Taken from my blog at www.azombietale.com
"Just shut up alright?"
“You don’t have to be rude ya know. I understand what we are doing, I am just saying that I don’t think Jason would have had these problems”.
“You don’t even know if Jason exists okay? For all we know he could just be a myth to tell your children in order to give them hope of a new life”.
“Yeah, and all the world is okay. In fact the world isn’t over at all, it’s just on standby right. We aren’t even here, we are just dreaming all of this”.
“Just be quiet for a few more minutes then we can argue over the existence of a fictional “Hero of the New Land””.
As Andrew and James watched through the small peek hole in the side of the wall three undead “walkers” lumbered by. By their looks, two of them were adults probably in their early thirties. They were recently reanimated by the way their skin was still relatively intact. The tallest one had a six-inch gash in his chest that was visible through his black and red flannel shirt while the shorter adult was missing a piece of his skull. The third undead was most likely a teenaged boy at one time, struggling to keep in-step with the older two. His right foot was missing completely and he had quite a bit of damage on his left hand. From far away Andrew could tell that he was missing 3 of his fingers.
The undead didn’t seem to notice the two living men who were only thirty meters from their position. It seemed that only during a good wind the undead could pick up a scent from that far. As experienced in the past three years since the “Event” Andrew had learned to keep his distance as much as possible. He had lost far too many partners to carelessness and underestimation of the undead and their abilities. Even now during scavenging operations Andrew didn’t like to take any chances with being in close proximity of anyone without a pulse. Noise too was a factor. Andrew knew that the undead didn’t have the keenest of hearing ability but that some noise was definitely noticed by the walkers as proven during his last outing from the camp.
“Alright they are far enough away, let’s go”, Andrew ordered James.
The two men took off running from behind their wall of safety to the adjacent side of the street. As they took cover behind an abandoned car James kept lookout down the road in the direction of the three undead. They were only ten feet from the entrance to the 7/11 but Andrew didn’t like to bombard any new building without first scouting out the insides from all of the entrances. He tapped James on the back and ducked down as he ran to the side door. Andrew listened intently for any sounds on the inside of the store. Usually if there were any walkers inside they could be heard rummaging around through the produce looking for any type of fresh sustenance. Andrew had seen the undead eat anything from spoiled meat to the occasional dog and cat. It never surprised him anymore, as the human food supply shortened the undead would eat anything they could find whether it was living or just recently alive.
The coast was clear as Andrew signaled to James via hand movement. James left his lookout post and jogged over to the side entrance with Andrew. “I’m going to peek inside, just don’t go anywhere” said Andrew. He opened the door slowly and stuck his head in through the cracked door. The 7/11 was in shambles on the inside as food and trash was strewn about on the floor. It was hard to tell if the walkers had made their way through the store or if it had just been vandalized in the few months after the “Event”. During the first few months of chaos it was not uncommon to find thieves looting stores and marking graffiti on the inside and outside walls. Mostly only money and products of value were stolen in order to be resold. No one had thought to steal canned goods and preserved food items, Andrew supposed that everyone thought that things would be back to normal in a short amount of time. Three years later, as Andrew and James stood inside a run down convenience store they both understood that there was no going back to the good ol’ days.
The two men made their way through the store grabbing cans of soup and canned meat. They filled their rucksacks with all they could carry including some bottled soap and shampoo. It was easy to get sick if you didn’t stay clean, though running water was hard to come by any chance you had to bathe was never a missed opportunity. Every building now-adays smelled rotten, from the overgrowth of mold to the rotting leftovers, foul smells were a part of every day life. It was something that all the survivors had grown accustomed to. It wasn’t that you didn’t try to live in some sort of sanitary environment, it was just the fact that there weren’t any sanitary places to stay any more. Professional upkeep was something that had been taken for granted in the many years of life before the “Event”. No one ever thanked the janitors or the maintenance men who worked long and hard hours keeping everything from going to waste. Now it would have been a dream come true to find a place where life went on like it used to.
When the men finished their shopping they left the building the same way they had come in. Andrew never trusted the exit to be clear even if there were no undead in-sight before they had entered. He sent James to the door to verify it was safe to leave, James looked outside and signaled that it was clear. As they made their way across the street the sun was just beginning to rise. Even in the midst of chaos the beauty of a sunrise or sunset was always appreciated. It was a macabre picture to be able to stare at the horizon and see such beauty preceded with such destruction. The suburban Cleveland streets were decimated by years of neglect. Houses that once stood pristine with well groomed yards and the typical white picket fences were now overgrown and shattered much like the will of those who had survived the infection.
“So back to what I was saying” James stated. “I heard from Sarah that Jason had once cleared an entire building full of infected with just a baseball bat. She said that he was on a mission to find some sort of biological testing devices to find a cure for the virus”.
“Ah, so you’re telling me that one single man, ran through a whole building with nothing but a piece of carved wood, bashed the heads of a ton of walkers and then strolled right out with what he was looking for, unharmed?”
“That’s exactly what I am saying!” exclaimed James with such conviction that Andrew didn’t want to tell him how much he didn’t believe him.
“Well if we ever have a chance to meet this Jason guy, I will be sure to ask him about his slugfest with the walkers”.
“You know it! I bet Jason has a plan to fix all of this, I even heard he was going to be building some sort of fortress for everyone to live in like we used to”. Andrew just shrugged. The two men had arrived at the safe house. The building used to be a commercial office space, seated between a long since rundown Baskin and Robbins and Subway. There was never any sign of life to their dwelling, Andrew ensured it was that way, he had boarded up all of the windows and secured each entrance with four locks of various make and model. James walked up to the front door, which didn’t look like much of a door at all, placed his full rucksack on the ground and knocked 3 times. That was the signal for those inside to know it was someone familiar at the door, there was a make-shift slot in the wood that one could see through but it wasn’t always easy to see who was there especially since the undead liked to bang on doors and windows in attempt to pass through or attack someone. Outside of the building the sound of locks unbolting could be heard by James and Andrew. As the final lock was turned the door opened cautiously and out popped Sarah’s head.