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?

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.

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