Authors: Derek J. Thomas
Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse
A couple of the men raised their rifles at the group while
Trips walked over and pulled Sam out of Kelly’s arms.
He screamed, sobbing and kicking.
Tears poured from Kelly’s eyes as she
struggled to breathe. She reached out
with her arms, kneeling on the floor, pleading with her eyes.
Sam desperately reached back for her, terror
and tears filling his eyes. The thugs
left the room, Sam in tow.
After the large metal door closed the room sat in silence,
interrupted only by Kelly’s sobbing. She
had collapsed to the hard tile, hysteria taking over.
From outside the door loud scrapping and banging could be
Dennis moved across the room, listening at the door.
Muffled voices could be heard through the
thick steel, along with the clangs of metal on metal.
Hank stepped over to the instrument cart and began looking
over its contents. Finding a pair of
what looked like high tech wire cutters, he spun around
and used his bound hands to dig through the contents until he grasped the
clippers. He turned to the person next
to him and said, “Spin around.” Back to
back it was a bit awkward to get the zip ties cut, but once one of them was
free he quickly worked his way through the remaining
people, freeing everyone’s hands.
After removing Kelly’s zip ties, Hank kneeled down next to
her. She never moved, still crying inconsolably.
“We will get him back.”
He wasn’t just saying this to make her feel
better; he really felt that they would get Sam back.
They had been through so much and were always
able to find a way. Their ordeals had
made him confident in both their abilities and the guidance of God.
Breaking the near silence was the sudden blare of a car horn
from outside. And then another.
Hank ran over to the large windows that
overlooked the back parking lot. Peering
out the glass, he heard another horn start blasting.
Two of Lincoln’s goons came running into view
almost directly below. They each carried
several pieces of wood, maybe dowels, it was tough for
Hank to tell from high up.
Nearly everyone had now joined Hank at the windows, all of
them watching in near fascination as the two men worked their way to a couple
different cars. Everyone felt a sense of
dread. None of them knew yet exactly
what was happening, but they knew it was not good, and the pit of their
stomachs warned them with what felt like a lead weight.
Like men at a car wash preparing to detail a car, each man
swung the car door open, leaned in, and began working on the obscured driver’s
seat. Within a few seconds another
blaring car horn was added to the mix.
It cut out, but came back on after the guy worked on the seat a bit
more. They continued leap frogging from
vehicle to vehicle until they were both out of wooden dowels.
Even through the thick glass the horns were loud.
Hank knew the sound would carry for miles,
drawing demented and undead from the entire town and beyond.
Turning back around, Hank surveyed the room, trying to
decide the best course of action. On the
far side of the room a couple people were kneeling down helping the kid that
had been shot in the leg. He still lay
unmoving on the floor. There was a small
pool of blood spreading around his legs, some of it smeared by those that
worked on him.
At the same time both Hank and Dennis raced across the room
and tested the large steel door. When it
didn’t budge an inch, they knew they were in trouble.
Hank turned toward Dennis and said, “I think we’re in a bit
of a pickle.” He hesitated a moment and
then added, “I’ve never liked pickles.”
Tom sat on the dusty cement, his back resting against a long
tool bench. Over the past few hours he
had snuck a few looks out the window above him.
Infected dotted the yard and driveway, stumbling around in search of him
and Eddie. Groans could occasionally be
heard through the thin glass. A few
times, one or more of the infected would make their way to the door, banging
and scratching at it, but none had made their way inside.
Eddie sat next to him, staring off into
space. Neither of them had said a word
for a couple hours, worried that it would be heard by one of the infected.
Looking over at Eddie, Tom wondered what he was
thinking. After a few minutes Eddie
turned toward Tom, shrugged his shoulders, made a motion like he was playing
cards, smiled, and then returned to staring ahead.
He had been through a lot, but he was going
to be alright.
From somewhere outside came several loud barks.
It was the first sounds of agitation that
they had heard from the infected since getting inside the shop.
Both Tom and Eddie spun their heads around,
listening intently. The huffs and barks
continued, growing in volume as more joined in.
Tom slowly rose to his feet and eased his head up high
enough to peer out the window. The
hundreds of infected that previously milled about the yard and forest aimlessly
were now rushing across the driveway and out of view to the front of the
shop. More continued to filter out of
the forest, following their brethren.
“What in the world is going on?”
Eddie whispered from beside Tom.
their attention...I’m just glad it’s not us.”
“No kidding. If they
all run off after whatever it is, we can jet.”
“They are definitely after somebody.”
“Sucks for them.”
Tom looked back out the window and said, “Let’s just make
use of it.”
After several minutes neither of them could see any
remaining infected. They gave it a few
additional minutes just to be safe and then headed for the door.
Standing at the door, Tom popped out his empty magazine,
slammed in his last fresh one, and charged the rifle.
He eyed the pistol in Eddie’s hand and said,
Eddie patted his chest pocket and said, “Two more
Tom nodded his head.
“It’ll have to do.” He knew if
they got caught out in the open again they were doomed.
Carefully easing the door open, Tom surveyed the
driveway. No movement other than scraps
of half burnt garbage dancing in the breeze.
He pushed the door all the way open and stepped out into the afternoon
sun, rifle tight to his shoulder. Eddie
swept out behind him, covering to the side with his pistol.
“Hear that?” Tom
“Hank and the others must be drawing the infected for us.”
“We get back, I’m gonna owe them
some beers.” Eddie chuckled.
Occasionally the huff
of a demented could be heard over the constant thrum of car horns.
The speed with which they had developed some
form of communication and group coordination was terrifying.
Tom dreaded the thought of the infected
adapting. They already had speed,
unending stamina, and sheer numbers. To
added intellect to the mix...nightmare.
With Tom leading the way, they made their way around to the
back corner of the shop. From there they
eyed the nearby trees to their right and the half burnt house to their
left. Seeing no threats, Tom wondered if
the remains of the house would contain anything of worth.
His belly grumbled in response.
More important than his hunger was his parched mouth.
His tongue and throat felt swollen and stiff
from lack of hydration. The hot breeze
stung his lips, digging at where they were cracked and splitting.
“Let’s check out the house.”
After Eddie nodded his head they both made their way across
the lawn. Nearing the house, they could
smell the acrid smoke and stench of burnt plastic...and something far worse.
Patches still smoldered, sending thick, white
tendrils swirling into the breeze. The fire
had been recent.
Tom entered through the broken down front door.
Stepping between bodies, he made his way into
the home. The hall and stairs directly
in front of him were littered with bodies.
There had clearly been a last stand by someone.
Both the dead bodies and the walls were
riddled with bullet holes. Blood was
spilled everywhere, covering the floor and splattering the wall.
Chunks of flesh and bone were like small
islands in the pools of blood.
Swatting at one of the many flies that were busy feasting
and laying eggs, Tom looked through the various openings to determine the
location of the kitchen.
Eddie groaned from behind him.
disgusting. There is nothing I need this
Tom hesitated, wondering if anything was in fact worth
this. Maybe Eddie had a good point.
He was about to tell Eddie that he was right,
when someone’s voice sounded from somewhere upstairs.
It was muffled and unintelligible...maybe just
the groan of an infected.
Looking back at Eddie, Tom hoped to get some input.
Eddie shrugged his shoulders and then shook his head.
“Wait out front.” Tom
whispered before turning for the stairs.
Stepping over and on top of bodies, Tom made his way up the
stairs. Reaching the top, he raised his
rifle to his shoulder and listened intently.
The house creaked and groaned, but nothing that sounded of the living.
At the top of the landing dark hallways split
in both directions. A trail of dead lead
to the right and ended at a partially closed door.
Several fist sized holes stared back at
him. Dim light spilled out through the
holes, forming an elongated triangle across the back of one of the dead.
Rifle at the ready, Tom began tiptoeing between bodies.
The hardwood floor was slick with blood.
Flies crawled over the bodies, only stirred
into flight as Tom stepped between their meals.
Thick, suffocating stench filled the hallway.
The heat of the afternoon had taken its toll
on the rotting flesh.
As Tom neared the door, he lowered his rifle and peered through
one of the holes. Directly across the
room sat a large bed, soaked in blood and gore.
On the floor at the foot of the bed were several bodies lying in a
Tom pushed his face up to the door, trying to make out
something curled up in the far corner of the room.
Unable to get a good view, he hunched down
and tried looking through the lowest hole to get a better angle.
He was holding his breath, listening, when
something came right at him through the hole.
Stumbling, he fell backwards, crashing over top of the piled up
bodies. The buzz of flies filled the
narrow hallway along with a huffing noise.
From his back, Tom struggled to sit up and bring his rifle
to bear. He could picture one of the
demented charging he way, ready to tear into his flesh.
Finally getting sat back up, he was surprised to see nothing
bearing down on him, but instead only a long brown and black snout sticking out
of a hole in the door. It huffed and
whined. Claws scraped and pawed at the
door. Tom breathed a sigh of relief and
regained his feet. The dog sniffed at
the air, sensing Tom’s movement. As Tom
began to turn for the stairway the dog let out a low whimper.
Initially he did not want to risk going into
a room with a dog, but the dog’s crying was tearing at his heartstrings.
Tom stepped over next to the door and softly said, “Hey
More whimpering and then the muzzle disappeared out of the
hole. A streak of brown past the hole
and then the dog’s muzzle poked out in the narrow crack between the door and
the jam. Its tail slammed against the
wall making a loud
each time it
“You seem friendly.
I’m going to ease the door open.”
Tom put his hand on the splintered wood and gave a push.
It didn’t budge.
Putting his shoulder up against the door he
said, “Stuck in there aren’t you boy.”
Using his legs and hips for leverage, Tom pushed the door open enough
that the dog came bursting through the gap.
The large German Shepherd was very
excited to be out of the room. Tail
wagging rapidly, the dog licked and pawed at Tom’s hands.
Usually known for their stoic demeanor, this
one was overcome by the excitement to be set free.
Kneeling down by the dog, Tom said, “Easy boy, easy.”
He grabbed the collar and checked the
tag. “What’s your name?
That’s a good name.”
Standing back up, Tom looked into the room and could now see
what lay in the corner. The man was
wearing jeans and a dirty t-shirt, but also had a policeman’s utility belt
strapped around his waist. He was curled
up on his side, facing away from Tom.
Zeus padded back into the room, sniffed at the man curled
up, turned, and let out a low whine. He
tapped at the floor with one of his paws and then turned, looking down at the
Just to be safe, Tom swept into the room with his rifle at
low ready. He quickly checked his
corners. Nothing other than the dead
bodies he had already seen. He slung
the rifle behind his back and moved over to Zeus.
“Whatcha got here?”
Kneeling down, Tom could see the man was likely gone.
His skin was pale and chest never moved.
Not wanting to leave anything to chance, Tom
reached down to check for a pulse and found the skin unusually cool in the
heat. Not seeing any blood or wounds, he
had no idea what the man died from.
All the above.
Zeus let out a low whimper.
“Sorry boy.” Tom
looked around the body and found a pump shotgun, breach open and empty.
Right next to the man was an old service
revolver. Tom picked it up and gave the
cylinder a slow spin. Two rounds
remained. Checking the utility belt he
found two speed loaders fully loaded. He
popped all the rounds out of one, topped off the 357, and dropped the two remaining
rounds in his pocket. Unclipping the
utility belt, he slid it out from under the cop and put it on himself.
He holstered the revolver and shifted the
belt around a bit, trying to get the weight balanced out.
It was surprisingly heavy with the revolver,
large flashlight, and remaining speed loader, but it felt good.
“Let’s get out of here boy.”
Zeus led the way out of the room and down the stairs.
Reaching the bottom, instead of heading
outside, he turned and began scratching at a closet door.
Tom eased the door open, not sure what to
expect. Sitting on the floor were two
inverted plastic buckets. Each was about
half full, one with water and the other with dog food.
Zeus began excitedly lapping at the water
dish, his tail wagging rapidly.
Tom remembered food and water was part of the reason he had
entered the house in the first place.
Turning around, he walked through a doorway that led to the burnt out
portion of the house. It was clear that
it was the kitchen that had burned. Ruptured
pipes from above were the only thing that had saved the rest of the house.
The sound of crunching food caused Tom to turn back
around. He found Zeus chomping out of
the food bowl. “Screw it.”
He walked over and pulled the inverted jug of
water off the tray and flipped it over.
Some of the water spilled out on Zeus’s head.
He turned and looked up at Tom.
His eyes said, “Come on, be more careful.”
“Sorry boy.” Tom
said. He took a big swig of the
water. It had a bit of an off flavor,
but felt great in his dry mouth. He took
another couple drinks and then cradled the jug to his chest.
Zeus stopped eating and looked back at
him. After a moment’s hesitation, he
turned and padded outside. Tom followed
In the front yard, Eddie and Zeus stood about ten yards apart,
staring at each other. Eddie started to
raise his pistol. Zeus tensed and let
out a low growl.
“Eddie, lower the gun.”
Tom said as he walked out across the grass.
Looking at the dog, he said, “Easy
boy...friend.” Zeus stopped growling and
turned his head toward the woods. He
paced several feet and sat down, watching the trees the whole time.
“What is that?” Eddie
“He was upstairs.
His name is Zeus.”
Tom held out the jug of water.
“Yes.” Eddie said
while quickly tucking his pistol into the back of his pants.
He grabbed the jug and took a large
drink. “Whew...that is a bit nasty.”
“Yeah...it was the dogs.”
Eddie almost choked and spit the water out.
He let out a bit of smile.
Tom nodded his head.
Eddie gave a shrug of his shoulders and then chugged some of
Zeus’s ears perked up
and he began walking toward the driveway past the shop.
His tail remained low to the ground.
Both Tom and Eddie turned and watched him.
He made it to the gravel and stopped.
“Let’s head for the hospital, we need to get back.”
They could hear them before see them.
Even over the blaring car horns, the growls
were unmistakable. It didn’t make
Why would Hank and the others draw infected straight to the hospital?
Is the group still there?
Did they have to move on for some reason?
Tom, Eddie, and Zeus had made their way to within a couple
blocks of the hospital and were now sitting on the pavement, crouching behind a