The sounds of the large horde of decaying undead faded behind them, but Rollie knew they still followed and would never cease unless the trio eluded them, were devoured, or somehow managed to destroy them. They sprinted down the center of the sand covered road. The three of them dodged through rusted cars and dislodged clumps of cactus with Jack staying in the lead.
Random zombies lurched at them as they passed. Jack would literally hammer any that crossed his path with his sledge, while Will and he struggled to hold their own with their matching metal bats.
So far they had stayed safe enough, but the lack of water and the pounding heat was taking its toll. Rollie gasped for air and felt like his feet belonged to someone else. They passed in a blur beneath him and he just hoped he could continue to bounce over the uneven road long enough to reach the canyon.
“Even if there’s water up there, how’re we going to carry it back through all this hell?” he panted.
Looking over his shoulder, Will said, “At this point finding water will make my day.” He smiled. “I’ll just lounge in the creek until I’m stuck by genius.”
“You’ll get struck with something, if you two don’t keep up,” Jack called back.
Finally he could see the huge parking lot that used to serve the canyon’s visitors. He was surprised by how many cars remained parked there. The place looked like more of a Grateful Dead concert than an abandoned lot. Any thoughts of survivors remaining there were quickly dispelled by the moans of dozens of zombies passing through the vehicles as they headed toward the breathers.
“Blow off the parking lot,” Jack said back at them. “Head around it. We just need to hit that road that leads up the canyon.”
“Why are so many cars there?” Rollie asked when the group gathered together as they crossed a barb wire fence.
Will answered. “With it being one of the only water sources in the area, I’m sure hundreds of people thought to come here.”
“Which means the canyon could be covered with creepers,” Jack said. “Let’s just hope the water’s good.”
“Or even there,” Will added, which earned him a glare from Jack.
The first mile of the old road passed through wild patches of thick cactus. So far Jack had been proved right for dozens of the walking dead barred their way. They had been able to pound their way through, but more and more were collecting in their wake. If those from the parking lot and the horde they had passed before were to catch up they could have nearly a thousand undead on their tail.
At last they made the final turn and were able to see the first twist of the river below.
“It’s fucking dry!” Will wailed in a manner that hurt Rollie’s ears.
“Never might that,” Jack hissed. “There could still be pools above.” A second later the pavement three inches in from of Jack’s right boot exploded as the sound of a gunshot echoed through the hills.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of Rollie’s dangerous journey into the second year of the Eternal Aftermath. Come back next weekend for the next part of the tale.