"Frankie!" Bartholomew called, stepping past the splintered remains of his friends door. The chipping white pant practically clawed away from its surface, the knob nowhere to be seen and the small window at its top bashed in and smeared with gooey, coagulated blood. The foyer reeked of the sickly dead that wandered the city streets, a nausea inducing scent of festering wounds and pus masking the usual stench of cigarettes.
The carpet stained and matted with a viscous green fluid, each step sounding and feeling like he was getting his sneakers stuck in a marsh. There were footprints and shoeprints alike in it besides his own, all of them tracked up the stairs, but there were no signs of anyone having come back down.
The house was silent beyond the hiss of autumn wind that wiped through the doorway and his own desperate calls for his friend.
"Frankie..!" Barth called again, softer this time as the fear of being ambushed creeped into his mind. "Frankie, please..!" He hissed, forcing numb legs to start climbing the worn steps as his trembling hands gripped the railing and dragged him closer towards the top landing.
Ascending the stairs felt like hours, each step closer to thw top giving him a brief but crippling anxiety attack. It felt like his stomach was going to purge everything it ever had in it as a cold sweat poured from his paling face and down his neck, every nerve feeling like it was exploding as his his heart lept to his throat.
"F-Frankie..?" He croaked out in a trembling voice, the further he trapped himself in the building the more he could feel his eyes well with tears and his knees buckle.
It had probably only taken him two whole minutes to make it to the top of the stairs. The hall in either direction was dark and cluttered with the mangled frames Barth had helped him set up to block out the infected, the door to the far right left wide open. The dull sunshine illuminating the bloody smears of handprints across its polished surface. The house appeared empty and as he turned to make his way down the hall he was unable to hear the sound of steps shuffling towards him, but the click and blast of a gun was more than enough to send him reeling around towards the noise, jumping and screaming along the way as a bullet wizzed past his head. Turning around he saw..
"Frankie!" Bartholomew cried out, breathless as he reached his arms out towards his friend, only to stop when it sank it that.. Frankie just tried to shoot him...
"W-what the h-h-hell are y-y-ouuu..." Frankie gurgled, his free hand pressed into his bleeding neck as the pistol in his hand obviously weighed heavy on him. His arm wavering in the air as his eyes struggled to focus on Barth. Bites and scratches littered his arms and face, his skin a sickly greyish green. The veins along his face were dark and easily seen, eyes a glazed, sickly yellow.
"Frankie..? Frankie it's me..! It's Bartholomew!" Barth cried, hands raised as he inched towards his friend. "Put the gun down.. Please."
As he neared him, Frankie bared his teeth, but there was obvious confusion as well as recognition in his eyes. The gun was raised up and his finger rested on the trigger, unsure but feeling threatened enough that he was about to take another shot at the now closer Bartholomew.
"Frankie, please! Please! It's me Barth! I promise!" He practically squealed, shaking with terror as he desperately tried to get his sickly friend to drop the gun. "Frankie, please.. You're not well.." He whispered.
Those words visibly sank in with Frankie, having heard Samantha tell that to Tyler when he had become infected. For a moment he seemed to focus, enough to see the infected bites across his raised arm and the distorted appearance of Bartholomew cleared for a brief second. Ever so slowly the gun was lowered and Frankie looked about ready to collapse.
"Well y-you l-l-lousy b-brat.. you g-gonna g-g-get me out-t of here..?" Frankie spat, an insult far more mild than what was usually thrown at him, though it was a clear sign that Barth had gotten through.
Draping one of Frankie's arms over his shoulders he would support him as they descended the stairs, stumbling out of the empty doorway and slowly making their way across the yard.
"Just keep with me.. You're gonna be okay.." Bartholomew croaked, having already seen his friend Dolan suffer the same fate. He knew there was no hope for Frankie, maybe even Frankie knew there was no hope of recovering.
After all, there was nothing good to come in hell..