She scribbled in her notebook, her head nodding up up and down as she peered at a distant gathering. Roxy's hand writing had never been all that good, her fingers more accustomed to keyboards and...other things, but over the apocalypse it had grown worse. It was shaky and out of practise, but she could read it; it's not like anyone else would anyway. Roxy quickly shut the book and moved to another tree to get a better view, her movements similar to that of a panther stalking prey.
"Roxy!" A familiar voice called, her ears pricking up. She looked down and saw Jake waving his arms from the little patch of garden they used, calling Roxy over from the forest. She opened her book and continued writing, looking up and down like she did before. The other Roxy came out of the forest holding animals she had collected from traps on the outskirts. Roxy let her eyes follow every footstep of her other self, imagining herself making those footsteps. Running to a friend with fistfuls of food, talking as you go inside and laughing as you get yelled at for staying out for too long. Sitting at a table with friends and lovers alike as you enjoy food and talking and laughing. Roxy wanted that.
Roxy quietly descended from the tree, her book and make shift ink clamped between her teeth as she slid down the bark. Laying low, she sauntered closer to the cabin, sitting underneath the window and continuing to write in her book while listening to the chatter. As she was listening, Roxy could hear strained gasping, and looking up there was a couple of infected who were drawn by the sound that they made talking and hunting. She put her book and ink in her pocket and clenched her fist, getting ready to fight. Over time she had been a figure somewhat similar to a guardian angel, picking off infected that she could take and throwing rocks at the cabin to warn them about larger groups. Roxy would also give and take food from them, putting extras in their garden or traps, or taking if she was unsuccessful in hunting. All of this and yet she was sure they weren't even aware of his existence.
"Do yoU hear something?" Roxy heard Calliope ask. She quickly punched the last infected one last time, looking down at her blood and spore covered hands and clothes. Roxy rushed into the forest as fast as she could, dodging trees and traps as she tried not to be seen.
"What the fuck?" She distantly heard Jane say. She looked from around a tree and saw the five inspect the corpses, brandishing their weapons in case they rose up once more.
"I think they're already dead...well deader" Dirk said, poking them with his sword. Roxy sighed and began to climb the tree she was leaning on, trying to get back to the edge of the forest to continue watching the group.
Roxy moved along the tree branches, following the Roxy that was many feet below her. Everything was in the perfect place. She had made it so Roxy was the only one out hunting by dropping everyone's clothes but her's in the compost heap next to the washing line, making it all look like a giant accident, and with the cold weather coming on again it would be a death sentence to go out in anything other than warm clothes. She had planned this for so long.
She began to slowly descend through the branches, getting lower and lower until she was practically next to her alternate self. Her alternate self bent down to disarm an animal trap she had set, and that's when she struck. Roxy leaped from the tree and kicked her down, her alternate self yelping in surprise as she hit the floor.
"Ugh, what the-!" She scrambled to turn around, and gasped when she saw her "Oh my god! You're-!" Roxy punched her in the face repeatedly, making her cry out and try to fight back. In her attempt she hit Roxy with her failing arms, making her flinch back in shock. Taking the opportunity she struck again, this time knocking her to the floor and allowing her to crawl up. While Roxy was on the floor, her alternate self saw a bloodstained notebook on the floor, the white paper on the corner leeched with what looked like ink. She picked it up and began reading.
"'Roxy diary.'" Roxy strained, barely able to make out the scrawls "Early morning: Got up us-ual time (After Jake and be...fore Dirk), got dre...ssed about the time everyone realised. Going out to hunt...My time to strike?!'" With that Roxy sluggishly rose up and tried to attack with her bloody fists.
"Get...Off...My BOOK!" Roxy panted animalistically, swinging her arms like wrecking balls. Her alternate self flinched back and drew her guns, pointing them at her head.
"Don't you fucking move!" She yelled, Roxy staring at her with burning eyes as she glared down the dual barrels. "Look, come back to the cabin with me. I don't care about this dumb book! Just don't hit me, and we can go and just forget this ever happened." She lowered her guns and approached her, feeling uncomfortable with killing a living human that was identical to her. "Come on, lets go back together. You've probably been all lonely and shit in the forest." Roxy sighed, her glare softening.
"...Ok." She sauntered over to her alternate and began to walk by her side in the direction of the cabin.
"So how long have you been watching us?" She asked nonchalantly, Roxy intently staring at the book in her alternates hand.
"I don't know. A-a while I guess. Just after you got settled maybe?"
"Wow that's a long ass time! Why didn't you say anything." Roxy shrugged, her eyes still fixed on her book. "Hey, there are no hard feelings right? I'm not gonna kill you, you won't try to kill me...again."
"Yeah, yeah. Cool."
"Ha, it's gonna be kinda weird with two Roxy's. 'Hey Roxy' 'Yeah?' 'Not you, the other Roxy'. Holy shit, we can do, like, nicknames! Alright, I'll be uh...pink cat and uh...you can be...Mutiny!"
"Is there any chance of me getting that book back?" Roxy asked.
"Uhh...I was thinking. The book might freak a couple of my friends out, probably Jane, and I think it would be better if we got rid of it. You know, though it in the river or burn it or something."
"What?" She looked at her with horrified eyes. "No."
"Sorry...It's not like you need it anymore."
"No. No!" Roxy's alternate flinched back.
"Look, you can keep your book if you don't show it to anyone." Roxy calmed down and looked at her before wrapping her arms around her alternate, squeezing her tightly.
"Thank you so much!" She exclaimed happily, her alternate hugging back. "And...sorry." Before her alternate could respond, she tackled her to the ground, a few rocks painfully poking her in the back. She moved her hands from her abdomen to her neck, choking the air out of her lungs. She thrashed about, still shocked, but Roxy clamped down on her tightly, pushing her against the rocky earth. Something cracked. Her eyes went wide as she lost control over her body and became stiff like a corpse. Roxy slowly pulled her hands away and was surprised to see that she couldn't move, nor could she cry out. She looked down at what she had done, a strange sadness and fear washing over her.
"I'm sorry." She pulled the guns from Roxy's strife specibus and pointing it and her head "There can only be one." She shot her. Blood and brains splattered the rocks and grass.
"We haven't seen her in days, Dirk!" Jane argued.
"Roxy is a smart girl, you know that. She can handle herself out there. She's probably just doing a bit of exploring or something."
"Exploring for three fUll days?"
"Yeah, maybe it is time to start looking for her. I'm not-I'm not saying she's hurt. She's probably just lost." Jake said calmly.
"Who's lost?" Roxy said, walking into the cabin, covered in blood, dirt and spores.
"Holy shit." Dirk said simply, not believing what he saw.
"Roxy!" Jane wrapped her arms tightly around her before she began to examine her face. "Are you ok? Are you hurt. You're bleeding!" Jane rushed around, opening a drawer full of first-aid supplies and beginning to fuss around with her facial wounds.
"Pfft! Jaaaney!" Roxy spluttered, Jane dabbing at her many bruises and cuts with a wet cotton pad.
"So what happened out there anyway?" Jake asked.
"There was a bunch of marshmallow heads aaand-" Jane gasped.
"Oh fuck, really? Have you felt anything strange? Are you itchy?" Jane began examining the wounds for any spore that she thought may have stuck.
"Jane I'm f-fppfpfffpf!" Jane began to wipe the blood from Roxy's nose.
"So what happened then?" Dirk asked.
"Yeah uh...I got...lost!" Roxy chuckled nervously. "I ran into a weird part of the woods and I had to find my way back."
"Did you eat the things captUred in the traps? YoU were oUt for a long time." Calliope asked curiously.
"No actually! It was weird, the traps were empty. Like not even touched or anything!" Jane pulled away and began wrapping bandages around Roxy's face and neck.
"You know, this isn't necessary." Roxy said in a muffled voice. Jane tucked the bandage into itself and kissed where Roxy's mouth was, Roxy trying her best to kiss back. "How can I eat?"
"Just stick your tongue through the bandage." Jake suggested jokingly.
"Yeah let me just become a frog real quick. I can't eat with just my tongue."
"Not for what you're going to eat tonight~" Jane purred only somewhat joking.
"What?....OH. Oh. Haha." Roxy laughed. "Ok but seriously I haven't eaten in days."
The bed was soft and warm. Better than any bed she could remember. Her feet gently touched the wooden floor as she climbed out of the beds warm embrace. She looked around on the dark floor, shuffling the clothes around as she walked towards the door, being sure not to be too loud as to not wake the others. Roxy looked back at the bed before walking out of the room, her naked friends snoring peacefully as she shut the door.
Outside was dark and cold, distant and frightening noises coming from deep into the forest. Roxy pulled out a lighter and walked towards a pile of old leaves that was raked together, picking up a dry leaf and igniting it before dropping it back into the pile, making the pile burst into crackling flames within a minute. She stared down at the fire with blank eyes and retrieved her notepad from her back pocket. Thoughtfully, she flipped through the old book, scanning over each unreadable word. She didn't need the book anymore. Roxy already memorised every word. She began to tear out the pages and dropping them in the fire, paper fluttering down and burning up almost as soon as it caressed the flame. Ash drifted upwards as the fire cracked and burned, flickering in the air before finally dying and blowing away in the wind. She looked at the final page:
'Roxy almost caught me this morning. Jake went inside after cutting up wood to replace the roof. I thought he was going inside to talk with the others but, he was actually switching out with Roxy. I didn't know this so I came to the window to see what was happening inside and Roxy opened the door and nearly...' Before she could continue reading, the paper began to burn up as Roxy stood almost on top of the fire. Roxy gasped and stepped back as the flame consumed the paper, dropping it in surprise.
"Oh shit." She looked around and grabbed a bucket, attempting to manoeuvre her way to the gushing river to get water to assuage fire. She dipped the bucket in and pulled out the water, Roxy letting a fish that got caught hop out of it before it could be killed on the fire. The fire hissed and sizzled as it was extinguished, dying as soon as the liquid splashed it's titian, flickering flame.
Roxy sighed sadly at picked up a shovel, dropping all of the ashes into the water, the mush drifting along the river into the shrouding darkness. She leaned the shovel against the cabin as she walked in, looking behind her as she shut the door.
Inside she headed to straight to the bedroom, carefully climbing in bed and trying her best to nuzzle into the pile without waking up anyone. Roxy attempted to reach for a blanket tucked under Jake's armpit but the movement created a domino effect of gentle tossing and turning until everyone reached a restful comfort. She looked into Calliope's sleeping face and quietly exhaled happily, moving closer and closing her eyes.
She was finally in the perfect place.