Black Honey Chapter Ten

 Thanks you TOM again you’re the biggest help!

Chapter Ten.

It’s the making of our story

a passing dead and gone

Fairy tales wait in mystery

And monsters sing in song

Even though these lives have ended

Their memory will carry on

A beautiful nightmare will begin

And our hero’s will stand strong

There is a place only the dead know

Real corpses dance and are true to heart

It’s the making of our story

Where in death we do not part…

                                                        Intro: We Dance With Monsters -I am Ghost.

 

The plan and what a fucking epic plan it was.

The farmhouse we were temporarily living in was between Fort Atkinson and Johnson’s Creek. Milwaukee was about an hour and forty minutes away, accounting for snow and that there would be no lights. We’d be driving without any to avoid drawing attention to ourselves if we were lucky. That said we would have to venture past some cities on I-94.

The snow was thick on the road and still coming down after the storm died out. We gathered up what we could from the house into Pete’s car and started our trip but first we made a turn into the city. During the course of the night we saw only a couple of those things. The sight was sickening. Some of them had developed black blotches on their skin like skin cancer but it looked more like frost bite. The only thing was the blotches oozed a white gooey substance from them. We managed to snag a Land Rover from another farmhouse. Raided it too, not much useful but we did find some antibiotics and a first aid kit.

Finally Randy approached the highway. The Land Rover moved slowly through the snow. Pete was seated in front with Randy and Claire, Bailey and I were in the back. Whether it was the snow slowing us down or Randy’s driving due to no light, I knew this was going to be a long trip.  All of us were slightly nervous that some of them might be wandering around the highway. Of course none of us took into account there might be a pile up on the highway and me, always being so confident thinking my media induced zombie knowledge would always help, didn’t take into consideration that they might even be frozen if there were some on the highway.

To say we were all a bit afraid would be an understatement. Fear comes from emotions when we feel helpless, threatened, in pain or when something triggers a past memory when we have experienced something fearful before. To me, fear is to not know, to not understand that which is unknown. We fear spiders because we don’t understand them. We fear the future because we do not know what it holds. Yet even when we understand spiders we still sometimes fear? It’s not because you’re afraid anymore it’s because you recognize the threat it may present. Spiders can kill, the future will always be uncertain and you fear that you will be caught unprepared.

So no, I do not fear them anymore. I know they are dangerous and I know they can kill. It’s more the need in me to keep on surviving. That causes me to run from them or when confronted to fight. It’s such a basic impulse in animals (which we are as well), that it happens in mere seconds for the flight or fight instinct to kick in. Yet, there are people that stand so still when they fear that they can’t move. That is not fear. At that point fear has moved to horror and terror. They are actually quite different from one another even though technically they mean the same thing.

I guess I need to start with ZOMBIE biology 101 before we go any further.

First off, it would be scientifically impossible for a virus to mutate so it can reanimate a corpse. Some viruses can however influence our mind and suppress our humanity, e.g. neurotropic viruses that induce aggression and more communally know virus like Rabies. Viruses’ needs a living cells to reproduce and a virus are just not advanced enough to make a host like a dead body move. There are certain functions needed for human and other animal bodies to move which cannot happen when you’re dead. See when you die your heart stops. Your heart pumps blood throughout your body including filling it with oxygen. Your heart keeps your blood circulating, stopping it from clogging up and oxygen gets carried to muscles and tissues in order for you to create movement. Your brain needs to be functioning in order for your body to respond so, just for theories sake, say a virus could reanimate you. Its host, you, would just lay there unable to move or do anything and that takes away the sole purpose of a virus which is to multiply, spread and infect a new host or cells.

Other things that need to be taken into consideration are things like energy. Zombies are always depicted as never stopping ever moving machines. Even machines wear out or overheat. Without circulating blood to cool the brain and body down; organs would fail, your brain would fry and we all know Zombies die when you destroy the brain.

Then there are external elements; climate, sun, winter. These along with the bottom feeders like bacteria and insects create nature’s own cleaning system which is very effective. Internally your body is loaded with bacteria and once you die they start doing their job. This will cause bloating. Add a little heat like sun to it and BOOM bodies would be popping open everywhere. Also there are gases that form and pressed the intestines out to the rectum. Liquid from the lungs will spill out from the mouth, nose and eyes. We all know the body has a large quantity of water that needs to be replenished. Add a heat and the body will dry out. Have you ever seen maggots feast on a carcass? It’s revolting and disgusting but also fascinating and that’s not even mentioning the other insect feeders.

A body exposed above ground decomposes four times faster than one below ground. I mean there are even enzymes and chemicals in your own body that will help decomposition along.

So the conclusion, Zombies the living dead kind ain’t gonna happen. Then what are they?

They don’t move like zombies they’re fast, they’re strong and they seem to show some form of intellect, they understand that their bodies need rest. I’m just going on the fact that when they gather during the night and disappear they go into a ‘rest state’.

They are attracted to heat, plants need sunlight

So let’s just say for my own theory sake, it’s some form of evolved plant like matter that has caused this, the question is then could (and dam you Pete) could it be some form of extraterrestrial plant organism?

There’s a lot that is still left out in this; the urge to eat, their violent reaction, the way they gorge themselves on flesh, how they can move when they seem dead and the strange root like growths. I pondered on this hoping maybe there will be some answer at the safe zone.

The Land Rover came to a stop, Randy muttered to himself and switched on the head lights, the sight was discouraging and yes horror. We sat on the edge of our seats and none of us moved or took a breath. As far as the headlight shined car, upon car, upon car could be seen but that’s not what had our attention. It was them. Standing there in one place spread out as far as the headlights shone. They didn’t sway from side to side, there arms didn’t moved and there were no groans, gargles or roars. The closest one to us skin, yet gray, had a blue appearance to it. Ice crystals had formed in its hair, face and clothes.

“They’re frozen,” came Claire’s voice and broke the silence.

It made sense, it made a hell of a lot of sense. Walking decaying corpses, drop the temperature and BAM! Frozen zombie popsicles.

Things were clear there was no way we could move forward with the Land Rover.

“Guys,” I said to break the tension, they all eyed the popsicles expecting one of them to move towards us.

 “We take the other side of the highway, less traffic coming out of the city.” Randy said.

“Ok, I guess we make a U-turn …” I halted my sentence when I saw the sharp light and heard the whirr of a running engine behind us.

I turned my head and was almost blinded by the headlights shining at the back of the car.

This has been the first survivor we have come across in almost a month.

“Stay in the car,” Randy’s voice droned from the front and he slapped back the ammo cartridge into his gun. The moment he opened his door the cool air rushed in. I heard another door open and close.

Randy approached the person with caution. The woman backed away a couple of inches probably due to the sheer size of the big guy, yeah Randy’s kind of King Kong massive. I couldn’t blame the woman.

“Hello,” said the voice, she sounded young maybe in her late twenty’s yet her voice sounded horse at the same time.

Randy, kept his distance, hand ready on the gun at his back but I could see the woman was scared. Her hands shook, maybe from insufficient nutrition or it might have been the cold.

Please, I …” she began to sob. “My son, he’s blind, please help. Just help us get to the safe zone. Please I will even…” she paused for a second and looked away but turned her face again determination in her eyes,” I don’t have much to offer but I’m sure we can come to some arrangement … anything that you might need sir… I will do anything.”

Crap, I had to hold back my laugh. Mother! Does she know that going that route is a hopeless cause?

“It’s okay ma’am, it’s just you and your son?” Randy asked. The woman backed away.

“Yes. Please, will you help us?”

“We can try.”  Randy approached the woman.

“Claire, pass me a can of beans.” I reached for a bottle of water and some stale crackers in the bag at my feet.

With the food in hand Claire opened her door and both of us were out of the car.

“Hi,” I said as I moved towards her “have you guys eaten anything?”

She shakes her head, “Not for the last two days.” She wears a miserable expression of sadness on her pale face.

Randy grumbles to the left of me when I place the food on the hood of her car and then back away.

When people are scared especially now when you don’t know who you can trust and who you can’t, it’s best to keep your distance on your first meeting and slowly ease your way in as they too will allow you to come closer. Patience is the key. It’s funny that this tactic works with injured and scared animals as well as with frightened humans.

Mist and snow danced in the cars headlights reminding me of something, always use precaution, “You should probably turn the car off before it attracts any of them.” I kept my voice soft so as not to frighten her.

“Them? You mean the flesh eaters?”

I leaned against the back of the Land Rover acting calm and cool like we got this shit. “Yeah whatever zombies, carnies, living dead. They’re all the same.”

She opened her side of the door, leaned in and cut the engine. Claire stepped up next to me with a spoon and a can opener.

The passenger door opened and a young guy stepped out, he had a blanket around his shoulders, he stared into the distance ahead of him.

“Its okay sweetie, these people are here to help.” His mother said.

A weak smile reached his lips and in a soft exhausted whisper he spoke.

“Thank you.”

His legs shook and he pulled the blanket tighter around his thin frame. With the little light coming off their car I could see in his skin he wasn’t healthy, not infected, worn out from lack of nutrition.

He reached a hand to steady himself on the car but the weak slow movements where not in sync with his legs giving way. I immediately rushed towards him and caught him around the waist.

“Daniel!” his mother shouted.

“Tired,” he blew in my ear.

I could see he was weak, I could even feel the ribs of the poor kid as I helped to steady him but he was like dead weight in my arms, my head, pressed against his chest and I heard his heart drums fast in my ear.

“Randy, help!”

Both Randy and the woman came rushing towards us, we helped him to lie down in the back of the car.

“Is he ill?” Randy asked. The woman was in tears again and from the light coming from the inside of the car, she didn’t look to be any better off than Daniel. Determination, I guess is what keeps her going because she had that look in her eyes, a mother that would to anything to protect and help their child. It frightens me but also left a warming in my gut.  She shook her head at Randy.

“No. We just haven’t eaten anything good in the last couple of days and we have been saving the water as much as we could.”

I left the three of them going for the canned beans but Claire had already opened them and had the bottle of water in her hands, I took them from her saying a thanks with a smile and turned to the mother,

“Let him eat and drink, we can wait till he gets his strength back.”

Randy, Claire and I moved away from the two back to the Land Rover.

“He can’t be younger than seventeen,” Randy sighed. “Why didn’t they scout for food?”

 I gripped him on the elbow.

“Randy, not everyone wants to risk going into the cities. It’s her and him and he’s blind. That is a mother desperate to make sure all that she has left in this world is safe. The chances are she didn’t want to risk getting killed leaving her son to fend for himself.”

I saw a bitter expression on Randy’s face.

“Are we going to help them?” asked Claire. Randy answered but I gave no notice because Pete and Baily weren’t in the Rover. I moved fast, if those two thought of going off on their own they had another thing coming.

I halted my steps when I saw Pete and Baily a couple of feet ahead of me standing in front of the closest Zombie Popsicle. I moved towards them.

“Guys,” I whisper.

“Kenneth, it’s like dead.” Pete said his voice still in whispers.

My mined boggled at that instance, I snatched the flash light from Pete.

“Yes it’s dead, we know that much.” I stepped up closer to the thing.

“No, bro I mean like dead-dead,” said Pete.

It had a business suit on, the tie was pulled tight around its neck as if someone had gripped onto it though its stomach was exposed and I mean not his skin but internal guts and yes his actual stomach hung out. Curious, I moved closer hearing the crunch of snow under my sneakers which now was cold and damp from the snow that melted and soaked into them.

I raised the flashlight and with the bottom end, knocked against the forehead. I felt the vibration run through the plastic into my hand.

“Frozen solid.” I whispered.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Randy barked behind me.

“Observing, understanding, know thy enemy like you know thyself, what were you called in the military?” I cooed but Randy didn’t look amused.

Letting out a sigh I asked, “Claire correct me if I’m wrong but in order for a body to be frozen solid the temperature would need to drop to -30 at least, right?”

“Yes, but it hardly gets that cold here.”

That said, who knows how long these things have been wandering out here. Being dead their bodies don’t radiate heat, making the circumstances for a constant cold temperature. I would go on that.”

“Are you two done with your science lesson so we can get going?”

“I’m sorry but that won’t do you any good, we just came from there,” all of us turned to see the woman walking to us, looking at the popsicles.

“The storm, most roads are blocked, trees over turned and others pilled up with cars and snow.” She pointed to the opposite side of the road, there’s another pile up further along on that side.”

Feeling the cold seeping in through my clothes now, the joints of my hands started to ache.

I turned back to the highway.

“We’re gonna have to do this,” I said in a wretched tone.

“We will find a path,” Randy snapped behind me. For some reason Randy just seemed restless and his voice was rising with his temper.

I turned to him, “Randy stop, take a breath. You’re getting frustrated, you’re cold and you’re body is stressed from malnourishment and that’s all having an effect on your wellbeing. We will figure it out, but think, with what little energy we have we don’t want to be stuck with a another path that will have us stopping every ten minutes to clear it, it’s too much of a risk.”

“Oh and this isn’t?” he barked at me, his face turning red whether from the snow or his building anger or— shit today, what day is it, shit-shit-shit.

I clench my fist and bite my lips, its Dale’s birthday if my calculations are correct. It’s almost instant when I look in Randy’s blue eyes the pain, the anger, regret and sorrow is over whelming but he keeps his gaze on me.

“Randy, it’s not less a risk but its less than the other. It’s a straight road we can maneuver past the cars, maybe wait for day light.” he wanted to protest but I shook my head.

“They’re frozen, when it’s this cold they don’t pose a real threat, I’m almost certain of it. You saw the ones in Forth Atkinson, how disorientated and slow they moved. They didn’t even bother with us, I think we should go through the highway.”

“And what about the kid? He can barely move or stand now. It’s cold Kenneth, how long till one of us gets affected.”

“Everyone get in the car I need to speak to Randy alone, please.”

I think they sensed the tension in the air because none of them even questioned my request, I waited till they were in the two cars, noticing Claire chose to go with the women, I was glad even if she isn’t a fully qualified nurse she could keep an eye on Daniel.

“Randy,” I said and took a step towards him. The first light of the sun starts to creep up on the word in the far distance.

“Kenneth don’t,” he held up his hands and took a step back.

“No, it’s his birthday isn’t it?” Randy clenches his jaw and tore his gaze away from me.

“You’re hurting inside, raw and you have all these emotions not knowing what to do with them, I understand to a certain degree, I do, I’ve lost people too, and yeah it hurts like a mother fucking bitch!”

I kept quite for a second but it didn’t seem like he was going to fight back.

“I’m not going tell you it gets better. Maybe it will but I don’t think it might. What I can tell you is, you get used to it you learn to live with it. Yes what you did doesn’t come close to what any of us can feel but you have to face it. It was an accident and did Dale blame you? No, he said he loved you. He smiled in your arms, knowing he would leave this world knowing you loved him in return. You know what the worst is…,” I paused when Randy swiped a tear from his left cheek.

“Dale knew you loved him, Thor, that morning… he said those words to me, Randy.” I choked at that moment, my own tears running down my cheek “and I never said them back!” I turned away from him as the warm tears bubbled and blurred my eyes.

After all this time, after everything, even though I view death the way I do and the world has come to be the way it is, against my own words. How can it still hurt so fucking much? Not knowing, to have to assume the worst. I shuddered when he pulled me against him and held me in his arms. He pressed his face in my neck and brushed his tears off on my skin. He too was choking and shaking with emotion. We needed this, this moment for both of us to let go. Yet I think… no I knew… it was harder on me because I still didn’t know what happened to Thor. My logic told me to let go but my heart held on to that brittle strand of hope. Is that it, the reason I keep going, not because of Randy, Claire, Pete, Baily and the unborn but because I have hope to find Thor again. Every place we scouted, every building and shop we entered I had that small hope in me that maybe I’d see him, alive or dead. What a stupid thing to hope on.

“He…Kenneth… Thomas asked us, me and Dale, if whatever happened, we would take care of you, take you on as ours,” I could feel Randy smile against my skin pressing his lips touching me. “Dale didn’t even think about it he just immediately said yes because at that moment both of us knew Thomas was in love with you. He cared for you Kenneth, more than I know him to have cared for any other sub.”

I knew Randy was trying to help ease the pain but honest, he was only making it worse.

“I can’t any more. I don’t want to cry any more. I don’t want to look back every day at what was… what could have been—.” I had to stop talking because the flood gates really burst to that realization. That I, we, us…the ones left, are broken. What we were before is forever gone and we will never be ourselves or whole again.

Randy guided me back to the car Pete said nothing as I climbed in. We sat there waiting for the first light of day. The snow finally quieted down and the wind settled. It was almost as if the world had become right for a short brief moment.

Randy left the car to check how Daniel and his mother were doing, he seemed calmer now. Me, I was quiet inside, numb maybe or just emotionally excused, or maybe I’d had it with hope. I had to reassess my world. I had said goodbye to Thor but did I really mean it. Since all of this happened I’ve been telling everyone around me to let go and face reality to accept it for what it is and yet I never once truly listened to my own words. I felt like a fool.

The morning sun shone brighter revealing the gray-white world before us, cars as far as the eye could see and those things spread out over the road, not moving. My eyes kept searching for movement, expecting them to reboot, but nothing. I did spot something though and it actually gave me a small sense that maybe there is some higher power still plugged into the world.

Getting out of the car I met Randy halfway as he came towards me.

“Daniel looks better. The boy has an appetite, ate two cans of beans,” there was a little bit of a chuckle in his words.

“That’s good, what’s the mother’s name?” I asked when we came to stand still.

“Grace, but Kenneth I don’t think were going to be moving any time soon Daniel’s still too weak.”

“About that, I think we have a solution.” Randy razed his eyebrows and I beamed.

“I saw a wheel chair, it’s not much but we can make due.” Randy nodded in agreement.

“Go get it boy,” he placed his hands on my shoulders and stepped forward. “Be careful and thank you Kenneth.”

Okay, I did not expect it but King Kong leaned in and captured my lips in his and he gently kissed me…and yes I kissed back it wasn’t breath taking, magic, sparks and volcanos erupting but it was warm and tender. A simple kiss no tongue or saliva dripping just lips grazing and moving over each other.

He parted from me, looked away and stepped past me.

I stood there, not understanding why but it didn’t effect me as I thought it should; no guilt, anger, no feeling that it was wrong or that it was betrayal. Did I subconsciously bury Thor earlier that morning? Did I need that breakdown to overcome what I had lost? Staring at the gray sky, I can honestly say it felt like a big heap of stuff had been lifted off me, but the heart heals in its own time. We can convince our self otherwise but the heart always, always remembers.

I turned and walked in the direction of the wheel chair. There were five of the things around me and I expected them to turn or groan but the world was dead still. Reaching the wheel chair dried blood was on the seat but no fresh blood— mentally I cursed at myself for not checking for it first. Of course fresh blood would have implied there had been movement but as I looked around at them I could not find any fresh blood or bodily fluids. I would keep my eyes open for it. Turning something else caught my eye, the second sign that someone must be looking over us; maybe Dale, my mom and dad, who knows but I couldn’t be more thankful for the army jeep.

I wasn’t going to place my hopes on it but seeing the opened black duffel bag with guns, real big boy guns, my heart did flutter faster.

I checked the Jeep. Going on foot we needed to take the essentials and right now weapons, food and medical supplies were the basics. I looked through cars on my way back to the wheel chair, spotted a wool blanket and a machete, the bag with the guns was heavy but no way am I leaving any of them behind, Randy could carry them. Reaching the wheel chair my mind started planning.  Pete and I can carry food and Claire the medical supplies. Baily could handle the extra clothing we had.

Returning back to the group, Randy gave me a stare.

“Dale’s been looking out for us,” I said as I zipped opened the duffel bag exposing the contents inside.

“Holy shit!”

“Yes, my shits Holy,” I joked.

Randy inspected the guns. There were only four and some bullets but the grin on his face was the cherry.

Three assault rifles and a shot gun.

“Check if it’s loaded, don’t what that shit to go down like it did last time,” Pete said with a shallow expression on his face.

I turned to Grace with a smile and stretched out my hand, “Hi, Grace I’m Kenneth.”

“Thank you for doing this.” We shook.

I know, curse me for this but someone had to tell the truth.

“Don’t, not yet. There’s no telling what we will face at the safe zone.” I turned to every one.

“We have to be ready, it might even be gone.” The old group knew to keep that in mind but Grace and Daniel were new.

You see, that’s the thing when you bring new people into your group. Your old teammates know how you are and what you mean by what you say. New comers might not take things so well.

“Grace, I’m not being heartless but all of us here know how deceiving hope is,” I pushed the wheel chair in front of me. “It’s going to be a long trip.” I took off the trench coat. “Let Daniel wear this for extra warmth and I’ll help you get him in the chair.” Somehow I suspected she knew exactly what I meant about false hope and I had to remind myself she is a mother first and her duty lies with protecting her son.

I moved with her and helped Daniel out of the car and into the chair. I must say he was a looker. Despite the sunken cheeks and dark circles under his eyes and dry lips he’s a real head turner.

She started to push the chair but struggled, I placed my hand over hers, “It’s okay Grace, I will.”

She nodded though didn’t stray too far from me and Daniel. He however was quiet and I didn’t blame the poor kid being starved and most likely dehydrated.

 We started our path along the highway.

Two days of walking, stopping, huddling up in cars to keep warm and prevent us from developing hypothermia. I lost my sneakers along the way for some leather boots I found in the trunk of a car, a nice pair of Levi jeans that fit snug and another hoodie… pink, I think it belonged to a girl. I couldn’t really care. We made scarves and head bands from other discarded clothing we found along the way and oh, I found my evil, a whole back pack full… okay no, it was a small container bag inside a back pack with Chocolate! Daniel was doing slightly better despite the cold but I think each time I told him or reassured him that they were no threat to us it boosted his morale. Funny though; me, Claire, Daniel and his mother huddled close to Randy when we hid inside a car to gather our breath and warmth again.

Pete and Baily strangely kept to themselves.

There where some parts of the highway that was clear of cars and just as I wanted to curse myself we be approaching another pile up. I guess this explains most survivor, when things hit, rushed towards Milwaukee and the other bigger cities.

As we approached the intersection I made a suggestion we rest, we didn’t have to go into Milwaukee but up route 45 towards Wauwatosa.

The reason I suggested we stop was simple, yes we were close to our destination but it’s a city close to the ocean, it won’t be as cold there as it was further back in the farm fields and the lesser snow fall was proof of that. Those things were more abundant here and some of them were only partly frozen and they still walked around. If not for winter, I think we might have had our hands full. I did see something interesting though. Some of them would stagger and then just drop to the ground going dead like they should be.

Darkness was falling fast and this was the other thing that pickled me. They’re attracted to heat so why didn’t they seek it out? It made me wonder about their intelligence. Lets say they figured out it would be pointless to seek out the heat because the cold was present everywhere. What they did do was sort of huddle closer to one another.

We found a car and Randy made an even better suggestion, we drive the short distance and if need be we could avoid pile ups. I didn’t have the energy too think what if, my limbs were stiff and regardless of the rest stops, I was fucking exhausted to the point I felt I could drop dead. I wasn’t the only one the others looked as I felt.

We did find a car to drive us there though it took us a little time to push start it. We crammed in the back seat, Claire on my lap and Baily on Pete’s. Daniel sat in the front seat and was the only one to buckle up. His mother squeezed in the back with us.

Baily and Claire’s head bumped occasionally against the ceiling when we had to drive off the road to avoid pile ups. It was then that I saw them in the distance, lights. An alien sight in the darkness and I do mean alien. The lights shined upwards where down below, only darkness could be seen. The moment Randy switched on the headlights they were there spread out in a large number walking their slow quirky and jittering walk.

“Now what?” Randy huffed under his breath. Of course you know me my mind was going in all the wrong directions like, why aren’t there other survivors? Abandon cars from past survivors that had made it this far and, surely we would have met more survivors taking the risk to come here…but then again not everyone thinks like I do.

“Boy!” Randy’s tone drew me back to reality.

“I don’t know, give me a second.”

I had to think Daniel’s blind the rest of us could run but one of us would have to keep an eye on him, unless.

“Ok, Randy you can piggy back Daniel, the rest of us form a circle so our eyes can be in all directions, we need to move as one. I don’t think they will pose a threat but just for safety.”

“I think we should leave the things in the car and just take the weapons and meds we have,” Pete added.

“I agree,” I said, but Pete even though he looked back at me didn’t have an expression on his face.

I really hoped it wasn’t the onset of yet another quarrel coming.

“Why?” asked Grace.

“In case we need to come back.”

She nodded and reached over to her son squeezing his shoulder. “You ready for it Danny?”

“Yes, I trust them,” was all he said. Actually it was the first thing he had said since he collapsed.

Randy was about to open his door when a tap came to the front passenger side of the car. We all turned as a flashlight shined directly into the car. The person holding it had their face hidden in darkness.

“Stay,” was all Randy muttered, got out and closed the door.

Two minutes later he ushered all of us out. A man with short clipped salt and pepper hair stood next to him, in what looked like gray camouflage pattern. He had an assault rifle hanging on his left shoulder.

“You are going to be split up, stripped down and inspected for infection. From there you will receive further orders.”

“But none of us are bitten or infected and what do you mean split up?”

“Claire!” Randy hushed her. “This is just procedure, Sergeant Wirkay, is just doing as he is ordered.”

We walked toward the lights. Now I could see a steel structure that had been erected around the buildings.

“Where’s the rest of your squad sergeant,” I heard Randy ask “and who has command of the facility?”

“My squad is doing their rounds Captain Blackheart, Dr. Collin is in charge of the facility.”

“Captain?” I asked turning my head towards Randy. He flicked me softly against the head.

“Keep walking Steel.” Oh baby otters, now King Kong’s back in mode.

 I rolled my eyes at him.

Some of them did turn their faces towards us trying to walk closer but we had already reached the steel walls. Sgt. Wirkay knocked three times with the flash light on the structures wall where the outline of a door could be seen.

“Sergeant Wirkay, we have the second group of survivors.”

We heard a rattle noise of some chains or lock move then the steel out line opened and swung inwards.

I muttered to myself but loud enough for them to hear. “It’s the end of the world and they still bother with procedure, the madness.”

 A Black woman greeted us with her gun ready. “It’s fine Sergeant. Take them to the observation room.”

That’s were our path with sergeant Wirkay ended. The black woman didn’t say anything as she escorted us to the building. The spotlights shining down on us were immensely bright to the point that I had to keep my eyes lowered. We were lead to one of the buildings, a plate carved out of stone or marble read “administration building.” An open door followed three steps into double doors that led up a stair case. One could clearly see by the cracked walls and shedding paint, graffiti and rusted metal this place had been abandoned.

We were moved into an open room, shorter spot lights were placed in each corner though by now my eyes had somewhat adjusted to the light. Along the baseboard, yellow cables ran most likely to some sort of generator.

“Please wait here,” said the black woman and disappeared up the staircase.

“You’re a Captain?” I asked turning to Randy.

The big man just rolled his eyes “was Kenneth, was.”

“Okay, what you do, like training?”

Leaning over and bring his lips to my ear so only I could hear, he whispered “Depends on what you mean by that boy.”

“Pervert.” I whispered back.

I looked around at every one in the group. Randy was standing spine straight hands folded behind his back, chest puffed up and chin high definitely military blood in that one. The others were nervous, constantly looking around. Bailey literally crawled into Pete’s embrace and Daniel stood still and silent next to his mother and they held hands. Even with his thinner frame he was as tall as Thor and had the same color blonde hair and vivid green eyes. I tore my eyes away from that image. Claire had her hands tucked in under her armpits and a nervous expression on her face.

“Guys. Hello! We’ve made it to the safe zone. Don’t look so dreary and dead. Come on, smile at least. It’s been how long? Give yourself credit you’ve made it this far and…”I pointed to the spot lights”…power equals warm-water which equals heaven and warm bath.”

“Oh good lord, I can use one,” said Grace.

“It’s true,” said Daniel and bore a weak smile. “I can’t see but I can smell and I can feel the danger in the air outside, but in here I feel safe, thank you.”

“Sure we can smile but these people make me feel slightly uneasy,” Claire said.

I laughed. “Right they’re all testosterone gorillas till they don’t have there toys and a horrid zombie runs them down. I’m sure they’d be running in circle screaming, fuck me, fuck me.”

“Dude you are some fucked up kind of mad you know,” Pete said and laughed which seemed to break the tension a bit as even Daniel’s smile deepened.

The clonking of heavy foot steps down the stairs made us all tense again (except for King Randy Kong). Someone heavy, going on army guys being built with muscles — well hello hotness!

He was something to drool over, regardless of the scar that cut over his mouth until he opened it.

“Alright pussy boys and ladies here’s how it gonna run—” he paused, beamed in a fucking sexy grin to Randy.

“You all are going to separate, boys and Gent,” he clearly emphasized the word “gent” with another dark grin, “with me, ladies with Cora.” The black sergeant was back standing next to him and honest to god the sexy fucker took the exact stance that Randy still stood in. Wait, now he’s probably going to bounce his pecs too but it didn’t happen.

My attention turned to Grace and Daniel when she pulled him closer. You know me, I don’t give a rat’s ass about oversized testosterone, no matter how hot he is with his buzz cut midnight back hair and big brown eyes. I walked up to the two of them and reached for Grace.

“Grace, I’m sure it’s only for a little while. I’ll look after Daniel.” She nodded with tears in her eyes and I didn’t blame her as she pulled her son into a hard hug and let go. At the same time Daniel outstretched his hand in front of him and I took it in mine. Claire came beside Grace and took hers.

I heard sexy gorilla behind me snort. I was ready to turn and tell him to go fuck himself when Randy stepped toward the man.

Eyes locked on each other like two hungry wolves ready to go at each others throats. Though the bulge in sexy gorilla’s pants clearly stated he didn’t want to go for blood, but the balling fist behind Randy’s back would.

“Dr. Collin I presume,” Randy said through gritted teeth, “Captain Blackheart.”

Wait could you take back your rank after you stepped out of the army? I don’t think so but sexy gorilla did smirk bearing lightly stained yellow teeth.

“Presumed wrong Captain Blackheart, Cory Ray covert ops well before this shit went down.”

Cory shredded Randy’s clothes from his body they way his eyes looked over Randy. Randy never moved a muscle or blinked for that matter.

“Right then, weapons. Please leave them here against the wall.”

“Why?” Randy blew in the man’s face.

“You won’t need them Cap, this facility is protected with twenty foot high cement walls constructed with wood and steel inner frame, I assume you saw.”

“I did…” Randy stepped closer. They were same height, same build, same thickness in muscle but my bets were on Randy, “…and it leads me to question how it was erected so quickly and how you had enough time too do that when no one knew about those fucks outside.”

Cory swallowed hard again. Yes Randy could be intimidating as fuck if he wanted to be.

“When I got here they were already erected. You will have to take those questions up with Dr. Collin.” Cory stepped away and indicated with his head to an open door that looked like beyond it was some form of examination room.

Randy followed and I pulled Daniel behind me.

“You two know each other?” I whispered to Randy. He didn’t look back or down at me, still kept his head high, hands behind his back.

“Never seen the insensitive dick in my life,” he said with bitterness in his words.

Great more drama.

As we stepped in, Cory stood next to the door. Once Pete was beside us he closed it.

Looking over the room, it was definitely set up for examinations. Two fold up beds (sorry a cot to me is something entirely different) to the right of us, white curtains drawn back I would assume for privacy.

“Wait,” I said aloud, “is gorilla going to do the examination? I really don’t think ape brain is medically qualified.” A strong hand grabbed my shoulder and spun me around breaking my hold on Daniel’s hand.

Cory’s eyes gleamed darkly at me, he had to lean over to come to my level.

Cocky, yes I am. I raised my eye brows, “well, I fucking hope not.”

“Think you’re some hot shot pretty boy?” he sneered at me, “I’ll fucking fix your face for you.” He dug his fingers into my shoulder and slapped me lightly on the cheek with his other hand.

“Hey, hey! Back off,” I heard Pete demand.

Hands ripped Cory away from me and slammed the man against a door so hard I almost felt sorry for the sound his head made hitting the wooden door.

We all heard Randy say it, “You like me don’t you?” The man swallowed hard but didn’t say a word, Randy crushed him harder against the door, “be nice to my boys got it and then maybe I’ll find something to fill your asshole up with.”

I rolled my eyes and turned back to Daniel.

“Daniel I’m here,” I said and reached for his forearm.

“You don’t have to hold my hand Kenneth,” he whispered. “I can take care of myself.” I let go of him instantly.

“My mother’s paranoid she—”

I stopped him halfway, “Dude could you blame her? I know you can’t see but those things outside. Shit bro they’re like machines.”

Randy stepped up next to me and I gave him a smile, “Thanks big guy.”

He leaned over and whispered into my ear, “Do it again boy so I can smack the fuck out of him.”

So it was clear none of us liked Cory the gorilla.

“You can start removing your clothes the doc will be here soon,” he said coming around to face us.

Nervous? Maybe Pete but Daniel? What could he care, he’s blind…me, not so much.

It’s not like Randy hasn’t seen me naked before, he’s seen me in a Chastity belt for that matter and don’t think I haven’t noticed the fact that he has a bigger pecker than Thor or that he has a PA. I often wondered what it would feel like inside me— hey I’m a guy, my mind does what it wants, doesn’t mean my heart agrees.

Gorilla leaned against a table in front of us arms folded with a smug look on his face. So why not give the asshole the full back view. I helped Daniel first, removing his shirt and I was shocked. He really was a twig and he had a purple bruise on his left side under his chest.

“What happened?” I asked as I lightly touched the spot.

“Got shoved against a railing when me and mom were running from those things.  I’m not the best of healers.”

“How old?” I asked but allowed him to undo his own pants. I could already see Randy fully naked out of the corner of my eye and yes hairy like King Kong. His globes, not as nice as Thor’s, but it’s a jungle in-between the crack of those mountains. I had to grin.

“Three days ago.”

“I’m sure Dr. Collins can help… I hope he can,” I whispered the last part for myself.

I bent to undo Daniel’s laces, he placed a hand to steady himself when I said “left foot,” and took his shoes off.

I supposed that if I were blind I’d much rather prefer slip-on’s than laced shoes but who am I to judge. Being here in this world now is hard as it is how much more terrifying it must be for Daniel not being able to see, only to hear. My hand began to shake as I placed myself in a scenario he might have found himself in; only hearing them coming towards you, not knowing when they will bite into you, the trepidation and heart wrenching fear.

That thought made me more protective over Daniel from that day forward.

I didn’t look at his junk but did catch a glimpse of the slight flaxen curls coming up from his groin and curling around his naval, another thing that reminded me of Thor. Maybe it was that that urged my over protectiveness of Daniel. 

I stood noting I was the last one left clothed and made quick work of getting undressed, the collar was still on though. Pete stood eyes to the ceiling hand covering his package. I knew when I bent my rear was exposed to Cory taking of my shoes but as I came back up, I saw his eyes were glued on Randy.

It was stupid of me honestly not remembering the bandage I was wearing until I felt the tight grip on my wrist. The fingers dug into my skin as Randy swung me around and lifted my wrist to his face.

“What is this?” Randy’s eyes only briefly met mine in anger.

“There nothing big guy,” I kept my voice calm and tried to pull my wrist from his grip but he held so tightly that my skin turned white where he held me.

“When?” he drilled and I swallowed as my heart sped up.

“Since Emma died, since we got to the farm house.” I looked away ashamed to meet his eyes.

“Why didn’t you come to me?” he dropped his voice softer.

“With what you had to deal with, I had no right to place my own emotional burdens on you.”  I looked at the two scars and the dried blood where the cut had been under the bandage.

He sighed and closed his eyes. “I’m supposed to take care of you.” Randy’s grip loosened and gently he grazed his thumb over the scars.

“I only found that out this morning,” I said.

He blinked his eyes about to say something when a man entered the room.

“This discussion isn’t done boy,” he said in a low tone, let go of my wrist and turned to the man. “Dr. Collin?”

“Yes,” said the doctor. The sky-blue shirt he wore was stained under the arms. His hair was gray and greasy clinging to his forehead. He moved about a bit odd, almost like his left leg was shorter than his right.  Then I saw the left side of the man’s face. My dad had had a stroke and I recognized it. His lips curved downward, his left eye had a lazy movement when he blinked. There was slight wetness from drool on the left side of his mouth, a white towel laid over his left shoulder.

With a stethoscope in his right hand the left hand hanged at his side, he moved to Randy.

“Please spread your legs and outstretch your arms sir.”

Randy complied.

Dr. Collin just stood there looking at him then lowered his head.

“My…um…” he paused for a long time. “What am I doing again?” I could see sweat on his forehead glistening against the light. His speech was slow, large movements forming with his mouth as he struggled to speak the words or to get them right.

Just because mother nature was having a breakdown didn’t mean life stopped or that our problems went away. What of people suffering from HIV that need to take their meds? Cancer patients, depression sufferers, people that had phobias, mental health problems, Alzheimer’s; the list was endless. Zombie apocalypse my fucking ass, those things don’t just go away they stay with us.

“Dr. Collins,” I said stepping forward. “It’s okay, I’ll help, it’s okay.”

His right hand was shaking, his lips flinched and he was swallowing vigorously, drool began to dribble from his left side.

Gently I reached for the stethoscope and opened the ear plugs. He nodded his head as I held them ready for him. He even leaned forward for me to place them in his ears.

I helped him with all of us, not always physically but I stood behind him just in case.

Once our examination was done and we had our clothes back on the doctor rushed to the door but stopped.

“I… I…” he turned, “draw blood… have to stop this… have to draw your blood now.”

“Doc, tomorrow would be better,” Cory said and patted the doctor on the shoulder.

Clearly Dr. Collin was having down day, my dad had them sometimes after his stroke. It wasn’t easy on my mother to see the man she loved, the man that provided for us and always stood strong and proud be helpless. We made it even after mom got cancer. Somehow I took care of them through my last year of high school and my first year of university.

We rejoined with the women after that. Dr. Collins left and Cory led us to another room where we met the other survivors. An elderly woman and her daughter.

“Mikayla, and this is my mother Sue,” she said when we sat to eat a meal of vegetables, no meat, however we each were given a protein shake. Two more army guys were present. A short black guy and a young spiky haired dude. None of us said much as we ate. I think fatigue had taken its toll on our group and the fact that we finally could rest knowing the burden of safety rested on the group patrolling outside made sleep our next priority. We could ask questions later and get to know the other people after we had some rest.

We were led up the stairs to the third floor into a gymnasium. Beds were folded up and there at least was one pillow and a blanket for each of us. There was less light here, only one spot light attached to a wooden railing on one of the balconies. I was too tired to take in my surroundings.

I had barely laid down when sleep came to me but I awoke an hour feeling something was amiss and it was as I listened to the snores in the room. Where the bloody hell did Randy go off to?

 

 

About wulfginn

Indie writer nothing more crazy tn my imagination though trust me you don't want to go there its not safe...
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