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 Post subject: All is Lost, Part 25
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:07 pm 
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'Sprint' is perhaps too generous a word. Hunched over and laden with all my gear, I'm at best advancing at a hurried trot. The satchel full of pipe bombs is especially cumbersome, banging painfully against my left thigh. Add 'loss of mobility due to inability to share gear' to the growing list of profound disadvantages to travelling solo in the apocalypse.

Three rounds left-three rounds left-three rounds left. I find myself muttering that under my ragged breath as I lumber closer to the McDonald’s. Seven in the magazine, one in the pipe and I just fired off five. Suddenly: I did add that eighth cartridge to the mag after I chambered the first round this morning, right? That's what I should have done but I realize I don't actually recall doing it. Three rounds left in my weapon, or just two? It’ll make a world of difference in whether I should swap magazines now or after (if) I reach cover in time. I've had my head up my ass all goddamn morning. What the hell's the matter with me? I'm gonna get myself killed.

I'm angling towards the rear of the McDonald’s. It's monolithic brick wall near the back. The structure's windows are all at the front of the building, and many are smashed, so I could enter easily. But I don't want to charge blindly into a strange building in my haste to flee one group of undead. The last thing I need right now is to run headlong into the collective grasp of even more infected. I just need to get the hell out of sight before the creatures I've alerted with my inopportune gunfire arrive on the scene. The restaurant's parking lot is devoid of cars, but there's a group of thick hedges at the back of the structure, clustered around the base of a large drive-through menu board and an outdoor speaker/microphone.

The restaurant's drive-through lane is on this side of the structure and as I approach the back left corner, a shadowy figure appears in the open service window. Occluded from the waist down, all I can see of its attire is a bright blue top and the neck strap and bib of a tan apron. Brown, frizzy shoulder-length hair spills out underneath a bill-brimmed navy cap, emblazoned with a bright yellow letter 'M'. The figure spots me and leans precariously out of the drive-through window. It draws back gray lips, revealing tightly clenched teeth, stained dark reddish brown. A bloody grimace; the grotesque approximation of a smile. It expels a sputtering hiss and ejects a stream of blackened and diseased saliva that dribbles down its chin, staining the front of its uniform.

“Would you like fries with that?” I imagine this creature might be trying to say as it leans farther out the window, its arms outstretched in my direction. The zombie then abruptly folds in half, somersaulting clear of the building's interior. It lands face first onto the asphalt of the drive-through lane.

Kids didn't work at these fast food joints all alone, I reflect dejectedly. Where there's one there will unfortunately be more. Which means those still inside this restaurant know damn well that I'm out here; seeing how Miss Service-With-A-Smile has already spotted me.

The nattily attired McDonald's zombie is in fact already pushing itself off the pavement and tracking my progress as I approach the hedges at the rear of the building. Well, I can't have this one broadcasting my exact hiding spot. So I divert course, even as I re-holster my pistol and awkwardly unsheathe the combat knife. I'm on top of the former restaurant employee just as it's rising to its knees. With a vicious underhand swing, I bury the blade beneath its chin, permanently dissuading it from its keen interest in making me part of its fast food dining experience.

I dive in between the two thickest hedges at the back of the McDonald’s, some kind of dense yew. The hardy evergreen shrubbery still offers good concealment even now, well into the mid-Atlantic autumn season. Cowering low to the ground, I roll onto my left hip so I can ease a fresh magazine out of my back pocket. After swapping it into my pistol, I take time to note that there were in fact still two rounds in the old magazine, plus the cartridge that has been cycled into the firing chamber. So I did load full up this morning, I reflect. At least I'm not completely losing my mind. Still, it's odd I'm not clearly remembering details like that; my situational awareness is fraying at the edges and I don't know why.

Cautiously I peer over the top of the hedge and take a look back from whence I've come. There are those three zombies I shot with the pistol, the ruined corpses lying scattered on the ground. And now: another score of undead begin appearing from nearly every direction and converge on that same spot. I'm about to shift position when I hear yet another pair of feet come pounding across the asphalt surface of the restaurant's rear lot, not five yards to my right. I might be partially visible to this latest creature from it's angle, but I don't move a muscle. In a broad and cluttered visual field, its often the tiniest bit of movement, rather than imperfect concealment, that draws the human eye.

Of course these damn things aren't human and I've lost all faith knowing what they are and are not capable of, I consider. But as this closest creature appears on the periphery of my vision and continues without hesitation toward the other infected 50 yards away, I slowly lower myself back to the ground, confident I've eluded its gaze.

No sooner than I catch my breath, I detect much closer sounds coming from my left; from around the corner and in the vicinity of the building's drive-through service window. The ragged staccato of labored groans, rasping hisses and oddly feral yelps, soon joined by the sounds of several pairs of feet shuffling about on pavement. This confirms my suspicion that other zombies had been lurking within the restaurant. Also confirmed is my hunch that the service window zombie alerted the rest to my presence before I impaled its skull. This building is now disgorging its compliment of undead and they're congregating around their fallen cohort. It perished before I retreated into these bushes, so the rest know that I'm around here somewhere, but not precisely where. Suddenly I hear the scrape of footsteps in the drive-through lane shuffling ever closer to the building's corner.

My exact location isn't going to be a secret much longer.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:05 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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 Post subject: All is Lost, Part 26
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:23 pm 
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I roll out of the hedges on the other side of the drive-through menu board, rise into a crouch and scramble to the building's other rear corner. I'm now facing the garden center, directly across the west bound road feeding into this rotary intersection. Furtively I scan to my right and left, but detect no further signs of the undead. Urged along by the sounds of the infected drawing closer from behind me, I quickly round this corner and lope out towards the curved roadway of the roundabout, angling to my right to keep the bulk of the restaurant building between me and creatures I know are now emerging at the rear of the structure.

It's broad daylight and I'm crossing near the center of a goddamned rotary intersection that's a good 75 yards wide. With precious little in the way of cover save a withered flower bed ringing the top of the rotary's crowned center median. There's a stubby granite monolith rising from the very apex of the median with a bronze sign affixed to each of the monolith's four sides. “Copley Memorial Highway Rotary”.

As I jog deeper into the vast, exposed space, all four businesses ringing the roundabout swing into view. The McDonald's behind me, the garden center ahead. There's the Dunkin Donuts, kitty-corner to the right on the other side of the crowned center median, and the gas station off my right rear quarter. Each of the other three buildings could well be full of undead just as the McDonald's was. But my only clear imperative at the moment is to put as much space between me and the two groups of creatures I definitely know about. Especially the McDonald's group; it's closer and only one of them has to wander a little further along the rear of the restaurant before a clear line of sight will open up and I'll be in plain view. I quicken my pace, but don't bother looking back. There's no point. If a zombie from the McDonald's group spots me, I'll know soon enough.

Suddenly it feels just like a certain night forty-five years ago, when my squad broke through that cordon of North Vietnamese regulars that had us surrounded in that swamp. Hours before we had fried one of the two amphibious tanks they sent after us in the muddy, reed strewn water. We chased off the second armored vehicle. Nightfall came soon after that and we knew we had one last night of reprieve. The massed troop assault to finish us off would follow at first light.

So we crept through the darkness in complete silence, all night long. First to the water's edge, then into the muddy reeds and finally into the dark, fetid undergrowth. We were already covered with leeches by the time we made it to solid ground and then came all manner of biting, stinging bugs and snakes and shit, crawling all over us, or us crawling all over them. We couldn't make a sound. A whole battalion of Vietnamese were strung out and encamped in the forest all around that swamp. Some of the sentries were clustered around small fires to ward off insects and pass the time. Foolish of them, but helpful to us because it allowed us locate them in the darkness and adjust our course.

I remember there was a hazy half moon that night; not an issue while we were still in the dense jungle understory. But then we came to the edge of a wide open field, just low scraggly weeds with a few clumps of taller grass. It was thousand yards across to a thin, jet-black line marking the jungle's edge on the other side. Once there, we would be home free. The enemy was mostly at our backs at that point, but we knew at least a few would be posted somewhere to our right and left, along the near edge of that open field. Charged with watching it in case we managed to do exactly what we did, which was make it through the cordon undetected. If we just got up and ran, we'd be spotted by our sudden movement and cut down before we could make it fifty feet.

Covering those last thousand yards was the longest part of a very long night. Moving on our bellies in slow motion and lit from above by that goddamned half moon. Waiting for a hail of bullets to chew us to pieces the instant we were spotted. We didn't bother to look back as we slowly worked our way across that open field. There was no point. Either we'd make it to the other side, or we wouldn't.

That's exactly how I feel as I make my way across the rotary intersection. Only I'm not trying to move in slow motion; my speed is dictated by all my gear and the need to keep it from making noise jostling in my pack. But like forty-five years ago, I'm not bothering to look back at the McDonald's restaurant behind me, and the zombies I know are back there, edging closer to this side along its rear wall. I'm steadily trotting forward, with my attention directed at the garden center and the Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of the rotary intersection. I'm almost to the center median now, and I've shrugged the M16 off my back. It's cradled it in my arms, throbbing left hand notwithstanding. This is no longer pistol terrain. With these long sight lines, if shooting has to start, it should be with a rifle. Any good soldier's one true friend.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: All is Lost, Part 27
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:33 pm 
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The situation starts going fubar when I see the first zombie emerge from the Dunkin' Donuts. It steps out through a smashed window, plants one foot on the ground outside and then gets its trailing leg hung up on a shard of glass protruding from the window sill. Down it goes, chin first onto the paved walk at the base of the structure. Its trailing leg is still firmly impaled on the window glass however. It doesn't seem to notice as it flails with its hands, ineffectually slapping and scratching at the concrete walkway. Another creature appears at the broken window directly behind it, doubles over on top of the ensnared leg and more or less sleds down the first zombie's body, like a child riding down a snowy hill, face-first. Bam! Zombie number two impacts the concrete curb just beyond number one's head. Even from here, diagonally across the rotary and a good 80 yards away, I can hear the unmistakable crunch of teeth fracturing against the stony curb. Then another infected tumbles out of the donut shop. And another. And another. Why they're emerging only now and not when I was firing my pistol, or during the commotion at the McDonald's, I'll never know. All I do know is this happens while the crowned center median is almost directly between me and the Dunkin' Donuts, so I instinctively drop prone and I'm suddenly out of their line of sight.

Now I am keenly interested in what might be going on behind me, because the McDonald's zombies are going to wander into view any moment now. With absolutely no other option, I belly crawl the last five yards to the rotary's center median, up the gradual incline and through the straggly ring of dead flowers encircling the granite marker. The ground is ever so slightly depressed up here, maybe three inches of negative elevation. The dead flowers provide an absurdly small amount of additional cover. Maybe another three inches of porous screening. Except for the three foot section I just scrambled through, where the withered foliage has been thoroughly trampled. It now affords a commanding view in the direction from which I just came, a clear line of sight to the rear corner of the McDonald’s restaurant. Comically, I reach out and actually try to straighten a few of the crushed flower stems, attempting to stand them back upright. I quickly abandon the effort.

My next thought: the backpack adds another eight or nine inches of height to my horizontal profile. I slither out from underneath it and position the bulging pack between me and the crushed section of flowers. The fabric's dark green woodland foliage pattern is all wrong for this terrain and season, but maybe it'll offer a bit of marginal camouflage.

If nothing else, it'll make an excellent rifle rest.

In what I expect to be the waning minutes of my life, I decide to satisfy a certain curiosity about the precise degree to which I am completely screwed. So I worm my way forward another couple of feet so I can look around the granite marker; in the direction of the Dunkin' Donuts. There's at least a dozen zombies now milling about the eatery's parking lot. Floppy has finally extricated himself from the window sill. Although you could say a part of him never left the establishment; a severed foot is still firmly ensnared on the jagged window sill. Now that's what I call 'customer loyalty'. I know it's him because he's the one that has those same bright red pants, now shredded and oozing some kind of puss-ey fluid. No mistaking clothing like that. Plus, he's the only zombie currently missing a right foot. Floppy doesn't seem too hindered though, he's stomping around quite nicely on the bloody stump, his right leg getting progressively shorter as the exposed bone splinters and crumbles against the pavement. I retreat back behind the granite marker and, cheek pressed hard into the dirt, glace back to the McDonald’s. The first of that group is just now emerging from around the back of the restaurant.

It's a male, towering at well over six feet. The yellow zippered jumpsuit he's wearing must have been dazzlingly bright at one point, but it's a somewhat subdued flaxen now that it's been soiled in ... well, in spite of the fast food setting, I'm guessing that stuff isn't ketchup. The jumpsuit is sleeveless and has short, pantalooned legs, all the better to show off the red and white striped undershirt and stockings this guy is wearing, along with a pair of matching yellow gloves. An impressive shock of bright red hair; thoroughly in disarray, as is this guy's white face paint. I'm guessing that bright red smeared all around his mouth used to be makeup, but I bet now it's the same stuff that's stained his clothing. Nice shoes, although a little big. I'm guessing somewhere around size 32, extra-wide.

Oh look, here come more zombies. Why it's just a whole passel of little pint-sized infected! In all shapes and colors, too. Most are trailing something behind them, attached to thin, brightly colored ribbons held tightly in tiny little hands. Flattened, bright silvery things on the other the end of those ribbons, being dragged along on the ground. A puff of wind tosses one a few inches into the air. Why, it's a mylar balloon, its helium long dissipated, as has these children's rosy pink complexions.

Some of the little McNuggets are holding hands. And I don't mean each other's hands. I mean hands, most attached to bloody arm stumps. Relative to their own diminutive appendages, I'd have to say they're adult hands and adult arm stumps.

Mommy? Daddy? Why are all those funny people suddenly running here to join Bobby's birthday party? I'm so scared. Please let me hold your hand!

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:44 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:39 pm 
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I don't believe this! I just finished re-reading the entire story and now you post new additions? YES! Now to read them! Awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:13 am 
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Yay! Moar has been posted.

Moar has been read and thoroughly enjoyed.

Now moar is needed. Please???

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:00 am 
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Well I'm still here, I give you a few weeks to post after each new addition. Thanks for another great update. I can't help but wonder if he will meet up by mere chance with the group again, but whatever happens I will be here to see it through. Thanks for all your time and effort, keep it up.

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:10 am 
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McAweseome!

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 Post subject: All is Lost, Part 28
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:35 pm 
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Zombie Clown and his entourage of undead anklebiters are soon joined by four more infected that come stumbling around the restaurant's rear corner. This new quartet is clad just as the infected that I killed at the drive-through window; bright blue tops, navy slacks and tan aprons. Three of these infected restaurant employees also sport the familiar navy ball caps adorned with the embroidered double arches of a bright yellow letter “M”.

The fourth McZombie is attired in somewhat more unusual headdress. It's wearing upon its face what appears to be the rectangular wire basket strainer of a hot-oil fryolator. The heavy gauge wire mesh is deeply and by all appearances permanently embedded in the creature's forehead, cheekbones and the remnants of its nose. The web of crosshatched wire is likewise fused deep into its grotesquely swollen lips, holding the zombie's mouth permanently agape. Every square inch of this zombie's head is browned to crispy perfection. The horribly disfigured and deep-fried flesh completely encases its facial features, including where one would normally expect to find a pair of eyes.

Thus sightless and no doubt stimulated by the telepathic news of human quarry somewhere nearby, fryolator zombie shoulders past its three uniformed cohorts. It sweeps its arms in front of it as it advances, attempting to negotiate any obstacles it its path. Towering over the juvenile undead, Fryolator fails to perceive the first of them until he steps on the calf of the smaller creature's trailing leg. This sends McNugget and Fryolator alike tumbling to the ground. The juvenile zombie lets out a howl of protest and begins furiously beating the ground with tiny fists; the tantrum of a spoiled child denied a much-desired treat. Fryolator however emits a different cry. Unable to close its mouth or even move its lips, the creature cannot give form or shape to the sound that escapes its throat. High pitched and profoundly unpleasant, Fryolator lets loose an impossibly loud, gargling bark. I don't actually know what an ostrich sounds like, let alone a maniacal specimen being violently strangled in front of a bullhorn. But in my imagination, it would sound a lot like this.

Fryolator's shrieking continues as it rises back to its feet. The sound echoes off the four buildings ringing this rotary intersection and has the effect a clarion call might on an army preparing for an all out attack. Which is pretty much what begins developing all around me, because it's immediately answered by the scores of zombies already in view. And the moans and howls of what has to be over a hundred additional creatures rapidly appearing from all directions. In the space of a few seconds the whole environs is reverberating with an almost deafening cacophony of moans, grunts, and agitated shrieks.

I roll the rest of the way onto my back, trying to flatten my body as low as possible in the shallow depression. I haven't yet been detected, but that's about to change in the next thirty seconds or so. I stare heavenward, taking in the nearly cloudless blue sky that seems to expand towards infinity all around me. A fine mess you've gotten yourself into, Overbeck. Trees, buildings and ample cover for miles around; I might have crept slowly but undetected for days if I had just stayed off the damned road. But instead I've not only attracted the interest of what sounds like 200 enraged zombies, I've also managed to get pretty much smack dab in the middle of all of them. Dead center, as it were, on this circular median; itself perfectly positioned in the middle of a wide open rotary intersection. Which just happens to be transected by two roadways, one running north-south, the other east-west.

I suddenly realize what this must look like viewed from above; I'm lying flat on my back in the middle of a vast, man-made bulls-eye. I'm a life-long agnostic, but the times in my life I've come closest to believing in a higher power have invariably been those when I've felt myself directly in the cross hairs of God's spiteful wrath. I just never expected it to be quite so literal.

My heart racing, I'm suddenly aware that my throat is as dry as shit on a shingle in a sandstorm. In a flash I realize why I've been so off kilter and inattentive the whole morning. I'm severely dehydrated. I can't remember the last time I took a drink of water, sometime yesterday afternoon maybe. Half-starved too, I consider. I realize that consciously or not, I've been either tempting death or slowly killing myself since the moment I discovered I'd been cast out alone. Maybe that's what I've wanted all along.

To hell with this, I decide. If I'm to die, it might as well be in a blaze of glory. I roll over and quickly unclasp the closures on the backpack. The first howls of startled recognition come from every direction as dozens of pairs of lifeless eyes spot me rising to my knees at the center of the intersection.

Never realized that a zombie could actually sound surprised, I ponder as I quickly arrange the rifle and pistol magazines on the ground in front of me and position the backup pistol within easy reach to my right. But that's exactly what these infected sound like right now. Shocked, appalled outrage over my sudden appearance right in the middle of this vast, sprawling horde.

Eighty rifle rounds spread between four magazines, one of which is already in my M16. Close to fifty of the .45 cartridges, but only sixteen remain pre-loaded in the three pistol mags that I possess. In the time I have left, the rest of those shells will be of no use to me. If by some miracle I live long enough to require use of the backup pistol, I have to make sure I save one bullet for myself.

The creatures are already converging from every direction as I rise to my feet and shoulder the M16. Most are coming at me in a dead sprint. I sway slightly as a wave of dizziness washes over me. Lack of water, I think. Hold it together for just a few more seconds, Overbeck. Take as many of these bastards with you as you can.

I sight the rifle in on the most obvious target in the whole damn intersection. The one zombie that takes the time to hop straight off the ground and rapidly scissor its size 32 extra wide shoes back and forth before landing in a splay-footed waddle. And only then setting off towards me.

If nothing else, I'm gonna wipe that goddamned smile off Ronald McNightmare's smug little zombie face.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:11 am, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:57 pm 
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Thank you!
He can't go out like this, someone will save him.
Might be himself, might be a surprise, but I have faith in your story writing skills major.
...might be a dream? :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:32 am 
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Nature_Lover wrote:
Thank you!
He can't go out like this, someone will save him.
Might be himself, might be a surprise, but I have faith in your story writing skills major.
...might be a dream? :)


If I ever resort to the "Ha! Only kidding; it was just a dream" cliche, somebody please: hunt me down and shoot me. Just shoot me.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, NL. Here you go.

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 Post subject: All is Lost, Part 29
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:45 am 
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It's about then that I remember the pipe bombs and suddenly the whole equation changes. There's the barest interval; scarcely a heartbeat, during which I hesitate. As if I'm uncertain; disappointed even, that I'm unexpectedly presented with a choice that does not involve certain death.

“Boys”, I mutter softly, thinking of a score of shadowy but familiar faces; forever young. “I might be a while yet. But just a little bit longer.”

The M16 clatters to the ground; I've now disarmed myself. Dropping back to my knees, I fumble with the buttoned flap of the courier satchel, give up and impatiently tear it open, sending the button flying. The lead ranks of the creatures are closing in on the rotary's center median from all directions, a noose tightening all around me. I realize my initial plan had been utterly futile, I'd have been lucky to re-load even once before being overrun. I withdraw one of the remaining pipe bombs and immediately arm it. With the fuse flaring, I spring back to my feet and punch the alarm button. The piercing sound is almost lost in the raucous chorus of unholy sounds all around me. Almost, but not quite; and the effect it has on the charging creatures is electric. With no time to make any kind of reasoned choice, I pivot 45 degrees to my left and launch the device in the direction of the gas station.

Every creature within my field of view immediately wheels around and, tracking the sound of the shrieking alarm, follows the cartwheeling steel cylinder as it courses through the air. It bounces twice off the pavement between the fuel pumps and clatters to a halt. Scores of zombies; to the right, left and from the direction I first approached this intersection are close behind, piling into the increasingly congested space.

These are just the creatures I can see. I start to pivot around, intending to duck around to the other side of the granite marker to shelter against what I know comes next. But as I turn 180 degrees, I am confronted with a vast wall of undead, furiously pounding into the rotary intersection from the east and west, from the Dunkin Donuts and the garden center and from all points between and beyond. With nothing else I can do, I slump to the ground and flatten my back against the granite marker. I find myself facing the gas station again as I draw my knees to my chest, trying to make myself as small and inconspicuous as possible.

My position is like a harbor's breakwater being lashed by a storm-tossed sea. Wave upon wave of undead crash upon the rotary's center median; stumbling, tripping and ultimately flowing around the stone marker on either side. A frenzied tide of inhumanity; cascading towards the gas station and the source of the beckoning sound. Some of the charging creatures pass by so closely they actually brush my shoulders and legs as they sprint by. It seems utterly inconceivable that not a single zombie pauses to take note of me, but this is exactly what happens. All these hundreds of infected are focused on nothing save their demented footrace to reach the source of the sound.

Several tumble right over my backpack, kicking it further and further away until it's finally lost from view, caught up in the current of churning legs. The last I see of my beloved M16 is it whipsawing violently behind a zombie before disappearing into a sea of undead, its sling caught up on one of the creature's feet.

In the end, it is the sheer mass of packed bodies between me and the pipe bomb that saves me. No concentric expansion of concussive air is visible to me this time; no commanding vantage point high above the scene of destruction. I witness the explosion at ground level, a phalanx of zombies shielding me from the murderous blast. What I can still see of the gas station in the instant before detonation is predominantly the towering fuel island roof canopy. One moment its bottom surface is cast in deep shadow, the next it's brightly lit by a flash of light and an accompanying shockwave severely deforms its metal surface. The ensuing fireball backlights a small tsunami of tumbling bodies and dismembered limbs that expands laterally in all directions, including straight towards me. The tide of slaughtered flesh expends itself as it advances and finally collapses twenty feet short of where I sit. The wet pulpy shower of eviscerated torsos, bone and flayed flesh continue raining down for a good fifteen seconds afterward however; my head and clothing are quickly splattered with a wash of diseased blood and bodily fluid.

And the creatures keep coming from all directions; slipping, sliding, skidding on the wet pavement as they navigate a flood plain of semi-liquid blood and viscera. This secondary crush of undead was thrilling to behold yesterday, when I was watching from the relative safety of a rooftop. But now I find myself at ground level, exposed in all directions and it is utterly terrifying. The echoes of the explosion quickly subside, but the scores of undead continuing to arrive on the scene take no notice of me sitting in plain sight. They proceed straight towards the raging conflagration.

There is far more to a retail gasoline station than meets the eye. In addition to the obvious; the pumps, roof canopy and attending store structure, there is an intricate maze of fuel delivery and vent pipes that snake through the ground directly underneath. This system is remotely operated via a stepped down, low amperage control grid, designed to deliver spark-resistant power and signal current to various pumps, purge valves and volatile gas sensors. It's what allows the many-thousand gallon underground storage tanks to safely store and deliver highly flammable fuels to the awaiting customers above.

In a modern fuel service facility such as this one, these systems are all microprocessor controlled. But of course they have mechanical pressure- and temperature-actuated backups to quickly and safely lock the whole system down in the event of loss of electric power. Once this happens, it can only be safely restarted when reliable electrical service is restored, and then only by following to the letter a complex checklist of safety and system restart protocols.

This is what the system is designed for. It is why gasoline stations do not typically blow sky high during a power outage. But if someone other than a trained technician attempts to restart the system, or worse, completely circumvents the proper restart protocols, dangerous conditions can develop. Worse still, if someone compounds these errors by say, attempting to energize the pumps with a small, portable gasoline generator, then all manner of problems quickly arise. Fuel might successfully be dispensed, but if the gasoline generator current is improperly connected to the station's power grid, it can inadvertently back-feed the delicate low current control and safety systems, completely frying the microprocessor itself and can actually lock out the mechanical safety back ups.

As it happens, this is precisely what occurred six weeks previously when a group of desperate survivors fleeing the initial stages of the zombie outbreak arrived at this very gas station. They found it shut down but completely unguarded. The panicked group managed to successfully refuel their overladen motor home by using a small, inexpensive gasoline generator to power the pumps. But they had to bypass the payment authorization interlock system and in so doing shorted out the safety control grid. They left the gas station so irreparably damaged that none of the many following groups of even more desperate survivors were able to pump even one additional drop of fuel.

Not that it would have mattered much to those later survivors because they couldn't have gotten much farther anyway, at least not by vehicle. That first group, having triumphantly refueled their motorized conveyance, made it all of another twenty-two miles before having the misfortune of being half way across the Commodore Perry Bridge, high above the dark waters of the Delaware River, when it was struck by a volley of air-to-ground missiles. Fired by an attack wing of F-18 fighter/bombers as part of a belated and ultimately doomed plan to arrest the spread of the zombie infection by destroying all river crossings.

Not that I can know all of this. But I do divine the broad outlines of this disaster in the making when the dying fires in front of me suddenly flare anew as a gas purge line ruptures. I correctly guess what is going to happen next and just have time to dive for cover on the far side of the granite marker. Thus I am shielded from the much larger explosion that follows when the underground fuel tanks ignite. Five circular metal covers; one each for the tanks containing 87 octane regular grade, 89 octane mid grade and 93 octane premium grade, plus the diesel fuel and kerosene oil tanks, are suddenly blown out of their in-ground receptacles and sent rocketing high into the afternoon sky. More impressive still: a massive fireball erupts from the blacked fuel pumps and lifts the roof canopy completely off its six support columns. The already damaged steel structure ascends another fifteen feet before it accedes to the urgent call of gravity. Reversing direction, it comes crashing down onto the fuel pump islands directly below. Raw fuel and expanding volatile gasses continue to ignite, intensifying the flames. The twisted struts, beams and steel skin of the collapsed canopy quickly become superheated and shriek in protest as they expand and deform in the conflagration, smaller secondary explosions flare off loudly every few seconds. The tortured sounds go on and on, drawing more and more undead into the hungry flames.

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:05 am 
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thank you for sharing your incredible vision and writing with us!

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just some junk... <Completed 3/19/15> viewtopic.php?f=113&t=111852


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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:14 am 
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Fantastic!!!

I don't wanna nitpick or interrupt the story, but could someone maybe pm me about fuel explosions. While im happy for the story to go lie this,my understanding of fuel is that it needs to be compressedin air to explode... It will burn, but unless conditions are right it won't detonate in a Hollywood fireball...


Happy to be educated about this.

Thx and carry on

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 Post subject: All is Lost, Part 30
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:24 pm 
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It's another five minutes before I work up the nerve to move again. By now a dense pall of smoke has filled the air, along with the choking stench of rancid, roasting meat. A listless breeze ineffectually feathers the smoke and smell, but what little that is blown away is continually replenished by the still burning gasoline station.

The arrival of additional undead has slowed to a trickle. Still attracted to the bright flames and loud rending of metal, they immediately stagger directly into the consuming fire, self-immolating with reckless abandon. The creatures seem unable to focus on anything else, at least not until the flames and sounds of tortured metal cease. I decide I don't want to be anywhere near here when that happens.

Moving quietly in a crouch, I quickly locate the M16 amid the piles of ravaged zombie corpses. The weapon is scraped and battered, but appears operational. A little to the left of it is the backpack. In spite of the open clasps, the spare woollen socks and two remaining jugs of black powder are still inside, as is the Bushmills whiskey; miraculously intact. I manage to find the flashlight and radio lying scattered on the blood slicked pavement. The flashlight is still functional, but the radio is shattered beyond repair. No RFH broadcast updates for a while, at least not until I locate a replacement. The spare set of AA size batteries I had stowed loose in the bottom of the pack, along with all my remaining food, is lost amidst the sea of body parts.

Returning to the raised center median, I quickly retrieve the courier satchel and the remaining pistol and rifle ammunition and scramble across the intersection to the garden center. It's a sprawling, single story structure with a fenced outdoor area to the left, still filled with tagged saplings sprouting from burlap-wrapped root balls, nested clay pots and trim piles of bagged mulch and topsoil. The front right corner of the building appears to have taken a direct hit from some kind of large vehicle; collapsing a good section of the eastern wall and part of the roof structure directly above. The rest of the structure doesn't appear to be in imminent danger of collapse, so I push past the unlocked front door and disappear within.

The garden center, along with the three other businesses ringing this roundabout intersection, has been completely emptied of undead, all recently departed to meet their fiery demise at the burning gasoline station. Still, the bright beam of my flashlight brings welcome reassurance that I am indeed alone in darkened structure. I see clear evidence that the garden center has been assaulted by looters, but not to the same extent as the army/navy and hardware stores I visited in Fairfield Township.

I'm looking for something to use as a melee weapon, anything to engage adversaries at arm's length without resorting to a firearm. I desperately want to avoid a repeat of my earlier encounter when the sounds of my pistol fire set into motion this whole bloody episode. The obvious choices; things like machetes and axes, have already been carted away by scavengers. But a number of long handled garden implements remain; primarily rakes and shovels.

Technically I don't know precisely what I'm looking for, but I instantly recognize my search has met with success when I spy a brush clearing tool labelled as a “ditch bank blade”. It's a thick, six-inch, reverse-swept steel cutter affixed to a 40 inch long fiberglass handle. Sharpened on both edges, the business end is designed to hack through vines and woody undergrowth. The implement comes complete with a stubby leather sheath which is ideal for my purposes because I intend to carry it blade-up, using the long handle as a hiking staff. A blister-packaged sharpening stone is found on a nearby display rack and is immediately slipped into my pack. I expect this re-purposed pole arm to see heavy use; it will require frequent re-sharpening.

I search in vain for a first aid kit and a portable radio. Not the sort of thing one would necessarily expect to find in a garden center, but I had hoped to perhaps locate one or the other behind the customer service counter or maybe in the employee washroom. If either of those items were ever here, they've long since been carried off by other scavengers.

I decide to explore the Dunkin Donuts next, the eatery being a far more likely location for a first aid kit, as well as food. Just as I'm about to exit through the garden center's front door, I spy an oddly familiar shape half buried under the wreckage of the building's east wall. It looks like a large metal cabinet under there. With a transparent front panel, one that extends to within a couple of feet of the floor. I know I've seen that arrangement of features many times before. Suddenly it comes to me: it's some kind of vending machine under there.

It was missed by prior looters because it's largely hidden under a mountain of debris. I manage to clear about half of it before encountering an interlocking web of pieces pinned down under the weight of the half-collapsed roof. There are actually two vending machines under here, a soft drink machine lying face up and a snack machine that miraculously is still standing upright.

I have to worm my way through the tangle of wall studs and ceiling joists to get at them. Using a broken section of two-by-four as a crude hammer, I drive the sharpened tip of my combat knife through the plexiglass panels and enlarge the openings until they're wide enough to get my hand through. I reach into the soft drink machine first and grope blindly until my fingers encircle a plastic bottle. I retrieve what turns out to be a 16oz. Coke.

Without even bothering to extricate myself from the tangled web of debris, I uncap the bottle and greedily drain over half of it in one long pull. It's a little warm but the sweet bubbly cola is thoroughly refreshing. I pause just long enough to stifle a belch before gulping down the rest. Almost instantly I can feel the liquid replenishment and sudden infusion of glucose hitting my bloodstream. Renewed vigor courses through my limbs and I jam my hand back into the ragged opening and begin extracting one bottle after another.

There's a dizzying array of choices. Coke, Diet Coke. Diet Caffeine Free Coke. Some nonsense called Coke Zero. Mountain Dew and Diet Sierra Mist. Red Bull and Monster Energy Drink, the latter an ironically unfortunate name if there ever was one, given recent world events. Groping blindly, I retrieve nine bottles before I have a duplicate of any one flavor.

I've often theorized that the root of modern society's ennui is the absurd number of unnecessary choices presented to young people at every turn. Soft drinks are but one example; it shouldn't be nearly so complicated. You like cola? Drink Pepsi or Coke. Feel like something different? There's always Seven-Up or maybe ginger ale. Root beer if you're feeling like a rebel. Like fruit flavors? Whatever the hell happened to Orange Crush and Grape Nehi? On a diet? You can drink a goddamn glass of water; there's your zero-calorie diet drink. What should really be a few truly meaningful alternatives has expanded into this swirling vortex of excess. Consumer choice my ass. More like 'consumer confusion'.

Suddenly I'm aware of how I would sound to either Zoey or Francis. The girl would roll her eyes in that bemused, benignly reproachful way and the young man would pounce on the opportunity to let loose some zinger about my age and old-fashioned ways. Looking back, I realize I actually enjoyed their reactions to my outraged old-man tirades. I think maybe I was even doing it a little bit on purpose; just to egg them on. I had grown strangely fond of the endearingly predictable responses they would elicit. That is, until I was …

I kill off the thought before it reaches its obvious conclusion. Wilfully clearing it from my mind, I resolutely begin exploring the interior of the snack machine.

I'm through feeling sorry for myself.

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:58 pm 
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Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:17 pm 
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I really enjoy this story. I look forward to and appreciate your updates.


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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:24 am 
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Excellent addition Major!

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:57 pm 
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So I know you want feedback, so here it is. More!! Give me MORE!! I have been seriously struggling to find a good read lately in the genre and yours is pretty much all I've got to rely upon. Even though I've never played the games, your fiction is making me want to check them out. Doing a great job, keep it up!

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https://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=114606

GHB dedicated thread in need of serious updating!!!
https://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=112108


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 Post subject: All is Lost, Part 31
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:31 pm 
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When I'm finally ready to leave the garden center, my pack is considerably heavier than it was when I entered. But having finally divined the source of the mental lassitude that has plagued me all morning, I'm glad for the chance to strain a bit under the load of ample liquid and solid nourishment. I ended up settling mostly on bottled water for beverages, although I packed along two more of those Cokes because the first one was so damn tasty. After sating my present appetite from the myriad choices offered by the snack machine, I restricted myself to packing those items that have at least some semblance of healthy nutrition. There was far more than I could carry anyway. Mixed nuts and trail mix. NutriGrain bars and Fig Newtons. Cheese and peanut butter sandwich crackers. Beef jerky, Sun Maid raisins and peanut M&Ms.

I'm about to push open the garden center's front door when it occurs to me to look outside first. The gas station is still on fire, although it's now burning with far less intensity. Of more immediate concern are the undead standing near it on the road coming up from the south. Three things immediately strike me:
- They're completely ignoring the fire.
- They've obviously just arrived from the same direction that I've been travelling all morning.
- They're several hundred in number.

My pursuers from Fairfield Township seem to have caught up to me.

Sucking in my breath, I retreat from the front entrance and quickly make my way to the narrow hallway behind the customer service counter. Passing the employee washroom on my right and the store manager's office on my left, I curse my stupidity for lingering so long. Not wanting to risk the errant glow of my flashlight being spotted by the creatures outside, I grope in the near darkness until I encounter the exit door at the back of the hallway, the one I noted earlier when I explored this back area with the flashlight. The one with the push bar labelled “ALARM WILL SOUND IF OPENED”.

What are the chances there's a battery backup? What are the chances it's still operating after eight weeks? And finally, what are my chances if any of those zombies hear it?

I back away from the door.

I only gave the manager's office a brief glance earlier when I was getting a quick sense of the layout of this place. But in my memory, the right hand side of the room seemed brighter. I crack the door open and sure enough, there it is: a small window over there, facing onto the back of the building. It's set high on the wall and locked from the inside for security reasons. I slide a lateral file cabinet underneath, climb atop of it and push the window open. Behind me, I hear the first pairs of feet shuffle and scrape on the pavement just outside the front entrance, accompanied by the faint groans and slavering hisses of the undead. I hurriedly drop the backpack, then the rifle and finally my ditch blade on the ground outside. I can already hear movement inside the store as I ease myself over the sill and drop lightly to the ground.

There's a stand of scraggly trees directly behind the garden center. It's getting on in the afternoon and the low autumn sun makes the sparse woods seem deeper and more foreboding than they probably really are. I trot into the shadowy cover amidst the trees and immediately turn due west. I don't waste my time looking back. Ten minutes later, I'm still working steadily through the woods when I hear from behind me the distant ringing of an emergency exit door alarm. I quicken my pace.

I've bushwhacked less than two miles when I encounter a river flowing roughly northwest. Almost fifty yards across, the water course must empty into the Delaware somewhere many miles downstream. I turn left and begin following the river as it meanders through the landscape. Benefiting from a narrow but well defined dirt path, I'm travelling largely hidden with the terrain rising steeply off my left shoulder and a similarly steep incline on the river's opposite bank. Well-protected on either side, I have only threats from ahead and behind to worry about. I've learned the hard way to stay the hell off of roads and well out of sight, so I'm more than content to stick to this river path, regardless of exactly where it takes me.

I do encounter a few zombies along the way. But in small numbers and usually with ample warning. Even the one infected that manages to surprise me is easily dispatched with the ditch blade. I'm long removed from my Special Forces training in bōjistu; the Japanese martial art of stick fighting, but I remember enough of the core principles to acquit myself fairly well. In the space of a little over an hour, eight infected have fallen to my ditch blade, littering the trail behind me or else left drifting like flotsam in the river's dark waters. It's a welcome feeling to quietly deal with these creatures without risk of drawing the attention of other infected who might be nearby.

The river affords one further benefit. At the first well-protected spot I can find, I quickly scout ahead and then return to gather an ample supply of dry wood. I start a small, well-banked fire and when it's good and hot, I strip naked, gather my soiled and reeking clothing tightly in my arms and stagger into the frigid water.

Another hour and three cigarettes later, the steaming clothing is no longer wet, but it's not exactly dry either. At that point I'm wearing the only five articles of dry attire that I have left: my spare socks, the combat boots and my special forces beret. I'm sure I cut quite a fine figure, buck naked save for footwear, a hat and a cigarette dangling from the corner of my mouth. Particularly when a lone zombie stumbles around the bend in the trail and I'm forced to fight it off au naturel.

After I unceremoniously roll the corpse and its detached head into the river, I dress in the damp clothing, add more wood and shiver next to the flames until the heat from the fire and my own body drive off the last of the moisture. It's another forty minutes and a couple of fortifying shots of whiskey before I decide I'm sufficiently warm and dry to proceed without freezing to death.

After covering another two or three miles and dispatching six more zombies, the narrow footpath merges with a much broader, crushed stone walkway that swings in from the left. Soon I'm passing interpretive signs pointing out river features, local flora and other items of interest. I'm on some kind of scenic river walk. Looking to the other side of the river, I catch glimpses of commercial buildings and farther still, power line transmission towers and dormant industrial smokestacks. Several spur trails branch off to the left; I ignore them all. As long as I stick to the river I'm still largely out of sight and protected, in spite of the increasing signs of development. I eye the western sky nervously however, there's only about an hour of good daylight left.

I encounter the first safehouse sign about a mile later, the vertical arrow next to the icon directing me to continue straight ahead. I pass two more just like it before I reach a fourth sign signalling a left hand turn onto a spur trail that leads steeply away from the river. I spend a good minute eying the side path warily. Even from here, I can see buildings through the trees. I consider just continuing on and bedding down for the night somewhere along this river trail. Then it occurs to me that there might actually be people staying in this safehouse tonight. Survivors on their way south towards Cape May, perhaps. Considering my tenuous frame of mind this past day and a half, a little time spent in the company of other living souls might be a really good idea.

With that, I turn my back to the river bank and set off inland, following the spur trail back toward civilization. Such as it is, or might be, in the age of the apocalypse.

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:49 pm 
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Thank you. I really needed that to cheer me up.
Please post moar!

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:10 am 
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Excellent update thanks for the moarz, I'm feeling a reunion coming on with the group could be wrong, but if not I wonder how he will take to sharing the safe house with those who abandoned him in such a cowardly way.

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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
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Thank you, very good! :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Restless Dead
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Wondering about the safe house occupants as well. Thanks for moar!!


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 Post subject: All is Lost, Part 32
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:40 pm 
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The safehouse signs continue to lead east. This whole areas is predominantly commercial development; far more built up than it was just a few miles to the south. Tidy businesses and small office buildings are encountered in growing numbers. As are zombies. But with ample cover and the sun slipping below the southwest horizon, I find it easy enough to work my way around them. The ditch blade gets no further use that day, save as a walking stick.

It's already dusk when I finally locate the safehouse, I kneel behind a dumpster and observe it from a distance. It's a modest office building, three stories high. Technically it rises four stories off the paved lot it's built on. But it's one of those odd circa 1960's structures that's essentially a steel and concrete cube built upon support columns. Four squat concrete pillars, one each at the structure's four corners, elevate the enclosed portion of the building directly atop its own open air parking lot. Almost hidden in the shadowy area underneath the structure is a much larger fifth column supporting the center of the building. I can just make out a silvery pair of sliding metal doors on the side of this central column. The unmistakable sign of an elevator. It won't be operational of course; there hasn't been electrical power anywhere on the east coast for close to five weeks now. But the elevator doors are situated off to one side of the central column, and cannot account for more than half its internal volume. There has to be a stairwell in that cavity as well; likely opening onto the opposite side, hidden from my vantage point.

It's not a terrible location for a safehouse. Elevated above street level like that, there's essentially only one way in or out. Which would make defending it an easier proposition, without having to worry about multiple ground level approaches. Still, locating a safehouse up off the ground like that also presents a number of problems. Number one being: there's essentially only one way in or out.

Watching from behind the dumpster, I detect subtle movement of the heavy curtains behind the windows on the top floor. Twice now I've seen them rustle, as though someone, or something, is lurking just behind them. But with twilight rapidly fading, I've basically run out of alternatives.

Rising into a crouch, I advance cautiously, skirting a low stone wall. From there, I scurry up to the closest of the building's corner supports, vault over the low concrete wall encircling the parking lot and slip into the shadows underneath the structure. Circling around to the other side of the central support column, I find the stairwell door that I was expecting, along with a safehouse icon spray painted upon its surface. Casting one last glance all around me, I push open the stairwell door and slip inside.

*****

“Who's there?” A startled female voice challenges from somewhere above. Her words echo in the darkened stairwell. “How many are you and are you armed?”

“Just one.” I reply warily. “And yes, I'm armed.“

An intense beam of light suddenly knifes down from above, angling through the zig-zag gap between the stair courses. I look away from the dazzling light but it's too late; all I can see is the intense light's afterimage as a blossoming green splotch on my retina. I'm effectively blind for the moment and it occurs to me that was probably the intention.

The woman's voice, commanding from above: “Show yourself. Lean out into the center of the stairwell.”

I lean out into the space between the handrails and look up, squinting. The flashlight beam wavers and then draws away. I catch a glimpse of a youthful face framed by a watch cap.

“Just me down here, miss,” I call up. “I'd like to come up, if it's all the same to you.”

“Stay where you are. I-I have a gun. Josh? It's just an old man. Dressed up like military.”

'Just an old man' hits me like a punch in the gut. Much the same as when I look in the mirror each morning. I'm the same person I've always been but when I gaze at my reflection I'm continually startled to see a grizzled old man staring back at me. Who the hell are you? Young people don't know this yet, but every senior citizen; every goddamned one of them, is just another young person looking out at the world through a pair of tired, worn out eyes. We can almost forget the toll that time has exacted upon our bodies until a mirror or a stranger's unguarded comment suddenly reminds us. And then the same question always springs to mind: What the hell happened?

A disembodied male voice, from higher still: “Dressed like military, or is military?”

I decide to volunteer a bit of information in hopes of expediting things. “Retired military,” I call out in a loud voice. “Vietnam. Uncle Sam's been done with me for a good long while now. Probably since before any of you were born.”

The male voice from above, ignoring me: “Andy, you see anything going on outside?”

A distant, muffled reply: “Nope. All quiet.”

'Josh' again, assuming I'm getting these names and voices straight: “Well you missed this guy walking right up to the building, didn't you? You sure there's not anything else out there you're missing?”

The muffled voice again, insistently: “I said no, Josh! I missed him, OK? I'm not sure how, but I'm telling you there's nobody else out there.”

A long pause. The female voice again. “Josh? Where are we with this guy?”

“Yeah, OK Tracy. Send him up.”

'Tracy', down to me: “OK, we're gonna need you to leave all your weapons and stuff at the bottom of the stairwell. Then come up to the top floor, nice and slow.” The flashlight beam above me retreats as Tracy is giving the last of these instructions, her voice already trailing off. As I'm setting down the M16 and the ditch blade, I hear footsteps scrambling higher in the stairwell and then, somewhere in the darkness far above, a heavy door swinging closed. Followed by the sound of a substantial lockbolt being slid into place. Then silence.

Shrugging off my pack, I set it down on the stairwell floor, along with my holster and knife. After a brief internal debate, I gather the folds of the wool coat behind my left hip and quickly tuck the pistol into the back of my waistband. Releasing the coat, I allow it to drape loosely around my torso, unbuttoned. Pointing the flashlight low towards the steps, I cautiously begin climbing the stairs.

I try the doors on the first and second floors. They don't budge even a fraction of inch when I alternately tug and push on the door handles. Made of thick metal and set deep in heavy steel frames, each features a small, vertically oriented rectangular window, the thick window glass criss-crossed by a lattice of embedded wire. A closer inspection reveals that the surface of each door is heavily discolored near where it meets the door jam, as though by application of intense heat. These doors appear to have been welded shut from the inside.

I finally plod my way to the third floor landing, the day's accumulated fatigue finally catching up to me. The door up here is the same heavy steel construction as the ones below, but shows no evidence of welding. I hear the sounds of whispered voices behind it. Not knowing exactly how to proceed, I remove my beret, smooth out my hair and fidget nervously with the hat in my hands. Suddenly another shaft of blinding light stabs through the window glass.

“Enough with the flashlights in the eyes, OK?” I protest. “You want a good look at me? Here, let me help.” I activate on my own flashlight and hold it off to my side, allowing the beam to reflect off the stairwell wall and illuminate my face.

Joshua, his voice slightly muffled from the other side of the door: “Tracy told you to leave all your stuff downstairs.”

“It's just a flashlight, son; not a death ray. I've got a pair of gloves in my coat pocket too. You going to shoot me for that?”

“Yeah, OK,” Josh concedes. “Just ... just try to follow our lead until we get a sense of who you are, OK?”

“Certainly young man,” I agree, lowering my flashlight. “I've just come all this way and I'm not about to risk my neck tripping in a darkened stairwell.”

“Fair enough. OK, let's get started. You been bit anywhere?“

“Of course not,” I lie.

“What's goin' on with your left hand? That looks serious.”

“This? It got crushed in a vehicle door. I've lost the pinky and I think I might lose the ring finger too. Hurts like hell. You got any medical supplies?”

“Maybe,” Josh offers warily. “Sure a zombie didn't do that to you?”

“Yeah I'm sure; either that or I owe an apology to the guy I decked.”

“You punched somebody?”

“Yeah; the idiot who closed the door on me. He left me with one good hand, so I used that to clean his clock.”

Josh, pouncing: “So you are with other people then. Where are your friends now?”

“They weren't exactly friends; and they're long gone. Let's just say things didn't work out between us. Listen, I've been on the run all day, so let's get on with this. What other questions do you got for me?”

“Just a few,” Josh advises, seemingly satisfied with the explanation about my injured hand. “Where are you coming from and where are you headed?”

“I came from Fairfield Township, by way of about three hundred zombies. And where I'm headed is none of your damn business.” That last declaration elicits a chuckle from somewhere beyond the door.

“Shut up Tracy,” Josh hisses. Then to me: “You're a cocky old bastard, you know that? Fairfield Township huh? From today?”

“Yesterday, actually. I spent last night on a farm just north of the town.”

“Tell us about the safehouse in Fairfield.”

I sense this part of the interrogation might be pivotal. “Well, it's a bit unusual. It's inside of a watertower. On the northwest side of town.”

Another long pause, followed by anxious whispering on the other side of the door. “Is the safehouse still there?” Josh asks hesitantly. “Is it still … safe?”

“It was, as of yesterday. Not too much left in the way of supplies but it's very secure; it's about a hundred feet off the ground. If you'd just let me in, I could give you some intel about undead activity around there. I can also tell you about a place along the way where you can stock up on snack food and pop.”

“Pop?”

“Soda, young man; 'soft drinks'. Listen, are we going to chat through a locked door all night, or are you gonna let an old man in out of the cold?”

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The Restless Dead http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=113&t=80397

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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