It was an argument. I knew it would be. "I'm not leaving here! There are so many memories here....." Zan was saying. She was giving me shit about leaving the house and going somewhere that was safe. Don't get me wrong, we were okay for the time being, but that could change dramatically within a few hours, with a few hundred zombies on their way. "We have to get out of here, go to higher ground, where we can stake out somewhere and be safe!" I argued. I knew it was no good. She just wouldn't budge on it, no matter how diminished our chances of survival were here. She had memories here, she felt safe. And nothing short of the finger of God could change her mind once it was set. "There's a lighthouse on top of the hill at Pictured Rock. That has to be safe. If not, we could find a boat, go out in the middle of the lake. My main concern is the children. We have to keep them safe at all costs." She looked at me with a stare that could cut through diamonds. "This is my home. I will not leave, I'll be fine. We're 16 miles from town, there's not another town for a while." she said, and her mind locked. It was a shut discussion. "Ok, but at least let me help fortify it a little better. we need to put some steel across some of the windows so that it's a little more safe for you." I turned to Robin "ok, what about you and Em?" While I knew the answer already, I felt I had to ask anyways, just to extend to her the gift of possibly living a longer healthier life. She looked at Em, then at me. "I have to stay with mom. I can't leave her here by herself." I knew this would be the way it would have to be. Their minds were set, as was mine. My children's lives were top priority, no matter the cost.
After disassembling Bob's steel shed and making the house a little more fortified, we used a welder to weld steel to the outside of the house. I knew it wasn't a fantastic job, but it would have to work. I figured if we put it on the outside, it would most definitely be a lot better than the zombie horde pushing the steel inward... thus buying them time. I gave the women both a gun, and some ammo. With that, it was time to go. The kids all gave out hugs to Em, Robin and Zan. The women then surprised me and gave me hugs. While Robin was hugging me she whispered into my ear "if you find a safe place, you stay there. Don't you try to come back for us." Those words pierced my heart. "I promise, when this is done, when the mass of them are gone, I WILL come back. But not until then. You have to promise me you will stay alive until then." I said to her. She nodded. It was an unspoken deal between us, though we both knew that when I came back it would be either to save them or to bury them. I felt bad leaving them there, but what else could I do short of thumping them on the head so they were out cold and dragging them into the truck.......... there was nothing that could be done. So with sad hearts, we said our good-byes, and the kids, Fred and I got into the truck. I looked at the fuel gage. Thankfully we had almost a full tank of gas. We were going to need it.
Driving the distance to Pictured Rocks wasn't going to be a problem, it was only about 138 miles. The problem was that going back to the lighthouse you had to hike. I didn't like the possibility of being out in the open and unprotected, now that we had the truck. Bry had never wanted to go two tracking in the truck, for the possibility of it breaking scared him I think. That truck was not his toy, it was his baby, and like a mother bear he was fiercely protective of it. I fully planned on throwing it into four wheel drive and barrelling my way through the woods, until we got to the lighthouse. My only hope was that others hadn't had the same idea to go to the lighthouse. In times of despair, the human race tends to be heartless and cruel. I for one would never turn anyone away that needed help, and had been that way all my life. There had been countless times in my life that I had been used and abused for helping others. I had few vaulables with me, maybe I could offer what I had in return for our safe keeping.
We decided to stop along the way in a smaller town, the town of Newberry. We briefly stopped in front of the correctional facility, disbelief in our eyes. In the razor wire, there were bodies. Some of them were still thrashing about, the bodies twisted and tortured. Some of them were still alive, some undead. My guess had been the virus had started to spred through the facility, and the guards had left the grounds. The inmates then would have tried to escape their impending doom, only to be caught in the wire. Some of them had probably been still alive when the zombies had started to eat them. I made a note to stay as far away from the prision as possible....kept moving.
There was a Zephyr's USA gas station shortly up the road, I remembered it from a camping trip I had taken
at one time. We pulled into the gas station, and I grabbed my pistol. Got out, tried the gas pumps. They were actually working.... so I topped the truck off. I told the kids to be watchful and beep the horn if they saw anything coming, then went inside. The smell hit me...... that aweful rotten food smell. I knew
this place hadn't been raided yet. If it had been, there wouldn't have been rotten food, as that was usually the first thing the novice person would grab. I walked around the store, making sure I was the only one there, picking up things I needed as I went. Then the noise. At first, it was a little tap sound. The closer to the back of the store I went, the louder it was. It almost sounded like someone clawing at the wall or something. I very cautiously approached the door to the bathroom. Stopped in listened, as the zombies usually moaned about sloppily. I didn't hear that. What I heard was someone talking quietly to themselves. It was a man, from what I could hear, and he was grumbling about the sink fixture. I didn't want to startle him, as he may be armed. I ever so gently started to open the door. "Who's there?!" his voice startled me. "Speak if you're alive, or I will kill you!" I spoke to him with a soft voice. "My name is Dawn. I am a survivor with three children and a dog. What's your name?" He peeked out around the corner, and I was instantly taken in by his eyes. They were blue, not a normal blue, but blue like an untapped lake with the sky as a reflection. "I don't have a name. What my name used to be doesn't tell you who I am now anyways. Where are you going?" He was shaking. I could tell something had happened, just not sure what. "I'm going to try the lighthouse at Pictured Rocks. I think it would be a safe bet. If that's not possible, I'm going to find a boat and supplies, and go into the water until the masses of zombies have cleared out." I told him. He stepped out of the bathroom. He was a little taller than me, muscular and looked like in the right situation he
could be help. I went out on a limb....... "Do you want to go with?" He looked at me. I think he was sizing me up, trying to figure me out. Then he spoke again. "Survivors need to stick together. I was going to barracade myself in this gas station until I could figure out somewhere else to go. At least you have a plan." The truck horn interrupted our conversation. I looked outside, the kids were motioning me to go out to the truck, and furiously at that. I
looked at the stranger, and we ran for the truck, supplies in hand. Kelsey saw us coming and moved to the center seat in the back. We jumped in the truck and I looked back at her. "What's happening? Why did you beep the horn?" I gasped when she pointed. There were hundreds of them. All looking at us like we were a buffet.... in the middle of the road. I stuck it in 4 wheel drive and mashed the pedal to the floor. We drove straight into the gates of hell.