July 1, 2012

Safe Haven - We Don't Need Another Post About California

[...Posted by Ted H]

Bonus for whoever can guess the reference there...

...and googlemaps is a wonderful thing...


[Safe Haven - We Don't Need Another Post About California]

The change to Interstate 40 came and went without ceremony. The seven Rogues, already road weary and now vigilant to any sign of the lost convoy, decidedly had let the weight of their situation sink in. Anywhere between there and Texas, the convoy was suppose to be, and there was a lot of road, desert and undead between those two points. The jogging had all but ceased unless there were zombies, even Martin didn’t like the idea of exerting oneself in a desert environment.

The past few days had seen very little conversation. Teto would usually talk out loud about the directions, Tucker would complain to the crazy idea of wearing black in a desert, and Cooper would threaten Tucker over his constant complaints. Today, however, would feature different topics of conversation.

“Stop,” Teto said as he crept his way forward. Tucker followed him with his rifle drawn. They took cover behind a broken down car and Teto fished out his binoculars and looked out while Tucker used his scope. “What are we looking at?” Tucker whispered as he eyed a bridge in the distance. “California ends at that bridge,” Teto said as he tried to count the zombies he saw “We’ll be in Arizona then, but those zombie will definitely make things difficult.”

“We can do like that one bridge before,” Tucker said as Teto shook his head. “The bridge is packed with too many cars, which is also why so many zombies are trapped. Bumper to bumper in places. I’m trying to see if there’s a way to cross if we can just run along the roofs of cars.”

“Can’t we just cross under?”

“There’s a river, dumbass, pretty big one.”

“Go around? There’s got to be an easier way than that.”

“It’s a fucking big river.”

“How big can the river be?”

“You do know that river is WHY California ends where it ends, right?”

“Aw shit, natural border, right?”

“Where’s Jake? I’d rather go over this with him.”

“Look, lemme just snipe all those fuckers from here and we can cross easy.”

“You’re not going to be able to snipe them all.”

“Sure I can. You said yourself that they’re trapped in there. It’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel.”

“That rifle isn’t exactly quiet, and it’s not like there aren’t any more zombies around either.”

“There’s got to be another bridge then.”

“I don’t want to be off the road more than I have to. We’re out here to find the convoy, not sightsee.”

“The convoy would’ve definitely taken another bridge.”

“The convoy had the means to clear that bridge. They didn’t make it this far back. We cross the bridge and keep going.”

“Cross the river?”

“When was the last time any of us swam?”

“How bad could the river be?”

“You remember the part when I said it’s why California ends here, right?”

“Whatever. You at least find us a way over?”

“I would faster if you helped.”

“You’re the tactician.”

“Why are you up here then?”

“Bounce ideas with?”

“Your ideas suck. And there is no easy way to do this so we’ll just wing it when we cross.”

“I take back when I said you were the tactician.”

Teto and Tucker returned to the others and shared their observation. “Run and gun. Stay on top of the cars when you can and stay close,” Teto said as everyone else nodded. “Anyone at least open to the idea to try fording the river?” Tucker asked. “We don’t have an ox,” Jake said with a smile as everyone started marching towards the bridge.

“Single handed weapons, everybody,” Martin said as he pulled out a handgun “Gonna be climbing a lot of cars. Watch yourself on the ground. You don’t know if there’s any zombies under the cars.” Tucker slung his rifle onto his back “Now you’re just trying to get inside my head,” he said to Martin. Everyone had out a handgun except Jordan who had out just one of his SMGs, which he could wield with one hand.

“They’re aware,” Teto said as he shot one and climbed up onto a crashed car and jumped onto the roof of another. “Single file!” Martin yelled over the increasing moans as he followed Teto’s path followed by Johnston, Jordan, Tucker, Cooper and finally Jake. Tucker watched as Teto ran on top of an SUV before jumping across lanes into a lower sedan. It certainly looked like a difficult jump to make, though Martin made it look easy. Johnston made a loud grunt when he jumped, but he stuck the landing. Jordan ended up landing on his side, but he didn’t fall off.

Jordan was quick to his feet and was off the car when it came time for Tucker to make the leap. “Here goes nothing,” he said to himself as he leapt into the air and aimed for the center of the sedan roof. When he landed though, his feet slipped out from under him and he toppled onto the bridge. “Owe,” he said as he tried to stand and compose himself but was startled as a gunshot rang out.

“Move, dammit!” Cooper said from the roof of the sedan as she shot another zombie as it approached Tucker. Jake had stopped on the SUV and was shooting zombies on the other side as they approached Cooper. Tucker, still a bit dizzy from his fall, took off and climbed on top of the next car as he attempted to close the gap between him and Jordan, who was now several cars ahead.

Tucker snuck a look to the front as Teto jumped down from a car and waited for Martin. “They didn’t even wait,” he said as Johnston and Jordan reached Teto and Martin and they slowly made their way forward while shooting zombies. He tried to ignore that fact as he jumped from car to car, still annoyed that he miffed the one jump that was now costing him, Jake and Cooper. There was another sizable jump up ahead and this time Tucker hesitated, killing all the momentum he gathered, and making that kind of jump impossible now.

“What are you doing?” Cooper screamed as Tucked jumped down and started running along side the cars on the bridge. He decided that hoofing it over to where Teto and the others were was now the faster option, and less likely for him to land on his ass again. A zombie had walked into his path from between two cars and Tucker prepared to shoulder into it like a football player, knowing that stopping to aim would only slow him down at this point.

“I’m gonna kill that kid,” he heard Cooper screaming as he barreled into the zombie, but it didn’t fall off to the side like he had hoped. Instead, it grabbed his shoulder and pulled at Tucker as he attempted to run by, swinging him into the car instead. “Shit,” Tucker said as he reached for his handgun, only to realize he dropped it when he fell of the sedan earlier and never bothered to pick it up when he ran. Instead, he fell back and threw his foot into the zombies torso and pushed it off of him. As soon as it’s grip on his shoulder weakened, it flew backwards away from Tucker.

There was another zombie though ready to grab at Tucker if Cooper again hadn’t been there to cover. “Move your retarded ass!” she screamed as she emptied her clip and loaded a new one. Tucker was off again as he climbed back onto a car and made it to where Teto and company had jumped off earlier. They were now twenty feet ahead, still on the ground, but constantly fighting off zombies, which where now making their way to swarm Tucker when Cooper and Jake reached him.

“Screw this one handed shit,” Jake said as he holstered his handgun and pulled out his shotgun. “Don’t fall behind cuz no one will cover you this time,” he said to Tucker as he fired into a group of zombies and blew them away. He pumped the shotgun and moved forward as the three tried to play catch up to the others as they climbed onto a new batch of cars and moved on. Jake’s shotgun allowed them to move quicker on the ground than Teto’s group though, and they made it across with relative ease.

“And Johnston said a shotgun would be useless,” Jake said as Cooper climbed up onto the next car, followed by Tucker. Jake was right behind them as they made their way for the main group, who had now stopped short of an overturned tour bus. “Problem?” Tucker asked as they reached the others. “The easy part is over,” Teto said as Tucker suppressed the urge to laugh at that statement, as if the notion of jumping over cars and twice almost getting mauled by a zombie would be considered easy.

Teto pointed beyond the overturned bus to the scene of car wrecks that went all across the bridge. Jumping from car to car would prove useless and there were plenty of zombies scattered throughout the scene. Martin jumped down and climbed up onto the bus, helping the others as they followed him. The bus gave them a better vantage point as they tried to find the easiest route through the accident scene.

“We’re a little more than halfway across,” Teto said “So we might as well go for the end.” Tucker liked that idea, mainly because there was no way he was going back the way he came. He still would rather swim across the river, but that proverbial ship had sailed. “Keep left,” Johnston said as he traced a path with his finger “Hope there’s nothing hiding in any wrecks and that should get up back on top of some cars.” Teto shrugged and eventually nodded, since no one else had any ideas. Tuckers best plan would’ve been to jump off the bridge and swim from there.

“Hey Jake,” Jordan said before anyone could act “Why don’t you toss a few grenades and clear a path?” Jake stared a Jordan a moment before sighing and shaking his head. “This is why I didn’t give you any,” he said “You want to use grenades on a bridge that hasn’t had any maintenance in over a decade? In the middle of carmageddon no less. It might kill a couple zombies but it wont do squat otherwise.” Jordan shrugged. “Just trying to make a plan happen.”

“One might work though,” Teto said “Without bringing down the bridge. If anything it‘ll cause a distraction.” Jake shrugged and extended an arm forward, inviting Teto to try for himself. Martin walked over, pulling out one of the grenades Jake gave him earlier. “Keep it to the right,” Teto said. “And on the bridge,” Tucker added in as Martin turned to give him a deadpan sneer. Martin pulled the pin, reared back and threw.

Tucker lost sight of the grenade when it bounced off a car two-hundred feet away, but the resulting explosion and a car flying up into the air was a pretty good indication as to where it landed. The undead all shuffled towards the source of the sudden blast as Teto and company all broke off the bus and to the left side of the bridge. By time the zombies noticed them, the group was passed the bulk of the group gathering near the recently relocated car.

Little shooting was needed before Teto navigated the Rogues through the scene and they were back on top of gridlocked cars in no time. “This bridge sucks,” Tucker said as he once again jumped from car to car. “Almost there,” Jake said from right behind him “So shut up and keep going.” Towards the end of the bridge, the gridlock lightened up and it became a straight shot run on the ground.

The zombies were scarce at this end but everyone kept running. With the adrenaline still pumping in Tucker’s veins, he wasn’t sure if he could stop running if he wanted to. “Welcome to Arizona,” Jordan said as the group continued their run down the Interstate. California was now behind them, and because of the bridge, there was no turning back now.

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