‘Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.”
Mary shifted uneasily in the seat almost to afraid to look out the window of the truck and into the darkness. She had already seen more than enough zombies walking around today to last a lifetime, and that, she thought was not counting her twice weekly trips to Walmart. The media was falling all over itself trying not to use the word zombie, or the two words “walking Dead”, but that was exactly what those things were, dead men walking.
Her day had started as normal as any other day. She had woke up, showered, drank some coffee and then headed into work. The few folks she saw stumbling along the side of the road just before dawn as she headed to work she had chalked up to drunks or hitchhikers. If she had known what they were at the time she would have ran their asses right over then backed up to make sure they were dead before driving on..
It wasn’t till Carmichael her boss had come in and announced that there was an emergency and that the CDC and Mayor had ordered every one to their homes, that she even realized something was up. Carmichael had explained quickly about the infected and then went to gather his things so he could leave. Ronny was calling two minutes after that, telling her he would be there as soon as possible to pick her up. He had been watching the news and heard the order to close all business’s and send the employee’s home. “Don’t take off in the car baby, you know its barely running. Just wait okay” he had said and he was right. Her car ran about as often as a 90 year old ran marathons.
In a rare moment of human Kindness, Carmichael had actually left her the keys to the building to lock up after he left instead of forcing her to wait outside. And it was probably his last moment of kindness she decided. She actually hoped the sour faced bastard was all right, she would have died if not for his leaving her the keys.
Ronny had been delayed by heavy traffic and was over an hour late by the time she remembered the emergency pack he had insisted she keep with her and of course she had left it in the car.
Other than the recent flooding, she had never had any reason to use that pack and had considered Ronny’s and his friends’ obsession with preparing for disaster as a hobby more than there being a real need for it. Till now of course, and now that she needed the pack it was still locked in her car where it did her zero good.
As she had waited for Ronny, she occasionally had heard gunshots off in the distance, and the distant screams of terror. But for the most part it had been quiet outside, so after twenty minutes of relative quiet, she decided to head to the car and retrieve her emergency pack, that now seemed like a very good idea to have and to keep from hearing Ronny say I told you so for the next month.
She had stepped outside and looked around surprised actually to see the street empty. There wasn’t a car insight or even a single person it was the most surreal moment of her adult life and only helped drive home the disaster that seemed to be rolling over Nashville.
In the distance, she could see black plumes of smoke rising from multiple locations. She could even see flames rising out of the broken windows on the upper floors of the Bat tower as locals called it, due to the odd looking projections that rose up on either side of the roof. It was like a scene from a movie, but no movie could ever do justice to how eerie it was to see this in person.
She had taken off her high heels and tucked them into her purse, then jogged across to the neighboring parking garage. Hesitating only for a moment in the dark entry way of the garage, wondering what if anything might be inside. Scared she had forced herself to step into the dark yawning maw of the garage.
It was dimly lit inside the garage with thousands of shadows that could have hid anything, and she didn’t know it at the time, but it did hide a few things, things that slowly turned and began to stagger and stumble after the living woman who started up the ramp to the upper floors.
Without her shoes there was no echo or steady clicking. She had realized later she had been very lucky when she had decided to take off her high heels. Reaching the third floor, she pushed the button on the Car remote that she thought without looking was the trunk release. The sudden double honk surprised her and made her jump. It was so damn loud in the near total silence.
Total silence, now there’s a description that means nothing till you experience it, she thought. It’s profound and creepy, when all the sounds that normally go unnoticed are no longer there, the sound of traffic, the barely heard muted conversations all around, Distant horns, and a thousand and one other things. Now all she could hear was the hum of fluorescent lights and power lines outside.
She had popped the trunk and pulled out the pack setting it on the floor, on impulse, she opened the pack, and pulled out the pistol that Ronny had insisted be part of the emergency kit. She was really spooked to even consider carrying that in public, not because she hated weapons, but she had no license and didn’t want to get in trouble for using it.
If she was threatened and needed use the pistol, she wouldn’t hesitate to put down any attacker and face a jury later. Sealing the pack, she had slung it over her shoulder and turned to head back down the ramp hoping that Ronny would be waiting at the curb by the time she reached the street.
Mary turned her head to look at Ronny, forcing herself to relax and settle back into the seat of the truck as the memory of what had followed rose up and carried her back like she was living it again.
She stopped abruptly the hair rising on the back of her neck, standing on the car ramp, she had just come up a man stood in the shadows. Instinct not rational thought made her crouch down out of sight. There was something about that figure that set her on edge. His shoulders seemed hunched over, seemingly longer than normal arms dangled at his sides. He wore an old fashioned hat, like a bowler. His head turned from side to side, enough for her see a large hooked nose that seemed overly long. The impression that it was listening and sniffing was almost overpowering.
Her first thought was to brave it out and call out a hello. However, a part of her, the more primitive part, overrode that desire as she slipped as silently as she could between her car and the van parked next to it.
She crouched there peering over the back of the car, watching as the strange man moved slowly up the ramp and stopped still in the shadows beside a thick cement pillar.
Behind him, she saw several other people come up the ramp, one was dragging its left leg, its right arm dangling by its side. Another used short, mincing steps, its toes pointed inward as it leaned forward as if using gravity to actually move. The others moved with their own peculiar traits imposed by the injuries they had sustained.
Bowler hat’s head turned slowly, mechanically and then stopped as he spotted her car. She had the distinct impression it was looking straight at her. Her mind raced as she considered her options, she knew she could run across the lane and leap the railing to get to the second floor of the garage. But she had no idea how many more infected people were down there. The entire lower two floors of the garage could be crawling with the infected, she thought ignoring the mental image of pale, blood covered people scuttling along the ceilings and floors, sniffing as they followed her scent.
Think, she told herself, pull your head out of your butt and think. She couldn’t go to her left because of the infected, she could make a run for the railing and try her luck on the second floor, seeing the other infected that were coming up the ramp being Bowler hat that didn’t seem like an option. But thirty feet away and to her right were the stairs and elevators. She didn’t want to even risk getting stuck in the elevator if the power went out so that only left the stairs, which were a whole heck of a lot less risky than anything other option she had.
She lowered her head, and moved to the front of her car and squeezed between the van and the outside wall, which only came up to waist height. Wishing she could just leap out and land easily on the ground three floors below. Wish in one hand spit in the other and see which one fills up first she told herself. As she moved past the front of the van to the vehicle parked beside it. Which was a Lexus, she didn’t stop, but moved past the car the same way she had passed the van. Her eyes kept darting back the other way, unable to see the infected she was scared they were coming after her.
She lay down between the Lexus and a compact ford parked on the other side. She had looked under the vehicles and saw that Bowler hat and buddies were beside her car. Crap crap crap she thought. She was twenty, maybe fifteen feet from the staircase now. She climbed slowly to her feet staying low and out of sight as she slipped along the wall again and the front of the ford compact. Her attention fixated on the stairwell door. It was close now, she thought then the sudden idea that more of the infected might be inside stairwell.
Well, there’s a few out here too, she told herself as she looked back, and almost screamed as she saw the bowler hat looking around the front of the van directly at her.
His face was almost skeletal, narrow and oddly triangular with his chin forming the point. The tip of the hooked nose was almost even with his thin upper lip. The eyes, were flat, inhuman, almost cloudy and lay in deep dark eye sockets. Straggly wisps of white hair hung down the sides of the face. But it was the quivering grin that bared jagged shark like teeth that almost sent her over the edge.
She leaped to her feet, to hell with caution all she wanted was to escape, so she ran for the stairwell. She had heard them coming for her the sound of shuffling shoes and the thumps of those who limped seemed incredibly loud in the garage and spurred her to greater speed. She didn’t look back, she didn’t dare, she never wanted to see bowler hat again. She slammed the stairwell door open and in the process knocked over an infected man inside. She leaped over him some how avoiding his grasping hands and ran for her life.
She reached the street level and hit the crash bar throwing the door open and bolted for her office building. Ronny wasn’t there, either damn it. She thought not seeing his truck at the curb, and then skidded to a halt her eyes wide. One of the mimes from the street festival was between her and the front door.
A fucking mime, She thought. Okay, so it wasn’t enough that she had seen the bowler hat and his gimpy minions. But now, a Mime. A mime with blood on his stupid striped shirt. And a gaping wound in his throat.
Any other time I would have cheered at a mime being eaten, but to let the damn thing come back from the grave, that’s just evil. The entire train of thought ran through her mind between two running steps, she looked back over her shoulder and saw more of the infected pouring out of the parking garage now. And a mime was between her and the door to the office. Pistol, you have a pistol, it was Ronny’s voice in her mind. Thank you Ronny even if you’re late.
She drew the pistol on the run and fired, then fired again. The mime twitched and staggered but didn’t fall. If he does one stupid rope pull or trapped in a box routine I am going to scream. She fires again and the bullet tore into the mimes neck, sending it staggering back, its head dangling oddly and then it collapsed and stopped moving. She paused only long enough to kick it before diving for the door, fumbling with the keys to the office.
The undead behind her were twenty feet and closing. Stop looking back, she thought as she stuck another key in the door and tried to turn it but it didn’t move. Ten feet, they were getting out bibs now, she thought. She rammed another key in the lock, took a deep breath and turned it. Almost screaming with relief she yanked out the key and dove inside, slamming the door closed with five feet to spare. She managed to get the door locked, then engaged the keyless dead bolts, before retreating up stairs.
She stood there at the window watching the street and waiting for almost another hour before Ronny pulled up to the building and saw the horde of zombies. He started honking the horn and drove away slowly. She started to cuss him, then realized what he was doing as the infected outside the building turned and began to stumble after his truck.
It had taken almost ten minutes for the infected to clear the door and get far enough down the street that Ronny was satisfied. He turned his truck around and raced back down the street towards her building, weaving around clumps of the infected that slapped weakly at the passing truck. .
Mary grabbed her pack and ran down the stairs to the front door, throwing it open as Ronny drove up onto the sidewalk and stopped just a few feet from the door yelling out his window at her to hurry. She ran out the door and glanced up at the parking garage and almost fell as she saw the bowler hat standing there on the third floor looking down at her.
Mary shivered coming back to the present as Ronny drove slowly ahead, looking grim as he spotted another tangled pile of burning wreckage that had once been cars. Figures moved around the wreckage backlit by the flames and now were turning towards the headlights and shambling forward.
“ We should have been there hours ago, “ he muttered. Who would have guessed the area would have gone under so fast. It had taken an hour and half and two changes of underwear to get out of the downtown area. Then another hour using back roads to avoid the parking lot that the highway and interstates out of Nashville had become.
In good times they would be half an hour from Jared’s house, but today the driving through the suburbs and satellite towns around Nashville was taking far too long. And judging by the amount of zombies clustered around homes and other buildings they passed there must be a lot of people holed up inside. Hoping to wait it out till the army or someone arrived to save them, Ronny thought. But as soon as the zombies heard his truck or saw the headlights, they would turn and lumber his way.
“ This blows” he muttered as he backed up and turned down a side street to avoid another wreck and more zombies. He had stopped calling them infected within minutes of seeing several up close..
“ Do you think we will make it?” Mary asked quietly, her hand resting on the pistol in her lap.
“ I will get you there no matter what, “ he vowed and he meant it. Even if he got bit in one of those things he would get her to Jared’s before he died and became whatever they really were and if god thought any different he could just…. He chopped that thought off. With what was going on outside, ticking off god wasn’t a smart thing to be doing.
“ Brace yourself, “ he said as he saw six zombies in the middle of the road. He slammed the pedal down and his truck roared forward. The zombies disappeared under the truck, which bounced and jerked a couple of times. “ Let’s see a hundred points for each zombie, one of them looked like he might be a politician so that’s an extra Ten points. Senior citizens are worth…”
“ Ronny that’s not even funny” Mary said with disapproval.
“ Mary if I don’t make jokes I’m going to scream and shoot myself. So just ignore me” Ronny said tightly as he turned onto Morgan street. “ To hell with this, ” he said, looking down the street where he could see orange flames across the road. .
“ What are you going to do?” She asked then fell silent as he engaged the four wheel drive and turned off the road and drove across the small park to their right.
“If we cut thru here, head north and then cut back across the creek we can stick to the woods and come out close to Jareds Road.”
“ And if we get stuck, you’ll get your ass bitten while hooking up the winch” Mary pointed out.
“ Note to self make stainless steel undies soonest” Ronny said as Mary almost smiled at the poor joke. She would be surprised if she ever smiled again. She had never really believed in the supernatural, Bigfoot or anything else like that. Now her world was upside down, anything was possible and she didn’t care what anyone wanted to call them. Those things were undead. Evil was loose in the world and she didn’t think some knight on a white horse with a magic sword was going to ride to their rescue.
“ Ronny, have you stopped and thought about if those things out there are real, what else is real?” She said softly, fearing gripping her as the thought came. He started to shake his head, then stopped himself.
“I kind of doubt we will have to worry about werewolves and vampires right at the moment. And even if they are real, they would be on our side. Can’t be letting the zombies cut down on the food supply you know”
“ I am being serious asshole” She snapped, hating herself for letting the fear she felt get to her. Ronny was quiet, fighting his own desire to lash out, letting some of the fear he felt go. “ Sorry, ” she said a second later. She was normally a strong woman, but the events of today had shaken her to the core.
“ It’s okay, no biggie. I don’t think they exist, okay. Maybe they did once. Maybe every once in a while the whole good vs. evil fight spills visibly over into our world. Ages ago it was vampires, then werewolves and now zombies” he said as he drove thru a creek water splashing up and spraying the windows, then the truck was climbing up the other side bouncing over rocks and a downed tree the head light cutting through the pitch dark woods.
“ Buckle up Mary, this is going to be rough.” Ronny said as he turned off the headlights and slowed down, “Try to get Jared on the phone okay, ” he added strain to see into the darkness beyond the windshield.
She nodded and lifted her phone taping the speed dial number and then frowned. “There’s no signal”
“ Shit!” Ronny muttered hoping that Jared and the others wouldn’t leave till he got there.
Around 4 am the power went off and didn’t come back on. All over town, street lights died, plunging the nightmare filled streets into Stygian darkness. Thru the darkness, the zombies were unseen but not unheard. The shuffling and foot falls of the undead filled the night only occasionally being drowned out by isolated outbreaks of gunfire or the roar of a motor as another person tried to flee the deads advance.
The long lines of vehicles that were still attempting to flee on the interstates suddenly found themselves drowning in darkness as the glow of the city behind them and the towns ahead vanished and only the long lines of headlights lit the interstate, a ribbon of light announcing feeding time. In less than an hour the screaming started.
Jared sat down at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, thankful he had a natural gas fed stove, not letting the worry he felt show. Ori and Steve talked quietly about what might have happened to Ronny. None of them even skirted the possibility that Ronny and Mary might be dead.
Right around 4 Am, Eric and Rob had shown up loaded down with their gear. Four zombies had followed their truck up into Jared’s yard. They had put the zombies down quickly and everyone had helped them get their gear inside. Shortly after the cell phones and land lines had stopped working. The only thing to be thankful for was that no other undead were in sight.
“ Give it another hour and then we can go look for him and Mary “ Jared said, rising from the table and checking his watch, it was just after sunrise.
“That might not be smart “ Ori replied, not happy about saying it, but the danger of going out and looking for Ronny was very real. Anything could happen and the fact they had no idea where to even begin looking pretty much meant it would be a wild goose chase.
“ Smart or not, the least we can do is go to his house and make the attempt” Jared replied. Ori nodded slowly, he didn’t want to leave a friend behind either, but at the same time He had to point out the dangers. And the truth be told he really didn’t want to be out there either, he had already seen enough of the infected and the madness during the afternoon when he tried to get to Susan’s house. And truthfully he still hadn’t come totally to grips with the new reality.
Ori pushed his glasses up with one finger, and looked around at his friends. If he had to face the end of the world, at least he wasn’t alone and these were good people. Could be worse, I could have joined the guard and been eaten at a check point. Worse yet still be active duty and stuck on a base overseas till it got over run and eaten. My luck it would be some asshole officer who took a bite out of my ass.
“ Okay, so, we know that we won’t be called up. That’s pretty much a given. But if the post office delivers mail today, we join up. Because neither rain nor sleet or zombie horde will delay the mail is a catchy motto” Jared said as he wiped out his cup and set it on the counter. “ Ori you’ll go with me to look for Ronny if he doesn’t show up. The rest of you get the last of the stuff loaded and wait one day. If we don’t come back head on out to the camp at sunrise tomorrow. If we can, we will meet you there.”
Ronny’s truck nosed out of the trees and into a field. It looked almost normal in the light of the rising sun. He recognized the house to the right of the field and grinned as he woke Mary. He had stopped around two am for some much needed sleep when the going had gotten rougher than he liked. He normally didn’t mind driving through woods at night, but usually he could use his headlights.
The fear of waking up to windows breaking and rotting hands dragging him out had kept him waking up every ten or twenty minutes. But as soon the darkness had started to fade he had started the truck and drove slowly thru woods till at last the sun was finally peeking over the crest of the world heralded by a Red and gold clouds and he found himself five miles from Jared’s.
He didn’t let himself get too excited, and kept the speed down as the truck ripped up the fields. He didn’t stop for the fence, but drove straight thru the old wooden split rail fence and onto the road. “ How far now? “ Mary asked, starting to feel relief.
“ Five miles or so” Ronny replied, smiling at her, hoping his smile would help keep her calm.
As they approached the turn to Jared’s house, he saw a wreck in front of Jeff Sloan’s place on the corner. “ Look at that, “ he said aloud as he watched in surprise. Six zombies were trying to get at a woman who was wearing a black leather outfit. One lunged for her and Ronnys eyes widened as she sent it flying backwards with a spinning snap kick.
“ What the hell, “ he said and laughed despite the situation as the women used a foot sweep to take down another zombie. Ronny gunned the motor and sped forward, driving over two of the zombies while the woman back flipped out the reach of the rest.
A small group of zombies drawn by the sound of the Ronny’s motor had come around the corner of Jeff’s house and were now plodding slowly across the lawn towards the wreck and Ronny’s truck.
Ronny threw open the door to his truck and stepped out pistol in hand. The woman scooped something off the road and rose smoothly into a stance he had seen a million times in movies. He shook his head, if he didn’t do something fast that woman was going to die.
One zombie turned towards the truck, its dead eyes fixed on Ronny and came at him with its arms outstretched. Ronny pumped two rounds into its face at close range sending it sprawling. He shifted his aim and double tapped the next zombie in the head. He pivoted towards a third zombie took aim and fired again.
The woman leaped forward, drawing the sword she had picked up from the ground. It hissed from the sheath and struck at an angle shearing easily thru the neck of the Zombie closest to her. Blood sprayed. She spun around and with a single blow removed the head of the zombie she had taken down with the foot sweep as it got back to its feet.
She returned to position, sword held with two hands. High and straight above her head. Then gliding on the balls of her feet, advanced on the last zombie, the one she had sent sprawling with the snap kick. The Blade of her sword, lit by the rising sun, looked like a bar of golden light as it sheared easily thru the zombie’s neck. She stopped as suddenly as she had struck. Then, with an intricate twist of her wrist, she spun the blade shaking off the blood and sheathed it without looking.
She was pretty he realized, her long dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and the thick leather clung to every curve. She reached back into the wrecked car and pulled out a leather belt with two holstered pistols attached to it and buckled it around her slender waist. An end of the world survivalist dominatrix he thought his eyes, centering on the impressive swell of the chest under the tight leather. If she looked that big with it on, he thought then tore his eyes away. Guiltily aware that Mary was sitting in the truck watching, and she was armed.
“ Thanks, “ she said to Ronny, who nodded
“Your welcome” Ronny said then turned and shot down the four zombies in Jeffs yard.
“ It’s really a screwed up world, “ she said as she wrestled a duffle bag and backpack out of the Charger and placed them on the hood.
“ You from around here?” she asked.
“ No, but a friend of mine lives just down the road there” he said pointing.
“ Really, ” she said, arching an eyebrow “I’m looking for a friend of mine that lives down that road, ever met Jared Stone”
“ Aint it a small world” Mary said, her voice dust dry as she turned a glare on Ronny who was almost drooling. “And if my fiancé doesn’t close his mouth, I’m going to nail it shut with a nail gun”
Jared and Ori had been ready to leave when Ronny’s jacked up Ford pulled into the driveway. Parking across the last gap in the box the vehicles formed around the garage door. Jared saw a third person in the truck and his eyes widened as Jill emerged after Mary. He raised an eyebrow at the Katana she held, but felt a some relief to see she had two pistols riding her hips. His next thought was how damn sexy she looked in that leather outfit.
“ We were just about to go looking for you “ Ori said as he wrapped an arm around Ronny’s shoulder and squeezed.
“ Suck up” Steve muttered As the rest of the group laughed.
“ Got stuck in the woods for a bit last night. You wouldn’t have made it far on the roads. Seemed like there were wrecks blocking every damn intersection between here and the Mall, and there are fires everywhere. And wouldn’t you know it not a cop or a paramedic in sight” Ronny said as Steve and Ori helped him unload the Packs and Jills duffel from the back of his truck.
“ And then we find Milla there kicking zombie ass with kicks and a sword down in front of Jeffs place” Ronny said grinning. “ You should have seen it”
Jared looked around and spotted walkers in the field across the road. “ Let’s get back inside, leave the rest of the stuff on the truck. That’s why we boxed in the garage, so we could reach the trucks without having to run across the yard. “ Jared said as he took Jill by the shoulders, She looked like she hadn’t slept and there was a haunted look in her eyes. “ Good to see you, “ he said. She didn’t reply at first she just wrapped her arms around Jared and leaned her head against his chest for a long minute before pulling away.
He wasn’t about to mistake the intimacy of the embrace for anything other than what it was, but he had enjoyed it all the same. Parts of him, really enjoyed the touch.
“ You okay? “ He asked after a moment. She nodded, then took a deep breath.
“ Me… My sister got bit coming over to my place. I had to kill her, ” she said, and choked back a sob determined not to cry not when thousands maybe millions were dead around the world. Well, semi dead at any rate. Her sister was just one of the multitudes of the dead now.
“ Sorry to hear that, ” he said and meant it. The pain in her voice and her eyes wrenched at him. “ I didn’t have anywhere else to go, and you…”
“ I know I meant it when I invited you over. “ Jared assured her.
“ Hate to break in, but there’s a few of the dead guys down the road and looking this way” Chris announced. “ And five, a hundred yards out in the field across the street”
“Man the neighborhood is really going to hell, you should consider selling” Ori commented as they gathered gear and went back inside.
“ Naw, Id never get my asking price” Jared replied as they all headed inside.
Mary and Bridget watched Jared hover over Jill. They were slightly amused, despite the situation outside the house. He must really like her to be waiting on her hand and foot. It was almost disgusting to watch. But he was decent enough not to flirt while she was still dealing with the end of the world and having to kill her own sister.
“You distract him, and I’ll get her to follow me to the bathroom” Mary whispered to Bridget.
“ Might as well save the situation before he gets too carried away” Bridget said, nodding then rose, heading straight for the kitchen door to intercept Jared before he could return with yet another cup of coffee or god forbid a brownie.
The world was ending all right when Jared stone was busy playing house wife with zombies roaming around.. Can it get any stranger Bridget thought, stepping into the kitchen. “Step away from the damn cupcakes and you won’t get hurt, ” she said seeing what he was doing. The door to the kitchen swung shut behind her, cutting off the wild laughter of the men in the other room.
“ Looks like maybe thirty out there “ Ori said coming down the stairs. “ And Rob swears he saw more in the woods behind the house, and more are coming from across the fields.”
“ So do we stay the night, or leave now” Steve asked.
“ I vote now, if we wait till morning there could be five or six hundred out there, or more” Ori replied. Mark nodded in agreement. “ And if we leave now we still have hours of daylight left, so we can stop and get the rest of the ammo before bugging out completely”
“ Good point, but what about when night falls. We need time to find a place to stay for the night. And I don’t think the roads will be clear enough for us to make it to the Camp in the normal two and half hours.”
Rob looked down at the floor, he and his boyfriend had only worked for Jared and the crew for two seasons so far and was hesitant to share his ideas. Well and the fact they had shown up out of the blue, believing that if anyone had a handle on how to survive this shit Jared and the “ dirty dozen” would.
“ You got a suggestion, Rob?” Jared asked suddenly, they had worked together long enough for Jared to recognize when Rob wanted to say something but was holding back.
Rob, grimaced at being put on the spot, then cleared his throat. “ There is a place I know about. Used to explore it as a kid. It’s an old sand pit with a lot of Buildings. Been abandoned since the fifties I think. If we leave by noon and don’t get too delayed, we can reach it well before nightfall. It’s got four or five huge old buildings, and several smaller ones too. And a lot of old earth moving equipment just sitting around rusting. Even better, whoever owns it has bulldozed up a wall of dirt around it to keep out of readers. The only way in is through a chain link fence gate.. “ He said then shrugging slightly embarrassed to be the center of attention. “ It’s a mile off a country road, three houses are on the road leading to it, and the chain link gate is closed with a chain and padlock. So bolt cutters will get us thru it.”
“ Get him a map” Jared told Ori, then leaned against the wall considering their options as Ori passed a road map to Rob who marked the location on the map. The entire group spent half an hour working out the details before Jared said “ sounds like a plan then,” Looking around inviting questions or comments but there were none.
“All right everything is already loaded up, so lets sweep the house once more for anything we might have missed and then packs on and haul ass out of there. No sense hanging around till noon, when we can leave now.“ Jared commented as he rose and slung his rifle on his shoulder.
The group loaded up the last of the supplies onto the trailer hooked to Jared’s truck, under the harsh glare of fluorescent lights in the barn. Jared waited with the remote in his hand, his Colt Commando slung across his chest, while the group got itself sorted out.
He couldn’t help but remember all the party’s they had while they worked on their off road trucks in the large barn bay. He was going to miss this place, and he doubted he would ever get to come back here and live.
He glanced at the long work bench, his eyes lingering on the tools still hanging on the pegboards, and his rolling tool boxes. He hated to leave all that stuff behind, but each truck had its own tools and spare parts loaded already, they never drove without them. Nothing worse than breaking a belt, or snapping a tie rod in the middle of nowhere and not having the parts and tools to fix it. He didn’t know any serious Offroaders who didn’t carry parts and tools for emergencies. .
He racked his mind for a moment to see if they had left anything that they might need, finally satisfied, he turned back to the group, trying to ignore the looks of fear and apprehension.
“ Everyone Ready? “ He asked, looking at each person and waiting till they gave the all clear. Not sure what he would do if someone balked at leaving. “ Then let’s go, ” he said as he pressed the button and the garage door, began to open. He was thankful he had installed a battery back up for the garage door opener several years back. Immediately the foulest stench any of them had ever smelled filled the garage.
If there was one thing you could say about zombies, it would be they stunk. As a group it was overwhelming. Individually, it was bad. At the sound of the doors opening, the zombies milling about the yard and clawing at the windows and doors of the house turned towards the vehicles that formed a U shape around the front of the garage blocking their way.
Jared felt a shiver as he saw that there were at least fifty zombies now, Ori was probably right, there would be a thousand by tomorrow morning. But what unnerved him the most was the silence. Hopefully the loads of gear in the back of the off road trucks were secure. Because there was no way, they could just run around the side of the truck and tighten things up a bit.
Steve loaded first helping Carol and Bridget into his truck. All of them trying to ignore the hands clawing at the passenger side window as the undead sought to break thru. His truck started with a roar. Thank god if any vehicle didn’t start they were screwed. Jared thought, eyeing Ronny’s truck, which was notorious for not starting.
One by one they ran to their trucks and got them started. Jared breathed a sigh of relief as Ronny’s truck roared to life. That’s one less problem at the moment he thought.
As the trucks fired up, the undead went nuts gnawing at the glass trying to reach the people inside. Their Cloudy eyes darting from side to side, seeking an entrance to the fresh, living meat on the other side of the glass.
Jared climbed into his truck, buckled up and started the motor. “ All right lets roll, ” he said over the radio. Ronny pulled out purposely running down every zombie he could get in front of his truck. Mark pulled in behind him. Both trucks already locked into four wheel drive.
Jared pulled forward slowly so as not to yank the trailer, then accelerated smoothly pushing the button to close the garage door. He watched the garage entrance in the side mirror till it shut completely. Not one zombie had gotten in. They were too busy following the trucks.
Pulling the heavily loaded trailer across the lawn had worried him at first. But his truck, dug down and pulled it thru the lawn easily, leaving deep ruts in the grass. “ The lawn guy is going to hate me” Jared said aloud.
Undead were slapping weakly at the glass as he passed. It only lasted for a moment, then he was pulling onto the road and turning towards the highway. Behind him the rest of the team fell into place. They left a trail of crushed and mangled bodies behind them. The surviving zombies began their slow pursuit after their fleeing prey.