Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 July 2014
There had been no time to get supplies except for the bags filled with bottles of water that Luke had managed to collect before the shattering of glass indicated that they were in enormous trouble.
‘There’s gotta be a back door. We should head towards the back of the store,’ Greg Carter instructed. ‘Mason, collect as much useful stuff as you can as we go. Luke, are you right with those bags?’
‘Yep,’ Luke replied, scurrying after Carter as Mason raced into the next aisle to collect supplies.
‘You think there’s a staff parking lot out the back?’
‘Bound to be, but we’re gonna need keys, Greg.’
They pushed forward through the store, aware that another sound had replaced the banging on the windows that had earlier seemed endless.
‘What the fuck is that sound?’ Carter swung around to look behind them but saw nothing.
‘I’d hazard a guess,’ said Luke, ‘that those things are coming in through the front window, and that sound is them hitting the floor and hitting each other as they come in, and probably it’s bits of their bodies falling off.’ He puffed and wheezed as he dragged the heavy bags behind him.
‘They’re zombies, Freeman, not bloody lepers. Bits of their bodies don’t just fall off. If parts of their bodies are coming off, it’s because they’re fighting each other to get to us, and they’re ripping each other apart,’ Mason called out from the next aisle.
‘Stop the chitchat, boys, and hurry up and get those supplies. Luke, you and Mason head for the parking lot out back. I’m gonna go ahead to the staff locker room and see if I can find some keys. I’ll meet you out there. Now move.’
Carter ran ahead and disappeared from Luke’s view.
‘Don’t be long, Carter. I don’t wanna be waiting outside for you with all these freaks on our asses,’ yelled Luke.
‘Exit to the right, Freeman.’
‘On it. You get many supplies, Mason?’ Luke waited for the reply, but Mason didn’t answer.
‘Mason? MASON? Shit. Greg, hurry up with those keys.’
Luke veered to his right and slammed into the fire exit door. Leaning on the door lever with an elbow, he pushed as hard as he could and bolted forward and out into the fresh air. Breathless, Carter almost tripped over the bags that Luke was dragging.
‘Shit, Luke, you couldn’t have stopped a little further away from the fucking door?’ Carter looked around for Mason. ‘Where’s dipshit?’
Luke shook his head and raised his shoulders. ‘Don’t know. I called out to him, but he didn’t answer.’
‘Can’t afford to wait for him. Let’s go.’
Carter ran ahead of Luke, key fob in hand, pressing the unlock button, hoping to find the car that the key belonged to.
‘Come on . . . come on . . . C’MON YOU FUCKER.’
‘Ah, Carter?’ Luke called from behind. ‘Carter?’
‘I don’t think you should yell.’
‘What’s the problem, Freeman?’ Carter snapped, and came to a stop next to a green SUV.
‘Them. They’re the problem.’ Luke ducked out of Carter’s line of sight allowing him to see the lumbering mass of decaying bodies staggered towards them from all directions.
Bursting through the fire door, Peter Mason continued on through the rapidly decreasing clear pathway to join Luke and Carter.
‘Sorry, guys. Had to avoid a bunch of zombies when I got some medical supplies. You got a car yet?’ Mason kicked the legs out from under what had once been a five or six year old boy. The decaying boy lurched sideways, fell on to his knees, and then forward, hitting his head on the tarmac. He lay still as the others trampled over him, popping his head open like a ripe fruit.
Carter pressed the unlock button, and the indicator lights on the green SUV flashed twice.
‘Get in,’ he said to Luke and Mason. ‘Now.’
Luke opened the back door of the SUV and struggled with the bags. Mason, sensing they’d all be dead soon if they didn’t work together, grabbed the opposite end of the bags, and helped Luke throw them on the back seat. Bottles of water flew out on the seat and rolled on to the floor. Mason tossed his bag of supplies in as well, and then pushed Luke out of the way.
‘You get in the front, Luke. Carter will be less likely to kill us with shit driving if you’re sitting next to him and not me.’
Freeman didn’t argue. He ran to the front of the car, slid over the bonnet and threw himself in beside Carter. With only seconds to spare, Carter started the engine and sped away from the horde that threatened to envelope the SUV, and rip them to shreds.
‘Where to now?’
‘Away from here, Luke. That’s all I know at the moment.’ Carter fought to hold back his tears. ‘What the hell just fucking happened?’
‘I don’t know what happened, but I know a place we can go to figure out what to do next,’ Mason whispered.
‘Where?’ asked Carter.
‘Just drive. Out of the city. Take the exit ramp to Hamilton. Drive straight through the town to the military installation between Hamilton and Porterville. It’s about two and a half hours away. We’ll be safe there.’
Carter glanced at Mason in the rear view mirror, and then shot a look at Luke who nodded his head in agreement to Mason’s directions.
‘Where else do we have to go?’ asked Luke.
‘If you’re fucking us over, Mason, I’ll kill you.’
‘For the record, I’m not fucking anyone over. I wanna get out of this shit as much as you do.’
. . . To be continued . . .