Ch 8: A little too Late
An empty soda machine lay across the main entrance of the Science Exhibit. A large and heavy desk lay across the emergency exit with heavy boxes supporting it. The windows were lined with varied exhibit items to at least slow down the infected, should the thick glass somehow be breached. The bodies of the dead infected had been dragged outside, carefully and quickly, their smell and blood stains still a sign of their previous presence.
Paul had pulled the truck around to the docking cargo bay to avoid any unwanted attention as well as to put the truck in a better spot if the building were to be compromised. With little else to do after the barricades were set into place, Kelly and Andrew began taking inventory of all of the gear and items the group had so far collected:
1- FN SCAR
1- H&K UMP
1- Glock 19
1- Glock 21SF
1- Glock 22
1- Mossberg 500 Tactical
Alot- Junk Food
5 Gallons- Water
Satsisfied with their assesment, they showed it to Paul and Maria.
"Well damn, in writing, it seems so litte. Sure as hell doesn't feel like a little when carrying it tho" said Maria, scratching her back as she sat back on the couch.
"Good job ya'll. Now in the mean time, we have to try and conserve this stuff and make it last for the duration of our stay here," said Paul, patting Andrew and Kelly's shoulder, "Now we need to start planning where to go next. Any ideas?"
"Ughh, well, umm...nevermind," hesitated Kelly, looking down as to block off her thought.
"Go ahead, only dumb idea is the idea left unsaid," said Paul, giving a warm smile, "Shoot."
Kelly lifted her head, "Well, I just remember some friends in a town not far from here- Anthony, New Mexico. It is in the middle of no where and has a bunch of farms there like my friends big house out there."
"She is right," said Maria, "Anthony is pretty secluded out there. We could be safe."
Andrew stood up quickly, interupting the others thought process, "I still say we go to Ft. Bliss and try to get their help! I mean, has anyone actually SEEN THEM shoot regular people?!"
Paul tilted his head at Maria, suprisingly silenced by Andrew's comment.
"Just because we didn't see it doesn't mean it isn't true," stepped in Maria, "A man died right in front of me and Paul, telling us that. I don't know why he would lie."
"How did he know it was the Army?! It could have been any idiot with a gun!" retorted Andrew, getting on a heavy defensive.
"Look," said Paul, walking in the middle of the room, "If we find any Army troops, we will approach with caution if we approach at all. Just promise me you will at least keep your composure if we run into
any of them, please- just in case it is true."
"Fine. But when it isn't- you can thank me later," replied Andrew gruffly, spinning around to take a seat next to Kelly.
"Alright. Now- for the time being- we need to try and find others if we can. There has to be people. I have an idea for checking out a few buildings I spotted out along our way here that looked barricaded of sort. Bound to be people somewhere" said Paul, shifting the conversation forward.
"And where would those be?" asked Maria, slouching further into the couch.
"Two apartment complex, this one particular abandoned building that seemed to have new barricades and the police station" said Paul, putting his hand on his chin, "That was just a few of the things I caught onto that looked like they could have people inside. Not to mention that we need to stop back by the pawn shop before we leave. Too much there to leave behind."
"Sooo, when do we leave?" said Andrew, a look of adventure on his face.
"Now that's the spirit!" exclaimed Paul with cheer, "Lets just determine the route and general plan. You and me, what do ya say?"
"Wait, do you mean me and Kelly stay here?" came Maria, leaning forward.
"Well ya- you will be on standby, but no need for everyone to go risk their ass. Besides, we need someone to hold it down here. Get me?" responded Paul.
Paul and Andrew loaded one of the bags with shotgun shells (Andrew carrying the shotgun), .45 ammo, spare magazines for the pistols and UMP as well as enough water and food to substain them for two days.
With some tape found, Paul taped down parts of the pack that gave a jingle sound, an old trick he had learned to minimize noise. Going to the back cargo door, they stood ready to depart. Maria and Kelly met them at the door.
"Alright- remember our signal right?" said Paul to Maria, looking for assurance.
"Yes, yes, 3 quick knocks and then a delayed one. Got it. I'm more concerned about you going on foot. You sure that's a good idea?" said Maria, a look of concern on her face.
"The truck draws too much attention to it. We need to move with stealth. If we get in a pinch, we can find some shelter and hope they loose interest. If we aren't back in say, I don't know, 6 hours- start to worry." replied Paul.
Kelly gave Andrew a hug as he went to the door, leaning against it to signal he was ready. Paul gave a reassuring nod to Maria, approaching the door and unlocking it.
"Lock it behind us. Keep your ears open. Don't know what to expect out of today" said Paul as he opened the door, rushing to clear the outside, giving Andrew the motion to follow.
"Those damn boys, lets just hope they make it back in one piece" said Maria, holding Kelly at her side as they locked the door behind the two.
Paul looked up at the dusk set sky, the day already having been eventful enough as it was already, thinking out the plan as he then turned his attention to his surroundings. The approach was still clear; no
infected in sight as the area began to darken.
Taking advantage of the lack of infected, Paul and Andrew rushed up to the street, going in the general direction of the 1st appartment complex. With an estimated 5 city blocks away from the science exhibit, the distance was not a problem to Paul. Creeping up along the side of the road, the first infected came into view. His shirt was torn in several places, dark blood stains covering much of his clothes and a
very visible gash from his left eyebrow to his lip streaked a fling of fear into Andrew's heart.
"Keep it together," whispered Paul, putting a hand on Andrew's shoulder as they knelt in the darkness of the street sidewalk, "Only one of THEM, lets try to avoid it if we can."
Andrew nodded assuringly, following Paul as he began moving silently again. The infected man stumbled along the road in the direction the two were headed, twitching and swinging its arm randomly as if it
were swinging at something. As the two approached the nearest intersection, they froze, almost tripping back onto one another.
A group of infected knelt down, feasting on what looked to be fresh victims. The dark blood reflected in the moon light as it streamed down the street. Paul began to take count of the infected as he peaked around the corner. 18. Too many for the two of them to take on by themselves, Paul quickly thinking of a solution as he came back from his peaking.
"Alright, now listen- we need to get past this street and we are two blocks away. Just stay on me and stay quiet for fuck's sake- get me?" whispered Paul, a look of worry on his face.
"Al-al-alright. I got it, please, lets just go" said Andrew, visibly nervous at the sitation.
Paul led the way as he stayed low along the street, keeping to the shadows, Andrew close behind. Peaking over his shoulder occasionally, Paul made sure Andrew was still in the game mentally with him. The
last thing he needed right now was for him to freak out and give away their positon.
"This little shit better keep it together, so help me God..." thought Paul to himself as he quickly dashed to a shadow of a wrecked car.
"Aw fuck, the kid is scared, what the fuck do you expect?! Not every 17 year old is a troop. Besides, he is too scared to fuck up" continued his thoughts, seemingly trying to think positive.
"He best not or else he may just be finding his way back...solo" finished his thought as Andrew rushed up next to him.
The two were now past the intersection, still taking to the shadows as Andrew gave the sign for them to halt.
"What the fuck is it?!" whispered Paul loudly, almost to his own regret.
"What about that one with the scar on its face?! Wasn't he going this way too?!" came back Andrew is a similarly loud whisper with a hint of panic.
"Just keep an eye out and-" started Paul as the infected lunged forward from his left, being met by a very instinctive grab from Paul, throwing it to the ground.
With a swift reaction and a touch of luck, Paul brought up his SMG and forced its butt onto the back of the infected man's head, giving a swift and silent death.
"Well I guess scar face is out. Lets move" said Paul, taking a breath, wiping his face.
"I sure am glad we found you."
Paul and Andrew rounded the next corner to the left, the apartment complex visible to them from where they were. Still silently approaching, varied infected could be seen wondering in the distance, unaware
of the two's presence. With no conflict further, they made it to the apartment complex. It was at least three-stories high and looked as if it had been around for a long while. The windows and front door
were heavily barricaded with boards nailed into them. Dark blood smears could be seen draping down the door frame; infected had failed to take the survivors in this building and quit their pursuit.
"Good thing those barricades are still in place, gives us some hope that people made it" whispered Paul, crouched down against the apartment building's side.
"But how do we get in if all of that is locked up? I don't think we can just knock" responded Andrew, looking over his sides, paranoid.
"Well, there is that emergency escape ladder right behind ya- has to lead somewhere" came back Paul quietly with a smirk, already making for the ladder, "Lets roll."
Paul began his climb up that took him to the 2nd floor. A ledge led to a balcony of what looked to be an apartment with a glass screen door. With some skill, he silently jumped inside, landing softly, taking
a knee as he both scanned the dark insides of the room in front of him and waited for Andrew. As Andrew approached, he looked over to Paul scanning as he rolled into the balcony clumbsily, making a decent
amount of sound as he landed. Paul looked over, shaking his head.
"So much for the silent approach" thought Paul to himself as he pulled out his flashlight.
"Lets try to keep it down from here on" whispered Paul in an annoyed voice, already moving forward to the screen door, scanning the insides.
"Sooooorry" muttered Andrew under his breath, drawing the shotgun from over his shoulder.
Opening the screen door silently, Paul entered the small room. As El Paso would have it, the apartment he entered was an economical budget home; the room, kitchen and living room all connected as one. The
bath room was the only seperate room to be had as it sat to the right, slightly open, exposing the toliet. Andrew entered just an silently as Paul, making his own assesment of the room, confirming that it
was clear. Paul approached the entry to the room to find it slightly open as well, the light of the hall way dimly piercing the room.
With a quick peek, Paul saw a small group of 5 infected gathered around a door on the far end of the hall way, clawing at it occasionally, somehow not loosing interest in it as THEY usually had.
"What do ya see??" whispered Andrew, eyes growing in excitment.
"Five, look distracted," started Paul as he assessesed the hallway, "Give me a sec for a plan."
Looking back in the hall, Paul saw a few apartment doors opened, but the majority closed. On the left was an open door that led to what appeared to be a staircase leading up and presumably a staircase
leading down. The infected were silent besides their clawing of the door, making no sudden movement or even alertness to anything other than the door they stood in front of.
"Alright," whispered Paul, putting his SMG on his lap, checking it over, "I am going to move forward and take them out and you are going to watch the stairway that is on the left. Do not look away from the
stairway- we don't know how fucked this place is yet, got it?"
"Stay at the stairway, ok" responded Andrew with a nod of his head.
"Good to go, lets roll and when we roll, SILENTLY, don't forget."
Paul opened the door silently, surprised for it to not creek as he crouched his way forward, Andrew close behind, watching his steps as they landed silently. The hallway lights were dim, but bright enough to
show a few blood stains on the walls and ground. With a quick assesment, Paul determined that they were fresh; a fight had not but recently passed.
Reaching their said positions, Paul took a quick silent breath as he placed his sights on one of the infected's head. As he squeezed the trigger, the round flew true, sending another round quickly to the
next infected's head. The others took no time in rushing toward Paul, their faces hiting the floor as rounds met their knee caps. With the same calmness, Paul sent three more rounds into each infected's head
and slowly began moving up.
Andrew, semi-startled by the gun fire, looked over at Paul moving up, wondering if he too should move. Before he knew it, an infected woman sprang forward from the stairway at him, taking him to the ground.
Andrew wrestled the infected woman's head away from him, the foul smell making him gag and give way. As he was about to loose grip of her throat, the buttstock of Paul's UMP met the side of her skull, her
milky white eyes rolling back as she went limp. Andrew tossed the infected woman off of him, rushing to his feet, brushing himself off.
"Did she bite ya?" asked Paul calmly, his back to Andrew, scanning the area.
"No- she didn't get close, thank you" replied Andrew, taking a breath.
"You shouldn't have to be thanking me if you would of done what the fuck I told ya to do. You'd be thinking that shotgun there" replied Paul, scoulding the young Andrew, "Keep it together and lets see what
else hides in this shit."
Paul gave Andrew no more notice as he scanned the inside of the apartments whose doors were open, seeing that they were clear as he moved forward to the door the infected were pounding on. Andrew was struck with a feeling of dissapointment in himself, but quickly pressed past it as he went down the hall to the same door Paul stood next to. With a quick knock and an ear to the door, the two listened for any sign
of life inside. No response.
"Alright, lets make this quick. Don't shoot until you are solid that it is an infected- ready?" said Paul, one hand on the door knob, glancing up at Andrew.
With a nod from Andrew, Paul burst into the door, swinging his SMG left and right.
"Is anyone alive in here?!" came Paul's voice loudly, "Close the door behind us, kid."
Andrew came in, closing the door behind him, the lights in the room still on. This apartment seemed to be a little bit bigger than the other, a two-bed room. Still scanning the room with his weapon, the
silohoute of two people sitting on the couch, staring at the TV filled Paul's eyes.
"Sir, Ma'am! Are you ok?!" said Paul loudly, slowly approaching the two people.
As Paul and Andrew approached, rounding to face the two people sitting on the couch, they saw that their eyes had rolled back with some seemingly fresh foam coming from their mouth. A half empty bottle of
pills sat on the coffee table, pills scattered about with a note written in cursive sitting next to it. The dead man and woman looked to be mid 50's, wedding rings on their fingers suggesting that the two
were a married couple. Paul picked up the note, reading it silently.
"Why would they do this?" asked Andrew, eyes fixed on the dead couple, "What does that note say?"
Paul cleared his throat, beggining to read aloud.
To whom it may concern,
Life has been good to Eddy and I. We were married for 29 years, almost made it to 30 until all of the chaos started. We were the fortunate one's tho money was never in abundance. If you find this letter and
subsequentually Eddy and I, know that the decision we made was jointly made; no one forced or coersed one another into doing it. The dead rising? Why? I tell you exactly why- why not? You have every other
morality being broken in this country and one more was all it took to break the camels back. But as American's, we have the CHOICE to decide against it and go another way. In this way, we will face whatever
judgement our dear loving Lord will decide for us...together.
I do wish with all my heart that whomever reads this lives on and finds something worth living for further if this..pandemic goes unchecked. So live long and check the dresser for a little something we just
couldn't come to use.
Martha and Eddy Lancer
"They chose to keep their humanity together kid. I can't say I blame them. I don't think they will be coming back and that is the point" said Paul, putting the note back down on the coffee table.
"That's...sad" said Andrew, walking to the other side of the couch, "I am going to check the dresser."
"Be careful, yell if ya need me" said Paul, picking up the remote to the TV.
With that, Andrew turned into the bedroom as Paul turned on the TV. Static filled the screen as he flipped threw the channels. One after the other, each local station failed to transmit a signal until the
cable channels kicked in, right onto FOX news. On the screen, a map of America with sporadic dots in seemingly random places filled the map- El Paso included.
Alright, if you are just joining us, we go back to the areas of known biological attacks on the map. Major area's include Washington DC, New York City NY, Los Angeles, CA Dallas & Houston TX, Columbus SC,
Phoenix AZ, and Atlanta GA with many other cities being touched by the outbreak. The source of this attack is still unknown tho the NSA, FBI and CIA are giving us reports that they are on leads to the
If you happen to be in one of the infected zones, please, stay in your homes and await rescue. Avoid contact with any of the infected. Lock all of your doors and windows, stock up on water and ration food.
The screen was then directed to a specialist, Paul loosing interest and taking note of the report just given.
"Biological attack...what the fuck, it couldn't be..." thought Paul to himself, a sense of dread filling his head.
"Check it out!" interupted Andrew, waiving a .357 Magnum revolver in front of him, "Looks like Eddy knew what was up!"
Paul snapped out of his deep thought, seeing the happy look on Andrew's face and managed to give a half smile. "Good find kid, lets roll out- I don't think we will find much of anything else in the
The two began their exit as Paul glanced back over at Martha and Eddy, thinking of the small print at the bottom of the note which read "10:24," dated for the same day. Paul couldn't help but get choked up
as he realized it was only 10:55.
Stay tuned next week for Them and They: The Zombie Apocalypse Chapter 9!
Thanks for reading!