It's been some time now since I have had a chance to write...sometimes I don't know why I bother trying to keep this journal...who the hell will ever read it if we all end up the main course.
My last entry...well...I guess sort of left me the leader of this small band of survivors, atleast until we made it to a military check point set up about 3 clicks outside some hick town from Nashville. It had been my idea to head to the mountains. I figure the less populated the better, but hell, who knows where the pricks might turn up.
Actually, seeing the check point soidiers took off some stress. Lately, I had felt like the world was on my shoulders, but being responsible for our group...especially the children...weighed heavy on me. I didn't want to see these kids become snackables for some stray Runners. Besides, the kids kinda grew on me, but that was getting to me, too. I had already lost alot in this damned war. I couldn't deal with the mental stress, not that I am a wuss or anything.
I spoke with the commanding officer, his name was Braddock, a big beefy bastard with hands the size of ham hocks. I could see he had seen action just by the way he carried himself. His black bald head had a very nasty looking tattoo etched in his melon...scars from what looked to be finger nails, must dug deep enough to rip the flesh. I tried not to dwell on it.
Braddock puffed on some cheap cigar that smelled worse then ass.
"You know those things can kill you." I said as the smoke blew in my direction.
He laughed and I swear the ground shook....the guy was a grizzly.
"Where are you folks coming from?"
I was stilling coughing but choked out North Carolina.
"I hear the coast is bad."
"Yeah." I replied.
"Did you think coming to Nashville was going to be better?"
I glanced at the soldiers, about twenty, fully armed. Men and women. I could tell they were reserves. Definetly not, the hardcore military type. "Nope, actually thought about the mountains. try to get to higher ground with less population."
"Sheeeeet, good luck. Those things are spread out everywhere looking for fresh meat. Damn, Runners especially. Lately, been seeing them running in packs."
"Packs? But they are dead, how the hell would they know to do that?"
"I tell ya what, mister, you ask 'em." He started laughing again which was more of a roar.
I saw Ellie was watching me. She was leaning against the camper clutching her rifle. A couple of young recruits were talking to her, but she had her eyes trained on me.
"Lieutenant, I need to get these people somewhere safer then traveling in the open. So I need your help."
Braddock gruffed, "We got a camp set up not far. Was a training facility before the government cut funds. Damn, politicians just bent this country over and we took it up the ...."
I cut him off....wasn't in the mood for talking politics. "Can you help them?"
His eyes glinted at me...they were narrow...don't think anyone had ever cut him off in the middle of a conversation. "Yeah, I got over a hundred soldiers well-armed, the camp has plenty of resources and I am expecting more in the coming day. Right now, about two hundred refugees are there. And I aim to make sure they can shoot the heads off these muthers." He stopped, pulled on his stogie, "what about you?"
I said nothing.
"You going to keep moving, huh?"
"Something like that." I said shifting my weight."You keep them safe?"
"Yeah." He said...still puffing the cigar. I heard him ordering the men to get the group ready to move.
I started walking back towards one of our vehicles. It was an old 50's Chevy farm truck we had aquired along the way. It ran great and was easy to work on. None of that electronic crap to leave you stranded. And it was all metal, not that plastic crap.
I reached for the door and suddently felt something cold and metalic against the back of my neck. I lifted my hands.
"You are just abandoning us?" the girl's voice said. It was Ellie. Not hard to figure that out.
I turned around quick and grabbed the rifle barrel. "You and all of them are safer here."
"Screw you. I don't know them and I will be damned if I stay here if you are leaving." Anger poured from her voice.
"Listen, Ellie. You don't know me. Nothing. Not even my name. I got somewhere I need to go and you can't come with me. It's not safe."
"And staying here waiting for a horde of flesheaters to surround us is safe." She dropped the F bomb several times, "I am not going to be herded like cattle for the slaughter. You go. I go."
"I can't take care of you, hell, I can barely take care of myself."
She yanked the rifle from my grip. "I am going with you. I don't need your protection. I can take care of myself." Ellie stormed around the side of the truck and got in. She made sure to slam the door. She had to slam it about a dozen times to get it to catch.
"And I don't care what the hell your name is?" She yelled from the passenger side window.
Something in me, just burst into laughter. I laughed so F'ng hard I thought I would break a rib. I opened the door to the cab and climbed behind the wheel. Glancing over at Ellie, she was pouting like a spoiled child, but one thing was for sure, she wasn't the kid anymore...she was one tough woman.
We had driven for over an hour. I had a destination in mind, but I didn't tell Ellie. She slept most of the way. It was getting to be sunset. I had seen only a few undead scattered about in the fields. The more I drove toward the mountains the less we saw.
Ellie woke up. "Can you pullover I got to pee?"
"We are almost there. Just wait maybe another 10 minutes."
She wiped her baby blues with her hands and looked around, "Where are we?"
"Just some place I need to check on."
"Dude, you are a mystery. What is up with all the secrecy?"
I looked over at her and smiled. She was a pretty girl with raven hair, cut close. She looked like a tomboy sitting there dressed in black leather pants and jacket with a tight white t-shirt. She had her scuffed up Harley boots on the dash. I doubted if she had ever even ridden a bike. She had a pistol beside her with Ivory grips and the high powered rifle between her legs. When I realized I was looking maybe a little too close..I pulled my eyes away feeling a little embarrassed.
"Well?' She asked, rubbing her hands through her hair, "come clean Mr. Drifter? Who the hell are you?"
"Ellie, look up ahead, that is the turnoff. Keep your eyes peeled for any of them."
She moaned, shook her head in disgust, "Men..."
I smirked, she had a way of making me feel like it was worth going on. After losing everything...well...it just felt good.
"I still got to pee."
I hit a couple of potholes on the road on purpose...She quickly returned the favor with her middle finger.
The road opened up to reveal a large convent.
"Ten trillion zombies roaming around and you decide to go to church."
"It's a convent."
"Oh excuse me." She mocked with a few more gestures."I hope they have a bathroom."
I stopped the truck. Did a weapon and ammo check then started walking for the front doors. I was half hoping to see someone greet us. Ellie had the rifle flung over her shoulder and pistol in hand, as she did a little dance in hopes of finding some relief.
I walked up to the huge oak double doors, tried them. Locked. Maybe a good sign. I rapped on the door with my machete that I know wore like a samari sword between my modified shotguns.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
I heard movement from inside.
We prepared ourselves for anything that might come through those doors.
One of the doors opened a crack. I could see her.
"Yes." She replied.
I felt a bit relieved.
"Uh...can we come in....I HAVE got to PEE!!!" cried out Ellie.
"Yes, yes, come in. There is a lavoratory two doors down on the left."
"Thank God." Ellie said, glancing up and then running for the john.
"Sister, I was sent to check on you and the others."
She looked at my guns and the machete. "Who sent you?"
"Doesn't really matter. Are the children safe?"
"Oh, indeed. They are with the other sisters." She replied. Her gray haired slightly protruding from her habit.
"Really, you can take the word back that we are fine to whoever needs to know."
"Sister, he needs to know that Edward is okay."
"Ahh, Edward. Oh yes, he is such a bright child."
We walked in a little farther. I looked for Ellie. Made me a bit nervous that she hadn't returned.
"All the children are fine. Such lovely ones they are." She stood by a statue of the Mother Mary and kissed her rosary. "Yes, they are such a delight."
I heard Ellie yell out. I started running toward her voice. By the time I reached her she was standing there with her mouth in awe. Her pistol was actually shaking in her hand..
"What gives Ell?"
She was looking into a classroom through a huge observation window. I walked up beside her.
The room was full of little kids, maybe twenty in all. Still wearing there uniforms, only smeared with blood or tattered in places. The remains of several nuns were strewn about as well as a few children.
I took notice that there were chains on the double doors that lead to the room.
"What the hell? Where is Edward?" I yelled.
Spinning around, I saw the good Sister was holding a revolver in each hand. I cut my eyes at Elle and saw she was looking at me like WTF.
"Where is Edward?"
"Oh he is in there. Sweet little Edward... How we all love him so? Did you know that when they brought him here he was so sickly...it is a miracle...now he is full of energy...they all are...the little darlings.'
The gun toting penguin was truly off her rocker. Didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.
"Look he wants to say hello." She said...pointing a gun in our direction. "Lookie...Lookie..."
I turned to see a boy about five...his face wearing blood like war paint...his mouth frothing with a mixture of saliva and who knows what. He had a name tag...Hello My Name Is...Edward..it was scribbled using a marker.
He looked like a leech trying with his lips against the glass...eyes were black...no pupil...just black...soon other undead kids crowded the window.
The Sister was smiling at little "Eddie Munster". She blew him a kiss.
"My precious, Edward. So sickly with fever, he was when he came here. The others wanted him put in a room to himself. But I put him with the other children and those evil sisters, so they could learn to play together. And they played....and played. So sad that some can't appreciate little children. It was a MIRACLE that Edward got better so quickly. Look at how full of energy and the others are." She motioned with the guns toward the window.
I cut my eyes back at the little monsters, ready to devour us. All we looked like was a lunch ticket.
"LADY are you F'NG NUTS!!!! They are infected...UNDEAD...You killed those people!!!" Screamed Ellie.
Sister Margaret gave here the YOU JUST BLEW IT look....the smile faded from her face to gritted teeth as she leveled the revolvers at Ellie.
"You have a nasty little mouth whore. How dare you talk aobut my children that way. My precious Edward, my little miracle boy...you sound like the sisters calling him names."
Ell knew she had screwed up when we both saw the trembling hands of the old nun. Her grip was tightening and both barrells were pointed at Ell.
"I will send you both to hell where you belong..." Sister Margaret screamed.
I had to think fast...Ellie had grabbed my arm and sunk her nails in it...she was scared. I acted without another thought and swung with everything I had Ellie into a forward roll to the right of the demented hag.
I heard the revolvers fire...felt a whincing pain in my right shoulder...but the worst part was the glass shattering around me. I bolted forward landing on my back...just beside Ellie who was on her feet.
The Sister was standing there...Edward had taken a bullet in the head...he was slumped over the window ledge.
"My poor Edward!!! "She screamed,even as the other kids were on her like a bunch of wild animals...sinking teeth into the flesh beneath her robes. "You killed him!!!"
I could see her turning to start shooting...I grabbed one of my sawed off automatic shotguns and fired twice...it sent her backwards...the infected were having a snack.
It was then I noticed that an undead boy and girl, both older than the rest...maybe 11 or so...started moving toward us. They were honing in like a great white shark with a taste for blood. Damn, they were fast. I tried to fire but my gun jammed. I was stumbling backwards as I reached for my machete...
BLAM!! BLAM!!! I felt the bullets whiz past my head.
The shots were on target...the two undead munchkins heads exploded in flesh and bone. But even in my relief, it was short lived because the horde of young undead were heading our way.
"Ell, get to the truck." I yelled...as I saw her standing there stiff as a statue. I grabbed her arm as we got to the Chevy. She was still trying to slam the door shut as I threw it into gear and fish tailed out of the drive.
In the rear view mirror, I could see the little demons chasing us...I kept checking until they faded from site.
When we hit the main highway... I noticed Ell was looking out the passenger window.
After a few miles, I pulled over onto the shoulder and threw the truck in Park. I reach over carefully and took Ellie's chin in my hand. Her eyes were flooded with tears. She threw both arms around my neck and cried. I can't remember the last time I cried, but my heart went out to her. Killing was hard enough...knowing that who or what we are killing were once just like us, but when it comes to a kid...a kid is a kid...it zaps you...sorta steals your soul. I closed my eyes for a moment as she bawled a good one, could feel the warmth of her tears soaking in my shirt. It felt cleansing to my open wound from the nun's bullet graze. Almost comforting...for a minute I felt a touch of humanity in my empty soul.
I started to say something for comfort...but I couldn't think of anything...sometimes words are better left unsaid.