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, February 7, 2016

Haven Chapter 32 - Final Chapter

            Chapter 32

            “We can’t tell anyone yet,” I told Nicole after shaking out of my stunned silence
            “They deserve to know,” She argued, but I could tell she was conflicted too
            “True, but if I tell them now they’ll argue, some might even want to leave him behind, or worse,” I played out the scenario in my head, it never ended well no matter what I would say. Eventually Nicole agreed with me, we had to keep moving forward, but to what end I had no idea. Haven was safe for now, but if our theories were true and the dead could sense us from miles away no one location would be safe, not forever. I kept remembering those theories I had before all this, ideas for the perfect hide out. But even if one of them could protect us indefinitely, we couldn’t build it in time, and it was more than unlikely that we’d stumble upon one in the suburbs. But it wasn’t for just me to decide, for the first time in a while we had the opportunity to reunite everyone together in one place. They had put their trust in me as a leader, not a dictator, and now I understand the importance of that title. If the decision had to be made, it would be made by all of us

            The cars were loaded up with as much as we could take, so we couldn’t drive as fast as we wanted to, not to mention the danger posed by the remnants of the zombie horde. But after a few hours we made it, we found the others. Once again people starting jumping out of cars before they had fully stopped, too anxious to reunite with their friends to wait. Connor and Will wouldn’t stop smiling and laughing as they examined they damage that had been done to the cars. Chris and Monica shared a friendly smile, although Monica seemed even happier to be handed the extra ammo. Malcolm and Andria had already reunited, but the still kept close to one another, I had forgotten they were friends before all this.

            I was smiling, we were all smiling, until Nicole turned to me, her smile fading, “where’s Brooke?”

            We had lost someone before, but I was dismayed, yet slightly comforted, that it wasn’t easier the second time around. I explained everything that had happened at the station, the resistance, Anthony, everyone who had died. I introduced Lindsey to the others, but I was not surprised she did not receive a warm welcome, the circumstances were fair from pleasant. Lauren cried freely, Chris comforted her silently. Will walked off, and Connor followed him, Daniel as well a little later. It wasn’t until they returned and the other’s settled down that I spoke again, “We have to decide what comes next, whether we return to Haven, and try to make it perfect”-
            “But it never will be,” Chris finished, “no amount of wooden beams and barbed wire could stop what we just saw”
            “Exactly, but the alternative is not very appealing either,” Nicole argued, “Previously we had a purpose, find our friends, find medicine, find a home. But what do we do if we can’t find a home, where do we go?”
            “What was it like in the resistance?” Will asked Lindsey, “travelling with little destination in mind?”
            “It worked,” she began, trying to sound encouraging, “but we had huge trucks, with shipping crates large enough for dozens of people and equipment, we were even trying to experiment with hydroponics”
            “We have two cars and a Ute,” Connor said bluntly, “that’s hardly enough to live place to place”
            “He’s right,” Nicole agreed, “without those kinds of resources we’d have no chance.”

            We all segmented into smaller groups, arguing over what was best. I tried to find the answer in my own head, a home would never work without a massive amount of luck and manpower, and we had neither. But living on the road would only end in disaster to, it would destroy our mental and physical health, and resources would always be a problem. If we stayed in one area we’d know all the dangers but eventually run out of food, and if we ventured out too far we would have no idea what we’d be heading into. If we had the same resources the resistance had we wouldn’t have to worry about running into trouble, we’d have the manpower to stop it. And if their experiments bore literal fruit we wouldn’t have to worry about food. Without realising it I stumbled upon the answer. “We’ll join the resistance,” I said finally, and eventually everyone agreed.

            Before we lit the signal we wanted to be ready, and we knew we’d have to replace the Ute with one with an intact windshield, so Daniel and Monica went out on foot to find one. The others sorted out the supplies, between what we had gathered from Lindsey’s father’s house and what we had kept from Haven there was quite a bit. I sat in the old Ute’s passenger seat, trying to get some rest. Part of me wanted to be with Jade, but I was far too exhausted, and she always seemed to be full of energy. Nicole stunned me out of my nap by hopping into the driver’s seat and slamming the door, a sour look on her face. “Are you okay?” I asked drowsily, I was tired but concerned, Nicole usually kept the spirits up, not dragged them down
            “I’m fine,” she snapped back
            “You sure sound it,” I replied sarcastically
            “It’s nothing it’s just,” her sour mood broke into sadness, “it’s them,” she gestured out to the others, smiling and laughing as they examined our supplies and planned their life with the resistance. “They’re happy,” I said confused, “is that a problem?”
            “No,” she sighed back, “I want them to be happy, but… Brooke is dead,” we were both quiet for a long time, “maybe I’m just bad at moving on but I don’t feel like laughing right now”
            “No one expects you to,” I tried to be soothing
            “Well tell them that,” the sour face was back, “that’s it.”

            She turned the key and the engine roared to life. The others outside looked up in confusion, but I faked a smile and with a gesture they want back to their conversations. I was worried she was going to try and drive away so I prepared to grab her hand, but she didn’t reach for the handbrake, she reached for the radio. “You won’t get anything you know,” I almost laughed
            “I’ll get white noise,” she replied sarcastically, “enough to drown them out.” And she was right, teeth-grating static came through, and Nicole smiled grimly at the look on my face. As a joke she pretended to scan through the channels, pretending to judge each one before moving on. This time I really laughed, but I did go to stop her, “you’re gonna waste the fuel.” But she knocked my hand away and shushed me, as she turned the volume up, and listened carefully. A voice came crackling through the radio, impossibly.

            It was the end of a message, and I thought we had missed it, until it began again on a loop, “Hello my name is Lewis Carter, and if you can hear this, you are not alone.” The fact that someone was out there broadcasting on the radio was crazy, but true. The others eventually heard the sound of a voice and came running over, about to speak until the heard the message and realised. The message didn’t end there, “I’m in Melbourne, near the centre, and I’m working with Doctor”- the message cut out for a moment and I could hear another female voice, then the male voice again but neither were distinguishable. But then it became clear again, “we are working with other’s to find a cure, we are at Gordon Centre, and if you know where that it is you know enough about science to help us.” I turned to Nicole, and she nodded in recognition, Lewis spoke again “we are safe there, I repeat we are safe...” the message paused for a while, “come to GC if you can help, this our last chance, this message will repeat on this frequency.”

            We all stood in stunned silence and listened to the message twice more before Nicole turned the engine off. Was it possible? Somehow, somewhere there were people working on a cure, was a cure even possible? Nicole insisted she wouldn’t be able to help, and argued that we stuck to the original plan, but she was outvoted. Eventually I convinced her that even if she couldn’t help being close to a possible cure would be important. The only issue was the trip there, and the location. Everyone with common sense knew that the city would be swarming with the dead, and if we wasted fuel and supplies to get to the place where we died it I would never forgive myself. So we waited until Monica and Daniel returned with the new Ute to put it to an official vote.

            Over the past months since we left the clinic my leadership skills were tested, if I even had any to begin with. But even if I didn’t I had to believe that I developed some, otherwise every bad thing that has happens is my fault, and I couldn’t live with that. And if my guidance leads us to a gruesome death in the city I would have no one else to blame. Except maybe this guy Lewis. But if I lead them to our salvation, maybe for once I can be sure, that I am the right leader for these people. My friends, no they’re more than that now, my family. I would do everything to protect them, even if that meant stepping down and letting someone else take control, but for now I was their leader. And I won’t let them down.

             They returned, we voted and then we left. Headed towards Melbourne, headed towards our fate. And possibly the fate of the entire world. Or what was left of the world now gone.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Haven Chapter 31

            Chapter 31

            My heart was beating fast in my chest, I felt like I was still surrounded by the dead. But instead of being afraid I felt excited, and anxious. We were close to the warehouse, in a moment we would see it, but there was still the possibility that the others didn’t make it back alive. I didn’t know what I would do if they didn’t, how I would be able to go on. Without Jade any hope I had of having any meaningful future was gone. That was why I worried so much, it was one of the reasons why I left her here. I thought she would be safe, but know I wonder whether she would’ve been safer with me, even when we were trapped in the station.

            We turned the final corner, and then it seemed like my heart had stopped beating entirely, they were alive. Just like us the car, as well as its passengers, was worse for wear, covered in blood and the windscreen was smashed. They hadn’t noticed us yet, I saw Chris cleaning chunks of flesh off the car, and as we approached Daniel exited the warehouse, his arms full of supplies they had left behind. But I couldn’t see Jade. My mind flooded with all the possibilities, was she inside? Was she left behind? Was she even alive? But all my questions were answered, along with a small heart attack, when the windscreen shattered, showering the bonnet with glass. Inside I could see Jade holding a baseball bat.

            Before they noticed us I saw the three of them arguing, but when they finally did they stopped, and ran to greet us. The doors slid open before we’d even stopped and Lauren dashed out towards Chris. I barely registered their reunion, or that of Daniel, Will, and Nicole, my eyes searched for Jade. I finally saw her as she stepped out of the Ute, and I found myself running towards her faster than I ran away from the dead. We collided and it hurt because of our injuries, but neither of us cared. I held her close, almost crying. I treasured every moment, everything. Every scent, sight, and touch felt new and familiar at the same time, and I never wanted to let her go. But I had too, and after pulling back and laughing better than we had for years we all met at the back of the Ute.

            “How did you guys go getting away?” Will started
            “Better than we expected if I’m being honest,” Daniel answered, “the windscreen got smashed when we hit one full on, but we were able to keep the rest away with sticks”
            “We fired as few rounds as possible,” Jade added, trying to keep our eyes from meeting in case we never looked away, “once we had their attention we didn’t want to get any more, what about you guys?”
            “Well… um…” Will replied nervously, still traumatised by his near miss
            “We ran into a bit of trouble,” Nicole said gently, we knew what had to be discussed, even if we didn’t want to discuss it
            “Will might be infected,” Lauren blurted out, she apparently didn’t not have as much tact as Nicole
            “What?” Daniel and Jade reacted at once
            “He got covered in glass,” I explained, looking unsympathetically at Lauren, “and the glass was covered in blood”
            “Infected blood,” Will emphasised.

            I was more than worried about Will, and not just about his health. In the past experiences with the Dead have either shattered his confidence, or strengthened his, well his will, Will’s will. And this was a similar time, and right now we all needed to be strong, I couldn’t afford to have him lose his strength right now, this had to be dealt with now. “Here’s what’s going to happen,” I began, using my best leader voice, “Nicole and are going into Haven to check Will out, when we come out we will decide what to do, until then you guys need to do everything you can to fix the cars.” And then I gestured to Will and Nicole and walked away, ignoring anything the others said in protest. Inside the warehouse looked very different than it did before, more like a home. I didn’t feel bad about abandoning it before, but now seeing what the others have done with it I did. The three of us stepped into what remained of Nicole’s first aid area. “I appreciate the support Todd, but I think you should leave,” Will suggested sheepishly
            “No, I’m here to help,” I insisted, wondering why he asked, then almost as an answer Nicole turned around and spoke
            “Alright Will, take of your clothes,” She was all business
            I was a little less professional, “I’m gonna go,” I said quickly and ducked under the heavy sheets blocking the view. As I turned to leave the warehouse I was stopped by Jade. “Why aren’t you outside?” I asked, although I was happy she wasn’t
            “Because,” was all she said, as she pushed me towards the beds.

            We had almost died, and Will might be infected, but somehow I felt happier than I had felt in a long time. Although we might be abandoning the warehouse, I knew that as long as we were together I would be home. After an hour and a half of work we were satisfied with the work we had done on the cars. I knew at some point we would have to replace the Ute with one that had a windshield, but it would get us back to the others. And we had found a strong clear plastic sheet to replace the window we had broken to save Will. We also used a few buckets of water from a nearby pond to clean most of the blood and guts from the cars, although they were hardly sparkling. Both cars were covered in dints and scratches, but they were still in one piece. Everything was packed and ready to go, finally we were going to be together again, and everything would be okay. Until Nicole and Will walked out from the warehouse, and they were both deathly pale. “Nicole?” I asked, fearing what she would say

            She leaned in close, so only I could hear, “Will’s got a cut on his leg, it was small but there was blood. I can’t know for sure, but its possible Will is infected.”