Race Against Time

March 11, 2016 at 12:02 pm (Apocalypse, Eternal Aftermath, Horror, Zombie) (, , , , , )

Getting the rest of the camp to agree to their plan wasn’t the easiest thing they had ever done. Laura spoke up against Brown leading the horde of zombies away from the ranch with only Trevor there to help him if things badly, but Brown had refused to take more people, because he already felt there wouldn’t be enough left back at the house to protect the place if something went wrong. In the end both Laura and little Petty had tears in their eyes as the two cowboys rode their horses west.

Zombie nature

They had only made it a hundred yards before Trevor cracked a half smile and said, “Isn’t the cowboy supposed to ride into the sunset at the end of the story?”

 

Brown felt more serious and his response reflected his attitude. “Let’s hope they were wrong about it. I’d much rather not be playing hide and seen with these dead bastards in the dark, but sometimes we don’t have a choice in such matters.”

 

“Never seems to bother them, though, does it? Doesn’t make sense either. You’d think with their rotting eyes, they wouldn’t be able to see a thing.”

 

“Nothing much makes sense anymore.” Something in his tone let Trevor know that the conversation was over and it had become time to get to work, Brown could only hope that his plan would be successful.

Brown Horse

They road north-west for a while giving the horde of five hundred undead a wide birth, but he know they had to hurry, not only were they fighting against time to use what little sunlight remained, but they also needed to be able to distract the undead before they moved into an area where they might be able to spy the ranch house.

 

The horse’s hoofs clicked under them as they reached the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains. The wind shifted and they got a dose of the foulness the walking dead brought with them.

Zombie face

Brown drew his pistol as he took in the mass of undead below him. “We’re going to have to get their attention now. We can’t afford to let them get closer to the ranch.”

 

“I’d prefer to get a little higher into these foothills first,” Trevor said.

 

“I’d prefer to be relaxing with my feet kicked up with an ice cold beer, but I think this world has forgotten to honor such things.”

 

Trevor only nodded and then drew his pistol as well. Seconds later the men had fired two shots into the air.

 

“Strange how hard most of life is, but how easily some things can work,” Brown said, as the mass of zombies moved toward them like a colony of ants following their queen.

 

“Yeah, but now comes the hard part,” Trevor countered.

 

“Indeed, but nothing to do but get things started.” Brown put away his pistol and then drew his rifle. He shot down three of them, just to make sure he kept their attentions and then led the way deeper into the foothills.

Brown Rifle

At once the going became harder. Between the loose rocks and the growing number of trees, the horses stayed hard pressed to make progress up the slopes. They crossed over a few ridges and moved through larger groups of trees. Soon the vegetation grew thick enough that they lost sight of the zombies moving behind them, but when the wind shifted directions, Brown could hear their moans.

 

“They sound closer than they should be,” Trevor said.

 

“That’s what I was thinking.” Brown pointed ahead. “See that hill? It looks clear near the top. We should be able to get a better view from up there.”

 

Without another wasted word, Brown led them to the top of the hill. They dismounted and got out their field glasses. Trevor looked down, while Brown gave the horses some water.

 

“Oh holy hell!” he exclaimed.

 

“What is it?”

 

Handing him the binoculars, Trevor said, “You had better just look for yourself.”
Brown did and drew in a breath when he saw the scene that unfolded below him. The first think he realized was that their pace through the foothills was too slow for the undead were gaining ground on him, but that wasn’t what dismayed him the most. He could see the main group he had spied earlier, which had already moved into the lower trees, but other smaller groups of zombies littered the plains just before the foothills.

Zombie Dudes

“With all those small groups, there must be close to a thousand of those buggers out there,” Trevor said.

 

“Doesn’t matter how many there are as long as they all follow us up into the mountains.”

 

“True, but it might make it a lot harder for us make it back to the ranch.”

 

Brown lowered the binoculars and met his friend’s gaze. “You might be right about that.” As he spoke those words a greater darkness gripped the lands as the last rays of light disappeared behind the mountain range.

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Zombie Army

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Come back next weekend for the next episode of Brown’s dangerous journey into the second year of the Eternal Aftermath.

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You can explore more of the Eternal Aftermath here!

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Cowboys, Dust, and Death

March 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm (Apocalypse, Eternal Aftermath, Horror, Zombie) (, , , , , )

Brown looked out over the rolling sun baked hills. A slight wind tossed the yellowed grass covered slopes that led uphill toward the Santa Rita Mountains. He could just see the line where the first twisted trees began to appear to the west, but that wasn’t what he watched.

Brown

A cloud of dust had been kicked up to the west of the ranch house he and his friends had called home over the last year. Where some had sought to survive the masses of roving undead by living off the corpse of the old world, he and a handful of others had taken the opposite approach. They had fled the cities and towns, figuring less people meant fewer zombies, which meant less trouble.

 

The growing plume of disturbed sand drew his attention again. There were many things in the region that could cause such a disturbance. Herds of horses, cows, or even deer could create the cloud. Wind could create such things as well, but Brown had to prepare for the worst case scenario, just to be safe.

Santa Ritas

In his case the worst case scenario would be a group of migrating zombies moving in from Mexico. It had happened more than once, but if the cloud was any indication, he’d never encountered one this big before.

 

He heard something move to the east and jerked around thinking that another group must have moved in behind him, but he let out a sigh, when he saw that it was Trevor leading his horse named Smoke. Smoke whinnied at Brown’s mount, which he called Moonshine, since it was mostly black, but had streaks of silver running over its flanks.

Trevor

“I saw it too,” Trevor said, without so much as a hello.

 

Brown looked his way. “I’d like to think it’s some migrating elk, but I doubt we’re gonna be that lucky today.”

 

“Yeah it’s something migrating alright.” Trevor paused to remove his cowboy hat, wipe the sweat off his brow, and then toss it back on. “I suppose you want to go have a look?”

Borwn and trevor

“Yes sir, I suppose we should.” Having said their piece the two men mounted their houses and took them slowly over the fields toward the disturbance.

 

It didn’t take them long to surmount a hill tall enough for the wide expanse of grasslands to open up before them. Looking to the southwest, Brown sighed as a string of curses escaped from Trevor’s lips.

Zombie Dust

Perhaps two miles away from them easily five hundred dust covered undead slowly marched across the plain. Like spirits of death itself, they left a brown stain in their passing as if anything they touched joined them in their foul state of decay and lifelessness.

 

“Maybe they’ll miss the ranch,” his friend suggested.

 

“I don’t think we can count on that.”

 

“Then what should we do, go back and evacuate everyone up into the hills for a few nights?”

 

“And what let them eat all our livestock and trample our crops?” Brown said without taking his eyes off the horde.

 

Trevor’s voice took and edge. “You aren’t thinking about fighting that many. We can gather the horses and probably herd the cattle east before we’re spotted.”

 

“I might like for you to do that and take Laura and Petty with you, but I was thinking about a third option.”

 

He had Trevor’s rapt attention. “And what would that be, boss?”

 

“What if Moonshine and I got in their sights and then lured them away to the west. Once we reached the foothills, I could lead them on a merry little chase and then slip away through the trees and meet you somewhere.”

Brown II

“I like it, but still see one problem with the plan.”

 

“What would that be?” Brown asked.

 

“That I’m not included in the luring,” Trevor said with a smile.

 

“I’d never be able to focus knowing that the rest of us aren’t in good hands.”

 

“I hear you, but hear me. I’m not letting you take all the risk and earn all the glory, I might add, without me. James and Cassey can handle the escape. Besides if this plan works they won’t have to leave the ranch anyway.”

 

“Alright, you’re in partner, but let’s head back and tell the others what’s what. We don’t have much time.”

 

Trevor looked at Brown as the wind drove the first stench of death their way. “You got that right. Let’s get moving.”

 

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Zombie March

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Come back next weekend for the next episode of Brown’s dangerous journey into the second year of the Eternal Aftermath.

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Cowboy Zombies

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You can explore more of the Eternal Aftermath here!

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Apocalypse Brown

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