Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 30: No Return

“Hey has anyone seen Fadil?” Liz asked, glancing around the room. Richard screamed and the sound of falling objects exploded from the back room.

“Shit,” Matthew cussed and quickly rushed to the stock room. The door wouldn’t budge. Something had fallen and was blocking it shut. “Give me a hand here,” he said. Josh and Dominic stepped forward and together, the three men forced the door open.

“Help! Help me!” Richard yelled. Fadil had turned and had Richard on his back, feeding from his neck. The screaming stopped as Fadil’s teeth gripped the tendons of Richard’s vocal cords and viciously severed them. More blood spilled beneath them as Fadil continued feasting. His eyes locked on the men at the door, pleading for solace.

“Fadil…” Liz sobbed.

When he saw them, he turned with a hiss. His mouth dripping with blood, his hands and clothing covered. Large veins protruded from his eyes which had turned yellow and cloudy. Matthew gripped the butt of his handgun, slowly slipping the safety off. “Everyone clear the room,” he instructed as Fadil again growled and dropped a bloody chunk of Richard to the floor.

Two shots rang out. The growling stopped. Richard’s pathetic whimpering stopped. Matthew walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him. He looked up at them solemnly, holstered his weapon and silently stepped forward. “Transportation…”

“I’ll go,” JC volunteered before Matthew could get another word out.

“Me too.” Troy moved beside JC and nodded towards him.

“Good. Try and find something big enough to take not only the group but a decent amount of food. The rest of us need to prepare. Gather supplies, lots of them. Anything that’s not nailed down we need to try and take with us; food, water, batteries, those are the necessities.”

“The stock room has lots of unopened boxes of canned goods and dry foods,” Dominic said. “We should start there. Josh, John and Jake are with me.”

“The rest of us can use the empty boxes in back to pack up stuff from inside the store,” Katrina said. Everyone silently went to work.

“Hey, you any good with that thing?” JC asked, watching Troy check the load on his magazine.

“Good enough. Don’t worry, if I see something heading towards you, I’ll yell out before I run,” he smiled.

“Alright now you joke but that’s what got Richard’s ass tied up.”

“Oh yeah? Huh. Well, I won’t leave you,” Troy assured JC as he grabbed a couple more clips. JC moved behind the counter, turned the fuel pump on and called to Jeremiah to lift the shutters.

They rolled but only a couple of feet before the engine whirred and the pulley jammed. “Shit,” Dominic sighed. “That’s what I was afraid of.” They pushed and pulled on the steel screen but it wasn’t budging. “Now you guys are really gonna have to move. The door is busted and the shutters are done. If we have any unexpected visitors…”

“Jake and I can keep an eye up front here while you and the others work on the boxes in the stock room,” Matthew said. “Be careful out there guys.”

Ducking beneath the metal rollers, Troy and JC sprinted to the parking lot. Both moving towards the pumps. JC put a little into a small red canister, added it to the tank on Johnathan’s truck and while Troy stood guard, drove the vehicle towards the pump and filled the tank. “We’re good,” he announced to Troy. Quickly hopping into the passenger seat, the two started down the road. Matthew and Jake watched until their taillights disappeared from view.

“So what exactly are we looking for?” Troy asked as JC navigated the winding path into downtown Cabot Creek. They’d passed several viable options; options that seemed to be in highly zombie infested areas but options nonetheless.

“Personally I think a bus would be perfect. I’m heading to the Greyhound station near the park. If it’s not too bad there we may want to consider…” He choked on the last of his words and slowly crawled to a stop. The road was blocked. And a mass of voracious undead were pushing their way through the barricades, toppling over each other and snapping at anything that moved. But that was not the cause of JC’s distress. The bus station had been set ablaze. The chaotic fire curled up and over the building, developing into a massive inferno.

Smoke raced up and through the night’s sky as the fire raged on with JC mesmerized by its undulating flow. It was a chilling scene of crackling flames and rumbling echoes that temporarily caused him to zone out, reminiscing about days past. “We should probably get out of here,” Troy said, disrupting JC’s haze.

“Yeah,” he sighed, backing the truck down the road. They continued on, passing numerous vacant homes and businesses. It would seem that anyone who could escaped the city before things got too crazy. And the rest…

A growl rumbled beside the driver’s window and JC turned. A small family of the slack-jawed flesh eaters was ambling its way towards them. “It’s never going to end, is it?” he asked to no one in particular before giving the engine a little more gas and powering them away from the suburbs.

“Wait, I know this area,” Troy said, sitting up in his seat. “There’s a school somewhere close. They might have buses.”

“Good idea.” JC followed the road until it did in fact let out at an elementary school. For all intents and purposes the place seemed relatively dead. Still they waited a while, watching the place for any signs of movement.

Finally, JC opened his door and Troy followed suit, stepping out into the brisk night air and moving over to his side. “You ready?”

Troy slid the safety off his weapon and nodded. “Ready.”

Carefully they started forward, eyeing every shadow and every sound. The schoolyard looked as if it had sat abandoned for some years. Unkempt weeds and trash littered the area. A product of the overflowing garbage bins left unmonitored by sanitation crews. The occasional book or backpack was haphazardly strewn through the parking lot, indicative of panicked parents anxious to get their children as far away as possible. It was a sad sight. The only thing missing was a tumbleweed woefully blowing in the wind.

They made it to the lot where the buses had been parked and cautiously checked around. “Think anyone’s inside?” Troy asked, preparing his weapon.

“I hope not,” JC replied. Although the majority of the undead they’d encountered had been full-fledged adults, JC had seen a couple of children and the sight was always heartbreaking. And in spite of killing any and every one of them that got in his way, he’d prefer they not be kids. He counted down from 3, swung open the doors and Troy hopped up and quickly looked around.

“Clear!” he yelled, lowering his gun.

“Alright, let’s pray the keys are in this baby,” JC said, taking a seat behind the wheel. He fumbled around the dash and sideboard, flipping down the visor and checking out the glove box until finally hitting on a set of keys.

“Hey, you think we should try another one?” Troy asked. “I mean thinking if we want to make a decent start somewhere we’re gonna need supplies. And this group is pretty big. We can’t sacrifice taking an entire load of food. Two buses would be better than one.”

“Yeah, you may be right. But do you know how to drive one of these things?”

“No. Do you?”

“Yeah. I was an Engineer for Station 21; same basic mechanics. It’s simple. I’ll show you.” 

The guys made it back and everyone got to work stacking boxes, bags, and gas containers into the first bus. Josh suggested they split up the items and groups in case one bus didn’t make it. A fail safe to keep the survivors viable in the event of unforeseen accidents. They cleared the stock room and nearly every shelf. When they finished, half of the group loaded onto Troy’s bus, the other onto JC’s. The sun had started to peek above the horizon. A sight that used to bring a smile to many now provoked a shiver. Seeing the town in fresh light was an awful reminder of the world they now lived.

“Is that everyone?” Matthew asked, standing and taking stock of the faces of each passenger. 

Seven was his final count including himself, Nina, Liz, Dominic, Roni, Natalie and JC.
Veronica turned in time to see Johnathan starting out of the back of the shop, another box in hand. She also didn’t fail to notice the two zombies lingering just behind the fence; Johnathan did. Nina was asleep on Liz’s lap and no one else seemed to see. With a nod she glanced in Matthew’s direction and said, “Yes, that’s everyone.”

“Alright,” JC said, putting the bus in gear, “hold tight.” The engine sputtered as it was started and the exhaust backfired with a tremendous bang. Black smoke curled out of the muffler creating a dark cloud around the back of the bus and they moved forward with a jerk.  

“HEY! WAIT!” Johnathan’s shout was drowned out by the grinding of the gears and another pop of the exhaust. “HEY!” Veronica carefully looked back to keep from alerting the others. He’d dropped the box in his hands and was running full speed towards them. He made it out of the fence but was quickly met by the stragglers just on the other side. The first zombie grabbed hold of his right arm and bit a large chunk from his shoulder. He screamed. Blood spewed from his lips as a second zombie took a bite of his neck. He managed to push one away but it swiftly returned, clutching his leg, clawing and pulling him to the ground. And as he fell, more blood squirted from his wounds.

“What’s up?” Dominic asked, turning to look in the same direction. He saw the aftermath of the attack and the look on Veronica’s face. Sliding closer, he took her hand in his and gently caressed her knuckles beneath his thumb. “Guess that takes care of that.” She smiled stiffly and rested her head on his shoulder.

“Where are we gonna go?” Natalie asked as Matthew took the seat beside her.

“I don’t know but whatever we do, we can never return to the city.”




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  1. Well they are all working together nicely as a group. Um...I would say poor Richard, but yeah, not really. hahaha. Matt, he's all about the business. Shot them both then like, we need rides. LOL Roni just watched John die? I go back to my comment yesterday, he had to be the guy involved in the accident that killed her father. That or she's just pissed he worked for the company that caused all of this, but for her to make Nina an orphan it has to be something big.

    1. Richard had it coming. Had it been more of a team player he probably wouldn't be at the bottom of Fadil's stomach right now. But oh well. Dem's da brakes!

      Yep! He's ready to find his forever home :P And he got volunteers which was great. They saw him step up so they figured they needed to also I suppose. It's great they are working like a unit though. That will ensure their survival.

      You're right. Roni's not the type to murder willy nilly...or allow someone to be killed. So. It has to be big. Poor Nina. She just lost the last person she knew. Sad. (I take no credit for that O.o)

      Thank you for reading :)

  2. Well, y'know, life's rough. Seriously, though, of the survivors, those two were definitely the rotten apples that needed to be weeded out. Poor Nina, though. What are they going to tell her about her dad, when they're all alive and he's conveniently the only one who didn't make it? :s

    1. They certainly were. Sad that poor Fadil bit it in the end. He would have been great to keep around.

      That's a great question. Nina's sadly now an orphan :(

      Thank you for reading :)

  3. I knew it! Poor Fadil :( I liked him a lot.

    1. Sorry :( he was a casualty that should have made it out of a few other people. But at least his death was not in vain!

      Thank you for reading :)

    2. Fadil was one of my favorites as well. Ah well, zombie happens.

    3. He was a strong character and it would have been interesting to see him survive.