“The Moon was full,up in the sky
and glowing bloody red,
a Hunters Moon,Iam told
and it filled my heart with dread.
For I traveled all alone
through a strange and foreign land,
with no one there who knew me
nor Kin to shake my hand.
The night did gather round me
as silent as a tomb,
while up above did shine
the orb of that blood red moon.
Glowing up in that starry sky
that blood red moon did shine,
enticing as a maiden
to this soul of mine.
Filling my heart and mind
with a strange and burning desire,
stirring ancient memories
that sat my Soul afire.
The blood lust it arose within me
and I howled out through the night,
the ancient howl of the wolf
that chills mens heart with fright”
~Bobby O’Neil Mitchum.
After the Fiasco in St. Robert, where even a simple run on Radio shack had turned into an epic tale, Darius took back roads north before swinging west and coming back down R 7,
They entered Buckhorn a small town just west of Fort Leonard wood by 1100hrs, crossing I 44, the first thing Darius noted was the lack of undead on the interstate and the side roads.
Just beyond the interstate was a building with a red tin roof and a damaged sign that read “ Wi…..Far…. Restaurant” the other letters had been broken out over the last year, there were a few cars in the parking lot but no undead, just like the interstate. Along the interstate were plenty of business just like any other town that was close to a Major US military base. Fast food joints, Gas stations, a waffle house, car dealships, fly by night insurance companies, and a dozen others. Everything a soldier or his family might be interested in, But what none of them had today, were the undead. the parking lots were empty of the walking dead.
“I think they are all over at the Fort at the moment” Darius said when Quentin brought that point up.
“doesn’t that strike you as odd, I mean the only time the undead cluster like that, is because…” Quentins said referring to the Main Gate of the Fort, his voice trailed off as his eyes grew large. “theres people alive on that base” he said after a moment, his mind trying to wrap around the fact that there might actually be soldiers alive on the base.
Darius looked doubtful, it wasn’t the first time he had seen the undead gather in a location he wanted to get to, as if to keep him personally out of where ever it might be he was trying to go.
“don’t get your hopes up Quentin, the place is probably as empty of life as most every where else, Ive seen those things stand a thousand deep on a road just staring off, like they were waiting for cars to come along for them to attack.” Darius said remembering Denver, the undead had filled the roads leading into Denver like a sea, all of them staring off towards the east, . He shivered slightly and continued. “and its possible that if there is some one on base, its some of Kronnens men. Not the Army”
Quentin fell silent but Darius knew just glancing at the man, that he was hoping beyond all hope that some of the US military was still alive on that base. Darius would be happy with a lake full of bikini clad women and no undead. but that wasn’t likely to happen either.
Buckhorn, was one of those towns, that had the welcome to and no leaving signs practically back to back, but what it did have were back roads that led up to the base, or at least close enough. In fact R 17 ran close to the base further south at least according to the map.
The Buildings of Buckhorn that Darius could see were scattered down both sides of R 17, some like the Church with the fire blackened steeple, were surrounded by trees, others sat in the middle of gravel or paved lots. there was more woods and fields than town at least in this part of the town.
Darius drove slowly weaving through the fewer than expected abandoned cars on the road. a long abandoned state police road block had been set up across the side road that led to the entrance of the RV camp, the two patrol cars sat nose to nose behind a line of saw horses with the passenger side facing R17.
Further down sunlight reflected off the cars and trucks that filled the church parking lot, Even from here Darius could see the doors to the church stood open, and some of the windows had been broken out.
To his left a Real estate office sat by itself on a gravel lot, a truck had tore through the its parking lot and smashed into a tree at the back of the lot. A Car parked next to the door of the reality office, sat with its drivers door half open. The trunks of both cars stood open. Not a good sign in his book but might as well check it out.
“I’m not sure which is creepier, a town empty of undead or one with the undead falling out of the cracks like roaches” Quentin muttered.
“I will take empty any time” Darius replied as he pulled the truck up and stopped in front of the patrol cars. “ Might as well check them out” He said as he opened his door and stepped outside.
Darius moved slowly down into the ditch and moved cautiously around the rear end of one of the patrol cars, pushing through the waist high weeds, eyes scanning the ground for crawlers. A few months back, In Kansas, he had almost gotten a chunk taken out of his butt by a crawler, it was not an experience he wanted to repeat.
Part of the problem was how silent the undead were, there was no moaning, or groaning. Just the rustle of clothes, or the scruff of feet on a floor, and sometimes not even that. The smell was about the best warning signal, the undead stunk. But on occasion, a mans mind got so used to the smell of death that it tuned it out. Darius would have honestly preferred Movie zombies, but not the one that ran, those things sucked. But the other ones, slow stupid and noisy would be okay. I should have watched more zombie movies He thought with almost a smile. he stepped back onto the road and approached the open door to the first patrol car, looking into the open trunk as he passed, like he had expected it was empty.
Peering inside, he saw a huge dark stain on the drivers seat and the weapons rack was empty. He didn’t see any bags or even shell casings. He started to turn away when he spotted four shotgun shells laying on the passenger floorboard. Scooping them up he shoved them in a pocket and moved to the next patrol car. Which was more of the same, empty.
He turned and studied what he could see of the camp ground, which was only the main building, and a few large side buildings wondering if there was anything there, he could use. Most likely who ever had stripped the patrol cars had hit the campground.
Then again maybe not, but there was no way to get the truck around the patrol cars, and into the campground, which meant walking a hundred yards to the camp, and if a horde of undead showed up, having to run a hundred yards back to the truck. With undead possibly between his happy ass and the truck. No, I might check it later if there really aren’t that many undead around here.
He walked back to the truck where Quentin had climbed up on top of the trailer to cover him while he searched the patrol cars. Quen was coming along nicely Darius thought looking up at the older man, not a bad sort to be traveling with. Now if I can only get him to play a little rummy or Poker.
He stopped with is hand on the door handle of the truck, when was the last time you actually tried to relax, he asked himself. You’ve been so busy with tracking Kronnen and killing his men, to rescue Kate and the others that you haven’t thought much beyond the next town and the next kill.
For a moment he wondered what kind of man he had become, he had never shied away from a fist fight, but he had never been a killer. The end of the world had changed all that. He lifted his right hand and stared at it almost able to see the blood of men he had killed dripping from it.
Kates face flashed across his mind, he opened the truck door, there might be a few men in that group that aren’t rapists and killers, but most of them are scum of the earth he thought, Card games can wait for a while longer, when I don’t have any one else left to kill.
Darius was just about to cimb into the truck when he heard glass breaking, and what sounded like a door closing. He stepped up onto the running board and looked towards the boutique where the sound had come from.
“zombie?” Quentin asked as he leaped into the bed of the truck.
“maybe, give it a minute” Darius replied as he pulled his rifle off his back and watched the boutique. “has to have a back door, you would have seen the front door opening” Darius told Quentin who nodded.
“Cover the front, Im going around back” Darius said staring across the street towards the Boutique.
His boot heels clocked steadily on the pavement till he stepped across the springy grass strip that separated the gravel parking lot from the road.
A few vehicles sat in the parking lot, some sported bullet holes, and broken windows. The large plate windows were so grimy he couldn’t see into the dark interior of the store, his skin crawled with every step as he waited for a bullet to burst through the glass and kill him. A moment later he reached the side of the building and moved cautiously down the wall of the building. He stepped around the condenser unit and saw that some one had shot up the Meter box further down the wall.
Silently he peered around the corner and saw two vehicles parked behind the building beside the dumpster, one was a Chevy cavalier, its midnight blue paint job faded from long exposure. the other was a Jeep Wrangler painted in a metallic OD Green, with a after market light bar across the roof.
As he started to look away, his subconscious kicked in and drew his attention back to the vehicles. the car was sun faded and dusty with a few old leaves stuck under the wipers, and in other odd cracks and crevices. But the Jeep as faded as the paint job was, was clean. Or rather it wasn’t dirty enough, and the mud on the tires was fresh,
He couldn’t see any one inside the Jeep, which meant who ever they were, they were inside the boutique. And had been here since Darius had pulled into town, otherwise he would have heard the motor of the Jeep. There were no windows in the back of the store, so who ever was inside couldn’t see him back here, but they damn sure could have seen him through the plate glass windows out front and knew he was back here prowling around.
His first guess, was they were scouts from Kronnen’s group, but he doubted it. they had never hesitated to open fire on one or two men, especially men who had their backs turned to the boutique more than half the time.
Or they could have reported Darius and Quentin’s presence using a radio and be waiting for help to arrive.
Or I could what if all week, and none of it matters. He thought as he walked silently to the jeep and looked inside, making sure he was turned so he could watch the rear door out of the corner of his eye. Inside Empty cans, and food wrappers and even a coloring book littered the floorboards, a small backpack slightly larger than a Book bag, sat on the backseat. The back of the jeep was filled with boxes and plastic shopping bags filled with stuff.
Who ever this was, it wasn’t Kronnen’s group, Darius thought with a shake of his head, they never kept a vehicle so neat and there would be at least one hustler or penthouse on the floorboard, not a coloring book.
Take a chance and knock on the door, or leave them be and keep on driving Darius asked himself. Leaving them alone was by far the smartest thing to do, he thought, backing away from the door towards the side of the building.
He jogged along the side of the building then across the parking lot, his shoulder blades itching as he kept waiting to be shot in the back but it never happened. Reaching the truck he told Quentin what he had found.
“Im betting they aren’t dangerous” Quentin commented as he gazed at the Store. “they would have shot one or both of us by now, and unless some adult still likes to color, they have a kid with them.”
“don’t tell me, you want me to talk to them for the sake of a kid that might not exist” Darius asked opening the door to the truck, feeling totally exposed to the guns that were probably aimed at them.
“well if I were worried about a kid, I would want the little tyke to be as far away from the two of us as possible, we aren’t exactly the most child friendly types around” Quentin said actually smiling at Darius from the top of the trailer, his eyes shifted toward the store and widened slightly. “ and it seems the decision has been taken out of our hands, unless you want to runaway now”
Darius turned in time to see a man stepping from the store, holding a broom handle with a white sheet tied to it. dark haired, built like a man who slung feed bags for a living, he looked to be between his mid thirties and early forties, dressed in faded jeans, a brown tshirt, and combat boots. Darius spotted the pistol holstered on the mans right hip, and a boot knife strapped the mans left boot.
“Your show, Bwana” Quentin said, holding his AR ready to bring into firing position if needed.
“Bwana?” Darius asked as he slung his Rifle.
“sorry guess your to young, something they used to say in old Tarzan movies” Quentin told him.
What a thing to talk about at this moment Darius thought as he walked slowly towards the man, wondering, if he had to, could he draw his pistol and shoot the man down before, the stranger drew down on him.
Darius and the stranger stopped at the grass strip ten feet from each other, the stranger looked him up and down. “Im Harlan West, US Army retired”
Quentin didn’t know what was said between Darius and Harlan out there on the side of the road, all he knew was ten minutes later he and Darius were following a jeep deeper into town to an odd looking single story brick building. With glass block windows, and on each corner was a barrel shaped room. It was something out of the fifties, that much Quentin knew but what it might have been originally he had no idea he thought looking around the interior, that had been used as a cafe in recent times, and now served as a home for the five survivors.
Darius and Harlan were deep in conversation, across the room a leggy exotic looking dusky skinned woman with jet black hair named Rebekka, was keeping Six year Old Tyler occupied. She was or had been an Israeli tourist in Branson when the zombie balloon went up.
Mac a medium height man with shaggy brown hair, dressed Jeans and a dirty button down shirt sat at a booth, the left side of his face was scar tissue. a Mossburg shotgun sat beside him and a 1911 colt rode his hip. His girlfriend Sue, a short, cute looking blond woman leaned against him.
From what Quentin had gathered, Harlan had been up in Branson when the dead rose, and it had been pretty bad. The undead had gone through the tourists in less than a day swelling their ranks by a couple of thousand before sweeping over the rest of the city.
In the first couple of hours Harlan had saved Rebekka, stolen a City dump Truck, saved Mac, Sue and ten others, then on the way out of the City had literally snatched Tyler out from the jaws of the undead. five of the people he had saved had struck out on their own last fall, two had died from sickness, and three had been killed by the undead. but the rest of them had finally ended up here in Buckhorn, last Christmas finding the town empty of undead.
Quentin was sure he wasn’t the only one that noticed the way Darius’s eyes kept cutting over to Rebekka. He hid a smile and hoped that Harlan hadn’t stake a claim to the woman, that’s all they needed was a gunfight over a woman.
“so this group you guys are hunting, where did they come from” Mac asked suddenly, the left side of his face didn’t move, the nerves on that side were dead from fire that had seared his face.
“out west somewhere, Darius says Nevada, but I personally don’t know.” Quentin said watching Darius, who was acting oddly, the need to rescue his sister and get revenge, seemed muted at the moment. Usually he was constantly ready to move on, get in place and attack.
Darius pulled a map out of his pocket and spread it on the floor, Harlan said something in a low voice and tapped the map, then traced out a route, or that’s what Quentin thought he was doing.
Finally both men stood and, shook hands, Darius looked satisfied as he walked over to stand beside Quentin.
Before Quentin could ask a question, Harlan cleared his throat. “Mac, Sue” He paused turning his head to look towards Rebekka. “ Rebekka, Im going with these guys tonight, I know a way to get on base, and I know my way around base. We should be back by dawn. At least that’s the plan, “
Darius and Quentin stayed silent as Harlans group tried to talk him out of going, the debate seemed like it would last for hours when Harlan had tired of it and shut them down hard telling them it was his decision and they were going to have to deal with it.
Quentin pulled Darius off to one side. “ What in the hell did you tell him?, that made him want to go with us.”
“I told him about my reasons for hunting them down, and he offered.” Darius replied.
“and how do you know we can trust him, or that woman you keep staring at” Quentin asked, his voice low.
“I don’t” Darius said.“Didn’t know if I could trust you either, when I first woke up at your place either. And I seem to remember being bruised, battered, bloody and naked. For all I knew you were some rapist cannibal, or even worse a liberal.”
“I am or was a liberal” Quentin replied almost smiling.
“I know, see my point and I still ended up trusting you.” Darius said a grin crooked his lips for a second as he looked at Quentin,
“okay, okay, I get it Il drop the subject:” Quentin said, holding up his hands in a mock surrender.
“Good, we need to get stuff off the trailer and onto the jeep before sunset, then we head for the base.” Darius said, his eyes once more sliding to Rebekka.
An hour later they were rolling down a narrow road beside a twisting creek, between two forested hills, with Creed playing softly from the CD player.
“what was your MOS Harlen” Quentin asked, as he looked out the window in the back seat, watching a zombie that tried to walk across the creek towards the jeep, it slipped and fell into the fast moving water, vanishing from sight.
“ well You’ve heard of the SF right” Harlen asked, not seeing Quentin roll his eyes waiting to hear the typical I was a bad ass Green Beret comment that would follow. “well I was in an even more elite unit. 21mike, a fire fighter.”
Quentin surprised himself with a bark of laughter. “expecting to hear, the I was a gung ho green beanie right” Harlan asked from the front, Quentin couldn’t see the mans face but knew he was grinning.
“some guys dreamed of combat arms, well I grew up wanting to be in the army and I wanted to be a fire fighter. Uncle Sam cooperated.” Harlen said as he turned off the road and crossed a narrow wooden bridge, the road past that, had once been gravel but most of the gravel had been washed away over the years leaving a mostly dirt road that was now choked with weeds in places.
“This road runs right up along the fence line, and the spot Im going for is remote and rough to get to on foot, so you can bet there’s no undead there. Had a fire out there once that’s how I know about it.” Harlan said.
twenty minutes later they discovered rough wasn’t the word they would apply to the area. The jeep bounced across the creek, lifting up over rocks and splashing back down. Once out of the creek, Harlan expertly got the jeep to climb a 45 degree angle, then rolled it over two large rocks that Quentin was almost sure would flip them over.
They reached a almost level area, where Harlan parked the Jeep near some trees, then climbed out. The fence line was just visible through the tree line as they climbed out of the Jeep.
“so do you have any clue, where these folks will be raiding on Base” Harlan asked as he checked his shotgun then slung it across his back, then picked up his M4.
“the Armory, for sure, then where ever the chemical weapons command kept their stuff, and probably supply.” Darius said as he strapped he slipped the Sawed off into the thigh holster, slung his rifle and walked around to the back of the jeep.
Harlan looked thoughtful for a moment, “there wont be much in the armory, never was. Most of the munitions were kept in bunkers on a remote section of the base.
Most people had no idea there are munitions bunkers on the bigger bases. It was mostly a security and safety issue, on the safety side of things, keeping munitions in isolated bunkers means if there is a fire the munitions cant detonate and wipe out a block or two of the base killing a lot of people. And most folks wanting to steal weapons and munitions head to the armory not the storage center.” Harlan explained as he ejected the M4’s magazine, checked to make sure it was full to capacity then replaced it in the weapon. “any time your ready” Harlan said motioning towards the fence line.
“lets get to it” Darius said, thinking the last time he’d had so many extra hands had been back in Kansas before all the men from the hunting party had been wiped out leaving him alone to free their friends and families.
It only took a few minutes to lift over the things that Darius was going to need for tonight, and then the three men headed deeper into the base, moving as stealthily as possible.
The going was slow, having to dodge the bands of undead that still roamed the base. Why so many were hanging around at the gates instead of inside the base, was an interesting riddle to Darius but nothing he really cared about.
“we should find a vehicle to use” Harlan said as they crouched in brush watching Artillery road, to the west not more than a mile was a small airport, and past that the Ranges.
As they watched twenty zombies stumbled past on Artillery, Harlan chewed on his lower lip for a moment as he studied the animated corpses of men and women. Darius wondered if Harlan knew any of them.
Soon the undead were out of any possible range of hearing a conversation.
“if we use a vehicle, the sound of the motor will travel for miles drawing every shambling bag of pus down on us.” Darius pointed out in a low voice.
“but booby trapping the motor pool would be excellent” Darius said with a nasty smile.
“which motorpool” Harlan asked, “theres more than one, personally Id hit the 4th MEB motorpool, they have tactical vehicles and communications gear, and all the goodies you or the raiders might want. Or at least did.”
“you’re the guide lets blow this taco stand and get the show started” Darius whispered.
“your obsessed with Tacos lately” Quentin muttered.
“its Freudian I guess” Darius said as he rose and followed Harlan across the street,
“I bet he doesn’t even know that that means” Quentin muttered as he followed the other two.
By sunset they were moving faster, having used up all the extra gear they had been carrying. They had also discovered that several areas on Base had been damaged, some badly most likely by a Tornado. Three times they had been spotted by undead but managed to loose the slow as dirt stumblers in the maze of buildings.
Now all Darius had to do was pray he had rigged the IEDs correctly, if they didn’t detonate, he would have to feel really embarrassed as well as be annoyed at not killing a single raider. What really worried him was the raiders could get on the huge base and he might not ever see them.
He settled down on the roof of the Commissary, his hand resting on the field phone that would let him talk to Quentin and Harlan who were in another building, now all he had to do was wait.
the convoy rolled through the back gate of Leonard wood, where the undead didn’t seem to be as thick other places. The vehicles took care of a huge number, rifle men accounted for even more, as the last truck rolled through the gate, one man leaped out covered by his friends, and slid the gate closed, having to stop and move bodies out of the way. But he finally got the gate closed and latched. A minute later he was scrambling back into the truck and they were rolling after the rest of the convoy who was busy putting down any undead they saw on the streets of the base.
In a matter of an hour they had secured the first objective, as the boss had called it. what the boss hadn’t seemed to know was a storm had trashed the place pretty badly more than half the vehicles were a total write off, maybe a quarter of the vehicles were actually salvageable, and the one of the buildings that had house vital equipment had been leveled others had been badly damaged leaving the equipment inside expose to the elements and probably ruining it.
At Least Kronnen coudn’t blame Harry or T for that, and their cover story for the loss of so much manpower and equipment had to be modified, as well since there had been little fighting to get into the base or on the base. Now some of harrys forces were out hunting for the group that had ambushed and killed two teams. Harry had acted decisively contacting T and telling him he was moving directing to the main goal, the base and securing it before the Group that had been attacking Harry’s scout teams could interfere any further and impact Kronnen’s plans. Who knew if the Boss would believe it or not, and how he would react to the truth, so a lie was a much better way for Harry to keep his head. Harry still wasn’t sure what T was going to get out of this, but the man had his reasons to help Harry who he didn’t like all that much.
Harry was half way to the Commissary leading a team to clear the store, talking to Ryker who was overseeing the stripping of the first target, when the radio went dead, half a second later the sound of an explosion rolled over Harrys truck, in his side view mirror he saw a massive fire ball rising into the sky.
He hit the brakes, stopping in the middle of the road, not even noticing or caring that ten zombies stumbled out of a building and started towards his truck.
“what the hell was that?” some one asked over the radio. Before either Harry or T could respond and stop any comments. Another man stated. “ it’s the fucking Hunter again.”
“..it’s the fucking hunter again” a voice said over the radio, Kronnen sat up in his seat and glared at the radio. Then leaned forward and peered out the windshield. His frown twisted something cold and angry as he saw the fire ball just over the horizon.
He reached for his microphone lifted it to his lips and pressed the transmit button. “ this is Kronnen, I am ten minutes out. I want all of you to fall back to the airfield and wait for me and my men there. Stay away from all objectives, the Hunter probably has booby trapped them. any stupid bastard that disobeys had better pray a booby trap kills you because if it doenst, I will.” Kronnen replaced the microphone and stared at the orange glow on the horizon. “make sure Kate McAllister is close at hand, I would hate to waste a woman with her skills and her looks, but I suspect that’s the only way to stop her Brother. Oh and have Ayers questioned as to exactly how I could have been told the Hunter was dead, when the hunter is blowing up things and killing my men.” He told Proctor who stood behind him.
“should I make it look like she has been raped, or have her raped.” Proctor asked.
“no I want her unharmed, I suspect he will be even harder to deal with if he thinks she has been molested.” Kronnen stated, then waved Proctor away with a toss of his hand. “and I look forward to beating him to death, personally this time.” He said softly with a smile. Then reached for the microphone again, he wanted a few more assets brought into play. Tonight he was going to make sure the Hunter became the prey.
Darius slipped quietly through the commissary, listening to the men who were busy boxing up what canned and dry good still on the shelves. A minute ago he had heard one man get excited at finding a box of chocolate bars under a shelf.
The freezer aisle was empty of raiders, the contents long since rotted away, leaving boxes and bags filled with dried sludge and mold. A nasty smell still lingered in the air. he finally reached a spot where he could look out in the parking lot and saw two trucks parked in front of the doors, three men were loading the pile of boxes that had been taken from the store already.
Two trucks, three men outside, and he had counted six different voices in the store, but it sounded like more people moving around. he looked down the main aisle behind the registers and saw the raiders had lit lanterns to light up the aisles they were stripping bare. That will make things easier he thought ducking back into the freezer aisle and headed back to the rear of the store where it was much darker. the only problem was if he took out the men in the aisles, then the men out by the trucks would escape.
Two men emerged from a lighted aisle and stepped into the dark aisle beside the one they had been working. He stayed along the back wall where the meat freezers were till he could look down the aisle were the two men were walking slowly playing their flashlight beams along the shelves, checking to see if there was anything they could take.
“there’s still flour and other baking supplies on this aisle”one of the men called out.
Darius’s hand dropped to rest on the pipe bomb in his belt, he had taken over twenty of them off the raiders in the last week. It was he decided fitting to return them to their owners he pulled the bomb free of his belt and pulled the zippo out of his shirt pocket, just as he was about to flick the lighter to life, a loud boom rolled over the store, shaking the still intact windows and setting the hanging signs to swinging.
Sounds like some one found a fuel tank bomb, he thought grinning as he listened to the panic that swept over the men in the store. he moved closer to the aisle they were looting, then stopped as he heard them moving towards the store front.
“… every one stop what your doing and meet at the airstrip. Its on the maps you were given. Any one that doesn’t obey, Kronnen said he will kill when he gets here” the voice sounded tinny and electronic. And came from multiple spots. Radios, Darius realized.
“you heard T, get these last boxes outside, we are leaving.” A Man shouted from the front of the store.
Darius wanted to cuss, but held his tongue. Stepping back away from the aisle as he considered is options. Which were not many, and he didn’t have time to really come up with new ones, the objective here was to thin the ranks. With out exposing himself too much danger.
Time to do what I came here for no more playing around Darius told himself as moved quickly up a dark aisle. Reaching the end of the aisle gave him a good view of the front of the store. the raiders were heading for the front door with boxes in their arms.
Now that makes things so much easier he thought as he flicked the lighter to life. He touched the flame to the fuse. When the fuse sputtered to life he drew back his arm and let fly. He was already running before the pipe bomb landed amidst the raiders.
The pipe bomb sailed through the air, striking a raider who had just stepped into the doorway, it bounced off the man and hit the floor, sliding two feet back from the door. The Next raider in line had time to look down and see what had landed in front of him, and recognize it for what it was, then the pipe bomb detonated. the nails and bits of jagged metal ripped through the raiders, the pressure wave shattered the plate glass windows, the flying glass tore into two of the men who had been handing boxes up to a man in the back of one of the trucks who was protected by the beds side walls.
Darius didn’t see any of that as he slid to a stop, when the first pipe bomb detonated, lit a second and let fly, sending the bomb sailing over the shelves between himself and the doorway, then took off running again.
The second bomb sailed into the midst of the blood bath where injured men lay writhing in pain and finished the job that the first bomb had started.
Darius run forward, shotgun in hand, and slid to a stop as one of the trucks roared away from the store, a man hanging on the tail gate where he had been thrown, scrambling to get back into the bed of the truck. Darius leveled the shot gun and fired, if he had hit the man there was no sign of it, as the raider scrambled up the tail gate and into the bed of the truck as it tore out onto the street.
Around Darius, the dead bodies were already starting to twitch and at least four of the raiders were still alive. no matter what happened, these men were too badly injured to live. Darius walked up, shotgun ready. Not sure what he was going to do.
One of the raiders sat in a puddle of blood his back against the courtesy counter, his hands were mangled, blood streamed down his face, but his eyes were unharmed and locked on Darius’s face. His mouth worked and then he spit a bloody gobbet at Darius feet.
“remember all the people you folks left for the undead” Darius said conversationally as he stepped around the twitching bodies, the blood and the gore. Something about that almost animalistic defiance infuriated him. “ I hope you enjoy it as much as they did” he said as he stepped outside, refusing to even look back. he climbed into the cab of the remaining truck.
“got to love military vehicles” Darius said aloud as he pushed the button where keys should have gone. The motor rumbled to life, he put the thing into gear and drove out of the parking lot, watching as the newly risen zombies stumbled into the store and the meal that waited for them.
a block away, he heard a series of beeps that drew his attention to the floor boards, he looked down and saw a radio.well at least luck is still working for me. He thought as he pulled up in front of the MWR building where Quentin and Harlan waited for him.
Both men rushed outside and piled into the truck, Darius was already moving before the door had slammed shut. Off in the distance there was another explosion, Darius wondered if some one had set it off or he had screwed up setting the detonator.
“We need a new plan” Darius said as he rounded a corner slowing down, then finally stopping in front of a library. “Kronnen ordered all his men to the airport, to wait for his arrival. Its my chance, and I don’t want to blow it again.”
“ I think I have a way to do this” Quentin said slowly, then shrugged. “if it doesn’t work, we all die anyway.”
Darius listened as Quentin outlined his Han Solo Plan as he called it.
T. swore heavily as the last of his men arrived, assuming every one had obeyed the orders and this was every one. Then he was down 22 men. Twenty two men, the Hunter had to be some former Seal or some shit like that to do half of what he had accomplished.
Missing two trucks as well he noted.
He knew he was probably going to pay with his life, his fault or not. Kronnen was like that. But was there a way he could save his brother. For all of his vaults, for everything wrong he had done, he had always protected his brother and now there wasn’t anything he could do to save him from Kronnen. Finally T had fucked up bad enough that it was going to cost Dale. Most every man in the damn unit hated his brother, who couldn’t seem to lie, never thought anything he said was wrong and now finally it was going to doom him right along with T.
Even as he brooded over his dilemma he was barking orders and getting men out to sweep the field. Once his men were in place he turned to Henry who looked as nervous as T felt.
“You realize we are probably going to be tossed to the undead or something don’t you?” Henry asked.
T nodded, but kept his feelings from showing on his face. They both looked up as Motors could be heard in the distance. Ten minutes later a Line of vehicles appeared coming down the road. Hummers led the way, followed by the Abomination as it was called. Kronnen had gotten Jesus his genius mechanic to strip down one of those tracked cranes removing the boom and every thing but the control box and platform over the tracks. The control box and platform had been up armored, and heavy weapons had been installed on it, mostly machine guns and one of those six barreled electric guns. Usually abomnation was carried on a flatbed, but when Kronnen wanted to make a point it was offloaded and used as a mobile bunker.
Behind that came the RV,s and the dually pulled the cattle trailers where prisoners, or conscripts as Kronnen called them, were kept, then the Military trucks, fuel and supply trucks then finally the heavily armed armored half tracks, God knew where he had picked those up at.
The whole convoy pulled into the Airfield and came to a stop before the Terminal, where the vehicles immediately laagered into assigned groups, the RV’s surrounded the cattle trailers, the trucks around the RV’s and then the armed and armored vehicles. Around that.
T and Henry started walking towards the Laager, watching as Kronnen’s men piled out taking up stations around the vehicles. He spotted Kronnen a moment later, striding out from the center of the formation, his Second with him, and a woman who was escorted by two of Kronnen’s Immortals as they called themselves.
Kronnen, T had often thought, was like a force of nature, you could feel it radiating off him. And when angry it was like a storm building up. he stopped in Front of Kronnen and saluted, tonight it felt like a hurricane was building. Don’t trust that smile T told himself.
“from the looks of it T. you got your ass handed to you” Kronnen said conversationally.
“Yes sir it does seem that way” T agreed, no point in trying to point out that Harry had been the one to lose most of his unit, T was in charge and that was all there was to it.
“Your sure it’s the Hunter?” Kronnen asked, his voice level, his eyes friendly.
“All we know is he does things the same way and leaves the same Brand spray pained on stuff.” T replied, which was entirely true.
“I wonder if one of his friends still lives, or do you think its possible Darius Zane McAllister was never executed as I ordered.” Kronnen asked. T knew his answer could seal his and his brothers fate, but he wasn’t about to start lying now.
“Either is possible Sir, the only way your orders would have been disobeyed would be the men were killed before they could do the Job. Which suggests one of the Hunters Friends still lives. Or they screw up and the pus bags got them” T said, hoping he didn’t feel the bullet.
“Possibly T. Possibly. Id like you to meet, Kate McAllister the Hunters Sister, and the reason he has been following us for so long.” Kronnen said as the woman’s guards gently pushed her forward.
“I thought he might like to see her before I kill him personally” Kronnen said.
“I take it you believe its really the hunter then” T asked,
“Yes, apparently the men I assigned to kill him, never reported back. And the platoon Leader, decided to lie, believing that his men must have been overwhelmed by the undead that swarmed the area as we departed, he thought there was no way a man beaten as Badly as the hunter was ,could have lived to escape from the undead. To test his theory I beat him just as badly and left him on the side of the road to see if he could escape the approaching undead. Apparently he couldn’t escape, but the hunter could.” Kronnen said with a cold smile.
“Don’t worry Darius will show you just how tough he can be” Kate sated, a smile on her face. Kronnen only smiled back at her.
“oh he already did that, most men would have died from the beating I gave him, and from the beating he got before he was dragged in front of me. And taking both and still living is impressive to say the least. Your Brother certainly can take a beating with the best of them.” Kronnen said enjoying himself as the smile on her face faltered then vanished. .
“but tonight Kate, I plan on pulling his spine out of his back and beating his skull in with it.” He smiled hugely as she remained silent. With a shrug he turned back to T and Harry
“now then, the question I still have to answer is what to do with you two. You did fail, but managed to pull your asses out by securing the most important objective. The buck stops with you T. But in this instance, Harry was the one who lost most of his unit. And he had such promise.” Kronnen said his eyes fixing on Harry who paled, and looked about to run, which would do him no good.
“I think this time around, I will let you live for a while longer Harrry, you did at least report it to T, who didn’t delay in telling me, knowing I would probably be furious. And I cant fault you for thinking the Hunter was Dead when I had said so. So this time and this only I will shoulder the blame. But fail me again and I will castrate you feed your balls, then hang you up to bleed out.”
“Yes sir” Both men chorused.
“Good” Kronnen said almost warmly, as the sound of helicopters reached the group. T and harry both looked up stunned, as two military helicopters swooped in and landed nearby. “it appears my Guest and his entourage has arrived, Wait here for orders”
Darius hung under the truck, listening to Quentin climb down then walk off, then waited till it was quiet around him, then quietly drew his knife and cut the belts one by one that held him to the frame of the big truck. It was slow work but finally he was crouched under the truck almost in the center of camp.
Quentin for the win he thought as he pulled his weapons from this small pack and strapped them on. Once he was sure that no one was just going to walk by he slipped out from under the truck, and headed deeper into the formation of vehicles.
Quentin was right, tonight Darius had to rescue the prisoners first, then he could hunt to his hearts content. He kept to the shadows, knowing that time was running out, assuming Harlan actually did his part and didn’t leave them hanging, bombs would be going off soon, and Darius had to be ready.
“Hey, what are you doing back here” a man called out from the shadows of an RV. Darius didn’t groan but he wanted to.
“Kronnen ordered me to check the prisoners for some one named Karl brewer, who is supposed to be connected to the Hunter.” Darius lied smoothly, even managing to make himself sound less like a Texan than he thought possible.
The man stepped out into the dim light of sunset, frowning. He knew he was supposed to stop any one from entering the Ring of RVs, but if Kronnen had ordered it, then he risked angering the boss if he got in the way. Go for it asshole take the risk Darius thought.
“all right but hurry it up” The guard said waving Dairus through.
This is not the hunter you are looking for, Darius thought with real humor. Humor that died abruptly as three Helicopters appeared and swept overhead.
The RV group was doing chores as he strode through, keeping out of the bright lights as much as possible. Women were busing cooking, sewing up clothes and setting up tubs to wash clothes in.
He wanted to warn them, but he didn’t, there was no telling how many of them served willingly or had been forced into serving. The risk was too great.
He made it through to the center where the cattle trailers were parked, still attached to the trucks that pulled them. He didn’t attempt to hide, but boldly walked up to the first trailer and shone a light inside.
“hey what the hell are you doing” a man said from behind him. Darius swept the light over the people huddled in the trailer but saw no one he recognized.
“The boss sent me to find a Guy Named Karl Brewer, supposedly he is a friend of the Hunter, he wants him brought up front” Darius said, wishing he had taken martial arts or something.
“So why didn’t he send Proctor, he always sends Proctor” the man said his hand hovering near the pistol he wore.
“How the hell should I know, want to go ask him. I sure the fuck don’t” Darius stated. Take that Drama nerds he thought. The Oscar for best actor under pressure goes to me. Darius thought.
The man paused, then nodded. He wasn’t really sure what to do. “ well okay, I had to ask.” The man said.
“I know no big deal.” Darius said with a grin, then turned and shone his light inside the trailer again. “ any one in here named Karl Brewer. And don’t lie I have a description.” He called out as he swung the flashlight from person to person. The people in the trailer huddled closer together but remained silent.
Darius, followed by the guard, walked to the next trailer and peered in, thirty people, men and women, and a few children, he felt his disgust rise but held it in check. “Karl Brewer, why don’t you step to the door, don’t make us come in and get you.” Darius said, his emotions threatening to overwhelm him as he saw Brewer in the beam of the flashlight, the mans arms were around his daughter who looked shell shocked, staring up at the ceiling.
“Come on Asshole, don’t be a another piece of Texas panhandle shit” Darius said. Karls head snapped up peering intently at the slot where Darius was looking in.”get your Okie loving ass to the door.”
Darius turned to the guard. “ come on, looks like we have to drag him out” he said.
“Hold on, Im coming,” Karl called out, the fear in his voice was barely evident.
Darius managed not to heave a sigh of relief, he was growing more nervous as the time ticked by.
He moved to the door still followed by the guard, then motioned at the lock, he casually drew the sawed off shotgun he carried, and crouched pointing it at the door. “go on open it up, Ill cover you” Darius said. “or give me the keys and Ill open it and you can cover me.”
The man hesitated, but then finally drew the ring of keys he carried and stepped up fitting a key to lock.
Karl Brewer slowly stepped out his hands on his head, “get the damn light out of my eyes, asshole” Karl snarled as Darius speared him in the flashlight beam.
“Karl Brewer, you are bound by law” Darius said quoting an old sci fi show they had both loved, in fact it was the only science fiction Show Darius had ever watched. Karls eyes widened.
The guard slow on the take was just starting to turn towards Darius, confused by the comment when Darius slammed the shotgun against his head, and sent him sprawling on the ground.
He dropped onto the man driving a Knee into the mans solar plexus, and smiled coldly as he lifted the shotgun. “ Welcome to the hunt asshole.” And clubbed the man unconscious.
“Holy shit, Darius, is it really you” Karl asked stunned.
“In the flesh and I’m about to open a real can of whoop ass on these guys.” Darius said, as he drew one of the spare pistols from his bag and pressed it into Karls hands, then passed him three mags. Karl took the weapon eagerly then waited while Darius retrieved the key ring but didn’t see any vehicle keys on it. “figures a snag.” He muttered. “Wheres my sister?”
“She ‘s with Kronnen, he is using her as a human shield, Darius.” Karl said with a pained expression on his face.
Darius was silent for a moment; first things first, get these people ready to roll.
“Im going to have to hot wire this truck, your going to have to watch for the driver though.” He said.
“that was the driver” Karl said.
Makes sense, the drivers act as guards, so they wouldn’t keep the keys where the prisoners might be able to get ahold of them, Darius thought. But to be on the safe side he went through the mans pockets and found no other keys.
He quickly felt up under the fenders and bumpers till he found a box in the wheel well of the drivers side front tire. Pulling it free he grinned as he found a key inside the box. My Aunt Getty used to use one of these he thought, she had always been locking her keys in her car, so his mom had bought her one of those key boxes to keep a spare in.
“Where’s the other driver” Darius asked.
“Eating, when they make camp one driver goes and eats, while the other waits, then they switch. “ Karl said. “we aren’t going to be able to drive out Darius theres not enough room between vehicles. To fit.”
“trust me, when its time for you to leave there will be” Darius promised. As he looked around. “go talk to the prisoners in the other truck and tell them whats going on, and tell them to be ready.” Darius said as he smiled at the men and women pressed against the side of the trailer beside him staring out the view slits at Darius. “its taken a while, and Im sorry, but you folks are going to be free here soon.”
“your lucky, Darius the only reason we are here, is because of Kate. Theres more prisoners at the other camp, and some of them are our people.” Karl said.
“I don’t have time to be picky, lets get you folks out then I can worry about the others.” Darius said shooing Karl towards the other truck.
Working quickly Darius Bound the guard tightly, for some reason he didnt understand he couldn’t just kill the guy like this, maybe he knows where this other camp is. Darius dragged him to the back of the trailer opened the door and dumped him inside. “ do not hurt him, I know you want to. But don’t, let me deal with him later.” Darius said as he closed the door. Not that he would lose sleep if they did.
He walked to the front of the truck and picked up the mans rifle, it was some kind of military type rifle, an M-4 or something like that he had seen them in the news. Then began to pace around the trucks acting like he belonged there.
He didn’t have to wait long, four minutes or so later, he saw a man walking into the ring, the light that filtered into the prisoner ring from the lighs set up around the RVs might have been dim, but it was enough for him to recognize Quentin, who wore a booney hat now, and carried an AK.
“and you thought this plan wouldn’t work” Quentin said with a grin as Darius stepped into the light.
“it hasn’t yet. We aren’t out of here, and Kronnen has my sister with him, using her as a human shield so I was told” Darius said calmly. “so your driving the other truck, but we have to wait for Kronnen’s other driver who is eating right now.”
“if he was the guy wearing the boony hat, that was heading this way, you don’t have to wait any longer. He met with an accident.” Quentin said, tensing as he saw another man walking up.
“Steady now, that’s Karl, Karl this is Quentin who will be the other driver” Darius said before any one could over react. “did you get my little surprises set up” He asked Quentin who nodded.
“good, Karl did the other driver where a booney hat.” Darius asked, Karl nodded slowly sizing up Quentin.
“Yeah he did.” Karl replied.
“good, then you two hold the fort here. Do not start a fight before my surprises start or we are all screwed.” Darius said. “ I have a sister to rescue. If I’m not back by the time it starts, get them out okay”
Quentin nodded, “ I promise, good luck, and don’t get beat down again. I wont be there to save your ass this time.”
General Samuel Bedford, watched as Nathan Kronnen strode forward. A slight smile on his face. He knew the Warlord far better than the man realized, Nathan Kronnen, a former College football coach, the school itself had been to small to really stand out. He had apparently done little to stand out there his team had been competent, but not outstanding.
Kronnen’s national Guard Records had a lot to say about the former NCO. The man had been an average troop, Average as an NCO and with only a slightly above average motivation. Till the world had died at any rate. Since then, he had taken control of his guard company and began to build an army, freeing prisoners trapped in prisons and jails, capturing small towns and easily defended complexes and securing survivors whether they wanted it or not.
Well Kronnen was just the tool for the job he needed done. He had to much to do out west to free up the troops he needed to deal with that Asshole Jared Stone. He was still angry to find out that one of the NSC spooks had sent part of ODA down to contact Stone, a team led by Stones Younger Brother or all people. he would deal with that little issue once he was fully in position to take over, he didn’t like being thwarted, wouldn’tolerate it in point of fact.
His guards all Delta force, stiffened as Kronnen came to a stop in front of Bedford.
“General its nice to finally meet you in person” Kronnen said.
“And I you Mr. Kronnen.” Bedford replied. “lets get down to business then shall we.”
the shadows lay thick on the edge of the flight apron, to his left were hangars that stood open, a hundred yards to his right sat three helicopters, two were those odd looking twin rotor types, with the a rotor front and back. And a black hawk, those he recognized from TV.
Soldiers, and that’s what they looked and acted like were offloading craters and containers from the back of the two odd looking helicopters and stacking them to one side.
Darius had his attention fixed on the men gathered in front of the hangar, more to the point his attention was fixed on the woman who stood nearby, two men standing to either side looking like guards.
He studied the lay out for a few minutes, picking a route that would hopefully keep him from being spotted but there wasn’t much, two planes, some kind of tug, a fuel truck that sat on flat tires, and that was it, after that he would have to approach in the open.
Suck it up and get moving he told himself, and then put thought to action. The thing about sneaking up on people is sound, and as Darius had learned over the last few months, no matter how slow one moved, the slightest sound you made seemed to echo off mountains a thousand miles away.
On his knees and elbows, he slipped across the tarmac with only a slight scuff of boot leather, till he was sheltered behind one of he planes and waited. To see if any one had spotted him, when no one called out an alarm he moved as quickly as he dared to the tug. From this angle he realized that the truck blocked him from the view of those in front of the Hangar.
He scooted forward, wincing, as the sounds of his boots seemed to be louder than the distant helicopters.
Finally he was against the fuel truck and crouched down, there was just enough room that he could squeeze under it if he wanted too. Where the hell were those bombs, he wondered, surely half an hour had elapsed already. Unless Harlan had run, or even worse Harlan worked for Kronnen. Way to be paranoid he chided himself, anything could have happened that delayed Harlan, that didn’t involve running away or being a spy. He could have been eaten for one.
But the more time that passed, the closer it got to the bombs that Quentin had planted, to detonating, or of Quentin and Karl being discovered. With that cheery thought in mind he slid under the fuel truck
Harlan ran for his life, refusing to look behind him. The dead were flowing through the gates he had opened, in a huge wave of rotting corpses. The plan had called for blowing the gates with one of the bombs that Darius has given him. Harlan had changed the plan and was beginning to suspect it wasn’t the brightest of moves.
Harlan hadn’t even really believed Darius’s story, in fact he had thought to use him to get onto base and find supplies that his small group of survivors could use. But all that had changed when he watched the long line of raider vehicles roll past his position.
The men he had seen in those vehicles had been what his mother would have called unsavory, as questionable as his opinion of those men had been seeing the cattle trailers loaded with people, clenched it for Harlan.
All he could think about after that was his small group being rounded up and forced into those cattle trailers to be used as slave labor for this large well equipped band of raiders that he now completely believed in. He would do what Darius had asked, once he was out of here, he was going to get his people as far from this band as he could.
As he had sat there waiting, watching the timer he held so he knew when to blow the gates and let the undead in had begun to think about it. If the Raiders heard the bombs, they would be prepared for the wave of undead. But if he planted the bombs and opened the gates early, the raiders might be caught with their pants down when the undead showed up. The bombs would alert Darius as they had been intended to o and the whole plan would be put into motion, just with the undead showing up earlier than intended.
As he ran he began to think this was a bad idea. What if Darius and the people he wanted to free were caught out in the open. The second deuce they had recovered from Maintenance yard after Quentin had laid out his plan was parked just ahead.
If Harlan had stuck with the plan no one would have noticed a motor in the distance since he would have started it when the bombs went off. but if he started it up now, it would be heard at the raiders camp. And men would come to check it out.
But wouldn’t the outcome be the same, the raiders scouts would show up, see the undead and warn the camp who would start packing up to leave creating the confusion that Darius had wanted.
He turned and ran behind the building he had parked the deuce behind and moment later was scrambling up into the deuce. Next time you meet a stranger, keep going he told himself as he pushed the button and the truck roared to life.
Murphy strikes at the best and worst of times, this time it was both. The sound of the deuce and half in the distance would normally have been heard, but three vehicles were idling noisily trying to charge their batteries, and the helicopters that sat on the tarmac with their engines running drowned out that distant noise.
As a result no one heard a thing for ten more precious minutes, till a guard heard a truck horn in the distance. Curious, he reported the contact, and two minutes later three jeeps sped out of the camp to check it out.
Four minutes later, the lead jeep spotting a Deuce and a half with Kronnens Three ravens logo, speeding towards them honking its horn, behind it maybe a quarter mile away, undead spilled into the street following the Truck and its horn.
“Contact, we have a truck leading a huge crowd of undead right to the camp. Even if we stop it, the undead can hear the helicopters from here and will reach the camp in ten minutes.” One of the guards reported, as the truck blasted past them.
The Jeeps whipped around and gave chase. Two minutes later, seven bombs detonated down at the gates, sending debris flying into the air. Quite few undead were killed for the second time around, but it wasn’t enough to put a dent into the crowd still pouring through gate.
Darius hearing the distant explosion knew he had twenty minutes possibly thirty before the undead could reach the camp. Already the Army general and his men were wrapping up their conversation with Kronnen and starting towards their waiting helicopters.
One of Kronnen’s security detail, a man that Darius had seen before, just before his eye had swollen shut, had a hand pressed to an ear, talking into a microphone.
“We have to leave now Sir, the undead are just down the road, ten minutes or less out from the camp,” the man shouted at Kronnen who turned towards the man furious at being shouted at, but then the message registered.
What? Ten minutes, what the hell had happened with blowing the gates as a diversion and letting in the undead, Darius asked himself. But with out Harlan standing there to answer, Darius had no idea what had happened.
“get the camp broken down, we will go out the back way” Kronnen ordered, as he motioned at Kate to follow him.
“It seems Kate, your brother has arrived.” Darius heard Kronnen say.
Behind Darius a clock alarm rang, the noise lost in the sound of helicopters lifting off, but the fireball that bloomed upwards, was hard to miss, Murphy having a good time, made sure that a huge amount of shrapnel tore through the air, passing directly through the spot where helicopter blades were turning. There was a loud snapping noise, smoke poured out of the engine cowling, as some of the debris was sucked into the intake and the chopper corkscrewed wildly before slamming into the ground, burning fuel spreading out from the wreckage. The other two helicopters rose smoothly and fled to the west.
Darius ran in a crouch, throwing himself down behind a Plane Tug, the thing was covered in sheet steel, and probably weighed a good ton. It was the only thing, that he could place between him and the IED he had planted.
At Kronnen’s order, his Guard raced towards the camp, the two men with Kate grabbed her by the arms, but she struggled with all her strength, till the men paused in order to subdue her.
Only one of Kronnen’s men, saw Darius running for cover, it took two seconds for it to register he was looking at a running man, another second to wonder why one of his people was running towards the hanger, a Name sprang into his mind, as his jaw sagged down in surprise, his time ran out, announced by the ringing of an alarm clock.
Darius had lucked out, the fuel truck had been a quarter full of Av gas, when the pipe bomb went off, it punctured the fuel tank, the fumes suddenly freed, expanded in a microsecond then ignited, setting alight the remaining fuel. Six of Kronnen’s men were close enough to the fuel truck to be shredded by shrapnel then burned to death by flaming fuel that coated their remains.
The rest were knocked to ground many wounded, Kronnen staggered under the pressure wave, then fell onto his back stunned his ears ringing.
He blinked then heard Gunfire, his men were already hosing the area around the fuel truck where they were certain that Darius had to be hiding.
Kate, found one arm free, as the man holding it, let go to stare at the explosions, she tore free from her remaining Guard, kicking him as hard as she could in his balls before running for the hangar.
Kronnen sat up, shaking his head, and saw Kate McAlister running past the lights and into the hangar. Furious he bellowed at his remaining men to catch her, with out the woman, Darius couldn’t be controlled.
Darius got to his knees in time to see Kate escape, way to go girl he laughed silently seeing the one guard rolling around on the ground holding his testicles. Buddy she was always hell on guys nuts, should have seen her in jr. High, boys were scared to talk to her with out a cup on or their hands over their jewels, he thought as he heard Kronnen order his men after Darius’s little sister.
Darius lifted the military rifle, thankful, Quentin had shown him how to operate the damn thing, and convinced him to take three clips… magazines, as Quentin called them.
He settled his sights on the first man and fired, not caring that he was shooting them in the back, the bastards deserved no less. The man stumbled and fell to the ground, Darius swept the weapon to the next man and fired again, rocking through six round and sent another Raider tumbling to the ground. By his third target went down, the rest realized some one was shooting at them.
Darius rose into a crouch, not out of training, but in a desperate need to present as small a target as possible, a bullet cracked past his ear, fired from his right and slightly behind him. Time to run, he told himself, feets don’t fail me now.
Harlan gasped in pain, and pressed one hand against his chest. Damn, Im going to die, he thought with regret, Im going to miss Rebekka. And I’m not going to turn into one of those things, no sir. He thought as he dragged his pack across the seat and fumbled the flap open. He reached in, rummaging around till he found a grenade he had stashed inside months ago. There was another burst of gunfire as one of the jeeps pulled up along side, The windshield shattered, spraying him with glass, another bullet struck him in the side.
I really wanted to live, he thought as he made up his mind, and aimed the deuce at a fuel truck. Hopefully Darius would keep his folks safe from these asshats, not that I can do anything about that now. He managed to pull the pin on the grenade, then slammed the accelerator pedal all the way down.
Kronnen swore as he sighted again on the Hunter, the bastard was shooting his men in the back. His first shot must have been close; Darius ducked away and ran into the darkness after his sister, even as Kronnen’s men finally returned fire. Kronnen dropped into a combat stance and began to methodically fire into the darkness about where he thought the man would be. He couldn’t see Darius but he emptied his magazine into the night. Then calmly replaced it as his reinforcements arrived led by proctor.
“Find them” He ordered the men who had been caught flat footed losing three of their number. “Find and kill the Hunter.”
“give me a rifle” he said, Proctor passed over the AK he carried, Kronnen took the weapon, and started towards the hangar, where Kate had vanished inside. “We are going to get our guest back and this time I will rape her.” He vowed.
“But sir, the undead are on the edge of the airfield, we have to go” Proctor protested.
“I said we go after her, or do I need to replace you” Kronnen said pointing the rifle at Proctors head.
Proctor nodded, “yes sir, Lets go” He told his men and led them towards the hanger Kronnen jogging at his side.
Darius reached the side of the hangar, and leaned against it, his shoulder and side burning where he had been shot, it felt like grazes, and there wasn’t a lot of blood which was good news, it damn sure didn’t hurt worse than when he had almost lost his nuts to a bulls horn.
He tossed aside the ball cap he had been wearing and pulled a battered felt cowboy hat from his pack and slipped it on. With that done, he moved along the wall, knowing that Kronnen’s men would be coming around the corner any minute no matter how cautious they were being.
Just as he reached the side door that would have let him into the interior of the hangar, fire erupted in his leg a microsecond before the sound of a gun shot rolled past him. He hit the ground and rolled over onto his back, half propped up by his pack. He fired back, his first two shots missing their target but his the man shaped shadow back lit by the fires tumbled to the ground with his third shot. He scrambled to his feet, ignoring the pain and yanked the side door to the hangar open, only to duck back outside as gunfire hammered the door around him. More bullets tore past him as men charged around the corner.
Darius ran for the corner and ducked behind the hanger. Three trucks and a car were parked behind the hangar, a metal cargo container was maybe forty feet past the trucks.
Darius ran limping determined to reach the Trucks, wishing he still had a pipe bomb or two. He passed the first truck and stopped at the second, so he had the bulk of two vehicles between him and Kronnen’s men. Sooner or later another group would come around the other side, or through the back door of the hanger, if he hadn’t figured out where to go before then he was pretty much screwed.
He laid his rifle across the edge of the bed, knowing that it left his head dangerously exposed, but he had no choice, if he laid down his leg would stiffen up and he wouldn’t be able to get back to his feet.
He placed his sights on the corner of the hanger and was rewarded a minute later with someone sticking their head around the corner. He stroked the trigger of his rifle, and smiled grimly as mans body tumbled to the ground, he figured he might be able to shoot one or two if they charged before he was either dead or had to drop the rifle and switch to his pistol.
Quentin winced as he heard two explosions close by, that wasn’t part of the plan, he thought but it did send men and women running for their vehicles, he felt bad for what was about to happen. he had hoped no on would be in the vehicles he had placed the bombs on, now it looked like he was about to have a lot of blood on his hands.
“mount up” Quentin told Karl, who nodded, Quentin slipped behind the wheel and started the truck, then looked over to Karl who gave him a thumbs up. any one paying attention would just assume they were preparing to bug out like the rest, that was going to change shortly.
Every where motors were staring, the military vehicles were already pulling out of position to interpose themselves between the undead and the rest of the camp, that was breaking apart as vehicles started pulling out of position. Suddenly a deuce in a half, with men in the back firing at the not to distant undead exploded, Quentin had place the pipe bomb by the gas tank. Men, weapons, and debris rained to the ground.
Almost at the same time, a Bradley lurched and died, the pipe bomb he had managed to get under a personnel bench detonating killing every one inside.
The RVs started moving in a circle that slowly unwound into a line, Darius put his truck into Gear, and fell in behind the last RV. His last pipe bomb went off blowing the fuel tanks on a Hemmit. Horrified at what he had done, no matter how necessary it might have been, and knowing that more were going to go off in another five minutes to allow them to affect their escape from the convoy.
But the moment wasn’t over yet, his horror grew as he saw a Deuce and a half racing towards the line of vehicles, its windshield and windows shattered, bullet holes in its doors, gas pouring out from the holes in its tanks.
“no, Harlan, no don’t do it man” he said surprised at the grief he felt welling up in him for a total stranger. The truck slammed into the fuel truck with a crash, for a second it was as if the world held its breath, the fuel truck rocked up on its passenger side tires, its frame bent and twisted, the fuel tank ruptured and fuel poured out over the hood of the Deuce, and then there was a flash of light in the Cab of the Deuce, both trucks went up in a black oily fireball.
“oh fuck” Quentin said aloud stunned, praying that Harlan had died in the crash, he hated to think the man was burning to death. The jeeps that had been pursuing the Deuce broke off their chase and then raced past the fleeing Column of vehicles heading towards the hanger.
The Military vehicles were still holding a line, firing into the advancing undead, the mob spreading out across the airfield and coming on with seemingly no end to their numbers.
“You continue to astound me Darius” Kronnen called out, Darius looked around, but couldn’t see the man. Something made him look up and above him were a row of windows. “you’ve killed many of my men, wrecked my vehicles and for what, revenge.”
“I was bored” Darius shot back, knowing that Kronnen was trying to distract him. “if you want to poke your head out I can shoot it off for you.” Darius said as he considered his options and the only one that kept him from being shot from those windows was to press up against the side of the building, which left him exposed to men coming around the sides of the building. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t, he thought.
“you really are an idiot, you cant hope to stand against my entire force Darius” Kronnen called out, and yes it was coming from up there Darius thought.
“Been doing okay so far” Darius pointed out, “you lost what sixty or so today, another forty or so over the last four days. Id say Im doing damn good, this time next week it will just be you all by your lonesome.”
“I will kill your sister Darius, rape her first, rape her several times then slit her throat and let her come back.” Kronnen called out. Darius throttled back his anger, his eyes sweeping the back of the building.
“you could, but you have to catch her” Darius pointed out as he tried the door to the truck he stood behind, finding it open he placed his back and his 30 30 inside, then shut the door quietly, Kronnen could probably see him, but might not mention it to his men, so Darius, if he lived, might be able to get his stuff back later.
“Oh I’ve already done that Darius” Kronnen replied.
In the distance Darius heard several more explosions, then motors racing as vehicles approached.
“Then prove it, come on I’m waiting, put up or shut up.” Darius said seeing a man peek around the corner of the hanger. He fired a burst at the man, hearing the strangled cursing, he was pretty sure he had at least grazed the man.
“I’m guessing by your silence, your trying to come up with a convincing lie.” Darius shouted, not looking up, he wanted Kronnen to think he hadn’t figured out where Kronnen was at. He wasn’t sure if it would help but who knew if he could turn it to his advantage.
“very well, you are correct, but it is only a matter of minutes before we locate your sister, and then I’m going to rape her while we talk.” Kronnen said.
“I would be amazed if you can get it up and chew gum at the same time, much less talk while raping someone” Darius said, then ducked as men came around the corner at a run firing as they came.
“Looks like you are about to die” Kronnen called out laughing.
Kate hid in the small dark room, a large wrench clutched in her hand. She controlled her breathing so she wouldn’t pant, already feeling light headed but that was passing. It wouldn’t take them long to search the office section at the back of the hanger she knew that, but it was the best idea she’d had at the time, now she realized she should have just ran to that door with the exit sign on it and outside again. Too late now. She could hear men upstairs, and hear doors opening and closing here on the first floor.
She lifted the wrench, as they drew closer to where she hid at, God if your listening show me a way out, otherwise Im going to die with a wrench in my hand. She heard footfalls stop outside the door, she stepped to one side, and drew back the wrench as she heard someone grasp the knob.
T snarled and beat on the steering wheel, not even paying attention to Harry, who was just as worried as he was. Kronnen would blame them both for leading the hunter here, even if it was his fault for under estimating the Hunter. As much as T didn’t want to die, Dale would die with him, either trying to protect him, or executed by Kronnen. Dale was a simpleton, he wouldn’t understand why a man he thought was his buddy would kill him with out blinking, or have him killed with out regret and T couldn’t allow that. No Ive screwed up my own life and I deserve what I get, but Dale doesn’t.
He knew what he had to do, his hand dropped to his pistol, Harry would stand in his way, and he would have to kill him first.
“don’t T.”Harry said, his own weapon suddenly in his hand and pointing to T. “if your thinking about Running to save your brother, then Im with you. Hopefully we can both save our asses, cause I don’t see Kronnen being all magnanimous after this, he is going to want to blame some one and its going to be us.”
T studied the other man, then reached his decision, if Harry wanted to kill him and make up a story to get into Kronnens good graces he could have just pulled the trigger and gabbed the wheel. “all right,” T said, moving his hand away form his weapon and picking up the microphone. “ this is T, stay with the column and protect it, Im going back to make Sure the boss gets out of here.” He ordered his men, the last order he would ever give.
“still with me” T asked, Harry looked sick but nodded.
“What you doing T, where are we going” Dale asked.
“Im going to get you someplace safe Dale, our friends aren’t our friends any more, they are bad men. Do you understand Dale” T asked, glancing at Harry who, he realized hadn’t made a half wit or retard comment in a while.
“no T, but if you say so, I believe you.” Dale replied from the back.
“Good, remember Dale, if they try to catch us, you run away and don’t stop, and stay away from the sick people.” T said, turning the wheel of the SUV and leaving the column and heading back towards the terminal.
“Yes T.” Dale replied.
As they passed the conscripts transport, the headlights of his SUV shown directly into the Cab of the first truck, T shook his head, realizing that the driver wasn’t any one he knew, and it damn sure wasn’t the man who was supposed to be driving. So the hunter did have people working with him, well good luck mister, I hope you kill a few of them on your way out. T said silently
Darius hit the ground, and fired under the vehicles he sheltered behind, not willing to lay there and become a target for Kronnen, he rolled under the truck that had been at his back. Bullets sparked as they struck the cement where he had just been.
He could see men’s feet as they rushed his position, and fired a burst the sound hammering his ears. A man went down his ankle shattered, another went down his foot a wreck. Darius rolled out onto the other side of the truck, leaped to his feet and ran for the metal cargo container, behind him glass shattered as his assailants poured fire into the trucks.
The hammer of god slammed into his side, Darius staggered and slammed into the Cargo container, as another round narrowly missed him. Oh hell that hurt, where are the zombies, never the hell around when you want them to eat someone, he thought as he managed at last to get behind the cargo container. And place something between him and those windows, not that it mattered the men on the ground were going to eventually get to him.
His hands were trembling as he managed to get the magazine out, he let it fall to the ground, and inserted another one. He could hear men whispering, and the clink of metal on metal. They were at the trucks, now they have some cover. And Im bleeding pretty badly, he thought. Well it has to end sometimes. This is it last stand of the Hunter, catchy title, it would make a great Louie L’Amor book, he decided wishing he still had a pipe bomb or a grenade. A grenade would be nice. He thought. It would have been better if I could have saved Kate before I died., he thought sadly.
The door opened letting in the light from two flashlights, she waited till the man stepped half in the door and swung the pipe wrench with all her strength into the mans head. Bone crunched the sound almost enough to make her hurl. He collapsed to the floor, twitching, she really hoped that wasn’t him changing.
“You fucking bitch,” a man snarled from outside the maintenance room she had taken shelter in. “Im going to kill you.”
“Hands off, Kronnen wants her alive.” Another man said.
“Who the hell are you?” the first man barked.
“A hunter” the man replied as a weapon fired. Kate gaped, that wasn’t Darius who the hell was it then.
“Kate, come on out, we don’t have a lot of time” the man called out to her. “ we have to get Darius and get the hell out of here.”
With her wrench held high, she stepped over the now still body on the floor and out into the hallway, where a second body lay.
“Who are you?” she asked, ready to swing, even if it got her killed.
“A Friend of your brothers, you might not remember me, I’m Nate.” The man said.
“Nate, Oh my god Nate” Kate said, finally recognizing the mans voice. “I thought all the rest of you were dead.” That had been the story Kronnens men had gloatingly told their prisoners, just to watch the hope die.
“I was only mostly dead, but I got better.” Nate replied reaching out and taking her hand. “Thanks to Darius I got better” he added. She didn’t resist as he led her out a door, and into the hanger. She could hear men pounding up the stairs inside the office section.
“we need to leave now, they are going to get Kronnen, the undead are only twenty yards away from that door.” Nate said almost dragging her over to an idling Jeep, he opened the passenger door for her then ran around to the drivers door.
Seeing her hesitate, he gestured impatiently, “ ignore the blood, I had to shoot the guy who was riding with me, he didn’t like finding out I wasn’t one of them.”
Kate climbed in and shut the door, the Jeep already moving as Nate backed up and then aimed for the door, where she could see the undead in the head lights, they were almost at the door.
The jeep raced out of the hangar, then turned sharply, side swiping the undead sending several tumbling. “where are you going” she asked.
“Kronnen has him pinned around back,” Nate replied, just as the radio on the dash came to life and some one was ordering two trucks to come pick up the soldiers at the Hangar. An additional order pulled back the soldiers out back, leaving Darius to the undead.
“it appears Darius that, we have to leave now, but know this, your sister will be left behind. unlike you, she will be trapped in a room or a crawl space, surrounded by the undead to slowly starve to death, or to finally go insane and crawl out to be eaten. Either way she will die Darius, just as you will. I suspect you wont be able to escape the undead this time, but if you do. I will be waiting for you.” Kronnen called down, Darius heard a men talking, and then a door opened. He leaned out and saw his attackers running into the open door way, panic barely held in check.
“so the zombies are here, good, I hope you guys make some nice snack treats” Darius called out guessing, the undead were the only reason Kronnen would call of his troops. He wanted Darius dead to badly to just shrug and walk away.
Not much longer,He thought, hearing a vehicle roar out of the hanger, now that I have some time, I can at least bind this damn wound. He pulled out one of the pressure bandages that Quentin had given him, stripping off his shirt he applied the bandage, the pulled the bloody rag back on. Take the chance, you need the gear, he told himself as he steeled himself and stepped out from behind the container, when no shots rang out he limped over to the trucks and pulled his pack and 30 30 out from cab of the truck where he had placed them. Out front he could hear a vehicle moving and wondered if Kronnen was running away yet. He glanced up and smiled, as he saw the bloody moon floating over the trees, at least it’s a Hunters moon he thought.
When the Sporadic gun fire began inside the hangar, he looked towards the building, guess that answers that, someone took off early and the rest of them are trying to hold back the undead to reach their vehicles. I bet money they booby trapped the rear door so I cant get inside and away from the undead he thought, as he opened his pack, frowning as he saw a couple of bullet holes. Well shit, he thought as he dug around then pulled out his spurs, wincing with pain as he wound in his side burned white hot. He strapped the Spurs onto his boots. The vehicle was coming closer moving along the side of the hangar, he rose to his feet, slung the 30 30 across his back and lifted the military rifle up ready to meet his fate, better to be shot than to be eaten he thought.
:”I’m sorry Kate, I tried, God I tried” He said aloud facing his failure head on, as a jeep raced around the corner spearing him in its headlights, Darius put the rifle to his shoulder, hoping they would just shoot him now, instead of drawing this out. “Darius don’t shoot, it’s me Kate”. Darius froze, suddenly not sure what to do. Tires squeeled as the jeep came to a stop. The door opened and it was a man climbed out, looking back over his shoulder the corner of the building, where a man stepped out, hunched over and lurching to one side as he walked, he was joined by another, then another, the undead were pouring around the side of the building, he didn’t have to look behind him to know more were coming around that side as well.
“well are you going to stand there like a dumb ass redneck or get your Texas ass into this jeep” Nate Watts said, Darius stared in surprise, how was that even possible.
“Darius come on” Kate called out.
That was all it took to get Darius moving, he felt like he was in a dream as he limped over to the jeep and Nate helped him inside. Where he saw Kate in the lights of the Dashboard, for the first time since she had been taken. “God Im sorry I tried, I kept trying to get you back.” He said, as she flung herself across the seat and hugged hin.
“I know Darius, I never doubted you would come for me. Now lets get out of here” she said kissing him on the forehead. As Nate put the jeep into Gear and sped away from the undead heading west towards the fence line, before cutting back south.
Kronnen strode across the hangar, furious as he heard a jeep moving towards the back of the hangar. Three of his men were dead down here, one with is skull crushed, and two had been shot, one laying on the floor of hangar, near where the recon Jeeps were parked, the body was a man hr knew, and the jeep he had been assigned to was no longer parked there.
He fired his pistol into the mass of undead, giving his scouts and proctor time to reach the jeeps and climb inside, then smiling he holstered his pistol and walked calmly through the undead who seemed to ignore him as he moved through them.
He walked to the doors of the hangar, and saw the trucks he had ordered racing towards the hangar to pick up his soldiers. Damn you Darius, its been fun for a while, but next time I will kill you with my bare hands.
His men up on the platform on the second floor and those in the jeep, gawked at their leader as he calmly turned and walked back to the jeep, the undead actually stepping out of his way. He opened the rear of the Jeep Proctor was in and climbed inside, “ get us to the convoy” He ordered as he shut the door and the jeeps began to move pushing through the mass of rotting flesh that stood between them and the open air.
when the last four pipe bombs went off Quentin was almost taken by surprise, an Rv coughed smoke and turned to the right smashing into a light pole, its glass shattered and screams began inside the thing as those killed by the explosion rose again and attacked the survivors. No one stopped to help them, Quentin saw, his stomach rolling at what he had caused. But it wasn’t over yet, the RV bomb had detonated prematurely, but the next three did not, they went off with in seconds of each other, a fuel truck, a Deuce, and a Hum vee all belched flames and coughed glass out onto the street. Vehicles scattered, the scene grew chaotic as flaming debris rained down.
A chevy pick up, its driver blinded by the explosion, drove into the rear of the burning fuel truck, flaming gasoline spread under the truck, and the men inside began to cook.
An Rv, swerving to miss an a piece of metal that landed in front of it, smashed into a small van and sent it rolling into the ditch.
Quentin his nerves on edge from waiting, relaxed slightly as the majority of the vehicles scattered, no one wanted to risk leaping out now with a few thousand zombies behind them, no matter how many yards behind them the undead were, no they only wanted to put distance between themselves and other vehicles so any other exploding vehicle wouldn’t be in front or behind them and take them out too.
Quentin drove trough the flames and falling debris, then almost a hundred yards more before he spotted a gravel road to his right, and turned off, hoping that the convoy wasn’t reforming just yet, Behind him Karl followed, a moment later he turned off the head lights and kept driving, having to slow down, but hopefully no one would realize they were gone for another few minutes. By then they wouldn’t have a clue which way he and Karl had gone.
Just give us ten more minutes , and they will not find us. Quentin thought.
Darius already woozy from the loss of blood, didn’t remember much about the escape from Ft. Leondard wood, what he did remember, were streets full of undead, explosions in the distance, Nate firing out the window, the Jeep bouncing and swaying as it rolled over the walking dead, and the sound of bones breaking. He could still see the faces that would appear at the window, blood stained teeth bared, hands beating on the glass, and then it was gone to be replaced by another face.
Nate tired of the whole thing turned on the CD player and Maroon five blared out from the speakers. “least you could do was play some Country” Darius remembered saying.
“not on your Redneck life” Nate had laughed. As one more night washed over them.
Sunrise found them in Buckhorn, and Darius didn’t remember telling Nate about the place, but he must have he thought as they pulled up in front of the Diary king where two trucks with cattle trailers were parked.
“we cant stay here long the undead will probably put in an appearance” Nate said climbing out. Kate climbed out and then Helped Darius get out of the jeep, his muscles were stiff and pain flared through him each time he moved.
As they headed for the door, it opened and Quentin stepped out followed by Harlans people, it looked like Rebekka had been crying Darius thought.
“who is this” Quentin asked gesturing to Nate.
“A friend I thought had died, Nate Watts meet Quentin and everybody, everybody Nate” Darius replied, “and this is my sister Kate” he added tilting his head towards Kate. “who apparently thinks I cant walk.”
“Harlan died Darius” Quentin said suddenly.
“what how?” Darius asked truly surprised, he had given Harlan the safest job of the entire thing.
“I guess he let the undead in early,then led them right at the airfield in that deuce we had picked up for him to use, he was honking that horn like a madman. Kronnen sent some armed jeeps out, and shot the hell out of him, he ended up driving that Deuece into a fuel truck, I saw a flash of light inside the cab of the Duece and then both vehicles went up.” Quentin looked at the jeep that Darius had arrived in. “jeeps just like that one.”
Darius looked at Nate, who nodded, “ I stayed in the back of the pack, thinking it might be you, they shot the shit out of that truck, then it hit the fuel truck, the guy aimed right for it, he must have been hit more than once, considering how many bullets the guys put into it. He was probably dying at that point.”Nate said, Rebekka started crying and rushed back into the building.
“I honestly thought you were dead right then and went to find Kate, then I hear a report you were shooting it out with Kronnens guard over at the hanger. Nate added.
“I have to ask Nate, what were you doing with them” Darius asked, hating the suspicion that colored his voice.
“long story, but the short version was, I tried to catch up with you after I got better, then I ran into one of Kronnens collection teams. I volunteered on the spot, told them I had heard about them and wanted to be part of Kronnens plan to rebuild, figured if I were inside, I might be able to locate My wife and the others, then figure out a rescue plan.” He looked towards the empty cattle trailers then at the building, hope burning in his eyes.
Darius sighed and waved him towards the door “lets find out if she is in there Nate.”
Kate stood at the door making sure every one got out, Quentin was helping them board the RV. An RV that Harlan had been working so his folks would have something other than the jeep to leave in. in the last half hour zombies had begun to appear in town, and they were all eager to get out.
It was still going to be crowded, but they had men and women in both trucks, now sans trailers, in Darius’s truck and in the jeep.
Darius limped up, “every thing is out, and Im the last one inside” he said, “ I checked the back to make sure.”
She nodded, and wrapped an arm around his waist squeezing tightly.
“are you sure we should really go hunt down this Jared Stone” he asked Kate, who nodded, she had convinced the entire group, but Darius wasn’t sure replacing one warlord with another was a good call.
“Kronnen talked about him a lot, hated him and they have never even met.” Kate said as they climbed into Darius truck. “all I know is that slimy General was riding Kronnen to go after Stone who is on some island named Sullivan, the entire time I was in that RV and Kronnen wants the man dead to, so as far as Im concerned he cant be all bad with those kind of enemies.”
Darius thought over the exchange he had seen between Kronnen and Bedford, then shrugged, what ever he many decide for himself, the group had chosen to risk finding Jared Stone and the Sullivan Island Sanctuary as some of them were calling it.
Darius started the truck watching as Nate drove past in the Jeep, it would take Nate time to get over not finding his wife alive and well with the other prisoners. But Karl had assured Nate she had been alive and at least healthy the last Time Karl had seen her a month ago. She had been taken to some place that Kronnen called his main base, out west.
Karl hadn’t said much else, but Darius was pretty sure that Nates pretty wife wasn’t being used to sew clothes. Once they got these people to safety, Darius planned on hitting the road again, hopefully Quentin would go with He and Nate, Quentin was a Hunter now after all.
As the small group of vehicles headed south, the undead swarmed in from the north. No one living was around to see one zombie stop at the door to the Diary king, it looked at the door then looked south east, it adjust its old fashioned hat, its lips quivered into a smile revealing teeth filed down to points.