in the Land of the dead.

Will Grants Story. Military Ocean terminal. NC

Tis after death that we measure men.
–James Barron Hope

The sun beat down on the docks, the heat oppressive. Will Grant, wiped the sweat from his eyes, trying not to blink, he was scared to blink, anything that kept him from seeing what was around him scared him.

He wished he still had power to run the overhead cranes on the docks, just so he could move more of the shipping containers to create another row of walls. He didn’t need more walls, he just didn’t like the maze the containers still in place created. If these things out there got in, he wouldn’t be able to see them till they appeared in front of him.

Long sight lines that was the key to survival, he ducked into the old operations building, nodding absently to the woman who hadn’t sat at the desk since last June. Your losing it buddy he told himself realizing what he had done.

To often these days he saw the people he had worked with, sitting at their desks or in the break room eating lunch, of just gathered around some ones radio shooting the shit, and laughing at bad jokes. All of them but one had been long dead, attacked and partially eaten by those thing out there.

Joey was the only other survivor of the terminal, and Will had almost dropped a shipping container on him, when he saw him limping across the dock, directly under the container. He had just reached for the release when Joey had stopped and called out for anyone to answer him.

Joey was his best friend, the two men had bonded quickly at work and at home, with so many interests shared it hadn’t been funny.

That had been a day to celebrate when Will realized he was no longer alone, on an installation surrounded by the walking dead.

Last winter they had actually left the installation to see if they could find parts, and other supplies they really needed. when they had returned two weeks later, they found that some one had taken half the munitions, and other materials and supplies. crushed the two men had sat on the dock, with the knowledge that if they had remained they might have been taken out of here. They both believed it had been the Navy who had taken the supplies and one of the transports.

Luckily for Will and Joey, who ever it had been didn’t have access to the manifests, so they still had more shipping containers loaded with MRE’s than either one of them could eat in ten years. but even with guessing, who ever it had been had taken huge amounts of supplies, leaving huge bare spots across the terminal closest to the water.

They had both hoped who ever it had been would return for more supplies but so far no one had. Winter had faded into spring, and spring into summer, now fall was at hand, and the two men were starting to lose it.

Will eyed the boat that had drifted down the inter coastal water way, it didn’t appear to be heading towards the docks or land, but he was going to have to keep an eye on it. He didn’t want it to end up close enough to the docks or shore and let any undead that might be onboard out inside the fence line with out he and Joey knowing about it.

It had taken them two weeks to clear the one ship anchored just off the docks, and they still weren’t sure they had gotten every zombie on board. So they had scrapped their plans to move on board.

The boat, a Yacht actually, had been battered by storms, its com and radar masts had been snapped off, he wished he had the nerve to go aboard and clear it out, that would be a fantastic place to live, safe from the hordes outside the fence.

But he just didn’t dare risk it, not any more. He wanted to live, and there was no reason to risk his life when he had a secured place to live, that couldn’t sink and didn’t need fuel to move around.

If he had to he would take one of the tugs out and push the Yacht further out, it would probably founder down near Cape Fear, where several drifting ships and boats had already sunk since last year.

He trudged to the rail yard, on his weekly task of making sure they would run if needed. He and Joey had already decided to use the Trains of the 59th transport to escape if needed.

by two that afternoon he was done, grabbing his ruck, he hiked down to the water and checked on the Yachts progess, and found that it had scrapped up against one of the Dead transports that still swung at anchor out there, and became fouled in the anchor cable.

“really need to cut those things loose sooner or later”he said aloud, he winced and looked around, it was always best to keep your mouth shut outside, there was always the chance a zombie could have gotten in, and would be attracted to the noise.

Will wandered down to check the Garden, one of the things he was so proud of, he had scavenged books, and seeds last winter, along with a tiller, a four wheeler with a plow attachment and everything else he and Joey could find and put the huge garden in as soon as the weather allowed, he already had plans to build a green house using the heavy sheet plastic and beams he had found in the maintenance area, his first green house would be placed on top of the main buildings flat roof, he would use the huge forklift that moved containers to lift pallets of soil and materials to the roof.

So come this next winter he could still have plants growing, using heat pots he should be able to grow food all winter in the Green house, and if those things outside got in, he wouldn’t have to worry to much, his rain water collection system was already up there, and adding the green house, he would be able to stay alive for a long while.

He climbed to the top of the berm nearest his garden and looked out over the marsh his eyes following the road and the train tracks, any undead getting that got past the fence line would have follow the road, at least that’s what they usually did.

Seeing nothing he checked the sky and noting the position of the sun, another little trick he had learned, how to tell the time of day from the sun.. he had at least four more hours before the sun set and was determined to make the most of the daylight.

Climbing back down he hiked over to the motorpool, where the solar powered UTV was parked, it had started off life as a Gasoline powered UTV, but one of Wills first projects had been to strip out the engine, and anything not needed, and then installed ten Vehicle batteries, two motors from golf carts, and two of the precious solar cells.on the roof.

They needed transportation more than anything else, to get around the huge Terminal, walking was fine, but when you had to haul things, you really didn’t want a motor running for long periods of time. It had taken him three weeks to the thing to run correctly but now, he could travel all over the terminal in silence, to pick up items and bring them back to the main building.

Climbing into the Mule as he called it, he turned it on and rolled out. the Terminal never had many employees, and out of all those people, only he and Joey had remained when things went to hell. The rest had ran for their homes, desperate to get their familys and return to the Safety of the Terminal, but none of them had returned, at least not alive. Will had recognized five of the zombies in the mass that had gotten inside at the beginning. It had been the second week after the dead had risen that a car had pulled up, with a horde behind it, the Driver, Morgan Bryant, one of the shipping clerks, had climbed out and ran to the gate, he had gotten it open, and then been dragged down before he could get back into his vehicle and get inside,

Will had watched from the trees on the landward side of the Terminal, till Bryants little girls had started screaming, then he had ran to hide as the horde swept thru the open gates. He hated himself for running, but at the time he hadn’t had a firearm. And even if he had had one, it wouldn’t have saved them, he knew that was the truth, but it did nothing to take away the guilt he felt. He could still remember them as fun, joyful girls, who had been the center of attention at BBq partys and Company Picnics. They had died as the center of attention to, he thought morbidly, hating the unbidden thought.

It had taken him three days to be able to reach and shut the gates, with out being seen by the undead, but he had to keep any more of those things from getting in. after that it had two months to kill every one of those things inside the fence. So much blood on his hands he wasn’t sure he would ever get over it.

Pulling up in front of the Supply building, he pulled out his shopping list and stepped into the dimly lit building, his hand resting on the pistol he had worn since taking it off the corpse of a police officer.

He stepped inside the dim building, and climbed onto the Propane powered forklift, a bucket hung from the forks. His shopping cart as he called it, he wished Joey would do the supply runs, but he enjoyed pulling guard duty more than Will did, so Will didn’t get upset or argue about it. but there were times he wanted a break.

He drove down the aisles, stopping occasionally to take something from a shelf and load it into the bucket. He had been surprised at many of the items he had first discovered in the building, but over time, he had seen everything that was stored here.

He had also emptied some of the containers before stacking them on the wall, and moved their contents inside the supply building. especially MRE’s, which he had cached all over the terminal, just in case the zombies got in and he couldn’t get back to the ops building. the operations building held almost two thousand MRE’s he had stashed there.

It was nearing sundown by the time he finished his chores and drove back to the ops building to unload, he didn’t see, joey, but that wasn’t unusual Joey usually patrolled the fence line about this time every day. checking for weak spots and walkers that might have gotten inside.

By the time he got every thing unloaded, the stars were twinkling over head, and a big half moon hung over the area. Will locked the front door, with the keys he had taken off Mary Wests corpse, and headed to the roof where he could lay back and safely enjoy the night sky.

He woke early the next morning, staggering to the bathroom, he relieved himself, then used a jug to pour a gallon of water into the bowl to flush. He wasn’t sure if the water in the intercoastal, was safe to drink or not, but at least he could use it to flush with.

He fixed small breakfast of wild bird eggs, and a strip of dehydrated bacon. Before heading down to the docks to check the water.

The warm morning sun shone down on him as he walked across empty pavement, he wished Joey had been there when he woke, he was really getting to hate waking up alone.

Gulls circled over head, there had been a time he hadn’t like seagulls, but now, now he loved to see some other kind of life, and watching the gulls coasting overhead, or swooping and diving let him hope that somewhere out beyond that fence there was more life maybe even people. Maybe even women. God he would love to see a woman who wasn’t a walking corpse. One who smelled like lavender or one of those expensive perfumes.

The yacht was still fouled with the transport, he noted, and a kayak was drifting through today. Behind him he heard Joey shouting something, will turned and looked around, instantly spotting the zombie that staggered out from between a row of contrainers about a thirty yards away, it had the bloated sagging skin of a body that had been in the water for to long, it was so disfigured that he couldn’t tell what sex it was. It wore a pair of board shorts, so it most likely had been a man.

he walked over to a barrel nearby, just one of many he had scattered along the docks, and pulled a baseball bat out that had six inch nails driven thru it. he wasn’t a good shot, he snorted in disgust, he wasn’t even good enough to be called a bad shot, unless they were close enough.

The stench grew oppressive the closer the zombie came, Will hefted his bat and waited. Ten feet away it broke into a shambling jog, arms outstretched , fingers opening and closing in anticipation. Will drew back, and let it come on, at the last minute, in perfect from he swung the bat, the nails punched through the skull with a crunching noise, and the zombie dropped to the pavement.

Joey ran up, not even breathing hard. “good job will, great swing.” He said stopping and staring at the corpse, were chunks of flesh were beginning to slough off the bone.

Will nodded, then turned and doubled over to hurl up his small breakfast.

“haven’t seen a floater wash up here in months”Joey said walking beside Will, who was determined to get the bobcat from the maintenance yard, and get the corpse moved.

“ to much stuff being carried here by the current” Will said, remember the small boat that had drifted through last month that had three zombies on board.

“as soon as I get the body cleaned up, I’m going to get that yacht moved, there might be more onboard and I don’t them falling over board an ending up wandering around on the docks.” Will said.

it was late morning by the time he had the body move and the dock scrubbed down with bleach. Parking the bob cat near the edge of the dock, he pulled a bat out of a barrel before he climbed onto the deck of a Chris craft cabin cruiser and cast off. Joey had returned to walking the fence line, which upset Will, he could really use the company. But he wasn’t about to start arguing with his best friend.

once he cast off an got the motor started, it only took minute to come along side the Yacht, an elegant white futuristic craft with black windows, 80 foot from bow to stern with a 30 foot beam.

It took a few trys to inch the boat up to the bow of the Yacht, where he hooked on to a rail, this was the most dangerous part, if there were undead on board, they could easily fall into his boat before he could cast off. It was dangerous work cutting the steel cables that the yacht had become tangled in. and it took time, Nerve wracking time, he would cut a cable then look back making sure no zombies were the deck of the yacht.

Finally he was finished, he stepped back, and stretched then wiped the sweat from his eyes. he was getting to damn old for this kind of crap, or he really needed to get laid, maybe it was a bit of both.

Almost done, he told himself as he lifted a coil of rope and climbed up onto the bow of the yacht. It only took a moment to tie off and then return to his own boat.

He moved slowly away from the yacht, till the tow rope was taut, then increased power. The yacht didn’t move at first, but then after a couple of moments, it began to move, picking up speed slowly.

He towed it to the center channel, constantly looking back. Wondering if there were undead on board, surely they would have come out on deck by now. but they could also be locked in a cabin or something and just waiting for him to open a door. no set it adrift and let it go he told himself as he scrambled across to the Yachts deck and removed the tow rope.

Once back aboard his own boat, he pulled away, and then idled watching the yacht drift slowly away. He hated seeing it go, but he just wasn’t ready to deal with zombies at the moment. the hundreds he had put down during the first months of the apocalypse, still haunted him. Finally he turned the boat around and headed for the dock.

*********************************

Will worked quickly, eager to get back inside and away the oppressive heat, and high humidity. Before the zombies the dock would have been alive with noise, as Straddlers moved containers, trains rolled in and were unloaded, Mike Jones, would have been his usual loud self, working shirtless, and being told every other day to put his shirt back on. No one had ever fired him, because for all his stripper tendency’s he was one of the best workers at the MOT, and the yard manager hadn’t really cared, as long as no one complained about it.

But now, other than the clink of Wills tools, or muttered comments to himself, the docks was silent, the whole damn place was silent. The wind blew steadily in from the east, gulls wheeled and circled overhead, calling to each other. Which only emphasized the silence of man. There was no hum of power lines, or ships powering up to head out to sea, no jokes on the radios, or military vehicles patrolling the facility.

Joey had left a week ago, just two days after Will had set the yacht adrift, to see if he could find more supplies for them, . Will was starting to worry, joey had promised to take a radio, but Will hadn’t talked to him since that morning.

He was also bored and lonely, he ha found himself talking to people that weren’t really there, and three different times had seen people he had once worked with around the yard and in the office.

There was just to much work to do for one person, will thought as he climbed up onto one or the many berms, designed to deflect any explosion from the docks back out onto the water. There were three rows of berms spreading out, north and south, from the accesss road and supply train tracks, that ran thru the swamp, on the other side was were woods and beyond that the section of the MOT that the public had been allowed to see.

He had driven out there this morning and stood in the shadows of the woods scanning the fence line with binoculars, staying out of sight of the undead that lined the fence for almost three hundred yards on both sides of the gate. Satisfied that the fence and the gate were secure, he had returned to the operational side of the MOT.

The green house on the roof of the ops building was almost complete, and he really should have stayed up there and finished it today, but he decided to come down here and watch for Joey for a little bit.

Finally he turned and climbed back down an drove back to the docks, then decided to check the trains, the train yard was silent as a grave, a more apt description these days than before Will thought.

Climbing into the first engines cab he checked everything over, satisified it was ready to go, he started to climb out and noticed something pocking out of a small drawer. He walked over and slid open the drawer that had been used to carry orders, invoices and what ever else. He had never really looked in it before, but now as he pulled out a playboy magazine he wished he had.

He sat cross legged and thumbed thru the magazine, lingering on each air brushed picture, his blood pressure increased, and the old familiar urge flowed through his body, he stare at the women memorizing every curve, and shadow, the angles of their faces, the way their hair fell around their faces, and then he started to cry. Every single one of these women were dead, dead and walking. Every one he had ever liked was dead, Mary, Jo Anna, Betty, Lauren all of them, walking rotting husks of people, he was drooling over the dead. He hurled the magazine away from himself, self disgust, pity and a profound sense of loss and loneliness filling him.

He stumbled to the ladder, and climbed down, tears streaking down his face. he walked towards the UTV, head down, hands in his pockets. A gull cried over head, and a scuff of gravel, broke the silence. Wills head snapped up, his first though was that joey had returned, but he saw nothing, he listened carefully, and heard something take faltering step on gravel, then another. Then the sounds of more movement, Will got down on his hands and knees and looked under the engine and saw rotting feet on the other side, several sets of feet, in rotting shoes. The wind shifted blowing the stench of the undead to him.

He got to his feet quietly, and headed for the UTV. He wasn’t as quiet as he would have liked to believe. The sound of the undead walking grew louder, and in moments ten water logged zombies appeared around the engine.

Damn, if he could have made it to the UTV and drove off before they appeared, he could have lost them. no matter how much he didn’t want to tangle with ten of the things, he couldn’t just leave them wandering around either. Joey might be back anytime now, and will wasn’t going to let his friend get eaten if he could help it.

He started the UTV, and put it into drive, and drove off slowly making sure the zombies followed.

He had no plan, no idea what so ever over what he was going to do, maybe if he drove in circles the zombies would drop dead out of sheer boredom. God knew boredom was getting to him.

He slowed as he passed one of his weapons barrels, he reached out and snagged one of the bats, then on impulse turned, the UTV around and accelerated, steering with his right hand he hefted the bat with spikes in his left and as he passed the first zombie he swung at its head.

The bat was almost yanked out of his hand, as the nails pierced the chest of the zombie, but then the pulled free ripping away chunks of rotting clothing and flesh.

This is not going to work, he thought as he swerved and clipped a zombie sending it sprawling. He turned in a wide circle and sped away.

The UTV was slowing, which meant it needed to sit and charge, and a hell of time for it he thought, he had used it far to much the last two days. and now he realized he had screwed himself. he wasn’t ready to get trapped in the ops building just yet.

He parked the Mule, by the ops building, grabbed his bat, and jogged down to Dock one, where a transport ship had been moored since last year. He could hear the lap of waves against the hull, wind set the steel cable rigging to humming other than that it was silent.

It had taken Joey and himself, a week to completely search the Robert Parnes, finding thirty undead on board. They had even debated on setting up shop on the ship, in retrospect that might have been the smartest thing to have done, Will thought, in case of undead raise the gangplank.

But it was a bit to late to start moving in, if he survived this, he would set it up as a secondary home. a place to retreat to, in case of another attack.

He looked back and saw the pack of zombies still in slow pursuit, if it wasn’t so damn terrifying and if they weren’t so gross to look at it, it would have been funny.

Two had pulled ahead, so he waited by a stack of plastic wrapped pallets, the two reached the pallets ten feet ahead of the others, one went left the other went right, Will stepped up and swung the nail studded bat with all his strength into the skull of the one on the left, it crumpled and fell to the dock. Will rushed backwards and as the one on the right stepped past the pallets, he brought the bat down in an overhand strike crushing its skull the bat stuck in the wreckage.

Will, his mouth twisted in disgust, place a foot on its chest and wrenched the bat free. two down, eight to go, he thought as he looked around. the eight came on determined to stick together, he wondered if maybe they really were staying together out of some pack instinct. He turned and ran to stand just behind a large forklift and stack of crates.

Finally they started spreading out, there was to much on the dock for the undead to stay in a tight group, he ran forward, as a once attractive woman dressed in a bloody suit pant. Her left arm hung at her side, the sleeve ripped away at the shoulder, mostly bone with some muscle. Her right hand was reaching out for him, he danced forward and swung the bat for all he was worth, it struck her under the chin, lifting her up on her toes. The long nails driving into the soft tissue of her brain, she toppled over backwards.

Another zombie darted out from beyond some containers, taking will by surprise at how fast it moved, and the shock of recognition almost got him killed, Jason, still dressed in his waiters outfit, twenty something with a Pregnant Girlfriend. will had been going to the steak house where Jason worked for six years, and they had gotten along pretty well. he had always been a good waiter, and often slipped free stuff onto wills order, or gave him complmentary drinks.

Will stumbled backwards, managing to stay away from those grasping hands, there was nothing left of Jason in those cloudly eyes, the mouth yawned opening, showing bloodstained teeth, and a white tongue covered in fungus. Will felt his gorge rise, he steeled himself and swung the bat, Jason stupped and fell to his knees, Will pulled the bat free, and swung again, sending Jason sprawling on his back.

He turned and ran further down the dock, to give himself some breathing room. a girl, maybe sixteen, in shorts and a bikini top, came at him next, bite marks all over her torso, and legs, her long blonde hair was matted with old blood and gore,, her head hung at an odd angle. He didn’t let himself think about her age, or of the horror she must have experience at being eaten alive. No she was just a thing, a dangerous, deadly thing, not a pretty girl who had, had her life ahead of her. he swung the bat, letting anger lend him strength. The bat connected, and her neck snapped with a loud crack, the soft rotted skin of her neck tore free, and will did hurl, as her head sail remained stuck to his bat.

He dropped the bat, not willing to touch her head,

His thoughts were chaotic, he needed a weapon, he needed to run, he fucking needed to puke again.

He spotted a rusting pry bar on top of some crates, and scopped it up, just a man, stark naked, and partially devoured lunged for him. Will gripped the bar with both hands and drove it into the zombies skull, throwing up on it. it fell to the ground and he wrenched the bar free.

Backing up to get more room, an elderly zombie, dressed in pajama’s rushed at him, teeth snapping eagerly. It reminded will of his grandfather, , the things dirty nails scoring the skin of his arms. As it tried to get a grip. Will swung the hooked end of the bar desperately at its head, crushing it. he stepped away from the corpse, he knew he was covered in goo, and puke and stank to high heaven, but that was only a peripheral thought, he was focused on the last two zombies that came at him.

Joey, god I wish joey were here he thought as zombie in a suit rushed at him, the other zombie a nurse, whose blouse had been ripped open, along with her abdomen, came in from the right side.

Will jumped to the left, swinging the bar, but only managed to hit suits shoulder sending it stumbling into nurse zombie, he swung again and crush suits temple.

Nurse zombie struggled free, from suit zombie and lunged at Will who suddenly found himself falling, a death grip on the bar. He hit the ground and felt pain flare in his shoulder and back, He managed to wedge a hand up under her jaw, keeping her snapping teeth away from his skin, but he didn’t know how long he could keep her off him,

Her hands were scrathing at him, he tried to striker her in the head, but her flailing arms made it difficult. He screamed as fingers dug into his side, and he felt skin rip away and hot blood gush out. she pushed her head down, but he pushed back.

He gave up on trying to hit her with the bar, and instead pulled it closer, angling it up under her jaw, god don’t let me get bit he prayed wildy, his heart beating so rapidly he thought it was going to burst, he yanked his hand out from under her jaw, ramming up with the bar as she pushed her head down towards his throat. At the last second he closed his eyes and mouth, the bar smashed up into her brain, and blackish goo splashed out on his face, her body went limp, and the worst smell he had ever smelt filled his nose, gagging at the smell, gasping at the pain he shoved the body off, rose to his feet, and ran and jumped feet first into the water, desperate to get the gore off himself.

********************************

he wasn’t sure how many days had passed, he struggled to his feet, almost screaming in pain, he remembered climbing out of the water, and staggering back to the ops building, remembered pouring hydrogen peroxide on the wound in his side, and then on his face, and rinsing his mouth with it.

the fever had set in sometime later, but he couldn’t remember how much longer. The wound on his side had become puffy and was leaking greenish yellow pus, that smelled almost as bad as a zombie.

He staggred to the door, glad he was alone, if some one saw him now, they would shoot him, thinking he was a zombie. Maybe he was becoming one.

He waved to Mary who stood near the front doors, looking sexy as all get out, in that short skirt, he just wished she would take her coat off, he just knew that white shirt was stretched tight across her large chest.

He stumbled out side, and remembered mary wasn’t there, he was alone.

He forced himself to think, there was something he had to do, food, that was it, he had to get more food, he started across the pavement, heading for the containers, then stopped, hadn’t he emptied the containers and spread the food out between different buildings. He couldn’t remember, god his head felt weird.

Suddenly he found himself laying on the hot pavement, the sun sinking towards the earth, he struggled to sit up, he sat there for a long while as the light fled, and the moon light flowed across the docks. Food he thought I was going for food, he struggled to his feet, and stood there swaying, chilled to the bone.

“come on will you can do this, foods back there” Joey said from behind him.

“joey, damn I thought you were dead” will whispered.

“Will, you had better get moving, you need to eat, and get some medicines. Come one, lets head to the clinic, theres antibiotics there remember” Joey said.

will turned and saw Joey, who smiled at him.” You look like shit buddy, but you can do this come on.”

He took a step towards joey, then another. Black spots appeared before his eyes, he shook his head slowly, and found himself leaning against a brick wall. A door beside him.

“come on Will your almost there” Joey said

Will nodded, “ almost there, clinic right here” Will said.

He stumbled inside, fumbling at the light switch but nothing happened when he turned it on. “powers off Will, remember” joey said beside him. Will nodded, he did remember the power being off, but not really why it was off.

“cant see a thing” Will said as he stumbled against a counter.

“I can will, come on over this way” Joey said.

Will fumbled in the dark at the handles to the cabinet and got it open with Joeys help he find a bottle of aintibiotics, and shook out three pills, with joeys urging he popped them in his mouth and dry swallowed.

His throat was so dry it hurt., “ come on there a bed right here, you can lay down here.”

Will nodded, crying , joey had come back, he wasn’t alone anymore. He managed to get into the bed, his side on fire. “don’t leave me Joey, please don’t leave me, I don’t want to be alone any more.” He was sobbing and didn’t care.

“don’t worry buddy, I’m here, I’m not going anywhere.”

***********************

First sergeant Ben Cross, walked across the terminal, following Sergeant Compton. Whose close shaved head was sunburned.

Cross was the image of a classic First Sergeant, tall wide shouldered, fitted uniform, a shaven head, square jawed, classically good looking with faded blue eyes. He couldn’t believe this place,

When He had gotten Jared’s Message, he had at first thought that Jared was insane, a place like this should have been stripped long ago, but it hadn’t, which was nothing short of a miracle.

“ We found him in the clinic, damn near dead First sergeant, he had been dosing himself with antibiotics, Sherian, says that’s the only reason he is still alive, the poor bastard managed to get a some bottles of water, and pills with one of the worst infections Sheridans seen. he got lucky, he moaned just as we entered or we might have shot him as a stinky” Compton said as he opened the door to the clinic, cross stepped through, his nose wrinkly at the stink of infection and sickness that filled the place.

the man lay on a bed, an iv hooked up to him, he was rail thin, there were clean sheets on the bed, but a pile of sheets lay in the corner yellowed with sweat and and green stains from the pus like discharge.

“he got attacked by the looks of it, and we found ten bodies scattered along one of the docks.” Compton said to cross, “ he fought them with a nail studded bat and a pry bar, never even used the pistol he has.”

“suck with a gun” the voice was weak, and full of pain.

“damn he is awake” Cross asked.

“in and out” Sheridan said, as he finished bandaging the mans side “looks like one of them ripped a chunk out of him.’

“he got bit” Cross asked, it would suck for this guy to fight that hard, against the undead and infection only to die from being bitten.

‘no bites, just scratches and this thing, that looks more like some one used a hand to rip out a chunck.. “ judging by the infection, and other factors, he was attacked a week ago, maybe a week and a half.”

“joey,” the man on the bed called out. “ you promised not to leave me”

“was there some one else with him” Cross asked, the men in the room shook their heads,

“ just the ten dead stinkys and that body you found up by the gates in the Admin building. “ Compton replied.

The body up at admin had been there for weeks, the man had broken both his legs, and had ended up shooting himself. probably to keep from starving to death. Cross couldn’t take the smell any longer, “lets talk outside.”

Out in the fresh air, he took a deep breath, and then turned to sheridan. “is he going to live?”

“he should, keep in mind I’m not a doctor, but it looks like the antibiotics were starting to work, but he hasn’t eaten for a while, and I doubt he managed to drink much of that water either. But yes, he should pull through.” Sheridan told him.

“great news, do you think I should have the buildings swept again, to look for who ever Joey is” Cross asked, Sheridan looked at Compton, then at PFC Vega, who, looked quickly away.

Seeing the look Cross raised an eyebrow. “what, I’m not in the mood for games Soldier”

Compton, held up a hand to stop Vega. “ PFC Vega was the first inside, sir, he thought he saw..”

“Sergeant Compton let Vega tell me himself” Cross said, his voice was level, and there was no real rebuke in his tone.

Vega drew himself up, he looked nervous, “ First sergeant, I entered the room, and saw a man standing beside the Bed, that’s why I didn’t shoot, then the man on the bed moaned and the other guy was just gone.” He gave cross a look that dared the First sergeant to call him a liar or Crazy. “ he was five ten maybe, blond hair, mid fortys, wearing Jeans and a ghost in the shell Tshirt.”

Cross started, it wasn’t really possibly was it, but what in the world could you call impossible in a world were the dead walk, Vega had just described the body that had been found in the admin building.

He shook his head, not sure what to say.

*************************

“your going to be okay Will, I promise” joey said sitting on the edge of Wills bed.

“where did you go joey you promised you wouldn’t leave me alone” Will said, he was still woozy and mostly out of it.

“you weren’t alone Will, Soldiers are here, and they aren’t going to leave you here alone.” Joey assured him.

“but, what about you?” Will asked puzzled,

“cant stay Will, I’m sorry buddy, I couldn’t leave you alone before, but now, now I have to go, youll understand when your better, you take care Will, I will wait for you”

Sheridan entered the room, and blinked for a just a moment he thought he saw a man standing by the bed patting his patient on the shoulder. then he was gone.

his patient was crying, “bye Joey.” There was so much pain and loneliness in those two words it struck Sheridan like a hammer blow, his patient closed his eyes once more,

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