My name is Chris, Ive lost track of time. It feels like years since I first started running, but I think its only been a few months. Days turn to weeks, and the weeks drags on, such is the new way of life. And yet, despite the violence and chaos, I dont really miss the old world...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


        Down the winding mountain road the bus drove.  The further down the mountain we drove, the thicker the undead were.  The occasional thud under the bus became a constant by the time we made it to the bottom of the foothills.  Rich had had enough.  "God Damnit!  These things are going to tear this bus apart!   I need every available gun on the roof, I need a clear road!"  Taking the hint, I grab my guns and open the emergency exit door on the roof.  One by one, we climb up, taking the back of the bus, I wait.  I see only a few at first, stumbling out of the shadows, before the floodlights snap to life.  The shadows dissolve, only to reveal hundreds of them.  Coming from what seemed to be everywhere, there was no end to the hungry horde that wanted nothing more than to cave the doors in and devour the people within.  But they wouldnt get in.  Not if I had anything to do with it.  Loading my shotgun, I aim below to the sea of pale and hungry ghouls reaching up to pull me down.  With one last pump, I take a deep breath, I fire into the crowd.  If it was just me, I wouldnt worry, this was like shooting fish in a barrel.  But there were lives hanging on this fight.  I couldnt just run if it got out of control.  I was a defender, quite the role reversal from a week ago.  Back when I was just running.  But not anymore, I take a stand tonight.
        The gunfire around me slows down, or is it just me?  I look around and everyone is frantically shooting below, guns of all caliber firing, the strobe of gunfire adds to the hell-like vibe.  The adrenaline kicks in, giving me the speed boost that I needed.  Fire and punp, fire and pump.  The back of the bus is smeared in bits of human remains.  Several sections of the bus  were undefended, and the undead took advantage of this.  Slamming their rotten fists on the metal, Screams from the inside of the bus rose up and chilled me to the bone.  The kids, they are awake and they know something is wrong.  Leaving my post at the end of the bus, I run for the unguarded area and open fire, sending the corpses flying from the bus.  Pumping and reloading until I was empty, I drop my shotgun on the roof, the clatter lost over the gunfire around me.  I unholster my handgun, aiming more carefully that I did with my shotgun.  Taking aim at the closest withered and decayed face, I fire.  The bullet pierces the face, below the eye socket, and drops the creature for good.  "Look out below!"  Taking the empty clip from the handgun, I toss it into the bus.  Taking it as a hint, I hear Rich yelling at anyone not on the roof.  "Take those clips and re fill them!  They need all the help they can get!"  Not what I was thinking, but hey it works.
         After what seems to be hours later and hundreds of bullets spent, the last of the horde is dispatched.  The cold air is thick with the smell of rotting corpse, and the lack of wind only keeps the smell hovering around us.  Peeking below the bus, I see loose bullets and clips scattered on the floor, Rich in the middle furiously slipping bullets in the magazines.  The children were huddled around Bea, terrified whimpers coming from their faces which were buried into the worried grandmothers chest.  A simple thumbs up speaks more than I could.  Sighs of relief come from the older crew member still inside the bus.  Looking around outside the bus, a few more were coming out of the woods, but we could keep driving.  "Alright everybody, back in the bus.  We need to get moving before more of those things show up."  Standing on the roof, I see a town ahead.  Not completely devoid of life, there are what seems to be searchlights on the far end.  Signs of life, whether there was anyone operating those searchlights, was enough for me.  Letting Rich know about the lights, he starts the engine.  "We can at least drive by.  If its abandoned, we could use more ammunition."  His tone is that of skepticism.  With as many of those things that we took out earlier, the chances of someone being alive there are slim.  But there was still a chance.  Driving over the last few bumps in the road, we take off.  Leaving the battleground behing the in the cold night, never to return again.

other side of the rockies

   Several days come and pass as we slowly make our way across the mountains.  Reaching the peak, Rich finds a place to park and lets everyone out.  "This could be the last safe are we come across.  Plus I'm sure my grand baby wants to play a little bit."  Nobody argued with him, but then again I'm sure time out of the bus was on every body's mind.  Piling out of the bus, I remain vigilant, but I don't show it.  Everybody is in a good mood, why ruin it?   Sitting back I watch the others enjoy their time in the sun, seeing a glimpse of the old life.  Being able to be outside without the fear of being eaten alive.  Lost in my musings seems to be a pattern for me lately.  I'm brought back to the real world by a nudge, Chelle takes a seat next to me.  "Remember when we would sit out on the porch, with everyone and reminisce?"   Fond memories indeed, "Yeah, but there was more than just reminiscing going on on that porch if I remember correctly." Laughing as I looked back to the nights we would drink until we passed out.  Nights where the only thing we were worried about was running out of liquor.  We sat and talked about nothing in general for hours.  Watching the kids play, her parents making sure they were behaving, and most of all, we were watching the hill.  Making sure nothing stumbled up towards us.
       The sun had begun to set, and everybody was brought back on board.  Food was passed out amongst the crew and the engine was roaring with life.  After eating and talks of the future that lay ahead of us, the kids were put to sleep and everybody else had gone about minor chores such as inventory and weapon cleaning.  Not much is said, although we are full of hope around the kids, we are full aware of the depth of the nightmare we are currently living.  There was no help, what authority there was is most likely in hiding.  Waiting to come out when the dust settles and ready to take over where they had left off.  If there were still alive, that is.  should life go back to normal, how would we rebuild?  This was the topic for our discussion tonight.  I start the conversation off.  "So what happens when we do survive and all returns to normal?  What are you going to do?"  I look around waiting for someone to respond.  Nikki speaks up.  "I...I really don't know.  Ive been more worried about the now to worry about the future.  But I wouldn't even know where to begin.  Were so far away from home as it is, I guess I would settle where we end up and start over again."  The look on her face speaks for everyone, including me.  Like them I had a plan, but it ended at survival.  The future was  blank.  "I don't know where you are planning to go, but I'm headed north, to Alaska.  I'm not sure if there is anyone alive there, but if I'm going to die, I want to die somewhere special to me."
      The conversation had picked up, everyone throwing in opinions ranging from feasible to completely insane.  Losing interest in the conversation, I look out of the window.  Seeing more trees than snow and rock, I realize we are on the other side of the mountain.  One step closer.  Darkness covers the land stretching in front of the bus, the headlights oddly illuminating the road ahead.   It was like a nightmarish road, curving and covered in shadows.  Reaching for a switch, Rich flips it and several floodlights above the windshield turn the dark night into daylight.  Cruising down the winding road, we begin to see sings of the undead, mainly them blindly stumbling in the road.  But Rich kept on trucking, a loud thump followed by the sound of crunching beneath the tires.  No remorse.  Just another bump in the road.  A very tired voice floats up, almost unheard over the conversation.  "Chris, what was that noise?"  Looking down I see Chelle's daughter, she looks up to me with unfocused eyes.  Patting her shoulder I whisper to her.  "Its nothing, grandpa just hit a bump.  Go back to sleep goober."  She laugh, and then proceeds to roll over and go back to sleep.  Poor kid, have they told her what has been going on?  Could you possibly hide all of this from someone?  Not wanting to shatter the illusion had they managed to keep it from her,  I decide to drop it.  And as I begin to drift off into sleep I hear it, even through the bus.  The collective moan of the undead on the hunt.  I'm ready for a fight, but for now I relax.

Monday, November 29, 2010


      We waited in the bus for what seems to be forever.  The fire had gone out slowly over the course of a day, but nobody was seen putting it out.  Rich starts the bus and slowly makes his way down hill.  Once we make our way across the frozen roads, we see another failed checkpoint.  So many blockades had fallen, but whether to the undead or the weather is a mystery.  The roads were clear, so driving through was no problem at all.  But the sides of the road were a different story.  Tents were collapsing due to the weight of the snow on top of them, bodies half-buried in the snow. It seemed like the more I traveled, the less hope I had for a safe zone of any kind.  But still I need to continue, if I give up and die then what was the point of fighting?  I'm beginning to think there really is no point, even if I do make it home Ill just be fighting the undead until I'm dead.  Or worse.  I shake the thought of being just another walking corpse fast.  I Was so deep in thought I didn't feel the bus stop or hear the engine stop, Chelle tapping my shoulder brought me back to the real world.  "We need to raid for supplies, you want to help?"  She whispers to avoid waking any of the sleeping crew.  Getting up I look for my equipment, reaching for my shotgun.  "Yeah, Ill be out there in a minute."  Putting on my jacket and strapping my machete to my side I head for the exit.  Who knows, maybe I'll find something better to eat than a bag of crushed chips.  I let out a little chuckle as I hop off the bus.  The wind blows across my face, numbing my nose almost instantly.  Peering into the white abyss I see Chelle's shilouette in the distance, I jog to catch up to her.
             "Man, this place didn't hold up too well."  She looks around to and sees the bodies.  There are some that appear to be zombies, but for the most part they were all  uninfected.  They just couldn't make it in this environment.  "Well their loss is our gain, lets loot and leave."  I harshly respond.  I didn't want to be out here much longer,  I didn't want to end up like the countless people half buried in the snow.  "We should split up, bring all of our findings here and bring it back to the bus."  I point to the left half of the desolate camp, "Ill take this side, if either one of us run into trouble, meet here.   We can still see the bus, and if it gets bad well forget about the supplies."  I make sure she gets the plan before I head off to search the tents on the left  half.  "Right, If you find medicine, that's top priority.  One cold can wipe us all out, let alone trying to fight while sick."  Chelle makes a good point.  If only I had kept some of the medicine I found before meeting....  "Kat..."  It comes out a whisper, lost over the whipping mountain winds.  Before I could say anything else, Chelle heads off in her half of the camp.  I take a few moments to reload my shotgun before stepping into the first tent, ready to blast anything that moved.
                  The tent was desolate, a hole in the cloth ceiling made apparent by the pile of  snow on the ground.  making my way to the back I see a few cardboard boxes in the corner, Taking the top box off the stack I open it.  The box was packed with MRE's.  Score.  Checking the other boxes I Find the same thing.  One by one I take the boxes back to the main area, seeing no boxes from Chelles side I get worried.  After I set the last box down, I head to her side and call out for her.  "Chelle, where the hell are you?  This isn't funny!"   The wind begins to pick up, unable to see too far ahead of me, I duck in the first tent to find Chelle looking through boxes looking disappointed.  "Whats taking you so long?  Ive got three boxes of food waiting in the main area."  Lowering my gun I head over to see what she found.  "Its clothes, don't get me wrong we need more warm clothes.  But its not medicine!  Shit!"  She gets frustrated and storms out of the tent, heading to another to continue her search.  I figure its best to let her cool down as I return to my half and continue to check out the other tents.

      As soon as I round the corner, I see Chelle bringing a box to add to the pile.  Making my way to her, I call out as to not scare her and end up with a chest full of buckshot.  "Hey, lets start bringing theses back to the bus.  I'm ready for some food and sleep!"  Laughing she picks up a box and heads to the bus.  Upon entering we are greeted by several more who had decided to wake up.  Chelle sets her box down and begins picking volunteers.  "You, and you come with us, we need extra hands to get this all in the bus."  not waiting to hear any arguments, she turns around and heads back to the camp.  About an hour later we get the bus loaded up and we are heading out on our way.  Sitting down, the heat from the bus brings the life back to my face, and I suddenly get very tired.  Leaning my head on the window I close my eyes, the last thing I clearly see is Chelle distributing MRE's to everybody before drifting off into a deep and troubled sleep.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Frozen cemetery

     I awaken to the sight of snow pelting the window I fell asleep next to.  The mountains were beautiful, not a zombie to be seen.  I rummage through my bag to grab a cigarette, not quite awake but awake enough to know I want one.  Lighting up I crack the window and watch the smoke disappear instantly, sucked out into the cold landscape beyond the window pane.  Looking around, some of the group are asleep, except for Rich.  Getting up I take a seat behind him and start to talk.  "So how did you guys end up here in Colorado?  I figured if anything it would have been straight north to Canada for you guys."  He looks in the rear view mirror and catches my eyes.  "Well, I was on the road when Chelle called.  I was in Arkansas heading home from my last run, and at first I thought she was messing around.  You know how she is."  I look back to see Chelle sleeping, her daughter lay next to her fast asleep.  Rich continues, "But she convinced me otherwise, I pulled over on the road and hit all the lights and locked the doors.  I hid until the came to me.  It was three days before they got there, two days after the undead came through.  I peeked out every once in a while hoping to see them, but all I saw was death, panic, and fear.  They finally came about dawn the third day, I was beginning to think they hadn't made it.  Until I heard the crunch of cars being shoved out of the bus' way." He laughs at the thought, but loses his happy demeanor.  "I was so hungry when they came to get me.  A bag of chips and a drink only last for so long.  I'm glad they came when the did."  His attention is fixed solely on the road ahead.  Which was for the best, as I couldn't see where snow began and the road ended.  "I'm gonna let you get back to driving, I'm gonna see if anyone else is awake."  Before getting up I put my hand on his shoulder and continue. "Its good to see somebody else made it out of all this."
                 Nobody else is awake.  I head back to the back of the bus and sit down, my thoughts dragging me in a million different directions.  But they always came back to Kat.  Why did she leave?  Why didn't she tell me or leave me a note?  I look up to see everyone is still asleep.  And I see Rich signaling me to the front of the bus.   Getting up I make my way forward as he comes to a gentle stop.  "There's something in the road.  You wouldn't mind going out there and seeing if you can move it?"  Nodding I go back to get my jacket and machete.  Suiting up he opens the door.  "if I'm not back in five minutes, wait five more." I laugh as I step out into the wintry scenery, hating and loving the cold at the same time.  Right away I lose concentration and get lost in the scenery around me.  The mountains around me are so beautiful, I could stay here for days.  The snow capped peaks all around are the example of natural beauty, pearl whitecaps on top of almost blue rock standing out from the grey skies above.  I shake myself back to reality, and look at the road to see a large mound of snow in the middle of the road.  About waist high to me, it has no recognizable shape.  I Take my machete and begin to scrape the powder like snow off until I hit ice.  The more I scrape off the more disgusted I get.  At first I can only see what I believe to be a rock, until I clear away more snow to reveal a body.  The grey skin of the undead frozen under what seemed to be a couple inches of ice.  I make my way back to the bus, I needed something heavy.  Upon getting back on the bus I see a few more have awakened, confused as to why we were not in motion.  "Do we have a hammer, or a sledgehammer?"  I ask, popping my head in the bus.  "Theres a pile of those things out there, frozen.  I want to smash their skulls in before doing anything else."  I hear skidding against the floor to see a hammer stop a few feet in front of me.One of the few I did not recognize had slid it towards me.  
       Leaving the bus, hammer in hand I return to the pile.  The more snow I brush off the more disgusted I am.  This was a dump site, corpses piled on top of each other.  I find the first exposed skull and swing with all my might, shattering ice, bone, and brain.  I begin to look at those in the pile, all had been executed.  Getting up I take my machete along the ground, finding the odd bump in the road every couple of feet.  This was the site of another check point.  There are still bodies trapped under all the snow and ice.  I  get back on the bus to tell everyone, and tell rich to swing around the pile.  Most likely we will run across another pile like this, buried and forgotten.  A testament to those lost along the path to safety.  Making our way to the top of the hill we spot a camp fire towards the base of the next peak.  Our road will bring us right by the fire.  Looking ahead Rich speaks up.  "I say we wait here for the fire to go out.  I dint want to risk anything."  Smart move Rich, I think as the sun begins to set, almost obscured by the mountains ahead

Friday, November 26, 2010

The competition

      After looking at the map for a good half hour and looking at every road that led through the mountains, we found a road that was up the chain a few miles that didn't look like a major road.  Starting the bus, we made our way past the subdivisions.  Looking towards the houses I ask Chelle, "Say, while in town did any of you see any other survivors?  Possibly a girl with reddish brown hair?"  There was a hint of desperation in my voice, Chelle knew me well enough to know that tone.  "Whats her name?"  She asked, skirting around my main question.    I hesitate, why I don't know.  "Kat, her name is Kat.  She helped me when I got into town about a week ago.  After wandering through the woods, I fell down a hill and banged up my chest.  Without her and every one else's help, there is no way Id be around now."  I lift my shirt to show my bandages, the bruise now a pale yellow below my armpit.  I lower my shirt, realizing how much easier it is to move now.  "I woke up today and everyone was gone.  No note or anything.  I looked all over town before giving up. hadn't happened to see anyone did you?"  I look around to see if anyone would speak up.
          Nothing.  Of course, the one girl that I would fall in love with would disappear into thin air...or into the stomach of a zombie.  No, don't even think that.  Shes alive, and shes with everyone else.  Chelle sees me zoning out and snaps me out of it.  "He-llooo!  We need to be getting out of here.  I don't want to be eaten here.  Or anyone else for that matter."  Coming back to it, I realize dwelling on it was pointless.  Looking towards the front of the bus I ask her where we are going.  it was her father that answered.  "There's a road a couple of hours from here that goes through the mountain, no tunnels."  He gets up from his wife and granddaughter's seat and  heads to the drivers seat.  I turn to her mother, "Have I mentioned that I missed you guys since I got here?  If not, I missed you."  Laughing as the car started, I feel it again.  That feeling of normalcy.  Like life before all of this, except with zombies and crammed into a bus.
        Coming up the hill, Rich stops the bus, killing it immediately.  "Well, I can plow through the barriers no problem, but as for the vehicles, well have to move them ourselves.  Who wants to go on a field trip?"  Laughing as he looks back he waits for a volunteer.  "Well if none of you are going to hop up, I could use a good stretch."  I laugh sarcastically as I make my way to the front of the bus.  before I make it to the door I hear someone else get up, "I gotta see how you hunt, I mean you made it this far."  Chelle says, shouldering her shotgun.  Looking back, I grin.  I hop off the bus and take a look around.  Nothing on the hill, but below us there is a checkpoint of sorts.  The military had been here.  Where they are now is beyond me.  I pull my handgun from its holster, undoing the safety as I silently head down the hill.  Not waiting for Chelle to catch up I make my way towards the nearest trio of shuffling dead, stopping long enough to aim at the first withered skull and fire. Dropping the trio I hear Chelle catching up towards me.  "Not bad, looks like you held up well. My turn now."  That menacing grin of hers slowly cracked across her face as she cocked her shotgun.  Walking towards a clearing she fired her gun in the air, the shot echoing loud.  One or two of the creatures heard her call at first, followed by every walker in the checkpoint.  "Ready?  If not, too bad!"  She walks to the closest one, unloading the buckshot in its jaw, crudely yet efficiently dispatching the now disfigured corpse.
     Like old times, this quickly became a race to one up each other.  I holster my handgun and pull my machete out, ready to slice whatever unfortunate corpse came my way.  Finding a dragger, I calmly make my way to the undead torso.  As I line up my swipe without fear of it pulling me down, I slice his head from his shoulders.  Yelling for Chelle, I grab it by the hair, tossing the skull up only to kick it, sending it splattering into a concrete barrier.  Before the thrill from the kill could sink in I heard that voice again.  "This isn't a fucking game, why are you suddenly acting like some barbarian?  You need clean kills, no need to get infected by playing I'm better than you!"  My 'other side' as I began calling it now made a point.  This is how fuck-ups are made, and those spell death for me and possibly those around me.  Recollecting myself from the sudden wave of insanity that came over me, I return to the clean up at hand.  About an hour of luring and exterminating, we clear the checkpoint.  "So, now begins the fun part.  Now we have to clear a path through the gate so we can drive through."  I sigh as I wipe my machete off on the shirt of  an unfortunate zombie.  Looking around I was reminded of a rather large scale tetris
              "Whew, now we get back on the bus and take a nap." I said between breaths.  dispatching the undead took a toll on you.  Top that with pushing cars off the road wiped you out.   "Amen, you and me are going to sleep good tonight."  as Chelle knocked on the bus door, waiting for it to swing out so we could rest, safe from any rotting hands that wanted nothing more to tear us apart limb from limb.  The bus started up, roaring to life in the otherwise silent landscape.  We pass through the checkpoint, crushing a wooden barricade under us as we rolled on towards the mountains.  The rumble of the engine and the chatter of the rest of our crew lulls me into a deep sleep.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


     I awoke several hours later, the smell of smoke thick in the air.  I feel lightheaded, standing now an impossible task.  Looking around I am alone on the rooftop, hidden behind a pile of junk.  I lay there for what seems hours before I get up and begin to look for everyone.  I hobble towards the main rooftop to find nobody there.  I begin to panic, Did they leave to flee to a new place?  Did something happen that I missed?  "Kat..." It was a whisper, one that only I heard.  I needed to move on, regardless of what had happened to the others.  I scour the rooftops for my equipment, tossing empty boxes over the roof, panicking as time went on.  "Where the fuck is my stuff?!  I cant re scrounge for everything, oh this is bad."  I'm losing it, the first tendrils of fear begin to trickle in my mind.  I hurry to the next rooftop, hoping my equipment was there.  What seemed like hours later I finally uncover my backpack, as well stocked as I had left it.  The only thing missing was my rifle, but I still had my shotgun, so I was happy.  Strapping my equipment down I realize my ribs weren't hurting as bad as they were before.  It mush have just been bruising, after all it has only been around a week here.  But I leave the bandage on, I never thought to bring a spare set of clothes.  And my shirt had been cut off to asses my wounds when I first got here.  Looks like Ill need to make a stop somewhere and get some more clothing before I head to the mountains, I thought.  Its getting close to wintertime and the last thing I want to do is climb a mountain without a shirt.
       Guilt kicks in as I leave the rooftops and head towards the hotel.  Kat will be so worried if you just up and leave.  Looking back, I come up with a way to ease my conscience.  Looking for a pen and paper in the hotel room I begin to write a note for Kat.
   I woke up on the rooftop alone, I waited for what seemed like an eternity.  I assumed the worst, but hope you get this note.  I will never forget you and with a heavy heart I must say goodbye.  If you ever decide to come to Alaska after all of this, look me up.
                  missing you already, -Chris-
     I set the note on the desk between the two beds, in plain sight should she come back.  "Goodbye, Kat.  I hope you survive all of this"    I wander down into the streets, Daylight begins to shine in the empty town as I look for a clothing store.  As I make my way across town I find what I'm looking for, Walking through the shattered display window I make my way to the men's section, grabbing a few shirts as I make my way to the jacket racks.  Along the way I hear a thump towards the back in the supply closet.  Not alone I thought, I need to hurry.  Grabbing a thick looking jacket I make my way to a corner and begin to put my new duds on, my chest sore, but nothing to worry about.  after getting re dressed I strap my equipment down again and make my way towards the Rockies, wondering how I'm going to make the last half of my journey.  Along the way I came towards the subdivision Kat said she had lived in, hoping to find a bike or other form of transportation.  Taking the first set of wheels in sight I grab a nice looking mountain bike and pedal onwards.

       Several undead dot the land around me, reaching out with dumb hands as I speed past them.  Their moans carry all around, but no swarms to speak of.  Riding through the subdivision I see the slaughter was thick here.  Bodies all around just laying there, some have been filled with bullets, others simply smashed up.  Most likely by a lot of improvised melee weapons.  As the houses spread thinner, I come to the end of the neighborhood.   The main road leads me to a dark and ominous tunnel.  Too dark for my liking, but its a straight shot.  I'm going to need a miracle to make it through here, or I'm hiking over, Thinking as I stop and weigh my options.  Either take my chances in what I'm calling the death tunnel, or take my chances falling off a cliff to my death.  Either way there is a chance I could die, but that's been a possible outcome every day so far.  Thinking about every scenario I realize there are cars blocking the tunnel, and I think to myself.  "Those cars have batteries, and they also have lights.  I can light the tunnel up, car by car making it an easier trip than a romp in the dark.  I test my theory by finding the closest car and looking inside, making sure there was nothing to bite me as I reached for the lights.  Turning the key in the van, I hit the brights, illuminating the tunnel in a nightmarish angle, casting shadows everywhere.  "This could take longer than I planned..."  My thought process was cut short my the sound of shuffling.  I drop to the ground and wince.  I hit my soft spot.  Looking below the car I see a pair of feet, blindly stumbling around a few yards ahead.  But before I could figure out what I was going to do, I heard something behind me that sounded familiar.  The sound of a gun being loaded.  And I felt like the barrel was pointed towards me.

  -No.  Fucking.  Way.-
      I'm stricken completely stupid, there is no way in hell that of all people left in the world I would be at the guns end of someone I knew.  Someone from Columbia.  "Holy-fucking-shit.  Chelle, is that really you or am I just going fucking insane?"  I shake my head, wondering if it was just a hallucination.  She drops her gun, just in as much shock as I am.  "How the fuck did you make it this far?!  I... we thought you were dead.  I don't know how many times I tried calling you, not to mention going by your work and finding it to be a slaughterhouse."   This is too much.  I'm going to wake up soon.  And I'm going to be let down.  I poke my ribs, nope.  I'm awake alright.  Just another fucking coincidence.   Getting up, I explain that the tunnel is a no go.  Too crowded to drive through and no light source.  "Were just going to have to find a road that isn't as clogged up.  If there is such a road.  Come on, we have a camp of sorts set up."  She heads away from the tunnel and towards a side road.  And on the road is a bus, one that had been plated, and decked out to handle this apocalypse.  I'm stunned.  "Wow, did you do that all by yourself?"  It was all I could say. It looked to be one hundred percent zombie proof.  Even the doors had been reinforced and altered to where it opened from the inside out.  That way if the bus had been swarmed they couldn't push their way in.  She looks back and laughs, "Me?  Hell no.  Our old group were among the original survivors, but between the undead and a few unforeseen accidents.  Its down to me, my family, Joe, and Nikki.  Well and a few meat shields."  the last part was a whisper.  I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.  "Just remember one thing.  I am no meat shield, Id hate to take you down with me"  an evil grin cracked across my face, Just like old times.  She leads me into the van and everybodys eyes fall on me.  Some know who I am, but even the ones who don't are happy to see another living face.  I feel someone hugging my leg, its Chelle's daughter.  They look ragged, but they're alive. Suddenly, memories of before the outbreak begin flooding in.  Those long nights spent with the old gang, Plans for the future, and at the time a mock plan for the zombie apocalypse.  I look towards the group of familiar faces, they seem like they have seen a ghost.  the silence hangs above us like a fog.  Finally I step forward and say something to break the ice.  "Man, you guys look like shit.  You call this surviving?"  Smiling as I finish my last sentence, the bus suddenly came alive with conversation.  It seems like, despite the nightmare we were in, I had found a safe haven.  With people I trusted, people with a plan.
  After swapping stories with them about how I had made it here to meet them, and how they came to this particular town, we got down to business.  We need a plan.  And they were ready to follow me to Alaska.  "Well ladies, we need to find another route.  any suggestions?"  As I finish my sentence we gather around a map of theirs, circles and x's all over the central and mid west.  Ill ask later.  But for now, lets find a route home.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


       Several days had come and gone, and when Kat wasn't raiding the town below we were together.  Almost inseparable.  My ribs were still killing me and Alaska was almost the last thing on my mind.  Unable to go below and help with gathering, I stay up and help cook and take care of the other survivors.  Maybe I had finished running, but a part of me was waiting for this good fortune to come crashing down.  But until then I was here until I could move about on my own.  Surveying the town below I see there is an increase of activity since I arrived here, the undead wander the streets in groups of three or four every other street.  Popping another pain killer, I look to the mountains.  My halfway marker looms in the distance.  Pushing the thoughts of leaving to the back of my mind, I head back towards the middle of the rooftop.  I head towards the bridge and stop, I hear something in the distance.  Whooping and hollering, followed by a hail of gunfire.  "This doesn't bode well.  We have to stay hidden."  I think as I jog back to the main rooftop.
          "Finding Will I tell him about the noises I heard coming from the woods. "Cant be too sure, not everyone can be trusted.  Ill gather everyone and let them in on whats going on."   Will seems to know this drill.  He gathers everyone and explains the situation, putting out the fire on the stove.  The rooftop is dead silent.  "Will, were missing a few people..." Kat is down below!  I begin to panic.  "Will,is there any way to get a hold of them down there?"  I'm peering over the edge of the roof, hoping to find her wandering the streets.  I begin to look for my equipment, looking for my handgun.  "Will, you keep an eye on everyone up here, I'm going to try and bring them back before whoever they are get in town.  I shouldn't bee too long."  I find my handgun, taking the spare handgun rounds and refill the half empty clip.  I grab a spare clip just in case.  Will looks to me and asks, "But... do you know where they are?  You cant just run in blindly, that's a sure fire way to get yourself killed.  Or worse."  I appreciate the concern Will, but I've sat idle for too long.  I cant sit by and wait for something bad to happen.  Ill be back, I mean my equipment is all here."  Looking around I forget where I had been brought in.  thinking back, my memory fades in and out.  Looking around I find what I'm looking for.  "Take care of everyone, ill be back with them in a while."  Heading the hotel room I make my way to the main lobby.
       I leave the ruined lobby and walk onto the streets, littered with broken glass.  Looking around me, I find the block to be clear of any threats.  The crunch of broken glass beneath my shoes echoes around me, not a sound can be heard.  "Kat!  Anybody?  We gotta get back to the roof now!"  I shout at nobody in particular, hoping they're nearby.  A moan rises from behind a car parked on the side of the street.  Limping towards it, gun raised, I find a one of those things.  No lower body, it drags its self on the concrete towards me, the moan just as feral as the rest of them.  I pull the trigger, obliterating its head, leaving nothing but a torso on the road. The recoil is killer on my chest.  I cant do this, I thought as the pain paralyzed me for a moment.  After a few short breaths I hear more gunfire down the road, I look up to see the trio running towards me, Kat in the lead.  "You...we gotta get upstairs.  There are others coming, we gotta hide."  I drop to my knees.  This pain is too much.  I'm glad I wasn't surrounded otherwise I would be dead.  Kat grabs my arm and picks me up, supporting me as we made our way to the hotel.  "What the hell is wrong with you?!  You cant be out here, you haven't had enough time to recover!"  She was livid with me, but I was just happy to hear her voice.  Even if it was an angry tone.  We make our way through the hotel as I inform them about the sounds coming from the woods, and towards the town.  "Just being cautious, don't want anyone... getting hurt."  Its getting hard to concentrate.  I was never one to handle pain, and its obviously showing now.  Kat steers me towards the window with the bridge, she takes one look at me and takes a stab at my last statement.  "I think you threw caution to the wind when you came down here looking for us."  Touche Kat, but I do crazy things for the people I want to protect.  "Lets just say... lets say you're worth it."  Making it to the roof,  I collapse.  Unable to see straight, I soon lose sight, then consciousness.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A bond

     The sun was sinking.  Dusk settling in and giving way to night as the trio returned from their scavenge.  Food and other necessities are dropped and divided amongst the groups.  I sit off to the side, as I don't really feel like I fit in here, despite the fact that Ive been welcomed in with open arms.  Noticing I wasn't in the crowd, Kat comes to my side and drops a bag in my lap.  "Don't know if you got the note, but I owe you a bag of these."  Smiling as I look down to see a big bag of Gummi worms in my lap.  I look back at her.  "Well, aren't you just the sweetest?"  She sits down next to me and begins asking me all sorts of questions about the state of the world around us.  "So you have been traveling across country, are there...are there any other 'colonies' like ours out there?  Surely we cant be the only ones left."  She stares deeply into my eyes as if to fish the answer out herself.  "No, there was a group of people held up in one of those fancy apartment buildings in St. Louis.  Also I don't know if anyone was left there, but I had flown over a fortified farm somewhere between there and here.  We are making a comeback, someday life will be back to normal.   Or as normal as it can get." I scoot a little bit closer to her, remembering how it felt to connect with another person.
         She sees my less than slick move, but doesn't outwardly reject it.  Deciding to try my luck , "So, whats your story?  How did someone as cute as you end up living on a roof, scrounging the town with a bunch of rough looking guys?" I laugh as I lightly jab her arm with my elbow.   Looking back to me, "Well, if you must know, I lived in that subdivision right over there."  She points to the houses that seem to stretch to the mountains themselves.  "The day those things came I was at home.  The usual Saturday, lazy day.  Until the back door was knocked in.  I knew her, or what used to be her." She stops to run her fingers through her light brown, almost reddish hair.  She continues but I cant concentrate.  Shes so beautiful, I feel like I could stay here with her forever.  But, no, Ive got to go home.  Her body nothing short of perfection, not to mention the cool persona she gave off despite the hell unfolding around us.  I snap out of it to hear the end of her story. "After making into town here, I hid in the hotel.  Luckily for me they were using the hotel as the temporary shelter before migrating to the rooftops.  Since then Ive been putting my medical knowledge from school to use here, treating whoever I could."  Her green eyes looking into mine, I really think I'm falling in love here.  I open my mouth and ruin everything. "I cant stop thinking about how cute you are.  I know there is a lot more to be worrying about, but I just cant help it."  Blushing I look away, thinking I had blown everything.  Instead I feel her hand over mine.  "Ill admit, not the best thing to bring up, but I'm not going to shoot you down...just yet."  She grins before scooting closer herself, at least I didn't scare her off I thought to myself.
           The sun had set and we sat on the edge of the roof, staring at the mountains.  We had been talking for hours about nothing in general.  Our favorite bands, the lives we had led before the outbreak, TV shows we loved and hated.  For one night, the rest of the world had melted away.  It was just the two of us on the roof, getting to know each other under the glow of the moon.  And for that I was eternally grateful.  For the first time I had truly felt like I could just stop running and start living.  Our conversation was interrupted by Will, who had let us know that that nights meal was about to be ready.  "Come on you lovebirds, you might miss dinner if you stay there." Laughing as he walked away I stood up and extended my hand to hers, "Come on, lets get something to eat.  Who knows, this might count as a date?"  Really pressing my luck with that one I thought.  "Sure, I hadn't been on a date since high school."  she takes my hand and we head towards the bridge that lead to the 'dinner' roof.  "Damn, high school?  You're as bad as I am.  But you probably had more opportunities than I did back then." she laughs at my obviously lame attempt at flattery. "I did, but I always though my 'geek' side would intimidate most of the guys that liked me."  She shows me a tattoo on her wrist, one of a very familiar video game icon.  "Well Ill be.  I knew there was something else about you.  Geek girls are my weakness.  No lie." stopping to examine it further, I think that maybe all of this had happened to lead me here.  I, so far, am convinced I have found my other half.  "Come on slowpoke, were going to miss dinner!" Pulling me along the bridge we join the group as our conversation was lost amongst the multiple conversations coming from every table.

Village on top of the town.

    I awake later the next day to a sunny and cloudless sky, rather calming.  Not a single moan to be heard, coupled with the voices of living people nearby, made it feel like I had awoken from a nightmare.  The pills, whatever they were, left me feeling hungover.  It was all I could do to sit up without swaying from side to side. To the side of me I see my equipment, along with a note on my bookbag.  "I saw you had gummi worms, I couldn't help myself, Kat."  I read the note and cant help but smile.  "So your name is Kat, huh?  Ill have to remember that."  Rummaging through the bag to find something to snack on, hoping it would kill the hung over feeling.  After finding a bag of candy, I zip the bag back up and begin to eat.  After a while I feel much better and decide to stand up.  Looking around I see how expansive this rooftop village is.  I guess you could call it a town, its main drag is about the extent of the place.  Subdivisions on one end, more of an industrial park to the other side.  The Rockies rising ahead in the distance, my halfway marker. "Ive come so far, why not rest for a while?" I chuckle as I head to the other rooftops, hoping to find Kat and ask her about her story on the outbreak.

      Crossing over the rooftop on a sturdy bridge built from ply board and 2x4's, I cross onto the rooftop where there are other survivors.  They all look in my general direction with a puzzled look.  I look down and I realize I wasn't wearing a shirt.  I look down and see the bandage, along with the bruise that's visible above it.  Being the socially awkward person all I could do was wave and open my mouth.  "Hi everyone.  I think I forgot to put on a shirt."  Looking back up I hear a couple of snickers from the group sitting at the assorted tables scattered across the rooftop.  "Has anyone seen Kat?"  I continue, scratching my head.  "Shes out looking for more supplies, they should be back in an hour or so.  Come on over, have something to eat, you look ragged."  A hand waved me towards a table in the middle of the roof.  the man that waved me down went and got me a bowl of delicious looking soup.  He continues as he gets a chair ready for me.  "You look like you have been traveling for some time, and that means you have a story to tell."  I look at him and reply "You have no clue buddy.  By the way my name is Chris.  Glad to see there are people surviving this mess."  I extend my hand to shake his, but he opts for a hug.  "You have no clue what you coming here means.  We thought we were the only ones left alive.  Oh, manners, My name is Will."  Shocked from getting a hug from a complete stranger, I continue.  "Well, I don't know what today is, but my exodus north began on October 27th, while I was working."  I pause, looking back it felt like it had been years ago since I left on my own, realizing it hadn't even been a month.  "That was the day it hit us in my town, in Tennessee.  After that night I have been sleeping on rooftops, stealing from abandoned stores, and running for my life."  I continue to relive to the captivated crowd about my run with only a metal rod through the streets of Columbia, leaving town only to meet Wallace and Emily.  "The hardest part about leaving town is never knowing if my friends and family were alive.  I found my sister a few days later but..." It hurt to remember, I didn't think there were any tears left.
             Suddenly I find myself unable to continue, tears welling up.  Will gently places his hand on my shoulder.  "There's
      Suddenly conversations broke out all across the rooftop.  I could barely hear Will talking next to me.  "So we have somewhat of a timeline. This is good, we can at least chronicle this should life get back to normal."   I begin to respond, but get cut off by gunfire below.  Running to the lip of the roof, I see Kat and her group running down the street, the undead in slow pursuit.  "Shit!  Kat!  Hurry, get up here!"  Panicking as I try to find something to fire, Will calmly gets up and grabs a bottle with a rag in it.  "Watch and learn newbie.  Fire in the hole!"  He lights the rag and tosses it a few feet ahead of the undead crowd, setting the street on fire.  Blindly they stumble through it, burning as they walked.  Continuing as if nothing had happened, "Ive been meaning to keep a journal of sorts but everyone here had the same experience pretty much.  Your addition would be a greatly welcomed and appreciated."   Looking back over the roof, I see the fire still rolling, and what zombies weren't already on fire were still walking towards the fire. "Sure why not.  Who knows, maybe I should do the same thing, after all its still a long hike to where I'm going.  I could use a few stories to keep me entertained."  I sit back down, hoping that Kat and the others made it back alright.  Nothing I could do to help them right now, all I can do is wait, and hope.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Medical attention

    Continuing through the woods, my senses were on high alert.  I wasn't alone, I just hoped it was the wildlife.  More twigs snapping ahead of me, I stop.  Moments later I hear that moan, the sound of primal hunger, wherever it was it found me.    Stealth no longer a factor, I grab my handgun.  Checking the clip I find I have ten rounds left, hopefully there weren't that many around.  Darting from tree to tree, I check for any figures in the distance.  So far I see nothing, but I continue my search.  Spotting one shuffling around to my left, I aim and fire, dropping it before it could become a threat.  More moans float up throughout the woods.  Definitely not alone and aware of it, I  break into a run, hopping over the corpse as I continue to run for the mountains in the distance.  Their moans coming from what seemed to be everywhere, I begin to panic.  And that's when mistakes are made.  Blindly running through the woods, I trip over root, sending me tumbling down a hill.  Rolling over more roots and small bushes leave plenty of small cuts on my arms and face.  But its the landing that really hurt.  Rolling into a rock, I feel a rib or two crack as I come to a crashing halt.  It takes everything I have to not black out, but the thought of being eaten in my sleep is worse that the pain.  Slowly getting up I see them on the hill I was on a moment ago.  Mindlessly they fall downhill, faring worse than I did.  I limp away from my fall alive, in pain but alive.
      My ribs were killing me, I felt like maybe death was not such a bad idea.  Stumbling out of the woods I come to a town, nestled between the hills and what I could only hope were the Rocky Mountains.  "I'm not ready for another firefight.  Not with these wounds, but I need supplies and I have no other choice.   "Man up, you aren't going to get any better complaining."  Hearing that voice put things in perspective.  Walking down the main road I begin to think out loud.  "I'm going to need something to deal with this pain, a quick fix for these ribs, and somewhere to stay.  I haven't slept in almost two days."  Thinking about the lack of sleep made me feel even sleepier.  Hobbling down the road I take in my surroundings and find something out of place.  Towns are hot spots, yet there were more undead in the woods.  Not to mention the buildings here.  I almost didn't notice it at first, but every other building had its ground floors completely boarded up.  I suddenly get the feeling I'm being watched.  I put up my gun and switch to my machete, as much intelligent movement I could make the better.  I just couldn't shake the feeling of being watched...through a scope.  Making my way into the town that feeling intensifies.  Looking up after clearing the streets, I see nothing but I still cant be too sure.  Continuing my walk through I find a supermarket that looks relatively untouched.  Walking in I see the shelves have been wiped out, there is no power in the building, but thankfully its still light out.  walking towards the back I see what I'm looking for.  A pharmacy, relief from the pain is in sight. I walk around the counter and begin looking at the pills behind the shelf. Going through the bottles I realize I know nothing about them.  So I opt to grab a paper bag and dump as much as I could.  On my way out I see a few other things I could use.  Grabbing a few first aid kits and a few ace bandages I make my way out of the store, only to be greeted by a trio of people.  Guns cocked and ready to fire.  "Are....are these yours?  Look, I don't want any trouble, ill be on my way.."  In too much pain to fight, I drop the bag.  Surprisingly the girl in the middle steps forward and grabs the bag, handing it to me.  "Come on, follow us."  I grab the bag, shocked it didn't end in me getting robbed of everything I owned or murdered.  I grab my sack of goodies and follow them a few streets down.
heh.  So I did good?"  Looking for a place to rest, she steers me towards a lawn chair set up on the corner of the roof.  after getting me in the chair, she asks me a few questions about my chest.  "When you landed did you hear a crack of sorts?  How long have you been going with this injury?"  I retell the story of how I ended up in the woods, alone and running like a frightened rabbit.  Reliving the fall down hill I show her where I landed on the rock.  Then I heard her say something I know was strictly medical but it still made me both laugh and blush.  "I'm going to need you to take your shirt off so I can see where you landed."  My first attempt to raise my arms over my head was very painful.  Unable to do so, I ask her for a knife.  Id rather cut my shirt off than feel that again.  After getting the shirt off I see how bruised and cut I really was.  My ribs were a dark purple and there were small cuts all over my arms and face.  There go my good looks.  Taking two fingers she pressed around the bruise, no pain there at least, I thought.   "I know this is going to sound stupid, but I'm going to need to check the bruise.  I'm sorry."  She reaches for the center of the purple mass and gently touches where my rib is.  The pain is unimaginable, I cry out in pain.  Begging for her to knock me out for this part.  "Come on, don't be such a baby.  I'm going to look in the bag you brought us for some painkillers, then I'm going to wrap your chest up. I suggest you stay here for a few days.  If anything we would gladly accept another pair of living hands."  rifling through the bag of pills, she finds the pills she needs.  Continuing as she poured a few out of the bottle, she begins to crush them.  "Now I don't have access to an IV so the next fastest way to get these to work is if you snort them.  The faster they kick in the faster I can get you bandaged up and get you some sleep."  Sleep sounded good, but not being in pain sounded even better.  She crushed the pills into a fine powder and summoned me over to the pile.  "Bon appetite" I say as I inhale the painkiller.   After I finish the pile I feel like my nose is going to burn and fall off.  I keep rubbing it in hopes of killing the burn.  After I finish spazzing out and potentially embarrassing myself in front of one the cutest girls left in the world, she sits down next to me.  "You survived this far on your own?  You must be exhausted."   Now, maybe its because I hadn't eaten a real meal these past few days and the meds were kicking in faster.  Or that I'm socially awkward when I find myself talking to someone as cute but my words were coming out....jumbled.  "No, you see... I was in Tennessee first then.  Uhh, yeah I got on a helicopter." I need to shut up, I'm making a fool out of myself.  "Interesting, I see the pills have kicked in.  That was faster than I thought." she laughed a little at my failed attempt of storytelling.  She takes this opportunity to take the ace bandage to my chest, feeling only a mild pressure as she wrapped me up tight.  "Come on, lets get you somewhere to rest.  Well leave your equipment here for now."  She helped me to my feet, which seemed like they were jello.  "Wa..wait.  I need my smokes!" I sound like a drunken idiot, but they seemed important.  Walking on unsteady feet, I find my bag and pull a fresh pack out of the carton and open it up, too fucked up to bother with packing it.  I light up and take one look at her before slurring, pointing in her general direction.  "I think you're cute."  Smiling she leads me across a bridge onto another roof.  "Alright stud, lets get you some sleep.  Lets see if you say that waking up."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


        I sit with Jason in his last moments of life.  His breathing tortured, fighting for each breath.  No way to live, I reach for my gun.  Making sure the safety is off, I have it at my side.  Before I go through with this I have to get something off of my chest.  "Jason, this has to be the one of the hardest things I've had to do.  You helped me get so far.  Without you and everybody else, I would have been dead most likely.  Is it bad that I feel ashamed that I survived out of everyone else?"  I had tears welling up, tears that I thought died with her.  His skin losing color fast, he reaches for my arm and tells me something I'm sure will stay with me for the rest of my life.  "You... you did good.  You lived this long, that's better than the rest of those things out....out there."  He tries to finish his sentence, but a violent fit of couching takes over.  after hacking up a few chunks of blood, he continues.  "Don't stop, keep going.  I may die here, but your story goes on.  All I ask of you, is to remember me.  Let my story be known.  So long as I am known by others, I will never truly die."  His breathing  slowing, he knows his time is up.  And so do I.  The storm outside is losing strength, but is still going outside, no lightning but plenty of thunder.  "Jason, fear not.  Your story will be told.  Along with everyone else I have met along the way.  You will not be forgotten, my friend."  I raise my gun, aiming at his forehead, I whisper to him.  "I'm so sorry Jason, I will always remember you."  I aim at his forehead, but look away.  I cant watch me kill another person I know
              I pull the trigger, Jason's head jerks back, smacking against the stone wall.  I stand there for a moment, unable to say or do anything.  The storm rages on, indifferent to the event unfolding in the cave.  Alone again, I crawl up on the ledge and begin to sob.  I'm alone again, and I don't even know where I am.  For the first time I feel truly scared.  I lay there for what seems an eternity before the storm breaks.  Emotionless I stand up and strap all the equipment I would need down.  No point of carrying Jason's guns, but I take the remaining ammo in his guns with me. He isn't going to need them, but I will.  I have a long road ahead of me, but nothing is going to stop me.  Ill make sure of it.  Taking a blanket out of Jason's bag, I cover his corpse.  Not having the tools or time to bury him, it was the least I could do for him.   "Goodbye, Jason..."   After saying my goodbye, I turned around and left the cave.  Heading up hill I try to find landmarks to traverse by.  In order to get my bearings straight I would have to find a road or a sign and line it up with my map.  Walking through the woods, even in the daylight was quite scary, noise coming from every direction.  Coming to the top of a hill I take a look around and try to see if I cant find some mark of civilization.  "Not quite what I was looking for, but just as good."  Ahead I see mountains.  And I know they run north to south.  "At least I know I'm going west."   I said, traversing the muddy forest.  A long road lay ahead of me, and every day it gets a bit easier.
      The top of the hill was bare of trees, Nothing in sight but I hear rustling from downhill.   I ready my handgun, ready to kill.  A trio of birds fly past me, stumbling back I catch myself on a tree.  Below me I hear moaning, meaning I'm not alone.  Time for some fun, I thought as I head to the top of the hill, ready for a firefight.  Looking down I see that there is a group of them, bloody from a fresh kill.  The body of... "The girl.  She didn't make it..."  I should have felt bad, but I didn't really.   I was still alive and that was that.  Still unnoticed by the undead still feasting on her I take aim at the closest and fire, dropping it faster that I could aim for the next one.  After they all fall, I take a closer look at the girl.  She couldn't be older than ten, such a terrible end for a child.  As I get up to leave I hear her move.  Turning around I see her sit up, head turning towards me.  Her bottom lip has been torn off, leaving a permanent  grin on that once young and innocent face.  Aiming for her forehead I pull the trigger, another death.  It gets easier every time, but it still stings.  Killing someone you saved or someone that saved you.  I walk away from the feeding site, heading west towards the mountains, west to the coast.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


    The storm raged on outside the cave, Jason had run out to find the screamer.  Dumb idea there, but I couldn't just leave him out there.  He was there for me, and I wasn't just going to leave him out there alone.  Mind made up I grab my shotgun, and drop from the ledge.  The rain is pelting my face, making it hard to see in the dark forest.  Lightning strikes, temporarily lighting the area around me.  And I see her, the mother.  Standing alone in a clearing ahead.  "Hey, are you fucking retarded?  Get back in the cave!"  I was soaked, and angry, Jason was still nowhere to be found.  She just stands there, staring at her feet, oblivious to me or the storm.  Slowly backing away as to keep my presence unknown, I trip on a root and fall backwards.  "Unnnghh..."  Her attention fixed on me she stumbled forwards, shadows working against me.  I reach for my shotgun, I point it at her legs.  "Listen, I'm not joking around, take one step forward and ill blow your fucking legs off!" Screaming over the roar of the wind and the booming thunder.  She ignores my warning and slowly stumbles towards me, oblivious to the shotgun pointed towards her.  BOOM, Her legs disintegrate, sending her face first onto the wet forest floor, sending mud flying.
      Pulling myself up I see her crawling to my legs, snarling with hunger.  Against a tree I have nowhere to run.  About arms reach from me I raise my leg, sending my heel crashing into her skull.  For a moment I just stand there, my foot still embedded in her skull.  She had changed, but I saw no bite marks.  Staring at her as nature raged on around me I almost didn't hear the shuffling ahead of me.  The storm seems to be intensifying so I retreat to the cave, only to find Jason slumped in the corner, soaked and holding his arm.  This doesn't look good.  "Shit, are you alright?  What happened Jason?"  Looking up to me with foggy eyes, he shows me the gash in his arm.  "Shes one of them, I went to bring her in and she bit me, she fucking bit me!"  He began to sob,  he knows that bite is a death sentence.  "Oh, oh man, it looks bad.  Lets get it cleaned up."  I rip the sleeve on my shirt off and wrap it around his arm, taking great caution to not touch the wound its self.  "It... its funny.  It wasn't even half an hour ago and I'm having trouble concentrating."  His breathing becoming ragged as time passes, I know he doesn't have much longer.  "Smoke?"  I ask, handing him a cigarette, he takes it.  Lighting him up  he takes a drag, the cigarette hanging from the side of his mouth.  "Damn,  I came so far too. Stupid bitch."  His voice is weak, it came out as a plea.  "Buddy, you wont let me turn, will you?" He grabs my shirt, his grip is weak but the severity in his voice is solid.  "Of course not.  That would be a cold thing to do."    I pat him on the shoulder,  This is going to be hard to do, I don't think I could do it....


    Hours passed as we walked uphill, hoping to make it to a safe place before dark.  The woman we picked up didn't trust us at all, opting to whisper to her daughter and ignore us completely.  I try to communicate, but she only stares at me.  Now, I don't mind if someone doesn't like me, but if I rescue your ass I at least want to hear a thank you. I cant take it, I look towards her and get that same stare.  I finally stop in my tracks and speak my mind "Look, I don't know what is shoved up your ass but it seems large and sharp.  Now I don't know about you but I think we saved your ass back there.  A thank you wouldn't kill you, or trying to talk to the people who rescued your ungrateful ass.   Now if we are going to continue this journey of ours, I suggest making it positive."  Turning back I continue up hill, expecting a smart remark, but I get nothing.  "Jason, you see anything up there?  We need to find a place to camp out."  I wait for a response but get nothing. Looking around I see the woman and child, who I don't know either of their names, and Jason using the scope to search the hills ahead.   Nothing, I start to lose my calm, there is nothing out here but us.  "Bingo!  We have a campsite!" Jason takes the lead, "Follow me, there's a cave up ahead!"  Picking up the pace and passing me, Jason heads towards the cave.  Behind us I can hear the rumblings of a large storm.  

     "Gather as much wood as you can and meet me back here, I'm going to take a look in the cave." Unstrapping his equipment in the mouth of the cave, he pulls out his shotgun and loads it.  Following suit I set me equipment down, opting to bring my handgun with me for protection.  Ill need the machete to gather wood.  Looking back before going to forage, I see the mother take her daughter to the cave and sit down, whispering calming words to the child.  Poor kid, shes seen things that nobody in general should ever see.  Then again that's the way this world works now.  Heading into the woods I begin my search for firewood.  The crunch of dead leaves under my feet echo all around.  Finding a rather thin tree I take my machete and begin to cut away.  Halfway through I hear the storm getting closer, the clouds in the distance  rising and getting darker.  I need to hurry.    Thunder rumbles in the distance as I land the separating blow on the trunk. Choosing to drag the tree back instead of further chopping it down I head to the cave.  Hopefully someone else had helped gather wood, If not this fire isn't lasting very long.   Returning to the camp I see its just Jason.  "Wheres Mary Sunshine and her daughter?"  I ask dragging half a tree behind me.  "Thought she went with you,  but I guess I was wrong."  Jason said, finding a ledge to climb up, setting the equipment.  "Well, the storm isn't going to be here for a while, I'm going to find some branches to throw on the fire.  Ill be back in a little bit."  Heading back out I put the machete in its sheath, pulling out my handgun.  Something didn't seem right about the woman we saved.  And I wasn't about to die at the hands of a living person,  hell no.  I came this far, and I'm going to make it home.  Even if I had to kill someone else.
     The wind picks up a bit, the smell of rain and electricity in the air.  It was going to be a big storm, and I'm glad we have shelter.  Foraging for sticks reminded me of summers as a kid, building fires and making smores.  Telling....well telling zombie stories among other scary stories.  Kind of funny looking back, I laughed as I continued to search the forest floor for sticks and dried leaves.  Thunder rumbles in the distance, This is going to have to work, I thought as I headed back to the cave entrance, a medium size bundle of sticks under my left arm, right hand aiming the pistol as I made my way back.  I couldn't shake this feeling of dread, like something horrible was about to happen.  Making my way back into the mouth of the cave I hear nothing.  No Jason, no crazy woman or her daughter, nothing.  I felt completely alone, and terrified.  I climb up on the ledge where our equipment was and begin to build the fire.  It was going to be a long night, and I needed some light to fight off whatever may come this way.  As I put the finishing touches on the stack of firewood I hear rustling outside of the cave, and I see Jason.  Shotgun in hand aiming in the cave, sweeping it for any undead.  "Hey, where the hell did you go?"  I asked looking for my lighter.  He hops up on the ledge and sets his gun down.  "I went looking for our two guests, but couldn't find them.  Its going to start raining soon."  He said pointing to the mouth, which was getting dark and cold.  "We need to get this fire built.  And to clarify, I'm not going out there when it starts.  I don't care what happens.  They should have stayed in the cave."  Stating rather coldly as I begin to light the pile of wood.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

On foot again

After a short rest, Jason was ready to continue west.  Which was good, I never sleep when he does.  And I was exhausted.  Packing up the supplies and what meat we had managed to cook, the helicopter took off.  The land below us began to rise and fall, hills rolling as far as the eye can see.  "We must be getting close to the Rockies, we should be able to see actual mountains in no time!" I heard Jason yell as I begin to drift off, the hum of the blades rotating above.  That noise was almost as soothing as a lullaby, I knew when I heard that noise that nothing could touch me, we were far above the slaughtering below.  Hearing it put me at rest and I was able to sleep.  But not this time, There was an alarm going off in the cockpit, and suddenly I was no longer tired at all.  "Hey, is something wrong?"  I ask looking for a source to the beeping.  Finding the fuel gauge I see that we are almost empty, and that was very bad news.  Looking for a place among the hills to set down at I ask Jason.  "We don't have much further, do we?"  Planning for the worst was the best I could do for now.  The thought of carrying all of those supplies across country did not sound appealing at all.  "Well, not far, we could maybe make it over these hills on the horizon before having to stop.  Or crash, whichever cool with you."  Grinning as he scanned the land ahead for a place to land, he spotted a valley that was clear of any movement.  Setting down, we scan the area to ensure the area was clear and begin to find out location on a map.
     "If the compass on here is right, we have been going straight west since St. Louis, so we are either in Kansas or Colorado."  Continuing to check to map, looking up to see if there were mountains ahead of us.  "Do you think we could take the compass with us?  Id rather not walk blindly across the US, and I'm no expert navigator."  I look all around, not knowing which way was north.  "Do you think we are close enough to a gas station?  Id hate to leave such a beautiful ride behind."   Scoffing as he continues his detailed search of the map, he replies "This isn't a car, so finding a gas station wouldn't do us a bit of good.  This has a turbine engine, so were looking for something called 'Jet A'.  Think of it as a kind of kerosene.  Aww man, I knew we should have got more than a few refills!" Taking a deep breath, he continues. "Well, we cant be too far from a town or even a road, I say we pack up and carry on.  Maybe we can find a car or something.  Hopefully we can find that or shelter by nightfall."  I shuddered at the thought of walking in the dark or sleeping on ground level.  Pushing the thought of those things out of my head, I strap everything down, leaving my machete unhooked.  That was to be carried at all times.  Much heavier and less hopeful, we carry on
       These damn hills, they're going to kill me, I thought as I struggled up the hill.  My balance was sub par with a full backpack and two heavy guns strapped to me.  "Is that all you're complaining about?  At least the road is clear"  I hear that voice again.  Am I going crazy?  No, Its stating clear facts, not telling me to burn things or buy lottery tickets.  I look behind to see Jason is having as much, if not more problems as I am.  Laughing at him I pick up the pace a bit, calling back to him.  "Come on pansy, one more hill!"  I turn around to see him smile and shoot me a middle finger.  "That's what you said three hills ago, I'm done lis-"  He cut his sentence short, and crouches.  Not seeing anything, but I follow his lead, not wanting to see what he did.  "Shh, listen!" whispering to me he points above the hill.  Listening carefully I can hear moaning, and something else.  Like, someone pounding on metal.  Taking the rifle out of the bag, I load it and crawl to the top of the hill, Jason mere feet behind me.  Looking ahead I see about eight of them, all surrounding a big SUV.  The horde quite eager to get in, slowly pound away at the door, making no leeway, but given time they would make it.  Aiming was quite different with the scope, and it took me a good minute or two to finally find the first zombie.  Lining up the cross hairs with his severely deformed face, I pull the trigger.  The Crack ringing loudly in my ears, but the zombie drops, its undead cohorts covered in his sticky skull fragments.  Jason picking up my sniping slack, taking four of them out before I could even hear.   Damn hes good, I thought.  I find the last one, banging mindlessly on the hood, trying to get at whats inside.  Aim, squeeze, explode.  Headless, the zombie takes two steps back, the corpse falls backwards. As soon as I pulled the trigger I was up and running to the car.  There was a reason they were after it, and that reason is food.  "There could be someone in there!  Come on!"  Not waiting to see if he was following me I take off down the hill.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In the field

     I awake sever hours later, the helicopter set down in a field.  Looking around I find myself alone.  Jason nowhere in sight.Getting out of my seat, I sit right back down.  My shoulder is killing me, I pull down my shirt to see a dark and tender bruise forming.  Ouch.  Gently getting up as to not move my shoulder in the slightest, I get out of the chopper and take a look around.  The land to my left begins to roll, hills as far as the eyes can see, to my left were the flat plains we had been flying over for what seemed forever.  Still not seeing Jason, I take my handgun out and hold it with my left hand, my right being completely useless.  I walk a couple of yards from the chopper and still see nothing.  Panic begins to creep in.  Why leave me and the chopper?  As I ponder where Jason could have even gone to I hear a loud crack behind me, hearing the noise echo for a good minute.  I run back to the chopper and take cover.  Never know what could happen.  I wait for a good five minutes but hear nothing.  Not even a moan.  And I thought that was the weirdest part.  That sound, carrying as far as it did, should have alerted every one of those things for at least twenty miles.  Still nothing.  As I begin to make my way out of the chopper something rustles out of sight.  Followed by a wet thud.  Turning around I see a dead animal.  It resembled a deer, but with black and white patches of fur, and black antlers.  But much smaller and sharper.
         Beginning to panic, I aim my gun towards where it was tossed from, only to hear a familiar voice. "Good eating tonight.  Beats eating twinkies and potato chips by a long shot."  Lowering my gun I call out to Jason.  "you scared the ever loving shit out of me, I almost shot you!  But on the other hand I take it the Rifle works huh?"  Slipping the gun back in its holster, I hop out of the cockpit and next to Jason's catch.  He didn't strike me as the hunting type, but I wasn't complaining.  Meat beat sweets any day.But the thought of eating it raw made me sick.  I would be no different than the first zombie I saw, or any of them for that matter.  "But you're better than them.  You have the ability to reason, you are better because you are ALIVE!"  I hadn't heard that voice in some time.  "This is no time to get squeamish at the though of eating another creature.  You cant live on junk forever" That tone, so mature.  Far more mature than I was.  But it was me, nobody else.  Pulling me out of my internal musings Jason snaps his fingers in front of my face.  "Yo, you okay over there?  You're zoning out there staring at the deer-thing.  Its creeping me out a bit."  Coming back to the real world I look up to Jason and ask him the most important question I could think of.  "So, how are we cooking this sucker?"  I grin as I begin to think of how the meat will taste.  I hadn't had real food in some time.
        After a while we get a fire started, the sun beginning to set, the smell of cooking meat was thick on the air.   The sounds of nature were there, but not as heavy as they should have been.  But we were distracted by our dinner at hand.  Pulling the meat off the fire I don't even wait for it to cool off, burning the roof of my mouth in the process.  I didn't care.  It was the first real meal I had had since this never ending nightmare began.   The juices tasted so good.  It made me feel alive, living off of nature, being hunted.  The sound of Jason chowing down on his haunch of meat made me laugh, forgetting about my thoughts.  "Looks like someone is enjoying his dinner.  I didn't know you could hunt."  I said, tearing a hunk of the sweet smelling meat off in between sentences.  Swallowing the hunk of meat before starting, "I used to live in North Carolina before moving to Boston.  Big hunting country down there."  finishing the meat on his bone, he tosses it behind  him, setting another hunk over the fire before continuing.  "It used to be just me and my dad, before he got too sick to hunt.  After he died I stopped hunting.  I moved to get away from my hometown, everywhere I went there was a memory of me and him.  After all this happened, every lesson he taught me came back to me.  Thanks to him, I was able to bring us dinner"  A smile broke out across his face.  I respond before taking another bite of the filling haunch. "You made him proud.  Way to go man."  I raise my fist and give him a bump.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On the town

     Climbing down the pole, machete in hand I scan the alley I landed in.  Other than an overflowing dumpster in need of emptying, I was alone.  I check both ways before exiting the alley, not wanting to alert any of the undead that may be mindlessly shuffling in the streets.  Clear, I jog down the street.  Stopping at the corner of an old brick building.  Slowly I peek across the corner.  Seeing nothing in the windows of the shop across the street except for a few dusty pairs of clothes on a headless mannequin.  I had to double check, I swear I saw it move.  After calming my nerves I sneak across the street, constantly looking back hoping that there was nothing there.  Down the sidewalk, there is blood splattered against the grey sidewalk and on the bricks to my side.  This place fared no better than anywhere else at this point.  It was dark and coagulated, having been there for at least a few days if not more.  Peering down the alley in between stores I see nothing move so I quickly pass by onto the next building.  My senses on overdrive I hear something fall over, sounded like a few streets down.  Followed by a scream and moans of the hungry dead.  No time to stop or over analyze it.  Looking across the road at the alley I find it clear.  Running across the street to get a better view of the alley next to the hunting store, I peer down and see nothing.  Nerves calmed a little bit I run back  across the street, heading to the door of the hopefully well stocked hunting store.
       Coming to the door I see them in all of their shiny glory.   Guns of all size and caliber.  Now, before all of this, the most I knew about guns was that I wanted one.  Opening the door silently I creep in and take a look.  Not only are there rifles, shotguns and any other gun I could want.  I find all sorts of carrying equipment, jackpot.  Hopping over the display cases I look for a key to the cases, not wanting to break it and sound a dinner alarm for every one of those things in earshot.  Upon closer observation of the desk, I find a key ring under the cash register.  Scooping the keys up I unlock the case with the shotguns.  Grabbing several I set them on the counter, heading to the rifle case.  After grabbing two of the rather large and heavy rifles I proceeded to the ammo in the center case.  Unlocking it I begin to pile boxes of ammo for the two new guns, not to mention bullets for the handgun I was carrying.  After stacking everything I needed on the floor I begin to search for bags to carry all of this.  Spotting the carrying cases for the guns I bring them over to my supply pile and zip them up, putting  the cases on to test the weight and adjust the straps to my size.    After strapping everything up I realize I have no space for the ammo in these cases.  I begin to panic.  Then I thought, "Why put all the guns up, when I can play with nice new toy"  Grinning I pulled a shotgun out and stuffed all the ammo I could carry in the shotgun case, loading the shotgun with what shells were left in the display case.  Cocking the shotgun gave me a rather large confidence boost.  "Hell yeah, lets make some zombie fertilizer."  Feeling rather bad ass I head out, having to readjust the ammo case before going too far.
     Opening the door rather quickly, I hear a bell ring and I freeze.  Oshitoshitohshit.  It rang loud in the otherwise desolate streets, serving as an alarm to my presence.  Looking towards the grocery store I see a group of about ten or twelve heading my way, blocking my straight shot to safety.  Panicking I cross the street and head to the alley, shotgun in hand.  The alley I chose was luckily clear.  Running as fast as I could with all this extra weight I shoot out of the alley only to find this street just as crowded.  Closing in on me from all directions I aim the shotgun to the closest trio and pull the trigger.  BOOM!  The buckshot sent the trio flying backwards, knocking a few zombies behind them down.  The kick was terrible, but I was going to have to get used to it.  Running down the street as I pumped the shotgun, a smoking shell dropped behind me as I ran.  A few yards down I see more of them pouring out of the alley, too close for my comfort.  Stopping I aim the the alley, firing the shotgun I feel the kick and hear the mighty boom as the undead in front of the barrel go flying backwards, smashing into the wall behind them.  More pouring out of the alley across the street.  Panicking I weave past them, pumping another round in the chamber.  Coming to the next intersection I see the grocery store ahead, the pipe that would lead me to my freedom, several more of the towns once living population coming down the street, about to cut me off from my escape.  Adrenaline pumping I point the shotgun at the crowd, pump and squeeze, pump and squeeze.  Barely feeling the kick, I empty the gun on the crowd, effectively cutting the horde down and clearing my route.  Running to the pipe I see one lone zombie stagger towards me, directly in front of the pipe.  Pumping one more time I squeeze, but nothing happens.  Empty, ohshitohshit!  About five feet in front of me, I panic.  In a split second, I flip the gun around yelling like a madman, and send the butt crashing into the creatures face.  Effectively caving in his pale and bloody face.  Dropping like a sack of bricks, I begin to climb up the pole, shotgun awkwardly held under my arm as I shimmy up the pole.  the weight of the supplies I gathered really starting to wear me down.  Grabbing the ledge of the rooftop I fling the shotgun upwards, accidentally hitting a sleeping Jason.  "What the shit?!  Are you trying to kill me!" I heard as he leaned over the edge, offering a hand to pull me to safety.
      After getting up I drop the newly acquired guns and grin.  "Merry Christmas, no need to thank me!" Packing the guns in the helicopter I ask, "Did you get enough sleep?  If not oh well!  We may need to scram."  I point to the streets below, now swarming with the undead my firefight attracted.  "Point made, Ill warm up the bird."  Jason was already in the cockpit and starting it up before he could finish his sentence.  Lifting up I look out the window, seeing how many had heard me made me shiver, there were hundreds of them below, their moans loud enough to be heard above the whirring blades.  "You are quite the popular guy, look at all of your followers!" Jason laughed as we sailed over the horde, and onward to an area hopefully less populated by the walking dead. Now that I was safe, I could feel the adrenaline leaking out of my system.  I was tired, and my shoulder had never been more sore in my life, leaning against the window I close my eyes.  drifting off into a heavy slumber as the trees and roads flew under us.


    Dusk was here and gone.  The moon is the only source of light in the desolate city.  We had silently crept to the roof under the cover of dark, hoping to get up in the air before someone came after us.  The door was useless, having shot the lock out from my last trip up here. Packing our supplies in the chopper, we take one last look back, I was hoping to see Carmen open the door to join us.  But she was adamant about staying.  Taking a marker from inside the chopper, I write on the door.  "Goodbye Carmen"  Hearing the blades stirring I turn and head back to the chopper, hoping our departure would go unheard.  As we begin to lift from the roof, several of the guards were on the rooftop screaming, but their voices drown out by the hum of the bird.  Higher we rose, the people on the roof were nothing but ants, and we were westward bound again.  We landed on a roof of a rather tall building to refuel the plane, enough to find another town to acquire more fuel.  "That's the last of it, looks like we can maybe get to Kansas before getting more.  We need to keep an eye out for an airport, But I dread going to an international." Jason shuddered at he thought.  "We stopped at an airport before finding you, we managed to get gassed up no problem.  But when we were taking off, we saw hundreds of them crawling out of the terminals, mindlessly following the sound of our blades.  Falling straight onto the tarmac, flooding out of planes stranded in the middle of the runway."  I imagined those on the planes hid there because of the lack of access from the outside, but all it took was for one infected person on that plane to turn it into a slaughterhouse.  I looked towards Jason, thinking outwardly "This is far worse than I could have imagined.  If the airports are hot spots, think of the rate of spread increased by flight.  This has to have gone global."
     Looking forward I see miles of highway stretch before us,  just as many abandoned cars litter the road as every other place I had been so far.  Is there even a place left untouched by all of this chaos, I thought thinking  as we zoomed across the countryside.  Coming to a farm we see a crude fortress set up.  Tall reinforced wire fence, barbed wire running along the top and bottom, a house situated in the middle surrounded by a small series of gardens.  A ways outside of the fenced in area, a pile of undead, taken care of before they made it to the gates.  Minus the fence and corpse piles, It looked quite nice.  An image of the simple country life.  "They have the right idea, Fortifying and starting a more self sustainable type of life." Jason pointed out as we flew over the house.  Like an island of calm in a sea of death, the house was more than just that.  It was hope that even out here, someone managed to adapt and survive.  A hope that we were starting to make a comeback.  It was something to hold onto, the though of life returning to a more "Normal" state.  "So, what do you plan on doing once we hit the turning point?  I haven't given it ant thought myself, until now." Turning to Jason, I wait for his response.  "Ya know, I really don't know.  Boston is too far away to go back to,I figured wherever I am I would help try to rebuild and that sort of thing."  He said looking back to me with a puzzled tone.  "I just hope we can live long enough to make these plans reality"  He continued, turning back to look ahead for any landmark or sign.  "I hope so too." It was all I could say, in all reality I didn't see me lasting very long.  But then again I didn't see me making even this close to home.  The odds seem to be both stacked against me and in my favor.
         Dawn was fast approaching, lighting up the countryside, Black turning to a light shade of blue in the sky.  "Hey buddy, I'm going to start looking for a place to rest, I'm beat."  His almost lost over the hum of machinery.  " See if you cant find a small town. Somewhere with a roof to land on." I said, not minding the stop to stretch out and maybe have a cigarette.  On the horizon was one of those little one horse towns.  Blink once and you miss it kind of places.  Finding a grocery store to land on we land and secure the area.  There was no door to get up here so I felt better about being on guard duty.  "We have to find someone else around, I cant be on guard duty every time." laughing as I scope the quaint town around us.  Ahead on the main strip I see a hunting store about halfway down the street.  The windows were all intact so there must be something there.  "Hey Jason.  Are you going to be good resting up here by yourself?  I'm going to check out that hunting store.  Couldn't hurt to have more guns."  Looking towards him, I unsheathe my machete, not really waiting for an answer before looking for a place to get down.  "Be my guest, but if I get eaten up here.  I'm coming for you"  Laughing as he laid down.  He knew there was no way on the roof that didn't take basic thought.  He was safe.  Taking one more look at the roof, I see a pipe on the side that would make climbing up quite easy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Heading west

     Our group was a wreck.  We spent the next two days in the haven resting and trying to cope with the death of Steven.  His last words haunted me.  "I'm free" his voice repeated in my head.  He sounded genuinely happy, happy he wasn't running.  His actions had not only us questioning the state of the world, but the people holed up in this building as well.  The three of us were sitting in our room, going over what to do next.  A map sitting in the middle of the huddle.  "Heading west seems to be the best bet, but who knows how far this sickness has spread."  Jason stated looking at the western half of the U.S.  "As long as you can get me to the coast, you can stay but I'm heading to Alaska.  I don't know if its safe or not, but Its my final stop" I say pointing to the northernmost state.  Home, hopefully at least one person I knew was still alive.  One is better than none.  "But how do you plan on getting there after I make my final stop, if I decide to stay" Jason replied, emphasizing the if. "Like I said, I'm not sure the coast will be clear, and if its as bad everywhere else I may join you."  continuing on, keeping his eyes on the map.  At least he was keeping his options open.  "For the most part, the state is spread out population wise....." Jason continues, but I look toward Carmen and begin to think about how bad she was taking Steve's death. Her gaze was unfocused, looking out the window.  "Hey, are you alright Carmen?" ask, placing a hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her.  Taking her gaze off the window, she looks at me with a look of sorrow. "What could have been so bad that he would have killed himself?  Minus the outbreak of course.  I mean we have all lost family..."  She trails off, clutching her pendant, her knuckles turning white.  "I just...I cant begin to wrap my mind around suicide.  There must have been literally nothing left for him." Continuing as she fidgeted with the side of the locket.  I notice it opens and I ask her, "Are there pictures in there?"  Upon asking, she opens it to reveal a picture of two children, both under five.  "Me and my husband divorced, and the day I ran, he had them.  I couldn't get ahold of him and I assumed the worst.  Losing my two babies was the worst pain I have ever felt, but I pressed on." Her eyes welling up, she shuts the locket.
       "Carmen honey, were leaving tomorrow.  Were down to one spare tank of gas so were going to have to scrounge up some gas before going too far though."  Jason said shutting the map book and putting it back in my bag, grabbing a snack before zipping it back up.  Seeing the carton of cigarettes in there I felt my pockets for my open pack.  Man, you really have cut down, I thought as I went to grab one, realizing I had no lighter.  Looking around I find the stove in still working order.  I light the cigarette on the burner, breathing in the calming smoke.  I savor every puff, not wasting a bit.  Finishing, I toss the butt in the sink, turning the water on to prevent a fire.  Habits die hard.    Coming back into the main room I walk in on the end of Jason's conversation with Carmen.  "...Are you sure?  We don't mind waiting another day or two." Jason said as Carmen stood up.  "No, I'm tired of running, but I'm not going to die either.  I can help these people, hopefully.  I don't know if anyone here is a doctor or not, but having a nurse is the second best thing."  She said heading towards the door.  "I'm going to talk to them, see if they don't mind me staying.  I hope you can understand." Looking away from us as she heads out the door.
      "Looks like its just me and you kid.  Were heading out tomorrow, have to find an airport to gather fuel." Looking glum about having to leave Carmen behind.  I'm going to get some rest.  You should do the same."  He continued heading to the bedroom.  Sleep was the last thing on my mind.  I leave the room to see if I cant catch up with Carmen, if I cant talk her out of staying, I can at least see if someone else wants to join.  Heading down the hall, I hear voices coming from the stairwell.  "...What do you mean they're leaving, we got nothing out of them!  All we know is that the east coast is gone!"  One angry voice shouted, followed from a calm female voice.  "How are they going to know about anywhere else other than where they came?  They're heading west hoping that there was somebody out there." Touche, I thought as I took a step back to continue my eavesdropping.  "So were just as clueless as we were before they arrived.  Great."  The man was obviously not happy about not being in the know.  Join the club man, I thought as I headed back to the room.  I had a bad feeling about him, but couldn't quite place it.  Looks like I was pulling guard duty tonight.