!' Grunting with effort she attempted to push her body up but was unable to, resulting in a mouthful of dirt as she collapsed heavily. 'Maybe I deserve this. Maybe this is my punishment.'

Looking up, her vision growing cloudy and dimming by the moment Saeko managed a bloody smile as she looked up at the creature now only a few paces away. "I guess this really is the end."

Lowering her head to the dirt, she sighed. "I never even got to kiss a boy." With that statement, darkness swallowed her.

Author's Note

So I hope that people enjoyed my first chapter here! This is a big step for me. This is my first ever zombie fic. This is my first ever het fic, and it is my first ever fic where I will be involving an OC. I truly hope people enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it so far. Please read and review so that I know to continue writing it. I promise, if you R&R I will update multiple times per week. I'm not like a lot of these writers who take weeks for each updates… with proper motivation! I will be sharing time between this and my other fic (check my profile for information!) so priority will go to the more popular, of course. Thank you and I hope you enjoy!

Also: If the character seems a little OOC, I apologize. She's a tough write. I figure "respectful, caring, but headstrong and dark at times" fits her. I just watched the anime for the third time –today- so I should have a decent grip. Keep me in check!