This is it. Ryan thought, clutching onto a golf club for dear life and swearing under his breath. Ever since his leg had started feeling better he had been dragged to weapons training. Nothing too strenuous, but something in case he was called upon. He had been worried sick since the night before at dinner; he, yes HE, was going to be part of the scavenger party! He could hardly sleep that night, well less so than usual, even though he'd be with Jonno, Tank, Dawn and James which was somewhat of a comfort. His sister, his...well, sort of friend, one of the two strongest kids and the second in command. A pretty cool lineup, he must admit.
Ryan looked down at his golf club. The pole was slightly dented and the club had faded splatters of red on it, obviously he had gotten a hand-me-down. Jonno was up near the door giving the group a briefing before they left as usual, but Ryan wasn't listening. He was too busy dreading the day. What would happen? What would happen to him? Would the others back him up? Well, he knew Dawn definitely would and Jonno maybe would, but James always makes fun of him and Tank doesn't seem like the kind of guy to go out of his way to protect you. Well, Dylan definitely isn't but-
Ryan jumped at the sound of a deep Irish voice and looked straight up at him, the others right back at him, Dawn's expression much softer. "Y-yeah?!"
"You get that mate?" Jonno asked.
Jonno shook his head. "I said we're going to hit the estate today, get some rich shit all up in here."
"O-oh right," Ryan nodded, "got ya'." Dawn smiled softly at him and put her arm around him in an attempt to calm him. It worked a bit.
Jonno nodded and carried on, Ryan listening this time. "Right, as I said, we're gonna split up when we get there. Tank, Dawn and Ryan'll take the bottom floor, me and James will go upstairs."
Ryan nodded, feeling a little bit more relaxed knowing he'd be with his sister and the tough kid.
"Why'm I stuck with the ponytail paddy?" James said jokingly, smirking.
"Cuz I'm very sure you value your life, smart-arse," Jonno rolled his eyes, smirking back at James, "any more questions?"
Everyone either kept quiet or shook their heads. Jonno nodded and threw on his hoodie. "Sweet, let's roll."
Ryan looked up at the sky as the group walked down the road to the estates. Very overcast, rather dark clouds on the horizon. Ryan hoped they wouldn't be out too long. Dawn kept by his side the whole way.
"You feeling okay?" She asked softly, looking at him.
"Honestly, not at all," Ryan admitted, shaking his head, "what if we come across one of those things again?"
"We won't Ry," Dawn answered quietly, in a soothing tone, "the estates been raided loads of times, I'm sure they've been cleared out of those things."
"And supplies," Ryan mumbled under his breath.
"Aww c'mon bro," Dawn smiled softly, patting her brother on the head, "chin up, you've got me and Tank to look after you!"
"Well, true," Ryan admitted, glancing away, "you sure he won't bugger off and leave us?"
"Very sure," Dawn nodded, "he's not like Dylan."
Good point, Ryan thought as he took a glance at Tank, who was walking ahead, hood up, hands in his hoodie pockets. He looks scary, but he has this sort of friendly aura about him, like he's only acting tough.
"And to your left, our destination," Jonno called out, stopping at a large house beyond a tiny jungle of tall grass, "state of that grass. You guys brought your Pokeballs, right?"
Silence. Ryan got it, it just wasn't funny.
"...everyone's a critic," Jonno rolled his eyes playfully, "right, you guys know the plan. Me and James upstairs, everyone else around the kitchen and such."
Ryan nodded, not noticing himself get closer to Dawn who just tightened her arm around him protectively. Jonno walked up the stone path to the front door, James close behind him, followed by Tank and finally Dawn and Ryan.
"I shall unlock this sacred door," Jonno lifted up his crowbar to knock the door down, but James swiftly got in front of him to pull the door handle down, letting the door swing open. "...my god you're no fun."
"And you're not smart so we're even," James grinned, walking inside.
"Who said you were?" Jonno called to him softly, following. Tank simply sighed and walked inside after them.
"Y-you sure we should go in?" Ryan whimpered, swallowing.
"It's a lot safer than out here on our own," Dawn explained, ushering her brother in, "don't worry, me and Tank are here."
Ryan nodded. "I know YOU are..."
"I don't like this," Ryan whimpered, holding his club up and shaking like a leaf as he followed Tank around the ground floor, "I don't like this at all..."
"Shhh, keep your voice down," Dawn whispered softly to him, "need to be careful just in case."
Ryan shut his mouth instantly. He was not going to take chances. Not here.
He took a look around. The place was in ruins, surprisingly after looking at the outside. Wallpaper was peeling, squares of dust and mould, the air was a bit humid. And as always, a looming sense of doom that came free with every household these days.
"In here." Tank mumbled, leading the younger kids into a kitchen. Drawers lay open and empty, the tiles were cold and wet from humidity. Ryan looked around the gloomy room, taking in the murky atmosphere as Dawn and Tank raided the cupboards in probable vain.
"Hey Ry," Dawn spoke up suddenly, making the boy jump slightly, "geez chill, could you look in that cupboard there?"
She pointed towards a door at the end of the room, slightly moulded with no windows, and one of those old-timey round doorknobs. For some reason just looking at the door gave Ryan a chill down his spine, but he still complied and walked towards it, his golf club raised to attack any hidden monsters. His hand shook furiously as he reached it out for the knob, his breathing quickening and a cold sweat forming on his face.
Suddenly a soft roar emerged in Ryan's ear. The boy yelled and swung forward, whacking his attacker in the side.
"...fucking OW," yelled James, clutching his side.
Ryan lowered his club after a few seconds, panting heavily. "Don't DO that!"
"Things I do for trying to make a fuckin' joke," James grunted, rubbing his hip where the club struck him.
"Serves you right," Dawn said matter-of-factly, rolling her eyes as she stroked Ryan's hair to calm him down, "aren't you supposed to be upstairs with Jonno?"
James shrugged. "He's second in command, he can handle himself." He paused a few seconds then snorted at what he just said.
"Dumbass," was all Tank mumbled as he shook his head at the other boy.
All four kids froze as they heard the cupboard door jostle.
"Empty, empty, empty," Jonno mumbled to himself as he looked through the bedside drawer, "would it kill other kids to at least leave a fuckin' Mars bar or something?"
As he kicked the bottom drawer shut, he nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard a girl's shriek from downstairs. Dawn's in trouble. Or it could be Ryan.
Without anymore thought, Jonno grabbed his crowbar off the bed and sprinted out of the room. As he rushed down the stairs to the ground, he froze as he heard a strike, followed by a sickening thud, then repeated cries of "Leave us alone!" He jogged into the kitchen to see Ryan atop a twitching diseased corpse, beating its head open with his club, as the others just stared in shock as blood and fluids splashed about. Even Tank was frozen.
Jonno walked over and snatched the still-moving club from Ryan's hands, then looked into the boy's teary fear-filled eyes. "Calm down mate, you got him."
Ryan's panting softened, and he simply leaned against the Irish boy, sobbing quietly. Jonno just patted his head softly and let Dawn take over.
"This place was a bust," he announced to the group, "let's head back."
No one needed to be told twice as they all swiftfully made for the open front door.
As they headed back up the street, Ryan kept with Dawn once again, her arms around him protectively.
"Wow, never seen that side of you before," she grinned playfully at him.
"I...dunno what came over me," Ryan sniffled, "I was scared and, and..."
"It's okay, you did good," she nodded, patting his head, "better than taking it to us."
Ryan nodded, his sister had a point. "Guess it wasn't...all bad then, eh?"
"Yeah," Dawn said, "went pretty cool."
The two looked ahead, seeing Tank walk with hands in his pockets again, and they giggled as Jonno, at the front with James, gave the other boy a slap on the back of the head and saying, "Wanker."