The inside of the barn lit up almost to the back wall. In front of me were the mangled remains of a late model Porsche Boxter. The fenders were crushed in and the windshield smashed. The passenger door was missing. There was gore and blood on the crushed in hood. This car barely made it to the barn. It wasn’t going any further. I started to think about who had driven it here. The huge dude in the tree line couldn’t fit one of his thighs in this car. Thump, thump. I heard the noise coming from about halfway down the center aisle. There was a white carriage blocking my view. I pulled one of the revolvers and began to move to the right of the car. Thump, thump. I cocked the hammer to the rear and prepared to let fly. I gave a quick look in the carriage. It was empty. Thump, thump. I moved around to the back of the carriage. Thump, thump. There was a crash down at the far end of the barn. I could see a creature throw off some tack and tools and start toward me. Thump, thump. It stretched its hands out and opened its mouth to moan. Bang! The zombie fell back as the back its head exploded. Thump, thump. The noise was coming from a large tack box against the left wall about half way down the aisle. The stall doors in the barn were closed. Webs and grime were hanging and clinging to every surface. I moved toward the box. Thump, thump. The lid bounced. It was secured by the loop latch and nothing more. I walked up and went to open the latch. Thump, thump. I jumped and nearly shot the box right then. I could hear a mumble inside. I moved over and lifted the latch. Thump. The lid popped up and back down. I stepped to the side. I kept the revolver pointing at the box. I couldn’t take a chance there was a zombie inside. There was no more thumping. There was no more mumbling. I flipped the lid up and dug the front of the barrel into what I thought was the head of whom or what was in the box. My finger was on the trigger waiting for a moan. Everything froze. I froze, the figure froze and the air froze.
“If you’re gonna shoot me then do it.” The words came from the figure in the box.
I backed away. “Say that again!” I demanded.
“If you’re gonna shoot me then do it.” It was a female’s voice.
I decocked the hammer and holstered the gun. “Come on out of there.” I reached for her hands. “How did you get in there?” I asked.
“My friend put me in here.” I pulled and she stood up. “We got the doors closed. He had been bit by one of those crazy people. He was real pasty. He picked me up and threw me in the box. I couldn’t get out. I fell asleep and just woke up. Where is he?” She saw her friend’s corpse on the ground as she climbed from the box. “Oh, my god!” She stepped back and reached in to her pocket. She pulled a gun out of her pocket and pointed it at me. “You son of a bitch, you killed Richard. I heard that shot. Stay back.” She yelled.
“Whoa, whoa don’t point that at me it might go off.” I backed off and lifted my hands in the air.
“You shot my friend. I’m calling the police.” She pulled a cell phone from her pocket.
“Listen to me.” I said to her. “Your friend was bit. He was infected and turned into one of those crazy people.” I could hear her dial “911”. “That isn’t going to work.” I told her.
“Dammit! I have no reception. Don’t you move you asshole.” She pointed the gun at me again. “I’m gonna do to you what you did to Richard.” She began walking at me. The gun bounced up and down with each step.
“Point that thing somewhere safe.” I told her. She was directly in front of me.
“It’s your turn now.” She said. She pointed the barrel at my face. I swiped the pistol with my left hand and pushed it away from me. Bang! The bullet blasted through the wood plank behind me. I stepped on the woman’s right calf and twisted her gun hand releasing her grip on the pistol. She dropped to a knee and the pistol dropped into my right hand.
“I told you to point that somewhere else.” I was pissed and my ear was ringing. I released her hand and pushed her to the ground with the toe of my boot. “I told you, he turned. He was dead before I shot him. Haven’t you seen anything that’s happened?”
“Just shoot me, get it over with.” She cried. I took the mag out of the pistol and the round out of the chamber. I threw them on the driver seat of the Porsche as I walked out of the barn.
I walked around and looked for more zombies. I couldn’t see any near or far. I walked back inside the barn. The woman was sitting against a wall with her arms wrapped around her legs. I walked by and pulled my revolver again. I swung open the Tack Room door and cleared the room. Nothing but saddles bridles and blankets. I pulled two sets of tack from their racks and placed them on the ground beside a hitching post. I grabbed a couple lead ropes and brought the horses out and tied them off to the post. They were finished playing as soon as I hooked the lead ropes. They knew the difference between work and play. I was sure they had some Pennsylvania Dutch training along the way. It took a few minutes to tack them up. I walked back in and found the woman standing at the door.
“Can you ride a horse?” I asked her.
“Do you have jeans in the car?” I asked.
“Put them on. Grab a coat too. It’s gonna get cold. And load that gun and put it in your coat pocket. You might need it later.” I reloaded my revolver. I grabbed my pack and pulled the frame off. I wrapped the shotgun and rifle in a couple blankets and tied them all to the back of the saddle on the Dapple Grey. I dug around in the tack room and found a horse blanket. She could use it as a sleeping bag. I tied it to the saddle on the Appy.
The woman walked out of the barn. She had jeans and a decent coat on. She was wearing a furry hat. Her hiking boots would do until we could get her something better. She had her purse wrapped around her body.
“Did you lock and load your pistol?” I asked. She patted the right side coat pocket. “Do you still plan on shooting me?”
“No. I’m sorry. I didn’t know he was one of them.” She answered.
“Okay, the Appy is yours. They’re going to be fresh. A decent trot once they’re warmed up will keep them honest.” I showed her the blanket on the back of her saddle. “You’ll have to use this for a sleeping bag until we find something better. I’ve got some food and water I will share with you.”
“Well, if we’re travelling together it would help if we knew each other’s name.” she quipped with a smile. “My name is Jean, Jean Bedford.”
“Ed, Ed Hendry.” She threw herself up in the saddle as though she’d done it every day of her life. The Appy was calm. I mounted the Grey and he gave a couple skips from his hind end. I pulled his head to the right and then the left. I walked him in a couple small circles. He snorted a bit and settled down.
Jean was a pretty woman. Dark hair and tanned complexion. She had dark brown eyes and white teeth. She stood nearly as tall as me. She wasn’t a rail but healthy. I thought to myself that in the right circumstances and with some training she could take care of herself. A few other things went threw my mind as well but I am a married man.