Brown clutched his new bat as he raced toward the back of the store. He had visions of Trevor or the nameless mother slamming the door in his face and leaving him on his own against the cannibalistic dead that rushed at him.
Instead, Trevor waited with the door ajar while yelling unnecessary statements like, “run,” and, “they’re coming.”
As soon as Brown dashed through the door, Trevor slammed it shut behind him. The group stood there panting and exchanging panicked looks, until the first fists banged against the door.
The mother jerked back with a startled yell. She put her arm around her daughter and backed up until her heel hit a mop. The impact sent if falling onto the floor with a loud smack. She eyed them and wiped at her child’s face for a moment before standing back up. “You guys aren’t big talkers.”
“Sorry,” Brown apologized while removing his cowboy hat. He ran a sleeve over his brow before continuing. “I’m Brown and this here’s Trevor. We had two other people with us that are now… part of them.” The banging on the door was a blatant reminder as to the ‘them’ he referred to.
“I’m Laura and this is Jenny.”
Jenny held up her small hand. “I’m five year old.”
The noise on the door grew in volume.
“I think we need to do something,” Trevor said. “Help me move the desk in front of the door.”
“Wait, what about that back window?” Brown said while taking in the room. It was maybe fifteen by twenty feet and had cleaning supplies, about twenty boxes, and a cheap desk covered with stacks of paper.
Brown talked quickly. “Trevor, muscle that desk under the window, but don’t smash it out yet. Laura, look through those cleaning supplies for anything flammable.” While he spoke he tossed a few of the heavier boxes in front of the door. While the others worked he snapped the heads off of two of the mops, but slid the third mop toward where Laura gathered the flammable things she found.
“What are we doing?” she asked.
He handed her the mop handle and tossed the other one to Trevor. “We aren’t just escaping. We’re going to kill these freaks so they won’t be able to hurt anyone else.”
“I don’t think the owner will like the idea of us burning down this building.”
“I don’t care,” Brown said, as he covered the head of the mop with black spray paint. He spied two boxes full of paper towels and dumped their contents in front of the door. Going back to the boxes he looked through them while mumbling, “Come on, come on. Here we go, potato chips will work nicely.”
“Potato chips?” Trevor said while tossing the stacks of paper from the desk onto the floor. “Why those?”
“They’re like napalm, they don’t stop burning.” He grinned for the first time since this mess had started. “You’ll like it.”
Laura spoke up to be heard over the pounding fists. “What next?”
It pleased him to see that she had kept the mop handle he had given her. “Take Jenny and wait near the window. Trevor, how far of a drop is it and are there any of those things out there?”
“It’s kinda far, like six feet, but I don’t see any of those things.”
“Okay, listen up. I’m a volunteer fire fighter. A fire like this will kill you in sixty seconds. Smoke will fill this place save for a foot above the floor. It might not hurt those creatures that people have become, but it will kill us. Having the window open will cause this to happen faster. So I want you three to be safe on the ground. Then I’ll light this. Once I make sure it’s going, when I open the window to leave… it will inferno.”
No one cared to argue and Trevor dropped to the ground first. “Still good,” He whispered.
There was a moment of indecision as to whether Laura wanted to go down first or have Jenny do it. A large crack appeared in the door. Seconds later splinters flew. “Take her first.”
Brown lowered the girl down, then helped Laura. He office skirt didn’t make things any easier. Brown kept thinking another dozen of the creatures would appear around the corner, but this still failed to happen.
Maybe my plan is working. Maybe they’re all following us into the store.
The door splintered open enough for him to see a blood drenched face on the other side.
I need to move fast.
Grabbing up the paint smeared mop, he lit it. The flames roared up quickly and once it was going, he stuffed it into a mound of paper towels that surrounded one of the boxes of chips. He watched it catch and smoke poured into the room at once. He pulled the flaming mop handle out and while ducking under the smoke, he used it to push the boxes over that were helping keep the door shut.
The door burst open and three zombies stumbled into the fire. Their clumsy feet kicked the fire to new areas and caused it to grow to greater heights.
Milky eyes stared at him and they ignored the fire in their quest for his flesh. But Brown had already reached the desk. He hopped up and looked back one time. Two of the zombies were pillars of flame.
When he opened the window the oxygen caused the entire room to combust He jumped outside as smoke filled the room instantly. Brown landed on the ground coughing, but when he rubbed the smoke from his eyes the others were nowhere to be seen.
To be continued next Saturday!
The mother’s screams echoed through the abandoned convenience store and was quickly taken up by her daughter. Outside of the unlockable doors, more zombies joined in the attempt to push through the makeshift holds.
“Keep working here,” Brown ordered. “If there are some of those things inside of the store, we need to deal with them first.” Then, without waiting for an answer from Trevor, he raced in the direction he had heard the screams.
As he neared the end of the aisle, the girl raced by him. Damn, I’m going to need to learn their names, if any of us live that long. Looking down the aisle, he saw the mother throwing item after item at the stumbling figure. What was once probably the clerk that worked there had become a bloody ruin. Gore covered his right arm and it looked like a wound on his upper left shoulder had painted his once white shirt with a wide streak of red.
“Run,” Brown called out. “Get your daughter.”
She stared at him through a moment of indecision, but then ran off to do what he asked.
Trevor cried something, but Brown didn’t have time to listen for the beast man was almost upon him. He just hoped the kid could hold the door. Being currently weaponless, didn’t help things, so Brown backpedaled to give himself more time to think.
He noticed that the next aisle over was the automotive section and hurried down it. I should be able to find something here. I just… But then he saw that the thing hadn’t followed him, but was once again looping toward the girls.
“Crap,” he said, before looking down. He would have liked to find a tire iron or a crowbar, but neither was seen. So instead, he settled on two big gallons of anti-freeze. With a shout, he exited the aisle and headed toward the sounds of female cries. The zombie, or whatever it was, ignored his yells and stayed focused on the girls. Brown rushed up behind it and smashed it in the side of the head with the anti-freeze. It went tumbling off its feet and fell into a potato chip stand.
Brown didn’t stop there. He hit it in the face with the container, again and again. The woman screamed at him, but he did not stop. The corner of the container tore open and splashed the green liquid everywhere, but Brown kept swinging. Eventually it stopped thrashing and Brown moved away while gasping for air.
He shared a look with the mother. Her once prim face and hair had become disheveled and he eyes bored into his over the cowering form of her daughter, who was clutched to her bosom.
“We need to find more weapons,” Brown said more to himself than to the mother and leapt over the checkout desk. Visions of shotguns and pistols were quickly dispelled, but he did find a huge stained baseball bat, which he grabbed.
He had just jogged around the side of the counter when Trevor started screaming. “It isn’t going to hold. It isn’t going to hold!”
Looking the teen’s way, he saw that Trevor had already fled from the front doors and even as Brown watched, the accumulating mass of zombies were pushing their way through the doors until the last of the bungee cords broke. At least a dozen moaning zombies forced their way into the store. The woman cried out again and before Brown could even say anything, Trevor had already rushed by him.
“Get to the back of the store!” Brown shouted. “Find an office or something. Get ready to lock it, but wait for me.”
He waited until the pair run by him and then flung his remaining gallon of anti-freeze in the lead zombie’s face. It fell back fouling up three of his kind and buying Brown a few seconds, which he used to hurry after the others.
To be continued next Saturday!
Six of what Brown as forced to admit were some kind of walking dead still moved within the desolated parking lot. Two of them were former friends, but that might not matter much, for friends didn’t walk around dragging their guts or with their neck’s torn out.
The mother and her daughter had fled to the front of the gas station’s store, but as Brown had already discovered, its doors remained locked. The two nearest moving dead had almost reached them.
“What about your pistol, Brown?’ Trevor asked as he reluctantly jogged behind him. The pair had dodged past the two that killed Nick, as well as Nick and Brown’s former best friend, Glen.
Only fifty feet separated the men from the backs of the two zombies approaching the little family. “Last time I shot one, it didn’t work.”
“Try for the head. It always works in the movies.”
He slowed down and took aim. But with the moaning of the zombies both before and behind him the shot went wide.
“Come on man, you only have three shots left.”
Instead of firing again, Brown rushed closer to the zombies that were only yards from the terrified girls. He waited until he was almost upon them and fired at the side of one’s temple. It collapsed with a bloody explosion.
The second one turned on him and Brown brought the pistol up to its forehead and shot through his skull at almost point bank range.
“Damn, dude. Nice work. But come on the others are coming. Holy shit, your gunshots must have attracted more. Oh no, more are coming from the restaurant across the street.” Looking back over his shoulders, Trevor continued, “Damn there are some coming from the rigs too. We’re screwed.”
“You’re all insane,” the mother screamed.
Despite himself, Brown noticed, now that they were closer, that she was quite an attractive woman with long flowing auburn hair. “Insane or not, we just saved your lives. Now please step aside, I have one bullet left and I’m going to use it on the lock.
Once he pointed Glen’s pistol toward the door, she hurried to move out of the way. Again, he brought the pistol in close to his target—the door lock. The moaning drew in closer as he steadied his aim.
The shot seemed louder than the others and rang in his ears.
Trevor didn’t hesitate, though, and run forward. He rattled the doors for a moment. “It didn’t work. It didn’t work!”
The zombies neared as Brown joined him.
“Mommy what’s wrong with these people. They look really sick. I‘m scared.”
With Brown’s help, the men were able to push through the shattered lock and open the door. “Get inside!” Brown ordered as he pocketed the pistol. There had to be ten of the lumbering shapes in view. He took the two-by-four that he still carried in his left hand and threw it into the face of the nearest zombie. A blow that would have sent a normal man stumbling back in pain, barely slowed it down a second.
Behind him, Trevor shouted, “Come on!”
Brown had no problem following the teen’s advice.
Once inside, Trevor addressed him again. “How are we going to shut the door with the lock blown off?”
“Go find something, hurry!”
Trevor ran off to comply.
Brown prepared to brace the door as the first bloody hands slapped against the window. Jagged mouths bit at the glass and dull milky eyes stared at him with gruesome hunger. “Please try to help him find something to secure the door,” he told the woman.
He caught her staring at him for a moment, but then she rushed off, dragging her daughter along by her small hand.
Trevor returned first. “All I could find was bungee cords.”
“It’s a start. Get them through the crash bars. Trevor had begun working on his second cord when he heard the mother let out a piercing scream.
To be continued next Saturday!
As Brown and Trevor ran away from the carnage and the sounds of tearing flesh, Brown shouted at the teen, “Try your damn cell phone again!”
The dull glow lit Trevor’s face for a moment and Brown could see it was clenched in fear. “I’m trying 911, but it isn’t working.”
“Maybe this thing is more wide spread than we thought. I think we should just get out of here.” His boots made crunching noises as they passed over the pavement into the dirt lot where the eighteen wheels parked.
“Damn it, Nick has the keys to the rig!”
“Crap, Glen had the keys to the truck too.”
“You don’t have a set?” Trevor stopped moving as he spoke and as soon as the pair ceased running the sounds of pursuit could be heard. The freaks, maniacs, or whatever they were, moaned like lost souls as their feet slowly shuffled over the barren parking lot.
“I have a set, but it’s in my bag…” but Brown barely focused on his words, because his thoughts lingered on the horses. They should be safe in the trailer, but if something happens to Bucky or Sage, I could never forgive myself.
“Does that mean we have to go back there to get the keys?” the tone of Trevor’s voice let Brown know that this was about the last thing the youth wanted to do. “I mean there has to be someone around that could help us.”
“Maybe,” Brown said, while he still wondered over the safety of his horse. Looking back he saw that the two madmen from the road still approached them, while the two that feasted on Nick had already chosen to leave the man behind and take up the chase. What froze the blood in his veins was seeing Glen get onto his feet and lurch his way. He moaned like the others, appeared mindless like the others… But Glen had died. Then it hit him. Could Glen be dead… like the others?
When an eviscerated Nick pushed himself up and kept moving despite his guts spilling over the slick pavement, Brown had seen enough. “I don’t know what the hell is happening, but it’s killing people and we need-”
Trevor emptying the contents of his stomach over the dirt between his shoes interrupted him.
“Come on Trev we need…”
His voice trailed off as a small hatchback drove into the gas station.
They pulled up to the far pumps. Already some of the freaks had turned their attentions to the new car. “They can’t see what’s happening from where they parked,” Brown whispered.
His breath stuck in his lungs when he saw a young women exit the vehicle and get followed by small girl. “Mommy, can I use the bathroom first. I need to go so bad.”
Two of the stumblers still focused on the men, while the two that had killed Nick, as well as Glen and Nick turned their attentions to the mother and her child.
“We have to help them,” he said softly, but then cried out loudly, “Miss, miss, watch out!” She looked over at him, like he was a serial killer, as she clutched her child close to her. “I…ah.”
She started to rush her child to toward the locked doors of the gas station, but then the bloody men caught her attentions and she screamed.
Scanning the ground, Brown spied a battered two-by-four. “Trevor, get your shit together!” he yelled. “Grab a weapon. We need to save her.” Then, without looking back, he sprinted toward the girls. A low growl escaped from his lips as he ran.
To be continued next Saturday!