“No wait” I transmitted on the radio. “We owe him at least to look down there. Ted will you come with me?”
I stepped out of the CSU and walked out on the road. Ted met me and we started down the road where it made its way around the ridge line. We got around the corner and stopped. We looked down on the town and everything within 100 yards of the square was gone. You couldn’t even call what was left within that space rubble. Any buildings that were there were decimated. The concrete for the sewage treatment plant was cracked open. You could see the water rush out toward the creek to the south west. The office and logs at the Log Home compound were burning. The security fencing was gone and the metal warehouses and buses were scorched. Concrete, wood and other rubble ringed the area that took the major part of the explosion. Other buildings in the town were engulfed in flames.
I looked at Ted, shook my head, turned and walked back to CSU. He walked back to his Hummer as I climbed in.
“Let’s go.” I transmitted over the radio. The trucks pulled away.
(Thank you Kelly. I’ll take over again.)
“Someone tell her about the remotes.” I transmitted. I didn’t have time to explain. I had zombies closing in and very little time to find a place to use for cover. Bang, bang, bang, bang, click. I held the remote detonator in my teeth as I reloaded and looked around. The closest thing under ground level within fifty yards was the sewage line running into the plant. I started sprinting. The closest way in was a set of Bilco doors. I could see a zombie running to intercept me. I switched hands on the run. I held the Glock out in my left hand as I slowed my run. It was closing…. closing…. closing…. bang, bang. It dropped in front of me and skidded to a stop on its face as I hopped over.
Three more strides and I was at the doors. “Master Lock.” I said out loud. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. It might have stuck it out with one bullet but half a dozen was too much. I grabbed one door and flung it open. I had picked a sewage inlet cover. Brown and green foam clung to the sides of the culvert. Dammit. I looked up and another zombie was closing in. I stepped up on the lip. Holstered and secured the Glock and held the remote detonator out in front of me. I pushed off the cover and flipped the switch. Nothing. The zombie was closer and began reaching out. I looked at the detonator. “ON-OFF”. “Fuck Me!” I said as I switched it to ON, pushed the cover off again and flipped the switch. I took a breath and jumped.
The water was cold as I sank to the bottom. It had to be 10 feet deep. I heard the explosion and then came the tremor and flames. The water was heating up. I looked up and the water was evaporating above me. Flames shot over the culvert. It looked like the sky was on fire. I felt for a way out, a way into the big tank. There was nothing. I sank to a corner nearly lying on the bottom. It was only seconds ticking by but felt like hours. The flames pulled back. I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. I came up and gasped for air. I started sinking as the water rushed out through a grate in the wall leading to the big tank. The foot thick, concrete culvert walls had twisted and cracked. I grabbed on to the metal rung of a ladder leading back to the doors.
I held on to that ladder for what felt like an eternity. I listened. There was no moaning and no shooting. I was beat. My lungs hurt and this hole stank. After a while I climbed up the ladder and lifted myself over the lip of the culvert. I lay on the ground, unholstered the Glock 21 and replaced the magazine with a full one. I lay there and listened. I still heard nothing but the breeze starting to pick up.
I took a purposeful breath and sat up with my .45 out in front of me. “Holy shit!” Was the only thing that came to mind. I was sitting on the edge of what looked like a giant ring of rubble and fire surrounding a huge area of nothing but bubbling macadam and dirt. There were no zombies. There was no truck. Most of the buildings were gone except for the holes that were once basements. The rest of the town was burning. I looked behind myself and rose to a knee. The sewage plant walls were cracked open. The water and shit had emptied into the creek about 70 feet away. The log home office was burning. The warehouses were burned but standing. The buses were burned too. I stood up and looked around. I walked out to where the Propane truck had been. There was a twenty yard diameter pit about 3 feet deep. It was starting to rain. I tried to key the radio but it was dead.
I walked back up the driveway to the log homes. Most of the fence was crushed by debris. The bus furthest from the explosion still had its windows. It didn’t have any burn marks on it but all the tires were flat. I pushed the bus door and it swung open automatically. The batteries were still working. We had cleared the buses and drove them to the gate but we didn’t siphon any diesel from them. I sat in the driver’s seat and turned the key to on. The dash lit up. I turned the key all the way and the diesel engine turned over. I didn’t know how much fuel was left in the tanks but at least I’d stay warm. I cranked the heat up all the way sat in one of the coach chairs and leaned back. I reached up and pulled a blanket from the overhead bin.
I thought as I lay there, “These people didn’t leave everything at home. I bet there are clothes in the storage under the floor.” I tossed off the cover and walked out to the side of bus. I grabbed the latch and pulled open the first coach door. Golf Clubs. You’ve got to be kidding. I tossed those to the side. I pulled out a case of water. Behind the water was a case of Spaghettios. Then the jackpot. A huge, luscious fur coat. I wrapped it around my shoulders. The rain was picking up. I threw the water and food in the bus. I grabbed two duffle bags and tossed them in too. I grabbed the Driver from the golf bag and climbed the stairs into the bus. I closed the doors and jammed them shut with the golf club. I looked at the dash to the left and saw a green button. Underneath was a tag that said “Push to lock door”. I hit the button and heard a latch snap. I left the club in place just in case.
I walked back through the bus and made sure all the doors were secured and locked. I collected all the blankets. I stripped out of the wet BDUs and TAC gear. I found some sweat pants and shirts in one of the duffels. They were a bit big but would do in a pinch. I wrapped the fur around me again and buttoned it up. I slid on a pair of flip flops that was with the sweats and slid the Glock 30 in the coat pocket. I unlocked the front door and took all the shitty clothing out in the rain. I propped the BDUs and TAC gear on golf clubs to try and let the rain wash away the scum. I climbed back in the bus, secured the door and had a gourmet meal of cold noodles in meat sauce.