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?

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Dead Chapter 13

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 13

                We eventually decided we would take the Ute and the bike, Caleb and Monica would ride on the bike while Todd, Wendy and I would be in the Ute. But I had to ride in the back. I had this weird feeling, like a schoolkid who’s breaking a rule, kind of excited to ride in the back of a Ute. The rest of the back however had been left empty so in an emergency, which was likely to occur, we could load the most stuff we could quickly. It was difficult, splitting up the group, it already felt as if our situation had been this way forever, and I didn't feel as confident or safe without some of the people I had begun to rely on. But it had to be done, not everyone can come to the hospital. Simon, among others, would slow us down.
                Almost as soon as we left Caleb pulled into one of the shops’ car parks and found another helmet for Monica. For some reason that made me feel safer, like we knew what we were doing and were prepared. We weren't. We drove along back roads for a long while, often having to pull over to find a way to the hospital without taking a main road, or avoid a roadblock. The streets in this area had always been a catacomb, but a navigable one. But now that the landscape was disfigured by car crashes and explosions, and the sound of traffic is gone, we sometimes had no idea where we were or where we were going.

                Finally Todd got fed up and we pulled over beside a house that had a car sticking out of it. Before he had even left the driver’s seat he was talking, ‘we are never going to get there like this,’ he sounded frustrated
                ‘Well what do you suggest?’ I asked, also frustrated but I knew that there was only one other option: using main roads, ‘all main roads will be blocked, or infested’
                ‘Maybe, but maybe we can use the emergency lanes and nature strips.’ He turned to Caleb before continuing, ‘Caleb, I need you to see if there is space for us to get through.’ Caleb nodded and drove off, leaving Monica here with us. While we were waiting we got out the maps again in futile attempt to find another way. When we gave up we got a more close up map from one of the houses and tried to form a plan of attack. We decided the best way to do it, assuming we get there, is to have Caleb drive up and pull some of the dead away from the front while the Ute drives up the ambulance entrance, from there though we had no idea. We didn't even know if the hospital kept its medicine on the ground floor.

                Caleb returned and had found a stretch of main road that we would be able to pass through. After that stretch of road however there was a clear route through smaller streets to the hospital. Before we started moving again however we made the decision that we would not use our guns yet, conserve ammo for the hospital. Unless it was an emergency we would use or axes and melee weapons. Tense and afraid we drove onto the main road.

                We had to drive through a complicated path, weaving through abandoned cars. At first they were empty but as we went we began to see dead bodies inside some of the cars, and more in between the cars. And then they started to move. There were only a few at first, stumbling through the cars towards the noise of our engines, but then more appeared. And then I assumed they had realised what was passing through their den because they began to run at us. There was no were for us to go, we were surrounded on all sides. Caleb had to stop moving when two deadmen appeared in front of him.

                Monica and Caleb jumped off the bike, Monica using an axe to smash the head of a deadman as they ran back to the Ute. I was standing up in the back of the Ute now, my pole at the ready in case one of the dead got close. Even though we’d previously decided not to waste our ammo I was thinking about my gun, constantly I was asking myself: should I use it? When is it too dangerous to not use it? But most of all I began thinking, what would happen if we died here? Nicole and the others would never know what had happened to us, either they would give up waiting for us, assume we’re dead and leave the clinic, or they would stay, constantly hoping that we were simply delayed. My greatest fear was that they would try to get to the hospital themselves and get caught in the same trap we did.

                Monica and Caleb got on the back of the Ute with me as the dead got close enough for me to start swinging. I can’t remember what or who I hit, but I remember feeling the sickening feel of when the metal strikes through rotting flesh and into bone. Eventually though we had to stop attacking and start defending, swiping away hands as the dead tried to pull themselves up. I knocked on the Ute’s back window during a break in the assault, yelling, ‘drive! Drive!’ Todd nodded jerkily, unbelieving that we would be able to make our way through the mob that was attacking us.

                I heard Wendy scream as a deadman broke through the passenger side window and hands reached for her. I heard a gunshot and saw the deadman fly back from the window, his head in shreds. Wendy had grabbed Todd’s rifle in her fear. I used my pole to protect her window while still defending my side of the back, we couldn't afford to use any more ammo. Eventually the mob began to part from the front and we were able to gain slightly more speed, meaning it was easier to block the dead mob’s desperate attacks. But we weren't out of danger yet, as we turned around a large truck I was able to see a stretch of road clear of cars. But full of the dead.

The Dead Chapter 12

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 12

We had moved some of the couches around to block off the broken windows and closed the curtains. We were lucky that the clinic was mainly untouched by the dead or by panicked people. We surmised that this was because the clinic was closed the day the report was broadcast, all the people working there would have been in the hospital. Health care professionals were required to get vaccinations as they were released. I wondered why Nicole hadn't been vaccinated, but I guessed it was because she was on holidays, no need to get vaccinated immediately. I thanked, once again, whatever was watching over us that she hadn't been more prepared for her return to university, I don’t know how we would handle things without her.

We had decided that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, just because this pharmacy was cleaned out doesn’t mean all of them are. We spent the rest of that day clearing out the remaining rooms for anything useful, and then as we settled down for dinner Todd, Wendy, Nicole, Daniel, Brooke, Caleb and I began discussing our options. ‘So,’ Todd began, ‘our problem is that most pharmacies would be the first target of people like us, survivors who aren’t relying or waiting on the government.’ What are we waiting for? I wondered, but this conversation was not about that, and I had no desire to discuss that subject.
‘But how do we know that the hospital hasn’t also been cleaned out?’ Daniel asked
‘Well,’ Nicole replied, ‘anyone with sense would know not to go there it’s infested with the dead’
‘And anyone with that little sense to try would be killed,’ Caleb added grimly
‘So does that include us?’ I asked, not trying to be sarcastic but truly asking the question
‘Well, we’re not out of options yet,’ Todd answered, ‘we should at least try some of the other pharmacies near here before we go on a suicide mission.’

Todd and Caleb took the bike out the next day to scout out several pharmacies we had found on the map. I practiced cleaning my new, and not wanted, gun. We had found some more ammo on the dead marauder-we still weren’t sure what to call them-so that meant I had a full clip and Brooke had a few more bullets in her revolver. As Brooke showed me how to reload I finally had the time, and the courage, to ask a question I had been meaning to ask since she had pulled the revolver out of her bag, ‘where did you learn to shoot?’ She froze slightly before answering
‘My father taught me,’ she said, not looking me in the eyes
‘Who was he?’
‘He was a soldier,’ she smiled slightly at the memory, ‘and a bit of a gun nut. But not in a bad way,’ she said quickly, now looking at me, ‘the first thing he taught me was where the safety was’
‘Is he…’ I paused, not knowing how to ask
‘He’s dead,’ she answered, going back to not looking at me. I continued my lesson, not talking much anymore, I wondered if his death was why she didn’t say much about herself, or whether there was another reason.

We all stopped what we were doing when we heard the sound of Caleb’s bike. Through a hole we had purposefully left we saw both of them, seemingly unharmed returning. But they didn’t look happy. They explained to us that none of the three pharmacies they had checked out had any medicine left in them, in fact at the last one they saw the marauder’s cars driving away and hid so they didn’t see them. I was disappointed they had not run into trouble yet, but I wondered why they were still raiding pharmacies, were they looking for a more specific, rare drug, or were they stockpiling for the long run. Whatever they were doing there was no doubt in any of our minds that searching other pharmacies was pointless, the hospital was our only choice.

But bad news and bleak futures had to wait, when we got the good news that Simon was fully awake, albeit with a raging fever. Daphne, Nicole and I went into see him, we had set him up on one of the clinic beds and Nicole had given him an IV. He rubbed his head not yet registering his surroundings ‘Daphne? Where are we?’
‘Simon, relax,’ Nicole told him, pushing to keep lying down on the bed
‘You were in a car accident,’ Daphne told him, her voice wavering at the memory, ‘I’m fine but you wear injured. You’re fine now, but you’ve got an infection’
‘We’re trying to get medicine for you,’ I said, trying to keep everyone calm and hopeful
‘Will?’ he looked at me, realising finally where he is and who is with him, ‘what are you doing here?’ Then we had to go through a horrifying experience of telling him what had happened, he apparently had lost all memory of the day leading up to the crash, but Nicole said that was not rare after such an accident. It was terrible having to do that, it brought back all the original feelings of seeing that woman being attacked, and the phone call with my father. At one point Daphne had to leave the room, but eventually he had him calm and fully aware of the situation.

Nicole, Todd and I talked that night about how we would approach the hospital issue. ‘We shouldn’t all go,’ Nicole started, and she sounded sure
‘Well I’m going,’ said Todd, sounding almost offended by the concept of staying behind
‘I’d like to go too,’ I added, I let them believe that I was worried about their safety and that I wanted to help. But I knew the truth, I wanted to find my family, my father may still be alive, my sister may still be one of the dead, and my mother may be one to by now if the dead didn’t kill her before she turned. ‘Alright,’ began Todd, confused by the shortness of my reply, ‘so that’s me, you, Caleb should come, we could use his experience’
‘He scouted the hospital once!’ Nicole exclaimed
‘Any experience would be useful,’ Todd argued
‘Well Brooke should stay here, at least one person left behind should be able to use a gun’

‘Well I’m not letting you go without me,’ Wendy interrupted us. Todd sighed, I don’t think he was happy about it but he knew it was pointless to argue with her ‘I would like to come too,’ said Monica, appearing from behind Wendy, and then said nothing more. In fact I think this is the first I heard her speak since we met her. ‘There we go then,’ Todd said, quick to finish this conversation before others volunteered, ‘Will, Caleb, Wendy, Monica and I will go to the hospital and the rest will stay here.’ They begun to discuss what vehicles they would take while I walked away, breathing heavily. I wondered what choice I had just made, and what consequences it would have.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Dead Chapter 11

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 11

I saw Nicole fall to the ground as I heard Todd yell out and shoot the man who shot her in the chest. The rest of the men turned and began firing as we scattered, each of us diving behind one form of barrier or another. Glass exploded as some of their shots hit the windows behind us. I heard Monica make a small scream as she was showered with glass. I couldn't stop thinking about Nicole, was she hurt badly? Was she dead? I was glad Todd had shot the man, but I knew that meant that him and Brooke only had one bullet left each. And from the way the men were firing I could tell they weren't worried about conserving ammo.

But then, as if a miracle, they stopped firing and I heard their leader swear and they ran past us, barely taking notice of us or their fallen comrade. I couldn't even bear to look until I heard tyre screeches as they drove away. I opened my eyes and looked through the window to see what had scared them away. It was two of the dead, slowly shuffling towards the clinic, attracted by the gunshots. We all moved swiftly and silently behind the counter, from the way they moved they were not, as of yet, aware of our presence. Collectively we held our breaths. If the clinic was overrun, and from that direction, then we wouldn't be able to reach the cars in time. And what if Nicole was wounded and unable to move? And it’s unlikely that Simon’s tests were already done. I froze at the realization that if Daniel or Daphne came out from the room they could alert the deadmen to our presence, if it wasn't already known.

Tentatively I raised my head just enough so that I could see the deadmen and whether they were still approaching the clinic. We were lucky. The dead had heard and seen the other men running from the clinic and had turned to follow them instead, I doubted they would ever catch up or even chase them to the end of the street. They seemed to be shuffling along with disinterest as opposed to the mad primal hunger that they usually attack with. But for now we were safe. Or at least, most of us were.

‘Nicole!’ I heard Todd say, half screaming half whispering. We ran over to where she lay, there was lots of blood but our luck seemed to continue as the bullet seemed to only have grazed her arm. I was filled with relief and gratitude to whatever was watching over us. Nicole, who had joined us while crying almost hysterically, had become the most level-headed of us. We needed her to keep us sane as well as safe. She seemed to be in shock, which was appropriate considering what had happened. As she moaned and began to realise her surroundings Daniel emerged from behind the door. ‘We heard gunshots,’ he began, then his tone changed from fear to concern when he saw Nicole, ‘Nicole! Are you alright?’ we helped her sit up
‘I’ll be fine,’ she replied wearily, inspecting her wound.

As Daniel and Brooke got supplies, quietly, from the Ute to dress Nicole’s injury I joined Todd beside the dead shooter. Todd was obviously a good shot, the bullet went right into his chest. The others had been in such a hurry to leave they had left the supplies he had on his person. Unfortunately for us he was not one of the people who were carrying the medicine bags. He was, however, carrying a rifle. I looked at Todd as he picked it up ‘Do you know how to use it?’ I asked
‘I think so,’ he replied, and continued to pick up some ammo off the dead man and reload it. I took that as a yes, but then Todd shocked me by handing me the policeman’s weapon, saying, ‘it’d be best if we increase the number of people with guns by as many as we can’
‘I don’t know how to use a gun!’ I spluttered
‘I’ll teach you,’ he replied stoically. I was taken back, not only by his blasé approach but at the very idea of using a gun. I knew it would be something I would have to learn in the future, but I had always considered guns to be… bad. They only cause death or pain, and as much as I wanted to protect myself and those around me, it wasn't an idea I could get used to easily.

I couldn't even believe that Todd had killed a man, maybe that was why he was so eagerly teaching me how to shoot and handing me a gun. Even if he knew how to shoot a gun I doubted he had ever shot a man, and I also doubted he was unaffected by his actions today, I knew he should talk to someone but that would have to wait, there were more important matters at hand.

Almost as soon as her wounds were dressed Nicole had leapt off the bed we had put her on and was looking at Simon’s scans. I walked over to her, my new-and unwelcome-weapon in a make-shift holster Todd had made. She noticed me coming over and preempted my question, ‘he’s fine, there are no problems here,’ she paused and we walked away from the scans as she continued, ‘but his fever is worse, I think he’s got an infection’
‘It’s not’- I began, horrified at the thought of having an infected friend to deal with
‘No, I don’t think so, Daphne says he didn't get vaccinated and there was no blood on him besides his own so there is no way he got infected. It’s probably just from the accident and riding around in a Ute, and on a motorbike,’ she looked like she could find a dozen more examples of how he could have got infected so I interrupted her
‘The men took everything, well except some pregnancy tests and tampons but I doubt Simon will have much use for those’
‘You know what this means then’

‘Yeah,’ I paused, hating that I had to say it, ‘we’re gonna need to go to the hospital.’

The Dead Chapter 10

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 10

We had finally gotten the vehicles ready to leave, all our supplies that we didn't keep on our person were loaded onto the back of the Ute along with Monica. Nicole, Brooke, Daniel, Simon, Daphne and I were in the people carrier, Caleb was still on his bike while Todd and Wendy were in the Ute. As we drove along I saw dead bodies along the side of the road as well as in the middle of it, we did our best to avoid them but at one point I had to close my eyes to block out the sickening crunch as we accidentally ran one over. At least these people were too… damaged... to turn. We did see a few deadmen in one of the buildings we drove past but either they didn't notice us or we weren't an enticing enough prize for them to chase us. Meanwhile we were getting closer and closer to the clinic.

As we got closer I turned to Nicole in the seat next to me ‘so what are we looking for?’ I asked
‘Anything that could be useful but primarily painkillers and antibiotics,’ she replied, ‘look for things ending in –mycin. While you guys look for stuff I want to get Simon checked out,’ she continued, turning to Daphne, ‘I’ll need you and Daniels help in getting him there and keeping him calm, I just hope everything there’s still working.’ I hadn't even realised that was a possibility, but the I realised all the car crashes, explosions and destruction I've seen over the last few days and realised it was all too possible. Part of me hated Brooke for putting us in this situation. As I remembered what had happened, I realised that none of us had really discussed it since. I turned to Brooke in the seat in front of me, a little nervous to be approaching a possibly awkward subject. ‘How did the accident happen anyway Brooke?’ I asked, trying to sound nonchalant
‘I lost control,’ Brooke replied, shrugging, ‘I was trying to avoid pedestrians and abandon cars and I swerved then I lost control.’ I could tell she was tense and either she was hiding something or was scared of the memory, but I didn't press the matter. We had arrived at the clinic.

Caleb pulled up into the clinic car park as we approached, with a quick head check he saw that it was clear and waved us forward. But he then stopped and curiously inspected a few cars that were parked irregularly in the car park, there were no bodies or belongings in the cars so we assumed that they didn't belong to people fleeing their homes, the possibility crossed my mind that maybe another group like us was here, this gave me hope, but also fear of the change and new dangers they could bring. Daniel, Daphne, Nicole and Simon entered the pharmacy and quickly headed inside to find the machines, we were all tense but we were careful not to make a sound, we had no idea what threats, alive or dead, awaited us.

I made sure Nicole had found the machines, we were in luck and they were all still working. As Nicole and her group got to work the rest of us found where we could find supplies. Caleb and Wendy went into the offices and began to take equipment that could be useful, I’m sure Nicole could use a stethoscope. The rest of us began to move toward the pharmacy but as we got closer we saw that the shelves were empty. We stopped completely when we heard movement. There were other people in the pharmacy.

I swallowed before I shifted closer, Todd and Brooke behind me, guns at the ready. ‘Hello?’ I called out. A man about Brooke’s age appeared, holding a rifle, these people were clearly better armed. Todd, Brooke and I relaxed slightly knowing that we weren't about to be attacked by the dead. Then several others appeared, similarly armed and aged, some were carrying large, full bags that I assumed held the medication from the pharmacy. ‘Well well well,’ the first man said, smiling slightly but it didn't ease my tension. I didn't trust these people as readily I had trusted Caleb, Brooke and Monica. Maybe it was because of the guns. I had a feeling I shouldn't start off making demands for medicine so instead I simply said, ‘I’m glad to see there are still others alive’ he laughed, short and raspy
‘You can bet there are many more people alive still,’ he said, he hadn't moved since he appeared, his hand still on his rifle
‘Still, it’s a good sight,’ I exaggerated a little. I swallowed before I got to the matter at hand, ‘my friend is hurt, we came here looking for medicine to help him, antibiotics and painkillers’
‘There was plenty of those here,’ he replied, still smiling, a smile that didn't reach his eyes. I looked at the full bags, then at their guns ‘would you be willing to share some?’ I asked hesitantly
‘I’m afraid we can’t do that,’ he replied, no longer smiling. His friends clutched their guns harder, Todd and Brooke did the same.
‘Maybe we can make a deal?’ I asked, no longer hesitating, but backing up a little
‘And what do you have that we don’t’ he asked, gesturing to their guns and medicine. I had to think quickly ‘uh, we have a car parked out front, a people-carrier, a new one’
‘Haven’t you seen all these abandoned cars around?’ he asked, smiling again, ‘I bet I could find ten cars around that I didn't have to trade medicine for.’ I realised there was no way we were getting the medicine without a fight, and there was no way we would win one.

I gestured to Brooke and Todd to back off as I backed away, muttering quietly, ‘alright, I guess you’ll be going then.’ The man began to leave, smiling truthfully now, cocky and arrogant. I clenched my fists, wishing there was something I could do. After all that we have done so far, all that we had accomplished, we were still powerless here. I wasn't thinking about Simon or the others here, I was simply afraid, realizing how vulnerable, and I was angry. Angry at this man for making me feel like this, and at myself for being useless. As I wallowed in my sadness Nicole walked out suddenly from the machine room, not looking up. One of the younger of the strangers turned at her sudden appearance and, already having a tense grip on his gun, fired. Then all hell broke loose.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Dead Chapter 9

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 9

This time we were prepared for them, we got into our vehicles, Wendy, Nicole, Monica, Daniel and me in the 4WD, Caleb on the bike and Todd and Daphne in the Ute, Brooke with Simon in the back. While Simon had shown signs of waking up, he had fallen back asleep, a blessing I thought. I didn't want him freaking out in the middle of an attack. I checked the fuel gauge on the 4WD, we had managed to get it almost full before we left, and hopefully that would be enough to escape from the horde. We began to drive away but the Ute seemed to be dragging its feet, part of me itched to tell Nicole to stop and see what they were doing, but from what I could get from Brooke's posture and expression, this was according to plan. With ear though I wondered whether they were planning to sacrifice themselves to buy us time.

The horde was getting closer to them and us, Nicole and Caleb had obviously also noticed their lack of speed and slowed to see what they were doing. Brooke was now having to fire shots at the front runners of the horde, she seemed a bit more panicked now, and she was beckoning us to keep driving. Nicole kept driving but Caleb turned and began to drive back for them. I rolled down the window, leaned at and yelled as loud as I could back to Caleb, ‘no stop! Come back!’ Caleb stopped and turned around in his seat but he looked confused and conflicted. Brooke seemed to be out bullets and the main section of the horde was now stampeding through the petrol station. Brooke raised her gun and it was then that I realised what her and Todd were planning and I yelled for Caleb to get down as she fired and hit one of the petrol tanks in the station.

The explosion was large and loud and I regretted opening my window, not that it would have made a difference as the shockwave blow out the back window of the 4WD. I shook my head and my hearing returned to normal, I got out of my car and ran towards Caleb who had been knocked off his bike. He was grabbing his arm in pain but otherwise he seemed alright. The plan had worked, the explosion took out a large portion of the horde and blocked off most of the rest. Todd and Brooke, who had recovered the most, were now taking out the incapacitated dead using the axes to conserve ammo, I assumed we had already used most of it. Nicole had also recovered and helped me get Caleb up and was taking a look at his arm, ignore his cries of ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ Wendy walked over and punched Todd in the face sending him sprawling, then screamed ‘you idiot!’ at the top of her lungs, then hugged him.

We spent the night there, using abandoned cars and the wreckage to form a sort of wall around us. Simon had finally woken up and was resting upright in the Ute with Daphne and Nicole watching over him, filling him in on what was going on. I walked over to Caleb who was making sure the bike hadn't been damaged by the explosion. He saw me and nodded but didn't say anything so I started, ‘thanks for today, you were great’
‘No I wasn't’ he replied, not stopping his work, ‘all I did was attracted a horde of zombies then almost get myself killed in an explosion we caused trying to stop them’
‘But you also lead us safely, and you only attracted the horde because we sent you to the hospital,’ I suddenly remembered that we hadn't talked about that yet. ‘What was the hospital like?’ he froze at the question, it took him a few moments to answer. ‘The horde came from there,’ he began, and I hoped that by drawing it away he had increased our chances, but as he went on he dashed my hopes, ‘but that was only a tenth of what was at the hospital.’ I sighed, but it wasn't any different than I expected, Nicole walked over, hearing the end of the conversation. ‘We have to find another way then,’ she said calmly, leaning against one of the cars
‘Does Simon show signs of infection?’ I asked
‘Maybe, he has a slight fever, but once again, I’m not a doctor,’ she stressed that last part
‘But you’re the best we've got,’ Caleb said, finally standing away from the bike, ‘what about a pharmacy? Would that have the medicine we’re looking for?’
‘Possibly,’ Nicole replied, then an idea came to her, ‘there’s a clinic near Fountain Gate that has a pharmacy, but it also might have an MRI or an X-ray machine, something I can use  better assess his injuries.’ I gave her a playful punch on the arm, smiling, ‘who needs a doctor huh?’

We set off the next morning, moving towards the clinic, hoping that it would be clear. Daniel had made the helpful point that any of the original infected would have been brought to the hospital when they began vomiting up blood, so it wasn't likely that we would find newly risen dead there. The previous night Todd and Brooke had taken inventory on our ammo, although once again the question of where Brooke got her knowledge from went unasked. The gun we got of the dead policeman had only two shots left and Brooke’s revolver had only one left. We couldn't afford to get into another fire fight.

We came across another roadblock of abandoned cars, there was no way around that we could risk. We had to leave the Ute and the 4WD, we loaded the semi-conscious Simon on the bike behind Caleb while the rest of us carried the most supplies we could carry and as quietly as we could through the maze of cars. I was both sad and happy to say goodbye to my mother’s car, sad that we had to leave it behind when we had gotten used to it, but happy to leave behind another reminder of a world now gone. Once we got through to a clearer street we found two cars that weren't trapped, had fuel, and still had their keys: a people-carrier and another, newer, Ute. This time however we took Simon and put him in the people carrier, using the back of the Ute for supplies. We were so busy and focused on getting our new set-up prepared we didn't see the other cars driving towards the clinic.

The Dead Chapter 8

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 8

I don’t even remember what I yelled, but I remember yelling. Everyone was suddenly in motion, nobody really knew what the others were doing but they knew what had to be done. I ran to the garage, Brooke and Nicole were already there, getting ready to leave. Brooke had a terrified look on her face but Nicole looked strangely calm, they had loaded all the first aid supplies into the back with Simon and they hopped on as me and Daniel got in the front two seats. As we drove out we saw Todd and Monica carrying supplies out to my mother’s car, Wendy and Daphne were already in the car, calling at them to move faster. The sound of Caleb’s bike was closer now, but I also began to hear the growls and drones of the dead horde behind him.

He broke down the barrier in the fence as he entered our street, barely slowing down as he checked that everyone was ready. We all began to drive out of the street, but more dead, attracted by the noise, began to enter from the house and streets near us as dead began to stream through the hole in the fence. Once again I can’t remember what I said but I know I shouldn't repeat it in polite company. Caleb was in the most danger being at the front and on a bike, but I was also worried about Nicole, Brooke and Simon in the back. But then I heard Brooke say something as she grabbed her bag, ‘don’t worry about us.’ And then she pulled out a revolver we never knew she had from her bag.

I accelerated, swerving around Caleb on his bike and knocked through the line of dead moving towards us, I turned slightly and heard Brooke fire some shots into the ones remaining. I don’t know how many she hit or killed because I couldn't bear to turn around but we had obviously made a gap in their ranks because I saw Caleb’s bike and my mother’s car drive passed me. I began to breathe easier, but my breath stopped all over again as I heard a scream then a gunshot, I span my head around and saw that one of the dead had reach us, grabbed Nicole but Brooke had shot it, straight through the head, almost immediately. I made a mental note to ask her where she got her training later. But there were no time for questions, Nicole banged on the window and yelled, ‘go! Go!’ I drove off before anymore dead could reach us, but I realised with dread that the dead were still chasing us, and the gunshots would only attract more, it wasn't over yet.

We had driven for what seemed like forever, we never came as close to being caught as we were originally, but we could always see the horde chasing us. It had dwindled some, I guessed some of the dead had found other victims or simply gave up, but the majority were still chasing us. Throughout the drive none of us said a word, we were all to tense, but the atmosphere had changed from a panicky fear to a fierce determination to survive, but it was quickly changing again to tired, and desperate. Caleb was at the head, leading us down the roads he felt, or guessed, were safest and clear of deadmen or abandoned cars. My biggest worry however was not running into another wall of dead or a traffic jam, but running out of fuel. We hadn't filled the cars since we found them, I didn't even remember how full they were when we started or what fuel they used but the Ute at least was running low.

I managed to communicate my worries to Nicole, and I accelerated until I was side-by-side with Todd, and then Caleb and she yelled across what was going on, and they shouted back that they had the same concerns. Caleb was now shouting something else, ‘I’ll lead to a petrol station, and we can refuel there’
‘Is that wise?’ Nicole asked, also shouting, ‘won’t they catch up?’ Todd he had moved forward and now the three of us were driving in sync
‘We’ll have some time,’ Todd shouted, ‘me and Brooke will hold them off using the ammo we have, besides, I've got a plan.’ I didn't have time to shout back and see what he was planning as I had to break suddenly to avoid crashing into an abandoned car. I almost broke too much and allowed the horde to reach us but I managed to accelerate just enough to avoid them. We got into a formation with Caleb at the front, the Ute in the middle and the heavier car at the back. Even if she didn't use it before I was now glad my mother drove a 4 wheel drive.

I cursed these small roads, the turns, round-abouts and islands prevented us from gaining much speed. But we soon got onto a main road that by luck wasn't clogged up with cars, we were lucky we were going in the opposite direction that most people were fleeing to. This allowed us to gain some time, which would prove helpful when we stopped. The dead horde were getting further and further away, almost until they were out of sight, but I still knew they were chasing us, the sounds of other survivors had stopped, there were no more people alive in this area to distract them. None that were making any noise anyway.

We pulled into the petrol station and jumped out, everyone went straight into action. Daniel, who apparently knew what fuel the Ute used started filling up the tank as Wendy filled up the 4WD and Caleb was filling up his bike. Even Daphne had forgotten her concern for her boyfriend and helped Monica quickly grab what might be useful from the store inside. As Nicole and I quickly re-bandaged what we could of Simon’s wounds I saw out the corner of my eye Todd and Brooke discussing something. I couldn't hear what they were saying but I guessed it had to do with Todd’s plan, and it was obviously insane judging by Brooke’s reaction. But my attention was brought back to the matter at hand as Simon groaned, I was slightly relieved, at least he was waking up, but I wished we had more time to tend to him instead of ignoring him as we continued preparing.

Todd ran up to me after a short while, talking quickly, ‘Will, listen, I need you to move into the 4WD’
‘What?’ I asked, ‘why? Does this have something to do with your plan?’

‘I don’t have time to explain, I need to be driving the Ute when we leave.’ Against my curious and inquisitive nature I relented and ran over to the 4WD, Todd had obviously become more confident since he ran away from his leadership role. And I was all too happy to let him return to it. Daphne came over and asked how Simon was ‘he’s waking up,’ I answered, but grabbed her when she started to run over to him ‘there isn't time,’ I continued, ‘you can see him later, for now let’s just survive.’ My point was made all the more relevant when Brooke, who was keeping watch, ran over shouting, ‘they’re here they’re here!’ I took a deep breath and prepared myself for what was to come.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Dead Chapter 7

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 7

We waited for Caleb’s return with bated breath, I was sitting in the Ute when Daphne came over to me, tears still marking her face. ‘What are we waiting for?’ she asked quietly and impatiently
‘Caleb went to see how bad the hospital is and whether we can get medicine for Simon there,’ I answered slowly, trying to keep her calm. She made a sound a bit like an impatient sigh and walked away. I tried to block out the sound of people screaming and running and listen for the sound of Caleb’s motorbike, but I was interrupted by Daphne returning, ‘Who is this guy anyway?’
‘Caleb’s… a friend, he’s helped us out,’ I paused, ‘I … trust him, I guess’
‘You guess?’ Daphne had raised her voice, ‘so we don’t even know if this guy’s going to come back but we’re just waiting here like idiots?’ I snapped, all the frustration I had over my situation lashed out at her, ‘look, we don’t have to risk our lives for your boyfriend but we’re going to, and right now no one is at as much risk than Caleb, he’s all alone, so you can either leave and take Simon with you or you can stay’- I calmed down and slowed my voice ‘-and trust us.’ She looked at me, on the brink of tears again and walked away, I regretted what I said but it felt satisfying to let go for once. Nicole came around and sat in the Ute, a knowing expression on her face, ‘did that feel good?’
‘Yes,’ I said guilefully
‘Good,’ she replied. Then she hit me, hard, on the am and left the Ute.

I heard another car crash and a scream, and more people filled the streets as those that were taking their time or were slowing down due to fatigue were invigorated by the sight of several deadmen lumbering towards them. Some saw the hole that Brooke’s car had caused in the fence and used that to flee the crowded streets, unfortunately the dead had seen it too and began pursuing the escaping people. I got out of the car and began to help Todd block the hole with the broken piece of fence. But before we did we let the last few alive people through, those that weren’t tackled to the ground by the dead, we managed to block the hole before the deed got through and with the help of some others we stopped the dead from breaking it all over again. Some of the people that made it through had stopped running and were gasping for breath.

I turned to Todd, ‘you should say something’
‘What?’ Todd replied, shocked, ‘Why?’
‘Well you’re sort of our leader, and some of these people could help, you should ask them to stay’
‘No, Will, no!’ Todd backed away, ‘I’m not your leader, and I’m not saying anything.’ He almost ran back to the cars as Nicole walked over to me, watching Todd walk past her she asked, ‘What’s going on?’
‘Nothing,’ I replied as I jumped on top of Brooke’s crashed car and raised my voice, but only slightly, afraid I might attract more of the dead. ‘Um, excuse me,’ I began, and several people turned to look at me, ‘the hospitals and the police stations aren’t safe, many people will go there and some will be infected, and if they panic there will be a stampede like the one you were just in. Me and my friends don’t have a plan yet but we’re thinking of one, and if any of you think you can keep your head in what’s going on or even if you are willing and able to fight we can use you. We have supplies but not much, we’re considering going to the hospital to get medicine for my friend,’ I looked over at Simon and Brooke in the Ute, ‘so we could sure use all the help we can get. It’s getting late, we’re most likely going to stay the night here, anyone can join us, all you have to do is ask.’ I couldn’t read the expression on their faces, and I didn’t know what to say next so I just ended, ‘um… than-thank you.’ I hopped down off the car as most of the people I addressed left, muttering things like ‘they’re insane’ or ‘idiots’ some just ran, barely even interpreting what I had said. I realised that this was a good thing, anyone who didn’t trust me or couldn’t stay calm and logical would only prove detrimental in the long run.

Eventually there were only two people remaining of the dozen I addressed, but my disappointment was short-lived as I realised I recognised one of them. ‘Daniel!’ I exclaimed, and Wendy and Nicole, hearing me came over and embraced him, although he still seemed quite in shock. I put aside my joy in finding an old friend and walked over to the other new ally. She was a woman around my age, dark-skinned and fit, from the outfit she was wearing I guessed she ran a lot, and was running when the dead attacked, she was wearing a stoic expression on her face. ‘Hi, I’m Will,’ I introduced myself, extending my hand. She took a deep breath and stared at my hand but her facial expression did not change, I assumed she was weighing her options. After a few more deep breaths she shook my hand and said simply, ‘Monica.’ I nodded and we stood there for a few more moments before I turned to Daniel and my jubilation returned, I could tell I wasn’t getting much more out of Monica.

Monica had joined Todd, Daphne and Wendy in my mother’s car while Daniel was catching up with Nicole in the Ute. I hoped Nicole, who had calmed down considerably since we found her, could help Daniel snap out of his stupor. I went and talked with Brooke, curious about our new member ‘so,’ I began, not sure where to start, ‘how old are you?’ she grinned
‘You know it’s rude to ask a woman that,’ she said, but I could tell the smile and humorous remark were hiding her true feelings, she then answered my question, ‘32’
‘Any family?’
‘No’ but I wasn’t sure that was the truth, based on how quickly she answered my question. I realised this was useless, and decided to ask the question I wanted to ask, ‘you don’t have to stay and help you know, you have the same choice Daniel and Monica just made.’ Brooke looked through the Utes back window and at Daniel, who now seemed to be deep in conversation with Nicole. She shook her head, ‘No, I have to stay, I caused this,’ she nodded at Simon, ‘I have to help. Besides, I think you kids are right, you seem intelligent and organised enough, I think I can trust you’
‘Good,’ I said smiling, it was hard not to like this woman. I looked at Simon, changing the subject I went on, ‘when it gets dark, it’ll be too cold to keep him here’
‘Yes I agree,’ Brooke replied nodding, ‘we should take him inside’

‘No,’ I said, stopping her, ‘it’ll be too hard to get moving again in an emergency,’ I thought hard for a few moments, ‘let’s park the Ute in a garage, that should help a bit, and get some clean blankets to keep him warm, that way we can just drive off if we need to.’ Brooked, nodded and we got it set up. Before long everyone had a place to sleep, a few of us in the cars, some in the houses, and always two people on guard. Wendy and I were just about to start our shift when we finally, blessedly, heard the sound of a motorbike, Caleb was coming back. Then my face dropped as I saw through my vantage point a horde of the dead chasing after him.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Dead Chapter 6

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 6

We got back on the road and heading towards Daphne’s, disappointed that we hadn't found Sebastian and worried for him, but empowered by our discovery. The gun however did not make me feel any safer, it was a tool of violence and its presence reminded us of exactly how much our world had changed. But I had no more time to analyse my feelings, as we got closer to Daphne’s the sounds of screams and cars got closer, I remembered that Daphne’s is close to the hospital. Memories of my father’s last moments came flooding back and I paled and shivered. Nicole noticed in the driver’s seat and asked, ‘are you alright?’
‘Fine,’ I said, defensive, but then I sighed, ‘of course I’m not OK  my entire family’s dead-or worse-and yet I've got to get over it and move on, move forward’
‘I know what you mean,’ Nicole’s voice was sad and serious, ‘I don’t even know what’s happened to my family but I have to resist the urge to leave you guys and search for them like a crazy person.’ We both laughed
‘Now that’s something I can see you doing,’ we laughed for a few moments longer before I continued, ‘thanks Nicole, I needed that.’ She smiled back

We finally made it to Daphne’s, the sounds of the chaos so loud now that we were all incredibly on edge. More than we were before anyway. At least we were more successful here than we were before, before we even stopped we saw Daphne and her boyfriend Simon exiting the house and entered their car. They still didn't stop when they saw us pull up and we quickly jumped out of our cars and ran to stop them before they took off. I stood in front of their car and that’s when they saw me, I heard Daphne say in disbelief, ‘Will?’ But the conversation never moved on as an out-of-control car crashed through a fence from the main road behind Daphne’s street and slammed into the side of Daphne’s car. I was thrown to the ground by the impact, I hit my head and blacked out.

                I woke up with a start and sat up, I sat up to fast and blood rushed to my head, adding to the pounding and the pain. I was grateful that I took that leather jacket, as it prevented several potential bad grazes but I had still hit my head and blood ran down the side of my head from a cut on the side of my head. I slowly returned to reality as I heard Nicole’s yells as she rushed towards where I lay, ‘Will! Will!’ As she reached me I slowly turned my head and surveyed the situation. Daphne’s car was trashed, as was the car that crashed into it, but she was standing outside the car, dazed and with what looked like a deep cut on her arm, Todd seemed to be yelling at her but she wasn't looking at him. Caleb and someone I didn't recognize were pulling someone from Daphne’s car, Simon I guessed. I saw through the new hole in the fence people running and screaming, and many abandoned cars filled the road. Wendy joined Nicole with some supplies from our car, when Nicole pressed a bandage with antiseptic onto my wound the stinging pain finally brought me back to reality.

                ‘Ah!’ I exclaimed, pulling away, but Wendy and Nicole grabbed me and held me still. They finally let me go when Nicole had finished bandaging my head
                ‘Are you alright?’ She asked
‘I’ll be fine,’ I said as they helped me up, I was barely listening to a word they said, consumed by worry for my friends. Nicole went over and began helping Todd with Daphne’s injuries. I ran, as best I could with a concussion, over to Caleb as he and the woman pulled Simon from the car, with Wendy running along beside me. Simon was covered in blood and unconscious. ‘Oh my god!’ Daphne had seen Simon, snapped out of it and was now crying hysterically at his side. The woman turned to us, ‘he’s badly hurt’
                ‘We have to get him to a hospital,’ Caleb said
                ‘We can’t,’ the woman said, ‘that’s where everyone is running from,’ she took a deep breath, ‘when the vaccinated people got sick they were taken to the hospital, its overrun.’  Nicole had dressed Daphne’s wound and Todd pulled her away towards the car, Nicole turned to us. ‘Nicole,’ I said, thinking, ‘you’re a med student now right?’ Nicole looked down at Simon’s state and backed away
                ‘No no no,’ she said scared, ‘this is way beyond first aid, Will’
                ‘Well we can’t go to the hospital, we have to do something now,’ I turned to Caleb, ‘go get the supplies from the Ute.’ I grabbed Nicole’s hands and looked her in the eyes, ‘you can do this, I have first aid training, I can help’ the woman took of her jacket and knelt beside Simon
                ‘Me too,’ she said
                ‘Who are you anyway?’
                ‘Brooke, I’m a store manager at K-mart. I-I was the driver of the other car,’ she looked ashamed at the last part
                ‘Are you hurt?’
                ‘No I’m fine.’ Caleb returned with the supplies and we turned to Nicole who still looked distressed and she looked over to Daphne, still crying in the car. She knelt down with us and got to work.

                After a while and using up half of our supplies we felt comfortable moving him. Todd and Caleb had made a stretcher which we used to load him into the back of the Ute, Nicole and Brooke joined him ‘we’ll take care of him,’ Nicole told me, ‘but he’ll need antibiotics, which we don’t have’
                ‘Let’s just see what happens before we make any decisions,’ Todd said
‘No Todd, even if he doesn't need antibiotics he should have them, and we’ll need them sooner or later, we should go to the hospital’

‘I’ll think about it.’ Caleb had found a working motorbike and went to find out the state of the hospital while Todd, Wendy and I discussed our plans. Eventually we decided Nicole was right, we had to go the hospital, but I held my reservations, but I think they may have been less concern for the safety of the group and more fear of what I would discover there.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Dead Chapter 5

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 5

As it turns at no one got any sleep that night, whether we were too on edge or afraid our nightmares would be worse than reality, we all stayed awake. At one point around 3 am I jumped at the sound of a siren in the distance. After the fear subsided I was strangely comforted, at least it was a sign that there were more people alive out there. When I turned I saw Todd, Wendy and Nicole sitting around a lamp silently. I got up and joined them, Nicole looked at me as I sat ‘I’ve decided to come with you,’ she said, I could tell from her tone she had calmed down and made up her mind, ‘it’s the best chance I have to find my family’
‘You don’t think they’ll come back?’ I asked, while I wanted Nicole to join us, I didn’t want her to lose her family
‘No, if they thought they’d find me here they would have stayed. I think they would have gone to the police.’ I nodded slowly, it made sense, but it didn’t make things easier ‘but they’re probably not still there,’ I said, trying to play out the scenario in my mind, ‘a large group of people like that, either someone you tell them where to go-the government probably-or they would panic and start running again, especially if they saw one of the dead’
‘But still,’ Nicole tried to smile, her strength had returned, ‘if we keep moving we have a greater chance of finding them than if we stayed in one spot.’ I smiled at her, enjoying the optimism.

We sat for a while in silence, until Wendy began to rub her head. ‘Are you alright?’ Todd said as he moved closer to her
‘I’m fine, just a headache,’ Wendy replied
‘It’s probably because you haven’t had any sleep,’ I told her, ‘or from when you fainted, I’ll go see if Caleb found any ibuprofen or paracetamol.’ I left and went into the room where Caleb had left everything he had found so far. There were clothes, heavy things to use as weapons, and some medicine, mainly painkillers but there were also some bandages that may prove useful. I got two pills out of one of the bottles, but paused before I left the room seeing a leather jacket on top of the pile. I smiled slightly, I had always wanted one, but I never had much money and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. Well it’s not like I’ll get many more chances I thought to myself.

I walked back into the room where Wendy and the others were waiting. When I gave Wendy the pills she quickly swallowed them, stood, then said, ‘I’m going to try and rest.’ Nicole stood too and followed her. Todd looked at me, noticing my new apparel, he smiled as he said, ‘nice jacket’
‘Shut up,’ I replied and smiled, embarrassed. We sat for a few moments as our smiles slowly left our faces. I took a deep breath, gathered my courage and said, ‘we have to go to the police station’
‘We can’t,’ replied Todd almost before I’d finished, he knew what was coming
‘What are we doing Todd? Do you know cause I don’t! The police have weapons and by now they must have some form of plan’
‘How do know that? Do you think they saw this coming? No one did! You were right Will we have to find people we trust. Do you think that if you or I were about to be attacked strangers would risk their lives to save us? We can’t be sure of that but we can be sure that people like Wendy, Nicole and YOU would!’ by this time the others had heard our fighting and come to see what was wrong. But none of us had said anything to stop Todd because instead of his words making us panic, they brought us hope. Hope that what we were doing was right.

Nicole finally walked over to us and asked, ‘so where are we going next?’
‘Daphne’s house is the closest,’ Wendy replied, walking over to where they had mapped out all our friends’ houses
‘No,’ I said, standing up, ‘A friend of mine and Nicole’s lives closer, in between here and Daphne’s’
‘Sebastian,’ Nicole said, remembering
‘Alright,’ said Todd, gathering up the maps, ‘that’s where we’re going next.’ And with that Todd simply became the leader, although I doubt he even realised what had just happened but we all recognised it. Caleb and I sorted out what was useful from the scavenged pile and loaded it into the car. We had silently and unanimously decided we were leaving now. Nicole and I were in the car that Caleb had found, a Ute, while Wendy, Todd and Caleb took my mother’s car. I didn’t want to go near it anymore.

The drive to Sebastian’s was mostly quiet, but we did occasionally hear a crash, siren or scream in the distance, those few reminders that we were not alone became less and less scary as time went by. And that scared me. We began to turn into Sebastian’s street, but any hopes I had of finding my friends with their families unharmed and with a large pile of weapons had been left at Nicole’s. And they became even further impossible as we searched Sebastian’s house and surroundings but found no sign of him, his family or anything. Until Caleb, Nicole and I entered his backyard and found a deadwoman feasting on a fresh kill.

It hadn’t noticed us yet, but still none of us moved for fear it would hear us. But then Wendy come out of the other door, not noticing our situation, ‘so we didn’t find anything but’-her words cut short as she saw the deadman. But it was too late as the deadwoman began to run with great speed toward the closest of us. Me. I swung the pole I was still using and hit her in the shoulder with the heavy end, knocking her to the ground. Caleb lifted and swung his axe, burying it into her head. Todd came out from the house, hearing the commotion, ‘Holy crap,’ was all he could say
‘Let’s get out of here,’ said Nicole solemnly, turning away
‘Wait,’ I stopped her, ‘that guy the…uh… victim. He’s a police officer’
‘So what?’ Wendy asked
‘So,’ I explained, walking toward the victim, ‘he should have a weapon’
‘A gun,’ Todd said, realising. I hated doing this, knowing it would give me nightmares for years to come, but I searched the mangled corpse and found what we had been hoping for, a gun. ‘So, uh,’ I started, holding it up awkwardly, ‘does anyone know how to use one of these?’ I looked around no one responded. Until Todd stepped forward hesitantly, ‘I-I might.’ I was all too eager to hand it over, knowing that however useful they could be in this situation, they’re also dangerous. Todd studied it for a few moments before doing something with it, checking it works I guessed. Todd walked over to the corpse and grabbed a holster and something else from it, he held up the other item, ‘ammo,’ he explained. None of us cared that it was only one gun or that it could cause more trouble than it was worth, it was a symbol of hope and progress. As well as one of power.

The Dead Chapter 4

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 4

My heart stopped when Wendy was attacked. It may not have been smart but I had trusted all of my hope on my friends, in a second that hope was shattered as the dead gripped Wendy and went to bite her. Time stood still as I reached for her, but I was too far away. Then time rushed back into motion as the deadman's head exploded as Todd emerged from the house and reacted faster than I thought possible. Wendy was safe for now but we all stood for several silent moments, Todd and Wendy covered in blood and me wearing the dried remains of my previous kill. And the deadman hanging from Wendy’s leg which he still had in a death-like grip.

We were snapped out of our horror by Caleb emerging from an abandoned house shouting, ‘what happened? I heard’-he stopped as he say the scene and began to retch, moving behind a car to throw up. Todd was the first of us to speak, ‘we gotta get that off of you,’ and he went to pull the corpse’s hand off of her
‘Wait,’ I managed to get out before he acted, ‘their strong and Wendy’s covered in blood, if you break her skin, she might be infected’
‘Right, right,’ Todd still looked shocked. We stood there for a few more seconds, Caleb emerging from his hiding spot and me scratching my head trying to come up with something smart. But Wendy finally got fed up and with a perfectly calm expression turned to Todd and said, ‘give me the axe’
‘What?’ Todd looked as though he just remembered he was still holding the blood-soaked axe
‘Give me the axe!’ Wendy said in an increasingly louder voice. Todd handed Wendy the axe trying to not look and the corpse. Then before any of us could stop her Wendy swung the axe and cut the deadman's arm of at the mid-forearm. Caleb, Todd and I stood stupefied as Wendy, with no change of expression hopped off the bonnet, the corpse falling to the ground, pealed the hand off her leg and threw it beside the corpse. ‘Good,’ she said looking at us, ‘was that so hard?’ then she fainted.

We drove on, Caleb driving (he at least had a license), Todd in the back cradling Wendy’s head and me in the passenger seat. ‘So where are we going now?’ Caleb asked, stopping at an intersection. That’s the million dollar question, I thought, should I keep going on my previous plan? To gather people I trust and want to protect? Is that really the best thing to do? Right now we were just 4 people in their early twenties, one unconscious, armed only with a pole and two axes. At least I got a change of clothes and some spares for Todd and Wendy. ‘Will?’ Caleb was staring at me. For some reason he trusts me, I have to make a decision fast. ‘We’re going to Nicole’s,’ I finally answered, ‘she’s a good friend of ours, her family lives around here right Todd?’ I turned to look at him back he was still staring at Wendy. I called again, ‘Todd?’ He finally hears me and looks up, although he still looks out of it
‘Um, yeah, sure,’ Todd shakes his head, looking more focused, ‘yeah just left up here.’

With Todd’s help we make it to Nicole’s street without seeing any dead. We didn't see any of the living either. I don’t know whether this made me more confident or more afraid. As we approached her house I was almost given a heart attack as Todd shouted suddenly, ‘stop! Stop!’ Caleb stopped the car, we turned and saw that Wendy was finally waking up. I got out of the car and helped Todd put Wendy on the ground as she started to open her eyes. ‘Wendy, are you okay?’ Todd asked, Wendy propped herself up and looked around
‘Where are we?’ she asked, still out of it, ‘What happened?’
‘You fainted remember? We’re at Nicole’s.’ Wendy suddenly remembered what happened and what was going on, ‘Is she alright?’ But then I saw a sight that broke my heart. I had always loved Nicole’s family, they always seemed closer, happier and friendlier than mine, so to see the door to their family home broken down made any illusion I had of the world returning to normal disappear.

‘Oh no,’ was all I could say, Todd and Wendy stood up and followed my gaze, Todd just stared but Wendy gasped and put her hands to her mouth. Caleb checked out the others houses as the three of us approached the house slowly, not wanting to see but knowing we would have to check. But all our inhibitions and hesitations went out the window as we heard a quiet crying sound coming from inside the house. I almost re-broke the door as I hastily made my way into the house, and though it wasn't what I had hoped to see it was what I didn't see that made me smile. No blood, no bodies, just Nicole sitting in the middle of the living room, crying. The house became eerily grey as the sun began to set, I walked up to Nicole and put my hand on her shoulder. She jumped at the touch and span around, but then hugged me fiercely and began crying all over again.

It was getting late so we decided to stay the night at Nicole’s and plan what to do next. Todd and Wendy had found a map and were mapping out were they could go next, Caleb was still scavenging from other houses. I think he still felt uncomfortable here, but I couldn't blame him, he didn't know us and it’s not like our situation inspires trust. When Nicole calmed down, which was relatively fast for the amount of crying the situation should require, I asked her what had happened, ‘where is your family?’ she was on the brink of tears again
‘I don’t know,’ she replied, I had never seen her like this, ‘I was coming home from work when I heard what was happening, I got a call from my dad but when I picked up no one was there. I came home and the door was broken, no one was home, and I found this.’ Nicole opened her hands and I saw a phone in  her hands, I assumed it was her dad’s. I took a deep breath and put my worries and questions out of my mind, I had to focus, ‘The four of us are going to try and gather as many people as we know or find that can help us, are you going to come with us?’ She paused, looking at me with her mouth half open
‘I don’t know,’ she replied her breathing returning to normal, ‘I’ll think about it, I’m not sure I want to leave here’
‘Alright,’ I stood, ‘we’re staying here for the night, we can talk more in the morning.’ Caleb returned with a large pile of possibly useful clothes, bags and medicines as well as the keys for another car. He, Todd and I decided on a watch schedule. Caleb took the first shift and I settled down and waited till my shift. I wasn't getting any sleep tonight.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Dead Chapter 3

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 3

I started the car and left the driveway, and that was when the chaos started. I found out later that there was a news broadcast over the television and radio, some people stayed in their homes and waited to be told what to do, others got into their cars and drove, mostly to the police station or hospital. Others just ran, the worst of it were those that had recently had vaccinations, the reporters had figured out the pattern but I’m not sure it helped calm anyone. I had to stop the car several times or risk running over people in the street or crashing into other cars. I considered leaving and continuing on foot but I realised that even in a stationary car I am safer than if I were outside. I even surprised myself by how calmly I was approaching the situation, I guess the past few hours have really made the reality sink in. I swore to myself I would never panic or freeze again. I was kidding myself.

Just as quick as it started the chaos dissipated, all the people who had left their homes had left the area, although I could still hear the commotion, I couldn’t see it. This allowed me to pick up the speed about, and just when I felt confident enough to start really moving, I screeched to a halt again as a man about my age leapt in front of my, screaming, ‘let me in quick!’ I didn’t have time to weigh my options or make up my mind, it was either let him in or watch him die as I saw three of the dead approach from behind him. I opened the door and almost took off before he jumped in. I saw the dead come closer and rage filled me again, tempting me to run them over. I took a deep breath and allowed myself to reason, I should crash the car before I left the street simply to sate my anger. I drove on past them.

The man turned to me as we left the street, for the first time noticing the state of my clothes, ‘what happened to you?’
‘What do you think?’ I replied, I may be proud of my achievement but I don’t take pleasure in reliving it
‘Were you bitten?’ he asked quietly
‘What? Why would you ask that?’
‘The news report, didn't you hear it?’ I looked at him questioningly as he continued, ‘The infection i-it is transferred through bodily fluids, like saliva… or blood.’ I had a momentary panic, I was covered in the dead man’s blood, had I been infected? No I couldn't have been, I didn't scratch myself when I fell or get bitten so there is no way anything got into my system. ‘No,’ I finally answered, ‘I wasn't infected, but to be on the safe side I should probably find new clothes. I’m Will by the way’
‘Caleb,’ he answered, I could tell by his tone he didn't trust my answer, but he quickly hid his suspicions with another question, ‘Where are you going? The police station?’
‘No, everybody will be going there we should probably avoid large groups of people, it would only take one dead, zombie, whatever to start a riot. Plus the more people there are, the more chance that one of them is infected.’ He looked at me weirdly again, ‘zombies. It sounds so insane, I can’t even say it without sounding crazy, how are you so calm?’
‘I have no idea,’ I sad with a nervous laugh, ‘I just am, I guess I have to be, and if it helps I've been calling them “the dead” so maybe that’ll help’
‘It’s just so insane!’ he took a breath, ‘I gotta calm down.’ After a few more breaths he spoke again, ‘so if we’re not going to the police station, where are we going?’
‘A friend’s,’ I replied, now not feeling so sure of my decision, ‘he can help, he was probably better prepared than I am’
‘How could you prepare for this?’
‘Well I don’t mean he was intentionally preparing, maybe equipped would be a better word.’

We were getting closer now, I started to see more people on the streets, as well as more cars. Unfortunately this meant more traffic, and just as I was about to get off the main roads the traffic grinded to a halt. ‘Great,’ I said, taking my hands off the wheel, ‘now what?’ We sat in silence for about ten minutes barely moving while people carrying children, possessions, even pets, weaved their way through the cars. ‘Maybe we’d be better off walking,’ Caleb suggested
‘No, what if a deadman was in between those cars?’ I replied , ‘there’d be nowhere to run’
‘I guess… it just seems like we’re sitting here doing nothing. Plus I think your clothes are starting to smell’ he said, wrinkling his nose
‘Um,’ I had forgotten about this, ‘that’s not my clothes’
‘What is it then?’
‘It’s the dead deadman in the boot.’ Caleb had to take a few breaths, his eyes closed as he said through close teeth, ‘why have you got one of those THINGS in the boot?’
‘This was before the news broadcast, I had to prove to my friend that I wasn’t playing a prank on him.’ Caleb sighed again, ‘whatever’ I think he, too, was beginning to accept the situation. Good. I can’t trust someone unless they’re prepared to do whatever’s necessary. When did I become so serious? At least I wouldn’t through him out if he didn’t accept it. I realised I was having a conversation with myself. I think I’m becoming unhinged.

‘That’s it,’ I say, suddenly turning the wheel and accelerating, driving onto the footpath and knocking over mailboxes. At least the footpaths were now clear as the people on foot got closer to wherever they decided was safe. Caleb had grabbed anything he could would onto in the care, too scared to say anything. As I finally got to the end of the main road I was able to turn onto the street I wanted to, which was thankfully clear. It wasn’t until now that I started to worry whether or not Todd and Wendy would still be home when I got there. What if they had decided to run? I may never find them. I was broken out of my thoughts by a shout from Caleb who had finally regained his voice, ’you’re insane!’
‘It worked didn’t it’ half angry half exhilarated from breaking such a basic recognized rule, ‘and it’s not like anyone’s going to be using their mailboxes now anyway.’ Caleb made a strange tutting sound and shook his head, I guess he hadn’t accepted the situation as much as I thought he had.

We finally made it to Todd’s and I was amazed to see them simply standing outside their house with slightly confused looks on their faces. As I got out of the car their faces became even more confused. ‘Will?’ Wendy asked smiling, ‘When did you get your license’
‘Do you know what’s going on,’ Todd asked me, ‘we heard screaming and cars but when we came out there was no one here.’ I stared at them incredulously, how could they not know what’s going on? ‘Haven’t you guys been listening to the radio or watching TV?’ I asked them
‘Um… no,’ Todd looked sheepish, ‘we’ve been… busy’
‘Ugh,’ I replied, ever since they got their own place a month ago it’d been like this, ‘it’s like I told you over the phone, the dead are rising’
‘Yeah right Will,’ Wendy replied humorously
‘No he’s right,’ Caleb said exiting the car
‘Who’s this?’ Todd asked
‘Caleb, I guess I’m with Will? He saved my life’
‘Look,’ I said, fed up, ‘come with me I can prove it to you,’ I led them around the car and opened the boot. The smell hit them like a train and they instantly backed away, but when they realised what it was they moved closer, unwilling to believe. ‘And there are more like them,’ explained Caleb, ‘everyone who got the most recent flu vaccination was infected and they’re infecting others,’ he paused, ‘did you…’
‘No,’ Todd replied, gaining his composure before Wendy, ‘we-we never got vaccinated, we didn’t even know there was one available.’

After explaining my plan to gather people we trust and find a way to survive they quickly agreed to join. Todd went inside to get something to fight with as Caleb looked around for some supplies like clothes. Wendy sat down next to me, ‘so you killed that one in the boot?’
‘Yeah,’ I replied quietly, I was fiddling with my pole-weapon, ‘this actually helped’
‘Are you alright?’
‘I’m not infected if that’s what you mean’
‘Come on Will, you know that’s not what I mean,’ She moved so I was looking at her, ‘I know you, you’ve never even been in a fight before, are you really okay with what happened?’
‘I didn’t have a choice okay?’ I was frustrated now, ‘besides, it’s not alive anymore it was dead, I saw it kill someone right outside my house.’ Wendy frowned and sat on the car bonnet, ‘alright, but if you ever want to talk’-
‘No, listen’-
‘No, Wendy look out!’ But it was too late the deadman approaching grabbed her arm and went in to bite.