As the sun begins to rise and another zombie filled day begins I realize how close we were to the rest of my family. I pick up the C.B. “Frank….you copy?”
“What’s up boys?” he replies.
“We’re going to stray from the pack here,” I say. “I got something I need to know.”
“Copy that. Good Luck!”
I turn onto the nearest exit and on to County Road 73.
My grandparents owned a small farm not far from here and their house was always stocked with food and weapons my grandfather used for hunting. We pulled into the old driveway noticing that their car was in the garage, The three of us advanced cautiously towards the plain looking house. The house was relatively small so a sweep of the house would be simple. It was two bedrooms with two bathrooms, one of which was not operational and used for storage, and a large combined kitchen and dining room, while the living room was at the front of the house with a big window to look in.
After looking in the window to see if there was any sign of movement, we slowly entered the house so not to make any noise. The inside of the house looked fine minus the food on the floor that was beginning to rot. It was completely silent. We proceeded to the door leading into the dining/kitchen area.
“We have to be very careful.” I whispered. “Two of us will have to go through at the same time because there is a hallway to the right that leads to the storage area and to the left is the kitchen and dining area. James, me and you will go first then Hunter, you follow us up.” I put my hand up in a three count.
We pushed forward and took our places… Nothing. I turned to the kitchen both of them close behind. Nothing again. The house looked like nothing had been here in several days. I moved to the main bedroom slowly but more confident there was nothing in the house. Someone was always watching behind us for trouble. My hopes that my grandparents may have survived were dim to begin with but now they were growing darker and darker. The room itself was empty of everything but the bed and other furniture. I went and tried the bathroom door. It was locked.
“Let’s search the last two rooms then we’ll come back to the bathroom.” The other rooms were as empty as the rest no zombies and no living people. Now that the house was ‘safe’ we returned to the bathroom door. The door itself had been beaten on from the outside and was slightly blood smeared. “We have to bust it down.”
“What if they are in there?” James asked.
“That’s what I’m hoping for.” I said and rammed the door with my shoulder. It barely shuddered. “Wow I never noticed how sturdy this door was. Hunter come help me.” I gave another three count and we rushed the door. I felt something give. “One more time.” Once again we rammed it. It gave in. At first I couldn’t see anything, but as my vision cleared I noticed my grandmothers body huddled in the bathtub. She had no bites. She was truly dead. Apparently from dehydration.
“I’m sorry man.” Hunter said patting my shoulder.
“I figured they would be dead anyway.” I said. “But where’s my grandpa?” We left the room.
“I don’t know, but we gotta get going.”
“We’re going to bury her. It’s the least I could do before we take the stuff we need.”
“Alright let’s go get the shovels from the barn.”
We left the house as cautiously as we had entered. The yard was as empty as we had left it. Must not be visiting hours. I thought. We proceeded down the gravel road to the barn. The barn was simple in its make. It was made mostly out of tin and an old steel frame and support beams. It was separated into two sections one for hay and another for tools. When we arrived we found my grandpa. He was leaning against hay with most of his face missing. There was a shotgun in his hands and several dead zombies around him, one of them had a pitch fork in its face.
“We have to shoot him in the head just in case.” James said leaning over to me.
“I know just do it.”
Once again I heard the loud boom I would soon learn to know as a friend. That sound would be the angel of protection for most in this new world. Not long after the ringing left my ears I heard another sound. A rapid off beat thumping that was moving closer and closer. I turned to the sound.
“Hunter!” I yelled as loud as I could manage. A zombie was charging directly at him. He turned and was toppled over as it reached him. Hunter caught its wrists holding back as far as possible as it thrashed wildly and gnashed its teeth ever closer to Hunter’s face.
“Get it off me!”
I pulled the pistol up and carefully aimed. I pulled the trigger and the creatures body went limp. Hunter quickly scrambled out from under the body.
“I never liked her anyway.” James said with a chuckle after noticing it was my cousin Kimberly.
I glared at him. “Have respect for the dead.” He shrugged away my scorn.
We grabbed the shovels and began digging two at a time, having one always keep watch. No zombies came our way while we dug and no other runners. It took awhile to dig the hole for the three bodies. We dragged the bodies to the grave and laid them in it as easily as we could. It was slow work to put the dirt back on the bodies but we managed it, and then went back into the house to get what we had come for.
My grandfather’s gun cabinet was filled with guns he had collected over the years, most of which were rifles, not like we need them or anything. He had a British 303, two Marlin 30-30’s one with an over under scope and site setup, (my favorite) a bolt action 270. And a 30.06, just to name a few. He also had several shotguns of various gauges and makes, and a 38 Special. There were several boxes of ammo for each gun. After we loaded the guns into the truck we returned to the house for food and water. I filled several empty milk jugs with water and took all the canned food and other foodstuffs out of the pantry.
“I’m going to go open the pasture gate so the cows can still get to the hay. Then we can drive down to my uncles’ house for more stuff.”
“Okay. I’ll get the truck and drive down there, and I’ll drive us down to your uncles, and everywhere else from now on.” James said looking at me.
“Yeah, Yeah.” I rolled my eyes looking up at the gray autumn sky. It’s gonna get dark soon. I thought to myself.
I opened the gate and got in the truck as James pulled down to where I was. My uncle’s house was less than a two minutes drive from my grandparent’s house so we got there quickly. My uncle's house was the epitome of hillbilly, there were broke down cars everywhere, an old trampoline, a hot tub on the porch, and just random junk everywhere. The house itself was small but the yard was of pretty good size and was overgrown with weeds and grass. He also had an area behind his workshop where he kept a horse.
“I know my uncle owns several guns and has other equipment we might need. He’s a pretty hardcore hunter.”
“Okay where should we start?” Hunter asked.
“We’ll leave it to a vote.” I said. “House or Workshop?”
“So I’m the tie breaker.” Great. “Workshop it is” We walked over to the workshop.
I tried the handle, but it was locked. I tried again…nothing. Shit. “Okay we go to the house then.” We turned and began walking to the house. Then there was a click followed by two more clicks from behind us. I could tell it was a shotgun. Damn it.
“Are you human?” A familiar voice asked from behind. “No we’re mole-men James said turning around smugly.
“Shut up James!” I smacked him in the back of the head. “Hi Uncle Landon.”
“nick? Hurry up get inside here!” He opened the door and lowered his gun motioning us in, his eyes scanning the surroundings.
We did as we were told. Inside there were two others of my extended family. My uncle’s girlfriend Tommy and my cousin Thomas, both of which had red frazzled hair and an acne problem, they were standing in the back of the shop with weapons at the ready. My uncles dark brown hair was styled in a mullet that was true to his redneck style, and he wore a hat he acquired from his job along with his uniform shirt.
“Are you boys alright?” Tommy asked dropping her shotgun to come look us over, and gave me a big hug.
“Yeah we are fine. What about you guys? How have you all been?”
“Well we’ve been held up in here since Friday night.” Thomas answered coming to shake my hand. “It’s good to see you.”
“Uncle, I’m sorry but we had to take down Kimberly earlier… and grandma and grandpa were already dead. We buried them before coming down.”
“I figured they would be. I wasn’t able to tell them in time.” He shook his head solemnly.
“But grandpa took several with him. He didn’t get dropped without a fight.” I told him and a small smile showed on his lips.
“He always was a stubborn one.” Love filled his voice as he said this, and then he added. “I love you mom and dad.”
I gave him a hug. Tommy and Thomas did the same.
“So how’d you guys end up here?” Thomas asked breaking off the hug with his father.
We told our story up to the point with James leading the way since he had been the first to encounter the zombies, Then to me to fill in the rest of it. I think the talking helped us cope with this new and unexpected situation as well as with the grieving.
“I’m so sorry.” Tommy said.
“Its nothing compared to what it will be like.” I said with sorrow heavy in my voice. A nod of agreement came from James and Hunter just staring blankly at nothing in particular. “What supplies do you have?”
“We’ve been going to the house for water, but we have a couple weeks worth of canned food, and several first aid kits.” My uncle replied. “We also have quite a few boxes of ammo for all my different guns.”
“What guns do you have?”
“Well I have my 12 gauge, my 20 gauge, a 30.30, a 270, and my 357 mag.”
“Well lets see, we have my m4, rocket launcher, 50cal sniper, 357 magnum, colt 45, intervention, SR25, 50cal desert eagle, hey I could keep going!” James gloats.
“Yea you could, but don’t. They don’t have access to an armory.” I snap back at him.
“So, Thomas do you have any of your bladed weapons?”
“When don’t I?” He pulled several knives from his homemade harness as well as 4 or 5 machetes from behind a 55 gallon drum.
“I shouldn’t have asked.” I said rolling my eyes while he laughed. “We’ll have to stay here tonight. It’s getting dark.”
“Do you have a plan?” Landon asked. Everyone’s eyes were on me.
“I do. None of you will like it though.” I said with downcast eyes. “I don’t want to be a leader, so anything that affects everybody will be left to a vote. If we need a leader later he or she will be chosen by popular vote. As long as no one votes for James.” I said trying to be humorous. There was slight nervous laughing. “If you don’t like my plan I will not bring it up again.” Silence from all. “I propose that we make a run back to the old mans house.”
“Its overrun. Are you insane?” James argued
“Just hear me out. His armory is its own building, there are no windows, and two possible exits, plus we can stop and get your truck back from springfield if the raiders are gone.
“No w-“ Hunter began.
“I’m in but I already have my truck.” James put his hand out and I grabbed it.
“Me too.” Thomas added his hand to ours.
Tommy and Landon stepped forward adding their hand to the mix. “And us.”
“Sorry Hunter you’ve been out voted. Unless you want to leave.” I said in a monotone, hoping he would not leave.
He was silent for a moment. “Fine.”
I let out a sigh of relief. “Thank You. We’ll need you.”
“Let’s get some sleep. We’ll need rest for tomorrow.”
I was not as fortunate as I had been the night before. My dreams were a chaos of the events from the two previous days. I awoke with a scream as I shot my brother again. My uncle stared as I sat bolt upright.
“Nightmare?” He asked.
“Don’t worry nothings happened so far. What was your dream?”
“I had to shoot Neal again It feels like it’s my fault Mom and Neal are dead.” He shook his head.
“Well it’s not and you shouldn’t blame yourself.”
“Go back to sleep, and I’ll try to as well.”
I slipped back to sleep, but the dreams persisted and continued to plague me throughout the night. Over and over again I shot my brother. The grisly details even more defined each time it repeated. This continued until a loud banging awakened me. I rubbed my eyes confused at the new invading sound. It was the door being hit pretty hard. I moved cautiously to it with one of Thomas’s machetes. Then a voice entered the mix of banging.
“Help! Let us in!” A feminine voice called. I unlocked both pad locks and opened the door, only one noise could make me risk everything like that. emily in distress. “no!!!” Thomas yells. But it was too late, the door was already open and she rushed in. I closed the door fast and locked it, and there she stands.
“what the hell?” I say very confused.
“no time to talk, we got to go!” Emily announced.
“what, why?” I grab my pistol and load it.
Everyone scrambles for a weapon as the banging starts on all sides, “shit!” Thomas yells and unloads on the wall next to him. The banging stops.
“what the hell?”
“why did they stop?”
“I don’t know why but I think its time to go.”
We all hear it, screeching and a hemi at high RPMs. James licks his finger and sticks it in the air.
“2008 Hummer H2.”
Suddenly my Hummer comes flying threw the wall sending shrapnel flying all across the room.
“WHAT THE HELL!!” I yell in anger as morgan swings the door open on my truck.
“Everyone get in!” Morgan yelled as we saw the horde behind the truck.
“yawl are crazy, we all can’t fit in one truck!” Thomas exclaims.
“Have fun!” I yelled and lunged into the driver’s seat everyone runs to the truck and gets in as the horde of zombies begins to run towards us.
I shove the key in the ignition and twist.
“C’mon man!” James yells
“I’m fucking trying!!” the truck rumbles to life and I kick it into reverse as their bloodstained hands touch it. The tires screeched while the truck flew into the back of uncles house, I quickly shifted to drive and stepped on it. The family bounced in the back as I floored it threw backyards and over fences.
“Where the hell is the road?” just then I see it on the other side of the houses. I crank the wheel towards the nearest house.
“where going in!!!!” I scream.
I steer the truck threw the house, slabs of wood linger in front of the windshield. The largest piece slides off just as I fly through the other side into the front yard, I had no time to react as I see it. I run full speed into a parked car. The truck kept its ground and I accelerated down the road.
“well that was fun” James said from the back. Everyone laughed.
“for you maybe, I was in charge of all your lives. Not so fun…”
It went silent, but it was very peaceful, I was heading to the new HQ. The sun began to rise as we arrived.
“Frank, come in?” I say over the radio.
“Nick? My daughters are with you right?”
“yes indeed they are frank sorry, they missed us apparently.”
“funny…..so did you find what you were looking for?”
“yeah thanks, umm were outside the hanger can you open the door. I found my uncle and a couple more survivors if you care.”
“cool im opening the main door now.”
“what a day.” I said to myself as I pulled into the parking lot and honked my horn. Inevitably waking everyone up.
“rise and shine people were here.”
They all stumbled out of the truck, and we walked threw the front gate. We all stared in disbelief as we saw the giant 747 hanger, wile Morgan and Emily continued ahead and walked threw a side door that closed behind them. Franks men take all the family but my uncle to be debriefed. I direct him to follow James in as I head to pull the hummer into the hangar.