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Authors: Jr. Roddy R. Cross,Mr Roddy R Cross Jr

Tags: #Horror, #Fiction, #Lang:en

Dead Cold (9 page)

BOOK: Dead Cold
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“Dude, you know that shit is bad for you.” Cory was resting against the wall his eyes closed.

 

“I do, and I kept meaning to quit. Even did a few times; for a little while, but I think there are bigger problems right now.” Roland reached through the railing and flicked the ash off his smoke watching as it floated down seemingly forever.

 

Cory just shook his head and stood up stretching his back. Following suit Roland got to his feet and looked up frowning before he dropped the cigarette down the stairwell.

 

They reached the top floor and Roland sighed in relief as the entrance came into view. Looking at the Cory Roland raised a single finger to his lips and the motioned for the taller man to follow him. Roland pulled the door towards himself as quietly as possible, the squeak of the hinges seeming deafening in the dark stairwell. Ushering through the dog and the taller man Roland followed behind shutting the door with only a whisper of weather stripping.

 

The two men and the dog moved quickly down the hallway towards a thin line of light peeking out from under one of the doors. Roland could hear voices coming from the other side of the door and he recognized the strong smell of marijuana. Lacking a better plan Roland brought up his right boot and slammed it against the door a thundering crack filled the hallway as the deadbolt smashed through the wall and the door flew inwards banging against the inner wall and rebounding.

 

Screams came from the apartment as Roland pushed through the door and he followed the sounds and light to the living room his P90 held ready. Stepping into the living room Roland lowered the gun and looked around at four sets of scared, blood shot eyes. There were four people in the living room two guys and two girls; they were all dressed like punk rockers with band shirts, metal spikes, and piercings. The first guy was tall, skinny, and pale with black hair while the second guy was short, bigger and had tanned skin with blond hair.

 

One of the girls had stark white skin with black hair and a curvy figure hidden under a Rob Zombie shirt. The last person in the room was a little bit bigger girl with neon orange hair.

 

“Who the hell are you?” The tall guy was attempting to control his laughter.

 

“I’m Roland, and this is Cory. The dog is Eve. Who are you people and why are you here?”

 

“I’m DJ, he’s Caleb, Cassandra is my girlfriend, and I’m not sure what her name is.” He indicated the black haired girl.

 

“My name is Valerie, and we’re here because DJ said evacuating would be a bad idea.” She was staring at Roland.

 

“Well, you were right about that but I don’t think getting high in a high rise is the best idea.” Roland was a little uncomfortable by the way Valerie was looking at him.

 

“Well I though it was a good plan.” Resentment oozed from DJ’s mouth as a he spoke.

 

Without warning Eve rushed to the balcony and started growling her hackles raised. “Everyone shut up and put out those candles.” Roland’s voice was harsh and dangerous as he rushed to where the dog was standing.

 

The candles were doused quickly; the room instantly dark and in the silence Roland heard what Eve had already heard; the moan of a lot of undead. Taking of his backpack Roland unhooked the sniper rifle and flipped open the scope covers. Opening the balcony door Roland stepped out into the cold night air the moon giving the cityscape and eerie glow. The moans were louder now and Roland looked down towards the street his eyes growing wide the horde was massive.

 

It filled the street below looking for all the world like a mass of ants marching south through the city. Bringing the scope up to his eye Roland got a better look at the creatures surprised at how diverse they were, some were naked, some clothes and all ages from toddlers to the elderly. Roland could hear someone behind him at the doorway attempting not to laugh and he turned from the rifle to see Caleb, his hand over his mouth. Caleb uncovered his mouth and was opening it to say something when Roland drew one of his Browning and aimed it at the shorter man’s head.

 

“If you don’t shut the fuck up I will blow your brains all over the living room.” Roland’s whisper was harsh and violent the words themselves seeming to cut the much shorter man as he backed into the apartment his hands raised.

 

Roland lit a cigarette and brought the scope up to his eye again trying to find the back of the horde but unable to see one from the apartments balcony. He could see the creatures brushing up against the SRT on the street and he sighed as the passenger side mirror was torn off. It took two hours for the horde to pass, only a few stragglers remained and Roland considered trying to shoot them from the balcony but didn’t want to alert the receding sea of undead. Turning away from the street Roland went back into the apartment shutting the door behind him.

Chapter 14: Tough Decisions

 

 

Eve had retreated to the apartments shattered doorway and was growling quietly but Roland took no notice as his stomach emitted a much louder grumble. Clicking on the safety Roland put the Timberwolf next to his bag and headed to the kitchen while Cory talked with the other four. Opening the fridge Roland chuckled.

 

“Real good survival plan.” The fridge was filled with beer, condiments and little else.

 

Checking the cupboards Roland found a box of crackers and started eating tossing a few to Eve who hungrily devoured the orange circles. Tossing the empty box onto the counter Roland walked back into the living room, avoiding Valerie’s gaze as he went and retrieved a Vitamin Water from his bag.

 

“So what’s the plan?” The question surprised Roland and he turned to look at Caleb.

 

“What?”

 

“Well Cory says you seem to know what you’re doing so we are just wondering what the plan is now?”

 

“Well I’m hoping to find out what happened to my sister, grab some things from West Ed and then back to the Garrison to try and find out where Stonedecker went.”

 

Cassandra spoke up then. “I heard on the radio that there were people hiding in the mall, hold on.” She pulled out a portable radio, the kind that charged with a crank and flipped the power switch.

 

After a few seconds of static a deep voice came through the tiny speaker. “If you can hear this we are in the West Edmonton Mall, we have food and other supplies. We can protect you here. The Police and Military have fallen apart.” The radio faded and shut off.

 

“Okay, grab your coats and shoes and let’s get going, most of the creatures have passed but they may come back we have to hurry.” Roland hooked the Timberwolf back onto the backpack and slung the pack over his shoulder.

 

The group was ready to go in five minutes Roland taking the lead not even noticing how close Eve stayed to him as they headed for the stairs. Roland found the trip downstairs much easier than going up the stairs and as he stepped out into the lobby he chuckled when he saw several other members of the group panting as they exited the stairwell.

 

Signaling for Cory to follow him Roland told the others to wait in the lobby as he clicked on the P90’s laser sight and flicked the selector to single fire. There were a little over a dozen creatures on the street outside the apartment, Roland and Cory picked them off quickly before motioning for the others to follow.

 

Roland realized something was wrong when DJ collapsed three steps out of the door, Cassandra rushing to his side. Keeping his distance Roland looked at Caleb. “What’s wrong with him?”

 

“We have to help him.” Cassandra interrupted her voice filled with panic.

 

“I couldn’t tell you he seemed fine to me.” Caleb barely finished talking when Eve started barking at the body.

 

“Shit! Cassandra get away from him!” Roland took another step back.

 

“What? Why?” Tears were streaming from her eyes leaving black streaks down her eyes.

 

“He’s been…” Roland was cut off by a shriek from Cassandra as DJ bit her hand taking away a pinky.

 

“Holy shit!” Caleb screamed moving backwards so fast he tripped into the snow.

 

“Damn it.” Roland cursed as he squeezed the submachine gun’s trigger once and a quarter sized hole appeared in the top of DJ’s head.

 

Cassandra continued to scream and Valerie tried to comfort her; wrapping a sweater around her bloody hand. “It’ll be okay Cassie, don’t worry.”

 

Roland crouched in front of Cassandra and held her face looking into her eyes. “Actually it’s not, you’ve been bitten and you’re gonna turn just like DJ here.” He lifted the dead man’s pant leg exposing the red circle of a bite. “Like it or not you are going to become one of them.”

 

Cassandra began whimpering and Valerie backed away from her like she’d be stung. “How long do I have?” Her grey eyes pleaded with Roland.

 

“Maybe a day or less.” Roland stood up and helped Cassandra to her feet.

 

“What do I do?”

 

“It’s up to you really, I can’t let you come with me it’s too risky.” Cory snorted at that.

 

“So you’re just going to leave me here?” the girl’s face hardened as she looked down at DJ’s lifeless corpse.

 

“Roland, we can’t.” Cory started but Roland cut him off.

 

“Yes we can, and we will. I have no intention of dying anytime soon.” Roland’s face was expressionless as he looked at the girl. “The rest of you can stay but I’m leaving.”

 

Caleb had stood up by now. “What if we take the truck and leave you here?” He moved towards Roland as he spoke.

 

“Then you would be dead before she could have a chance to eat your dumb ass.” He pointed at Cassandra.

 

“What are you gonna do? Shoot me?” Caleb stopped within arm’s length of Roland.

 

Roland smiled. “Yeah, I could do that.” Before anyone could blink Roland drew one of his Brownings and had it pressed between Caleb’s eyes.

 

“Guys stop!” Cassandra had stood up now. “Everyone go, just leave me. I do have one favor to ask?” She looked at Roland as she spoke.

 

“Sure, what you want?” Roland lowered the handgun and turned keeping his eyes on Caleb.

 

“Can you leave me a gun; you wouldn’t leave a girl alone without a way to defend herself would you?” She held out a hand.

 

Roland’s expression softened. “No I guess not, you’re not gonna shoot me with it are you?” He held the Browning tentatively.

 

She shook her head. “No, from the looks of things you would shoot me before I could pull the trigger.” She looked down at the still form on the ground.

 

“Let’s not find out.” Roland flipped the gun around placing the butt into the girl’s palm. “Come on everyone let’s go.”

 

Valerie gave Cassandra a tearful hug, refusing to let go until Cassandra told her to go as Roland opened the truck door Eve jumping up to sit in the middle. Cory climbed in the passenger seat and Roland handed him his bag as he climbed in, not wanting to leave it in the back with the other two. Caleb gave Cassandra a hug and climbed into the back beside Valerie as Roland started the truck.

 

The engine roared to life and Roland looked out the window his eyes catching Cassandra’s they nodded to each other and Roland shifted the truck into drive. Roland pushed the accelerator and the truck put a cloud of snow and the girl behind them. Roland looked in the rearview mirror as the truck sped away and he saw the single flash. Turning his eyes back to road Roland did his best to forget the girl named Cassandra.

Chapter 15: Cross-town Express

 

There was very little conversation in the truck as Roland turned west onto Jasper Avenue hoping to avoid the parking lot that was the Yellowhead trail. Roland could hear Valerie sobbing in the back and did his best to focus on the road. He was lighting a cigarette when he noticed something that made him slow down, the snow was hard packed as if hundreds of feet had recently walked across it. Cory looked at him questioningly but Roland put his finger to his lips silencing the question.

 

The sky was clear and the moon was providing ample lighting as the truck moved down the empty street, darkened buildings looming on either side like stone and steel sentries. Turning on the high beams Roland was able to make out a solitary figure shambling down the middle of the street, Roland pushed the gas a little harder centering the truck’s bumper on the stooped figure as the big red truck bore down on it. Roland could see it was an elderly woman, her yellow eyes turning to glare at him as the big truck connected with her slight frame. There was a slight bump and the truck continued on the creature’s head turning to glare after it.

 

“What was that?” Caleb asked.

 

“Nothing.” Roland lied. “We need to get off this road.”

 

“Take a right here and keep going north until you get to one eighteenth then take a left.” Valerie spoke for the first time since they had left Cassandra.

 

“You got it.” Roland made a quick right.

 

Much to Roland’s relief the road they turned onto did not have hard packed snow and he smiled as he plowed through a deep drift, the snow flying up and over the big truck. Taking a few seconds to relax Roland flipped on the radio and started scanning the channels looking for anything. It was almost all static but when he stopped at the rock and roll station a deep male voice echoed out of the truck’s speaker system.

 

“West Edmonton Mall, we have electricity and water. We can protect you and feed you until help arrives. Come to the West Edmonton Mall.” A recording.

 

“Look there are people there we’ll be safe.” Caleb spoke up. “We should go there.”

BOOK: Dead Cold
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