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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Haven Chapter 2

Book 2: Haven

Chapter 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Haven Chapter 1

Book 2: Haven

Chapter 1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Dead Final Chapter (24)

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dead Chapter 23

Book 1: The Dead

Chapter 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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