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, December 29, 2015

Haven Chapter 26

            Chapter 26

            The path we chose was safe, for the most part. There was one road that made me worry however. It wasn’t a main road like the ones we travelled in the beginning, but it was large enough and was well-travelled enough to make me worry about what we would find there. And I wasn’t the only one, Jacobs and Connor came to me before we left to make sure this was our best chance. There was a safer road we could have travelled, but we would run out of fuel before we made it. This would mean if we ran into trouble we would be too far from the van to make an easy escape, and if we didn’t find any fuel we would have to abandon the vehicle entirely. This didn’t stop me from second guessing myself though, the entire trip I was on edge, but I guess everyone was. My hands were white and sweaty with anxiety when we turning carefully onto the road that made me so afraid.

            There were two possible scenarios that would mean trouble, the first is that abandoned cars would form a roadblock. We almost constantly see empty cars, but most of them are on the side of the road, or at least avoidable. But in heavy traffic when a few cars stop they all do, leading to massive obstacles like we’d seen before. We would have to leave the van, possibly abandon it completely, and if we did who knows if we would find anything road-worthy even if we searched for days. The other scenario is an encounter with the dead, whose threats can go unsaid. But if we found both waiting for us, we could find ourselves exposed, surrounded, and with no hope of escape. It was lucky then, that we only found one.

            From what I could see of the car pile-up a smaller car lost control, Malcolm suggested the driver had an infected passenger judging by the blood and the way the passenger side window was smashed. What caused the rest of the carnage was a truck, about the same size as ours that ploughed into the other cars and flipped over. From there it just piled up, people weren’t concerned with speed limits and road safety during an apocalypse, and if one car stops they all do. We stopped a kilometre from the blockage and Connor scouted about, making noise with a metal pole to see if any of the dead were still moving. After a few minutes of silence we drove up and stopped in front of it.

            “There’s no way through,” Connor stated grimly
            “How far away are we?” I asked Lindsey, keeping my voice calm
            “Not far,” she answered in a similar tone, “we could walk and bring the petrol back in about an hour or two.” I thought about it for a moment, leaving the van behind made us more vulnerable, but I doubted we had enough fuel left to go around. I turned to Jacobs, “what do you think?”
            “It’s risky,” she conceded, but she had already made up her mind, “but we have no other choice”
            “One of us should stay here,”
            “You go,” she nodded at me, “take Lindsey and two others.” I turned to the others who were all hoping out of the van, “Connor” he nodded and walked over to the van “and”- I stopped myself, my mouth had betrayed me, I was about to say Brooke.

            This was exactly the time I’d choose her, trust her to have my back. But I had to remind myself that she was gone now, I had to place my trust in someone else. Monica and Malcolm were strong, they knew what they were doing and I trusted their judgment, but that was also a reason why they should stay here. I didn’t fully trust this resistance yet, although I did trust Jacobs’ decisions. I also had to consider the other reason for our trip, to find Lindsey’s father, I knew who to pick, “Emma.” Her head darted up, surprised, “really?”
            “Yeah,” I said, doubting my decision, “but you don’t get a gun, you’re there to help carry stuff, and as an extra set of eyes. And don’t wander of alone, got it?” She kept nodding enthusiastically as I spoke, making me doubt my choice even more. I wondered whether she was eager to be trusted, or happy to be helpful. Connor and Jacobs gave me odd looks, and I tried to convey confidence as I looked back. From their reactions I doubted it worked. We all grabbed half-empty backpacks from the van, and took half the ammo and weapons we had left, which still wasn’t much. Then we left, once again splitting our group in half and praying that we were making the right choice.

            Lindsey was right in the end, it took us about half an hour to get to her father’s house, but I stopped them as we entered the court it was on. “Once we’re inside we’ll be more vulnerable,” I explained quietly, “Connor, you and Emma head inside and see what you can find, Lindsey and I will do a quick sweep in the other house and see what’s there.” I nodded at them to leave, then turned to Lindsey, “don’t stop to gather anything, unless its fuel,” I quickly added, “just keep an eye for the dead… or the living” unfortunately in these situations they can be just as dangerous.

            The part of the suburb was one of the nicer ones, big houses with rich interiors, a lot of good it did them now. As much as I tried to focus I did begin to wonder what it would have been like to live in one of these. Settle down with Jade and a few kids. We had just bought a house before all this but it was nothing compared to these ones. But I guess all those dreams meant nothing know, all my dreams involved both of us surviving. And to do that I had to get this done.

            There was no spare fuel in any of the houses, and I was able to enter a third one when I heard a scream come from Lindsey’s Father’s house, it sounded like Emma, and it was cut off quickly. From the other side of the street I saw Lindsey break into a sprint, she was faster than I gave her credit for, I did the same a second later. We both burst through the door, expecting the worst, guns drawn. It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, but for Lindsey I assumed it was the worst thing imaginable, to turn a corner and find her father lying on the floor, his head smashed in.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Haven Chapter 25

            Chapter 25

            We actually made it further than we thought before we ran out of petrol. We were about three quarters of the way back to the warehouse, over a few hills we would be able to see it. Unfortunately our progress wasn’t a good thing, the closer we got to home the fewer places we could find that hadn’t been raided by us or the marauders. We stopped in a dirt road to pull out any maps we still had, we only had a few minutes of fuel left, so we had to face the fact that we might have to work to find more. The remaining resistance man, Malcolm, and Monica went off to see if they could find anything nearby, leaving the rest of us to stare at a map. I tried to remember the places we had raided before to eliminate them as targets. A milk bar down one road, a high school down another. Jacobs and Lindsey said most of their raiders hadn’t come out this far, but they couldn’t say for sure. I knew the marauders had raided most if not all pharmacy’s in the area, but it didn’t matter anyway, it wasn’t medicine or food we were after, but petrol.

            I knew we could find some in some of the main roads where traffic had stopped, but I also knew from experience that those roads were also filled with the dead. What we needed was a small car park, nowhere that would have been raided already, or where the infected would have ran before dying. Somewhere where the only cars there would be the ones people left there on purpose, not to flee from the dead, or somewhere they would keep a lot of fuel. But I thought I could safely assume that a petrol station was out of the question.

            Jacobs, Connor, and I were still arguing over the viability of raiding a Primary School when Lindsey spoke up, “I might know of, it would have petrol, and other supplies too”
            “Why haven’t you mentioned this before Lindsey?” Jacobs asked, concerned
            “Because I was afraid of what I would find there,” she stared at the floor as she spoke, “it is… it was my Dad’s house, he was a firefighter, and a bit of a survival nut. He was always going on road trips up to the mountains, buying all sorts of equipment to make sure he comes back safe… I haven’t heard from him though…” We all knew the pain of losing loved ones, but it was somehow worse when you weren’t even sure if they were alive. I wanted to comfort her and say we had another options, or that we could go there as a rescue mission as opposed to a raid. But I couldn’t promise anything.
            “Where did he live?” I asked, trying to find a point between comforting and business-like. Lindsey pointed at a spot on the map, I recognised the street, and better than that we could reach it with what little petrol we had in the van. But if we got there and we didn’t find any more we would be even further away from our goal. “Alright,” Jacobs cut through the sombre atmosphere with her determination, “we’ll wait for the other’s to return and then we’ll be off, Todd, can you help me find the safest route to get there that won’t use up what little fuel we have?”
            “Uh, right,” I agreed a little pathetically, something about Jacobs always made me feel like an idiot, and apparently act like one too.

            For an hour or two we measured and argued until we eventually decided on the best course. It wasn’t the safest one, but it was the best we could do with what little driving time we had left. Jacobs insisted I ‘get some rest,’ a sentiment I would have appreciated if it hadn’t come from someone I was trying to impress. So once again I found myself alone in the back of the van, thinking about Jade, and Brooke, and everyone I had lost since the beginning of this nightmare. But I was more than sure I wasn’t the only one grieving, because after ten minutes of lying on my back in the cramped space I heard the muffled sounds of crying from outside.

            It was Lindsey, obviously know that she was alone the grief for her fallen comrades and her fear for her father’s safety had caught up with her. I wondered if I should go out there and comfort her, and I struggled with what I would say: ‘It will be alright’ that would be a lie, ‘I’m sure he’s fine’ that is also a lie, ‘we’ll get through this’ that too may turn out to be a lie. But in the end my choice was made for me as I heard her stifled her crying as someone came around the corner. I heard Emma’s voice, with a softer tone than I had ever heard it before, “I would ask if you’re okay, but I’m pretty sure you’re not”
            “Please leave me alone,” Lindsey told her, trying to steady her voice, “I want to be alone right now”
            “Now that’s not true,” Emma said confidently, and I heard her sit with her back resting on the van, “no one wants to be alone right now, if they did it would be all too easy to just leave”
            “I don’t want to talk about my father,” Lindsey stated firmly
            “Or Kyle… I mean Anthony”
            There was a long gap of silence and I wondered whether one or both of them had left
            “What do you want to talk about then?”
            “I… I don’t know…”
            “Well I have an idea,” Emma’s voice became softer, “why don’t you tell me about your friends”
            “My friends?”
            “The ones we lost at the station, you knew them right? I didn’t but I would like to”
            “Ha,” Lindsey laughed like she had back when we met her, “Alright.” She went on to talk about the people she had lost, the man that rescued dogs that were abandoned, the one who had organised a karaoke event during the storm, the one who had punched Pete in the face when they first met. I was surprised by how happy Lindsey became the more she spoke, and by how happy I was too. I didn’t want to forget those people, but I never knew them, I had nothing to remember them by. But now I did. After a while their conversation died off, until Lindsey spoke again, “what about your friend?”
            “My friend?” Emma sounded surprised at the question
            “Brooke right? Wasn’t she your friend?”
            “Well…” I could hear regret in Emma’s voice, “to be honest I didn’t know her that well, or for very long. She wasn’t distant or anything, we just, never connected,” she paused again for a long time, “but now I suppose we never will.

            The grief and sadness returned, and memories of the times I had felt connected to Brooke came with them. Memories of Caleb came too. But luckily we did not stay for long in that state of mind. We were jolted out of it by Jacobs’ voice, “they’re back! Get ready to leave!”
            I jolted upright in the back seat, “did they find anything?”
            “Nothing useful, on to plan B, get the others in here.” I stepped out of the van and walked around to find Emma and Lindsey getting up “are you ready?” I asked Lindsey carefully

            She glanced at Emma before answering with a nod, “Yes.” We all piled inside the van, and I made a note to pick up another vehicle if we found enough petrol. Everything relied on what we would find there, whether we would return home, whether we would even survive, and whether Lindsey had any family left to speak of. We were on the road again, and God knows what we would find.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Haven Chapter 24

            Chapter 24

            I moved quickly, and some would say recklessly. I heard Jacobs yell out my name as I jumped through the broken window and ran for Connor. I couldn’t lose anyone else today, I wouldn’t. A few of the dead who were trying to break into the station broke away when they saw me, but Lindsey had jumped through after me and took them out with two quick shots. I was yelling now, yelling at Connor to turn around. He did, but not soon enough to run away or fight back. The dead man fell on him, but my warnings allowed Connor enough time to get the wrench he was using in the way of its teeth. But that didn’t stop it from pinning him to the car, and grasping at him frantically, as Connor tried to push it off using the wrench the metal dug into the corners of its mouth, running down Connor’s hands and arms.

            Back at the station things weren’t going any better, between the dead that had gotten inside and those that threatened to create another opening they had their hands full. Jacobs had already lost two people and with Lindsey and me running after Connor there were only Emma, Malcolm and her inside. Malcolm had thrown some of the wall barricade to the floor to trip up those that had gotten inside, but now the ones outside had begun to break in. They had to either retreat deeper into the station, or leave and take their chances outside.

            After an agonising run I finally reached the cars and shot at the zombie who was attacking Connor. I got it in the hip and its leg crumpled, this lessened the weight on Connor and he was able to push it to the ground, smashing its head in with the wrench. “Are you alright?” I asked, panting
            “Yeah,” he replied, looking rather shocked. Even though we had lived through a lot these past few months, we all still felt fear when we came face to face with one of those things. I felt fear most of the time if I was being honest. And I felt it again when I heard three gunshots come from elsewhere in the filled car park. I quickly scanned the cars, eventually I found the source, it was Monica backing away frantically from a few dead men who were stumbling frantically into and around cars. I knew she could handle it, but her gunshots were attracting more zombies, and she was heading right here.

            I quickly turned to Connor, we didn’t have much time. I could see the others jumping out the broken window, we had to leave now. “How many sparkplugs did you get?” I asked, almost messing up my words out of stress
            “3,” he answered and I groaned, we needed more than double that “but there’s another one in there,” he continued and leant back into the engine which was now covered in blood. “I’ve got two more!” one of the resistance men shouted as he ran towards us
            “We better hope Monica had the same luck,” I said pessimistically.

            The others were getting close, as were the dead that were following them, and now I was shifting from foot to foot in desperation. There is nothing worse than being in danger and being able to do nothing but wait. “Come on!” I yelled in frustration
            “It’s the blood, is made everything wet,” Connor complained, “I’m not sure it’ll still work now-got it!”
            “It doesn’t matter if one doesn’t work,” the resistance man informed us, “we just need to get out of here we don’t need it to run perfectly”
            “Alright,” I breathed deeply, almost grateful to not be waiting, “you two take these six to the van and start putting them in”-
            “We’re still missing two!” Jacobs’ man interrupted
            “I’m going to go help Monica, hopefully she has enough,” as I finished talking I ran off away from the van, towards the sound of Monica’s gunshots.

            By this time the others had all left the station, but they may have been in even more danger than when they were inside. They had lured many of them inside before they left and now those ones where left trying in vain to get through the window. Jacobs had shot the first few who tried, this meant that the rest had to deal with the bodies. But there were still many outside, and they were less grouped than the others, meaning that danger was coming from multiple directions. For this reason they were moving slower than I did, making sure they don’t get boxed in or surprised by a new group. But they were running out of ammo, and the dead were getting closer. Pretty soon they would have to resort to melee takedowns, and when they do there’s a much higher chance of them getting infected, or eaten. And I’m not sure what would be worse.

            I reached Monica eventually, firing a few shots at some of the dead that were out of her line of sight. She was panting when I met her, she had been running for a while now, and a labyrinth of abandoned cars was hardly an easy obstacle. “Are you alright?” I asked urgently, not matter how much I wanted those sparkplugs my friends came first, but Monica simply nodded, and pre-empted my next question as she held out an open hand with three sparkplugs.

            We all met back at the van, and as Connor got the work on the sparkplugs the rest of us took position around the van. There was less than twenty bullets between us, and only four of us hadn’t resorted to melee. We had lost another one of the resistance men, and now we were completely surrounded. The wall of undead wasn’t complete, and at its thickest point was only about three bodies thick, but we couldn’t give them an inch. We also had to refrain from killing to many of them in front of the van, out of fear of making a blockade of bodies, preventing our escape. I have to admit Emma impressed me here. I had thought she would be too frightened to take on a dead men in close quarters, but obviously I underestimated what she had had to do to survive as she took down the dead just as well as the best of us. I still wouldn’t agree to take her on raids, but after this I felt I could at least trust her to protect herself.

            Finally Connor yelled out that the van was ready, and one by one we entered the van. I was the last one in, and I used my last bullet to shoot the dead man that tried to follow me, and slammed the door shut. Connor was in the driver’s seat and he turned the key. The moment before it started was like a nightmare. If it didn’t all we had achieved was locking ourselves in what was effectively a lunch box for the undead. But it started, and it sounded healthy to as Connor slammed the accelerator, trampling a few of the dead as we sped away from the station.

I sat in the back, remembering the last time I was here, getting advice and encouragement from maybe the person I had trusted the most, and the person I was just getting to know. I turned back to watch the station get smaller and smaller. And I think I starting to understand how Will had felt at the hospital, it hasn’t just that I had lost a friend, or that they had died trying to save me. It was that I was forced to leave her there, never knowing what would happen to her body, or if she had suffered at the end. All I could do, was move forward.