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?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Haven Chapter 16

            Chapter 16

            During the drive to the second police station we enjoying an odd atmosphere. There were times when it felt like we were just going on a road trip with friends, those were the times when there were no empty buildings around or crashed cars. Those times when the signs of the state of the world were hidden, and for a moment, we could forget. In the area we were driving in there was a mix of small farms and fields and new estates that were still pristine. Well, pristine until the dead began to rise.

            While driving through estates and main roads the deterioration of civilisation was obvious, abandoned cars and broken buildings made up the majority. Every now and then one of the dead would stumble into sight, either from a side road or from a building. The time had taken its toll, most of the dead had been that way for weeks, and their skin and flesh were peeling away due to the damage they sustain in their seemingly mindless existence. Some were missing entire limbs, and were crawling along the ground. They weren’t the worst though, the worst were the ones that were obviously freshly turned. Intact bodies, only slightly damaged skin, if it wasn’t for the blood and the way they moved I may have mistaken them for the living.

            We were careful with our driving, we stuck mainly to those estates and farms, avoiding the large roads that while they would have gotten us there quicker, were undoubtedly filled with cars and the dead. This delayed us, and our journey was arduous and awkward. Every so often we would drive through a larger estate, or past a local supermarket. During those periods we slowed down, and tried to minimise our noise.

            A couple of times the dead got too close for comfort, and however was on “defence duty” jumped off the top of the people carrier and took them out close quarters. It was more dangerous that way, but there was less chance of attracting any more unwanted attention. Before we left we had fitted the people carrier with low walls and a hatch to go between the levels, not only did it allow for extra storage, but it would be a good platform to fight from.

During one of the relaxed field periods Brooke turned to talk to me, ‘are you all right?’ We were sitting in the back two seats, the others were either up the front discussing maps, or on the roof. ‘I’m fine,’ I answered, trying to convince her, ‘why do you ask?’
‘You seem tense,’ she replied knowingly
‘I guess so,’ I relented, this wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have, ‘I just feel weird without Jade here, and to be honest I’m not entirely confident about this mission,’ I added the last bit quietly
‘I know what you mean,’ she sighed, ‘I know it’s better for the others to stay at the warehouse, but I can’t help but worry. For them and for us, they protect and help us as much as the other way around’
‘I never thought about it like that,’ I paused, ‘but you’re right, everyone has something they bring to the table, the lower our numbers the less minds we have to draw from.’ We both nodded, then I continued, ‘but this raid isn’t our goal, they need to be there to protect everything we’ve worked for,’ I finished confidently
‘I agree,’ Brooke paused, then leant in closer, ‘and about the other thing, a lack of confidence doesn’t mean a lack of determination. As long as you have determination, all anxiety does is make you wary, which isn’t a bad trait for a leader to have.’

When she finished I realised that was the first time Brooke had called me a leader, and I also realised just how much I valued her opinion. She was the oldest member of our group, and in the past she has also been one of the most vital. I smiled, she had calmed me down nicely, instead of worrying in general now I felt more focused on making sure this raid went according to plan, and if it didn’t, on getting everyone back home alive. All I could do was hope that by the time we got there I would be prepared for anything.

            When we made it to the station we were all in high spirits, even if we were extremely tense. But it was more a state of preparedness than a state of fear, we had spent the last few kilometres going over what to do in certain situations. And so far everything was going well.

            The station seemed intact, there was one window broken but all entrances were closed, so there was little chance of finding any dead inside. Before entering however, I made sure to have Connor and Brooke do a sweep around all sides of the building, making sure there was no way any deadmen could have entered. I was about to break down the door when I realised something, what if other survivors had gotten here first? They could have cleared out the station, then set this place up like a trap for anyone else who happened upon it.

            After our encounter with Anthony and the marauders I knew what some people were capable of. Wolves, I had called them, back when I used to daydream about what it would be like to survive the apocalypse. Man did I have it wrong. I had to be cautious, so I did something I hoped no other group would expect, I went in via the roof.

            This police station was single story, and we were able to use the people carrier and its modified roof to reach the top. Some of the others, Malcolm and Connor especially, thought I was paranoid, but then Brooke pointed out that since there was no downside to the roof option, there was no reason not to be paranoid in this instance. Brooke and I went first, the roof of the building was flimsy metal, the first layer at least, so it made quite a bit of sound every time we moved, which I cringed at. But there was no reason to assume that there were any dead to hear us, so we continued.

There was a small service door, presumably only used by maintenance staff to access the various machines the poked out of the roof like mushrooms. We could only enter one by one, and after some discussion I went first. The interior was dark, and small, but when I moved into the main rooms the space opened up more and some light from the few windows streamed in. The inside of the station was a mess, papers and random office items were scattered around the floor and a few chairs were toppled over. At first I was afraid there were dead here, but when Connor joined me he assured me this was normal, when the other police in his station left with the army it was left in a similar condition. No need for cleanliness during the apocalypse.

The first room we stopped at was a locked one, it was reinforced so even if we tried we couldn’t break it, however that also meant no other raiders could have either. Just as we were about to move on Connor stopped us and started fumbling around in his pockets, eventually producing a key he insisted fit in this door. ‘Why would you have a key to a different station’s door?’ Malcolm asked disbelievingly
‘It’s not like we’re completely separate teams,’ Connor replied, ‘we have a room like this at our station remember?’ I saw him grow grimmer as he spoke, clearly being in a police station again was bringing up bad memories of the life he lost.

Connor swung upon the door, and we had our first success of the day. The room was small, with a bunch with some electrical appliances and one small cupboard. What we found would be useful though, on the bunch were two more police radios, luckily they had been turned off and still had batteries. This brought our groups total to 5, two at the warehouse and now three here. On the cupboard we found a few useless objects, high-vis vests and some protocol booklets. But also a set of binoculars, this I was excited about, they would definitely come in handy. The others were less impressed and we soon kept moving.

We decided to cut to the chase and head straight for the munitions room, hoping to find something left by the force as they left. Unfortunately we were too late, the room had already been cleared out. My heart sank, and when we searched the other rooms and found their contents equally unhelpful it sank even lower. The only reason we found anything helpful was because whoever raided this place before us couldn’t break down the door. I tried to cheer myself up, it’s better than finding nothing and us all being eaten by the dead. But even as I was saying that to myself, my heart stopped entirely as I heard the front door break down.

Without even talking we enacted the escape plan we had organised before, and ran for the large open room, with windows we could climb through that led straight to the car. But even that plan went wrong, because as soon as we entered the room we didn’t find a group of mindless deadmen, but a group of survivors, all pointing guns, straight at our heads.