How are we going to get out of this? We have an army of undead all around and god knows where we are! I know that there is little to no chance of us surviving, even if we make it through this challenge, there will just be another waiting for us. And while the enemy grows with each fallen survivor our numbers only grow smaller, and our resources dwindle more and more. What’s the point in fighting, if there’s no hope of victory?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Haven Chapter 3

Book 2: Haven

Chapter 3

They had been ripped apart, there was no way they would reanimate. The sight was gruesome and it made my stomach turn, the marauders may have been our enemies but I would never wish this upon them. Brooke moved away retching and Daniel followed her, his face pale. Connor was the first to speak, ‘is this all of them?’
‘No,’ I replied, ‘at least not all the ones we saw, there could be more than we know of. And at least one escaped to shoot that guy at the front, the dead probably followed him’
‘I guess we’re lucky then,’ Steven said, and Connor and I turned to look at him. He was right I thought, but it’s still distasteful to say it. ‘What I mean is,’ he started again, ‘that if we had got here first this would have been us, I didn’t mean it was lucky they died.’ That’s slightly better I guess, I thought again.

We covered the corpses with a sheet of plastic from the warehouse, and moved the corpse at the entrance to join the others. Steven was right though we are lucky, the marauders drew the dead away from the warehouse, and now we could take our time gathering supplies. The warehouse had lots of fuel that we could use, as well as some spare parts, I didn’t know much about cars but I knew enough to know they’d be useful. ‘Todd!’ Will called out from another part of the warehouse, ‘come and see this!’ worried that he had found another corpse Connor, Brooke and I ran in the direction of his voice.

There was no corpse, but Will had pried open a large crate and was staring at the contents. As he noticed our presence he beckoned us over. I peered inside and was greeted with a very pleasant sight, the crate was packed with boxes of dehydrate food, enough to last at least a year. It wouldn’t be a healthy diet but in lieu of other food sources this would sustain us. We quickly packed up everything we could fit into the cars and left the warehouse, heading back to the station.

This time it was me and Connor in the front seat of his car, with Will and many boxes of food in the back seats. ‘I was thinking,’ Connor started, ‘we should organise this…,’ he searched for the right word, ‘group better, have teams for specific purposes and a proper chain of command’
‘Yeah that’s a good idea,’ I said, but in my head I was very worried, we had just met this guy and now he was trying to take control? Set up a “chain of command”? Who would be at the top? Will had originally brought us together because he thought he could only trust people he knew before to stick together and back each other up. How did we know we could trust this guy, and we had to trust him if he was going to be the leader.

‘That’s all very well and good,’ Will interrupted my thoughts, ‘but so far we’ve done pretty well making decisions as a group, “chain of command” might simply cause more conflict’
‘Maybe “chain of command” was the wrong term,’ Connor replied, unaware of the distress that term had caused me, ‘what I mean is that there should be groups with different responsibilities based around those peoples talents, the “leaders” of this group are more “representatives” to help with communication.’ That settled my fears slightly, he at least wasn’t trying to be a dictator, but he was still trying to take control. I had to say something, if nothing else it might remind him that up until now the others trusted my decisions, ‘we should discuss back at the station with the others,’ I decided that would have to do.

We stopped suddenly when a man stumbled in front of the car. From behind us I heard the Ute stop suddenly too. The man was older and was holding a rifle, I recognised him as one of the marauders from the clinic. Behind him were five of the dead, these were the most decayed I’d ever seen and one was missing an arm, I felt nauseous, but the adrenalin won over and I got out of the car. ‘Get in!’ I yelled at the man who limped over and got in the front passenger seat. I fired at the dead, hitting one in the chest so it fell over and another in the head and it collapsed. They were moving slowly, the marauder probably could have escaped if it weren’t for his leg.

Connor drove off after the man got in and the Ute moved closer. Daniel hopped off the back and began firing with me, but he was untrained and missed most of his shoots. I stopped him and yelled at him to get back on the Ute and I followed. When we were both on Brooke hit the accelerator and we left quickly, the dead remaining half-heartedly trying to follow. ‘I’m sorry,’ Daniel said, looking at is gun, ‘I was trying to hit them but’-
‘It’s okay,’ I stopped him, ‘its more difficult when it looks, when we get back we’ll start some shooting lessons.’ I felt slightly smug that I had that idea, now who’s a leader Connor?

When we arrived at the station, Connor’s car was already there and Will and Nicole were talking over the food. When we stopped they turned to us ‘is everyone alright?’ Nicole asked concerned
‘We’re fine,’ I assured her, ‘and the dead didn’t follow us,’ I continued, pre-empting Will’s question
‘Monica’s working on the power thing, she’ll need the fuel soon,’ Will said. Daniel nodded, picked up a large bottle and headed into the station, followed by Brooke and Steven. ‘What’s going on with that marauder?’ I asked quietly
‘Connor locked him up in one of the cells,’ Nicole answered

Nicole, Will and I headed in and found Connor and Andria talking to him. ‘He says his name’s Kyle,’ Connor said
‘Are you the only one left?’ I asked Kyle
‘No,’ we replied, ‘well maybe, but when I ran from the warehouse there was someone else with me, our leader, Anthony’ I remembered the leader with little compassion
‘What about where you’ve been staying? How many of you are left there?’ Connor asked, sounding much like a policeman
‘None, we had to leave the house when a group of dead broke down the fence, we were planning to use the warehouse as a home’
‘Why would you use a warehouse?’ Andria asked confused
‘Anthony said the supplies would last us for ages and we could move the shelving for barricades. But when we got there and started to explore Jason opened the office door the was locked,’ Kyle was sounding more and more distressed, ‘ there were 15 of those dead things locked in there, they ripped most of us apart before we could react, only Anthony and I escaped. Then’- he paused and looked at the floor-‘then he told me to ran the other way, split the dead chasing us.’

Something was wrong here, I thought, he was lying to us. I looked closely at how he was sitting, crumpled on the floor, his hand on his ankle where his pants were torn and I could see some blood. The pieces clicked together and I realised the real reason for his friend abandoning him, ‘Open the cage!’ I yelled at Connor
‘What?’ he asked shocked

‘Open the cage! Now!’ He complied and before Kyle could act I pulled his arm away and rolled up his pants revealing a bloody and gruesome bite mark. Kyle was infected.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Haven Chapter 2

Book 2: Haven

Chapter 2

Things began moving pretty fast after Connor showed us his gun supply, it gave everyone a new sense of purpose and hope. Brooke and Daniel worked with Connor to record how many weapons we had, both melee and ranged. Most of the weapons there were handguns, the military having taken any larger ordinance but guns were guns and they were a happy addition. Only Nicole and Will seemed put off by this, worried that a sudden increase in the availability of guns would cause more harm than good. I walked over to them as Connor was in the middle of trying to quell their worries. ‘Look,’ Connor began, ‘in any other situation I would be agreeing with you: militarization of an untrained group can only lead to chaos, but this isn't any situation, we need to be able to protect ourselves’
‘I agree,’ Will replied, ‘it just worries me that’s all,’ he sighed, ‘maybe it’s just me trying to hold on to our innocence, there’s still a part of me that says “isn't there someone else who can do this?”’
‘I know what you mean,’ I told him, trying to sound reassuring and confident, ‘but we have to arm ourselves otherwise we will be helpless against the dead or any other force-like those marauders-that are more heavily armed than us.’

Will and Nicole agreed eventually, but they didn't seem happy about it and Nicole refused to carry a gun. I was fine with that though, I was more than happy to have an excuse to keep her away from front-line danger. I would have been even happier if Wendy was the same but she was dead set on getting a gun and learning how to use it. It’s not surprising when I think about what she’s been through: getting attacked by that zombie at our place, coming to the hospital, losing Caleb. Wendy had to toughen up, Nicole had to but her moral code was apparently stricter than Wendy’s, but maybe more dangerous.

Connor showed us around the station and one thing that did interest me was a generator, powerful enough to power the lights among other things. The ability to refrigerate our food stores was an exciting prospect. Connor didn't know how it worked though, but Daniel said he might know, after a while of fiddle with it he stood up and turned to us saying, ‘it works, but there’s no fuel, it was probably thought that when it would need to be used they could use some from the cars’
‘We don’t have enough to spread it out,’ I said, ‘in fact I was starting to think we should ditch one of the cars to save fuel’
‘Is there anywhere we could get some more?’ Brooke asked. Connor thought for a moment before turning, walking into one of the offices and pulling out a map. ‘In a case we were working on recently we investigated a warehouse near here,’ he explained, ‘it supplies some local automotive stores, among other places, maybe we can find some fuel there’

We decided it would be best if we left quickly, the sooner we leave the less chance there is of some other group raiding the warehouse. Brooke, Will, Connor, Steven, Daniel and I were going to take the Ute, now empty, and Connor’s car. Steven and Daniel were the only ones without gun experience apart from the little bits Brooke had taught Daniel so Connor gave them a crash course. I hadn't had much chance to speak to Steven since we arrived at the station, I decided if I was going to be the de facto leader of this team I should try to get to know him better.

On the way to the warehouse it was Will, Connor and Daniel in the small car and me and Steven in the Ute with Brooke riding in the back. ‘So,’ I began, trying to start a conversation, ‘how long have you known Will?’ seemed like a good place to start
‘A few years now,’ he replied stoically, ‘you?’
‘I know him from high school, actually I think we've met a few times’
‘Yeah maybe.’ There were some long moments of silence after that, there wasn't much else to say, it seems inappropriate to ask about trivialities like TV and video games now that the world has ended. Or at least the world as we know it. I figured I’d had to leave it at that, Will seems to trust him at least and I he’s judgment hasn't been wrong yet. We spent the rest of the ride in silence.

After a while of driving we came to a stop, we had made it to the ware house. It was deadly quiet, but there were no signs of the dead or the living. There were, however, several trucks outside that looked familiar but with our confidence bolstered by our new arsenal we kept moving, entering the warehouse. The all-to-familiar smell of dead flesh greeted us as soon as we entered and we saw a corpse on the floor, reaching for the exit, it looked like it was one of the ware house workers, except his head had been blown apart. ‘Someone’s already been here,’ I said
‘Ya think?’ Connor replied. Hesitantly Will crouched down near the body, his arm wrapped around his mouth and nose against the stench. He stood up again, quickly moving away ‘that body has been there for a while, ‘he said, ‘the blood on the floor has dried’
‘It was those marauders,’ I said, sure of my deduction
‘How can you be sure?’ Steven asked
‘Those cars outside looked familiar, I remember seeing them outside the clinic’
‘But…’ Brooke began, looking at the warehouse, ‘if they've been here why is all this stuff still here? Wouldn't they have taken it all’
‘Maybe they didn't need it?’ Daniel suggested
‘No,’ Connor shook his head, ‘what’s more likely is that they came here, found that,’ he nodded towards the corpse, ‘and probably more and fled before they could empty it out’

‘Over here,’ Will called out from further into the warehouse. He ran off in the direction of his voice, leaving Daniel there to guard our exit. When I saw what he had found my stomach almost seized and I was lucky I didn't throw up, in front of us were three corpses of the marauders.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Haven Chapter 1

Book 2: Haven

Chapter 1:

This is a story about 11 people who put their lives in my hands, and I’m still not sure whether they made the right choice. My name is Todd Hendrikson and 2 weeks ago the world we knew was destroyed. A virus was released through, we think, a flu vaccine, but whether it was intentional or accidental we don’t know. Panic quickly set in and our world was thrown into chaos, me and my girlfriend Wendy Simmons would have been swept up in the panic too if it hadn't been for our friend Will Sandren. Somehow he managed to keep his head and convince me and several others that our best chance at surviving was to remain in a small group of people that we trust and go from there. Eventually there were ten of us, some of us knew each other from before, others we had met and had come to trust. But when Simon was injured and became infected we were forced to head to the hospital, an area infested with the dead, to find medicine for him. While we were there we suffered our first casualty. Caleb Atkins, a man Will had saved early on was killed helping Will escape. But there was no time to grieve, a new friend has arrived, Connor State, a police officer who has been surviving in the police station with two others we have yet to meet. After much discussion we decided to leave the clinic we were staying in and go to the police station with Connor, and that’s where my story begins.

We were ready to leave, Nicole had insisted that we took a gurney and load it into the back of the Ute, in case someone was injured and needed to be moved quickly. Simon’s infection was almost completely gone and he was able and willing to ride in the people carrier along with Monica, Daniel and Daphne. Paige and Brooke were in the Ute, the back now full of supplies, while Wendy, Will, Connor and I were in Connor’s small car. ‘Are you sure this car is appropriate for this situation?’ Will asked Connor
‘Yes,’ he assured us for the thirteenth time, ‘This car is faster than you’d think and reliable, it’s the car I used before all this insanity started so I know all its ins and outs.’ As the got in and the cars began to leave I considered the team’s newest addition. Connor seemed like he would be useful, he was intelligent, quick-thinking and he knew how to use a gun. But more importantly like the rest of us he seemed loyal, I think if one of us were in danger he’d act just like we’d been friends his whole life, which was the reason we had stayed together this long. In a world like this you needed people you could rely on to risk their life for the good of the team. All for one and one for all isn't it?

Connor had managed to recall the route he took to reach the clinic and luckily it was through the small roads, they should encounter little trouble on the way there. I began to wonder about how suitable the police station would be for a permanent base. It may be defensible but there are other concerns now. With power going out food would become an issue, as would heat. And petrol would be needed to keep their vehicles going. I was broken out of my contemplation by Will asking Connor another question, ‘so who are these people at the station?’
‘Students I think,’ Connor replied, ‘their names are Steven and Andria’
‘Not Steven Matthews?’
‘You know them?’ I asked, it seemed impossible that the two people we were going to meet could be friends of Will, it’s too big of a coincidence
‘They didn't say their last names,’ Connor said
‘Their friends from university,’ Will explained, ‘if it is them it’ll be a weight off my shoulders.’
The trip progressed without incident from that point on, apart from a few sightings of solo zombies and a few times where we had to slow down and carefully manoeuvre the cars around a block in the road. But eventually the police station appeared ahead. There was a giant blood stain in front of the station and I remembered Connors story about how the army opened fire on a mass of people before they drove away, taking the rest of the police force with them. ‘What did you do with the bodies?’ I asked, hardly wanting to know the answer
‘The last thing the army did before they left was take them all away from the station and burn them,’ Connor didn’t look at us, just stared at the road ahead, ‘they didn't want the smell attracting more of the dead.’ Images in our heads of what Connor described and what we had already seen ran through our heads and made us silent.

We finally pulled up outside the police station, and when we did two people came out to see us. One was a man slightly taller and older than me and the other was a woman shorter but the same age. Apparently they were Will’s friends because he quickly left the car even before it had parked and ran over to greet them, giving the girl, Andria, a big hug. I remembered all the friends I was still left to hear from, I hoped they had made it onto the army trucks or into a group similar to ours, I hoped they hadn't been burned or worse turned into one of the dead masses.

We went inside and I began to believe Connor’s stories about how defensible the station was. The two glass sliding doors at the front had been blocked, I assumed by Connor and the others, leaving the only entrance a small steel door with bars on the windows. There was another exit out the back that could be used in emergencies but also within the station there was a large amount of doors and corridors that could be used to stop zombies for a moment while we made our escape. There was a glass sunroof that was shattered but Steven insisted that there was no way a deadman could scale the walls and that they shattered the window on purpose to let smoke escape from the fire they made each night on the floor below. I guessed heat had become an issue here too.

‘Well I think we've made the right choice coming here,’ I said to Connor, Nicole and Brooke
‘I hope so,’ Brooke replied, ‘after all the time we spent getting the clinic ready for anything I’d hate to think we left for no reason’

‘I think I got a good reason for you,’ Connor said slyly, leading us away. Eventually we came to a small room blocked by another large steel door which Connor had to unlock before he handed me a spare key and walked inside. I knew we made a right choice, the clinic held nothing for us now except space whereas the station gave us something we desperately needed. A room full of guns.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Dead Final Chapter (24)

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 24

‘Sorry that was my fault,’ he said, I turned around quickly, startled to hear an unfamiliar voice. He looked older than me, and his size was slightly intimidating but his smile, Nicole’s reaction, and the fact that he was wearing a police badge made me trust just a little bit more. ‘Just a little misunderstanding,’ Nicole assured, ‘Will, Todd, this is Connor’
‘Hi,’ he waved, ‘yeah when I first came here I was looking for survivors, but all they saw was my gun and assumed I was here to rob them.’
We've had some bad experiences,’ I said, still slightly untrusting
‘So I've heard, when I came in a saw this one,’ Connor gestured to Daniel, ‘reaching for a gun on the floor and I reacted a bit harshly’
‘But no one was hurt so no harm done,’ Nicole said, but she sounded like she was trying to convince him not me. Connor looked at her embarrassed ‘I haven’t been a policeman for long,’ he explained, ‘I don’t think my instincts are up to scratch’
‘Lucky for me neither is your aim,’ Daniel joked, but with a solemn expression. We all smiled slightly but I dreaded what was coming ‘Nicole, we need to talk.’

A few hours later everyone had been caught up. Connor and Todd were discussing weapons, Connor had brought with him two more hand guns and a helpful amount of ammo. We decided the spare gun would go to Monica, who Todd had already been teaching to shoot. Nicole had to overcome the shock of Caleb’s death quickly because Simon’s fever had worsened and Daphne began screaming until Nicole took the medicine to him and got to work, now he was beginning to feel better and Nicole felt confident that he would recover. Nicole, Brooke and I had sorted out what we had gathered from the hospital and put it into bags.

It was becoming dark when Todd and Connor, who had been talking for a while, approached Brooke, Nicole and me. ‘We've been talking,’ Connor began, ‘I don’t think this place is very safe… for any of us’
‘I told about those raiders,’ Todd added
‘Yes and its more than likely that there will be more like them and you may not get off as easy as you did last time’
‘I agree,’ I said, ‘I mean it’s not like we decided to stay here forever, we only came here to get medicine for Simon and now we have that’
‘I would wait a few days before we start moving,’ Nicole interjected, ‘Simon’s wounds might be healing well but who knows what’s going to happen with this infection, and we all know how dangerous it can be on the road’
‘And you think it’s safer here?’ Todd asked
We've been fine ever since you left, who says we won’t be safe here?’ Brooke added
‘I do,’ Todd replied, ‘right now the dead are scattered, there feeding on the families still in their homes and the people who don’t have the defenses or the sense we do, but eventually their food source is going to run out and their going to come looking for fresher meat.’ Nicole cringed at the last comment, I think the fear of what comes next was starting to set in.

When we were moving towards and through the hospital we had drive, purpose. Now everything has stopped moving, now we needed to find safety, and a steady source of food and water. We had regained some stability by regrouping and bringing the medicine, but now we needed to look further into the future and think about what we should do next. We don’t know that the clinic offers the best chance at giving us that stability ‘what do you suggest,’ I asked Connor, I had to know what he had in mind
‘Before I came here I was staying in the police station a little while from here,’ he replied to the group, but Brooke shook her head in protest
‘We can’t do that,’ she said incredulously, ‘police stations are where all those panicked people were running to, half of them were bitten, or vaccinated that place is probably overrun by now’
‘No,’ Connor replied quickly, ‘yes those people gathered at the police station, and yes some of them were infected, but then the army came’
‘The army?’ several of us said at once
‘They took control of the situation,’ Connor explained, ‘They took away most of the people, checking to see if they were infected first, if they were then-then they were killed,’ Connor stared at the floor as he finished. I put my hand on his shoulder and after a while he continued, ‘eventually the crowd began to riot over fear of attack and anger over seeing the infected being killed,’ he paused again and closed his eyes, ‘so the army killed them all and drove off.’

I was horrified at what I had heard, I could hardly imagine so many people dying at one point, although even more horrifying was the part of me that said that it was a smart decision and the right thing to do. I felt sorry for Connor, he seemed like a good man, the fact that he was hurt by what had happened was a testament to that. ‘How many people are left at the police station?’ Todd asked after giving Connor a moment to regain his composure
‘After the army left, just me,’ Connor replied, ‘most of the others left with the army but,’ Connor paused, shaking his head, ‘I wasn't going to go with them’
‘You stayed behind on your own?’ Nicole asked, amazed that he had the courage to do that
‘I wasn't alone for long,’ Connor smiled, ‘a little while after the army trucks left two civilians showed up, they had hidden from some of the dead and that had delayed them enough so they missed the trucks, I wonder if that saved their lives. Their still at the station in case others turn up.’

After a while of considering it I spoke first, ‘I think we should go, the more people we have, up to a certain point, the more chance we have of surviving. And a police station is probably more defensible than a clinic’
I've always agreed with Connor,’ Todd said, ‘this place was never intended to be permanent, just while Simon was injured’
‘It’s probably for the best,’ Nicole relented, ‘but I’m going to make sure Simon’s okay before we go and I’m going to take some of the equipment with me.’ Brooke just shrugged after Nicole’s statement, after this time without Todd and Will she had learned to trust Nicole’s judgment.

Daniel had no protests, and Daphne agreed after Nicole reassured her Simon would be okay to be moved. So it was decided that we would leave the clinic and head towards the police station, Todd pulled out a map and found the perfect route that would avoid most dangerous areas. I felt more confident now, we had some of that drive back, and we had become a team now, not just a group of people hiding from the dead, but a team hell bent on surviving this apocalypse, but it was long from over.

The Dead Chapter 23

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 23

I knew I had to do it, the dead were closing in fast, they were almost on the same level as me and I didn't have much time. I tried to stop thinking about it and my fear of being torn apart by the dead overcame my fear of ending up splattered on the pavement. I jumped. I don’t remember the feeling of falling, when I remember I realize I was overestimating the distance, I wasn't falling for long. My memory starts again when I landed on the mattress, thankfully it was big enough that I didn't hit the sides of the Ute. Or Todd. Pain shot through my left leg however, although the adrenaline dealt with it and it didn't seem too bad I knew I would be in pain for a while.

‘Where’s Caleb?’ Todd asked, but we didn't have any time to lose and I didn’t have the courage to tell him yet
‘Just drive!’ I screamed back, scrambling to find a secure place on the back of the Ute. Todd hit the top of the Ute, yelling at Wendy to drive. We accelerated quickly, and Todd almost fell off as he sat down. The dead had reached the end of the fire escape and a few had fallen off in the crush but the now reached for us helplessly, their legs broken. The rest stopped and after a moment their growls and groans had died down, and they began to shuffle back up the stairs. We drove off at an increasing pace leaving behind the dead, my mother, the bike, and Caleb’s body, or what was left of it.

Eventually, when the hospital was out of sight, Todd signaled for them to pull over. We were on a small road with lots of houses, but there were little signs of blood, struggle, or traffic so we assumed it would be safe for a moment. Wendy was the first to speak, jumping out of the driver’s seat, ‘what happened in there Will? Where’s Caleb?’ Monica had also left the Ute with a much simpler easy to answer question: ‘were you bitten?’
‘No,’ I replied looking at Monica, but when I turned to answer Wendy’s question I found I couldn't speak, and for the first time since my father died I began to cry. I hugged Wendy, but in her realization of what had happened she didn’t even acknowledge it. Todd too was shocked, and grabbed the side of the Ute for support. Monica looked down and took a deep breath, but as ever her expression remained unchanged.

After a moment I regained my composure, as did the others and Wendy began to return the hug. I pulled back, drying my eyes ‘I’m sorry,’ I said, trying to think about the matter at hand, ‘we need to get back to the others as soon as possible.’ I began to pull the mattress out of the back, but Wendy shook her head and stopped me, ‘no, Will, you have to tell us what happened in there, how’-she paused for a second and swallowed-‘how did Caleb die?’

Isn't it obvious?’ I replied, almost bitterly, ‘he chased after me, the dead chased after him… and they caught us’
‘How can you be so cold?’ Wendy yelled hysterically
‘Because I have to be,’ I seethed back
‘Everyone just calm down,’ Todd stepped between us. I breathed deeply for a few moments, trying to suppress the rage and guilt, but most of all grief inside me ‘we have to keep going,’ I said finally struggling to stopped myself from yelled or breaking down in tears, ‘none of us are naive enough to think that Caleb will be our last casualty, all we can do is keep moving and right now Simon need this medicine, and who knows what’s happened while we've been gone, we can’t afford to grieve… not yet.’ I pulled the mattress out and got into the passenger seat of the Ute, Monica soon following me and getting in the driver’s seat while Wendy and Todd absorbed what I said and what had happened in silence.

We managed to reach the clinic with little trouble, Todd’s distraction mission had served as a scouting mission too and he had found a route that while it took us through a field avoided main roads and dangerous areas. As we drove closer I noticed two things: the fortifications had been improved, there were no gaps in the windows and a car had been moved to partially block to entrance. The second thing I noticed is that there was a new car parked outside, an old small car. I wondered whether the others had gone looking for new vehicles but I doubted it, even if they had they wouldn't have taken an old car like that. I didn't voice my concerns though, the atmosphere was too tense to add more fear and anxiety. We needed good news, hopefully Nicole would come with some.

We drove in slowly, flashing our lights to signal them that it was us, but with all the visual blocks I wondered whether they would see it. My concerns were answered when Daniel open the front door, flashing his torch to signal that they weren't being invaded or attacked, I wondered now whether we over thought the whole signal thing. As we pulled I convinced Monica to park where it would make it impossible for the new car to leave, if there was something wrong, I wanted to do everything to make sure we’d be safe. Wendy and Todd got off the back, each carrying one of the bags full of the medicine. I couldn't help feeling like we’d traded Caleb’s life for that. I hope it was worth it.

When we reached the door Daniel looked at us, realizing who was missing he silently looked down and then opened the door to let us through. Nicole was waiting just inside and when she saw us she almost ran and hugged me. Daphne appeared from inside Simon’s room, although she smiled at us I could tell she was more excited to see the medicine. Then Nicole saw Daniel close the door and stare at her with sad eyes. She looked at me, distressed, ‘what happened,’ she asked

‘I could ask you the same thing,’ I replied, nodding towards the bullet hole in the floor. Then I heard a voice from behind me, ‘sorry, that was my fault.’

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Dead Chapter 22

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 22

Even though Monica and Caleb had agreed that something being thrown out the window was a sign for Monica to leave with the supplies, she and Wendy remained there. Neither of them wanted to leave but they still fought. Wendy wanted to go back into the hospital to help them escape, but Monica knew that there was not much they could do. While they may have been able to act as a distraction, it would only last as long as it took for the dead to tear them apart. Monica suggested they waited, to see what happened next.

They had only waited for a few moments before Wendy lost her patience ‘that’s it I’m going in,’ she said, heading towards the entrance, but Monica grabbed her arm
‘You can’t!’ she said fiercely, ‘all you will be doing is putting your own life at risk’
‘But we can’t just sit here we have to do something,’ Wendy pleaded, frustrated at her inability to help her friends. She felt useless, she had done nothing while the others entered the hospital and Todd risked his life, she had only sat in the car. She knew she could do more to help, she had to. Monica and Wendy looked at each other for a moment, both considering their options and struggling to think rationally, Monica spoke first, ‘alright, the only thing we can do right now is make sure that when, and if, they get out that we can escape without’- but she stopped speaking as she and Wendy became aware of a sound in the distance, getting louder.

As the noise got closer they began to recognise it and their fear and worry dulled as they realised it was the motorbike, Todd was coming back. They ran towards the sound as Todd approached the hospital, and before it had even slowed to a stop he jumped off the bike, pulled of his helmet, and grabbed Wendy in a tight embrace. ‘I told you I’d come back,’ he said, grinning
‘I didn’t doubt you would,’ Wendy laughed back. Monica let them have their moment, but they had more pressing matters to attend to ‘We have to talk,’ she said putting her hand on Wendy’s shoulder to remind them of her presence and their situation. Todd pulled back, his grin fading as he saw her grim expression, ‘What is it?’
‘It’s Will and Caleb, their trapped inside the hospital,’ Wendy explained. Todd went to question them further but his words were stopped by the sound of a gunshot echoing from the hospital.

The ran over, when they got there Monica spoke, ‘that came from the roof’
‘Are they trapped up there?’ Wendy asked, horrified
‘Maybe not,’ Todd said, thinking fast, ‘Is there a fire escape.’ No one spoke but the all ran around the side of the building and found a fire escape. However, ‘it goes down two floors?’ Wendy noted, disappointed
‘Somebody must have broken the lower level to try and escape,’ Monica surmised, ‘maybe there’s one on the other side?’
‘No,’ Todd stopped her, staring at the hospital bed Caleb had thrown out the window, ‘I’ve got an idea.’

I reached for his flailing hand, but the dead pulled him out of my reach. As Caleb disappeared into their masses I turned away, grabbing the door and trying to slam it. But one of the dead that was not distracted by the meal they had just been given walk into the doorway and would have grabbed me too if the door did not knock its reaching hands away. But it did get in the way and the door wouldn’t close. I kept pressure on the door, trapping the dead man who was still reaching for me, but no matter how much I pushed the door wouldn’t close while the zombie was there. I released the door and the dead man fell through onto the roof, before it could get up or more deadmen could reach the door I slammed it closed, leaning against it.

The deadman had gotten up, but I was faster and my gun was already in my hands. Even in my anger, fear and grief my aim was good and the deadman collapsed in a heap, a bullet hole through its head. Leaning against the door I could hear snarling and tearing from behind it, the sounds sickened me as I knew I was hearing my friend being ripped apart and eaten. I knew I needed to get out of here, it was my fault Caleb was dead he had come after me and I owed it to him to escape and tell the others. I searched the ground and saw a tool box, obviously someone had been repairing something up here, which also explained why the door was unlocked.

I didn’t want to take away my weight from the door, so I reached with my foot and eventually I had it. I grabbed a large spanner and wedged it between the door handle and a thick wire that was connected to the doorframe. Sick, both literally and figuratively, of the noises coming from the door I quickly turned away. A few moments afterwards I began to hear banging from the door, obviously they had finished with Caleb (God I hoped they had killed him, I would never forgive myself if he became one of them) and now they were coming after me. I realised now that I had no plan, I had ran here out of fear and panic, but now I was trapped. But then I heard the sound of a car horn coming from below.

Quickly I ran to the ledge, expecting to see my friends and the Ute, instead I saw something better. A fire escape. But my joy was short-lived as the door burst open and the dead, covered in fresh blood, came charging through. I moved quickly, swinging over the ledge and speeding down the first flight of stairs, but the dead were faster and by the time I was there they had already reached the ledge. Faster and more desperate than before I skipped the last few steps of the second flight, I could now see the Ute, and thankfully I saw Todd gesturing wildly in the back, at least I had lost a second friend. Yet. But I had to stop myself as I realised with horror that that was where the fire escape ended, and I was still on the first floor. But then I saw why Todd and the others had led me here, and why the Ute was so close to the fire escape, they had loaded the mattress of the bed into the back. They expected me to jump.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Dead Chapter 21

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 21

Nicole had been completely taken out of her element. She had a job, she was doing well at university and had good relationships with her friends, but now she was, for all intents and purposes, trapped inside a clinic and in charge of 4 other people. She didn't know how she was put in charge but she understood why, Simon was injured and while that injury was healing his infection was getting worse, he rarely left the room he was set up in. The same could be said for Daphne, who, on the rare occasions she left his side, did little more then ask were the others were with the medicine and why they weren't doing more for him. Nicole had known Daphne for a long time but she was still surprised with the way she was acting. Although with what has been happening the past few days Nicole thought she should be more surprised that the rest of them were taking it so well.

Daniel had managed to recover his senses and make himself useful. Without being asked he began helping Brooke and Nicole with barricading the clinic and ensuring that it was safe. However he still often seemed to fade into the background, and he was not the most vocal of people. Even if he does have the capacity and knowledge to lead a group, he did not have the social skills. Brooke was intelligent, calm and had no qualms in giving her opinion. In fact she and Nicole fought often over decision such as gun training, which Nicole was opposed to. She didn’t think it necessary yet and she knew that scared people with gun training but only one gun is not a good idea. But Brooke didn’t know the others well and the way she met them and her suspicious behaviour meant that they turned to Nicole for leadership.

While they were barricading the clinic Nicole began to wonder at how intelligent it was to stay in one place, no matter how defendable. Now the clinic only had one exit/entrance but Nicole had found a deployable fire escape on the second floor, meaning if that entrance gets blocked they could still escape making the clinic an efficient fortress. But it was still only a clinic, there was little food here that would last long, especially if the power goes (and Nicole knew that it would eventually). Basic medical supplies such as bandages were aplenty but besides that Nicole was worried. If Will and the others didn’t return soon she would have to send more of the small group away to find food, but with only one gun someone would be left defenceless. If they had more people, more time, and more supplies they may have been able to set up a system to acquire food safely and regularly.

But was that wise? Staying in one place meant that without distractions the dead outside would gather, attracted by the smell and sound but unable to get through. Until either their resources ran out or they number increased to a point where they could break through. Nicole knew-hoped-that there was a solution, but for now she could only wait and see whether the others would return.

Daniel walked over to her when she was quietly contemplating that issue, among others. ‘Are you alright?’ he asked and Nicole blinked, noticing his presence for the first time
‘Fine,’ she replied, trying to smile, ‘just thinking’
‘You don’t have to try and calm me down anymore Nicole, you can talk to me’
‘Who said it was you I was trying to calm?’
‘You?’ Daniel looked amused, ‘you’re probably the most level-headed one here’
‘You should have seen me when the found me,’ Nicole joked. Daniel realised what she meant and shook his head, ‘I didn’t even think Nicole, your family are they…’
‘I don’t know,’ Nicole replied, looking down
‘Well I’m sure’- Daniel began but was stopped when Brooke ran over and grabbed his shoulder, she looked startled. ‘What’s wrong?’ Nicole asked quickly, in a hushed voice
‘There’s someone outside,’ she replied in an even quieter voice.

They quietly moved to a small gap in the furniture and random things blocking the windows that had been left open for this exact purpose. They couldn’t see much, the sun was glaring in their direction and although they could definitely see movement the angle was bad as whoever, whatever, it was approached the other side of the building. Daphne emerged from Simon’s room, and seeing them peering through the window jumped to the positive outcome. ‘Are they back?’ Daphne said far too loudly for Nicole’s liking and even as they whispered warnings and gestured for her to stop she approached the door.

Daphne reached the door before their warnings did, but as she began to grab the handle she was pulled away as Daniel moved her out of sight, his hand muffling her protests. Nicole moved slowly until Daphne could see her, after a few gestures Daphne finally understood the situation and Daniel let her go. The three of them were now behind a pillar in the centre of the room while Brooke was still struggling to get an idea of what was outside. Scenarios ran through Nicole’s head: Could it be Will or one of the others? Why wouldn’t they come in? Could they be injured? Or is it one of the dead?

But it didn’t stay a mystery for long as the door, unlocked by Daphne’s foolish actions, slowly opened. Brooke could probably see the person now, and it definitely was a person, but from Nicole’s vantage point all she could see was the barrel of a gun appear. As Nicole hid back behind the pillar, struggling to control her breathing all positive outcomes of this encounter left her mind. The one she decided on was that it was one of the raiders, or more, come to exact revenge. She saw Brooke’s revolver one of the chairs near the pillar, Brooke had been showing Daniel how to clean it before this began. More scared than she thought she could ever be, Nicole watched silently as Daniel reached for the gun. Then she heard Daphne scream as a gunshot rang out.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Dead Chapter 20

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 20

The time Wendy spent waiting in the Ute felt like a lifetime, she kept listening for a gunshot or a scream, any sign that her friends were alive. That sign came when Monica appear, struggling to carry multiple bags, and slammed her fist against the window. Wendy jumped out of the Ute, forgetting where they were and why they needed to be quiet ‘where are Caleb and Will?’ she asked, fearing the worst
‘Inside still,’ Monica replied quickly
‘What why?’ Monica sighed before continuing, ‘Will freaked out and ran into the stairwell, and Caleb went after him.’ That’s when they heard a gunshot from the first floor, they both turned quickly and stared in the direction it came from.

‘What was that?’ Wendy asked, her eyes wide, ‘was that them? Are they alright?’
‘I don’t know,’ Monica replied darkly as she turned away and walked towards the Ute
‘Where are you going?’
‘The first floor will be infested with the dead, we can’t help them’
‘So you’re just going to leave them?’
‘There’s nothing we can do,’ Monica said through clenched teeth, not looking at Wendy. Wendy thought rapidly, trying to find a logical reason for her and Monica to help them, or some miraculous escape route for them, but nothing came to her. But she couldn’t leave them, no matter how highly the odds were stacked against them. ‘Fine,’ she said as she grabbed Monica’s axe and headed towards the ambulance bay doors. Monica went to stop her, but they both stopped when they heard a window shatter and saw a hospital bed fall from the first floor.

I believed it now. I didn’t before but now I knew it. My mother was dead, and worse than that she had become one of the creatures that tore my life apart and now appeared in every nightmare. Caleb had caught up and stopped behind me when he saw her. ‘I’m so sorry,’ he said and he reached out to put his hand on my shoulder. But I moved first, ‘no I am,’ I replied, grim and emotionless as I walked over to my mother, who had begun to outstretch her arm, and fire a bullet through her head. I didn’t cry, or scream, or break down, I had become the emotionless survivor I needed to be. Or at least that was what it looked like. But inside I knew that I would never get this image out of my mind.

I was pulled back into reality when Caleb pushed the hospital bed out the window. Looking around I realised that he had slammed the door shut and now the dead outside were trying to break it down, but they weren’t too desperate yet. ‘Why did you do that?’ I asked, gesturing towards the broken window
‘It’s a signal,’ he replied, breathing heavily as he searched the room for a weapon or something he could use to barricade the door. He found it when he pulled back a curtain and found that the room had an extra bed. But before he shoved it against the door I stopped him. ‘No, if you do that we’ll be trapped in here,’ I tried to explain, but he wrenched away from me
‘So what do you propose we do?’ he yelled in frustration. I empathised with him, what could we do? I stared at the bed, and then at the door, which had begun to shake as the dead doubled their efforts.

A thought suddenly appeared in my mind, I quickly explained to Caleb, ‘we use it as a battering ram’
‘What?’ Caleb looked at me like I was insane, I may have been
‘Before they break down the door we break it ourselves, using the bed, that should knock them down and give us enough time to make a break for the stairwell.’ Caleb began to nod, agreeing with my plan, but it wasn’t perfect, ‘but how do you know how far away the stair well is?’ he asked, ‘we can’t outrun those dead forever.’ I searched the walls around the room, then finally found what I was looking for next to the weakening door, the fire escape plan. I grinned, the stairwell was close, close enough to give us a good chance of getting there before we get overrun by the dead. I turned to tell Caleb the good news, but was stopped when a hand broke through the thin wood of the door, reaching out to me.

I jumped back, there was no time to explain or wait. Caleb and I grabbed one side of the bed and after a second of absolute fear we charged forward. The door splintered into several pieces and the dead behind fell, either backward or to the side. The bed got stuck in the door before we were both through, wedged in the doorframe by a piece of the door. I helped Caleb climb over the bed, ducking underneath the frame as the dead began to pick themselves up and more began to appear. We ran, faster than I had ever run before, although everything felt like it was in slow motion, every time another zombie would appear in front of us my heart would stop, and every time we had to turn a corner I felt terrified. I wished Caleb could lead, that he could be the one making the decision to turn here or stop. But he hadn’t seen the location of the stairwell, I had. So I had to lead him.

We finally made, and just in time. The dead were fully aggravated now, affectively charging at us, and over the course of our run I had used most of the bullets left in the gun, and Caleb’s axe was covered in blood, and his arm slack. But the door finally came into sight, and when we yanked open the door and blocked it with our own bodies we finally felt like we could relax, but we couldn’t. The sounds of footsteps should have at least dulled when we entered the stairwell, instead they seemed louder than before, echoing through the stairwell. I realised that while the threat from the first floor had been dealt with, we now faced a new threat from below and above. We were on the other side of the hospital, the first floor wasn’t as empty as the other side, and the dead left in the underground and the upper floors had yet to be dealt with. I slowly walked over to the railing to look. The upper stair cases were clear, but those below were filled with almost as many zombies that we had just fled from. And they were just as mad.

The dead from the first floor were now slamming the door we had entered from, but that didn’t matter now, I grabbed Caleb away and the broke through, only to join with the mob appearing from the lower levels.  We ran up the stairs quickly, taking them almost three at a time, though we had stumbled a few times, our determination kept us moving. The original plan was to make it back down to the first floor, but that was impossible, there was no way down now, only up. On the third floor I paused for a second to glance through the window in the door, only to see it filled with dead, oblivious to our presence, for now. That floor wasn’t an option so we kept climbing. Eventually we came to a door marked “roof” and that was when Caleb stopped me. ‘No!’ we yelled, his face red and his eyes wide, ‘if we go in there we’ll be just as trapped as before!’
‘We don’t have a choice!’ I yelled back, terrified as I saw that the dead had started on the same flight we had just stopped on.

I burst through the door, my eyes stun by the sudden light, it was almost sunset and the sun was directly in my view. I held the door open and went to pull Caleb through. But Caleb didn’t come through, Caleb fell. And the last I saw of him was his terrified face as the horde grabbed him and pulled him back into the darkness of the stairwell. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Dead Chapter 19

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 19

I wish I could have been logical about it, I wish I could have been the strong survivor I wanted, and needed to be. But at that moment I wasn't thinking about the risk, or Monica or Caleb, or Simon. I was thinking about my mother and all she represented. My home, my family, and my old life. The only things that separated me and those things were a door and a few stairs. I called out to her, pulling away the chairs we had used to barricade the door. Although I wasn't aware of it Monica and Caleb heard me and Caleb was running towards me. But he was too late, and I was able to open the door, bursting, almost falling, into the stairwell. By this time my mother had disappeared from view, I leapt the stairs two at a time, vaguely aware of Caleb catching up to me.

As I turned and ran up the next flight Caleb turned to Monica who was also following. ‘No,’ he said, speaking fast but quietly, handing her his bag, ‘get to the Ute, I’ll get Will’
‘Okay, but what if there are more up there?’ Monica asked, and Caleb thought for a moment
‘If we can’t make it out I’ll throw something out a window, don’t wait for us’ Caleb was wracked with fear. When I pulled him out of the distraction mission he felt safe again, and that feeling grew when we made it to the pharmacy and found the drugs with little issue. But now he was in just as much danger, possibly more, and he was choosing to keep going. But we felt indebted to me, I put my friend at risk to placate his fears. This new feeling of safety started with me, he couldn’t abandon me. I wish he had.

My mother had exited the stairwell and was now on the first floor, this gave me hope. If she was already one of the dead she would have turned and attacked us when we broke in. As I reached the door and grabbed the handle Caleb caught me and grabbed my shoulder pulling me back before I opened it. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ he almost yelled, forgetting his fear in anger and concern
‘It’s her,’ I replied shakily, ‘it’s my mother’ Caleb drew back at that, understanding but still afraid. After a moment he shook his head and began again, ‘it doesn’t matter, Will, we can’t go after her’
‘But what if she’s alive?’ I asked wishing it her true
‘Do you really believe that she could be? Really?’ Now I shook my head, looking away, knowing he was right but not believing it. I turned back to argue that I had to find out, I had to be sure, but the words never left my mouth because when I turned I saw a solitary deadman at the beginning of the stairs below us.

At first I tightened my grip on my weapon, one deadman would not put up much of a fight, but before I could dash over and kill it before could attack us another appeared, then another. Eventually five appeared and sounds of more began echoing up the stairwell, I realised that the underground car park must have many dead inside, and our noise attracted them. Caleb went to fight his way down to the ground floor but I grabbed his arm, ‘no! There’s too many,’ I told him, now giving up on being quiet
‘Then what can we do?’ We asked, pulling his arm away. I got the sense he blamed me for this, fair enough, I blamed myself. But the least I could do was help find a way out ‘there will be another stairwell somewhere on this floor,’ I said, yanking it open, ‘come on!’

We ran through and slammed the door shut, Caleb and I pulled and pushed and managed to turn a vending machine on its side to block the door. But the first floor was not like the ground floor, it hadn’t been cleared out by Todd’s distraction and the noise from our entrance was attracting deadmen out from around corners and inside rooms. There were less than what originally was outside the hospital, but there were still much more than we could handle ourselves. ‘We don’t have to kill them all,’ I began, trying to sound confident and resolved ‘we just have to find the stairwell’
‘If we follow the main corridor we will probably find one,’ Caleb put in. I pulled out the gun from its holster, dropping the weapon that I had had with me since this whole nightmare began. I actually felt a twinge of sadness leaving it behind, it was useful and had become almost a safety blanket to me, but now it had served its purpose, the time for quiet kills was over.

Me and Caleb moved forward, not running for fear of falling or being surprised, but moving quickly nonetheless.  Caleb used his axe to kill the first few we came across, but it wasn’t long before I had to use the gun to stop one of the dead from reaching him as he dealt with an elderly deadwoman. I missed, the head anyway, I hit it in the shoulder, but the force of the shot knocked it back slightly and alerted Caleb, who quickly turned and finished it off. With a slight nod to each other we continued. But it wasn’t long before I stopped him, grabbing his shoulder, speechless as my mother wandered into one of the rooms at the end of the hallway.

I began to run down the hall, Caleb calling after me. I was afraid he would catch me and stop me, but he was delayed by one of the dead emerging from a room in front of him, I turned to make sure he was able to deal with it, but I was able to reach the room my mother was in before he caught up with me. Full of hope I turned into the room, hoping to see my mum alive and unharmed, I didn’t even wonder at how she could have survived this long, or why she would still be her. I just wanted to know that a member of my family was still alive. But she wasn’t, she was standing alone in the room, acing away from me and I could see a large blood stain from her neck down the back of her shirt. Then she turned around, finally noticing the meal that had idiotically been chasing her. Me.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Dead Chapter 18

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 18

While I was in the hospital facing my worst fear, one of my best friends was in the most danger they have ever been. When Todd drove the motorbike loudly around the corner all he could think about was what Wendy had said to him before he left, and what would happen to her if he couldn't keep his promise. He sped around the wall of abandoned cars, quickly having to swerve again to manoeuvre around several deadmen. Even though he had seen their numbers before he still did not believe the amount of dead that remained outside the hospital after all this time.

Sound of his motorbike at almost full speed and the screech of his tires already had alerted the majority of the mob, but he knew that wasn't enough, making his way to the centremost space and came to a stop. Todd immediately knew this was the wrong decision, he was now surrounded by dead and he needed to act fast before any gaps in their ranks disappeared and he was trapped. We swung his rifle around and, not really needing to aim fired, and then fired again. He had hit two of the dead in the chest, they fell over but began to get back up again. But his real motive was achieved as dead began to stumble out of the building to investigate the gun shots. But there was no time to enjoy his victory as the only gap remaining to escape through began to thin.

Todd quickly accelerated, as he sped through the lines of the dead he was almost pulled off his bike by an outstretched hand. While he was lucky and maintained his grip on the bike, it forced to swerved precariously and momentarily lose control of the bike. This allowed the dead, slowly increasing their speed, to get closer and the previously scattered amount of dead had now formed a dense mob. Todd new that if they caught up with him or trapped him there was no way he could fight them or break through their ranks. He managed to regain control of the bike and quickly sped off in the opposite direction of me and the others, drawing the mob away from the hospital even as more deadmen emerged from inside it.

The night before Todd and a few others had gotten a map and drawn a route that they thought was his best chance of escaping or outrunning the dead. But as he sped along, his eyes almost permanently fixed on his mirrors, he had forgotten it. Even when it re-entered his mind he realised he had already missed the first turn. But looking in his mirrors now he saw that the dead were slowing and getting further away. At first this helped calm Todd and reinforced his hope of getting away, but fear struck even worse than before when he realised he wasn't far away enough from the hospital yet. He wondered whether that is why they were slowing, the hospital had become their territory and he wasn't an enticing enough meal to warrant leaving their feeding grounds. But theories had to wait, he knew that his safety and state of mind came second at the moment.  If he didn't get that mob further away from the hospital then Wendy and the others would walk into effectively an ambush.

He spun the bike around and drove towards the front of the mob. Todd knew his rifle would have to be reloaded to be used again, but he didn't know how close the others were, he needed to act now. Keeping one hand on the wheel he swung the rifle off his shoulder and held it from the barrel. As he reached the front row of the mob, now once again increasing in speed, he swung it in a wide arc, striking several of the dead. Todd never came to a complete stop though and was able to keep driving away from the dead before the got a grip on him or his bike, his rifle however, the managed to grab and he was forced to let it go.

Todd cursed at having to relinquish it, knowing that if the bike stopped working or he had been backed into a corner that it had been his only chance to fight back. But the mob at least were now chancing him with renewed interest, he had saved the others, and he knew now that he could outrun them eventually, but for now he reduced his speed until the mob was far enough away from the hospital that they would not return. When Todd finally reached that point he felt more relieved than he had ever felt as he was able to accelerate without worry. But the worry returned when another blockade of abandoned cars loomed into view, he quickly searched for a side road, but found none. But his prayers were answered when he saw a footpath leading into a smaller street, the opening big enough and clear enough for his bike to fit through.

The side path served another purpose it seems, when Todd drove through the mob tried to follow, and the gap served as a funnel so instead of a wall of the dead Todd was now followed by a thick line. Also while all trying to fit through in their frantic stampede, many fell and were trampled by others, this caused injuries to many and Todd could see several of the Dead at the back now walked with limps from broken legs. Todd reached the end of the street which turned out to be a court and was faced with a decision. In one direction lay the main road, it would be easier to return to the pharmacy from their but the blockade could stretch on for ages, slowing his speed, and he might also run into more dead in amongst the cars. The other direction led him into a catacomb of side roads and small streets, and he could easily get lost for hours there, but so cold the mob. Todd new that minimizing the risk was in his best interest and tuned left, driving away from the main road.

After several turns and near crashes Todd was definitely lost, he had lost his sense of direction and had no idea where the main road was. Any geographical land marks such as hills and buildings were blocked out by high-class buildings all clustered together. The catacombs had served their purpose though and the line of dead following him had dwindled, with more and more getting lost or falling over at the constant turns. Todd had been lucky so far and hadn't seen more than two dead wandering through the streets. And his luck didn't stop there, as Todd came to a round-about turn Todd glanced at the names of the streets, hoping to find one he recognized  he did. The street name is one of the several he recognized from his original plan for escaping the dead, not that there were many dead to escape from at this point. But now Todd had a choice to make, did he head towards the clinic and join Nicole? Or did he return to the hospital and hope that everything went as planned? While Todd was making a possibly deadly decision I was facing a much worse, much more personal decision: did I escape with my friends? Or did I pursue my mother deeper into the hospital infested with the dead? 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Dead Chapter 17

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 17

We had to move forward with the plan, the map we found had neither helped nor hindered our chances, nor helped placate our fears. There were still too many unknowns, how many of the dead were between us and the pharmacy? Did they even have the medicine we were looking for? Monica had a list of what Nicole thought would be useful, and we all had memorized the names of the most important. We knew what we were looking for at least.

The plan from here was too move carefully towards the pharmacy, eliminating any dead we found and blocking any other routes into those areas to create a clear path to and from the pharmacy. Wendy stayed in the Ute, lying down so any dead that approach will not attack her, if there became too many too kill or escape from we decided she could drive away, returning later for us when there are less dead around, if any of us are still alive. But worrying about possibilities is pointless, for now the ambulance bay was clear, it was the inside that held the unknowables, but that was soon to change.

There was a corpse blocking the automatic doors from closing, though there was no power now anyway to make them close. Hesitantly Monica, Caleb and I walked into the hospital, sweaty hands grasping our weapons, our eyes searching for any sign of movement. The first one we saw appeared from behind a pillar, closest to Monica who, without noise or hesitation, swung her axe and split its head open. Caleb reached a set of double doors leading to the emergency ward and slowly, silently, closed them and locked them as Monica and I dragged a row of joined chairs over to block it. We stacked a few more and used a vending machine to block of a hallway without a set of doors. After that we fell into a rhythm, enter a room, kill the one or two deadmen inside it before they even recognized our presence and blocked the doors that we wouldn't be going through. After that first room most passages leading away were small and easily blocked.

The area before our last turn however snapped us back into reality as when we closed a large set of double doors with glass windows two dead and disfigured figures appeared in the hallway. Caleb and I quickly ducked down and motioned Monica to do the same. My heart was thumping in my chest and I began to breathe harder as I wondered, had they seen us? I had no way to know without risking being caught. Several long minutes went by until Monica crawled over too us and gestured for us to crawl away around the corner. I began to breathe easier when we got around the corner, even if the two dead had seen us, I doubted they would be aggressive enough at that sight to break down the door and chase us around the corner. I began to realize though that if any zombies got through our barricades or were waiting for us at the Ute we would be caught completely off guard. I breathed deep. I couldn't afford to panic, the only way now was forward.

We finally made it to the pharmacy area, we were lucky and only saw three of the dead there, anymore and it would have been difficult to take them out without a struggle. I saw that two of the floor to ceiling windows had been shattered, I assumed the dead had been using that to get in and out of the hospital, and most of the dead in this area were drawn away by Todd. I wondered how we was doing, I hoped-no prayed-that he had managed to escape the dead and was either returning here or making his way towards the clinic and the others. We turned two rows of chairs upright and used them to block those holes, closing the curtains on the others. Caleb and Monica entered the pharmacy and began their search while I guarded our most vulnerable point, a glass door to the staircase. Because we didn't know how many dead there were on the other floors it was more than possible a large amount of dead were waiting just out of sight.

I heard a rustle of cardboard and plastic as I heard Monica call to Caleb, ‘found them!’ I couldn't resist smiling when I heard that, it made me think that we were really going to make it. Caleb and Monica were in the pharmacy for a while, sorting out what they should take and whether or not they should risk two trips. As they argued I felt content to be left out of that conversation, I had had enough of making life or death decisions, especially when it was other’s lives I put at risk. I checked the other entrances, they were still clear. Through one of the windows I could see a few more of the dead than before, but nothing to worry about, they didn't seem like they had caught our scent or were aware of our presence.

As I walked around the sitting area I avoid the bodies, apart from the two dead we killed there were three discernible corpses, those that were too damaged too… eaten to become one of the dead. It was times like these, when I’m more hopeful and less stressed, that the realities of my new world get to me, I fought a gag reflex in my throat. One of the dead we had killed had grey hair, I assumed he must have had a family, I began to think of my father, of my grandfather, not for the first time I wondered whether any of my family was still alive.

But, thankfully, I was taken out of my melancholy by Caleb exiting the pharmacy with a large, full, bag over his shoulder. ‘We've got everything we can,’ we said, more calm and hopeful than I've ever seen him, ‘are we okay to leave?’

‘Let me check,’ I replied, I wanted to make sure we weren't going to be mobbed just as things began to look up. The parking lot outside was still mostly clear, as was the path we made behind us. But when I went to check the stairwell something made me freeze, something I didn't expect to see, something I didn't want to see. My mother.