Authors: Derek J. Thomas
Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse
Hank stood still, horrified to see Big Mike, Mikey, and some
others he had never seen before. These
were the thugs that had captured them in north Spokane and nearly beaten him to
death. He had really hoped to never see
“Drive all the way up here just to say hi?”
Lincoln let out a low chuckle while scratching at his short
goatee. “A funny guy.
I like funny guys.”
He pulled a long knife out of a sheath on his
belt and held it up by his face. “But
you know what is really funny?”
Hank stood still, saying nothing.
“What is really funny is how all those funny words disappear
when I start really asking questions.”
Lincoln said. He pointed the tip
of his knife toward Hank. “Where is your
buddy? I need to...visit with Tom.”
“Last I saw him, he was riding a pony down to Mexico...it’s
paradise down there.”
Lincoln let out a loud sarcastic laugh.
“There is that funny stuff.
We’re going to have to take care of
that.” He turned to one of the men
holding a rifle and said, “Zip tie both of ‘em and
put them with the others.”
Austin turned toward Lincoln and said, “They told me both Tom
and Eddie made it out of the school and were headed for the woods.”
Dennis stepped forward, but before he could get far Big Mike
put his rifle right in Dennis’s face and said, “Don’t even think about it.
Get on your knees...both of you.”
Dropping to his knees, Dennis said, “You’re a traitor
Austin. I always thought you were a
piece of work, but I never thought of you as a piece of crap rat.”
His face was red with anger.
“This is survival of the fittest and you’re just an old
man.” Austin said.
Lincoln looked over to Austin and said, “Come with me, I
think you will be handy when we interview these guys.”
Austin said, “Sounds great.”
Lincoln and Austin took off down the hall, talking quietly
back and forth. The remaining men began
disarming Hank and Dennis. Once they had
their weapons, they bound their hands behind their backs and stood them up.
Big Mike stepped right up next to Hank, starring him in the
face. “You and I have unfinished
“Maybe you should have your boy here finish what you
couldn’t.” Hank said while pointing at
“ Take‘em to the cafeteria with the
rest.” Big Mike said before walking down
the hall in the direction Lincoln left.
The remaining men led them through the halls, downstairs,
and to the back corner of the hospital where the cafeteria sat.
Inside were about two dozen people sitting on
the floor, hands behind their backs.
Hank saw little Sam leaning up against his
mom, tears streaming down his cheeks.
Even his tiny arms were zip tied together.
Anger welled up inside Hank.
He felt so helpless. By coming
here they had brought terror to the hospital.
These people were no part of their struggle with Lincoln and his
men. Now here they sat.
Their small zone of safety had come crashing
down. On top of that was his worry for Tom
and Eddie. They needed his help and now
there was no chance of that. All he
could do is hope they were not relying on his return and Tom would figure out a
way to survive.
Glancing around, Hank noticed there was an armed guard at
each of the three entrances. One of them
he recognized as Trips. Another one of
the jerks that had nearly beat him to death.
Hank was keeping a mental naughty list in case he ever got out of these
Not wanting to draw attention to Kelly and Sam, he pretended
not to notice them and instead went and sat on a section of wall where there
were no others. Dennis came and sat down
next to him. Leaning back against the
wall, neither of them said anything.
Tom and Eddie made their way into the thick trees.
Looking back they saw hundreds of demented
rushing their way. From past experience,
their pursuit would be tireless. They
had to find a way to evade, because there was no chance to outrun or outlast.
As they reached the base of a steep incline Eddie said,
“What happened to our snipers?”
Earlier, when they finally broke free of the undead, Tom had
noticed Hank and Dennis had stopped firing.
He hoped they were looking for a solution to help out.
There was no way they could gun down all the
demented that followed. “Let’s hope
they’re getting a truck.” In a perfect
world, they would be waiting in an idling truck at the top of the hill.
This was far from a perfect world.
The forest got thick with trees and brush as they made the
climb. Limbs continually smacked their
faces. Their faces were slick with blood
from all the scrapes they were getting.
Unable to see more than a few feet in front of them, Tom just kept going
uphill. The thick brush continued to
slap at his arms and legs.
Loud growls and the sounds of snapping branches trailed
them. The noises continued to get louder
as the demented gained on them.
They had been at a near sprint now for several minutes.
Both men were gasping for air.
Their legs burned, filling with lactic
acid. Desperate for a car, they were
running on fumes, and knew this could not go on much longer.
Thankfully, Tom was just able to make out black pavement
ahead. Through the thick branches, he
could see what had to be the edge of a road.
“I see road.” He said.
“Thank God...I can’t...can’t go much
farther.” Eddie said between deep
The two of them broke through the final thicket of
trees. Before them
stretched out a long, empty patch of road.
No Dennis. No truck.
Eddie slowed to a stop in the middle of the road.
He dropped to his hands and knees,
exhausted. “No more.”
Gasping for air, he added, “Done...I’m done.”
Tom stood next to him, looking both ways down the road.
About a quarter mile down the road stood a
large house and shop. A huge portion of
the house was burned out from a previous fire, but the shop looked intact.
In the opposite direction were some homes,
but they were too far away to make out.
Tom spun around when he heard branches breaking behind
him. The thick foliage hid what had made
the noise, but loud growls and more snapping made it clear that they did not
have much time.
“Get up. There’s a
shop just down the road.” Tom said.
When Eddie did not respond, he reached down
and grabbed one of his arms. “Let’s go!”
Eddie reluctantly got to his feet and looked at Tom with
tired eyes. Tom had expected to see
fear, but there was none. Instead, what
he saw was the look of hopelessness, quit, despair, just plain giving up.
Tom said, “Not like this.
You don’t want to die like this.”
Tom began jogging down the road and Eddie ran beside him.
“I’ve seen it...eaten alive...screaming.
Nobody, not even my worst enemy deserves to
go out like that.” After his little
speech, he looked over at Eddie to see what he was thinking.
Eddie just stared down the road.
He kept jogging, but said nothing.
A loud huffing noise from behind them could only mean one
thing...a demented had made it to the road and spotted them.
The call of the demented reminded Tom of the
noise deer made when warning of an approaching threat.
He had spent a lot of time in the woods and
was always surprised by the bark-grunt-sneeze noise that deer made.
“Get to the trees and make your way to the green shop.”
After seeing that Eddie began making his way off the road,
Tom spun around while reaching behind his back for his rifle.
At the edge of the ditch stood a tall man
in shorts and tank-top. In
another time he might have been a beach bum trying to hitch a ride to the next
big wave. Instead he stood there,
covered in filth, huffing into the air, calling to his friends.
Tree branches behind him shook as several
demented ran out from between them.
Tom raised his rifle, used the sling to stabilize his
forearm, and peered through his quick acquisition scope.
He centered the dot on Tank-top and let loose
a round. It was a perfect shot, hitting
his temple. The huffing noise
immediately stopped as he slumped to the ground, sliding down into the
ditch. Shifting over, Tom saw the others
sprinting his way. He knew these moving
targets would be tougher to hit. Trying
to remain calm, he took slow deep breaths, and slowly squeezed the
trigger. The lead was hit in the
shoulder, spinning him to the side, but not dropping him.
Several quick shots later, he finally pitched
forward, skidding across the pavement.
Two more demented raced toward Tom, and from behind them he
could see more beginning to emerge from the thick trees further back.
Continuing this would only delay his
demise. He fired off a volley of shots,
killing the nearest two. He got off one
more round before his rifle ran dry.
Knowing he only had a single magazine left, he
slung the rifle around to his back and turned for the nearest trees.
Before entering the trees he heard another demented begin
issuing the loud huffing noise.
Taking one final glance back down the road, Tom saw dozens
of demented climbing up out of the ditch onto the road.
More were continuing to pour out of the
Rather than make a direct line to the shop, Tom headed
straight north, perpendicular to the road.
The forest was not nearly as thick as it was on the hill, making travel much
quicker. Continuing to sprint through
the trees, he occasionally glanced back to see if the road was still in
sight. Once he could no longer see the
road or any demented, he ran another fifty feet and then took a sharp turn in
the direction of the house and shop.
It didn’t take long before he broke out of the forest and
onto the side lawn of the burnt out house.
Directly in front of him, across the front lawn, sat a
large metal shop. In a small
window next to the man door, Tom could see Eddie peering out through the dirty
Tom checked the forest behind him for follower.
Not seeing any movement, he listened
intently. In the distance, he could hear
growls and the occasional snapping branch, but nothing sounded close.
He quickly turned around and made his way
toward the shop.
The house looked to have been in the center of a war.
All the windows were shattered.
The front door was splintered and broke off
of its hinges. Through the door’s
opening Tom could see bodies strewn about the hallway and a set of stairs
straight ahead. One side of the house
was badly burned, only a charred shell remaining.
Black husks of what used to be bodies were
scattered about. A couple of burnt
bodies had made it out of the house and now lay in an overgrown flower bed that
bordered the walls.
Trying not to think too much about what happened here, Tom
made his way across the gravel driveway to the shop.
Eddie had the door open and stood waiting.
Nodding his head, he said, “Glad to see you.”
Closing the door, Tom put his hands on his knees.
Hunched over he gasped for air and then
retched up what little food he had in his stomach.
Acid stung his throat and nostrils.
“Did you sprint in here just so I could see that?”
Between breaths, Tom said, “Check the window.”
After a brief hesitation he added, “Stay low
though. Don’t let any see you.”
Eddie moved back over to the window and carefully leaned his
head out in front of the edge of the window.
Hesitantly he slowly moved his head further out and stood surveying the
area in front of the shop. After a few
seconds he hunched down out of view and said, “None in the yard.
There’s movement in the trees.”
Tom stood with his back to the door and then slowly slid
down to a sitting position. “Let’s stay
down...out of sight.” He looked
exhausted. “Rest...let’s rest.”
Hank’s eyes blinked open.
He glanced around, confused.
Seeing all the people, hands behind their backs, sitting up against the
cafeteria walls, brought it all back to him.
Lincoln, Big Mike, and Austin...the trap to draw them
into the hospital. Looking over,
he saw Dennis still sitting beside him.
“How long was I out?”
“Maybe a couple hours.
I crashed too.”
Dennis peered out through the cafeteria
windows. “Think it is late afternoon.”
Hank sat up a bit, trying to get comfortable by shifting his
weight off parts of his butt that stung from the hard floor.
Looking at all the faces in the room, he saw
depression, sadness, and fear. Little
Sam had fallen asleep, and now leaned over in Kelly’s lap.
Hank looked her in the eyes.
She looked back and mouthed the word “Tom” as a question.
It was clear she had been crying and Hank mouthed “alive,”
hoping that would alleviate some of her worries.
She nodded her head slightly, clearly looking relieved.
“They’re going to kill us all.”
Dennis suddenly said.
Hank turned toward him and nodded his head.
After a bit, he said, “Unless we do something
Dennis let out a low grunt, almost a laugh.
The two of them sat in silence for a bit and then Dennis
said, “Where’s Brad...I don’t see him?”
Hank scanned the faces again, looking for his huge grin, but
Dennis was right, he was not in the cafeteria.
“Was he here when we first came in?
“Not sure.” Dennis
sat, looking at the floor, trying to think back.
“I don’t think he was.
I sure can’t remember seeing his face, but I
was trying not to draw attention to anybody.”