Kevin reached out and pulled the passenger door shut on the big truck and locked the doors. With another quick glance at the rearview, I could see the swaying silhouettes of five infected slowly making their way toward my garage door. I threw the gearshift into reverse, and floored the pedal. Thud, Thud-thud! The sound of three bodies being crushed beneath my wheels was pretty much music to my ears at this point. I continued backing out of the driveway, stopping when we were halfway in the street. I swung the vehicle to the left so that my headlights rested on the remaining two lumbering dead.
Two loud blasts ripped through the air just behind me. Whipping my head around in the direction of the shots, I spotted Marley hanging halfway out of back driver's side window; a lone tendril of smoke rising from her .38 special. She watched the two dead men crumple over and fall forward under their own weight and turned to give me a quick wink before slinking back into the window.
"Damn, woman! Takin' 'em out!"
"Well, you know. Gotta do whatcha gotta do."
"Yeah, I guess so." I replied, my blood still thick with adrenaline. Shifting our focus on the here and now, we got back to the task at hand, which was heading into the town proper in order to re-up on supplies. From my house, the fastest and safest way into town was to follow Cumberland Avenue until it intersected with 25th street, and from there drive on to the shopping district which was laden with gift shops, gas stations, a couple of pharmacies and a supermarket. We needed everything we could get.
While driving at a snail's pace in order to avoid any accidents, we passed grisly reminders of the devastation that the Campion Virus had inflicted. We had to ride with our windows down and guns poised on the frames, so on top of the horrific scenes we were forced to witness, appalling smells wafted through our makeshift turrets and weakened our stomachs. We passed the homes of neighbors and friends, teachers, policemen, drug dealers and family members. At every single address, we slowed even more as we passed to look through the windows and see if there were any signs of life whatsoever. This had been done for weeks now, with no positive results. Despite this, we continued to do it; hanging on to the hope that maybe we've just overlooked them and they've holed up in their basement waiting on some help.
We rolled under the last street light leading to a large supermarket and scanned the broken cars in the parking lot for any manifestation of a threat. Seeing none, we advanced on toward the sliding front doors at the entrance. I stopped the vehicle about 20 feet from the front of the building, and we sat waiting for a few minutes. After several tense moments had passed with no activity to speak of, I continued on and parked directly in front of the doors.
"All right, people. You know the drill. Get in, get the fuck back out. Dry foods and stuff that doesn't need to be cooked is all we're left with at this point, so don't try to rationalize how that t-bone steak really doesn't look that bad. We need some more shotgun shells for those two 20 gauges we found the other day, and a I'm gonna get us some fresh clothes. Marley, go to the pharmacy, and see what you can score there. I checked that first aid kit, and all we have is a couple bottles of penicillin with 6 tablets between them, and 4 Percocets. So we need any antibiotic you can find, leg and/or arm braces, gauze and peroxide, and as many prescription pain pills as you can get your hands on. If we happen to end up running across some more survivors, we need to be able to have enough of what we need to keep ourselves and them up if the need arises. And besides that, my knees have been killing me lately, and I'm no good to anybody all gimped up."
"Kevin, see what you can score as far as food. Remember, all we got is dry food, chips, crackers and the like, and canned food. Oh, and get us another couple cases of water. All right, guys. Be fucking careful, and let's meet back at the Sub' in 15 minutes." With that, the three of us exited the truck, readied our weapons, and approached the doors.
I was carrying one of the newly-discovered 20-gauges with 4 shells and a machete. Kevin was carrying the other 20-gauge, and had the capacity 5 shells loaded in, and he had an additional 8 shells in a hip pack that attached to his belt. Marley was packing my Sig .40 caliber with a 17 round clip in place, and had a katana strapped to her right leg. After making some preliminary visual checks of the surroundings, we split up with our buggies in tow and began our shopping spree from Hell.
I crept as quietly toward the east wing of the store as my 220 pound frame would allow. Sweat was running down my face like a waterfall, burning my eyes and putting a salt taste in my mouth. I could hear Kevin and Marley rummaging through stuff elsewhere. My eyes darted around the aisles that were strewn with debris and merchandise, the shelves that contained little in the way of sustenance, the dead thing lying motionless on the floor. As I found the clothing section of the store, I began to hear something. Sounds that didn't fit in with the rest of what I had been hearing since entering the marketplace. While I stood there trying to put my finger on the noise, I first heard and then saw Marley running frantically in my direction, waving her arms erratically.
"Oh my God! Oh my God!" she spat out rabidly.
"What, goddammit? What?" I implored.
"We've got some company! A whole lot of fuckin' company!" .......