Escape into Darkness

January 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm (Eternal Aftermath, Horror, Zombie) (, , , , , , , , , , )

So far, Devon’s idea to lead the zombies deeper into the cafeteria had not proved fatal. He and the sheriff held the door at the front of the food serving area. They fought back against the quickly massing group of undead, while Fosters and the girls scouted the exit back into the main room.

“It’s working,” Emily hissed at him. “They’re all coming toward you. The left side of the caf, is mostly clear.”

“How about that hallway we need to get to?” He yelled back as his machete cut through half a co-eds neck.

“They’re still coming out, but I think we’d have a chance.”

“Good,” Dells shouted, “Because I don’t think we can hold out here much longer.

“Emily, start across the caf,” Devon ordered. “Get ready Dells. On three, one, two, three!”

And then they ran. Foster and the women had a got head start, but the half dozen zombies in their path quickly slowed them down. The undead on the right side of the cafeteria let out a loud moan and as one mass moved at them. If his group didn’t move fast, they would be cut off by over fifty of the walking dead.

“Don’t fight them, just go.” Devon yelled.

He saw Foster use his bat like a pole and push a Walker into another one that had moved to block their path. Emily would pause to put a bullet through a head, but mostly just ran. Strangely it was Becca that now led the way and she seemed to take great pleasure in swinging her bat into as many faces as she could as they passed through the unturned chairs and gory tables.

Devon and Dells had now caught up to Emily and they rushed through the door that led into the hallway past the cafeteria. Right behind them came dozens of wax faced teens who stretched their arms forward while their mouths snapped open and shut in anxious anticipation of sinking their teeth into warm prey.

There weren’t as many Walkers in this hallway, but it was narrower and harder to just dodge by them. “This way,” Beeca screamed and took off running until she reached a girl in a dress covered with thick black stains. She paused only long enough to smash it in the head and kept going. A zombie wearing a football jersey grabbed her by the hair, from behind , and moved in for a bite until a bullet from Emily’s rifle caused its head to explode in a spray of rotten matter.

“Becca! Slow down,” Dells called as he tried to catch up with her.

The horde was exiting the cafeteria behind them and Devon stopped long enough to block their path with a long folding table and then hurried after the others. He tried to stick close to Emily and guard her back as she picked her targets.

She stopped again to try to make a shot, but the undead were right behind them, so Devon grabbed her arm and rushed her forward. “Come on! I can see the library, let’s go. I just hope that really is where that bastard keeps his weapons or we’re screwed!”

 

*         *         *

The courtyard of the makeshift complex went silent as the small convey entered. Mar’s feelings of dread increased as she took in the surroundings. What had once been a large series of apartment complexes had been surrounded by the high walls she had seen from outside. In some places, the apartments themselves made up part of the walls or were used the anchor them. The large parking lot was centered in an area where the walls had been constructed further away from the complexes and new structures had been added. Some looked utilitarian, while others appeared odd and their possible purposes she could only guess at. The most obvious of these new structures and clearly the one that dominated the others was a giant church.

This church had to be five stories tall in some places, but where most churches she had seen were stream-lined and had a logical plan, this one appeared strange and chaotic. Long turrets loomed over walls made from miss matched scraps. It had more doors and windows than any ten normal churches, but what really had her nails digging into the palms of her hands was the symbol painted in red on the front of the structure.

Mar was no expert on such things, but she knew a pentagon when she saw it. It had two of its five point angled toward the sky.

In a way that reminded her of the zombies just beyond the walls, the crowd of people moved in and slowly surrounded their vehicles.

“We’re so screwed,” she whispered.

 

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Surrounded by Trouble, Trapped by Death

January 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm (Apocalypse, Eternal Aftermath, Horror, Zombie) (, , , , , , , , , )

A feeling a dread built within her soul, as the small convoy approached what Rik and Trent claimed was a safe house. The place looked more like a medieval fortress to her. Huge walls had been constructed from what might have been demolished homes and the like. These haphazard walls stretched twenty feet into the air and were surrounded by several hundred Walkers. Fires burned every hundred feet or so and as the sun dimmed down behind Gate’s Pass, she could see figures moving before this scattered flames.

“Sure doesn’t look like the place is deserted to me,” Mar said, as a chill caused her to shiver uncontrollably.

“That could be a good thing,” Jonathan said. “Looks like a secure spot to me. Don’t worry, people always welcome a doctor.”

“I have a bad feeling.” She grasped his arm. “Please just turn around before it’s too late. If the others want to throw their lives away, that’s their business, but we still have time to escape!”

“Marry, relax, will you. Not everyone is evil. And escape where, I might add,” he said while turning his older face toward her. “We’re going to see this through. Look they’re helping us. Those horns of theirs are herding the zombies to the other side of their fort. We should be able to enter easily.”

“That’s what I’m afraid off.”

 

*         *         *

They were finally prepared and as Spencer looked out over the simmering desert, he discovered that it was just soon enough. His eyes squinted against the glare, despite his shades, as he tried to take in the lumbering mass of undead that plotted toward them.

They came by the score, maybe four hundred in all. Their clothes hung in rags that were black with filth. They looked thin to the point where he wondered how they could still be moving. Although some here and there looked well feed and figured that was Hades doing. He wouldn’t put much past that freak.

His eyes shifted back to the quickly constructed trap before him. Two miles past the ranch, a narrow cement bridge spanned a deep canyon. It was just wide enough for Spencer and Brown to have parked two pickup trucks facing each other in the center of the bridge. Over these vehicles that had secured four by eight plywood boards and covered them with motor oil and any other types of grease they could dig up.

When these fly-bags come for us, they will try to climb over these puppies and get a big surprise, he smiled to himself.

All of those people that had remained behind were there with him, including Haeds and Spencer seriously hoped that he would be taken down a notch by being forced to watch his precious ‘family of zombies’ tumble down into the ravine below.

He knew this could still be a difficult battle, ten people versus four hundred Walkers, but it was his sister and Devon that his thoughts kept clinging to, even as the undead army neared.

 

*          *         *

They had only made it halfway across the large cafeteria when Devon last pistol ran out of bullets.

“Why the hell are there so many Walkers in here?” Emily yelled, as she fired her rifle close enough to a zombie to be sprayed by its gore, after its head exploded.

“I think he stored his reserves here,” Becca shouted, as her bat cracked into the head of a zombie that couldn’t have been older than fourteen when it died. Despite their efforts, there had to be over thirty undead still lingering within the cafeteria and more poured in from the hallway every few seconds. “My evil shithead brother was always hung up on high school, because he was such a loser here. Even though he’s twenty-four, he never moved past it.”

“Great,” Devon mumbled as he drew his machete. Three girls, who might have been preppy before the years of decay set in, lunged toward him. He fenced forward, stabbing one through its rotten face. Another got to close and a well placed kick sent her tumbling into the third and they both went down. He was able to finish them off before they regained their feet, but others were coming at them from every side.

Officer Dells picked up and table and heaved it into a large group that blocked their path. “Retreat!” Devon yelled. “Fall back. Draw them away from that hallway and we might be able to circle around and make it through.”

“Unless more keep pouring out of there,” the sheriff shouted.

“I guess we better hope they don’t,” he growled, as be led the others toward the kitchen.

 

*         *         *

Haeds had remained handcuffed and under the ugly punk’s supervision. “Your trick won’t work on them. They’ll figure a way over.”

The punker tiffed. “Yeah cuz zombies are so fucking smart.”

“You’ll see, you little prick,” he replied, while straining against the cuffs.

“I should burn your eyes out with my smoke, you butthole. You’re nothing but a wanna be super villain and about the worst one I’ve ever seen. Even the Toad would kick your ass.”

“Oh yeah, I’ll remember that while my family is crewing on your bones.”

Both men fell silent as the horde approached the plywood covered trucks. How well these losers and some to be meat pie’s trap would work was about to be tested and Haeds gritted his teeth as the front of his army started across the bridge.

 

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Bullets, Bats, and Blood

January 7, 2012 at 11:11 am (Apocalypse, Eternal Aftermath, Horror, Zombie) (, , , , , , , )

“You mean you’ve been kept up in that box for years? That seems impossible.”

“Oh, not always, he would take us out to torture us with his horrible ideas and plans,” Becca said.

“I’m not even sure I want to know,” Devon said, while searching the gym for alternative exits. Behind him the sounds of the undead banging against the doors grew.

“And I know I don’t.” Emily said.

Sheriff Dells stepped toward the teen. “Young lady. Now that we’re freed and getting all social, why don’t you hand that gun over to me. I’ll-”

She quickly raised her rifle to point to the center of his forehead. “You’ll get a bullet from me before you’ll get this gun.”

“I got her back on this,” Devon said. “I seriously doubt you’re as good a shot as her anyway, but wasn’t that what we were talking about—getting out of here and finding his weapons.”

Becca hands went to her thin hips. “I was getting to that. My evil ass brother used to try to take us out places like we were his court and he was our king, but mostly the undead made such things unreasonably difficult.”

“There were once many more of us.” Fosters added.

“But anyway,” Becca said, eying Fosters. “One of the things that used to happen at these events would be him presenting his Queen. He brought her here from time to time thinking that we could become friends, which might have been about the only plan he ever had that actually worked. Even if all she ever talked about was killing him.”

“But my point is…she talked about how she was kept in the library, up on the second floor. I think he destroyed the walkway that leads up there or something. So, like here, Anna would be trapped where he left her.”

“Why do I get the feeling we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg of how crazy your brother is?”

“You can say that about a ten thousand times,” the sheriff grumbled.

“Your tale brings up three important issues,” Devon said. “Firstly there are probably still a few zombies guarding this library. Second, why would I leave guns lying around where I’m keeping someone who wants to kill me? And lastly, how do we get to this place?”

Becca still spoke for their potential allies. “I can probably answer all of those. I’m sure they are a few lingering, but he took most of them after you, so who knows for sure. I used to go to school here five years ago, so I know where the flipping library is. There’s an interior way, but I can’t guarantee it isn’t crawling with geeks. And you forget how crazy my brother is. His ego was bad before all this, but now he thinks he’s emperor of the dead or some shit. He might leave guns twenty feet from a shackled girl and Anna was shackled.”

“Alright, let’s hope you’re right. All of you, let’s scrounge you up some weapons and give this a try. If there are any extra firearms it won’t hurt, but we really need bullets more than anything.”

Dells kicked through a storage locker and grabbed the former prisoners each a baseball bat. Once armed, they approached a set of strong oak doors. Becca said, “This leads to the cafeteria and then around to the library. Left—right—right, okay?”

Devon nodded. Dells took a deep breath and threw the door open. A fourteen year old female zombie walked by. Her wrinkled form was dressed in a faded mini skirt and a torn t-shirt that said ‘flirty.’

“Em, try to save our bullets for emergencies if you can.” The zombie was just turning when Devon split her skull with his machete. Two more were between them and the cafeteria while another started shuffling at them from behind.

“I got this one,” Dells yelled and rushed to the one following them. “I’ve waited a long time for this, you bastards!” One violent smash later and the Walker’s head went flying off its body and hit the window with a loud bloody smack.

“Oh damn, Devon,” Emily said. “These are all high school kids.”

“Who cares,” Becca yelled and then charged the closer zombie. Her bat hit it in the head and it when down, but she kept hitting it again and again, long past what would be needed to cause it to expire.

“Forgive my friends,” Fosters said. “We have been trapped for quite some time. In fact…” he suddenly let out a cry and attacked the third zombie with equal vigor.

“These guys are pretty messed up Dev.”

“Yeah, I know, but we got other problems.” The shouting had summoned more Walkers, which appeared around the turn into the cafeteria. Devon drew his desert eagle and only hoped they had enough bullets to see this through. He took aim and the lead zombies head exploded in a jet of rancid gore.

 

Devon and Tezzy

 

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Uncertainity and Evil

December 31, 2011 at 5:32 pm (Apocalypse, Eternal Aftermath, Horror, Zombie) (, , , , , , , , )

Mar clutched the door handle until her knuckles turned white. Undead lurched at them from every direction as they raced over the cluttered pavement. Half of the SUV Jon drove was already covered with black blood. She yelled when a head smacked the windshield in front of her.

“I don’t like this,” she said. “We shouldn’t be heading back into the city.”

“Mitch knows what he’s doing. You’re safe, honey.”

Honey huh, she thought to herself. This seriously sucks, even when I was a slave to the Rippers, at least they kept me from having to deal with this shit.

“Where’re we supposed to be going anyway?”

“Mitch and some of the others knew about some safe farms northeast of the city. Places that were built up, but then abandoned. They’re far enough out that any zombies that show up, we should be able to deal with.”

Jonathan’s handsome dark face moved left and right as he tried to avoid hitting the walking corpses. He was so nice to her. She would like to think it was because he thought highly of her and not because she was just young and cute and one of the only girls left alive in Tucson. “We might not move in, but it’s good enough for now.”

“How long has it been since someone else has been there? How do we know that it isn’t crawling with zombies or some other group hasn’t moved in?”

“You certainly seem to be on the paranoid side, my dear.”

“Don’t give me any of your psychiatrist crap,” she said. “Being paranoid is the only thing that has kept me alive.”

“You don’t have to worry now, I’ll protect you.”

“Yeah, I’m sure a hundred Rippers living behind razor wire thought they could protect me too.”

“This is different, they were evil. Besides we’re smarter than them.”

They were smart enough to capture you. “So how far is it?” she asked, just trying to distract herself from the gruesome collisions.

“About thirty miles, but we’re taking these northern roads so these Walkers shouldn’t get too bad.”

“What about the others? How will they find us?”

“Marry! This driving isn’t easy. Please try to support me and don’t ask me a million questions right now.”

She hunched forward. He gaze turned toward the window and the jagged angled forms emerging from the gathering gloom. They had no regard for their own safety and would fling themselves at the vehicles, the flesh. I hate them almost as much as I hate myself.

They followed the glowing taillights before them. A car skidded off the road when it ran over a concealed tire rim. It crashed headfirst into a parked car. The zombies were all over them before the group could do anything. She thought they would try to help anyway. They didn’t. The convoy moved on. It made her wonder what she really hated most.

 

*         *         *

The pain lingered like a sledge hammer. Haeds had been talking to himself for a while. “How could that asshole have done that to me? He cut off two of my fingers—that shitkicking prick! Well, there’s plenty of things he has two of.” He laughed at his own joke.

“Wait till my family comes, you idiots. You should have left with the cowards when you had the chance. Idiots. Fools. Fuckers! Gods of darkness, how I hate cowboys.” A string of curses escaped his lips while he fought against the ropes that bound him. More ropes held his legs to the chair.

“I could probably escape if I wanted to, you pricks. But why bother? I want to be here when my family is swallowing chunks of your flesh.”

After more mumbling and cursing to himself, Haeds heard the sounds of things banging around outside of the sweltering shack. Could they already be here? No, that’s something else. Besides there’s no way my family could have gotten here this fast.

He tried to listen harder. The wait grew vexing, especially when he had no clue as to what happened on the other side of the dry planks. About half an hour later, he heard maybe two vehicles start up and some shouting, but he couldn’t make out the words. He might have heard someone counting to three.

“What the hell is going on out there? All this not knowing is driving me nuts. They should know better than to do this to me. I’m the new God of this age, the king of the desert, the lord-”

“Of the, oh so, shitty pants,” the teen, Spike, said. “Damn, it smells like crap in here. You must have really shit yourself. I’d let you use the bathroom um…” the annoying boy leaned his face in closer. He hadn’t removed his shades and they were a little big making him look like a hyper fly. “If I didn’t HATE YOUR GUTS!”

“You can’t talk to me like that!”

“I’ll talk to you any damn way I like. Because of you, I haven’t seen my sister for a day. And Devon and I are best friends. If something happens to either one of them, I’ll beat you every day for a year and then I’ll slowly eat your arm off so you’ll know what it feels like, you freak.”

“You talk like that and call me a freak?”

“Ah…yeah.”

“How old are you, twelve.”

“I’m fifteen now, you piece of—oh hell, you aren’t even worth it.” He turned to go, but called over his shoulder. “I just came in here to let you know we figured out a way to waste your,” he used that asinine finger-quotes gesture, “family.” He reached the door and opened it. Night had claimed the land.

“Soon all your precious zombie pals will be nothing but rotten hamburger. And when we’re done, we’ll check your home town for beer, a-hole.”

The door slammed shut.

“He must be lying. There’s nothing these handful of idiots could do against my main army.” He paused. “Still they’re going to try something. I’ll need to try to stop it any way I can. They’ll be sorry they didn’t try to kill me when they got the chance. Not that they could. I’m a bloody God now. Even zombie bites don’t kill me. Soon I will rule the whole desert. They could have bowed to me and asked for mercy. I would have given it to them. I would have.”

An evil grin spread across his blood splattered face.

“But it’s too late now.”

 

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Fleeing and Greeting

December 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm (Apocalypse, Eternal Aftermath, Horror, Zombie) (, , , , , , , , )

Mar had never been more uncertain of anything in her whole life, which was saying something, since she had lived nearly half of it through a zombie apocalypse.

She looked over as the doctor while he hurried to pack his meager belongings.  Keith was a handsome man, even though he was probably three times too old for her. Sometimes she wondered almost as much about why a psychiatrist would be willing to bed a girl that was still officially a minor, as she did about why she would want to be with him.

Since he was older, it did she make her feel safer. He was more than happy to tell her what to do and make the decisions for them, she just wondered if this time he was wrong.

Part of her really thought it could have something to do with her mother telling Mar she would never be good enough to marry a doctor. Mar wished she could show her mom how wrong she had been, too bad she was dead. Mar wondered if her mother stumbled around as a Walker. Never stopping, never resting. Hell, who am I kidding, my mom would just give me shit because the doctor I’m dating is black.

Keith’s voice jarred her back to the present. “Hurry Marry, I spent too much time helping Ann. I don’t want them to leave without us.”

“Why would a psychiatrist think that helping that poor traumatized girl was a waste of time?”

He stopped and took her into his arms for a big hug. “Oh honey it’s not like that. I don’t want you to think of me in that way. I’ll be happy to do everything I can to help her. We just need to get somewhere safe first.”

“Are you sure we’re even doing the right thing leaving? Rollie told me that some of the others are thinking about staying.”

“Then they’re fools. Even if we had enough bullets to stop them, why would we waste all our ammo for such a thing? Our bullets should be used to keep us alive not kill a bunch of Walkers than can be avoided.”

“Maybe you’re right.”

“Of course I am, dear. Now finish packing. I know Mitch wouldn’t want to leave his only doctor behind, but it’s best to avoid pushing our luck.”

She fell back into packing without a word. Still, her uncertainty plagued her.

 

*         *         *

Devon and Emily had entered the small room that hung from the ceiling of the gym. Most of the equipment the school might have stored there had been removed. In its place three gagged and bound adults lay on a filthy floor. The corner of the room held a hole, which from the looks of things had been the closest thing to a toilet these captives had been allowed.

Drawing closer, Devon took in Haeds’ prisoners. The oldest of them was a man whose hair had lost the battle against grey. He was a taller gentleman and the calmest of the lot. He sat propped up against the wall with relief painting his features.

Beside him lay a man who was probably on the happy side of thirty and still wore his sheriff’s uniform. His brown eyes burned at Devon’s and both he and the woman were trying to shout through their gags so loudly that they drowned out any chance of him catching a word.

The woman might have just turned twenty. Her once attractive waves of brunette hair, hung in tangled dreads. He guessed that she couldn’t be freed fast enough if her screaming and thrashing against her bonds were any indication.

He freed her gag first.

A stream of words came out so fast that he could barely comprehend them.

“Listen, slow down,” he said. “You can relax, but if you want me to free you and these guys here, you’ll need to start making sense and let me know what has happened to you.”

She took a deep breath, eyed Emily for a moment, and then continued.  “We were captured by my evil ass brother. Believe me it’s a long story.” She paused. “How many are you? How did you get by the dead? Did you kill them all?”

He rubbed his forehead and then sheathed his pistol. “Listen you’re going to let me ask the questions around here if you want to have any chance of making it through this mess.”

“Sorry, we’ve just been held captive for so long. Can you even guess how horrible it was to be locked up here day after day, month after month? The smell, worst then anything ever and knowing it would never go away. And the moaning.” She began to cry. “How could my brother have become so evil?”

“Oh shit,” Emily said. “Come on, can we just let her go, Devon.”

“Will you and your friends promise not to go screw-job on me or go for my guns or anything? If you do, I can add you to my long list of breathers that I have wasted.”

She looked up at him through red-limed eyes. “I’m sorry. We’ve just been here so long that seeing you feels like a dream. We’ve been hopeless for so long.” The sheriff moved and garbled speech sounded behind his gag. “But yes, we’re safe. We are, or at least were, nice people. I barely even feel human anymore.”

“Crap,” Devon said slowly, while looking at their wrists.  “I don’t suppose you folks know where any keys to these handcuffs are? It will be hard as hell to get you down this ladder without them.”

He pulled down the sheriff’s mask as he spoke and the man started talking at once. “No her brother is completely insane and very dangerous. He has the keys. You need to get us out of here before he comes back!”

“Yeah, yeah, he’s the least of your worries. The guy goes by Haeds right.”

“Yes and he-”

“Likes to play with zombies. Yeah, I know the guy. My friend Brown has got him. Most likely the guy’s spilled his guts to him by now.”

“Is he okay?” The young woman asked. “He’s bat shit crazy, but he is still my brother. Actually screw that. I just really hate the son of a bitch and was hoping that I’d be the one to put down his sorry ass.”

Emily had removed the gag from the second man and he joined the conversation. “Hello, I’m Doctor Fosters. You have met Becca and Sheriff Dells. I know we don’t owe you anything less than our lives, but we have been enduring this living hell for so long that we would love to know who you are and what you’re planning to do next.”

“A doctor huh,” Emily said.

“Don’t get too excited,” Dells said, as he awkwardly rose to his feet. “He had his doctorate in Chemistry. He isn’t an MD.”

“That could turn out to me more useful for some of the things I have in mind.” The two men flashed him perplexed looks, but he continued. “My name is Devon and this here is Emily, the best sharp shooter this side of the apocalypse.” She gave them a pretty grin. “We—well we are doing a lot of things. Chief amount them is freeing the city of Tucson from its walking dead problem.”

“Part of our long term plan might involve your brother. So if I release you, you have to promise to do two things. First you must swear to follow my lead until the mess Haeds got us into is complete. And I mean this. If we release you it is in exchange for your aid for at least this one mission. You freedom in return for being mercenaries—you might say.”

The three shared glances, but it was the sheriff that answered for them. “I think we can agree to that, but we’ll have some questions that will need answering.”

“And you have them answered as we see fit. Right now, we just need to get out of this prison of yours.”

“What’s the second thing?” Becca asked.

“For now, at least, I want to keep your brother alive.”

She scowled but nodded. “Okay, I might have a hard time killing him anyway, despite all he has done.”

Dells grumbled under his breath. “I wouldn’t.”

Devon paused looking from face to face. “The real question is, can any of you tell me where this nut-job kept his weapons?”

 

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I’m Not Sure I Want to Find Out

December 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm (Apocalypse, Eternal Aftermath, Horror, Zombie) (, , , , , , , , , )

Pain roared through him. He had seen suffering, usually at the hands of his new family. He had even dealt out more than his share. But he had always felt distant, removed. Now that he had become the man being hurt, everything changed.

Normal things like watching the ants move along the floor of the stifling shack, seemed light years away from him. The pain owned him, made him remember his parents and how they had always seen such promise in him. It reminded him of school and that nice older woman at the convenience store. All that was dead now. Everyone was dead. He knew that, but they still loved him. They would never hurt him. They were his new family.

A slap across the face caused Haeds to look up at his capture.

“Earth to crazy-ass loon. Are you going to answer me or should we go to finger number three.”

Haeds looked from the grizzled face of the evil shitkicker, down at the stumps of two of his bleeding fingers.

Brown spoke again. “Listen dumbass, I don’t have time to screw around and it’s all your fault. If you think you can still enjoy being king of the zombies without fingers I guess that’s your choice.” The clippers moved over the middle finger of his left hand.

“No! Wait, stop!” He panted. He didn’t want to tell these losers a thing. He was the king of these wastes. But one thing Brown said did make sense. He didn’t want to be a king without fingers. He would tell them. What would it matter? They would all be dead soon anyway.

He spit out some blood that had been lingering in his mouth. “I got bit, okay. But instead of the bite killing me, like it did everyone else, I survived.”

Brown became dead serious, but at least didn’t look like he was about to hurt him anymore. “So what happened?”

“I got sick—you know the fever, like everyone else. But I got better. It didn’t kill me.” He rolled up his sleeve. The twisted bite scar had been a mark of pride for him. I badge of honor that always reminded him that he was better than everybody else. He began to enjoy his role, despite the pain. He would teach this low-life who he was really dealing with.

“But why did it happen? What makes you different from everyone else?”

“I’m just better than-”

After grabbing him by the collar, Brown yelled in his face. “Knock it off or we are back to the clippers. Why… are…you…different? Something must have happened to you when you were younger.”

“Looking up into his eyes, Haeds said, “When I was a kid I got real sick.”

 

*         *         *

Spencer was just about to try to force his way into the shack, when Brown beat him to the punch and opened the door. Sweat and grim covered his upper body and large sweat stains had pooled under his armpits.

“So how’s shit stain in there?”

“He’s going to have to give up the piano,” Brown said, while reached for a water bottle that Wart handed him.

Spencer wrinkled his nose. “Huh, did you learn anything? Come on man, the shit’s hitting the fan with Godzilla force around here.”

“I think I figured out why the zombies don’t attack him, but that isn’t going to do much to help us fight off four hundred Walkers.”

“You don’t know the half of it. Like everyone’s leaving.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Spencer pointed toward the rides a Brown took in the sight of the frantic packing. Brown opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by the appearance of Mel, Flinch, and Rollie. Flinch pushed Rollie’s wheelchair through the clinging desert sands and was just able to make it to them. It looked like Mel had scavenged some gear along the way. An extra rifle hung over his shoulder and he had a few bags filled with other supplies.

“Nice to see you have Devon’s shotgun,” Spencer said, addressing Rollie.

“I pretty much gathered everything I thought I’d need. Not being able to walk puts a whole new perspective on an army of undead heading your way.”

As if coming out of a daze, Brown looked over at Kimberly. “Weren’t you with Ann? How is she? Is she safe?”

“Alexander was with her. She’s more hurt up here,” she said, while pointing at her blonde head. “He’s a psychiatrist and right now that’s what she needs.”

“But everyone is leaving. How do we know if she’s being loaded into a car right now.” Shooting a glare at Spencer, he said, “Has anybody tried talking this people out of this. Devon wouldn’t want this. I’m sure he has some plan or something brewing.”

Two people jogged toward the growing group. Spencer knew them just enough to remember their names. James and Ditch. James had a lanky body. He kept his curly hair short, and tended to play with his thin mustache when he spoke. His buddy Ditch was from Germany and favored a sledge hammer for a weapon. He had the body for it and only wore a tattered blue vest over his giant muscles.

“Gentlemen.” Brown said once they have drawn near.

“Are you guys bugging out like the rest?” James asked.

“We haven’t really decided what we’re doing.”

Ditch spoke up. “Yah, if is all the same to you, ve vould like to, ah…” He looked over at James, “Ve would like to do vhatever you’re doing.”

“Well… as soon as we figure it out we’ll let you know,” Spencer grumbled.

 

*         *         *

Devon stared at the ladder reaching up to the score-box twenty feet over their heads. The zombies had been cleared from the room, but this left them with only a handful of bullets left. The gymnasium doors were locked behind them, but Devon knew that wouldn’t help if they still had to fight their way out of town.

“So are you ready for this?” he asked Emily.

“What, I can fight my way through a ghost town filled with the walking dead, but I can’t climb up there?” She looked at him and then back up at the elevated room. “Honestly, I’m a bit worried about what we could find.”

“I know the feeling. I’ll start up first. If we run into trouble, my pistol will work better than your rifle in close quarters.”

It was the longest twenty seconds of his life, but Devon made it to the smashed out window that the top of the steel ladder rested against. Before his head had reached the opening, he was already hearing muffled noises. Grunting.

“Slow down, it sounds like that freak might be hiding zombies up here too.”

“Be careful.”

As he drew near the lips the sounds changed. They were more urgent. He could almost make out words. “Oh the hell with it,” he mumbled, but then louder said, “I’m coming up. Please don’t blow my head off.”

At first, he could see nothing in the stygian room.  For a moment, he balanced awkwardly on the ladder while he fumbled for his flashlight, all the time trying to keep his gun pointed into the room.

The sounds, he could call them voices now, grew more frantic. They still sounded like they came at him from under five layers of blankets. What’s going on in there?

Finally his light pierced the darkness and he almost tumbled off the ladder when he saw what the room held.

“Emily, there’re people in here! From the looks of it, two men and a girl.”

 

Want to find out how Devon began his battle against the Apocalypse?

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