March 29, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - I Love This Plan

[Posted by Ted H]

Let's hear it for getting vacation time so I could actually get some writing done!


[Race for Safe Haven - I Love This Plan]

            "I love this plan," Rhett said while in the backseat of his own car. They had just dropped Matt off where he needed to be, and now they were on their way to the club where the rest of the group was hiding out. "You're a little weird, aren't you?" Steve asked, sitting next to him. Laura sat on the far end while Mike sat up front with Jason driving.
            "You sure they're still alive?" Steve asked, silently hoping Mike would change his mind over the whole endeavor. "Once I'm in position, I'll try to see through the window they were in," Mike said as he held up binoculars "Try to see if I can raise Eric on the radio again, too. You two just get to the fire escape I told you about and let me worry about details."
            He meant that for both Steve and Rhett, who were going to try and get into the club and retrieve the group. Rhett didn't know much about the people inside, and he understood why he had been given the job he had for this. Mike and Laura would take up position in another building and, along with Matt, use the flares to distract the crowd of zombies right outside. Jason, meanwhile, would be the getaway driver. Rhett didn't know what the plan would be afterwards, or even if he planned to stick around, but for now he was involved in this group.
            "Coming up on the van," Jason said as he turned the corner. In the middle of the street up ahead was an empty van, some zombies still standing by it. "That's what you used to get here?" Rhett asked, noticing how dilapidated the van looked. "We found it out in the sticks," Mike said "It was the only thing that worked. Sue me."
            "Stop near the van," Mike said as Jason slowed down. Mike, Rhett and Steve piled out before Jason even stopped as they swarmed the van. Mike took aim and shot the nearest zombie while Steve threw open the van's trunk hatch. "We're already drawing a crowd!" Mike said as Laura ran out and grabbed bags from Steve. Rhett waited by the back of his car as Laura and Steve ran over with their gear and tossed it all in the back. Laura then went back into the back of Rhett's car as Mike hustled over.
            "We'll draw as many as we can," Mike said as he climbed back into the front and Rhett closed the trunk. "Good luck!" Jason called as he sped away, leaving Rhett and Steve alone near the dead van. "I told you I love this plan," Rhett said as he and Steve began running down the street after the others. The car speeding through was suppose to attract the dead, allowing the two on foot to reach the club. "Towards the corner," Steve said, pointing.
            Most of the dead had given chase to Jason as he easily drove away, but enough had noticed Steve and Rhett running to option for the easier meal. The club sat with only a few zombies hanging around, and only a couple by the side they were running for. "Get up the ladder quick, I'll cover," Rhett said as he swung his shotgun at the first zombie and knocked it backwards. He then took his handgun out and aimed at the other, shooting it before it could get too close.
            "Fuck!" Steve yelled as Rhett caught up. The fire escape ladder was up Steve couldn't jump high enough to grab it.  "Gimme a boost," Rhett said as he dropped his shotgun and backed up. "Are you kidding me?" Steve said. "We don't have a choice!" Rhett said as Steve eyed the approaching hoard behind Rhett. "Fine," Steve said as he crouched and locked his hands together. "You can reach it, right?" he asked. "Let's find out," Rhett said as he ran up. He jumped into Steve and up as the other man lifted with all his might.
            For being overweight, Rhett found Steve had an uncanny reserve of muscle, as he was launched high into the air, achieving just enough height to grip the bottom rung of the highly placed ladder. Rhett figured most of that strength came from how scared shitless Steve was becoming from the zombies, but it was a welcome revelation. Rhett pulled on the ladder as he began his fall letting it cascade passed him as he fell to the ground. As Rhett landed, he fell off balance and ended up on his ass.
            "Go!" Rhett yelled as he rolled to the side and retrieved his shotgun. He immediately rose to one knee and readied to fire as Steve scrambled up the ladder. Rhett wasn't entirely familiar with the range of his shotgun, and didn't want to end up wasting any shells, so he held his fire as his trigger finger desperately wanted to tighten at the approaching zombies.
            "What are you waiting for?" Steve yelled as Rhett spun as he turned and made for the ladder. There were zombies approaching from the rear, all converging on the fire escape as Rhett covered the couple feet to the ladder and jumped on. With the shotgun, Rhett could only climb with one hand, but he was still able to scale up the fire escape and join Steve on the landing. Below them the ground was no longer visible through the sea of bloody faces and up reaching arms.
            "Still think this is fun?" Steve asked as Rhett smiled. The two took a moment on the landing to collect themselves, despite the constant moaning below them. Rhett looked at the wall of the building. It was brick, in bad need of repair, with chunks of the wall missing. A cable coming from the roof and trailing near them connected to nothing; Rhett having no idea what it could have been for.

March 22, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Who Locks Their Door in the Apocalypse?

[Posted by Ted H]

Writing for this story has hit a standstill. Apparently, outside of November, I'm incapable of writing too much before I let myself get distracted. On vacation this week, gonna try to hammer out a bunch of stuff. Maybe...


[Race for Safe Haven - Who locks their door in the apocalypse?]

            The group quickly filed out of the bar and headed for the streets. Mike first, then Matt, Laura, Rhett, Jason and Steve bringing up the rear. Only Mike, Rhett, Steve and Matt were armed with guns. Laura had her knife at the ready and Jason wielded a broken chair leg.
            They stayed in the middle of the road to better see anything trying to come at them. A few zombies saw them, but they moved too quickly for any of them to catch up. Mike led them to a predetermined set of connected buildings and led them to the roof of the first one. They walked over to the building on the end of the block and made their way down. If anything had been following them, there was no way they'd be able to catch up.
            "How do you know to come this way?" Rhett asked up the line. "Meticulous planning," Mike responded "You said Spencer Street was where you found the gas station?" Rhett nodded and Mike checked his map. "We're making good time," he said "If all goes smoothly, we should be out of here before sundown."
            "What happens after sundown?" Laura asked, suddenly afraid the dead possessed a nocturnal power she wasn't aware of. "After sundown, it gets too dark to see," Mike said sarcastically, earning a few chuckles from the group and a sour look from Laura. "Let's go," Mike said and the group fell silent once more. They left the final building and made their way forward.
            Back on Spencer Street, Rhett looked about at familiar landmarks. The dead blindly made their way through the street, still walking in the direction they heard the gunshots hours ago. "Up ahead is the station," Rhett whispered. "Alright," Mike said "Jason, get in the front seat and start the car. Laura, pump the gas. The rest of us will surround the car and fight off anything close."
            "Anyone got a credit card?" Rhett asked, remembering the obstacles from his previous visit. "Where's yours?" Steve asked.
            "I, uh, left it at home?" Mike sighed heavily as Steve dug out his wallet and handed Laura his credit card. "I'll pay you back," Rhett said "I'm good for it."
            "Are we really storming for the car armed with four guns and hardly any ammo?" Matt asked. "There's a shotgun in the car. We'll be fine," Rhett said. "Dibs," Laura said at the mention of the shotgun. "You don't get to call that on an owned weapon," Rhett said sternly "Go rob your own dead cop if you want one so bad."
            "We ready?" Mike asked. "Maybe?" Steve said as everyone broke for the gas station. Jordan was out in front with Mike not far behind. Rhett and Steve trailed while Laura was falling behind fast. "Whose idea was it to leave the means to our escape in the hands of the fat girl?" Rhett shouted. "Go fuck yourself!" Laura yelled as Rhett and Steve slowed down and flanked Laura as she ran.
            Jordan reached the car and went to enter when he realized the door wouldn't open. "Who locks their door in the apocalypse?" he asked aloud as Mike reached him and stood in front of the car with his gun aimed. "You can't trust anyone!" Rhett said as he aimed his car remote and unlocked the doors before tossing the keys to Jason.
            The rest reach the car as Laura hunched over and put her hands on her knees and tried to catch her breath. "C'mon!" Rhett yelled as Laura made no effort to pump gas. "Gimme a minute," she said between breaths. Rhett grabbed the card from her hand and initiated the transaction at the pump. "Steve, what's your zip code?" he asked as he sped through the process. "13214," Steve said "Hurry up!"
            A crowd of the dead had begun to gather around the gas station. Everyone armed held back and refused to fire. They didn't have much ammo to mess with. Rhett readied the pump and let Laura take over, then moved around to the passenger side and went to retrieve the shotgun. Stragglers from before inside the station were now making their way out.
            "So who is gonna be dumb enough to take the first shot at a gas station?" Steve asked as Laura nervously danced as she pumped gas. "How much do we even need?" she asked. "Just keep pumping!" Mike shouted. "We can't wait forever," Steve said "They keep closing in like this, they'll be too dense to drive through."
            Rhett looked to the hoard closing in. Steve was right, so he walked towards where the hoard looked thinner away from the gas station and leveled his shotgun. He pulled the trigger as the gun kicked into him, the barrel flashed and the group in front of him suddenly blew backwards, limbs and blood suddenly flying away from them. "Nice!" Rhett said as he pumped the gun and readied another shot. "Get forty bucks in the tank and drive this way!" Rhett called back "I'll keep this way open!"
            Rhett took aim and blew away another gathering of zombies. "We don't even need half a tank, let's just go!" Mike yelled as he broke for the car and got in. Laura threw the pump down and jumped in the back while Matt got in on the other side. Steve opened the trunk and crawled into the back as Jason fired up the engine and drove to where Rhett was. He slowed down passing Rhett as he ran to the open trunk and jumped in, ushered by Steve.
            Jason drove them out of the area and to a quiet spot. Afterwards, everyone got out and Mike unfolded a map on the hood of the car. "That wasn't so hard, was it?" he asked with a forced smile. When no one responded, he looked back to his map and pointed to a spot on it. "This is the building where the rest of the group is. We need to figure a way to get there and get everyone out."
            Rhett went back to the trunk to retrieve a bag while Mike continued. "Now it's a lot of those things out there, but if we can distract them enough like at the bar, then we can give ourselves some room to work." Most of the group nervously nodded. "How many of them are we talking?" Rhett asked. "At least twice as many," Jason said. "Doesn't matter how many there are," Mike said "So long as we stay out of sight and the only noise we make is the bottles and whatnot we throw, it'll be okay."
            "That's a dumb plan," Rhett said as he dropped his duffel bag in front of Mike and opened it. "You have a better idea?" Mike asked with an arched eyebrow. Rhett pulled out a flare and presented it. "These will work a lot better than a bottle. Not only will it draw their attention, but it'll do a better job at keeping their attention. Keep them distracted longer."
            "How many flares do you have?" Jason asked. "Plenty," Rhett said with a grin "That cop car had just about everything I'd want."
            "That cop is gonna be pissed when he realizes all his shit was stolen," Laura said.
            "He won't..." Rhett said as he pulled out every flare and handed them to Mike and Matt.
            Mike nodded as he looked over the flares. "These will be our exit distraction."
            "Wait, then what's the entrance distraction?" Rhett asked.

March 8, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Beer Toss

[Posted by Ted H]

Typical scheduled weekend for me: Friday-off, Saturday-off, Sunday-half day
Typical weekend for me in practice: Friday-cover a shift, Saturday-cover a full shift, Sunday-work my shift AND cover a shift...


[Race for Safe Haven - Beer Toss]

            Mike climbed the ladder leading to the roof of the bar. Out in the open air, he could now more audibly head the moans of the dead where before they were just a muffled background noise. They were farther away than he expected, meaning Matt's job had worked. "Matthew?" Mike called out. Out towards the back edge of the flat roof was Matt.
            He wore dress clothes and his long hair was tied behind his head. He had thick black rimmed glasses that he would occasionally wipe clear with a piece of cloth in his pocket. Strands of hair can come free and were sticking to his forehead from sweat. He had been throwing beer bottles from out of sight to farther and farther away points in the back alley to lure the zombies away from the door. His plan was to work his way to the street so the back alley would be entirely clear of them. It had been tiring work, but effective.
            Jason trailed up the ladder with another case of bottles. They had worked through the empty one and had moved onto filled beer. No one was interested in drinking it, so it was no big loss. "Change in plans, Matt!" Mike called as Matt chucked a final glass bottle and turned around. "What's going on?" he asked. Jason walked towards the front to check things out on the ground.
            "How clear is the alley?" Mike asked.
            "If we had to leave out the back now, we'd be dead," Matt said "I got them away from the bar, but there's just too many of them in the alley to lead them all out. They're just too tightly packed in there, I can't get all of their attention."
            "Maybe you don't have to," Jason said as he walked over "The front's still pretty clear. You could easily lead them away so we can leave." Mike nodded approvingly. "That's the plan then," he said "We leave through the front."
            "What about Eric and the others?" Matt asked.
            "Were going to get them, then we're getting out of the city." Mike responded.
            "How? We barely made it here."
            "Remember the guy we pulled out of the alley?"
            "Tell me he has friends out there."
            "No, but he has a car."
            "We can find a car. That was the plan once we got back together."
            "When was the last time you found a car that worked or had gas in it? Or blocked in gridlock? Rhett has a car at a gas station and all we need to do if fill it up and leave."
            "One car. For all of us?"
            "It's an SUV."
            "That's still one car for almost a dozen people."
            "Then we pile on like day laborers, I don't give a shit. It's a way out of the city. A safer and more readily available way than any other we can come up with."
            "Fine," Matt said and walked over to the case of new bottles and picked them up with Jason to head to the front and draw the few zombies up there away from the front. They began tossing bottles as far as they could to draw the dead away from the bar and give everyone plenty to space to run when they finally left.
            Mike continued to figure the plan ahead in his mind, trying to account for every little detail and what to do if something goes wrong. Then he's think about what comes next and ever last step he figured heeded doing to get to Albany. Anything to think about so long as he didn't have to think about his wife and kids and how they were still out there. Alive or dead, he needed to know, and he no longer knew where he could possibly look.
            "That's as good as we're gonna get," Matt said as he and Jason made for the ladder. "Get everyone gathered up front," Mike said. He looked up to the sky to see the sun begin it's trip down. "Gonna be dark soon," he said as he sighed. Usually this time every day he would get his coffee; a pick me up to get through the rest of his work day, which he would cap off with yet another coffee. Lately he's been learning to go without and he's been pretty good at waking up in the morning without the caffeine boost; fear of the dead makes a fantastic wake up call. But that mid-afternoon always gets him. He yawned and slapped his face a couple times before making for the ladder. He wondered if the gas station had any coffee left.

March 1, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Were Everybody Doesn't Know Your Name

[Posted by Ted H]

Need to get better at putting time aside to write...but then I started playing Red Dead Redemption, and getting into wild west shootouts with the law seemed like a more fun idea...


[Race for Safe Haven - Where Everybody Doesn't Know Your Name]

            Rhett slowly woke up to the sound of two men talking in the distance. There was still a pain in the back of his head, but nowhere near as bad as it was before. The room he was in was dark, some light peeked through from the open doorway, leading to where the men were talking. "Hello?" he mumbled, but nothing responded. He wanted to get up, but when he moved his right arm to prop himself up, he found it hindered by the handcuff on his wrist attaching himself to the nearby radiator.
            "You have got to be fucking kidding me," he said as he gave a tug on the handcuff again. "If I get handcuffed one more fucking time in this apocalypse..." he said to himself as he used his free hand to pat down his pockets. His handcuffs, the same ones the cop had used to arrest him with previously, were packed in the gas mask bag Rhett had attached to his belt. Whoever decided to detain Rhett took them right out of the bag, but left the bag on his belt. This was preferable for Rhett, who had also stashed the paperclip he used to unlock the cuffs previously in the same bag.
            "This is what I get for being nice," Rhett said as he retrieved the paper clip and began to work on unlatching the cuff on his wrist. While he worked, he kept an ear out for anyone approaching, but also for what the conversation going on outside was about.
            "Are you sure the door will hold?" a young man had asked. He was fat with shaggy hair and a chin strap beard. He wore a black long sleeve shirt with a dress shirt opened over it.
            "It's steel, with a deadbolt," and older man responded "And the window on it is barred. We're still safe." He had gray hair buzzed short and a clean shaved look. He wore a dark shirt with a vest over it, stained with blood on the back.
            "It was still stupid going out there for that guy."
            "Jason said he's okay. He helped them apparently."
            "Laura didn't seem too crazy about him."
            "The less we talk about heeding Laura's opinion on guys, the better."
            "Well either way, this guy could be trouble."
            "Let's just see what he has to say when the time comes."
            "What do we do until then? Those things are at our back are blocking the only way out if things go south up front."
            "Matt is taking care of it."
            "And our next move? We can't squat here forever."
            "I'm figuring something out. We have time though since the others might've found a way out."
            "Mike, the place got overrun. They aren't getting out."
            "Then we'll go get them."
            "We don't even know if they're alive anymore."
            "There's no way all of them died. We have to at least try to save them. They deserve that chance. Besides, do you remember our gear? How long do you expect us to survive without supplies and food?"
            "We don't have the numbers where we can afford to attempt a rescue like that!"
            "Then the new guy can help us."
            "Are you crazy? We had to drag his dumb ass in here because he almost got himself killed!"
            "Are that would be, what, only slightly less useful than the people we have at the ready now? We could use any help we can get, and not just for today either."
            "What am I helping with?" Rhett asked, shocking both men who were too engrossed in their conversation to notice that not only was Rhett awake and unshackled, but also that he snuck out of his room and retrieved his handgun that was sitting on a nearby table. The younger man immediately reached for a gun at his side, but before he could get it out, Rhett had calmly raised his own gun. The older man just stood with an unamused look on his face.
            "I thought you said there were no keys to those handcuffs?" the older man said.
            "Not important," Rhett said.
            "Just take a breath and relax," the older man said "We're all friends here, Rhett."
            "So Jason and the bitch made it?" Rhett asked, eliciting a chuckle from the younger man.
            "Yeah they did," the older man assured him "Thank you for helping us. I'm Mike and the man behind me is Steve. And since we're all alive and thus on the same side, we should probably all lower our weapons. Yeah?"
            "Well, you handcuffed me. What did you expect me to think?" Rhett said, weapon still raised. "You wouldn't have been the first person to take advantage of us," Steve said as his empty hands fell to his sides. "I ran into your people and got caught up in all this mess," Rhett said as he finally lowered his gun "I just want to get back to my car and to the Carrier Dome."
            "Why?" Steve asked.
            "That's where all the survivors are going, right?"
            Steve shook his head as Mike said "The shelter here in Syracuse lasted maybe two days before the dead overtook it." Rhett felt dejected from the news. "How do you know?" he asked. "One of our people came from there," Mike said "Couple others passed by when it fell. Most shelters across the country didn't make it very long."
            "Harboring infected people turn out to not be a good idea after all?" Rhett asked.
            "Not like they could have done anything," Steve said "They were under watch constantly. The infection though, it still spread. People forgot that the infection doesn't show symptoms right away. Gathering all the living together in one place just made it that much easier to spread the disease. By time everyone realized what was happening, it was too late to stop it. People freaked out, some got hurt. All it took was one person with the disease dying without supervision."
            "We also didn't realize that the bites spread it," Mike added "People were being treated for bites and scratches from these things and no one thought that the infection transferred. Sure, there were suspicions, but not enough time or resources to keep track of all the injured. Humanity was caught with its pants down, and we made every wrong choice possible."
            "Damn," Rhett said as he leaned up against a wall. "How do you not know any of this?" Steve asked "The Dome falling is pretty common knowledge." Rhett began to talk of everything that happened to him from the beginning of the infection. Through the story, Jason and Laura entered. At the end, Rhett found Steve was smiling. "Man, you're lucky you ran into us. The Carrier Dome is nothing if not an angry hornets' nest of dead bodies."
            "Lucky me," Rhett said sarcastically. "You could show a little fucking gratitude," Laura said angrily "We pretty much saved your life." Rhett ignored her, but he could feel the eyes of everyone staring at him. "So what's your plan now?" Jason asked. Rhett shrugged. "Hope Jake has better luck, cuz either way I'm heading for Rochester." Everyone else in the room looked at each other. "I didn't hear much from Rochester," Steve said "I doubt they'd still be around."
            "You should come with us," Mike said "Forget Rochester and come with us to Albany."
            "That's not exactly along the way," Rhett said.
            "Tell your friend to head over there too."
            "I've missed something?"
            "That place in California your friend mentioned? That's the place to go. It's called Safe Haven, and it might just be the last place on earth that's free of infection."
            "And going in the complete opposite direction of California is you next move why?"
            "On foot or by road, we may never make it. Every state capital and the DC area are offering guaranteed transport though. The trick is to be there in time."
            "What happens if you're not in time?"
            "Then we walk. By road we may not make it, ergo, if we're too late to Albany then we might not make it."
            "Which is why we can't waste any more time here," Steve interrupted.
            "We're not leaving until we at least try to get to the others," Mike said. "Then let's do that shit now!" Steve yelled. Mike turned to Rhett. "There are members of our group pinned down," he said "I know they're still alive, the trick is getting to them without anyone getting slaughtered."
            "I'm really not that interested in joining any groups," Rhett said "Especially if they're trying to convince me to abandon my best friend. Sorry." Jason wore a look of shock on his face while Laura looked disinterested. Steve made a face and shook his head. "What about your car?" Mike asked "You think it's going to be a simple task to get back to it and out of here?"
            "I'll figure it out," Rhett said.
            "No you won't," Mike said "But how about a deal? You don't want to stay with us, but what if you help us this one time, and in return we help you get your car back. Then we can be on our merry ways and never look back."
            Rhett took a moment to think about it. Mike had a smile and seemed like he knew Rhett would agree to it while Jason had a more hopeful look on his face as he nodded towards Rhett. "Fine," Rhett finally said "But we get my car back first."
            "Cuz we're gonna need it."