Ride of the Huntsmen

“ PUT the saddle on the mare,
For the wet winds blow;
There’s winter in the air,
And autumn all below.
For the red leaves are flying
And the red bracken dying,
And the red fox lying
Where the oziers grow.

Put the bridle on the mare,
For my blood runs chill;
And my heart, it is there,
On the heather-tufted hill,
With the gray skies o’er us,
And the long-drawn chorus
Of running pack before us
From the find to the kill.

Then lead round the mare,
For it’s time that we began,
And away with thought and care,
Save to live and be a man,
While the keen air is blowing,
And the huntsman halloing,
And the black mare going
As the black mare can.”

~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Things had begun to fall apart for Harry, a month after entering Missiouri. First he had been stuck with working the Southern areas under T, which was bad enough. T had a habit of killing any one who disappointed him in anyway, and it meant working with that halfwit Dale.

When T had put him in charge of one of the Scout and Scavenge teams, Harry had thought if he could keep from pissing off T, he would finally be able to impress Kronnen enough to get moved to the Base group.

But all that was smoke in the wind now, its only take a week and half for my world to come crashing down, Harry thought. starting with finding Bodie, one of his better scouts hanging from a Tree. That was bad enough but the symbol carved into the tree was that of a dead man. A Dead man that Kronnen believed was dead, and he wasn’t going to take it well to find out he had been wrong.

Since Bodie, three more men had been killed while out scouting, the only thing harry could think of to stop the random killing of his men was to send out groups of scouts, so no one would be out alone, it would draw more undead to the area they were scouting, but undead were easy to deal with as long as the ammo lasted. And Lets see that bastard deal with a group of scouts.

He stormed across the office of the campground his team was staying in, and glared out the window. Ignoring Dale who was playing with a hot wheel car. Stupid halfwit he thought, the only reason T had saddled him with Dale, was because Dale would tell him everything that happened around him. And god help who ever decided to get rid of Dale.

At least he only had six more towns to scout out and loot before moving on to the final Goal. Once that was secured T would move in, and Kronnen himself would arrive to see the prize and that would be all Harry needed to get moved to the Base Group and then being given his own command. He smiled to himself at the thought and then the realization that he wouldn’t have to lug Dale around after that.

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

Darius heard the motors in the distance and smiled coldly, hunting these assholes was getting easier. They were too predictable for their own good. He had heard the scout vehicle day before yesterday, and had followed it here, where he watched them check out two business’s before speeding the way.

It had taken half the night to build then place the IED, and then sit and wait. Nice to know we don’t have to wait much longer, he thought noting the sun was just past noon. He pictured his sisters face then settled himself down on the roof of the insurance company that gave him a good field of fire down the main street. Watching as the undead began to fill the street, If you undead assholes blow this for me I will blow your asses up he vowed.

Down by Hamilton studio, a truck turned on to main street, rolling over the undead. a Machine gun mounted on the back, an M60 Darius thought, opened up. It didn’t kill the undead, but it did cripple quite a few. Two men were heaving pipe bombs into the mass of undead, the explosions ripping off the limbs of the closest undead, blowing the rest off their feet.

The Military truck and two ford Pickups rolled down the main street of Lowry city Missouri, pushing through the undead that filled the street. Their mission to scavenge the business along the main drag a bust, there were far to many undead to even try.

With this number of undead it was apparent that some one had been here not long ago, drawing the undead down on the area. The vehicles sped up, running down the undead in their path, and made it another block before their world ended in fire and shrapnel.

Darius dropped the two wires he had used to detonate the IED, Grabbing his rifle he wrapped the sling of his rifle around his left arm to help steady his aim. One truck had survived and was pushing its way through the undead picking up speed. Darius laid his sights on the face of the man driving the pickup.

He could see the mans mouth moving, see the fear in the others eyes as the truck sped up. Darius smiled feeling nothing for the piece of human scum but a distant amusement at seeing the fear in the murders face as he stroked the trigger.

Down below the truck veered out of control, two of the four men in the trucks bed, went flying into the arms of the undead. With a crash the pick up smashed into the plate glass window of a Café.

He ducked down out of sight, just in case another raider might have survived and had seen him, he chambered another round in his rifle then leaned it against the stone coping after a moment hearing no return fire.

Quentin gave him a speculative look, He didn’t say anything but there were times Darius seemed to enjoy this a little to much. What puzzled Quentin was where Darius had acquired some of the skills he had, Like how did a cowboy learn to make IED’s and some of the other things they had made last night.

“Mind if I ask you a question” Quentin asked suddenly, deciding he might as well ask.

“no go ahead” Darius replied as he pulled a pistol from a hostler and checked it over. They had a while to wait till the undead in the area thinned out.

“Where did you learn how to make IED’s” Quentin asked, as he rifled through his bag feeling around for a package of snack crackers he had found ealier.

Darius smiled, “ from my old Foreman. Or really my Uncles Foreman, he was a Vietnam Vet, not sure what unit he was with in the war, something secretive at any rate. But that man loved to make stuff that blew up. When I was little, he would take me out and show me how to make stuff like pipebombs then we would blow stumps, sometimes an old junk car.”

“you had a really screwed up Childhood” Quentin observed.

“no, I didn’t.” Darius said, “People were just to damn uptight there towards the end. Every one kept thinking their way was the only way for other people to live” Darius said ejecting the magazine of his pistol then slapping it back in.

“Where I grew up, kids did stuff like that, it was fun. We carried pocket knifes to school and during hunting season you could find a rifle and bullets in every truck in the student parking lot. If we had a problem we had fist fights, no on grabbed a gun, or knife that kind of stupidity only seemed to happen in cities and large towns., don’t ask me why I don’t know.”

Quentin didn’t say anything; his child hood had been completely different. Besides the old world was dead, why argue about things like that. Like most men Quentin completely understood the attraction to loud booms and things blowing up.

“So what’s next on the list of things to do to fuck with Kronnen” Quentin asked. “maybe dip into your secret agent bag of skills and grab a bomber.”

“I wish I had secret agent skills, a bomber would be damn useful, Hell I could find them in a day or two with a plane.” Darius said with a crooked grin, “ but same plan as usual, hope they send some on running back to their main camp, so we can follow them then we blow it up.”

“Blow it up, your kidding right?” Quentin asked shaking his head in disbelief.

“No Im not kidding, I say blow up, as in damage it, let the undead in, create as much chaos as we can. Because I want some of them to run to the campsite where Kronnens entire force is going to rendezvous so I can follow them there and get my sister and our friends out.” Darius said with a deadly glitter in his eyes.

“and after that” Quentin asked quietly.

“After that I don’t know,” Darius admitted, he hadn’t thought much past rescuing the others. “Maybe find an old hotel to clear out and live in, or a mall, like in the movies, or one of those huge church complexes. You know the ones with all connected buildings and courtyards that are behind walls. I don’t know Ill figure it out.”

“Well Darius, you might want to start thinking about it. and think about this, Kronnen is not going to be happy if you do manage to waltz in and free those people. He also isn’t going to be happy to find out your still alive.” Quentin said, Darius had no response to that.

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

Harry stopped the truck he was driving and stare at the burned out wrecks surrounded by undead. “ Son of a bitch, ” he snarled, trying not to think about the symbol that had been carved into the tree that Bodie had been hung from. It couldn’t be that man, he was dead. Every one knew he was dead. But a little voice in the back of his mind insisted that the Hunter was back.

He gave the signal, and column began to back up and turn around, there was no point in going further, the store was demolished and there were far to many undead to deal with., and Harry had no interest in driving through the crowd of undead, not today.

For all he knew there were bombs planted down there hidden by the crowd, and he wasn’t going to risk losing a vehicle. As he backed up, he saw painted on the red brick wall above the door of the Pharmacy, the Symbol of the man every one had called the hunter.

the column of Vehicles rolled out of town finally stopping at a small rest stop two miles out, it wasn’t much of a rest stop, just two picnic tables under a metal awnings, and a trashcan mounted to a pole between the two.

Two zombies actually sat on one of the picnic tables, another was crawling around on hands and knees like it was looking for something, the last of the four was staring right at Harry with out moving. Then as if a switch had been thrown, all of them started moving towards the tucks.

Harry’s men piled out of their trucks and quickly put down the four zombies, then stripped the station wagon that had been parked there. What they couldn’t use or didn’t want they dropped on the ground.

Harry stalked over to a table and sat down on top of the thing, his men spreading out in teams of four and sweeping the area. All but Dale and Bad Dog who came over and joined him. Harry didn’t like Bad Dog, but he was mean, and a good man to send out on job, he got jobs down that was for sure, Harry thought.

Bad dog was almost six foot, older than most of the men, with a thick bushy beard and mustache. His Iron gray hair was cut short and hidden under a Dew wrap. His arms were covered in Blue green blobs that had once been tattoos and Harry knew that under the mans leather vest and Ac/Dc tshirt, Bad dogs chest and back were covered in the same blobs. He carried a sawed off double barreled shotgun in a thigh holster, and some kind of Assualt rifle slung across his back, and even though Harry couldn’t see it, he knew there was a .45 in Bad dogs waist band at the small of his back.

“you know who is doing this!” Bad dog stated, his voice gravely

“No I don’t, T told us the hunter is dead, and Kronnen personally told T that the Hunter is dead. Do you really want to go tell T that the Hunter is alive and make it sound like Kronnen lied. I know I don’t. so the only answer is some one else is pretending to be the Hunter. Maybe its one of his friends who just likes leaving that symbol to fuck with us. We need to lure the ass hole into a trap and kill him, then Ill tell T whats going on. If I go back with nothing but that symbol and a lot of deaths and loss of supplies, Ill get shot, T will probably shoot you too, and the idiot,” Harry jerked a thumb at Dale. “will be the only one he doesn’t kill.”

Dale smiled stupidly at Harry, which just served to further piss harry off. He managed to hold back. For some damn reason T liked the halfwit, so he was hands off. Dale was one of those guys who looked thick, like they worked out, but didn’t. that was Dale, thick limbed, slow witted, dark hair, with doe eyes. And dumber than a fucking bag of hammers, Harry thought, . And he was T’s spy, the boy was loyal as hell and couldn’t lie to save his life, it was genetic or something with him.

He sat there thinking for a moment listening to the conversations of the men sweepng the woods around the picnic area. “any suggestions on how to lure this guy in” he asked Bad dog.

Dale looked at him and smiled “ Cheese works in mouse traps.”

“idiot” Harry muttered but Dale was right, and he had just the Right bait. “ Bad Dog, don’t you have a score to settle with the Hunter” Harry asked, his mind working rapidly.

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

the moon rode high in the night sky, occasionally a cloud would drift in past obscuring the moon and glow with silver light. Darius had always heard of Light pollution and how it obscured the night sky around the world. He had never believed it, not really he had sat in a saddle under the night sky in remote places like North Dakota, and thought he had seen the night sky in all its glory. But he had been wrong, he gazed up at the millions upon millions of stars, that glittered above him, the glowing skien of the milky way and saw the real night sky. His sister would love this, she had always loved astronomy, she had lugged a telescope along to every rodeo, while he lay there recovering from his rides of the day she would be sitting on a blanket staring up through her telescope watching the stars and taking notes.

“you must have been really close” Quentin said from where he sat watching the road, “your sister I mean.”

Darius nodded then realized that Quentin probably couldn’t see him nod, even with the moonlight. “yes, we had a tight family, how did you know I was thinking about her” Darius asked curious.

“you touch the pocket where you carry her picture. “ Quentin replied, shifting to get comfortable. “you told me a while back that when you started after her, there were others with you. what happened to them?”

Darius almost didn’t answer, then shrugged in the darkness “most of them died, one Vanished, I think he got eaten and the other I left with a group we had run across, he was shot up pretty bad. I doubt he made it.” Darius was quiet for a moment, then he looked back up at the moon. “Charley Watts and his Brother Nate, David Spaulding, Bob Sanders, Terry Murdock, Ian Sinclair and four others. The real shitty part is I don’t remember those guys names. I can tell you what they looked like, but not their names. Makes me feel like a total shit.”

“it happens” Quentin commented, staring out onto the road where he thought he saw something move for just a moment.

“The raiders just called us the Hunters, not because we were bad ass or anything, but because some of the prisoners had told them a group of us were out hunting and would be coming after them. we took that name with pride, and hunted down every one of the SOB’s we could catch. Didn’t take long for Kronnen to start leaving his own hunting teams behind. and things got worse. At the end if was just me and Nate left, then he got hit pretty bad so I left him with a small group that had been hiding in the Maxwell game preserve.

He made me promise I would keep trying, and I have been every since. Would kill one or blow up a truck or two, spray paint my family Brand nearby. I kept notes and gathered as much information about how they operate as I could hoping It would help me track the Main Group that Traveled with Kronnen, that’s where my sister and the others were taken. But I haven’t had much luck yet. They get real cagey right around Rendezvous time. Kronnen stays out of sight till the entire group gets together and moves into a city. He uses the mass firepower to clear out an area, secure it and set up a base in which ever city he picks. But he has been steadily heading east since I started after him.”

Quentin was silent for a long while, watching the shadows on the road but never saw movement again. :” what if I told you I think I know where their camp maybe, or at least where most of them will hit” Quentin said suddenly.

Darius turned his head to study the Shadow that was Quentin. “how would you know that” he asked suspiciously.

“No Darius Im not one of them, I have my own reasons for wanting to hurt Kronnen, but not because I once ran with them or anything. But check your Atlas, theres one thing we all need, beside food. and that’s ammunition well okay and weapons too. And not to damn far from here is Fort Leonard wood.” Quentin said. Darius stared at him, feeling like a total idiot. So many of the places Kronnens people had hit over the last few months were close to Military bases.

“I must have looked at that a dozen times and never even thought about it. Damn I am a fool.” He said, then shut himself up realizing he had spoke far to loudly. And sound carried at night.

“I thought as much” Quentin said softly.” from what Ive seen Kronnen’s folks waste a lot of ammo, they love kicking zombie ass, even when they don t have to. I got to thinking about that last night. They cant be scavenging all that ammo from homes, and they haven’t hit to many towns with Guard Armories since they hit Missouri, besides most of those Armories were damn near empty when the zombies came. that’s when I thought about Little Korea as some folks used to call it.”

Tomorrow, I think I’ll plant the second IED in Hermitage where the raiders were scouting the other day, and its more or less on the way to Ft. Leonard wood, Darius decided as he wrapped his blanket around his body and closed his eyes. Even if the raiders don’t show up in hermitage, we can head to the base, and who knows we might be able to find some stuff we can use.

The last thought he had as he drifted off to sleep was to wonder why he hadn’t ever thought of searching military bases for supplies.

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

The man called T, was getting antsy. The southern most teams he had sent out were late in reporting. Harry was a good man to lead them, but T suspected something had happened and Harry was delaying to take care of the problem to cover his ass, instead of risking making T angry.

What that idiot was going to do was piss off Kronnen, who wanted that Base stripped of everything they could lay their hands on, on schedule.

How Kronnen knew so much about some of the places they had hit, had stopped being a mystery for T and a few others just before they left Kansas city. Kronnen was in contact with some General. Kronnen took the Information the general passed him, and used it to find keep his forces supplied or to take out possible threats.

The General either didn’t know or didn’t really care that Kronnen had no use for the US or helping restore the US, why should he Kronnen controlled an area ranging from Tahoe to Missiouri now. and when the undead finally fell over, Kronnens control over the area’s he had set up bases in would be absolute.

But now there was a new group that Kronnen had heard about, one that actually had military training and equipment, one that used planes and helicopters and had a secure base of operations. And some of the things on the nearby military installation to the south was critical to taking the island fortress when the time came. T almost felt sorry for the people on that island, they wont know whats hitting them till its too late.

Kronnen already had a time table, and the first phase had started, spies and amassing the materials he would need to take the place. All of which led T back to Harry’s being late, I will give that dumb ass three more days, after that I am taking some men and hunting Harry down, and light a fire under his ass. If they didn’t hit that base and get started in a week, Kronnen’s plans would have to be delayed, and T was not the one going to take the blame for that.

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

Bobby chortled as Gerry used a golf club to but down the zombie that had once been an elderly woman, her huge blood matted hair do, wobbled like Jello bringing to mind the old Weeble toy. “go for the fat guy in the tighty whiteys,” Bobby hollered, Gerry turned and ran at the fat zombie that was staggering towards him, its arms outstretched, its chins wobbling as the zombies mouth opened and closed in anticipation of its next meal.

Bobby hated this scavenging shit, yeah they needed the food, ammunition and other supplies, but it seemed like he was always out scrounging and never allowed to spend more than two days back at base where all the women, food and booze was. Hell of a way to spend the end of the world, he thought sourly.

“Gerry you dumb ass, back to the truck.” Bad Dog, shouted from the door of the IGC store. “any one else that feels like fucking off, will deal with me”

Bobby sighed but he didn’t protest. No one knew what Bad Dogs Name really was, but he was one mean Son of Bitch. Somewhere between forty and sixty years old, blue green blobs on his arms that had once been tattoos, he might have been a biker back in the day, but he didn’t act like one, he acted more like a soldier.

Bad Dog also loved being in charge, and Kronnen loved him. Which was more than enough to stop almost every single protest that might have been raised. What Bad Dog liked, Kronnen would approve of.

Bobby turned his attention back to the street, where the undead were slowly gathering, their numbers kept low by the men in the backs of the Deuce heavy trucks who sniped them as soon as there were more then ten in sight. From Experience they all knew in towns this size they had maybe half an hour to strip a business before the numbers of undead great to large to be kept back. Sometimes it was even less, but today it looked like they might actually have more than half an hour.

Then tomorrow on to the military base, that was just waiting to be picked over. Bobby couldn’t wait, all those military goodies he could get his hands on, maybe a good rifle, and lots of grenades.

Bobby lost in thought and bored, never paid much attention to the hatchback, parked near the front doors of the IGC, the hatchback that was only ten foot from the truck he sat in. it was just one more in the millions of dead cars left scattered about the former United states, a set decoration for the apocalypse.

The hatchback vanished in a hurricane of shrapnel and fire, that swept across the Scavengers. The shock wave flipped Bobbys truck, onto its side, the red hot shrapnel tore through the fuel tanks. It might have been the Super heated shrapnel, or the fire that followed it a micro second later, either way the vapor escaping the ruptured tanks exploded first, then burning fuel spray across the area.

Bobby only lived long enough to notice his own problems the other explosions, the sound of shattering glass and cinder blocks, and the whine and shriek of shrapnel happened far to late of Bobby to notice.

Bad Dog, ears ringing shoved the shelving unit off his torso, and rose to his feet, blood streaming from multiple lacerations across his torso, his nose was broken and two fingers on his left hand were gone. He looked around and realized half the store was rubble, the roof open to the sky. It was just piles of rubble and fire.

He saw an arm sticking out of one pile, the skin bluish white, the hand grasping at air. he recognized the Tattoo on the Forearm. Dallas was dead, he thought shaking his head, then looked around realizing that there had to be more dead.

Willi, lay near the cereal section he had been looting half his body buried under rubble, his mouth opening and closing, as Neilson knelt beside Willi, pulling handfuls of intestines out and eating them.

Bad Dog, took a step back, seeing other shapes moving through the demolished store. G, one of his old buddies stumbled towards Bad dog with a hole the size of a dinner plate in his torso, Bad dog could actually see straight through that hole. Some one moaned nearby, G and Little Tony who was missing an arm and eye turned and headed towards the injured man. A moment later the screaming started.

Bad Dog scared now, tried to find his rifle but it was gone, stripped from his hands by the explosion that had removed two of his fingers. Outside in the trucks there are spare weapons he told himself, He turned and made his way through the ruins of the store, fires flickering around him where flammables had been set alight by the explosion.

He stepped outside, and could only stare at the wreckage that had been two big Military trucks. Panicked now he looked around, hoping to spot a rifle, a pistol anything. The only thing he spotted was a piece of rebar.

He could see burning bodies in the trucks climbing to their feet and staggering out of the flames. He was a hard man, and had thought he had seen hell, even thought he had dealt it out. But today he saw real hell. This was nothing like he had seen in the Army, or his time in the Contracting business. That had been simple, the end result of combat, when the dead stayed dead, but there was something so horrific at seeing the burning bodies silenty stumbling out of the fire, flames crackling and dancing over their bodies, hear the snap and sizzle of fat cooking, smell the burning meat and not a sound from the walking dead.

He reached for his .45 and his panic mounted as he realized it too was gone. One of the zombies reached out for him, flames flickering along its arm, the hand charred meat with bone glistening through the cracks. He drew the only weapon he still had the double barreled sawed off shotgun, he shoved it in the zombies face and pulled one trigger, smiling savagely as the buck shot tore half its face off. He stepped back letting the body fall to the ground, then pivoted to face the second burning corpse. Pain flared from his right knew and thigh. He fired the second barrel, watching as the things head disintegrated.

He pulled two new shells out and, open the breech and dumped the two spent shells on the ground, inserted the new shells, closed the barrels and turned to face Little Tony and Gas they came up behind him. Fresh blood dripped from their chins, “bastards” he muttered as he sent killed them a second time. He reached for two more shells turning to face the road, to see how close the undead in the street were. Knowing his only chance to escape was to get across the road and into one of the buildings then escape out the back door.

He froze in surprise seeing a man who had appeared seemingly out of no where. The stranger stood there backlit by the flames of one of the trucks, just a silhouette, it wasn’t one of his men, his guys didn’t wear a Cowboy hat.

“get out of my way” Bad dog snarled, shocked and slightly worried as the man laughed. He knew there was no way he could get the double barrel reloaded fast enough to make a difference. And the bastard seem totally unconcerned with the undead nearby. “ you don’t want to fuck with me, when my buddies get here…” Bad dog said, suddenly feeling every year of his sixty two years.

“you know, the problem with dumb asses like you is, you think you impress people” the man said his voice deep with a southern drawl, that sounded really familiar to Bad Dog. Something very much like fear went through him, at the realization that this man was not scared of him, not in the least. When he had been younger Bad Dog would have taken this asshole down hand to hand, today older and wounded he knew he stood no more chance of that than of reloading his double barrel.

“who are you, how did you track us here” Bad Dog asked, certain this was the man they called the hunter, the man shrugged as he drew a pistol and fired four times. “ a Dead man told me” the Hunter said. Bad Dog felt the pain, and knew it was finally over, the double barrel fell from his fingers to clatter on the street.

“Im the guy you left for dead, kidnapped his sister, and tried to kill a second time” Darius added as Bad Dog fell over into the rubble of the store. He strode over to the dying man, seeing the undead in the store and smiled as he knelt and picked up the sawed off shotgun then looked down at the dying man with nothing but contempt. “and Im going to let you come back as one of the undead you worthless piece of shit.” Darius snarled, then turned on his heel and walked away, as Bad dogs former friends stumbled out of the gutted store. They fell on the whimpering dying man as he tried to drag himself away, The shrieks lasted far longer than Darius would have expected.

The door to the truck opened letting in the smell of burnt meat and smoke, Darius climbed in and sprawled on the leather seat as Quentin pulled out from behind the Shell station, where he had waited, a few zombies beating on the sides of the horse trailer. “you cut that close” Quentin said, “ you let the ones on the street get to damn close.”

He had been surprised when Darius had told him this morning they needed to stop in this town, and plant an IED in front of one particular store. in fact the way Darius seemed to know some things on occasion paled against what he had just done. Quentin actually felt sick at way that scum had died.

Darius shrugged, revenge didn’t feel as good as he had expected, but finding Bad Dog in the store had been like a gift from god. Got your killer Charley he thought and thanks for the tip.

“what you did there at the end was pretty fucking cold” Quentin said, his tone neutral. “I know these guys are real scum and I can imagine what they may have done to the people you knew. But if you ever do something like that again Darius, Im gone. That’s shit they would do. Kill em all, Kill them clean okay. But that, that was too much!.”

Darius didn’t answer, he didn’t know what to say. Part of him loved what he had done, it was fitting, the other part was disgusted, hated it. which side would win out in the end he wasn’t sure. And he wasn’t sure he really cared either.

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

Smoke curled up into the bright blue sky from the burning trucks, a few bodies lay scattered around the wreckage. The store they had been looting had been leveled by the blast that had destroyed the trucks.

“ twenty men, twenty damn men, dead” Harry raved, as he sat in the passenger seat of his truck, looking at the burning wreckage that had been two Deuce and halfs and a tractor trailer rig. At this point he knew he didn’t have the men or the vehicles to follow through with the rest of the plan. Namely to enter Ft. Leonard wood secure three specific buildings send a message to T, and begin loading while waiting for T and possibly Kronnen and his Group to arrive

But how did you tell men like T and Kronnen that a dead man was killing off your men, and how in the hell was he doing it. Harry thought,

The undead milled about on the street slapping and pawing at the sides of the trucks. Even worse he recognized some of them, as charred and ruined as they were, they were his men. Men he had fought beside over the last year.

His gaze slid to the symbol that had been painted on the trailer. His jaw tightened as his eyes narrowed dangerously. I want that bastard, whether it’s the same guy or just some one using that Symbol.

“What do we do Harry, T isn’t going to like this” Harry frowned, the halfwit had a point, T was almost as unforgiving as Kronnen, and he wasn’t going to like hearing that they had lost multiple trucks, over twenty men and a two trailers full of supplies to the Hunter.

:”We, we are going to do nothing halfwit. Im going to send a messenger back to T telling him what’s going on, and then we are heading for the fort while we still have the manpower to possible pull off our jobs.” Harry said, as he gave the signal and started backing up and turning around.

The small convoy raced down the mountain roads, old leaves swirling up as they passed. As they rounded a bend, a wooded ridge on the inside of the turn, and a drop of fifty feet on the outside. When the lead truck suddenly veered out of control, Harry watched helplessly as it swerved wildly then shot through the railing out into open air, where it crashed down into trees, tumbling end over end shedding parts and supplies.

Harry hit the Brakes, the tires screaming and smoking, the truck finally shuddered to a stop, then the truck behind his struck him in the rear, crumpling metal and breaking headlights.

Harry threw open his door and leaped out weapon in hand, “stay in the Truck idiot.” He called out T would kill him if something happened to the moron. “ and stay down.”

“I can help Harry” Dale called out as he slid into the floorboard.

“stay in the truck” Harry called out again. Then waved Walt and his team forward. “get up there and check out.” He told Walt even as he got Jay’s attention and pointed at the spot where the truck had went over. Jay nodded and led six men across the road. Two men knelt weapons ready covering the rest of the squad as they started down the steep almost vertical slope to check on the truck.

“some SOB put a police spike strip across the road” Walt called out, as one of his men swept the leaves away that had covered the spike strip. Harry walked forward, feeling safer knowing there were thirty men covering his ass. Walt scrounger that he was, had started rolling up the strip so they could use it later on. “ probably got place there a while back, considering the leaves and crap covering it” Walt said with a grim smile that faded as he saw what Harry was staring at. On the pavement drawn in chalk was a familiar symbol.

Down the slope Harry heard several gun shots, and at least two men screaming. “SON of a WHORE” he snarled as he stalked to the guard rail. Jays team was finishing off the dead, and from the look of it had lost a man. How in the hell did the hunter know where they were going, How.

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

“that should slow them Down” Quentin commented as Darius drove slowly weaving through the dead traffic. “I can see why they kept calling you the hunter.”

Darius shrugged. “ just luck and determination. “

“its more than that” Quentin said. “its a lot more than that. How did you know to plant that IED in that town, there were several you could have planted it in along the way. Why that one, and you seemed to know that one guy was going to be there. And this isn’t the first time either. When we first started hunting them after Kansas city, we wandered around for a week before you woke up on morning and led us directly to a place they had raided no more than a day or two before. You knew before we got there, you weren’t surprised and you’ve done it a few other times as well.”

Darius shrugged and said nothing, no one would really believe that the other men who had hunted with him, the dead dropped by on occasion to give him hints on where to look. It sounded insane to him, God knows how Quentin would take it.

“Ive gotten good at this and the bastards are getting predictable” he said after a moment, and that was mostly the truth.

Quentin gave him a look, he obviously didn’t believe that answer and Darius didn’t care. All that mattered was getting this done, and this time he could feel the end drawing near.

The silence lingered in the truck for a while, then Darius cleared his throat. “let me ask you a question. Why are you so intent on helping me, and urging to wipe Kronnen out once and for all?” Darius asked still looking out the window at the wood mountains.

Quentin sat there for a moment. “they killed some people I had grown close to, a guy named Tommy, his wife lisa and their two kids. When I went out to gather supplies I would stop by and check on them, they were staying in a small building that had been a health food place.

I had tried to get them to come stay with me. But Tommy thought they were safer where they were at. I guess Tommy put up a fight when Kronnen’s people found them. The sick bastards shot them up, but didn’t kill them. I had been out gathering supplies and shit when I heard the gun fire, and got there in time to see the end. Kronnen’s guys were laughing and joking as they strung up them, even the kids. They didn’t care. And that Bastard Kronnen stood there watching and smiling as the kids kicked and struggled at the end of the rope. And all I had was a pistol, I couldn’t save them I would only have died with them. and I had no way to get revenge for Tommy and his family or any one else that Kronnen’s gang has killed. Till you.

and that is why I want them all dead, Darius. People like that cant be allowed to live any longer than it takes to kill them. and believe me I want them dead, ever one of them.”

Darius turned to look at Quentin his expression unreadable. “Welcome to the Hunt Quent” he said softly.

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

Kronnen woke up suddenly and sat up in his bed in the back of the RV that had once been a FEMA vehicle. The woman beside him lay curled up on the far side of the bed, he turned on the light, and ran a hand down her flank, then over the long blond hair that covered the pillow. It was pretty nice having his own pet holly wood starlet. He had enjoyed the movies he had seen her in, and enjoyed finding her in Tahoe even more. he drank in the sight of her body, and smiled. So many men before the dead, had lusted after her, and now she was his and his alone.

As much as she hated her new life, she had understood from the very beginning there was only one reason for any man to take her in and feed and protect her. She had no other skills or services to provide beyond the physical and that was her fault, he had plenty of women who held many positions in his Army. There were Doctors, scientists, even those acting as Teachers to help those men in his service who had limited education.

He could care less if she was ashamed of what she had done to survive, that she was willing was the only thing he cared about. He didn’t want some one in his bed that might try to kill him after all.

He rose from his bed, pondering what he had seen in his dream, he didn’t doubt that it was true. The Hunter survived, in a way he was glad, Darius McAllister had livened things up and even culled out the idiots in his service, though occasionally the man had gotten to a few of Kronnens people he would have perfered to survive. But over all, he had been only an annoyance. But the thing in his dream was worried, warning him to deal with the man as soon as possible. Kronnen didn’t care why,

“Proctor, I want this battalion to move out first thing tomorrow morning we are going to be arriving at our destination a little early. If T and his people haven’t secure it yet, we have more than enough men to do the job” Kronnen said sitting down in one of the chairs.

Proctor didn’t look happy, but his job had always been to keep Kronnen safe and he probably had a million reasons on why this wasn’t a good idea, he was also smart enough not to bring them up when He knew Kronnen wouldn’t listen. “yes sir” was all he said.

“but for the moment I want you to send some one to Bring me Kate McAllister, the Hunters sister, I fear the man may still be alive, and Id like to learn more about him.” Kronnen said. with a smile that was anything but friendly. Proctor quickly picked a man and sent him off on the task.

Kronnen sat there silently, humming to himself while he waited, watching as the sun fully cleared the horizon. He didn’t move when the door opened and Kate McAllister was pushed into the RV at the point of a gun. The man that had been sent for her was developing a very nice black eye. Kate was a very good looking young woman, not like the former actress in his bed, who pretty as she was, only achieved kates level of looks with lots of makeup and plastic surgery.

“every one but Proctor out” Kronnen said softly, he never had to raise his voice unless making a point. He didn’t speak again till the every one had Vacated the RV. Standing around out front not daring to go far from the door in case they were needed.

He rose to his feet, not even surprised when the woman leaped forward and took a swing at him. She struck him in the left side of the face, snapping his head to one said, he smiled as he turned his head back to her and smiled as she gasped in shock.

“a more effective way to show you the truth” Kronnon said as he sat back down,

“what are you ?” she asked as Protctor pushed her into a chair with on hand.

“Im as human as you” Kronnen said, his cloudy blue eyes boring into her. “or not, its hard to really know I guess.” He held up a finger and smiled like a friendly uncle. “how did this happen to me, is the question yes. Ill make it short, you see I would much rather hear some of the things you have to tell me. Was sick in the hospital on Jun 22, sometime around midnight, when only a few cases of violence had been recorded and even fewer of the undead had been picked up as sick and brought to the hospitals to escape and kill. I died, it might have been complications, doesn’t really matter why, but I died. The doctors of course rushed in with their crash cart, their tools and other things. And tried to save me, as my body started to twitch, in the process of turning. They deployed a defibulator. I was brought back just before I would have rose and killed them. of course I only figured that out much later. It does explain my craving red bloody meat as well. “ he said reaching up and removing the other contact, they were only cosmetic contacts and easily replaced if he could find the other one.

“I wish to hear about your Brother, Darius the Hunter” he told her, expecting the smile of satisfaction that came and went so swiftly he would have missed it if he hadn’t been watching her so closely.

“why should I tell you anything” she asked crossing her arms over her chest which only drew attention to the nice view of cleavage. Kronnen was half tempted to order women to go topless, but it would be more of a distraction than it was worth.

“Well for starters, I could have you moved to a barracks as a present to my men. Or I could rape you here, or get my man proctor to rape you. maybe both of us could enjoy you, then my staff as well. Or you could just cooperate and not have to worry about it. Believe me or not, I much prefer non torture” Kronnen said sitting back in his chairs his dead eyes fixed on her. “which do you prefer” he asked his hands sliding down to the waist band of his boxers.

“What do you want to know” she asked after a moment as he started to push the waist band of his boxers down almost exposing himself to her. She shivered at the thought of his touching her. She didn’t feel any safer as he pulled the waist band back up covering his pubic hair.

“That’s my girl “ he said smiling with out any humor. “lets start with his age, and I would suggest not lying, since I came back from the dead, or maybe the undead it’s a fine line Im thinking, but I seem to know when people are lying” he said those eerie dead eyes never lifting from her cleavage as she started talking.

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

“Well this was on hell of an idea” Quentin said as he slid back from the edge of the roof and passed the binoculars to Darius. They had parked behind a Best buy, and used a ladder to climb up from the roof of the Horse trailer to the roof of the store, to scope things out before the got any closer to the interstate and the Fort beyond.

Darius looked for the second time, shaking his head. “I guess that answers the question of why there are so few undead around this place” he said studying the sea of undead that covered the highway and the entrance to the base. What really bothered him was how so many of them just stood there, staring north, with out moving.

“Maybe they knew we were coming” Quentin said, he was joking of course, but Darius actually had the gut feeling that was exactly it, the undead were waiting for them.

“If we can’t get on the base, we can’t plant any nasty surprises” Quentin pointed out.

“No we cant but Kronnen and his people wont have an easy time of it either” Darius pointed out, trying to figure out how to use this situation to his advantage.

. “But maybe we can slip in once they clear out enough of those things to get themselves onto the base, or is there a second way in you know more than one gate, a tunnel, secret entrance, a blimp something” Darius said trying to turn it into a joke, but neither man felt any humor about what they face.

“ All I know is one they get their hands on some of the stuff on base, dealing with them will become even harder” Quentin replied.

“Like what kind of things” Darius asked “ any idea”

“Well for starters, there’s an engineering battalion on base, and the Chemical command battalion”

“How do you know that “ Darius asked.

“See that big ass sign, the one that looks like a waving US flag that says welcome to Fort, I hate my life Leonard wood. See all those emblems along the bottom of it. one is for an MP Battalion, another is for an engineering battalion that’s the one with the thing that looks like a castle on it., see the blue one with the two odd looking gold things that come out of a gold diamond looking thing, that’s the Badge of the 4th MEB chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear school.

One of the many things both of those units would have lying around, are say explosives, and some kind of chemical weapons. Probably just tear gas and such. But I couldn’t tell you how many bases had no nuclear weapons that were guarded every day and night no matter what the official line might have been. So its not to much of a stress that they might have a bit more than tear gas over there. Then again they might not. Explosives and tear gas is bad enough for us.” Quentin said.

“Any other bits of good news you would like to share” Darius asked sarcastically, watching as a group of Undead separated from the mass and started staggering down the road heading roughly in his direction.

“I’m Horny, I’m craving taco’s, and I’m out of Vaseline.” Quentin said.

“I’m really hoping those three things are not connected some how” Darius said, as he shoved the binoculars into his pack. “Lets go, there’s about fifty zombies staggering this way, I think Id like to be someplace else before they get here.” Darius said as he picked up his pack and headed for the ladder. Down below there were few zombies, thankfully, but that would change and soon Darius knew even with out the horde heading this way.

“Oh sure, I mention Im horny and you run, what you’re a homophobe now, Im not gay, just desperate, come on cowboy, you know you want some” Quentin said, a wide grin split his face as he found something really amusing for the first time since Darius had known him. “Candy little cowboy.” Quentin said managing not to actually laugh out loud as Darius slipped down the ladder.

“I can leave you up there” Darius threatened as he reached the bottom and stepped down onto the top of the horse trailer. .

“Redneck” Quentin said as he came down the ladder

“Liberal” Darius replied as they pulled the ladder down and quickly lashed it in place on top of the trailer..

“ You make liberal sound so nasty its almost sexy” Quentin said, surprised when Darius actually laughed. The two men leaped into the bed of the truck, and then tossed their packs into the cab of the truck through the sliding window in the back. .

Quentin picked up the pole in the bed of the truck that had a knife attached to the end of it, then leaped out onto the ground and rammed the blade into the chest of a zombie and pushed the undead back away from the truck, While Darius leaped out and opened the drivers door then scrambled inside.. Quentin pulled the blade free, ignoring the sucking sound the blade made as it came out, he tossed the pole back into the truck and ran and leaped into the drivers seat slamming the door shut behind him.

“ Well Ollie this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into” Quentin said as he started the truck, Darius gave him an odd look.

“ Is that from a movie or something?” Darius asked.

“Never mind, god I feel old” Quentin said shaking his head as he started the truck and at Darius urging turned in a tight circle and headed out in a different direction than the mob was coming from.

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

T, glared at the messenger and resisted the urge to kill the terrified man. It wasn’t the mans fault that Harry had been such an idiot. But the Hunter, still alive, T had trouble believing that.

“I want an honest answer, and I will not kill you no matter how you answer this.” T made himself say, and he meant it. indulging his violent side was causing to many problems, like men being to scared to tell him things he might need to know during the time he could use that info the most, being one of the top reasons. “do you believe that this man is the hunter” T asked, he frowned as the man nodded his head rapidly.

“even though our Leader, Kronnen himself told me that the Hunter was dead.” T asked, the now shaking man nodded again.

The man might be an idiot; hell Harry and his whole crew might be idiots, knowing that Kronnen had declared that the hunter was dead. But if this stranger had done all the damage the messenger had told T about, he couldn’t blame them for thinking the stranger, was the hunter. He would have to deal with this before Kronnen arrived at the fort. At least Harry had been smart enough to abort the rest of his scouting and scavenging to head straight to the Fort so the bosses Timetable wouldn’t be affected. That at least showed Harry wasn’t a total fool.

T walked to the door and opened, to find Ralph, or as he liked to be called now Boxer, standing outside with the ever-present guards that protected T “get every one ready to move out, we are heading to the Fort today. It seems that Harry is going to need some help down south” T told Boxer who nodded, and rushed off to spread the news.

He turned back to the messenger who still stood there shaking. “ go get something to eat and then get ready to go. You get to live another day” the man stared at T for all of a micro second then was gone out the door before T could change his mind.

He started packing his own gear, and was just closing the flap to his back pack and thinking of having a quicky with his woman, when the door swung open and Boxer stepped in. “ What is it” T asked angrily, his mood shattered. “Just got a Message from the Boss, he is on his way and wants to meet you at the Fort.”

“Thanks, make sure every one is ready to go in five” T said, looking at the door that led into the room where his woman was packing, his chance of a quicky gone now, he had to make it to the fort Before Kronnen, just to cover his own ass and possibly Harry’s ass too. Especially if that was the only way to keep Dale safe, Kronnen might like Dale, as much as any man would like a pet, but he wouldn’t hesitate to Kill Dale and every man in Harry’s unit to set an example for the rest of his army. And T would do anything to keep his little brother safe.

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

Quentin, sat quietly, as he stripped down his rifle, then reassembled it, trying to remember all his long ago infantry training, not that it was much just the pure basics. His MOS hadn’t required constant exposure to shoot and scoot stuff.

For the First time he was going to going to do more than just support Darius on his little hunts. Darius had changed after Quentin had told him the main reason he wanted Kronnens group not just shattered, but ground into dust. He was more open, friendly as if when he had welcome Quentin to the Hunt he had been accepting Quentin into a brotherhood or club or something.

Darius was studying a map of the map they had found, it was a basic orientation map for people visiting the base for graduation and other ceremonies, but there was enough marked on it, to give them a good idea of the lay out and where they might need to go. The biggest problem was getting past the two thousand or so zombies around the base, or at least every where Darius had scouted so far.

Darius had been disappointed when Quent, as he was no calling Quentin, didn’t seem to know where the armory or Weapons storage areas might be on base, but Quentin had been quick to point out the hospital and the Commissary, as places almost certain to draw the raiders. And Quentin had pointed out that Kronnen wasn’t likely to show up till they had the base mostly secure, assuming he showed at all, but it meant they could gain intel on where the raiders might be gathering when the left the base.

Quentin was of the mind that Kronnen might bring his entire force onto the base, to fully strip it before moving on to which ever city he had chosen for his next destination. He hadn’t said s much to Darius, because he didn’t want the man to start thinking his long quest might be coming to an end.

Tomorrow morning they were going to hit a radio shack, and secure some radios with encryption capabilities something they should have done when the left Kansas city, but he suspected Darius hadn’t cared till he accepted Quentin into the hunt.

Quentin also wanted to hit the veterinary office on base, many of the drugs used one animals could be used on humans, and there would be far less undead at a vets office than at the base hospital.

“ I think we can try to go in on foot back here, at the water intake road, maybe through the quarry.” Darius said suddenly as he sat down the sawed off shotgun he had taken from the dead raider, he had spent half an hour stripping and cleaning it, till it gleamed like new.. “ we can find something to drive once we are on base” Darius said thoughtfully.

“maybe, most of those vehicles have been sitting for a while now, I wouldn’t bet on most of them starting” Quentin said. “maybe if we can make it to the Motor pool we can find something that will start, but I wouldn’t bet on civilian vehicles running.”

“your probably right” Darius said, thinking about the Jump starter he had in the Trailer, it should still have a full charge, at least enough to get a dead vehicle running. It might be able to jump off a vehicle once or twice at least that’s as far as he would trust it to work. A plan began to come together in his mind.

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

the sun was just coming up casting long shadows across the once busy street, zombies wandered aimlessly between the vehicles scattered along the street. Many had died here, pulled down as they tried to escape their vehicles that had been trapped by wrecks and stalls. Dead eyes turned north, as a sound intruded, it wasn’t familiar to them, but they knew what it meant meat, red dripping meat to strip from the bone. They turned and began to move north, towards the sound, that grew louder and louder.

Darius had a CD in playing, to Quentins mind it was far to early for country music. Of course Quentin couldn’t think of any time that was good for country music but he wasn’t going to say anything about it, not today at any rate.

Darius was tapping his fingers on the steering wheel as Trace Adkins blared from the speakers, singing along with the music as he wove between the vehicles. Spotting the street he needed he slowed and made the turn, going wide around the wreck in the intersection.

Up ahead he saw the undead, “hang on” he muttered as he pushed the gas pedal down and sped up. The heavy dually hit the first of the undead and sent several flying through the air. the truck bounced once as it plowed into the dead, mowing them under.

“You might want to stop that” Quentin said jerking a thumb over his shoulder to the swaying and bouncing trailer behind them. “you going to center that thing out.”

“shit” Darius said, already feeling the drag as a few bodies got wedged up underneath the trailer. He turned and shot between a police car and Mini cooper, up onto the sidewalk side swiping a telephone pole with a loud crack. The truck shuddered, the trailer scrapped and almost caught the police car, and then he was fully on the sidewalk. The telephone pole crashing into the street behind him.

“this isn’t much better” Darius called out, as he ran down more undead.

“keep weaving back and forth, that might help” Quentin said then pointed to the Radio shack sign up ahead. “ two blocks Buddy that’s all we need.”

Darius floored it, pushing through the undead with ease, praying that going faster would keep the trailer from centering and getting them stuck it seemed to be working. He swung left to go around a wreck,and sparks flew as he side swiped a UPS van. Suddenly there was loud bang and the steering wheel was almost ripped from his hands as a tire blew.

“oh shit “ Quentin hollered

Darius looked in the side view mirror and saw most of the horde was pretty far back, but not far enough to change a tire. Up ahead the numbers of undead thinned out. “ is that a dealership sign up there” Darius asked squinting.

“ where” Quentin asked peering forward.

“ two or three blocks up” Darius replied.

“yeah it’s a Dodge place” Quentin said finally spotting the sign.

“do you see a Ford dealership.” Darius asked.

“your going to be picky about what kind of truck we boost, with zombies on our ass” Quentin asked.

“I like Fords” Darius replied with a tight grin as he fought to keep control of the truck.

“are you going to slow down anytime soon” Quentin asked.

“no, the sooner we get there the further back that mob of undead assholes will be and the longer it will take for them to catch up” Darius replied, holding on to the wheel for dear life.

They shot past the radio shack, and kept going. “you realize this sets back or plans right” Quentin asked calmly as the truck jerked to one side and scrapped along the side of a car.

“yes.. when I spot a truck and stop, we are going to have to haul ass to get out our tuff out and loaded, Im just hoping we can find one fast that has a fifth wheel hitch. Knowing Dodges they probably cant even pull a fifth wheel trailer” Darius said.

finally the end of the white knuckled ride was coming up, Darius turned into the lot, and almost lost control. “look for a Dodge 3500, it’s a dually like this one only not as good”

Quentin gave a strained laugh, Darius really didn’t like Dodges.

The truck shuddered, and began to slow as the rim bit down into the asphalt. There were a few undead that he could see, mostly salesmen, other than being dead, they hadn’t changed much, they started for the truck immediately. “yes I want to buy, but screw your credit check” Darius called out as he headed straight for the used vehicle section.

He spotted several trucks most were not Duallys, the ones that were had no fifth wheel, the truck was getting harder to get rolling again after every stop. He pulled forward and turned at the end of the lane and started down another.

“ There that one” Quentin said pointing to a dusty 2010 Red with gold, 3500 Ram HD with a Crew Cab. Some one had, had financial troubles he thought, it had still been new when it had been put on the lot in the used car section. It was either this one or see how far they could get in the Ford at this point.

“God of Fords forgive me” Darius said aloud as he slowed, it was a 4×4 as well he saw, that was a plus. He racked his mind trying to remember the Rams specs, it had a Cummins engine he remembered, with an exhaust brake, a fairly good tow weight. It wasn’t a ford, but at the moment he couldn’t be picky.

“Cover me” he called out as he stopped the truck hoping it would roll again if they needed to get out of here. Throwing open the door he leaped out, and ran up to the dodge and looked in the bed, almost whooping with delight to see the fifth wheel hitch. He ran back knowing they had maybe ten minutes before the mass of undead on the street reached the dealer ship, they would have to work fast. “Come on get out, we need to transfer everything inside here into that truck, hot wire it, jump start it, pull this truck forward, strip out the batteries, hook up the trailer and then bail.” Darius said so quickly Quentin almost didn’t catch it all.

Darius grabbed his rifle, stepped back, checked to see how close the undead salesmen were, then sighted on the first one and fired. It crumpled and fell behind a station wagon. He smiled grimly, he chambered another round, and shot down the next closest zombie, then slung his rifle, and grabbed his pack.

Quentin had already found the doors were unlocked on the dodge which was a great thing, he tossed his pack in, then quickly transferred all the boxes and plastic totes into the back. As soon as they had emptied the Cab of the ford, Darius had went to hooking up some box thing with jumper cables to the battery of the Dodge. Quentin had never seen one before. But Darius swore they had been common back in the day. He had Quentin pour one of the five-gallon cans of diesel into the tank, then got under the dash to hotwire the truck, while Quentin disconnected the fifth wheel. From the back of the truck Quentin could see the remaining sales zombies were close, but it was the mob that had finally reached the edge of the lot that worried him.

“cross your fingers,” Darius said, as he hotwired the truck. It took a minute but soon the big Cummings roared to life.

“Move the Ford up, far enough I can pull the Dodge out, then wait in the ford till I pull along side, just to be safe” Darius shouted as he leaped into the Dodge.

Quentin pulled the ford up, watching as Darius pulled the dodge out. One of the salesmen, and a long dead customer were coming up between a Chevy Silverado, and a mini van like vehicle. Darius pulled up almost hitting the ford, then with years of experience backed up, lining up the trailer coupling with the hitch in the back of the truck.

Darius leaped out, checked then gave a fist pump of victory then lowered the trailer and locked the coupling. As he headed back for the truck a zombie salesman came up behind him. Quentin rolled down the window and shouted a warning.

Darius was climbing into the Cab, when a cold hand grabbed him by the shoulder., he twisted, and fell breaking its grasp, then rolled under the truck, drawing his pistol. there was another one on the passenger side as well, and a third was coming up behind the Salesman who had grabbed him.

The salesman showing more smarts than normal got down on the ground, and started wiggling towards him. Its dead eyes locked on Darius as its snapped its mouth open and closed. Darius pushed the barrel of the pistol against its head and pulled the trigger. Then crawled to the front of the truck and got to his feet, the zombie on the passenger side, was or had been a secretary he guess, pretty when she had been alive, hell he would have let her eat crackers in his bed. But now, he only stepped forward letting her grab his shoulders and fired into her forehead at point bank range.

Stepping back around the front of truck he saw the third zombie was confused by the open truck door, seeing Darius through the window, it would step forward hit the door and fall back, only to do it again. Dried blood covered the zombies bald head, the suit it had worn on the day he had died was filthy, and stained. . its eyes never left Darius as it stepped forward once more, hitting the open door and and stumbled back again. If it had been alive it would have looked confused, Darius thought as he stepped up to the door, the zombie lunged at him, striking the door again, and this time Darius planted a boot into the door, sending the zombie falling backwards. Darius leaped forward, seeing three more zombies out of the corner of his eye, coming at him between Vehicles. No more than fifteen feet away, he slammed a boot down on the suited zombies chest and put three bullets into its skull, almost throwing up as the back of it head exploded spraying a stinking mass of gore and black goo on the pavement.

He ran for the door yanked it open and dove inside, a second later he was pulleing up beside the Ford. Quentin was already outside the truck with the hood up, removing the batteries. Darius grabbed his rifle and opened the door to the Ram stepping out he leveled the rifle and took aim at the closet undead, a teenager this time, with a green peace tshirt. There was a joke in that somewhere he thought as he stroked the trigger, once, pumped the lever and fired again putting the kid down with the second round.

He could see the mob had was halfway across the parking lot now, he shifted his aim to the second of the three zombies. this one a heavy set darkhaired woman, who wore an Arbys uniform. She was missing an ear and three fingers. He fired again and missed the bullet blew out the window of a car beside her. He levered another round into the chamber, sighted and put the next round right between her eyes. The third zombie, who looked Pakistani, dressed in nice clothes, went down with the first shot. Darius lowered his rifle and looked around, no other zombie was with in forty feet, plenty of time he thought, as Quentin got the second battery free. Darius ran to his side, and together the two men put the batteries into the bed of the dodge.

“Lets get the hell out of here” Quentin said, seeing how close the mob was now. “and do not blow out another damn tire.”

“its not on my list of things to do” Quentin said as they piled into the truck.

“Good Id have to have to shoot you” Quentin said, as he reluctantly reached into his shirt and pulled out a cd case. “ you left this in the Cd player” he said, placing the Trace Adkins Cd on the seat.

Darius laughed as he drove into the back of the lot, where the number of zombies here were far less than those out front. He avoided hitting them as much as possible, a minute later they exited out a side street gate and driving away from the growing horde behind them.

“I guess radio shack is out” Darius commented suddenly and started laughing with relief. After a second Quentin started laughing as well.

Hunters Moon

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