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Levi shoved the walkie back in his pocket and gripped the handle of the gun with both hands. James stared back at him coldly, letting the air settle in between his panting.
“She.” James shook his head. “Zozo?”
Levi stayed silent. Mouth twitching.
James spat blood at the pavement before looking back up at him.
“Rose was right…” He panted. “...you are a jackass.”
“Shut up.” Levi said through gritted teeth.
“How long?” James grunted. “Before the tunnel?”
“I said shut up.” He took a step forwards, shoving the gun in his face.
James nodded. “Yeah...way before the tunnel.”
Taking the butt of the pistol, Levi slammed it hard against James’ temple, causing him to fall back down hard on the ground. James let out a groan as he rolled onto his back.
“This wasn’t personal you know.” Levi shook his head, pacing around to James’ side. “I was willing to keep it that way but you just continuously find ways to piss me off.”
Taking the heel of his boot, Levi slammed it down hard on his chest, knocking the wind out of James.
“You think you’re some kind of hero right? You just march in here and take over? Rose might not see what you are, but I do.” Levi scoffed, watching as James tried to roll over on his knees. “You’re here for bullets and food. Nothing else. You don’t care. Not really.”
“And that’s what you’re doing?” James groaned against the pavement. “Caring?”
Another hard kick sent James flat on his back.
“You don’t know what I’ve had to do for us. The stuff I’ve had to live with.” Levi nodded. “But this- this is going to be the one thing I’ll enjoy.”
Then came the rumble of tires that echoed from down the street. Straining his neck over, James spotted the crowd of headlights slowly approach them. Turning back towards Levi, James saw that his focus had pulled away from him for just a second. Taking this opportunity, James kicked Levi’s legs out from under him, knocking him down. As soon as he hit the ground, James scrambled over to him, taking Levi’s wrist in his grasp. As he tried to pull the gun from his hand, Levi was able to knee him in the side. His open wound caused James to double over in pain. Then, getting his grip back on the pistol, Levi began beating James with the back of it. He did this a few times until blood began to seep out of the fresh battered wound on his forehead. A pounding filled James skull as he fell back into the dirt.
Over these drum beats, James was able to hear the screeching of brakes from ahead. He looked up to see the blinding headlights in his eyes. The white light making the dizziness that much worse for him. Looking away, James realized that Levi had vanished. He was left alone.
The sounds of car doors slamming shut demanded James’ attention back ahead of him. Through the light he could only make out the outlines of the rows of people that climbed from the vehicles. The outlines of them and their large collection of firepower.
James closed his eyes at the familiar sing song voice.
“I knew it’d be soon for our next play date!”
He opened them again to catch Zozo’s silhouette hanging off the door of the biggest truck. Her bat swung from her heels up to her shoulder. James couldn’t see in the dark, but he would bet his life she was grinning her wicked grin.
Grunting and wheezing, James was able to pull himself to his knees. He gave out a few more breaths, letting the brights bathe over him a moment before he began stagger to his feet. James watched drops of blood splatter between his heels as he clenched his fists together. Wearily, he brought his gaze back up to Zozo and the others.
Her figure hopped off the truck and began strutting towards him. A bounce in her step as she moved past the lights and stood at center stage. Zozo’s masked crew all wrapped around her at a short distance, stopping when she did.
She sucked the air through her teeth. “That doesn’t look so good there.” Zozo used her bat to point at his side. “Standing up probably isn’t too good for it either.”
James’ shoulders heaved as he stared back at her. His face unmoving.
“I didn’t think I’d be running into you so soon.” She smiled, her bright red lipstick shining against the headlights. “Did you like our little tin soldier? He’s been great to us. Much more competent than I expected”
Flashing a glance behind himself, James began desperately searching for a way out. There’s no way in hell he’d be able to fight all of them, especially in this state. He had to get out of here. He had to find Bear and Rose.
He had to find Levi.
James eyed the wall of the building before turning back towards Zozo. He glanced down the long row of figures all standing at the ready behind her. All standing with tense shoulders and itchy trigger fingers.
“I decided to bring the rest this time.” Zozo shrugged. “This way everyone can get a piece of the fun.” She swung the bat around overhead before planting it in front of her feet. Like a king leaning on a jeweled cane. “So let’s not keep them waiting huh?”
As she began to approach him, James tore off down the sidewalk’s edge. The cold air stung against his skin as he ran. The aching burning clung to his muscles until he dove through one of the glassless windows.