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...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


       His breathing was becoming more shallow with each passing moment.  Well thought out sentences were now barely intelligible grunts, he had maybe minutes to live.  Reaching for my handgun I point it towards the floor, "I hate to do this, but as of now, you are a threat.  Its nothing personal, and I'm sorry."  He closes his heavily bruised eyelids and takes a deep breath before trying to say his last words.  "I'm.....I'm scared, just get.... this over with."  I nod as I pull the gun up, level with his forehead.  The gun feels like it weighs a ton, the weight of taking another mans life perhaps.  Keeping my focus proves to be difficult, for I close my eyes for a moment and I see my sister.  I see her face, once beautiful and alive, now devoid of any color and humanity.  I lower the gun and take a step back.  Have I lost it?  How many more people will I have to put down in order to secure my safety?  I look back and see him again, those eyes so full of suffering.  "Now or never..." I mutter as I raise the gun to his face as I pull the trigger.  The shot rang loud in the small bus, a few whimpers come from the front of the bus, but I ignore them.  Unable to move, I stand over his body, gun still pointed at the motionless husk.  It seems like an hour passed by, unable to do anything but stare at the latest victim to the virus and my gun.
    The bus comes to a stop, and the back door is opened as we roll the corpse out the back.  No time for a eulogy, or even a proper burial at that.  "This doesn't feel right.  I cant just dump him on the side of the road."  Unaware I was speaking out loud, I grab a musty blanket and hop out of the back exit.   Landing next to the corpse, I straighten him out.  Throwing a blanket over him was the best thing I could do for now.  At least that's what I tell myself as I get back in the bus, taking one last look at the lump under the blanket. Silently we move on, coming closer to the coast.  Its funny, I never met the man before in my life, but there I was thinking about what he did with his life. I wonder if anyone else in the bus knew who he was.After covering the body I get back on the bus and take a seat.  Nobody says a word for a few good hours, not even  a complaint as the splatter from the execution was cleaned up.  I turn and look out the window, still the same desolate scenery.  We haven't come across anybody, living or dead, in days.  Maybe this is a good sign, or maybe there was nobody left.  The farther we go, my hope to find a stronghold of any kind dwindles.  All I come across are ruins of poorly held barricades and overrun safe havens.  Any despite all of this, the desire to leave the bus on my own burns bright.  Its all I can think of after that dream. Was it a day ago?  The days seem to blur into one  lately, sleep comes in brief periods.  Even among the living I find myself on edge, I wait for it all to come crashing down at any moment.  The question for the time being is when it will happen.
     Several days pass as we make our way towards the coast.  Coming up to a town, we see the signs of a fallen barricade.  The amount of bodies strewn about the field mark a rather intense gunfight.  Rich stops the bus, and begins to start the usual speech.  "Well, we need to grab any supplies we can find, do we have any volunteers?"  This was it, my chance go get out.  I wait a moment, and as usual, nobody volunteers.  Grabbing my equipment I stand up, sarcastically raising my hand.  As if anybody else was going to go out there.  "Well, I'll see what I can find."  Putting a rather heavy emphasis on the I.  I step off the bus and the smell of decay washes over me.  These bodies have been sitting out in the sun for some time, that was for sure.  This was it, I was on my own again.  I sprint for the closes building and with my back against the wall, I strap my equipment down and get ready for a run through the town.  With everything snugly in place, I pull my handgun from its holster.  Taking a deep breath or the noxious air, I spin around the corner aiming down the alley.  Clear of any bodies, I slowly head down the path.   Coming to a fire exit set in the side of the building, I climb to the top to get a better view of the town.  As I come to the fourth floor, I can see a group of the undead shambling around in the hotel room.  I dash past the window not wanting to see if I had been spotted.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Self realization

       I look out the window of this mobile fortress as we sail down the road, our exact location unknown.  Over the past few days Ive come to get to know Rich on a more personal level.  He was like the father I wish I had, even though my real father took care of me most of my life.  I dwell on the thoughts of my less than stellar childhood as I stare out of the window, scanning the landscape for signs of life.  Or anything for that matter, it was like this part of land was a part that man had yet to touch.  No skyscrapers, no oil rigs, not even a small village.  I try to think of where in the US we could be, so devoid of life before the outbreak.  The only places I could think of were Wyoming, Montana, or one of the Dakotas.  Taking my gaze off the  mid day scenery beyond the window, I look towards the back of the bus.  My equipment had sat untouched for days, and so had my plans for setting off on my own. It was now just a thought in the back of my head.  The less I was relied upon as the only supply gatherer, the less the thought pounded with resolution.  But if I had left, what would they do?  Would the lack of  a "hunter", to put it one way, cause the death of another?  If I were to go through with this would I unwillingly kill one, if not more people on this bus?  As if to put an end to this particular train of thought I hear that voice again.

       "No, you wont be killing anybody.  The undead will.  If they can't defend themselves, how did they survive this long?  By depending on others to get their work done, they have sealed their own fate."  There was disgust in the voice as it continued.  "Here's a question?  Who has gone on the most scavenging trips since you got here?  How many times have you gone by yourself?  How many times have any of them even come half as close to death since grouping with them?!"  The voice by this time was infuriated, and it was getting contagious.  I unconsciously clench my fist as the voice went on.  "You are basically killing yourself if you stay. what if they decide to settle down here, in the middle of fucking nowhere?  I don't see you as the settling type?  Not so close to home now."  Even though I fully agree with everything I hear, I'm sick of hearing it.  Unable to control myself I yell to get the voice to fade back into my subconscious.  "Shut UP!"  I scream as my fist slams into the cold metal wall of the bus.  I take a deep breath, and look up, suddenly every bodys  eyes are on me. A nervous chuckle escapes my lips, followed by a hasty apology.  "Heh, sorry about that.  I haven't had a restful nights sleep in a while."    Nobody says anything, but I can still feel the stare as I pull my jacket closer to keep some body heat in an attempt to get some sleep.  Even these past few weeks when I do get sleep, its very light and the slightest out of place noise wakes me up.  Slowly the chatter from the back of the bus picks up, and  just like that I was out.

              I opened my eyes and I was no longer on the bus, but alone in my room.  Everything was just as I remembered it, but something was off.  I sit up and take a look around, the door was open, but instead of the hall being on the other side there was literally nothing.  Looking out the windows I see the same  pitch black as in the doorway.  I cautiously make my way to the door frame, peering into the void I can hear the moans of the undead.  From out of the dark, a rotten hand darts out.  Missing me by mere inches, I slam the door shut and turn around.  There on my bed, where I was moments ago, I see a man sitting on the corner of my bed.  As I begin to approach him, I hear the voice again.  But instead of just being in my mind, it came from nowhere in particular.  "No turning back now.  You have come so close, why stop now?"  Although the man hadn't budged an inch, I knew the voice was coming from him.  It continued, as if narrating.  "Everybody you have come in contact with  could be considered an orphan of this 'war', so to speak. You are no different.  All alone in this dark new world, yet you seem to find hope around every corner..."  Suddenly the man sits up and points towards the window.  Peering out the darkness gives way to a war torn city, hundreds upon thousands of the undead shamble around blindly.  "...Despite being swallowed whole by despair you remain hopeful that you, of all people, will make it to safety.  Then what?  Wait, if so for how long?"  The last question hit home for me.

         The bus bounces along the poorly maintained road as the gentle tap of rain brought me back to the real world.  Funny how you know you are dreaming, but there is nothing you can do about it.  I rub my eyes, trying to desperately remember the dream, fleeting from my memory.  The only thing I remembered right off was those last words.  "Get back on track..."  I mumbled as I look around,  unheard over the sounds of rain and machinery.  Looking up I see one of the group in the back, isolated from the rest.  "How long have I been out?"   Asking as I sleepily stumbled my way to the back, only to have been snatched back before going too far.  "Hes been bit, but we couldn't leave him behind.  We don't know how long it takes for him to turn."  Chelle had her hands on my new shotgun.  Infuriated on the inside, I calmly take my gun and turn to her, "Thanks for babysitting her, but I can take it from here."  She hesitates to let go of the grip, but yields.  Getting up she heads further to the front of the bus.  I look to the poor man, the flesh just above his ankle is shredded, but it doesn't bleed.  "Its....Its too late you know this right?  I have one request for you.  Tell me everything.  When you were bit, what symptoms are you feeling and when did they kick in."  I look him straight in the eyes and he begins to retell the last story he will ever recite.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thoughts of departure

     Several days had come and gone.  The gas reserves we had were running low and everybody was on edge.  Parked in the middle of the road, Rich cuts the engine off and we discuss our options.  "Without gas we wont have two options.  We either walk, or make a new home in this bus."  He says as he walks to the back to grab the last two cans of gasoline to fill up the bus.  I step in and offer my assistance.  "Well, if anyone volunteers, I don't mind going out in search of a gas station.  I'm going to need someone to help me though."  I wait for someone to either stand up or say anything.  But nobody volunteers.  It seems to me that since meeting up with them again, I have been doing all the scrounging.  I'm getting tired of it, at least on my own I didn't need a group consensus to do what I needed to do.  Or shifting all the responsibilities on one person.  Rich begins to call everyone out on this, at least I wasn't the only one who was seeing this.  As he continues to take them apart individually, I lose interest in his angry rant and begin to think.  Why, other than the fact that they are alive, was I staying when I was obviously unhappy here.  the more I thought about it, the more I thought about simply not returning from a search.  It seemed cold and cowardly, but I wasn't going to stay with them forever.  They didn't have a defined goal, so to speak.  And they knew I had a plan.  Even if I didn't know what lay beyond the finish line...
               Rich had given up on trying to get someone to go along with me.  Nobody wanted to leave the bus. Something changed after our last bus defense.  Nobody had left the bus since that night but me.  Heading to the back of the bus, rich grabs a gun and returns to the front of the bus.  "Well since nobody else is going to volunteer, I'm going along with you."  Fuck, there goes heading out on my own.  Grabbing my new shotgun and my bag, I head out the door behind him.  Looking around I have no clue what state we are in, I hope to see signs further down the road.  "Well, we haven't passed a gas station in some time, that means there should be one up ahead somewhere."  Rich loads his rifle and heads down the road, and I follow behind him.  The road ahead is oddly clear, not a car on the road.  "Man, this is nice.  I was thinking we would have to walk between all sorts of wrecked vehicles."   I try to start a conversation with him.  Looking back, a bit puzzled he replies.  "Is that a bad thing?  Well other than having to push them out of the way for the bus?"  He obviously hasn't had to flee a group of the undead on foot.  "That's a very bad thing.  Not only do you have to worry about the undead that can walk, you have to worry about those who died in seat belts and came back.  All it takes in one hand to dart out from an unrolled window and pull you into its mouth, then its game over."  I shudder, a flashback to running on top of all of those cars and nearly breaking my neck to avoid the open windows.  Continuing the conversation about every danger Ive encountered along the way, we come  up to a sign.  Rich reads it out loud with a hint of joy.  "Gas up ahead the next two miles!  Jackpot!"  Ill believe gas being there when I see it.  Thinking like that may seem negative, but it beats having your hopes crushed.  I smile, no point in bringing his mood down.
           Two miles up the road, we make it to the off ramp and search for the gas station.  Another sigh on the side of the road reads   GAS .02 MI ON LEFT.  Heading up the road we come to a slightly wooded area.  Enough trees to make visibility a problem, but you could see between the trees.  Not wanting anything to do with the woods that could possibly be filled with wandering corpses looking for a hot meal, I keep my distance.  "Hey, we should keep to the middle of the road Rich, don't want to get pulled off into the woods."  Saying as I head for the yellow white line in the middle of the road.  Rich doesn't say anything, but ends up in the middle of the road.  Seems like hes taking the stories I've told him quite seriously.  Coming to a T in the road, we head left.  The gas station just up the road from here.  Picking up the pace, we make it to the pumps.  "Were going to need to activate the pump and get something to fill up.  You check the station for anything we can use.  I'm going to take a look in these cars."  Rich heads for the nearest pickup and hops in the bed, searching for something he can use.  Heading into the gas station, not only am I looking for the register to activate the pumps, I look to the food and drink aisles to re stock.  I head to the drink cooler and open it up, Passing the sodas and dumping what water was left in my bag. Heading to the food aisles I do the same thing, taking anything that was instant and ready to eat.  After filling my bag to near bursting point, I search for gas canisters or anything that could be used for holding gas.  Coming up empty, I begin to think about improvising.  Looking around the poorly lit building, I see milk jugs full of milk.  The largest container I could find.  Taking all of the jugs outside, I pour their contents out and Set them on the curb in front of the store.  "Well, that's a start, but were going to need to clean them out."  Rich said, slightly puzzled by the display of empty containers I had laid out.  This was getting more time consuming.
            Several hours had come and go, but we had enough containers full of gas to make the trip back.  But twelve gallon jugs and several gas cans weren't exactly feather light.  I look to rich and ask him most likely the most important question of the day.  "Do you know how to hot wire a car?"  He looks at me for a second, then catches my drift.  "Hell, why do that when you have the keys?"  He pulls out a set of keys from his pocket, jangling them in front of me.  Even better, I thought.  he takes the keys and several jugs to a pickup parked by a nearby pump.  After loading the truck bed up, I take a seat in the back.  Rich starts the car as we head back to the bus.  Looks like my departure will have to wait for another night, a time where nobody decides to join me.  Sailing down the road, the wind whipping past my face, I begin to weigh the thought of leaving everyone without saying anything.  They took me in without a thought.  "That's only because they knew you.  Who's to say what they would have done if you were a complete stranger."  My internal musings were cut short by an answer from within.  Its never misled me before, so I don't see a point in doubting the blunt advice.  Sighing I speak out loud.  "Well shit, what should I do?"  My voice lost to the whipping winds around me and the roar of the engine.  All this noise is sure to attract some followers, better gas up and go as fast as we can, I thought as we slowed down.  The bus loomed ahead.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


      I sit in the tree, the alarm still blares.  and swarming around the car and tree are hundreds upon hundreds of undead.  I look to the grey skies above and speak to nobody in general.  "If you are up there, you are pretty fucked up, you know that?"  Looking back down, I see a few of the creatures have managed to break the windshield and force their way in the vehicle.  Each one of them slashing their torsos open on the jagged glass they crawled through.  Looking from the car to the park, I get an idea.  "If they will blindly stumble through anything, maybe I can get some of them stuck in the barbed wire.  It buys me some time to search the park for an escape, and maybe some more supplies."  Looking at the fence, I see its pretty sturdy looking.  I hope it can hold up long enough for me to get down and find an exit.  I take a deep breath, exhale and jump.  I roll behind the Humvee and look under the vehicle.  It seems like none of the creatures saw or heard me, lucky me.  I look in the car to see something so beautiful I crack a smile.  "Someone was nice enough to leave the keys in the ignition."
                  The temptation to simply drive away was strong, but there could be supplies that I could use nearby.  Mentally preparing myself, I take a moment to pick where I would check for supplies.  Looking around there were tents all around, but what caught my eye was a black barrel half hidden between a stack of boxes.  Another deep breath and I darted to the boxes.  The closer I got the happier I became.  The barrel was connected to the most beautiful and sleek shotgun I ever did lay eyes on.  Fully automatic and smelling of cleaning chemicals, sat an automatic shotgun.  Gripping it under my arm, I pry the lid of the box open to find ammunition for the shotgun and a few other types of weapons.  Not being Picky I pick up the rather heavy box and shuffle back to the Humvee.  About halfway to my newly acquired ride, the alarm chirps one more time and dies out.  Suddenly every pair of decaying eyes are on me, and the moan is everywhere.  "Time to go, and fast!"  Muttering as I toss the box and gun in the backseat of the vehicle.  I jump in the drivers seat and turn the keys.  It takes a second but the engine turns over and roars to life.  Putting it in drive I head for the gate and ram into it full speed, sending barbed wire and wrought-iron fence flying.  Pressing as hard as I could on the gas, I speed through the hungry crowd, bodies crunching under my tires.  Rotting hands grab on to whatever they can to stay with the vehicle as it bucks and makes its way through the masses of undead.
          I make my way away from downtown to find the roads rather clear, save a few mindlessly standing in the road.  I plow through them and keep going.  Looking towards the horizon I see what I am looking for.  The mountains, I'm heading in the right direction at least.  Checking the inside of the cab I see a CB radio.  I had never used one before, but I turn it on in hopes that I will hear a broadcast of some sorts.  I flip through several channels and hear the same thing, that soulless static buzz.  Returning my focus to the road ahead I see the convenience mart I hid in front of earlier in the day.  Slamming on the brakes, loose ammunition goes flying throughout the cab, I turn down the street I came in from and make my way to the barricade.  Thoughts of the group back on the bus begin to trickle in.  How much of this ammunition is really mine?  I mean, I was the one who risked getting eaten alive to get it, and it ends up community property?  Oh well, for the greater good I suppose.  But one thing is for certain.  "Nobody touches my new fucking shotgun."  Saying it out loud made me laugh, and feel a bit better about going in town.  I never found the searchlights, but the trip wasn't a total bust.  I stop the vehicle for a moment, reaching back to grab my new sleek weapon, and set it in the seat next to me.  Continuing on the road, I see the barricade ahead of me.  But before I can reach it, a flash of light illuminates the grey  sky, followed by the loud boom of thunder.  This is going to be a big storm, I need to get all of this back on the bus soon.
          Weaving past the barricade I pull up next to the bus.  Several taps on the drivers side window should get their attention.  I strap down my shotgun as I pile all of the loose ammo that spilled out earlier.  "A little help here would be greatly appreciated!"  A slight hint of malice could easily be detected, but nobody catches it.  Rich comes out to help me with the cumbersome box, and I ask him about the radio.  "hey, you drove for a living before this.  Think a CB would be useful?"  waiting for the back door to open he replies.  "You find one of those too?  Well aren't you just the most useful person here?"  Laughing as we strained to get the box high enough to slide in the bus.  he continues after shutting the door.  "Well, it wouldn't hurt to try to establish human contact.  Plus, it would lift every ones hopes of finding more survivors."  Following me to the now wrecked Humvee, I point out the radio and he goes about disconnecting it and placing it in the bus.  Looking at the vehicle I was shocked.  The tires were shredded, and there were chunks of putrid flesh in the bumper.  So much for taking the car along.  The more I stared at it, the more I thought.  "You know, if Satan ever got a car, this is what it would look like."  Rich laughs as he steps out to examine my handiwork.  "How the hell, on second though I don't think I want to know how you did all of that to the car.  But one thing is for certain.  You are not driving my bus."  Grinning as he walked away I couldn't help but laugh.  I make my way onto the bus for a well earned meal and some sleep.  I was wore the fuck out, mentally and physically.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

To the searchlights

        Daylight had come as we made our way down the foothills, towards the outer limits of the town.  The roads were barricaded, therefore inaccessible by the bus.  "Well, looks like were going in on foot. I'm not taking the bus through that barricade." Rich points to the concrete barriers placed in the road.  "Well, I'm running low on ammunition, so I'm going in.  Anyone else care to tag along?"  I pick up my shotgun, heading to the door.  Waiting for someone to stand up, I linger in the bus.  "What, no takers?"  I was disappointed, not to mention a bit upset.  I mean, it was like I was being thrown to the wolves.  Stepping off the bus I shout back to the group.  "Well, Ill be back by sunset.  If not, well Id rather not think about that."  Leaving the bus, I hop over the barricade, but I look back one more time.  Deep down I feel like I may never come back.  I wave to them before heading into the city.
      Making my way deeper into the city, I feel I'm not alone.  A few streets ahead I hear a trash can fall over, the sound echoing between the buildings.  Looking for cover, I spot a convenience  mart.  I squat in the cover of shadow, waiting for the undead to shamble blindly towards the source of the disturbance.  Waiting for what seems like hours I finally step back into the street.  "Not a one came out, that's odd.  But  I'm not going to complain."  Starting back down the street, I try to remember which direction the searchlights were coming from.  I head down a side street hoping to find a fire exit to climb up, to get a view of the town.  Finding a ladder was just as good, I climb up to the roof.  Looking around, I see the mountains we had come from and on the other side I see a storm heading this way.  "Ive got some time before the storm hits, I need to find shelter."  Making my way back to the streets below I hear something down the alley.  Once my feet hit solid ground I free my pistol from its holster.  Silently I make my way to the source of the noise, only to find nothing.  I look around rather puzzled.  "Nothing doesn't make noises.  Something is out there..." I begin to talk out loud.  Maybe someone is following me, or someone from the bus manned up and followed me out here?  Who knows.  On edge, I make my way further into the outdoor labyrinth, hoping to find a gun store along the way.
      Turn after turn, I come to what appears to be down town.  A park in the middle of the town is the site of a once held safe zone.  Barbed wire surrounds the gates, shredded human tissue covers the razors.  Fires gently roar in the park, and something catches my eye.  "Is is!  A military Humvee!"  Excited to see it, I head towards the fence.  Where there is military equipment, there is bound to be ammunition, or hopefully better guns.  Stopping at the razor wire, I begin to think about how I'm going to get in without shredding myself to bits.  Looking around there is a car parked on the side of the road, and above that is a tree branch.  "Bingo."  Making my way to the car, I strap everything down tight.  I didn't want to drop anything important.  Everything in check, I jump on the hood of the car.  Bad idea.  The car alarm goes off, scaring the shit out of me.  I scramble to the roof of the car, hoping I could make it in the tree and out of sight before they showed up.  Climbing higher in the tree I sit and wait, another bad idea.  Slowly but surely they come crawling out of every shadow and open building in sight.  "Fuck!  I need to get out of here, but there's nowhere to run.  Think damn it!"  I look around, hoping there was some way I could find higher ground, but I am stuck for the time being.  The sound of the alarm is overwhelming, but at least it drowns out the moaning of so many undead below me.   Perched above the ghouls, I wait.  For what, I haven't figured that out yet.