The sun beat down on him like a restless
enemy. There were fifty-two survivors of the Ripper jail at the ranch, with
Spencer, Emily, Rollie and himself they had an even fifty-six. This didn’t mean
he wanted to risk any of these folks on a foolish mission that might accomplish
nothing, but this strange man who claimed to be friends with zombies plagued
Devon’s waking thoughts.
How and better yet why, had this
mysterious black garbed man brought three zombies across sixty miles of desert
in an SUV? Then he had tried to kill them for taking the zombies out. It just
didn’t make sense.
Some itches have to be scratched and despite
his reservations, Devon gathered a small crew to follow the vehicle’s tracks
through the lonely abandoned dessert. Since it wasn’t a war party, he figured
one vehicle would be enough. He had just wanted to take Spencer and Brown, but
if Spencer was going, his sister insisted on coming along too. Soon the four of
them were heading deeper into the Sonora Desert that stretched out north away
“One thing about it being the
apocalypse,” Spencer was saying. “It sure makes it easier to follow these tracks.
It looks like no one has driven on Redington Pass Road for years, besides that
Devon had let Brown drive and watched
the majestic saguaros pass for a moment before he answered. “Yeah, pretty much.
No confusion here. The question is where will it lead us?”
“It would be great if this San Migual
place was left untouched,” Emily said. While the rest of the Bangers and freaks
are sucking Tucson dry, we could really score.”
“However,” Brown began, “if San Migual
is unlooted, it will probably be because there are a few hundred zombies there.”
“So, who cares,” Spencer said. “We have
handled that many before without even firing a shot, huh Devon.”
“Let’s just wait and see,” Devon said. “But
I do agree that if San Migual has been overlooked by looters it might be worth
the time to cull the zombies.”
Emily bounced in her seat a little. “Maybe
we could even move here.”
The drive wore on. The pass had suffered
five years of damage and in many places the desert rains had washed away parts
of the road and these parts had to be traveled with care. They hadn’t made it
to pavement before a large cattle fence blocked the road. The fence looked heavy and was chained shut,
but this was barely noticed for the twenty or so zombies chained to the fence
drew their attentions.
“What the hell…?” Brown said, as he
brought the Tahoe to a stop.
“I told you this guy was crazy” Spencer
said, as the group looked on as the sun dried Walkers. The undead gnashed their
teeth and pulled against the chains restraining them while they tried in vain to
reach the four Breathers.
“You think that guy you fought did this?”
his sister asked.
“But this is more than just crazy,”
Devon said as he opened his car door and stepped out into the blinding heat. “Look,
Spence is probably right. The tracks go right through this fence. How could one
man unlock that fence and get through all these Walkers. It makes no sense.”
“It does strangely match with him
transporting zombies and somehow being friends with them,” Brown said.
“Yeah, remind me not to befriend this
loser,” Spencer said. “If his idea of friendship is chaining his buddies out in
the desert, I don’t think I want any part of it.”
Devon fell silent while he watched the
zombies fighting against their chains.
“So what now, boss?” Brown finally asked.
“I think we need continue on foot.”
“We could shoot through these pudwacks,”
“No, the shots would alert him. You don’t
have to come if you don’t want to, but I can’t head back until I figure this
No one showed any signs of backing out
and as one the small group circled around the fence. They passed through cactus
and had to transverse a tall barbwire fence, but within two minutes they had
returned to the road on the other side of the undead fence. Devon checked his
weapons one last time and then led his team towards San Migual.
The six of them sat around a card table that had been set up in the office of the former ranch house. With Devon and Sp
The six of them sat around a card table that had been set up in the office of the former ranch house. With Devon and Spencer, was Spencer’s older sister Emily. Like usual, she seemed hell bent to remind everyone how attractive her lean body was and today only a pair of mini shorts and a loose tank top graced her petite body. Like always, she had a bowl of food with her. It looked like a dozen hard boiled eggs this time.
Brown and Mitch had just arrived. Brown was somehow still wearing his leather trench coat and faded Stetson, despite the heat. Mitch ran his fingers through his graying beard before helping himself to a sip of tepid water.
Rollie had been the last person to arrive. His nick-name used to have something to do with what a good driver he was, but was now sadly more descriptive of his use of a wheelchair. Yes, Devon had been able to save Rollie’s life when he had been shot, but it was still unknown whether the man would regain use of his right leg.
When Devon pulled his chair closer, Mitch said, “We heard the gunshots, but I take it there’s something bigger going on than a few random Walkers.”
Devon looked over at the older man. After talking a deep breath, he answered. “Yeah, it was a pretty damn strange thing. This odd looking man was wearing all black and began shouting about how we were killing his friends.”
“And these friends were zombies?” Brown asked.
“Correct,” Devon answered. “And he felt strong enough about it to start shooting at me.”
Emily made a face, but it was Spencer that spoke next. “Yeah, the guy was totally nuts. Like bat-shit crazy. What sorto sicko is friends with a Walker?”
“A very lonely one,” Rollie answered.
“But part of this doesn’t make any sense,” Mitch said. “I mean was he out taking his undead friends for a walk?”
“Nothing about that guy made any sense,” Spencer tiffed, before grabbing up a brown shelled egg.
“No, Mitch’s right,” Brown began. “How could he be out here with zombies? Did he walk twenty miles through the desert always just staying a hundred feet ahead of them? And for what, to lead them against us. If he knew we were here, he would have to know that only three zombies wouldn’t be much of a threat.”
“Maybe he didn’t know we were here.” Emily said.
“That still wouldn’t explain how he got the zombies way out here,” Brown said.
“Maybe he is just a total nut job and they just happened to show up at the same time,” Spencer said. “He could just be some insane zombie lover that has totally lost his mind.”
Devon spoke up again. “But we found evidence that he might have come from San Miguel. That would mean crossing about sixty miles of serious desert to get here.”
“Crossing that kind of desert would nearly be impossible, with or without any zombie pals,” Mitch said.
“That’s just it,” Devon said. “I haven’t told you everything. After I sent Spike in to gather all of you. I walked back the direction the zombies had come from. Both their tracks and the tracks of our man in black both came from a vehicle. It was long gone, but the tire marks remained.”
“So what, wait,” Spencer said while holding up his hand. “He drove out her with three zombies, unbuckled them or whatever, and then sent them after us like we’re some sort of take out of something?”
“Spooky and… gross,” Emily said.
Brown spoke up again. “This is interesting. Let’s forget about why he hangs out with zombies and just think of the logistics of moving three zombies anywhere in a normal car. Admittedly he has had five years to perfect it, but it seemed like getting three flesh eating corpses tied into a car so out could take them for a Sunday drive—well, it just strikes me as far too dangerous to attempt, no matter how crazy one might be. And if you were crazy enough to try, you would end up being bitten before too long, one would think.”
“But why stop here?” Emily asked.
“We do have a lot of nice rides,” Rollie said. “He could have spotted them. A nut like that could certainly be living off in the boonies somewhere. He might want to look at what we have just to get the gas alone.”
“Yeah,” Mitch started, “and he could have sent the zombies in first to scare out any breathers, without risking getting shot himself. It could all make sense, in a bizarre and potentially very dangerous sort of way.”
“Somehow I can’t help thinking that there is more to it than that?” Devon said.
“Then the question is,” Brown said, while starring at him under the visor of his old hat. “If that is what you believe, what do you want to do about it?”