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?

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.

The Dead Chapter 16

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 16

Nobody said much the next morning, everyone was too preoccupied preparing for the hospital, and trying to convince ourselves that we had a chance. Caleb at least seemed slightly calmer than last night, but as I began to think about the task that lay before us I started to wonder whether or not I had made him any safer by not sending him on the distraction mission. I also began to question my motivations for coming with them. Simon was a friend, but I wasn't sure I was ready to risk life and limb for him. I remember thinking about my family, I knew my sister was one of the dead, if somebody hadn't already killed her, and my mother was either dead or infected, if what I knew was true. I wasn't sure about my father, but I knew it was unlikely he was alive. So why was I doing this?

I couldn’t answer that question, I don’t know if I ever could, but I didn’t have the chance to find out because Todd came over and interrupted my thoughts, a solemn expression on his face. ‘Well, I guess it’s now or never,’ he said, trying to sound unafraid, it wasn’t working
‘You don’t have to do this you know,’ I said, my fear for my friend overcoming my fear for Caleb’s state of mind
‘Yeah…  Yeah I do.’ He walked over towards the bike, grabbing a helmet as he did, his rifle slung over his shoulder. We had considered switching guns, the handgun being the better choice for someone on a bike, but there wasn’t enough time to teach anyone to use a rifle or the handgun and I couldn’t drive a car let alone a motorbike. As he sat on the bike and began to put on his helmet Wendy came over and stopped him, she had been scarce since our decision the night before, but I couldn’t blame her. She leaned in close and kissed him, barely pulling away enough to whisper, ‘come back to me okay?’
‘I will,’ Todd replied, smiling, but the smile disappeared, ‘I promise’
‘Good luck,’ I told him. Wendy stepped back, reluctantly letting go of his hand. Todd put on the helmet and drove away. We started to get ready to leave when we heard two shots from the direction of the hospital. There was no turning back now.

Monica had found some binoculars in one of the abandoned cars that morning, using them we were able to see that Todd’s plan had worked, most of the zombies from the front of the hospital had disappeared. I remembered the amount of the dead that were there before and started to breath heavily at the thought of them chasing my friend, but I couldn’t freak out now. The Ute was ready and Monica and Wendy got into the front of the Ute while Caleb and I were sitting in the back. The plan from here on was to drive slowly and quietly towards the ambulance bay, quietly killing any of the dead that approached us. This was the part I was most afraid of, if there were more of the dead than anticipated, or we made to much noise and alert the ones inside then we could be overrun before we could do anything about it. But there was no time for changes or alterations, this was happening now.

We drove slowly around the wall of abandoned cars in front of the hospital. Caleb and I were ducking below the wooden walls we had added, we didn’t want to give any dead an excuse to attack us. I heard every noise the car was making, every time the engine noise got slightly louder or we drove over some rocks or rubbish I worried we had made to much sound and expected hundreds of the dead to suddenly leap on top of us. Caleb and my breathing sounded as loud as gale force winds. I tried to calm myself and slow my breathing, but there was nothing I could do the fear was so intense. Finally I saw the cover of the ambulance bay appear overhead. But as the Ute turned to park I saw the deadmen that had seen us and were lumbering towards us.

There were four of them, and most of them were intact except one had half of its face hanging off as if it had been dragged along the road. They were still moving quite slowly, I don’t think they realised what they had found, the smell and the sight of living flesh hadn’t reached them yet. All they noticed was the movement. Caleb was the first to gather himself and exit the Ute, breathing heavily but still careful to make little noise. He crept up to the nearest deadman who had begun to groan and pick up speed as he got closer. The Ute stopped and Wendy, Monica and I also got out of the Ute as Caleb swung his axe with a large amount of force and almost sliced the man’s head in two. I walked up to one, a woman wearing a patient’s gown which was thankfully still intact but covered in blood, and swung my weapon. She fell to the ground but continued to move until I used the pointed end to break open her skull. I looked up and saw that Monica had finished of what used to be a doctor with her axe. But what surprised was when Wendy pulled out a large kitchen knife and stabbed it into a suited deadman’s temple. I think out of all of us Wendy had become the most adjusted and accepting of the new gruesome world we were in, or the most determined to survive.

Even with the violent manner of our attack we managed to avoid getting much blood on us. The last thing we needed now was for one of us to become infected. We still weren’t sure whether or not Monica had been infected from her encounter on the main road, although she had shown no signs of fever or illness, and we were checking regularly. We were grateful to find that the remaining dead outside remained oblivious to our presence and there were no ambulances blocking the entrance, I assumed they had all been dispatched when people everyone began vomiting blood. We were also grateful when we found to the side of the large double doors was a fire exit map, which clearly showed the location of the pharmacy. The good news was it was on the first floor, and relatively close to our location, the issue was it was in a large area for people to wait, with large glass windows big enough for a deadman to get through. I hoped there were curtains or something to stop any of the dead from seeing inside. My worry was that the seating area was going to be filled with the dead, effectively making access to the pharmacy impossible. But we wouldn’t know that until we entered. We had no choice but to plan for all outcomes, but I knew there was no way this would be easy.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Dead Chapter 15

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 15

We were now on the street of the hospital, we had left the vehicles a while back and Caleb, Todd and I went scouting. The street from our position forwards was full of the dead, in higher concentration than I’d even seen them. It occurred to me that I had never once wondered what the dead do when they’re not chasing the living. Now I had the chance to see for myself. They were simply stumbling about, none of them had a real destination but they were all moving in one direction or another. I started thinking about the questions we had never asked, the things we had just assumed were the same as zombie films or things we just didn't think about, like did they communicate? Was there a plan behind this?

I began to think about the science of it all. This disease was transmitted through a flu vaccine, it could be a mutation but of every batch? And such a radical, specific change? We couldn’t even be sure it was a virus, it could be anything, a parasite, a fungal infection, bacteria. I knew a little of diseases, but I was learning how to teach high school chemistry, Nicole would be better suited to answer these questions. If she could. But there was no more time to ponder the dead’s origins. Todd and Caleb had figured out the best way to lead the horde away from the ambulance bay, and it was time to head back.

‘Wait,’ I said, an idea suddenly in my mind
‘What is it?’ asked Todd quietly, afraid it was about the dead
‘At least one of us should stay here for the night.’ Todd looked at me like I was insane, and Caleb was no different. ‘Are you crazy?’ Caleb asked, ‘what the hell for?’
‘What do we know about these zombies? Nothing! All our facts up until know are taken from zombie films,’ although I didn’t want to stay here a second longer I knew it was our best chance. I swallowed before continuing, ‘we need to know what happens at night, do they sleep? Do they leave? Do their numbers increase or change at all?’
‘What and you’re going to stay here all night to find out?’ Todd asked, still not receptive to my idea
‘You guys can do whatever you want,’ Caleb said, standing and backing away, ‘I’m not staying here any longer than I have to.’ Todd and I stared after him as he ran back down the street, Todd breathed deeply before relenting, ‘I’ll take first watch then.’ I smiled, but I knew it gave him no comfort. I was glad to have some time tonight to talk to Caleb, something in what he said and the way he said it told me there was more going on here.

 He was sitting a little away from the cars, almost curled into a ball and covered in a blanket when I found him and sat down next to him. ‘Are you alright?’ I asked, not looking at him and trying not to be confrontational
‘I’m sorry about how I acted back there,’ he said almost ashamed, ‘I hate’-he stressed that word-‘letting my fear get the better of me’
‘I’d be very impressed if you didn’t,’ I almost laughed
‘When you found me-when you saved my life-it was the most terrifying experience of my life, or so I thought,’ he looked up and smiled, tears in his eyes, ‘but after everything we’ve been through, at the clinic, with that mob on the road. I can’t say that anymore,’ he muttered the last, ‘I am so grateful, to all of you, for what you’ve done for me, I’d never have made it this far on my own. And I doubt that there is another group out there with your…’ he paused slightly, ‘loyalty, and determination. When Simon got sick my first instinct was to leave, let him die… but you and the others never even thought of that,’ he held up a hand to stop me before I confessed that I did, ‘or at least you never considered it as a real option.’ There was a long paused as we sat in silence. Once again I was astounded by the silence that had seemed to takeover now that the traffic and the people had disappeared. That silence was broken when Caleb began to speak again, ‘you people are amazing, and I have such respect and gratitude for you,’ he turned to look me straight in my eyes, ‘but I don’t want to die for you.’ I knew what I should say, you won’t die, we wouldn’t ask you to die, but they wouldn’t come out, because I couldn’t promise that.

I was almost grateful when Todd returned, allowing me to leave this awkward and depressing conversation, although I knew I would be thinking about it all night.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to stay up all night spitting distance from a horde of the dead. Todd had come back with information, and it wasn’t good. ‘The population of the dead outside the hospital does decrease over the night,’ he began, raising my hopes, ‘but that is because they head inside, it would be impossible to enter the hospital with that many deadmen inside’
‘Why would they head inside?’ Wendy asked, ‘surely they would want to leave the hospital, everyone there is dead’
‘Heat,’ Monica answered, shocking everyone with the sureness of her answer, ‘heat is one of the signs of life, they’d look for it, and it’s hotter inside than outside especially at night.’ I was impressed with the logic behind her answer, but then a horrible thought came to the surface, ‘but then… when we get to the hospital, even if the horde outside is gone, every deadman in the hospital will came towards the heat of us, and the Ute.’ I could see everyone’s faces fall even lower than before, Todd snapped out of it first, hoping to give us some semblance of hope, ‘look, it’ll be easier to deal with the dead inside, especially if they’re on other floors. As soon as we enter the building, we find the pharmacy, then we lock and barricade all doors and block all corridors leading there, that should buy us enough time right?’ It was a good plan, I just wasn’t sure that it was that good.

Todd continued, ‘but that all depends on us getting inside,’ he looked at Caleb, ‘so it’s all on you then, to drive away the dead outside.’ I jumped in before anyone could say everything else as Caleb had a terrified look on his face, ‘no, you do it,’ was all I could come up with
‘What?’ Todd was shocked, ‘we planned this ages ago Will’

‘Well…’ I had more time to think now, ‘you came up with this plan right? You’ve probably got the best chance of escaping the dead and coming back.’ Wendy had come over and was holding Todd’s arm as everyone looked at me weirdly, but I was babbling now and I couldn’t stop, ‘besides, Caleb’s stronger than you, and would be better at… moving heavy stuff?’ my logic and thinking had completely left me now, I had no idea what the others would say. ‘Okay,’ Todd shocked me, ‘I’ll do it.’ Todd looked determined, so I didn’t say anymore, I just wondered what I had signed my friend up for. Wendy looked scared, and whenever she looked at me a saw a look I don’t usually see on her face: anger. Caleb, however was relieved, and I was pleased. For a brief moment I had a feeling that everything would be okay. I was an idiot.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Dead Chapter 14

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 14

We had no choice but to keep driving, full speed ahead. We were lucky in that the shape of the Ute and its height meant that few, if any, of the dead would do much damage to the car when we hit them. It wouldn't, however, stop them from attack the three of us on the back, or pulling us off the car. We knelt down and gripped onto the sides as the Ute gained speed, hurtling towards the mass of the dead stampeding towards us. As I braced for impact I could see those dead that came from the traffic jam getting further and further away. We hit the front line of the mob, the Ute lost a large amount of speed but kept going, throwing deadmen in every direction. The impact shook the Ute and I almost lost my grip but I managed to hang on. Monica wasn't so lucky.

She fell off the back, several of the dead that were chasing us only a few metres away. Wendy had seen what had happened, called to Todd and he stopped the car. Caleb and I went to help her, but one of the dead had reached us and began trying to climb over the side. As Caleb stayed and struggled to keep the Ute safe from the dead I jumped off and ran to Monica. She was already pulling herself of the floor when I reached her and pulled her to her feet. I heard the Ute’s engine and turned to see they were driving to get away from the swarming mob. At first I feared they would leave us, but then they began to turn in a large circle, keeping a distance between them and the dead, but coming back for us. It was then I knew I had made the right decision, surrounding myself with friends, I wouldn’t trust a stranger to come back. We had gotten lucky when Monica, Caleb and Brooke had joined us, but if our encounter at the clinic had shown us anything, it’s that Todd’s ‘wolves’ definitely can and do exist.

But due to the wideness of the Ute’s turn, that gave the deadmen from the traffic jam plenty of time to catch up with us. Monica bent and picked up her axe and swung it at the first deadman. She hit it square in the face and it fell but the axe was stuck fast and there was another behind it. I tried to get there but in my way was what used to be an old woman. By the time I had smashed her head in, which is a psychological trauma I know I’m going to have to deal with later, the next deadman had knocked her to the ground and was fighting with her, and I was still too far away to help. Before I had even thought the idea my body reacted, pulling my gun out of its holster, raised it and fired.

Monica screamed when the gun went off and the deadman collapsed on her, covering her in blood and brain matter. I realised that I should have aimed for a different area, and I hoped to god that she wasn’t infected, even though with all that she had gone through it would be a miracle if she didn’t have on open wound or even a scrape. The thought crossed my mind that if she was infected we should leave her behind, but then I remembered the feeling I had when the Ute began to drive away, I wouldn’t want to wish that on anyone, even if they were only an infected stranger. I ran over as she pushed the deadman’s corpse off of her. By this time the Ute was close but so were the dead horde. I ran faster than I’ve ever ran, I wasn’t sure we were going to make it, but just as a deadman reached for me, Caleb reached me first, pulling us onto the Ute.

Monica cleaned herself up, she found several scrapes, but none were bleeding. But we still couldn’t relax, we didn’t know how this worked, simply having broken skin in contact with infected blood could be enough. None of us mentioned it though, we all already knew what each other were thinking, and none of us needed, or wanted, to say it. Caleb had found another bike with some fuel in it. We decided to stop for the night when we found a group of cars that we could siphon fuel from. Once again we parked the Ute and the bike in a nearby garage and took shifts, although it was more difficult now that there were less of us, each of us would get less sleep. Not that we did much sleeping anyway.

As we sat around a fire Todd had made I considered Monica. She still hadn’t talked much since we met her, but she was strong and helpful, and from what I could gather, intelligent. After thinking about what happened at the clinic and today I realised just how much of a risk she took joining us. Caleb was running from deadmen, Brooke had crashed into Daphne and Simon, but Monica was given a choice. If we were different people, like those at the clinic, she would have put herself in potential danger. Not that those marauders would have asked her to join them anyway. I wondered how many other groups were out there, how big they are, whether they are in a worse or better position than we were. And whether we would ever meet one that could work with us. I wondered about the benefits and repercussions to raising our number, more people would increase our chance at defending ourselves, but would also make us better targets. Also, more people require more food, and as the days past and electricity fails finding fresh, healthy food in random houses will become harder and harder.

The next morning we delayed our task even more by making modifications to the Ute. We used a large wooden board we had found along with tools inside a shed to block the broken window. We also used other wooden planks to extend the walls of the back, try to make it harder for the dead to climb over the sides. It was shoddy work. Wendy, Monica and I only had year 7 technologies experience, and Todd and Caleb had little more. But it was a simple task and eventually it was finished, making me feel a bit more confident at our chances. We left our campsite, driving on, and with clear directions. It wouldn’t take us even half a day to reach the hospital. I just wondered how long it would be until we returned, and how many of us would be left.