Disclaimer & Notices: See Chapter 1.

 


Resident Evil: Phoenix
by Red Hope

Chapter 7

Claire took a steady breath and carefully started through the palm trees. She’d landed in a backyard of a house. The plants, amazingly, had overgrown the area. Claire pushed her way through until she was next to the rundown home. For a moment, she paused and considered her location related to where she thought Alice may have fallen.

There were too many directions that Alice could have gone. San Diego wasn’t small, but Claire had an idea where her friend may have gone. But as she focused internally, Claire felt a pull towards the north so she followed it. After she came past the dilapidated house, she knelt down beside the porch side and scanned the street for any undead.

Claire prepared to move across the street until her skin prickled at her back. She spun around but was too slow as her gun was pressed hard against her stomach so she couldn’t use it. She was about to fight off her attacker but faltered upon seeing Jill’s face.

Claire darkened at seeing her friend and angrily demanded, “Jill-”

“Ssssh,” Jill hushed. She pointed off to her right at the three undead trudging along.

Claire steadily watched them until they went around the block. She glowered at Jill and quietly asked, “Why did you follow?”

“You think I was going to let you go alone?” Jill shook her head and pulled away from Claire. “I can’t let you have all the fun yourself.”

Claire huffed and decided arguing about it now wasn’t in their best interest. She adjusted her ball cap then scanned the street again. “I think she’s further north.”

Jill silently agreed too. She stayed close to her friend as they darted across the street and entered another overgrown yard. “You must really feel something for her, RC.”

Claire rolled her eyes, but she continued cautiously moving through the yard until they were at a street corner. She glanced up at the bent street sign and noted it was Bayonne Drive.

“I remember when you use to look at me like you do her,” Jill whispered. Yet, Jill wasn’t quite sure it was exactly the same look. She felt there was something else between Claire and Alice that Jill hadn’t shared with Claire.

“Keep guessing,” Claire poked. She didn’t want Jill figuring her or Alice out. She wanted to find her friend and get the Hell back on the Arcadia. She just knew it wasn’t going to be a simple rescue mission.

Jill followed her friend across the street, but they made a left and carefully traveled up Bayonne Drive. She didn’t say anything else about Claire’s relationship with Alice. Something else drew her attention and caused her skin to burn. Jill didn’t understand it at first until her senses made her come to a slow stop.

Claire had taken a few more steps. She turned back and asked, “What is it?”

“You don’t hear it?” Jill saw Claire’s confusion so she attempted, “You don’t feel it?”

The leader shook her head and checked her surroundings for anything. “What?”

“There’s something else near us,” Jill whispered. “I can feel it.” She was unsure how she knew, but her instincts told her. “Something bigger than an undead.”

Briefly Claire thought of the undead Executioner that she’d fought in the prison bathroom. She prayed it wasn’t another one again. “Great.” She took a step yet hesitated when something caught her eye. She peered over the sidewalk’s ledge and stared at the pool of dirty water. She waited for a few seconds then the water vibrated with ripples.

Jill caught what Claire was watching and realized what it could mean for them. She exchanged a worried look with Claire.

“Come on,” the leader urged. “We need to hurry.” She adjusted the submachine gun in her hands and continued down the street at a jog.

Jill stayed near Claire because she feared something happening any moment. She hoped Claire had an idea where Alice may have landed on the ground. Otherwise, they were just fishing for death right now.

Claire approached another intersection, but she sensed that Jill had fallen behind.

“Wait, Claire,” Jill called. She failed to get Claire’s attention in time before Claire stepped up to the corner of the block. The nearly faint roar Jill had heard now was a stark roar once Claire came to the intersection. She swore under her breath and hurried to her friend’s side.

Claire was rooted in place and gawked at the large monster that stomped on the street.

Jill stiffened once she laid eyes on the undead monster that was at least fifteen feet tall. She realized her blood was alive and her body charged by seeing the undead monster.

“What the Hell is… that thing?” Claire murmured. She jumped when the monster gave another roar and saliva fell from his jagged and twisted front teeth.

“I… don’t know,” Jill quietly replied. “But let’s not draw his attention.” She touched Claire’s mid back and whispered, “Slowly step back behind the building.”

Claire conceded and quietly reversed until she saw humanoid undead coming up Beyonne Drive. “Shit,” she hissed. There wasn’t any chance to sneak away now so she turned her submachine gun on the approaching undead.

Jill heard the first pings of shell casings on the concrete from Claire’s weapon. She pulled out her Glocks and felt dread fill her when the gigantic monster’s attention was drawn to them. “Fabulous,” she muttered. She aimed at the quickly approaching giant and started firing on it. Right away Jill realized her bullets were barely piercing the monster’s thick skin.

Jill saved her bullets and instead grabbed her friend’s arm. “Run!” She shoved Claire down La Cima Drive that intersected with Beyonne Drive.

Claire cursed and fled from the fight before the giant could flatten them. She glanced over her shoulder when she heard metal protesting. She had wide eyes after the giant picked up a SUV and hurled it towards them. “Jill!”

Jill gave a cry for her friend as the black SUV came flying down the street at them. She took two wide steps and got her hands on Claire. She poured all her strength into throwing Claire off the street and towards the next block’s corner. Jill watched her friend go airborne before the SUV slammed into her and took Jill rolling down La Cima Drive.

Claire let out a terrified yell until she slammed into the sidewalk at the next intersection. She whimpered in pain but weakly got onto her feet. “Jill!” she yelled. Claire stumbled off the sidewalk towards the SUV that’d come to a rest a few yards away.

The giant undead roared at the last human. He scooped up another car and prepared to hurl it at the last human. He didn’t care about the undead zombies that were in his way. He threw the white car with decent accuracy.

Claire barely managed to get out of the way before the car slammed into the building beside her. She saw a few undead get back up and continued for her. She glanced at the SUV, but Jill was dead. Claire angrily yelled at the undead then opened fire on them.

The giant was inspired further and grabbed a short telephone pole for a weapon. He took faster steps and closed in on the human. He swiped but missed because she rolled away.

Claire was utterly outmatched and ran down the street. She felt Hell was on her heels as the ground shook under her boots. She became frantic and fear coursed through her mind and body. She wasn’t sure where she was headed and turned down streets in a city she didn’t know at all. Her only guide was a strong pull humming throughout her body. She only slowed down when the vibrations lessened. She stumbled two steps and fell to her right knee. Claire couldn’t stop the tears for Jill. She imagined Jill’s last seconds before the SUV crushed Jill.

Claire let out a furious cry and slammed her right hand into the street’s pavement. She gulped a few breaths then lifted her head when she heard dragging feet in front of her. Claire forced her body up and took aim at the zombies coming for her.

“Eat this, bastards,” Claire growled, and she unloaded all her rounds at the undead mob coming for her. Once she was out, she tossed the useless gun. She went for her Glock until the shaking ground caught her attention. “Fuck,” she growled. Claire wanted nothing more than to kill that giant for what he did to Jill.

Claire hurried off before she was found again by the giant. However, she noticed that the vibrations were becoming more frequent. She guessed he was in hot pursuit for her. Claire rounded a corner and hastily pulled off a shot at an undead, who jumped for Claire with its tentacle mouth. But Claire quickly realized she was at a dead end street to a warehouse. She hadn’t minded her surroundings better.

At least a dozen undead blocked Claire, and they were advanced zombies with their tentacles snaking out from their mouths. Together they worked as a team to take down the human trapped in the street.

Claire glanced behind and saw a door to go inside so she rushed it. She found the metal door locked so she rammed it a few times without any luck. She sharply looked back at the undead, who were content to take their time for once. Claire pointed her gun at them and fired at the closest one, which fell in a second.

Three undead advanced but suddenly withdrew from their attack on the human. The right one was shot in the head by Claire, but the other two stepped back closer to their group.

Claire wanted to fire on the others, but she was confused why they weren’t coming for her. First, she felt that warm, familiar burn caress her neck then spread over her shoulders. She then heard movement overhead on the roof of the warehouse so she gazed up. She awed at Alice flipping in midair and landing between her and the undead. The comforting warmth spread across Claire’s upper back and down towards her collarbones. As she stared at Alice’s muscular back, she started realizing what was causing the warm burn across her skin.

Alice had created several cracks in the pavement under her boots. She straightened up and revealed her fiery blue eyes to the undead mob. Her face was raw with anger and a low growl started in her throat. She created a psionic blast that sent the mob flying back out into the streets. Alice advanced on them and repeated her telekinesis blasts until the undead were killed.

Claire had lowered her handgun to her side and could only watch the display of Alice’s powers. She hadn’t seen anything as amazing at what Alice could do.

Alice was pleased when none of the undead got up. But she narrowed her eyes off to her right because she felt the giant coming for Claire. She knew the giant wouldn’t back down like the zombies. She hastily turned in Claire’s direction and held out her hand in offer.

Claire didn’t hesitate and hurried down to her friend. She easily slid her hand into Alice’s and was led away from the massacre. She was glad too because the stench was burning her nose.

“Why did you come for me?” Alice chewed out.

Claire determined Alice was only upset because of the risks it posed to Claire’s life. She squeezed Alice’s hand and replied, “I couldn’t leave you here alone.” She came to a sudden stop with Alice. “What is it?”

Alice used her bonded blood like another set of eyes. “He’s too close.” She felt the earth tremble under her feet. “We have to hide, now.” She spotted a small alley that only they could fit into together. She hastily pulled Claire into the space between the two tall buildings.

Claire was pressed harshly against the building. She didn’t fight it or ask what was happening. She could only trust Alice. Any minute the giant would be near them.

Alice was inches taller than Claire. She pressed her body against Claire’s in an attempt to hide her from the world. She bowed her head and brought her lips near Claire’s ear. “He can smell you.”

Claire had put her gun away and clung to Alice’s belt. She pressed her temple into Alice’s chest then closed her eyes.

Alice could hear Claire’s blood pounding against her moist skin. She inhaled Claire’s distinct scent and murmured, “Your blood is very strong and sweet… it attracts him.”

Claire couldn’t believe what she was hearing from Alice. Her hands snaked up and clenched Alice’s shirt into a ball.

Alice pressed hard into the human as the giant approached the alley’s mouth. She brushed her lips over Claire’s soft ear and whispered, “You are safe with me.”

Claire clenched her jaw against her raging emotions. She swore her heart’s beat was louder than thunder and would draw the giant to them. Claire took in ragged breathes once she heard the giant’s movements by the alley.

Alice pressed her left palm flat against the building’s side. But in her right hand she gripped her sawed-off shotgun that was fully loaded with quarters. She turned her head towards the giant, and her bright blue eyes shined in the dark alley. Alice extended her right arm towards the giant until the barrel lined up with the giant’s calf. But she didn’t fire on him and merely waited in the shadows.

Claire didn’t dare move. She relied on Alice to protect her from the threat. She started smelling the giant’s disgusting odor, and she fought not to be sick.

Alice had filtered out the creature’s nauseous smell. Instead she was focused on his blood’s scent, which was rather unique. But it wasn’t sweet like a human’s pure blood. No it was something far more dark and disgusting that it appalled Alice. If Claire thought he stunk then his blood was ten times worse in Alice’s opinion.

The giant finished checking the street and continued on his way. His stomps shook the buildings and rattled glass still in place in any windows. He’d lost the human’s sweet scent, but he would find her again.

Alice felt her friend release her shirt so she lowered her shotgun. She peered down at Claire, who was shaking against her. She cupped Claire’s cheek, which was damp from sweat. She read Claire’s upset blue eyes under the brim.

“Why didn’t he…” Claire couldn’t formulate her question. She stared oddly up at Alice.

But Alice understood what was confusing Claire. She softly explained, “He doesn’t smell my blood.” There was still uncertainty on Claire’s face so she reminded, “I’m not human.”

Claire shook her head then leaned into her friend’s stronger body. “Jill…”

Alice furrowed her eyebrows. “Where is she?” An alarm was set off in her head. “She got off the chopper with you,” she concluded.

“Yes.” Claire straightened up and fixed her ball cap. “That fucking giant killed her.” She had a bitter tone and talked through clenched teeth. “He threw a goddamn SUV at us. Jill pushed me out of the way, but she got hit by the car.”

Alice silently thanked Jill for protecting Claire Redfield, but she hated the price despite her differences with Jill. “We have to go,” she softly ordered. “We need to keep moving.”

“I know,” Claire murmured. She pushed off the building once Alice stepped away. She followed her friend out of the alley after Alice checked that it was safe. “Chris is coming back for us.”

“Then we need to find a safe place for him to pick us up.”

Claire nodded at Alice’s idea. “Do you know where we are and where’s a good spot?”

Alice scanned her immediate surroundings and continued down the street. “Yes and yes.”

Claire had a faint grin at her friend’s nonchalant answer. She grabbed her brim then adjusted her hat. She was relieved that she had found Alice. Or rather Claire realized that Alice had found her and continued to protect her.

“This way,” Alice softly ordered. She made the next left at the intersection. She held out her hand to Claire, who easily took it. She didn’t want to lose track of the leader.

Claire stayed close to her friend. She watched how Alice moved lightly like a stalking animal and sniffed the air like a predator. Claire considered whether being in the infected city brought out Alice’s T-virus. Alice was no longer caged on the Arcadia.

Alice still had her shotgun at the ready, but she swung it back and slid it into the holster. “The giant isn’t far from us… maybe ten blocks further north.” She extracted a kukri with her free hand. “Don’t fire your gun unless you want another visit from him.” She peered back at Claire. “It’ll draw him back.”

Claire mutely nodded, but she caught on why Alice had retrieved her blade. She dropped Alice’s hand like a hot drink. She jerked out her Glocks when several undead hastened around the corner. They had to smell her blood. “Fucking great.”

Alice unsheathed the other kukri. “Can you fight with a sword?”

“Are you kidding?” Claire snapped in frustration. She battled with her natural instincts to shoot at the quickly approaching undead.

“Time to learn then.” Alice shot a grin at her friend then flipped the left kukri so that the handle was pointed at Claire.

Claire quickly put her guns away and grabbed the kukri then prepared to have a crash course.

“Go for the head and neck,” Alice advised her friend.

“Right,” Claire muttered.

Alice spun her kukri and steadily approached the leading undead. “And watch for the after spray.” She efficiently cut down the undead with clean strokes. But she saw one get by her and go for Claire. She wasn’t sure that Claire was ready until she turned around and hopped backwards when the undead collapsed beside her feet.

Claire had neatly sliced the zombie’s head off. She sweetly smiled at Alice. “Like that?”

Alice gave a low but deep laugh. “Just like that.” She received a wink from Claire, and Alice nearly blushed. She quickly turned when her senses told her that six undead were close enough. She went to work on cutting them down with Claire protecting her back.

Claire was breathing hard after taking out two undead with more effort than simply shooting the damn things. She huffed and faced her friend. “You must really enjoy doing this.”

Alice wiped her blade on the undead’s shirt. “It is exhilarating, isn’t it?”

Claire mimicked Alice’s actions and got the infected blood off. “Highly inefficient and totally dangerous.” She and Alice continued jogging westward down the street. “But yeah… it’s loads of fun.”

Alice smirked at her friend’s sarcasm. But she became serious and explained, “There is a dock a few blocks away. I think Chris will see us there well enough.”

“A few blocks?” Claire countered. “How many is a few?” She long ago decided everybody had a different quantity for a few.

Alice shrugged and mentally counted ten blocks. “A few more than a few.”

Claire rolled her eyes and decided it wasn’t worth trying to figure out. She then recalled that her marine VHF radio could be of help if somebody was listening to it. She reached behind her waist but came up empty handed. “Damn.”

Alice glanced over at her friend, but she sharply grabbed Claire and pulled them to a stop near the next intersection.

“What is it?” Claire murmured. But Alice’s headshake made her go quiet. She then found herself backing up until she was pressed against a building’s side. Again she was covered by Alice’s stronger body in an attempt to hide her blood’s scent.

Alice smelled the undead’s stench and decided the small mob might miss them around the corner. She carefully watched the crowd of thirty plus zombies drag by them without so much as a glance.

Claire swallowed hard and kept an eye on the undead drifting past without a care. She was absolutely amazed that they could hide so openly from the undead. She let out her breath once they were well gone from earshot.

Alice focused back on her friend and softly asked, “Are you okay?”

“I couldn’t be better,” Claire whispered. “I can’t think of a more romantic first date.”

Alice gradually inclined her right eyebrow and huskily murmured, “A first date?”

“You know how to treat a girl,” Claire teased and slipped away from her friend.

Alice studied Claire’s well toned shoulders under the tight, black shirt. She took her friend’s side and finally teased, “Wait ’til the second date.”

Claire flashed a grin at Alice, but she nodded at the next block. “This way?”

“After you, my queen,” Alice tormented.

Claire rolled her eyes then continued the jog northwest to the dock. She kept the kukri blade pointed downward and at her right side. She wasn’t sure how she felt about getting so up close and personal with the dangerous creatures. But she had to admit that cutting them down was more fulfilling than a few bullets and a handgun.

Alice slowed when she heard a distant sound that reminded her of a helicopter.

“What is it?” Claire managed after a deep breath. She noted how Alice was barely breathing hard from the jogging.

“Chris,” Alice simply replied.

Claire couldn’t hear anything, but she trusted Alice’s keener senses. She continued the pace to the dock.

“We’re almost there,” Alice assured the leader.

Claire only nodded and stayed focused on getting there safely. She considered how Alice continued fighting with weapons like guns and kukris. She wondered why Alice didn’t use her powers more often. Perhaps Alice wished to still feel a bit human by fighting like one. Or it was to reserve her energy. Claire wasn’t completely sure and made a mental note to ask at a better time.

“Just ahead.” Alice pointed at the end of the street that brought them to Mission Beach. “The dock should be close.”

Claire nearly halted at the end of the street to look both ways as if traffic still existed. She silently cursed her old habit and charged across the road with Alice. But she looked down Mission Boulevard and saw a traffic jam of undead.

“Shit,” Alice hissed. She picked up the pace. “This way, hurry!” She darted across the southbound lane of Mission Boulevard then entered a small parking lot.

Claire poured her energy into the mad dash. Then hope filled her once she heard the helicopter’s distant movements. She and Alice made a sharp right down a small street. But the sound of running steps made her look back down the street. “They’re coming!”

“I know,” Alice growled in frustration. She worked out a hasty plan and ordered, “Make a left at the end of the street.”

Claire glanced at her friend and asked, “Then what?”

“The dock will be straight ahead,” Alice explained. “Get to the end and get Chris’s attention.”

“What about you?” Claire demanded. She was more panicked that something would happen to her friend than herself.

“I’ll be right behind you,” Alice promised. “I’m going to hold them off ’til Chris gets here.”

Claire tossed her friend the kukri and sternly declared, “You better be there.”

Alice returned Claire’s earlier wink and swore, “I promise.” She neatly spun her weapons then slowed down now that the street ended at the main drag for the beach.

Claire followed the directions and made a left. She immediately took in the degraded pier that extended out over the ocean. She could make out Arcadia too. “Thank god,” she muttered.

Alice approached the entrance of the pier and raised her kukris. She prepared for the onslaught any second.

Claire felt a pounding in her chest when the helicopter came closer. She went past the handful of former vendor stands and entered the main part of the pier. She spotted the black Osprey moving north from Vacation Isle. Claire picked up the pace in hopes she’d be more visible on the dock.

“Come on, Chris!” Claire yelled at the Osprey. She spun on her feet and started jumping up. She waved her arms while continuing out on the pier. She paused halfway because the Osprey was nearly over them.

Alice bent her knees and gave a loud cry then launched into battle. She prayed her yelling would crowd more undead and attract Chris’s attention from above. Any human knew that a mass of undead meant other humans were near. Alice sliced through the undead and fought them away from the pier with furious kicks. But they were quickly overwhelming her.

Claire held her hat in place when she tilted her head back. She grinned at Chris circling over her head so she knew he was aware of them. She fixed her hat then decided it was time to get Alice. But the only problem was that Chris wasn’t the most confident pilot. They would just have to make do.

Claire rushed down the pier and her boots boomed loudly against the worn planks. She slowed once she took in the huge mass of undead at the pier’s mouth. “Jesus,” she murmured. She only founded Alice because of the bodies flying and blood spraying. She didn’t understand how Alice managed to keep the undead from flooding the pier. But Claire quickly realized Alice was losing the battle.

Hastily Claire ripped out her Glock and covered the short distance towards the fight. She saw an advanced undead jump up from the mass and aim for Alice. Claire quickly lined her sights on the midair zombie and fired at its head. Her shot rang out loudly and carried off for blocks.

“No!” Alice hollered too late. She heard the bullet’s shot echo down the street and sound off the buildings. There was a long silence that was broken by the giant’s roar.

Claire lowered her Glock and held her breath. She then gazed down at the planks that began rattling under her. She whipped up her head and stared at the running beast several blocks away.

Alice was cursing while she sliced through the undead. She detected that the giant wasn’t far away from them. She couldn’t see it thanks to the mass undead, but she could feel it and hear it. “Get back, Claire,” she yelled.

Claire reversed back down the pier. But she scanned for Chris, who was double backing for a landing.

Alice made it out onto the dock where the aged vendor stands sagged around her. Sharply her eyes lit up.

Claire took a few steps backwards and watched the vendor stands vibrating against the planks.

The stands were torn off the dock and hurled through the air towards the undead. Each stand took out half a dozen or more undead at a time. There was a significant gap in the pool of undead thanks to the stands crushing them.

Alice’s head was jerked to the right after she saw a flying car was coming towards her. But she was protected by the thick wall of undead between her and the car.

The giant roared and continued towards the pier. He flattened undead in his way and grabbed a pickup truck. He aimed for the powerful female at the head of the dock. He threw it with great strength and yelled.

“Alice!” Claire screamed. She couldn’t watch another friend be killed. She acted on instincts and raced to Alice. Yet she slowed when she saw the flying truck come to a steady stop in midair. She took two last steps and looked at her friend’s dark profile.

Alice kept all her focus on the hovering truck. “Two can play that game,” she growled. She reversed the truck back to the giant. She made it fly faster and faster until it slammed into the stunned giant. She happily listened to his protesting cry while she cut down more undead.

The giant was furious now and ripped a light post from the street. He swept away the undead with quick work and came for the two women.

Alice forced Claire back and demanded, “Get away.” She prepared to battle the giant and had to roll away when the pole came at her head.

Claire backed off and briefly spotted Chris, who was at the end of the pier. She realized he was carefully ascending closer to the pier. “Chris is nearly here,” she called to her friend. She took another step back but now had both Glocks aimed at the giant. She began firing on it, but it did nothing except piss off the giant further.

The giant brought down his fist at Alice, but instead of hitting her or the ground, he punched an invisible wall. He snarled and growled at Alice. He brought his other fist around from the side, but he was blocked again by something invisible. Truly furious now, the giant began pounding down on the invisible wall and howling at the protected woman.

Alice handled each blow but slowly sunk to her knees and dropped her kukri. She tried thinking of another plan, but her mind was numbing from the giant’s constant punches against her telekinesis. If she could manage a blast then she would have a chance.

Claire felt a sharp pain to her brow, and she touched her forehead. She gritted her teeth and crumbled to her right knee with her Glocks forgotten on the dock. “Alice,” she moaned in pain.

The giant increased his pounding after the tiny enemy weakened greatly. He could almost imagine her flattened body under his fist. It excited him into a rage.

Alice choked for air as if the giant was strangling her. She weakly tilted her head back until her blue eyes filled with the giant’s twisted features. She gave a war cry and forced her body to get up. She stretched out her arms and with her palms facing the giant. She returned his roar and forced out a psionic blast at his chest. Alice was drained and toppled to the planks.

The giant howled and was thrown onto his back. He wrestled against the brief pain before he slowly started to get up.

Claire lifted her head and gasped for air after the invisible knife was drawn out of her head. She weakly made it to her feet then stumbled towards Alice until she had more strength. She ran towards Alice and grabbed her under the arms.

“Wake up, Alice,” Claire commanded. She tried pulling Alice away from the giant, but she was too weak and Alice was heavy in her hands.

Alice had normal eyes again. She sluggishly moved her legs, yet she couldn’t get up. She toppled again despite Claire’s best effort. “Go,” she murmured.

Claire growled and yanked on her friend. “I don’t think so.” She knew that Chris was waiting for them by now. They didn’t have much time before Chris would be physically worn from holding the helicopter above the water. “Move, Alice… let’s go.” She glanced at the giant, who was getting onto his feet. “Move,” she snarled and pulled her friend up.

Alice was knelt on her right knee. She glared over at the giant that wouldn’t give up. “Bastard,” she muttered and continued climbing onto her feet. She retrieved her weapons then straightened up after a deep breath.

The giant grabbed the same car from earlier that was now coated with infected blood. He narrowed his white eyes at the women then raised the car above his head.

Alice took a step back and fought off her weakened state. She concluded the creature had regenerative powers unlike normal undead. A tug on her arm made her step back a few times. Alice barred her teeth because something in her just wouldn’t let her submit or fail.

“Alice, come on,” Claire yelled and pulled on a stiff shoulder.

Alice raised her right hand and created an invisible shield above them just as the car came plunging at them. Her eyes flared blue again.

Claire ducked out of habit, but she looked at Alice’s dark features. She wished that her friend would retreat to the helicopter so they could escape safely. But when she observed the battle between Alice and the giant, she realized it was something primal and a display of superiority. Claire didn’t think it would end until one of them was dead.

Again the giant was relentless and started beating on the shield with the car. But the vehicle slowly fell apart with each hit. He roared and unexpectedly kicked at the redhead next to his opponent. He was lucky and struck her in the chest.

Claire was thrown across the deck and badly scraped up by debris on the dock. She came to a rest on her left side. She moaned and barely made out Alice’s cry for her. Claire slumped back down against the dock while blood oozed from her temple and soaked into a wood board. She was too tired to fight anymore. Slowly Alice’s cries faded away after she rested her head on the warm wood under her.

“Claire… Claire!”

The leader was pulled away from her quiet peace when strong hands grabbed her. She was rolled onto her back, which made her open her eyes. She smiled when she saw Jill’s beautiful face hovering over her. She should have known that Jill would be waiting for her on the otherside. She took Jill’s hand into hers and held tightly.

“Come on, Claire,” Jill pleaded. She glanced over her shoulder and saw Alice still holding off the giant. “Get on your feet, RC.” She used her superior strength to heft the woman up.

Claire shook her head, which chased away the fuzziness. Her swimming vision focused on the giant and Alice battling each other. Then she looked at Jill, who was holding her hips.

“That’s it.” Jill smiled and gently patted Claire’s right cheek. “Back to life now?”

Claire furrowed her eyebrows and whispered, “Jill?” She captured Jill’s hand in hers. “You’re…”

Jill frowned and looked at the giant. “No time to talk. I think Goliath is getting pissed at Alice.” She guided Claire down the pier. “Get to the helicopter. I’m going to help Alice.” She was confident that Claire had her footing again. She didn’t wait for confirmation and instead ran back to Alice’s side.

Alice didn’t acknowledge Jill Valentine despite she knew Jill was there. She was too focused on her battle.

Jill grinned at the fallen light post off to her right. “Keep him busy a bit longer. I have an idea.” She ran over to the light post that normally would be too heavy. She easily lifted it and darted around Goliath. She had to clear a few undead that’d rejoined the fight, but she made it behind Goliath. She backed up a few paces then started a run for Goliath’s back.

Alice fought the giant with several small blasts that merely frustrated him. She didn’t back off and continued wearing the giant down. However, she suspected he would not die from her onslaught.

Jill lifted the light post’s blunt end and launched into the air. She gained height over his hunched back and drove the light post down towards his head. Jill plunged it into the back of his head, bounced off his shoulder, and neatly made a landing next to Alice. She spun around while standing back up, but she sighed when Goliath fell face down on the planks and concrete.

Alice let out her own breath and looked at Jill. “Welcome back.” She gave a nod then sheathed her kukris.

Jill brushed her hands clean and decided it was time to go. She and Alice started down the pier to join Claire, who was leaning against the railing.

Alice read Claire’s weaken state then took inventory of the bruises and bleeding on Claire’s body. She clamped down on her anger that Claire was hurt.

Claire took off her ball cap, brushed her hair away, and put it back on. She kept her weight against the handrail because she was still weak from being struck.

Alice paused a few yards away from Claire. She felt her blood begin to burn again so she peered over her shoulder.

Jill had gone another step but turned back.

Claire lifted off the rail once she realized what’d caught Alice’s attention. She yelled, “Let’s go!” But Alice didn’t believe they’d make it safely because Goliath furiously roared at them. She barred her teeth and growled, “I’ve had enough of this.” She raised her hands after Goliath stood up. She used a blast to destroy the dock, which exploded into millions of pieces. Every piece hovered in midair in the space between Alice and Goliath.

“Come on.” Jill grabbed Claire’s shoulder and moved her down to the helicopter.

Alice controlled millions of wood shards that she sent hurdling at the giant. She drove every last one into Goliath’s thick skin. She instantly was hit by his blood’s putrid scent.

Goliath wailed in pain and anger. He plunged into the ocean and chased after the humans. He brought his fist down at the dock but continued missing Alice. He could only see out of one eye since his right one was lost by the lamp post jutting through his eye socket.

Alice hastily backed up but used the soaring boards and pieces as weapons. She started aiming for his back where his spine was located. She hoped to cut his nervous system off from his body.

Jill and Claire hurried down the pier towards the hovering V-22 at the end. Jill spotted the two team members opening the door for them. She decided to go first so that she could help Claire.

But Claire became nervous at seeing the handrail in the way. She wasn’t sure she was strong enough to jump over it.

Jill sensed Claire’s concern so she pulled Claire into her arms. “Hold on to me!” She took three more wide steps then jumped off the dock. She was amazed by her own ability as she soared over the handrail and came through the helicopter door. She and Claire slammed onto the metal floor and rolled to the other side.

Claire whimpered in pain despite Jill’s body cushioned her from the harsh impact. She felt the helicopter rock thanks to their arrival, but Chris righted the helicopter again. Claire weakly rolled to her side and strained to see Alice on the pier.

Goliath growled and roared but a thick spear of wood drove through his neck. He collapsed into the stinging water, which turned black around him.

Alice discovered his soft spot, finally. She mentally forced a corner board from the handrail, which had a point. She stiffened when Goliath lifted his right fist up from the water and prepared to take out the last pier that Alice stood on. Alice commanded the lanced wood to its target, but she flipped backwards towards the helicopter’s door. She neatly landed in the helicopter between the open door and Claire’s fallen form. She flipped her head up and smirked at the lance driving into Goliath’s spine, which spray black blood in the salty water.

Goliath died quietly after the javelin pierced his spine and ended his undead life. He started sinking down into the ocean and the current pulled his feet out from under him. Only his black blood floated on the surface.

“Everybody get seated,” Chris hollered back. He felt the strain on his arms calm now that the helicopter was lifting up.

Alice was helping Claire get to the closest seat. “I gotcha.” She had a small grin when Claire fixed her disheveled ball cap.

Jill climbed to her feet, and a soldier guided her two seats away from Claire. She thanked him and started putting the lap belt on.

Alice had Claire buckled into the seat, but she cupped her friend’s dirty and stained cheeks. She calmed when Claire smiled at her. “Your arm is badly bleeding,” she observed.

“I’m fine,” Claire fought.

Alice shook her head and stayed knelt in front of Claire. She reached to left her shoulder and easily tore off her long sleeve. But she quickly turned it inside out then shifted to Claire’s left side. “Let me see.”

Claire held out her arm and looked at the wound on her upper arm. Most likely a protruding nail in the planks had torn through Claire’s shirt and chewed up her arm. It started hurting now that she acknowledged it for the first time. But Alice quickly slowed the bleeding and tied off the makeshift wrap.

Alice noted Claire’s head wound too, yet she doubted it was incredibly serious. She just would make Claire go to the hospital when they returned to the Arcadia. A concussion wasn’t too bad compared to what could have happened to them.

Alice stood up after a few bumps passed and the helicopter settled in the air. She was about to move to the open seat between Claire and Jill, but she faltered when Claire grabbed her wrist.

Claire stared a moment at her friend then hoarsely asked, “Am I…” She couldn’t stomach her question and hoped Alice understood her.

Alice licked her lips but leaned down over Claire. She slowly inhaled the air around Claire and different scents filled her. She was excited by Claire’s strong blood that was still so sweet. She finally shook her head and kept her voice only loud enough for Claire to hear her. “You’re not infected.”

Claire was relieved and sunk forward with her hands over her face. She was convinced she’d have the infected blood in her system after today.

Alice squatted down and touched Claire’s knees. She didn’t have any words to sooth Claire’s wave of emotions. But Claire’s strong hand threaded into hers, and Alice held on. She waited for Claire to gain control because her body well hid Claire’s upset features from the two soldiers.

Jill had watched the exchange between her friend and Alice. She stared long and hard at Alice, who’s face finally triggered a long sequence of memories. Jill’s earlier relief from making it out of San Diego was now consumed by old anger. She was struck by such deep rage that it poured off her body and into the space around her.

Alice smelled the dark fury in the air, and her eyes followed the invisible trail to Jill’s face. She locked eyes with Jill. Alice knew that Jill Valentine had regained every single memory. However, she and Jill silently exchanged a brief truce for the next crucial minutes.

Alice glanced back at Claire and squeezed her hand. She stood as Claire straightened up in the seat with her leadership mask back in place. Alice took her seat between Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield. Never did she let go of Claire’s hand. And Alice didn’t look at Jill during the last minutes of the ride to the ship. Alice only thought of Claire’s safety, especially once they landed on the Arcadia because Alice knew what would happen once they disembarked the helicopter.

To be continued.