Shannon answered halfway through the second ring. She sounded panicked, almost frantic; I could barely make out what she was saying. I finally had to yell to get her to listen to me, “SHANNON, STOP SCREAMING. I NEED YOU TO CALM DOWN AND TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON OVER THERE.” After a few seconds of quiet when I could hear someone asking who was on the phone she finally replied, “I’m so sorry, I just don’t know what’s going on and I’m so scared. It’s only Jeff, the kids and I here. Everyone else is at Bear camp. They’re training; they won’t be back till the middle of next week. What do we do?”
“Where’s the suburban? Think carefully and tell me how it’s parked.” I demanded. After a seconds thought she replied, “It’s backed into the drive way like it always is.” “Ok, here’s what I want you to do. Get together what little stuff you need. Clothes are necessary but you don’t need all of them. Any and all food you guys have in the house, put by the front door, we’ll need it all. Get anything else you need but make sure it’s absolutely necessary, you don’t want to be weighted down too much. Did you understand me?”
She sat quietly for a second and finally replied. “Yea, I understand you. What’s gonna happen?” I took a deep breath and tried to sound calm. “I’m gonna come get you guys but you’re gonna hafta drive the suburban back here yourselves. I’ll be out front in twenty minutes. Be ready by then.” Shannon seemed to take things in stride because she sounded more calm then when I initially called. “Ok, we’ll be ready when you get here.” She replied. I turned around and looked at Jason and my brother. “We’ve got a job to do guys.”
Fifteen minutes later we were ready to go. Jason and Tony were suited up in the S.W.A.T. gear we had, they’d be doing defense once we got to Shannon’s house. I’d run in and help them get their things into the suburban. We took the police cruiser. Jason was driving, I was riding passenger and Tony was in the back seat. It doesn’t normally take five minutes to drive from Tulare Union to Shannon’s house but we were allowing for the possibility of running into trouble along the way. There was no way to tell how things were along the few blocks between the high school and her house.
Kern Ave looked clear. We pulled out and made the quick turn onto Center St. Half way down the first block on Center is where we ran into our first problem. Coming out of the alley on the right was a group of about six people. We knew instantly that they were no longer among the living. I crawled partly out the passenger side window and fired three rounds into the first of the bodies. The first of the bullets hit it in the chest, the second and third were on target, destroying the head and brain. I sighted in on the second body but Tony already took it out. I took out the third and Tony destroyed the fourth of the zombies. Jason yelled for us to duck and I dropped back into the car just as he accelerated. He hit the fifth and sixth going about forty-five miles an hour. They were dragged under the car, out of sight.
We passed Inyo and Mariposa without any further trouble. But as we got closer to Ventura we realised that we were going to have some trouble actually getting onto Ventura. In the intersection there were thirty to forty people that were having an all out riot. Before I could even think of what we might be able to do next Jason was already turning left into the alley. There were burning piles of trash here and there and things’ flying over fences unexpectedly but for the most part the alley was clear, all the way to the end. At the end of the alley we swung out onto “R” street and then onto Ventura without further problems.
Once on Ventura there was only one more obstacle between us and Shannon’s house. Unfortunately for us that obstacle was an over turned truck in the middle of the street. Tony and I got out of the car, I grabbed the wench cable that was on the front of the cruiser and ran to the bumper of the truck. I hoped that the test on the cable was strong enough to withstand pulling the truck out of the way enough for us to get through. When the cable was tightly in place I made sure the wench was locked and told to Jason back up slowly. He backed slowly till the slack was taken out of the line and punched it when the line was taught. The truck swiveled around on its roof and was turned enough for the cruiser to get by. Tony unhooked the wench cable and Jason started reeling it in with the controls that were on the dash.
We jumped back into the car and went past the truck. Pulling up in front of Shannon’s house we all jumped out. I was half way to the house when the door burst open and Shannon came running out, Jeff was a couple steps behind her and behind him I could see the children standing in the door. All we had to do was get them and their stuff packed in the suburban and make our way back to the high school. The next few minutes were chaotic and jumpy, Tony and Jason stood guard at the bottom of the steps while I helped Shannon and Jeff get their things and the kids into the car. Just as I was coming out with the last of the bags I heard Jason yell, “Hey guys, hurry up, we’ve got company coming.” When I stepped out the door I looked where he was pointing and saw the mob of people that were fighting at the end of the street coming towards us.