“Yea, we’re blowing off a little steam. We’ve about got this cleaned up but I’ll let them know that the locals seem to know we’re here.”
“Hey!” I yelled with my newly acquired subspace voice. I don’t really know what to call that voice, when I yell loud enough that people hear it in their heads, not just with their ears. I was always a fan of Star Trek, so subspace seems to be the closest thing I can think of. It came out loud enough for everyone within 2 miles to hear. I needed to work on controlling that, or finding out if that was possible.
“There are 200 more coming, and maybe more behind that. I suggest we go to weapons and end this.” When I spoke, every zombie in the place turned to look at me for a moment. They lowered their hands to their sides, and stared directly at me. In unison their heads tilted slightly to the side, before they started walking towards me. I guess they could hear me too.
Gunfire broke out from all over the propane depot yard. I heard Marshall’s shotgun and John’s pistols decimating walkers. I fired my own Sig through three magazines, and loaded the fourth before there was a break in the action.
The four of us came back together outside the depot office.
“I probably should have covered this before, but does anyone know how to fill one of these trucks with propane?” I asked.
“I would bet there is a fill tube, and a valve somewhere.” offered John somewhat less than helpfully.
“Good, that makes you the expert. Figure it out,” I replied unable to keep from grinning.
“Marshall, Leo, find trucks with keys. I want two full gas tankers at the house.”
Marshall and Leo left to find trucks that worked with the keys they had, while John sauntered over to the huge propane tanks. John was one of those guys that could look at anything and figure out how it works. Marshall and Leo opened the door to one of the trucks, a zombie fell out. His entire body was swollen up like a balloon, it must have reached 150 degrees in the cab of that truck several times over this summer, and it hadn’t been good for this corpse. He literally popped when he hit the ground, his skin splitting all the way up his back. Only his shirt kept its liquefied innards from escaping. Marshall smashed his now deflated head with a hammer and stepped up on the gas tank step to get in the truck. Instead of sliding into the driver’s seat, he immediately got out, retched and vomited up his entire lunch all over the already rotten corpse.
“Oh god,” I overhead him say, “I’m not sure I can stay in that truck. Let’s go open the other door, find your truck, and see if it airs out some.”
They walked over to the other truck, which thankfully didn’t have a rotten ghoul in it. Leo climbed up into the cab, while Marshall walked to the back of the truck. ”Push in the clutch and put it in first gear Leo!” He yelled up to the cab. Then with what looked like very little effort, Marshall shoved the truck towards the filling area. “Let out the clutch!”
She popped the clutch, and the truck sputtered. The engine turned over twice before it roared to life, and took off. She drove it a lap around the yard, and left it idling by the fill station. She moved at what had to be her top speed to the second truck, it was nearly instant. The only way to know she’d moved was the trail of dust rising up into the sky, as far as my eyes could tell, she disappeared at one truck and reappeared at the other.
Either the second truck had aired out some, or Leo was a little tougher than Marshall, because she hopped up in the truck as Marshall pushed that one up the hill. With one shove, the truck went zero to 25 miles per hour uphill. Marshall didn’t even grunt.
Just as that truck started, I heard the crash of chain link behind me. When I ran around the other side of the building, I skidded to a halt. Easily 300 more zombies had pushed over the fence, and were now coming our way.
“Guys! More, front gates!” I yelled running back around the building. I had one more full magazine for my pistol. I had several for the rifle. I raised Sammie to my shoulder and started mowing down zombies as fast as I could cycle the bolt. Which I’m sure was a tenth as fast as John could, but he had his own guns. Twelve shots netted me eleven dead zombies. Replace the magazine, twelve more shots, and ten dead zombies. By then, they had closed to within twenty yards, so I switched to the pistol. I fired of its twelve shots. At thirty feet I was faster and as accurate with the pistol. When they were ten feet away I holstered my now empty sidearm and drew the hatchet attached to my pack. Marshall was twirling both hammers. John had both of his guns holstered and was reloading magazines, his hands a blur as he pulled bullets out of every pocket and pouch.
Leo was standing in line with us, her short swords drawn. We looked like a line of heroes about to fight their last stand when suddenly the first row of undead collapsed in a hail of bullets. I looked to the left; there was Bookbinder and his team, laying down cross fire. He’d come at this horde from the flank, his men were decimating them. We were all out of ammo except John, and I think he was getting low. John typically carried a thousand rounds on him, one of the reasons he preferred the smaller and lighter .22 and .9mm calibers. They were so much lighter than 30.06 or .45 calibers, the magazines were half the size, and John was just as deadly with the smaller bullets.
When this latest wave was dead, Bookbinder, Reineer, Hostetler, Garrett, Johnson came walking up.
“There are at least a thousand more that all turned their heads this way right before we heard that first engine start up. We need to get out of here, quickly.”
“I’ve got the filling figured out I think Tookes. But we need power.” said John.
“Alright, let’s get out with what’s in the trucks. Marshall, do you have any idea if there was anything in them?” I asked.
“The retched smelling one was way heavier than the first one. I think the first one might be close to empty, but I think the last one was pretty full.”
“Ok, let’s go with that, we need to grab a truck to load the generators, heaters, and more propane. Leave one generator in the warehouse to power the fill equipment, and we’ll be quieter.” I said.
We loaded up in the trucks, I noticed Marshall was somehow faster than Leo to the ‘non stinky’ truck. I hopped into the passenger seat of the rancid truck with Leo, but I only had to ride with her to the jeep.
Less than three minutes later, John pulled out with a pickup truck loaded with five propane generators, six vent-free heaters, and three propane powered stand lamps, like old-time gas burning street lamps.
When Leo and I got to the jeep, Bookbinder’s team hopped off the back of the tanker trucks and got into a pair of police cars and the swat van.
“Holy crap Charlie, you got the swat van!”
“Sir. That was my mission, sir. We had to engage very light hostiles, the police barracks was empty, save 3 infected in the holding cells in the drunk-tank. We ended those three, and had the run of the place. This big heap,” he said as he pounded the sides of the swat van, “Was the only thing that would carry the radio repeater, so we had to take it.”
I grinned at Charlie “Nice work M1.”
Charlie beamed a smile back at me, and his men looked proud.
“What about m3? How are they doing at the CVS?” I asked.
“Scott reported that they had no problems. They were supposed to radio if they had any contact, they checked in about twenty minutes ago that the only infected they saw turned around and started stumbling this way.” replied Charlie. “His second, Jacobsen will have a full list of supplies when they report back, but Scott said the CVS had not been scavenged before.”
“And m5? Did they have any trouble at the clinic?”
“No, Johnson reported three contacts with infected. They killed those three with hand to hand weapons when they breached the building. The few they saw wandering towards the clinic turned around and left before they got within melee range. They were also successful in loading up diagnostic equipment and prescription drugs,” said Charlie. “They found over seven hundred Percocet tablets in the doctor’s desk.”
I laughed out loud, “That’s too funny. Doc had a monkey on his back.”
yes’>�Y/p����s wrong. My gut tells me something is wrong.”
Into the throat mic, I whispered “Bookbinder, check out our position, head around behind the house, there’s something wrong here. Have John and Marshall move up past the yellow house to our left, but circle over a block before coming up this way.”
Leo and I stood there, transfixed by the man’s screams. ”Help!” He yelled as I poked my head around the corner “My name is Andrew Zione, Help! I’m humaaa”. His cries left off into a gurgle of screams as the zombie bit into his crotch, ripping meat from the inside of his leg, I could hear its teeth scraping Andrew’s thigh bone.
The thing pulled its head away dragging tendons with it like floss between the festering corpses teeth, blood spurted from Andrew’s leg wound. The zombie chewed twice and swallowed the hunk of thigh meat. The next bite the zombie took was Andrew’s manhood, ripping it away from his body, chewing slowly. The screams raised several octaves and became louder, as the zombie dove in for a third bite, peeling the flesh away from his belly, allowing Andrew’s guts to slide out like links of raw sausage onto the grass.
“Fuck, how is he still alive?” I said. The screams still haunt me.
“Vic, I… We… We can’t… This can’t go on.” Leo stammered.
“Leo, there’s something very wrong. This is a setup, I can feel it.”
I considered running in there, a shadow shot out from my body. When shadow-me got two feet from Andrew’s decimated body it’s head exploded, and it fell over sideways.
“There’s a sniper somewhere.” I whispered into the mic.
“Sir, M1 is breaching the houses to the south. Marshall and John are heading around to the north. We’ll find it.”
I tried to speak quietly using my subspace voice, focused entirely on John’s aura in my mind, attempting to speak only to him. “John, there’s a sniper that’s got us pinned here. I can’t see him. We can’t move. Find him and take it out.”
“Leo, did you hear me just then?”
“I didn’t hear a thing.”
“Yes, I was trying to talk directly to John. I hope he heard me.”
Andrew kept screaming. This girl was definitely being controlled by something, I’ve only seen a few zombie attacks like this one, mostly on that first day, but those zombies were ravenous, they bit and ate whatever parts came near their mouths. These bites are being chosen to inflict the maximum pain without killing the victim. The zombie girl moved upwards, leaving a trail of his guts lying on the grass. She sat on his chest and took a bite of Andrew’s face, ripping his nose off. Fresh blood spattered the ghoul’s face, as she sat up and slowly chewed, looking directly at us. Andrew’s screams became wet, gurgling moans of pain. He was writhing under her, but her knees held his arms pinned securely.
The rancid corpse turned around and put her ass on Andrews face as she reached into his belly and pulled out a rope of thick slimy guts. I’d swear she looked directly at me and smiled before she bit his intestine in half. Stinking bile, so strong we could smell it from our spot hiding under a bush leaked out of the intestine, down her chin, dripping into the man’s stomach cavity.
Andrew’s moans became quieter, muffled when the zombie sat down on his face, smothering his anguished cries. Almost all of the undead we’d encountered had shit themselves, and of course they’d never bothered to clean up the natural release at death. At least Andrew had no nose with which to smell the 6 month old rotting feces covered ass that was smothering him to death while the zombie ate his guts. Finally the muffled moaning stopped completely.
At last, we heard a shot ring out from the south, followed by Bookbinder’s voice on the radio “Sniper terminated. All clear sir.”
I stepped around the corner of the house, sig in my hand ready to put both corpses out of their misery. When I get in sight of the bloody mess on the ground, there are no zombies to be found. No footprints in the grass, no blood trail, no nothing. Just a bloody, mashed down spot in the long grass, and a bit of intestine lying on the lawn.
“What the fuck?” I swore to myself.
Leo sobbed into my shoulder. The horror of what we just saw was too much for even the tough Spartan woman. I turned and hugged her tightly for a moment before we walked back to the jeep.
The ride home was quiet. We saw no more zombies as we sped down the highway, paying no attention to the speed limit signs we passed. It wasn’t likely we’d ever pass another car.
We spotted a herd of nine deer off to the side of the road. In the rear view mirror I saw John point his pistol out the side of the truck he was driving. As he did, I slowed the jeep. He fired two shots, and two deer dropped over sideways where the stood. The jeep bounced easily over the edge of the road and down a small bank. The rest of the crew kept going the last two miles to the house as I pulled up to the two dead deer.
“Help me load these.” I said, hopping out the driver’s side of the jeep.
Leo stepped down off the other side, and said “Poor deer, never had a chance. At least when I hunt I give them a sporting chance, I run them down.”
“Leo, these deer died to feed us. They were never afraid, they never felt anything. I’m grateful for the meat. There is no sport in you running down a buck. You can run 100 times faster than it can.” I chided.
Leo looked hurt, her face scrunched into a frown. I stepped towards her, wrapping her in my arms.
“I’m sorry darlin’. I’m a little out of sorts from watching that guy Andrew, but I couldn’t risk your life for him, he was infected by the time we saw him. I couldn’t risk you. What if that sniper had been as good at shooting as John? What if he shot you? I buried my head in her shoulder, and hugged her for a long time.
We loaded the two carcasses up on the hood of the Jeep, and headed for home. It had been a long day, I was tired, and I still had to find out how The CVS and Clinic raids went, dress and process these two deer, and find some time to be a father to my little boy, who I missed very much at that moment.