Authors: Jr. Roddy R. Cross,Mr Roddy R Cross Jr
Tags: #Horror, #Fiction, #Lang:en
Gathering his thoughts, the flashlight, and the shotgun he opened the door and climbed out of the truck. Other than the passenger headlight Roland could find no damage on the Dakota, the Tiburon’s door was folded in half and the window was shattered. Peering through the snow Roland realized there must have been hundreds of vehicles covering both sides of the highway and the intersection, it looked like a drunken parking lot; many of the vehicles had lights on or doors open.
The snow was eight inches deep now and as he looked at the carnage around him he knew the Dakota was not going to make it through the ditch and onto the other side of the mess. He would have to go back to the city to find another vehicle. Once back inside the truck his stomach gave a loud rumble reminding him he had yet to eat. With only one headlight it was slow going back to town and it gave him a lot of time to think about what had transpired since he had woken up which had felt like years but was actually only two hours.
By the time he reached town he was still wondering what had happened, where everyone had gone, and how he had missed an evacuation then he remember the answer to one question. He had taken a sleeping pill the night before in an effort to force his internal clock back onto a being awake during the day schedule. He was never able to fully adjust to the switch from night shifts to day shift and often stay up during the night right up until he had to go back on days. That just left the questions of why everyone had been evacuated and what had happened to them.
Deciding to return to his apartment to get food before searching for another vehicle Roland turned off of the highway and the Dakota was slammed into the back of a flatbed work truck that had been parked in the Tim Horton’s line-up, all four doors left open. Roland saw the truck too late as he felt the other truck’s trailer hitch tear through the Dakota’s radiator before the front of the Dakota crumpled into the other trucks deck. In an instant both airbags deployed as everything in the truck including Roland shifted forward violently, an air compressor coming from the back seat and striking the windshield. Roland felt his head snap forward and then backwards just as everything went black for him.
The sound of the truck’s horn filled his ears as Roland shook himself awake and looked around. Things were strewn all around the truck and airbag powder covered large portions of the front seats and his legs. Punching the steering wheel to make the horn stop and gathering his thoughts he unbuckled his seatbelt feeling a spot in the center of his chest already starting to bruise.
Grabbing his cell phone, backpack and the shotgun Roland climbed out of the truck and surveyed the damage before heading around to the passenger side for the duffel bag. The Dakota was destroyed; green antifreeze colored the snow underneath the crumpled front end and jagged pieces of metal had punctured both front tires.
Once around on the passenger side Roland put the bulletproof vest on underneath his jacket and after emptying its contents put the flashlight, ammunition and a spool of rope into his backpack. Making sure he had the keys in his pocket Roland started walking towards his apartment, it was normally only a five minute walk through the mall and Superstore parking lots. The weather made the trek much more difficult as Roland had to take baby steps to keep from tripping over curbs. The line up at Tim Horton’s was full of cars; all with doors open and empty, Roland considered checking for one with keys but figured it would be safer just to walk to his apartment.
Halfway across the mall parking lot Roland saw a shape coming out of the snow towards him and it might have been the wind but he could swear he heard it moan loudly. “Is someone there?” The shape continued to move towards him. “Hey are you alright?” Still no reply came but the moan seemed to be getting louder.
Just as he was about to call again the snow cleared and Roland got a good look at the shape. It was a homeless woman bundled up in mismatched clothes, her mouth was open and her arms outstretched but the thing he noticed most was the chunk of her neck that was missing and the large red stain on her jacket. Dropping his guard Roland rushed forward. “Oh my god, are…” He was cut off as she lunged forward tackling him to the ground her teeth snapping as she reached for his neck.
Chapter 3: What the…
Holding her at bay with the shotgun Roland was thankful she had mittens covering her hands as she tried to claw and grab for him all the while continuing to bite at him like a hungry dog. Red bile dripped from her mouth making Roland move his head to the side to keep it from getting on him. Regaining his composure Roland pushed his right arm up, hard while simultaneously bringing his left arm down knocking the feral woman off of him and into the snow.
Pushing himself backwards in an attempt to get away from the psychotic homeless woman he wondered what the hell was wrong with her. He only made it a few feet before she recovered and began crawling after him on her hands and knees looking for all the world like a rabid dog. Bringing up the shotgun he pointed it at the woman.
Lady get back, I don’t want to kill you!” He shouted as she launched herself at him her mouth open wide.
Roland pulled the trigger and listened as the gun clicked. “Shit!” The woman was almost on top him and in desperation Roland swung the shotgun, the butt of the weapon making a loud crack as it connected with her face; knocking her away.
Standing up as quick as he could Roland tried cocking the shotgun as the homeless woman stood up apparently unfazed by the large cut in her face. “This is your last warning, I will shoot!” She lunged and Roland squeezed the trigger. The effect was incredible, the big gun roared and bucked hard against his shoulder. Most shocking of all was the homeless woman’s head disintegrating in a red mist before her body collapsed into the snow. “Holy shit.” Roland panted as he cocked the shotgun, the empty shell falling into the snow.
The moan of the wind was getting louder and Roland looked towards the mall. What he saw sent adrenaline coursing through his veins. Coming towards him through the snow was a large crowd of people and he suddenly realized the moan wasn’t the wind but instead the group of people shambling towards him.
Almost without thinking Roland turned and started running towards Superstore, slipping on the ice and stumbling but never falling as he ran the five hundred feet towards the store. Upon reaching the front entrance he tried everything to open the automatic sliding door and found it to be locked. He could hear the moans and see the crowd through the snow as they made their way across the parking lot towards him. With no other alternative Roland shut his eyes and slammed the butt of the shotgun into the large pane of glass next to the door shattering it.
Once inside it was easy to pull apart the inner doors and enter the store proper. Peering through the glass into the storm he could see that the mob was only twenty feet from the doors and quickly pulled the inner doors closed, hoping it would slow them down. The store was completely black and Roland clicked on his flashlight shining it around the store, making sure nothing moved.
Remembering his rumbling stomach he ran over to the food section and grabbed a carton of juice and a box of Poptarts. He shined his flashlight on the door as he made his way to the stairwell entrance, there were at least thirty people, he wasn’t sure if he could call them people anymore, crammed into the entry way pushing against the doors and scratching at the glass.
Pausing Roland shone the flashlight across the entryway and examined the faces of the creatures on the other side of the glass. He could now see that they were definitely not people, their eyes were yellowish and their lips pulled back to the point of being almost nonexistent. Ignoring the obvious wounds they all sported and the red stains around their mouths, Roland couldn’t look away from their yellow eyes; their dead, lifeless eyes. The sound of cracking glass ended his reverie and Roland ran for the stairwell as the panes started to give way.
He could hear the panes shatter as he reached the top of the stairs and the moaning filled the stairwell as the creatures started for the stairwell. Crashing through the heavy door at the top of the stairs Roland spun and kicked the door shut locking the heavy deadbolt. He could hear the bloodcurdling moans and scratches at the door and wondered how long it would keep them out.
Entering the supervisor’s area Roland shined his flashlight around doing his best to ignore the moans coming from the other side of the big door. A large square with two exits; other than a counter around most of the room and a photocopier in the center the supervisor’s area was empty. He didn’t know why and he hadn’t been there in years but Roland couldn’t help an intense feeling of loneliness as he looked around. Ignoring the supervisor’s area Roland headed off down the long dark hallway towards the break room, lighting a cigarette as he went. “Don’t think anyone will mind.” He chuckled out loud as he blew smoke towards the roof.
Pausing at the entrance to the break room Roland held his breath and listened, the moans were muffled and he couldn’t hear anything else nearby so he exhaled a sigh of relief as he headed for the nearest couch. Crushing the smoke under his boot Roland opened the juice and Poptarts, quickly devouring four of the s’mores flavored breakfast snacks. Putting down the empty juice carton his stomach full again Roland thought about everything that had transpired in the three hours since he had woken up.
He knew the power for the entire town was out; there was no cellular services, and what seemed to be dead bodies were walking around and attacking people. He considered his current situation; there were at least thirty of the creature not far away; looking for him, he had no vehicle, he had a shotgun with twenty five spare shells, and the only way south was blocked by hundreds of vehicles. “Well I guess I’m pretty much screwed.” He pulled out another smoke and leaned back into the couch.
Chapter 4: Now What
The crash of someone moving around in the dark brought Roland to his feet in an instant, the shotgun in one hand and flashlight in the other. The crash had come from around the corned near the washrooms and emergency exit. Stomping out half a cigarette Roland walked over to the corner, the light and shotgun leading the way. Stepping quickly around the corner he couldn’t see anything moving near the emergency exit or between the bathrooms but another sound coming from the women’s bathroom caught his attention. Tip toeing up to the door he was about to push it open when it was pulled open from the other side and a very frightened face was staring back at him blinking in the bright light.
It was a woman in her early twenties and he guessed she had been in there for quite a while. Her short black hair was messy and there were large black bags underneath her blue eyes. She was a head shorter than Roland and could not have weighed more than one hundred pounds, she wore blue jeans, a black nylon jacket, and black hiking boots that looked liked like tiny versions of Roland’s.
Are you okay?” The expression on her face changed from terror to relief as he spoke and she started sobbing as she walked up and wrapped her arms around him.
Unsure of what else to do Roland slowly lowered her to the ground as he felt her collapse letting the shotgun clatter to the floor when he was close enough and wrapping his now free arm around the sobbing form pressed against the bulletproof vest he had almost forgotten. After a few minutes she pulled her face away from his chest and looked up at him with blood shot eyes.
Thank you.” She whispered.
Your welcome.” Was all Roland could think to say. “Who are you and what happened?”
My name’s Crystal Hills, I got separated from my brother during the evacuation and then the car ahead of me went into the ditch and I went in behind it, when I got out of the car to check on them they attacked me.” She showed where the left forearm of her jacket was torn. “Then I tried to find somewhere to hide and this was the only place with the door unlocked.”
The door was unlocked?” Roland’s raised his right eyebrow at that.
Well not the main ones, but the one off to the side.” Roland let out a laugh and she looked a little confused. “Who are you and how did you end up here?”
I’m Roland Castle and I slept through the evacuation I guess; then I totaled my truck and a mob of those things chased me here.” She gave him a look that said she questioned his sanity. “So tell me what were you planning to do next after hiding in the bathroom?”
Well I was hoping that rescue would come eventually but it looks like you’re all I’m gonna get.”
I’m afraid so sister, I don’t think anyone is coming to help either of us, so any ideas on how to get out of here?” Roland helped her to her feet, she was cute he thought and hoped the attitude was just a result of the situation.
Maybe we can get another vehicle since ours are both wrecked and head south and maybe find my brother on the way.”