November 16, 2011:
The Stronghold was being burned down; we were on the run. Shay and Jess were nowhere to be seen. This was common for jess but shay? She never strayed from the group. Max was in charge. He screamed for us as he ran away from the now burning Stronghold. I grabbed what I could. My gear, some ammo, food and the journal entries from my desk and I ran out the door before the flames engulfed the the house. Tay was running after Max with Lilly on his back. Max tripped over some concrete bricks which were from the now destroyed house to his right. He staggered to his feet as he tried his best to lay down suppressive fire for us. I watched as taytay got hit right in the lower calf. He and Lilly were about 50 feet ahead of me. Lilly hit the ground hard, but sprang right back to her feet and tried to pick Taylor up. I yelled at her to keep running. She took off at a dead sprint towards max who was still laying down fire for us. As I came up to Tay, I saw the blood on his vest. He was shot in the upper right torso. I picked him up by left armpit and left leg and held him over the back of my neck. I ran as fast as I could towards Max. I felt the warm blood running down the back of my thigh and into my calf. I collapsed 12 feet from Max.
The pain was intense. My gunshot wound had reopened and felt like someone was stabbing me with a thousand needles into the back of my thigh. I had no time. Not to scream, not to run, not to rest. I rolled over onto my belly and pulled my gun out from my side. I flipped the selector switch from “Safe” to “Full” and laid down fire of my own. That was the invitation for Max to come and get Taylor and carry him. Without hesitation, Max dropped his now useless “Pig” and slid in the dirt and rubble next to Taylor’s body. He picked him up like a Baby and started running down the street with him. I got back to my feet and tried to keep up with Max, Lilly, Taylor and Danielle. Danielle ran to my side and let me use her as a crutch as we ran to the end of the street. As we reached the end, there was good ol’ Jess, barreling towards us in his nice new ride. Taylor and I were loaded into the back and everyone else piled in once Taylor was loaded in. I slammed the rear end of the car door shut and Jess took off like a drug addict running away from the “Little Red Men” that are chasing after him. He turned around and started making some asinine comment about how the raiders wouldn’t be getting home tonight. I passed out before he could even finish his smartass remark.
I woke up sometime around noon. I was lying in a bed. It had silky royal blue sheets and dark luscious blue walls spackled with white to imitate the night sky. I heard Lilly and Danielle talking. I’m not sure what they were talking about because it was too soft to make out any words. Then I heard a stranger’s voice. It was rough, but soothing. I got up out of the bed and walked over to the door. As I reached for the door knob it started to turn. The walls started to twist as well. The next thing I knew was blackness.
I woke up to Max and Lilly standing over me. Max started asking me a million questions at once and I told him to shut up. I looked at him and asked what happened. He snickered “You don’t remember anything?” I shook my head. He looked at me and sighed. He ended up telling me everything that happened while Lilly, of course, chimed in every once in a while to correct some of the details. They said when I was running with Taylor I had ripped open my wound and it needed to be re stitched. They said Shay is still missing and they checked all our rendezvous spots but she wasn’t at any of them. They also filled me on how they had found a man who was a paramedic back in the day and had also been driven out of his solitude and they saw him walking. His name was Josh. Jess came over while I was still lying on the ground and had a giant grin on his face. I barked at him, asking why he was smiling. Still smiling he said “I saved them.” He was referring to our guns. He had grabbed most of them during the fire and got them out. I looked at the three of them and asked them if they had any clue of where we would be going to. None of them spoke. No one knew what to do next. They all looked at me, as if I knew the answer. “Do I look like I have the answer?! How’s Taylor? That is what will hold us back on any move.” Lilly said “He’s okay. He was shot in the calf and in the shoulder. He will live, but will be immobile for a couple of days.” I nodded. I got up to my feet and limped around our new house. Max followed me and watched as I checked every room. “I checked every room 3 times. There is no one and nothing of value here.” Max whispered. I looked at him, “A place to watch for zombz?” He nodded. “Danielle is on watch right now. We had to redo the schedule, but that’s only temp.” I went back to the starlit bedroom and lied down to sleep.
I woke up just in time for dinner. We had an alright dinner, mainly just canned good we were able to grab. Taylor was finally up and had looked really pale. He was quite, really quite. He didn’t say a word at all during dinner. After dinner he had gone right back to his room and slammed the door shut. I went into his room to talk to him. He had seen shay. She ran out the side door and was grabbed by a raider. He was dressed like a Nazi, full SS commander uniform. They had looked each other in the eyes and he walked off with her. Taylor started weeping. “There was nothing I could do. There were at least 4 of them out of that door and they were trying to trap me…” I cut him off patting his back “I know bud, I know.” In between sobs, he said. “I did what only could be done. I looked the basement.” He reached into his pocket and grabbed the skeleton key and handed it to me. “And eye for an eye…” He said, not finishing the saying. I nodded and patted his back, and walked down the hall back to my room. It was unspoken but we both knew this only meant one thing. Our choice was already picked. It was War. They took my best friend from me, so we left the raiders car on the bridge, and now that they had taken shay. It’s our turn to move our chess piece and one wrong move and it will be checkmate for life.
It’s always painful loosing people in your group. To better days and may the bastards rot in hell.