Chris stops dead in his tracks. There is a trail of blood in front of him that leads across the white tile floors to a room on his left. I hope whoever made that isn’t still “alive”. He pulls his .44 magnum out of its holster and raises it up cautiously. He uses the barrel of the gun to push the door open to a hospital examination room.
There is a white table in the middle of the room drenched in blood; the floor is littered with broken medical equipment along with shards of glass. To the right is the body of what looks like a doctor, who was clearly dead. That must be what caused the trail of blood.
As Chris turns around, something darts across the room to a corner. What was that? Was it a zombie? It couldn’t be. If it were I would already know because it would be trying to chew my face off. “Are you okay?” Chris asked the mysterious figure in the corner.
“Leave me alone!” it shouted.
“Have you been bit?” Chris walks over to the figure in the corner. As he walks up he notices that it’s a woman who appears about his age. She is wearing a pink torn-up hoodie that is stained with blood and black sweat pants.
“No! Go away! You will make those creatures find me!” Chris puts his hand on her shoulder and turns her around.
“It’s okay, there is nothing out there. My friend and I just came from out there, it’s all clear.”
“Where is your friend?” she asks peering into Chris’s eyes. Her bright blue eyes stared him down as if she knew he didn’t have a clue where he was. The last time he had heard from Josh was when he was in a hand-to-hand fight a zombie. He lost contact shortly after. His walkie-talkie must have fallen and broke.
“We need to get out of here. What’s your name?” Chris asks, ignoring her question.
“Chloe.” Chris offers his hand to help her up. When she stood up, she was the same height as him. She has a slender build, long brown hair that has been pulled back, obviously in a hurry. Her eyes are a bright red from crying and were very hard to read as Chris tried to figure out what she was thinking.
Without wasting too much time Chris stated “Stay behind me at all times. Okay?”
“Okay.” She answers softly enough it’s barely a whisper. Chris slowly walked out into the hall to survey the area and to see if it was safe to proceed.
Looking down the long dark corridor, only lit by the flickering fluorescent lights above, Chris was trying to gage what might be in the shadows further down. Once he sees that at this immediate moment it appears to be free of the flesh eating zombies, he turns to Chloe and says “We are going to go to the left and go to the end of this hall to the emergency stair case. Then take those down to the ground floor. After that, we are going to go out the emergency exit right at the end of the stairs.” As Chris gave her the directions, he hoped that she would be able to keep close and not get into the way if they did happen to come across any problems on the way.
Chris slowly creeps down the hall of the hospital looking in every room on the way.
All of the sudden there was a crash behind him. Chris turns around and sees that Chloe ran into a cart that had several medical tools on it. As the sound from the metal hitting the floor fills the room Chloe screams, “Look out! Behind you!”
Chris spins around to see a zombie shuffling towards him. “Josh.” Chris hesitated; he didn’t want to raise his gun to his friend. It tore him apart seeing his friend like this; part of the skin on his face was peeled back, revealing the muscle and nerves below. Looking into his eyes there was no sign of his partner they were soulless and empty. Josh snarls at Chris, saliva falling from his lips. His finger begins to tremble on the trigger of his revolver. The thought of shooting his best friend was frightening. “I’m sorry buddy.” He’s not Josh anymore. He would want me to do this for him. He would have done the same for me. His thoughts were interrupted with the sound of what used to be Josh letting out a loud groan as it lunged towards Chris. Chris pulls the trigger. The report was louder then usual. The zombie clatters to the ground with a loud thud after one shot to the head. Chris crouches over Josh.
“Did you know him?” Chloe asks as she walks up behind Chris.
“Yeah, he was my friend. He wanted to stay together but I told him that it would be best if we spread out. He’s like this because I wanted to cover more ground quickly. I didn’t follow standard protocol; you’re never supposed to go out alone.” Chris takes off his coat and covers what’s left of Josh’s face.
“It’s not your fault.” Chloe says as she hugs Chris.
“Yes it is. If it wasn’t for me, he would be still alive. If I hadn’t made that call, he would be here with us not sprawled out on the floor dead” Chris starts to head to the emergency stair case. “We need to get moving, the sound from the gunfire will attract more of those things and we need to not be here when they get here”
Chloe follows Chris down the stairs and the through the exit. As they exit the building, they see a large hoard of at least a hundred zombies in front of them. Chris covers Chloe’s mouth just before she screamed and put his finger up to his mouth telling her to stay quiet. He slowly guides her along the wall trying to avoid the zombies. The zombies are so close that if one wrong move is made, they will detect that there is live flesh close by. If they can keep quiet and calm, they should be able to make it safely.
As they slowly shuffle along the wall, a breeze picks up. Chris reaches behind him and grabs Chloe’s arm so they can move a little quicker. Chloe winces with pain as Chris’s hand wraps around her forearm. She tries to pull her arm back and gives Chris some resistance. Looking behind him, Chris notices that Chloe’s arm is bandaged under the sleeve of her hoodie. He knows what that means, blood.
His worst fears are becoming a reality as a gust of wind hits, carrying the scent of her blood with it. The zombies closest to them stop in their tracks as the smell hits their noses. They lift their heads slightly, sniffing trying to let the breeze guide them to their prey. As Chris and Chloe continue along the wall, one of the zombies turn, letting out a groan as if signaling that it has found what that beautiful smell came from.
Grabbing Chloe, they both take off running towards the end of the building; he knows that help isn’t far away. He knows the rendevue is set to meet just beyond the fencing that now surrounds the once busy hospital. If they can just make it past the building and the fence, they will have all the fire power they need to safely get out. Chris looks back to see how many are coming, it’s far more than he had originally thought. As they clear the end of the building, the fence is in site. They can hear the blades spinning on the helicopter even though it’s not in sight yet.
They approach the fence. They have a lead of about one hundred feet on the pack. The zombies are moving surprisingly fast, they must sense that their prey is trying to escape.
When they get to the bottom of the ten foot chain link fence, Chris turns to Chloe “You first, no arguments.” He pulls her to the bottom of the fence. Giving her a slight push, he helps her get to the top. Chloe straddles the top of the fence, signaling for Chris to hurry.
“Oh my god Chris, they are almost here. You need to hurry”. She starts to panic not sure if he’s going to make it before the approaching mob arrives.
Chris climbs as quickly as he can, feeling the metal tearing into his clothing as he scales the fence. Once on top, he straddles it, “It’s now or never, you have got to jump or they will be here before we get down. They will be able to get us if we don’t jump away”
Taking her queue from Chris, Chloe jumps with all her might and lands about five feet from the fence with Chris landing right next to her. They both begin to run, picking up speed, they see the helicopter ahead. All the sudden a loud crash comes from behind them. Chris looks behind them and sees that the zombies have taken down the fence and are pursuing them once again.
As they approach the helicopter, six people in uniforms jump out of the side of the helicopter and form a semi-circle around the opening to it. As soon as Chris and Chloe pass the line they open fire on the zombies. The helicopter starts to slowly take off and the group jumps in two at a time starting from the center.
“Where’s John?” asked Jared, a large male in a military outfit.
“They got him.” Chris looks down remembering how his friend looked as a zombie.
“What about her?” Jared looks at Chloe “What’s her deal?”
“I found her when I was looking for supplies.” Chris starts going through his backpack to pull out the supplies he gathered. “I didn’t get much, just some medical tools and some meds.”
Jared continues to look at Chloe. He notices the bandage on her arm. He immediately pulls his pistol out and aims it at Chloe. “Have you been bit? Show me your arm!” Chloe slowly unwraps her arm.
“I accidentally cut myself on a piece of glass when I had to hide from a zombie.” Chloe then starts to wrap it back up but Jared stops her.
“Here,” Jared pulls out a first-aid kit and opens it. “use this instead.” He hands her a fresh bandage.
Chloe looks down at the zombies below them. “Are they following us?”
“No, they are not smart enough to follow us. Once we are far enough away they will stop and forget this ever happened.” The lieutenant to her left stated with a laugh.
The rest of the ride back to the outpost everyone was completely silent; both from the stress of the apocalypse and the loss of Josh, a dear friend to them all.
As soon as the helicopter touched down, Josh’s mother came running to it. “Joshy? Where’s my Joshy?” Josh’s mother was starting to cry as she looked at Chris. “Where’s my Joshy?”
Chris looks down at his backpack on his lap. “Josh was bit by a zombie.”
Josh’s mother lets out a whimper, “I thought I told you to make sure you bring him back alive?”
“I’m sorry, but Josh died to save this young woman’s life.” Jared points at Chloe “So, he did a very heroic deed.” Jared stated, knowing that it wasn’t true. Chloe looks over at Chris confused and he nods letting her know it was okay. Chris knew that Jared wanted Josh’s mom to think he died doing something heroic.
His mom runs away crying, obviously upset that her son died.
“Can you shoot?” Jared looks at Chloe.
“Sorta.” Chloe then walks over to where Jared is standing.
“Well, we need to teach you to shoot.” Jared hands Chloe a handgun. “Here, this is what we will use to teach you. We will start now. Let’s go.” Jared and Chloe take off around the corner to go to the shooting range.
Chris goes inside to meet up with Mike. Mike is the head of the medical department and he was the one who assigned Chris and Josh to the job. Chris approaches a short man in a white lab coat that was slightly too long. “Here are the supplies I managed to collect.” Chris pulls out the same stuff that he showed Jared earlier.
“That’s it? What about Josh? What did he get?”
“He’s not with us anymore.” Chris stated looking down once again.
“Oh, wow. I’m sorry.” Mike, realizing that the death of Josh was really bothering Chris, grabbed the stuff that was in Chris’s hands. “Get some sleep. You need it.”
“Aim down your sight at that target over there.” Jared points to wood figure shaped like a person in the middle of the firing range. “Keep both eyes open so you can see around the gun and use both hands.” Chloe does exactly what Jared says.
She shoots and misses. Chloe puts the gun down in frustration. “I can’t do it”
“Yes you can. Before you shoot take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Shoot when ready.” Chloe raises her gun again. She holds the gun up with two hands and closes one eye. “Keep both eyes open. You need to be able to see around your gun so if there is a crawling zombie coming you can see it.” Chloe opens her other eye and takes a deep breath. As she slowly exhales she pulls the trigger. The target drops. “Good job. Now you need to keep practicing so you will be able to shoot like that without the exhale strategy.”
“Okay, thank you so much. Maybe next time when Chris goes on a job to get supplies, I can help.” Chloe starts getting excited at the thought of finally not feeling helpless.
“Take it slow now. It all depends on if Chris wants to go out to the hospital after last time. Chris and Josh did everything together. They did every job just the two of them and they were very effective at what they did. It’s just unfortunate that Josh died like that.” Jared starts heading back to the outpost. “Dinner will be served at o’one hundred hours. Keep practicing.”
“Okay” Chloe turned back around and hit the button on the control panel in front of her that ran the exercise that she just did, but without the instructions from Jared.
After Chloe finished, her record was twenty-three out of thirty targets hit. She was proud of herself and she knew her dad would have been proud of her. After her mom turned to one of those creatures, her mom killed her dad, little brother, and went after her before the doctor from the emergency room saved her. Ever since the outbreak, she had been living in the hospital eating food from the cafeteria and very rarely leaving.
Chris gets abruptly woken up by Chloe. “They followed us!”
“Huh?” Chris sits up rubbing his eyes and looks at the time.
December 7, 2015
“How long have I been asleep?”
“It’s been about two days. We need to go now!” Chloe pulls Chris out of bed and he starts to look around.
“What’s happening?” Chloe hands Chris his .44 magnum.
“The zombies from the hospital followed us here.” Chloe grabs Chris’s hand and races out the room. When he exits the room all he could hear was the sound of gun shots, zombies groaning, and the helicopter. Jared spots Chris “We need to get to the chopper, now!” Chris bolts out of the building towards the helicopter. He notices all of the zombies heading towards the helicopter. It then takes off as the pilot struggles to fight off a zombie that got in. It spins around wildly out of control and crashes into the ground, shortly after it explodes; killing a good amount of the zombies, but it’s still not enough to allow them to recapture the outpost. Chris sees Jared climbing into an old military humvee and darts after it. With Chloe right behind him, he climbs in just before Jared took off. Chloe climbs in and so does a young woman who appeared to be in her twenties. “Jared, step on it!” she yells.
Jared speeds off hitting everything on the way out. Jared was a horrible driver, but no one cared at this point as long as they got out alive. Jared looks over at Chris knowing he had the most field experience. “Where to?”
“Um…try the high school.”
“Okay.” Jared pulls over. “Chris, you should take the wheel. You have had the most rest and we have been up all day fighting those zombies off. That’s why I was having trouble driving earlier, I’m way too tired.” Everyone laughed after he said that knowing that wasn’t the reason he was driving bad. He was just a bad driver to begin with.
“Okay.” Chris and Jared get out of the truck and switch sides. When Chris gets back into the truck he looks at the two girls in the back. “You guys should get some rest too.” Both of them nod and get situated so they can go to sleep.
Chris looks at the woman sitting next to Chloe. “One more thing. What’s your name?”
“Ashley” she says with a smile.
Chris turns around. “Okay.” He puts the truck in drive and gracefully drives off.
~One hour later~
Chris nudges Jared as he pulls up to the high school. “Jared, wake up. You need to see this.”
Jared sits up to see what was so important. “What is it?” As he looks out the windshield he sees a hoard of zombies much bigger than the one from the hospital. “Slowly drive away. We don’t need a repeat of last time.” Chris puts the Humvee in drive and lets the speed of the idol on the truck get them out.
“Where to now?” Jared asks after they are all clear.
“What about the Wal-Mart Superstore?” Ashley asks making Chris and Jared both jump, not knowing she was up.
“That sounds good.” Chris says as he whips the truck around and drives the other way. “I’m on my way there now.”
Chloe sits up as she hears about the Wal-Mart idea. “I had a friend that lived near there. Maybe, she’s still there.”
“Maybe, but don’t get your hopes up. Anything could happen.” Jared says turning around. “When was the last time you heard from her?”
“About a year ago,” Chloe starts looking out the window, hoping her friend is still there.
As Chris pulls up to Wal-Mart, he slams on the breaks to wake everyone up. “Home, sweet, home everybody.”
Jared looks at Chris amazed. “Wow! That was quick.”
“Yeah, I saw it when we were heading to the high school.” Chris says as he scopes out the area to check for any signs of the undead.
“Me too.” Ashley says, “I haven’t been able to sleep since the outpost was overrun.”
Chris gets out of the truck. “I’m going around back. Ashley, bring the truck to the front doors. I will meet you guys there after I’m in.” Ashley nods in approval as she gets out of the truck and gets in the driver seat.
As Chris starts to walk away, Chloe jumps out of the truck. “Chris! Wait for me!” Chloe runs to where Chris is. “I want to go with you. Jared taught me how to shoot. I can be your back-up.”
“Okay. Well, what I’m doing is going to the back to see if there is a back door unlocked. If not then I need to break in and barricade it back up.”
Chloe looks at Chris confused “Why don’t you just go through the front then?”
“Because those doors are larger so it would be harder to barricade and keep barricaded.” Chris starts to head to the back of the building. “Lets go, I don’t want to keep the others waiting too long.”
As Chris and Chloe walk around to the back, they notice its empty. “Chloe, I’m going to teach you more about how to tell if there is zombies around. What is wrong with this picture?”
Chloe looks around to see what he is talking about. “Nothing. Its nice and peaceful, no zombies around.”
“Is there any wild life?”
Chloe looks around once again. “No”
“That’s the first clue that zombies are near. Animals have an instinct that when there is danger near, they run away. Keep alert, I’m going to try to get the back door open.” Chloe stands at the loading dock while Chris goes to a door.
Chris turns the door knob and is surprised to find it unlocked. “Let’s go Chloe, it was unlocked.”
Chloe walks in after Chris, when she walks through the door, she sees someone with their gun on Chris’s forehead. “What are you guys doing here?” He asks.
TO BE CONTINUED…