I had picked early morning as my best time to take the walker, If things went wrong and other walkers showed up I wanted to have the day in front of me to disengage and make it back to my vehicle. For the job I had to do daylight was best anyway you looked at it. I could see the walker positioned in the window as it stood motionless. I knew that once it became aware of me I was committed. I checked my gear carefully at the foot of the tree I had been perched in and then made my way forward through the last few yards of brush and into the parking area in front of the old nursing home complex. The mallet swung at my hip from it's breakaway strap, and I gripped the spike tightly. I took a couple of deep breaths to relax and checked in a complete circle around me, Any walker I had missed would be coming now, and if more than three were to break cover at once I would have to disengage and run for it. The good news was my time spent in observing seemed to have payed off. There was no sign of any movement in my surroundings, except of course for my old friend "Suzy".
When I had first appeared in the parking lot the walker had straightened from leaning against the window frame, turned and disappeared back into the shadows of the nursing home lobby. Her movements had been slow but deliberate, with none of those strange seizure like gyrations that had become so famous in the movies in the years before the plague. She appeared in the doorway a moment later. Typical of her kind she made no unnecessary movements, but simply oriented her body on me, placing me in the center of her limited field of vision, and began to move forward. The distance between us was maybe twenty feet. There was no hesitation, no decision to be made, no consideration of me as an adversary. She saw a target and came on as if a switch had been thrown.
The filthy tattered set of scrubs she wore were still mostly intact, caked with filth from upper chest to knees. Even through the mask of my armor there was a horrific smell in the air, decomp, shit, urine,as well as something I couldn't immediately identify. Her hair was wild and matted, her face slack and expressionless. She walked forward with a plodding gait, gaining speed with each step as her limited senses registered the fact that I remained immobile in her line of attack. I have fought people, and in a few cases animals, at fairly close range. They slow at the limit of your reach, prepared to counter any actions you may make in your own defense. Even in a headlong charge, a human or a dog will pick a target. Your face, your arm, your leg. Walkers instead simply hold their arms in front of them and move forward to contact, seeking to grab with their hands or infold in their arms, whatever comes within their reach. Their full weight and momentum is to the front, and they are not capable of quick course corrections. Waiting until the last moment I stepped forward and to the side using the shaft of the spike to block the near side arm, as the walker attempted to come to a stop and turn. Taking a quick step backwards I took careful aim at the exposed side of the walker's head and drove the spike into the temple with a quick two handed thrust. I made a quick rotation of the shaft to further damage the brain, and withdrew the spike, stepping back as the walker collapsed like a puppet with the strings cut. She landed face down and limp. finally completely dead. I quickly scanned the entire area in a complete circle searching for any sign of movement. There was none, but I remained immobile on one knee, until finally the birds began to sing again.
Insuring that my gloves were intact, I turned the walker face up. Reaching into the small pack I had laid to one side I removed the small battery operated walkie talkie and hit the send button.
"Canadian Mist, this is Clutch Cargo, over."
After a moment, the walkie talkie came to life.
"Clutch Cargo this is Canadian Mist, I figured you were Zombie shit by now," came the voice of my wife and survival partner. She considered my observational trips into the towns to be a dangerous waste of time and never bothered to conceal it. "So did you find a date or what, over?"
"I have one secured," I replied. "Please turn on the recorder for me, over"
"Right, but in a history of bad ideas, I think this one sucks the worst, over"
She might be right too. Looking at the corpse in front of me I realized this had all seemed like a better idea, when I was back in the outpost thinking about it then out here with this awful stinking creature laying at the edge of a deserted parking lot. I wasn't a doctor. I wasn't even really a scientist, although I had certainly trained as one during my college days. I wasn't sure if I knew what to look for or even if I would recognize something significant if I saw it. Still we needed information about the walkers. If we were to ever achieve any kind of safety or security in our brave new world we needed to know what the walkers were and what they could do. As I opened the small pack and laid out the instruments I had brought with me, the wife's world echoed in my head. Yeah this could be a bad idea....