Authors: Derek J. Thomas
Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse
Approaching the house, Tom could see his efforts likely
would not be in vain. He counted at
least five vehicles on the property, several trucks and a couple cars.
There had to be keys for the vehicles
Before leaving the tall field grass, Tom checked behind him
to make sure he had plenty of time.
Turning back to the house, he crouched down and used his scope to glass
the area. Seeing no movement outside, he
went window by window looking for anything out of the ordinary.
anything ordinary anymore
thought to himself.
After watching for long enough to decide there were no
obvious threats, Tom made for the nearest vehicle.
The old truck had seen better days, but it
had a double cab and would hold them all.
Crouching low, he ran across the open space, rifle scanning for
infected. He slung the rifle to his back
and tested the door. It was unlocked,
but no keys inside.
I have got to learn to hotwire.
Continuing from vehicle to vehicle, Tom checked through all
of them and found no keys. He looked
back and saw the undead trio was about halfway between houses.
They would not be a problem for quite a
Keeping his rifle trained on the front door, Tom worked his
way across the dying lawn, and up the cement steps.
The shredded screen door hung partway open.
With an awful creak of strained hinges, Tom
swung the screen out of the way and put his face up to the glass on the
door. The interior was dark and gloomy,
but appeared to have been lived in recently.
Tom twisted the doorknob and used his foot to ease the door
open while sweeping his rifle up and at the ready.
The pungent stench of death stung his
nostrils. Other than a thin layer of
dust on flat surfaces, the place was neat and tidy.
Not wanting to find the source of the stench,
Tom headed across the hall to a wall mounted hook set that had a variety of
keys dangling from it.
Right after Tom left, Hank shoved the couch up close to the
broken out window and tipped it up on end, using it has a temporary block.
Stepping to the side, he peered out another
window and watched Tom make is way out of sight behind the barn.
“Where’s Daddy going?’
Sam said from behind him.
“He’s going to run and get us a car.
He’ll be right back little man.”
Resting a hand on Sam’s shoulder, he added, “Why don’t you go help your
mom? I’m going upstairs to keep an eye
on things from the windows.”
Sam, always the tough little guy, nodded his head and headed
for the kitchen. Hank watched him go and
then headed upstairs.
From the second story Hank had a much better view of the
surrounding property. He began making
rounds, working from room to room.
Reaching the window that faced the neighbor’s house, Hank could see Tom
partway there. He was hesitating,
turning back, looking at something. Hank
tried to look in the direction Tom was looking, but it was just out of his view
through the window. Tom began
yelling. Hank moved to the next room
over, so that he could see what was going on.
In the driveway that led to the farmhouse was the trio of walkers that
Tom mentioned earlier. All at once they
turned and began plodding through the field in the direction of Tom.
“Mr. Hero...had to draw them away didn’t
A loud boom came from downstairs, startling Hank.
It came from the room directly below him, and
he knew it had to be the couch tipping over.
Hank shouldered his rifle and drew his pistol.
Kelly screamed from downstairs.
Pistol fire erupted.
Rushing down the stairs, Hank held his pistol
out in from of him. Between gunshots, he
could hear pounding footsteps. It
sounded like a lot of them.
Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he spun toward the
kitchen, where the sounds of gunfire emanated.
A couple of bodies were sprawled in the hallway just outside the
Loud footfalls suddenly sounded behind him.
He began to spin around, but it was too late,
someone slammed into him from behind.
Falling to the floor, his pistol was knocked from his hand and went
skidding across the hardwood. He tried
to crawl toward it, but the weight of the infected pinned him to the
floor. It screamed into his
ear, spit flying out of its mouth.
More gunfire sounded from the kitchen.
Sensing his attacker lunging toward his neck, Hank twisted
and used his elbow to throw the thing off of him.
The demented slammed up against the wall and
howled with rage. Free of its
suffocating weight, Hank lunged across the floor and grabbed his pistol.
Twisting onto his side, he saw the demented
reaching for his leg. Rapidly squeezing
the trigger, several shots pounded into its skull, splattering blood across the
The gunfire from the kitchen had stopped and was replaced by
shouting from Kelly. “Behind
Sam yelled, “There’s more Mommy.”
His voice was hysterical.
Hank climbed to his feet and turned for the kitchen.
A vague form disappeared from view, into the
kitchen. Another entered the hallway,
following his companion. This undead
wore blood covered jeans and had a ragged, blood covered slash all the way down
the side of his flannel shirt. Hank
raised his pistol and fired a single shot into the side of its head, dropping
it to the floor on top of the others.
Rushing around the corner, Hank saw Kelly standing in front
of the dining room table, Rachael lying behind her.
One hand held Sam and another held a large
kitchen knife, trembling in front of her.
Between Hank and her was one of the undead, arms reaching for her as it
moaned in anticipation.
Not wanting to accidentally hit anyone, Hank
quickly raced over and placed his pistol to the back of the thing’s skull and
pulled the trigger. Hank’s ears were
already ringing and he barely heard the shot.
Worried there may still be more in the house, he said, “Stay
put.” He then spun around and began
moving through the house, scanning for threats.
It was only after a couple full sweeps of the house that he felt
comfortable there were no more.
Moving back upstairs, Hank surveyed the field that stretched
to the neighbor’s house. He could just
make out movement near the house, but was unable to tell what was going
on. Holstering his pistol, he unslung
his rifle and raised it to his shoulder.
He was disappointed to find his scope’s front lens was shattered in the
fight downstairs. Cursing to himself, he
continued to squint at what he could not see, worry rising in his chest.
After several minutes there was more movement and a rising
plume of smoke. As the plume spread away
from the house, Hank realized it was dust trailing behind a vehicle.
While he watched the vehicle turned onto the
road that led their way. With this, Hank
raced down the stairs. “Tom’s coming
back, let’s get Rachael out front.”
“She’s all bandaged and ready.
Kelly shouted just as Hank was turning the
corner into the kitchen.
“Yeah, he’s almost here.”
Hank said. Stepping over to the
table, he popped the magazine out of his pistol and loaded a fresh one.
Handing it to Kelly, he said, “Take this, and
let’s head out the front. Keep your eyes
open.” Reaching down, he scooped Rachael
up in his arms. She let out a soft groan
and grimaced, but did not open her eyes.
“Come on Sam. Stay
right behind me.” Kelly said as she
moved out of the kitchen. Sam quickly
trailed behind her.
Before leaving, Hank looked down at the giant pools of blood
that spread out on the table and the floor.
Footprints spread the crimson liquid throughout the kitchen; its volume
seemed like more than the human body could hold.
The metallic scent stung his nostrils, nearly
overpowering in the small space. Hank
took one final look around, worry for Rachael rising in his throat, and then he
followed in Kelly and Sam’s wake.
Outside he saw Tom speeding down the driveway, a giant dust
cloud rising behind him, like a billowing thunderstorm.
The enormous truck rumbled to a stop directly
in front of the house, washing them in the dust that followed.
As it came to a stop, Tom flung open the door,
its hinges groaning in protest. “Slide
Rachael on the back bench, we can fit in the front.”
There was a flurry of activity as they got Rachael into the
back and they all climbed into the front.
She remained pale and unconscious throughout the process.
Her body was shutting down.
“Where to Chief?”
Tom gunned the gas, spinning the tires, and flipping the truck
around. “There is a small town about
fifteen minutes north.”
Kelly chimed in, “Great idea.
There is a little hospital there...being rural
it might be intact.”
None of them liked heading into a populated area, but it had
to be better than cities and Rachael badly needed medical supplies.
“Mommy, I’m hungry.”
Sam said from her lap.
“I know honey, we’ll get some food
Hank began digging around in the last of their
supplies. Finding a granola bar, he
cracked it open and handed it to Sam.
“Just don’t get any in your mouth.”
Sam took it and looked back at Hank quizzically.
After a few seconds, he cracked a huge grin.
“You’re mess’n with
me.” Giggling, he twisted around and
looked back at his mom. “He’s
mess’n with me.”
The empty road stretched out about a half mile in front of
them before being surrounded by commercial buildings, and dotted with wreckage.
Newport was small, less than 3000
residents. Under normal circumstances it
would be a quick trip to get to the hospital, but circumstances were far from
“Hang on everybody...I’m going to keep us moving.”
“Hoorah...now were having fun.”
Hank said with a huge grin.
The big truck rumbled into town.
Most of the businesses had shattered windows,
darkness hiding their interiors. A light
breeze rustled garbage and debris that lay in the parking areas.
It was like a ghost town.
“Where are they?”
Nobody answered. They
all sat in silence, watching out the windows, waiting for a massive horde of demented
to pour out of one of the buildings.
Block after block they passed empty buildings, trashed cars, and houses
with dark, empty windows.
The complete lack of infected had everyone on edge and Hank
was the first to say it. “I kinda wish we
would at least see one of ‘em...never thought I would
“I know it. I have
this tingling feeling on the back of my neck...creepy.”
After taking a sharp turn off the main road, Tom added, “The hospital is
The building, while small for a hospital, towered over the
nearby houses. Four stories of
cinderblock and cement, with a helicopter pad on the roof.
Nearing the parking area, they saw that
someone had created a semi-wall using trucks and cars.
It looked like the aftermath of a freeway
pileup, but was clearly planned and built.
The question was who?
“I’ve got movement on the roof.”
Tom eased up to the car wall and pulled to a stop.
Peering out his window he saw a couple heads poking
over the pony wall that surrounded the top of the hospital roof.
One of them disappeared from view.
“Non-infected. Is it going to be like the school?” Tom asked.
“There is only one way to find out...or we go elsewhere.”
Kelly glanced over her shoulder at the back seat.
“She won’t make it much longer.”
Tom turned and ran a hand through Sam’s hair.
“You guys stay put.
I’ll go talk to them.”
Kelly and Hank wanted to argue, but neither had a better
plan, so instead just nodded their heads in agreement.
“Just smile and be nice, right Mommy?”
Kelly smiled, knowing that is what she always told Sam when
he was going to be around new kids.
“That’s right Honey.”
Tom threw the truck in neutral and set the emergency
brake. Leaving the engine running he
said, “If things go south on me you gotta roll.”
They would probably never leave him, but this
way they did not have to question his take on matters if it came to that.
The hinges groaned loudly when Tom opened his door.
Stepping out of the truck, he surveyed his
surroundings, and then reached back in for his rifle.
With a man on the roof, he was not too
worried about infected sneaking up on him, so rather than look
intimidating, he slung the rifle over his shoulder and
headed for the car wall.
Picking the smallest car, Tom climbed up and over the
hood. Before dropping back to the
pavement he glanced back up to the roof and saw one man with a rifle trained on
him. The sun glared off the scope’s lens.
He climbed down off the car and began his
walk across the small parking area.
The door in front of Tom swung outwards and three men poured
out. Two of them pointed AR15s at him
and the third held a pistol by his side.
“That’s far enough.” The man with
the pistol shouted. All three men
continued to move toward Tom, neither of the rifles dropping an inch.
Tom raised his hands up and said, “We mean no one any harm.”
The pistol man said, “Tom?
Thomas Pike, is that you?”
Tom squinted at the man and then broke into a grin.
Oh man, is it ever good to see you.”
Brad motioned for the other two men to drop their rifles and
said, “This guy’s on the good team.”
Taking several steps over to Tom, he bypassed Tom’s extended hand and
wrapped him in a giant bear hug. “How
many are you?”
“Five. One is hurt
real bad...that’s why we came here.”
Brad let go of him and took a step back.
“Well go grab ‘em
and let’s get inside.”
Tom breathed a sigh of relief and side stepped across the
parking lot until he could see Kelly’s face.
He gave her a come on over wave with his hand and then threw her the two
finger peace symbol. Remembering they
might need help with Rachael, he headed over to help them out.
Partway there, he turned back around and
shouted to Brad, “Stretcher or wheelchair?”
“Hey Smoke, grab the stretcher out of ER.”
One of the men shouldered his rifle and ran back into the building.
Turning back around, Tom saw Hank sliding Rachael out of the
back seat. “They’re coming with a
stretcher. Let’s just get her across the
Within a couple minutes they were all in one of the trauma
bays where Rachael lay on her side. A
couple people were frantically working on her, talking back and forth about
IVs, blood, and a bunch of medications Tom had never heard of.
Brad stepped over to him, resting his hand on Tom’s
shoulder. “They’re not doctors, but they
are good. Let them do their thing...let’s
Kelly overheard their conversation and said, “Sam and I will
stay here with her, you boys go talk.”
Tom had noticed the hospital had power and as they walked
down the hall he said, “How long will the generator run?”
“We have two...a diesel primary and an old
propane secondary. We have enough
diesel on hand to run minimal equipment for another
week...maybe two. The propane generator
has a large cylinder outside that should run a couple weeks, but only powers
the old portion of the hospital...which isn’t much.”
“How many people you got here?”
Leading them into the waiting room, Brad said, “Sit...I’ll
tell you everything.”
After they all found a seat he added, “What’s your guys’
Pointing to Hank, he said, “I was in Portland when it hit
the fan...met Hank there. We had a
leisurely trip home and then came here.”
Laughing, Brad asked, “Is that the short or long
story?” Looking over at Hank, he added,
“Portland...damn, I heard the cities were chaos...death traps.”
Tom just nodded his head, not really wanting to delve back
into those memories.
“Anyway...here probably wasn’t as bad, but it hit fast.
I was at work that morning and all the sudden
people just started going crazy. I
locked my office door when I heard...just hid in there for quite a while.
I heard screams, gunshots, and...worse throughout
the day. The whole hospital went crazy,
all within hours.”
Tom sat forward in his chair, “How many were lost?”
Shaking his head, “Everyone...almost everyone.
I was terrified...slept in my office.
The next morning I did an overhead page,
asking anyone still able to call my extension.”
Brad hesitated a bit, clearly struggling with bringing all the memories
back to light. “I got one call.
It was from Radichi
up in surgery. He had done the same
thing, locked in his office.”
“How did you ever clear the hospital?”
“It wasn’t just the two of us.
There was death...gore...it was
unbelievable. Others showed up...took
several days, but we got the hospital cleaned up and the barricade built.
It’s not a wall, but it slows them enough for
our guys on the roof to take them out. I
think it was the second or third day that some of them started...coming
back. It was the first time I had used
the word zombie without a chuckle.”
“Where are all of them?
We didn’t see a single infected on our way in.”
“I would like to say we wiped them out, but we actually have
a huge problem.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“It’s up at the school, it’s surrounded by infected.
They got overwhelmed initially and then over
the first few days there was so much noise from the surrounding horde that it
drew almost the entire town over there.”
“You have a great place here, why get the school back?”
“There are survivors, trapped inside.
They’ve been there the whole time.
I can’t imagine they have much food left.”
“School’s not even in session.”
“Normally you’re right, but they started a couple weeks
early this year”
“They can’t still be alive...can they?”
“We’ve been scouting it and we’ve seen a white flag waving
from out of one of the exhaust stacks.
We think they are holed up in the kitchen area.”
Tom nodded his head.
“Food...makes sense. How could we
“We’re a ragtag bunch.
Two guys served in the military, all the rest of us are, at best,
civilians with guns. Not only do we need
firepower, but skills as well.”
“How are the two military guys you have?”
Brad looked over at Hank and then back to Tom.
“One is older...served in Vietnam.
He knows his weapons and is a great shot...but
not a tactician. Radichi
is the other one...did a couple tours with the 10
Everyone calls him Smoke.
He’s like a magician in his ability to
guy...very capable. He knows we
need more guys if we are going to attempt a rescue.”
“Sounds like we need to make this a
priority. I need to sit down with
can formulate a plan and then pull together whoever you’ve got.”
“I’ll track him down and get you guys together.
Call him Smoke, he prefers it.”
“Know anything about what is going on or why?”
“I know I went from head of Information Technology to CEO overnight.”
Brad said with a laugh.
Tom grinned. “And I
always thought you had bad karma.”
“Well I also went to no pay...so she still haunts me.
Seriously though, I probably don’t know much
more than you. Bits and pieces from
those that saw the news before everything went offline.
Seems to be the new flu
vaccine stabilizer coupled with something else...virus maybe.
We see choppers overhead occasionally, no
help, just hover and fly by.”
Tom nodded and said, “We’ve seen those as well.
Know anything about them?”
“I think they fly out of the training base up north.
Military...they seem to know something.
I just can’t get them to stop.
We’ve tried to radio them, but no response.”
“Hmmm...I’ve been to that base.
First thing first, Hank and I are going to check
on Rachael. When you find Smoke, send
him our way.”
“Will do...thanks guys.”
Eddie had never been so scared in his life.
When the infection first hit, he was
terrified, but not like this. At least
on that first day actions were based on reactions.
It was making decisions to survive.
The rules were simple:
Evade, fight, and survive.
This was different.
This was planned.
He had been up all night thinking about
it. Wading into those
things...attacked...torn to pieces...eaten alive.
“Eddie, you coming or what?”
Smoke said from next to Tom.
He stood in place, staring at the two men, debating turning
and running, and then finally said, “I’m coming.”
The three men, in addition to four others, were up late the
night before, finalizing plans and going over hand drawings of the school’s
layout. None of them thought they had a
great plan and they all knew everything could go really bad really fast, but it
was all they had. There were only seven
of them, four with real experience, and three that at least knew how to handle
Tom and Smoke picked up a ladder and continued along the
sidewalk, nearing the forested hillside that overlooked the school.
Glancing to his right, Tom could see Hank and
Dennis making their way up the side of the water tower.
They looked tiny clinging to the ladder on
the side of the giant cylinder. Both had
high powered rifles slung over their shoulders.
Eddie was scared before and now that they had reached the
edge of the hillside he was absolutely terrified.
The three of them hunched down in the trees,
gazing at the school and surrounding horde below.
There were hundreds of infected.
Agitated bodies swarmed the building, forming
a wide wall of infected humans. All
Eddie could think was
we’re going down
. The thought seemed ludicrous.
Tom looked over at Smoke.
“You ready for this?”
“Rock and roll baby, rock and roll.”
“Eddie, you ready?”
Eddie nodded his head, worried his voice would crack if he
tried to talk.
The three men all began to prepare for their assault.
Smoke unslung his rifle and checked the
chamber to make sure he had a round loaded.
Eddie moved up to the front of the ladder, taking Smoke’s position.
Tom removed a small mirror from his chest
pocket and used it to signal Hank on top of the water tank.
Within a few seconds Hank signaled back, setting the plan in
motion. In the distance a truck engine
rumbled to life. The truck began quickly
backing down the road that led directly to the school.
Tom could just make out Jenny lying flat in
the truck’s bed. Speeding in reverse it
flew toward the surrounded school. He
was just beginning to think they were getting too close to the horde, when the
truck tires squealed, sending smoke rolling off the pavement.
The truck came skidding to a stop.