August 30, 2015

Race for Safe Haven- Labs pt1

[Posted by Ted H]

By now, I should know what my NaNoWriMo should be.........hopefully. I am scheduling this from the fuuuuuuutuuuuuuure!


[Race for Safe Haven - Labs pt1]

            "Let's get moving," Mike said as he nodded to Jason and everyone else got situated in the station wagon. Brandon started the engine as Jason pulled on the chain to raise the garage door. He drove quickly into the empty street as Jason dropped the door behind them. "This is going to be easy," Brandon said as encouragement as the drive began. Brandon sped through the streets as he recounted the path back to the shelter, Rhett looking out his window in blind hope that he'd see a certain recognizable car he remembered Chris and his family leaving in.
            No one talked as Brandon drove, opting to instead check and recheck their weapons. Nothing was left with Jason and the others, Brandon assured they were safe and that every available weapon was needed for this mission. Ammo wasn't plentiful either, another reason Brandon insisted that every gun was taken.
            The emergency shelter was several miles away in a caged off area with various warning signs posted along the way. "They allowed infected people inside," Brandon explained "That's what led to everything falling apart. At first it was a good idea, but once they lost all usefulness..." Mike was about to question what he meant when Brandon turned the wheel quickly to avoid hitting a zombie that wandered into his path. "Shit!" he said as he swerved again to avoid more. He turned a corner to reveal a large amount clustering around where the shelter was.
            "I figure they would have dispersed by now," Brandon said as he slowed down. "That's a lot of them," Steve said as he peeked over Mike's seat to look "I don't think we can just plow through that." Brandon hit the gas and sped towards the shelter. "Sure we can!" he yelled over the raging engine "We just need to have enough speed behind us!"
            "Brandon, stop!" Tara called "There has to be an easier way!"
            "The only other way is to go all the way around," Brandon said "That'll take too long and who knows what will go wrong."
            Brandon crashed into the first zombie and it harmlessly bounced off the front of the car. More zombies were taking notice though and were now clustering into the path of the station wagon. More and more were colliding with the car and being forced away, but  Brandon was losing speed as he was hitting more, and visibility was dropping from the occasional blood splatter onto the windshield. Brandon tried to turn away from the heavy section of the hoard, but they were becoming too tightly packed in the street to avoid.
            Brandon mounted the sidewalk and crashed into a building. Almost immediately, the dead overwhelmed the car. "Get us out of here!" Mike screamed as Brandon shifted into reverse and back up blind into a lamppost and sliding into another car. The car was stuck and Brandon couldn't drive out. "What now?" Tara said as Brandon opened his door and jumped out. "Out!" Mike called as he climbed out and shot at the nearest zombies.
            "Fuck," Rhett said as he opened his door, only for it to get caught on the other car Brandon drove into, making it impossible to get out on this side. Steve had already gotten out on his side and Tara was out after him before Matt toppled over the seat from the back and leapt out. Rhett frantically  shifted over to the other side as hands pounded on the front of the car and zombies began climbing in through the open front doors. A zombie appeared in the doorway Rhett was trying to get to and he shifter back and aimed his shotgun and fired.
            "Not good," Rhett said as he swatted away the reaching hands from the front and pumped the shotgun and fired at the zombies that kept appearing in his exit. The piled bodies created a temporary obstacle as he flipped himself over the seat and into the trunk area. He fired the shotgun and blew away the rear window, then quickly stuck his hand arm through to find the trunk latch. He kicked the raising door to knock back any nearby zombie before blowing a hole through the line with his shotgun and sprinting.
            "Rhett!" Tara called as Rhett ran forward in the crowd. She was standing at a corner store front waving him over as Steve and Mike fired into the hoard. Rhett caught up and they followed Brandon into the store and out the other side of the corner, funneling the dead where they entered and allowing them a distraction. Brandon led them to the narrow break in the fence he described before and they passed through, Rhett noting it was wide enough for his car to easily squeeze through.
            They entered into a large parking lot where the dead were more scattered. Ahead was another fence and behind that was a building complex. Rhett could only venture guesses as to what the building was used for before. "There's another fence!" Brandon called as they approached the next fence "I don't have the key to the gate but we can jump it!"
            "Who's 'we'?" Steve yelled as Brandon reached the fence first, jumped on and climbed the chain links. Mike reached next, but instead turned and aimed his gun as cover. Tara and Matt were on their way up as Steve reached and tried to catch his breath. By time Rhett had reached, Tara was on her way down the other side while Brandon and Matt were checking around for any incoming threats.
            "Steve, let's go," Mike ushered as zombies began to close in. "Are you bleeding?" Rhett asked as he noticed the blood trailing down Steve's arm. Instead of answering, Steve began his climb up the fence. Without even a glance at Rhett, Mike began his trip up the fence. Rhett slung his shotgun over his shoulder and grasped the chain links as he began to pull himself over.
            Rhett's feet had just hit the ground on the other side when Brandon was leading them forward again. "That fence won't last long with that many piling up on it at once," Brandon said as they moved on, causing Rhett to remember how easily a similar fence had failed a few days back. "There aren't any on this side," Tara commented, noticing the distinct lack of dead bodies. "They're around, trust me," Brandon said as they reached the front of the building.
            The front door had been kicked in an no longer closed. Brandon pushed it open with his rifle and crept inside slowly. The rest followed him, with Steve bringing up the rear and closing the door as best he could so they'd be out of sight and have a chance to catch their breath. "We can't stay long," Brandon said "We're out of sight so they can't get too agitated out there, but they'll definitely head this way once the fence is down."
            "The hell was that out there?" Steve demanded "Bailing from the car like that on us?"
            "How about you shut the hell up!" Brandon yelled dismissively.
            "Argue later," Mike said as he checked around the room. They were in a small entry area that branched into three different hallways. "Lights are on," he said looking about "This place still have power?"
            "Not exactly," Brandon said, immediately forgetting about Steve "Lights are dim. This place is running off emergency power. The lab door won't open without the main power. Lucky for you I know where the generator is." Mike nodded as he motioned Brandon to lead the way. "No time like the present," he said.
            Brandon started down the left side hallway, Mike following him, then Rhett, Matt, Tara and Steve. "How big is this dump, anyway?" Rhett asked as he looked around the sterile white walls, softly lit by the dim lights, some occasionally flickering. "Not as big as you think," Brandon said "All hallways eventually lead to the same lab in the back of the complex."
            "The it doesn't matter which route we take?" Tara asked.
            "That's not the lab we're looking for," Brandon said "The lab we need is this way."
            "How many labs are there?" Mike asked.
            "Just two. But the other one is way bigger. The second lab was just used for the juice."
            "The juice?" Mike asked.
            "The inoculation. That's what we called it while the eggheads were putting them out."
            "What happened in the main lab?" Rhett asked.
            "Let's not talk about that."
            They continued on the hallway as it began to curve, still no signs of trouble. "How much farther?" Tara asked as Brandon ignored her and walked ahead until he stopped and swore. "What's wrong?" Mike asked as he and the rest of the group caught up to see what he saw. At the end of the hall was a door shut with a large red X painted in blood over it.
            "How bad could this be?" Rhett asked as Brandon approached the door and put his ear to it. "An X on a door means the room is, uh, compromised." Rhett shrugged "We got the guns to handle it," he said confidently. Brandon bit his lip as he continued to listen. "I hear them on the other side. A lot of them."
            "So?" Rhett said. "So?" Brandon repeated back to him "This is a thick ass metal door. I'm not supposed to be able to hear shit!"
            "We don't have much of a choice," Mike said as he aimed his gun and waited for Brandon to open the door anyway."
            "No," Brandon said "There's an easier way. We cut back and go around."
            "That's not the lab?" Matt asked.
            "No, it's right by the lab though," Brandon said as he began back down the hall the way he came. About halfway down the hall, he stopped at a door and slowly opened it. "It's clear," he said after peeking inside. The group entered into a large meeting room with several  tables placed around to form a square with an open space in the middle. Chairs were neatly placed around and conference call speakers were placed at each station. At the far end of the room was a podium with a projector screen hanging on the wall behind it.
            "Cozy," Mike commented as he pulled out a chair and took a seat. "Let's not waste time," Brandon said as he crossed the room for the door on the other side. "We would have heard the moaning of those things if they had gotten inside," Mike said as he made no effort to stand up. Instead he pulled out a cigarette and lit up. Rhett proceeded to pull out a cigarette for himself.

August 23, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Suicide Prep

[Posted by Ted H]

Obviously, my updates are gonna get longer. The whole 1st act is written for this story and I want it all up before NaNoWriMo...


[Race for Safe Haven - Suicide Prep]

            Williams prepared the shots while Mike, Rhett, Matt, Steve and Tara stood before him. "You'll feel lightheaded and a little nauseous, all perfectly expected," he said as he inserted the first needle into Mike's arm "In about an hour you should be good to go." He pushed the liquid into Mike, who tensed up and hissed at the feeling.
            "This didn't exist beforehand?" Mike asked "So how did you come up with it so quickly?" Williams avoided eye contact as he withdrew the needle and moved on. "You should rest for now," he said as he grabbed another vial. Mike shook his head as he walked away. Williams finished injecting everyone and set himself up to look out a window, alone.
            Rhett and Tara made their way over to him later. "You worked in those labs, right?" Rhett asked. Williams nodded. "Looking for a cure," he said "Any way we could."
            "Did you know all the scientists there?" Rhett asked.
            "We became...familiar with each other, yes."
            "Was there a guy there named Luke Harris?"
            Williams stopped and looked at Rhett quizzically "Not on the team, but there was a Harris there. Why? Did you know him?"
            "Did?" Rhett asked "You mean he's dead?"
            "I'm afraid everyone from there is dead, save for myself and Brandon."
            "Did his family make it?"
            "I don't know. I was a little preoccupied. I didn't care much for the living at the time. Maybe Brandon would know."
            "Where is he?"
            "Downstairs, preparing for the trip."
            "He's coming with us?"
            "I'm not making the trip, and you sure as shit won't make it without one of us helping."
            Rhett nodded as Tara sat down next to Williams. "So it's obvious you were bit," she said "How long ago?"
            "Last night," Williams said "We thought we were in a safe place for the night, but those things still got in."
            "You look good for about 12 hours infected," Rhett said.
            "The inoculation," Williams said "It's how I truly know it won't stop infection spreading through bites."
            "Slows it down?" Tara asked.
            "Something like that," Williams said "Makes it work harder to kill you. Waterhouse-Friderichsen is manageable, but this's something else. It's different. Something else in there is making it unstoppable and more powerful. I wish I had the time left to find out what."
            "How long do you have?"
            "That's the beauty of my situation. I have no idea. The only test to run for my interest at this point is to see how much time the inoculation can buy someone bitten afterwards."
            "At least you're looking at the bright side," Tara said.
            "There is no bright side," Williams said "Your friend will be dead within a day. Before the world fell, she would've had more time. With an inoculation, she would have had more time."
            "Then why didn't we give her a shot?" Tara said "You just said we could find more! We could have afforded one of these five shot to her. It would have bought her time."
            "Time to what? Die?" Williams said with a condescending look "To struggle around for a few more days as a burden? There might be a hundred more shots waiting at the lab and I still wouldn't have bothered wasting one on a dying girl. There are people out there who need it. There will always be people out there who need it more than someone who is pretty much already dead."
            "You're an ass," Tara said "A heartless, evil ass."
            "You have no idea the things done that ensured the creation of the inoculants," Williams said "Of what we did to ensure that humanity might survive this plague. And the last thing we want is for any of our effort to be wasted on the dying, not while there are living people out there who could benefit from this. If it were up to me, only four of the injections I had with me would have been used."
            "Had plans for that last vial?" Rhett asked.
            "You two, Mike and Steve all seem like strong people. The scrawny guys and the fat girl, I guarantee you they won't make it to Safe Haven. I believe we should only vaccinate the strong with our limited supplies. But since my opinion will no longer be relevant after about a week or two, then it doesn't matter who gets saved for the short term."
            "Brandon disagree with you?" Rhett asked.
            "He thinks our supplies are infinite," Williams responded "That making more is as simple as finding water at a lake. He's a smart kid, he just thinks he knows better than everyone else. It'll get him killed. Hopefully, it'll be just him who dies for it."
            Tara huffed and stood up, finally sick of Williams' attitude. Rhett walked with her. "Where are you going now?" he asked. "I dunno," she said "Help Brandon I guess. I know Mike went down to help earlier." Rhett looked off in the direction of the room Jenny was in. "Ya know," he said "Williams said Jenny probably won't last the night, and I don't know how long this trip we're planning is going to take..."
            "Get to the point," Tara demanded.
            "You don't want to say goodbye?"
            Tara stared at Rhett a moment. "...No," she finally said "It won't change anything."
            "Why? After all that stuff you said last night about not being able to say goodbye to Danielle-"
            "And she isn't Danielle!"
            "You're right, she's Jenny. And at one point, all Jenny had was you and vice versa."
            "It would mean something to her."
            "Look, I know this won't make you get over missing your wife's death, ultimately I don't think that's something anyone could get over. But intentionally tuning out the people you care about in similar moments isn't the answer. You're not protecting yourself from more hurt, you're just inviting another ghost to feel guilty about and follow you. I've seen what the guilt over your wife is doing to you, and I don't want to see you get any worse."
            "What do you care for?" Tara asked.
            "Asshole or not, some of us want you around," Rhett said as he walked away, leaving Tara alone to walk to Jenny. Rhett watched her disappear into Jenny's room and shut the door before he turned on his flashlight and went down the dark staircase. By time he reached the bottom step, he could hear Mike calling out orders.
            As Rhett walked over, he saw Mike, Steve and Matt emptying out the station wagon. "We taking that car?" Rhett asked. "It's more narrow than your car," Mike said "And Brandon said there's a gap in the fence we can squeeze through with this car. It's the best way in."
            "Okay," Rhett said slowly "And where is Brandon?" Mike pointed with his flashlight to the front. Rhett walked over to where they came in and heard a noise. Following it, he saw daylight and found Brandon peeking through a door to the outside. "What are you doing?" Rhett asked. Brandon checked behind himself and saw it was only Rhett. "Just checking out there," Brandon said "Mike having you check up on me?"
            "," Rhett said "Problem?"
            "Guy's an asshole."
            "Not gonna argue with you on that."
            "You know he wanted me to help in whatever the hell those guys are doing out there? He tried ordering me around."
            "And...I give up. Why is he an asshole for that?"
            "This whole operation hinges on my being able to correctly lead you to the lab. I'm in charge. Just do what I say and we all make it back on one piece."
            "...Right. Mike is in charge of the car though."
            "So he can pick the radio station. I call the shots here."
            "Whatever," Rhett found himself saying "I dunno why I'm even defending him. Once this thing is over, he's sending me away."
            "For what?"
            "I apparently don't mesh well with the entire group."
            "Fuck that. I saw you shooting the deadheads while rescuing us. If Mike wants to dump you from the group, he's a fucking idiot."
            "No argument here."
            "Does everyone hate you?"
            "Nah. Tara's been cool so far. That's the only person who seems to have my back all the time."
            "You're not doing her, are you?"
            Rhett paused a moment. "No," he said "Why?"
            "Just asking," Brandon said in defense "Just saying. I wouldn't get too attached to any pussy out here. Once we get to Safe Haven, there'll be hotter selection."
            "So it's just her? Everyone else hates your guts?"
            "A bunch of the others are touch and go. Laura's a cunt."
            "Oh my Gooooood," Brandon said with a smile "I wanna slap the fat off her face!"
            As both men laughed, Mike approached and shined his flashlight at them. "Are we ready?" he asked, annoyed at having to track them down. "Yeah, we're ready," Rhett said as he and Brandon followed Mike back to the cars. Steve and Matt were waiting as Tara and Jason emerged from the stairwell.
            "So how are we doing this?" Rhett asked. "Brandon and I up front," Mike said "The rest of you situate yourselves in the back. "The back seat could only fit three," Steve said "Someone's going to have to lay in the trunk space. He, Rhett and Tara quickly said "Not it!" in unison, leaving Matt to give a shocked expression before he dropped his shoulders and resigned to his fate in the back of the car.

August 17, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - No Cure

[Posted by Ted H]

About 2 and a half months to go before NaNoWriMo and I've no idea what to write. Either continue "Race for Safe Haven" or write a new "James Blake" novel...choices, choices, choices...

Either way, I have enough RfSH updates to cover the gap between now and November.
10 more Sundays. Include my MLB awards joke and a Halloween special, that's 8 more Safe Haven updates.


[Race for Safe Haven - No Cure]

            "Almost there," Tara said as she helped Jenny to the stairwell through the dark "You can rest at the stairs." Jenny struggled to talk clearly and Tara couldn't understand it, but Jenny made no effort to stop her journey. "This place is safe," Rhett said as he walked over, slinging his shotgun around his back "Need help?"
            "I got it," Tara said. They reached the stairwell and Tara dropped Jenny onto the bottom step. Jenny put her head low and tried to rest. "Most of the group is keeping their distance," Rhett said "You're not afraid of getting sick?"
            "If I did, I'd deserve it," Tara said as she shined her flashlight up the stairs to see what she and Jenny had left to traverse. "You can't keep beating yourself up," Rhett said, but Tara ignored him. "C'mon," she said to Jenny "The sooner we do this, the sooner you can rest." She reached for Jenny's arm and helped her lift to her feet. "I can get Steve," Rhett said "Probably go a lot easier." Again, Tara ignored him. Rhett followed them up the stairs and onto the second floor, where everyone was standing around moping.
            "Problem?" Rhett asked.
            "The Guard outpost over here was overrun," Matt said.
            "How do you know?"
            "Because these two are all that's left of it."
            Rhett looked over to Mike who seemed disheartened by the news. Tara moved with Jenny further in, looking for a soft spot to drop Jenny off. "What's wrong with her?" Brandon asked, noticing Jenny's sick look. "Infected," Mike said without looking up. "Was she bit?" Brandon asked, looking Jenny over and not seeing any blood. "No," Mike said "Why does it matter? She's dead anyway."
            "She wasn't bit!" Brandon shouted to Williams "Where's your bag? Maybe it's not too late!" Williams hobbled over to Jenny and motioned Tara to follow him. He led her to a desk where Jenny could lie down. Brandon followed with the messenger bag, but Williams motioned for him to hold on. He checked Jenny's pulse, felt her head for her fever and looked at her eyes with a flashlight.
            "What do you mean by it's not too late?" Matt asked Brandon.
            "There's a cure," Brandon said with a smile.
            "It's not a cure!" Williams quickly corrected him "It's an inoculation. It prevents you from getting sick by most means, maybe even reverse the disease in its early stages."
            "Wait," Tara said, a troubled look on her face "There was an inoculation? Why the fuck is this just now being made?"
            "It didn't exist when this all started," Brandon explained "The best scientists DC had to offer made it. They released the recipe to all the shelters so they could make their own. The plan was to vaccinate everyone before we sent them to Safe Haven."
            "Were you one of those scientists?" Laura asked Williams.
            "I wish," Williams said "I'm not nearly smart enough for that. But I was smart enough to follow directions, and replicate properly."
            "So that prevents people from getting infected?" Jason asked.
            "Yes and no," Williams said "Airborne infections as well as minute doses acquired from insects and similar sources are no longer a problem. Now simply being in a room with an infected is no longer a major risk. You can still get sick though. There's no defense against bites unfortunately, or any large amount of infection getting into your bloodstream. And open sores are still a potential death sentence."
            "What about Jenny?" Tara asked.
            Williams took another moment longer to look her over before stepping away. "I'm afraid her infection has progressed too far," he said "I'm sorry. Giving her an inoculation would only be a waste of a dose at this point, and we have far too few to spare."
            "We might as well use what we have left if these people are susceptible still," Brandon said. Williams nodded and Brandon opened the bag and pulled out a metal case. "How many do we even have left?" Williams asked as Brandon pulled out all the full vials and counted. "Five," he said "That's all we have left."
            Silence filled the room as the seven healthy people all eyed each other. Rhett watched Mike look at each and every person in the group, struggling to make a decision in his head. "How hard is it to make more?" Jason asked. "Without a working lab?" Williams said "Not happening. With a working lab? Not enough time to synthesize if you're already infected."
            "So what you're saying is two of us are going to die," Mike said as Williams nodded.
            "I don't wanna die!" Laura exclaimed as she stuck her arm out to reach for a vial from Brandon.
            "No way," Jason stepped in "What good are you lately? The ones to get it should be the most likely to survive out there."
            "Then that rules you both out," Steve said.
            "Guys!" Matt cried out while stepping between everyone and Brandon "Let's try to figure this out without fighting like animals!" Everyone settled down for a moment while Matt continued "There's no easy way to do this. Unless we get volunteers, then we need to convince two of us to pretty much wait to die."
            "Well, actually just one of us will have to die," Laura said as she pointed to Rhett "Why is he still here?"
            "Excuse me?" Rhett said.
            "We're in Albany. That was the deal; Get to Albany, then we cut you loose. Well, we're in Albany. Goodbye."
            "Fuck. You," Rhett said "If you think for a minute that I'm leaving here without a vial, just because you don't like me..."
            "What are you gonna do about it?" Laura asked as she stepped closer to Rhett "Shoot me like Eric?"
            "Shoot who?" Williams asked.
            "I'm not committing suicide just so your fat ass can continue to leech off the apocalypse," Rhett said.
            "You don't have a choice," Laura said with a grin "We got you to Albany, now git!"
            "If you think I'm above going through you to survive this shit..."
            Laura scrunched her face up and slowly pulled her knife out from behind her back. "No fucking way!" Tara said as she got in Laura's face "You are not escalating this. He will fucking kill you, and have every right to. Just like he had every right to kill Eric. You want to act like the right choices are easy to make in all this? Here's an easy choice; none of us should live through this!"
            "There might be more!" Brandon yelled. "What?" Mike asked as Brandon nodded towards Williams. Williams sighed as he looked to Tara before looking Mike in the eyes. "Possibly," he said "The lab at the shelter, they may have been able to put aside a quantity of inoculate before things deteriorated. If I'm wrong though, then I'm sending you into the heart of zombie-central with no real prospects."
            Everyone looked to Mike as he weighed the options. "We don't survive without these shots," he said "I'm going for it. I can't make anyone go with me though."
            "Then we inoculate you first," Williams said "The labs are so inundated with infection that the only way you survive entering is if you get the shot. Anyone going with you gets a shot as well."
            "So taking the suicide mission is the only way to get the shot?" Laura asked, her arms in the air "That's not fair!"
            "It's not your call to make," Rhett said as he stepped forward "I'm in." Matt quickly volunteered as well as Steve. Laura stayed back with her arms folded. Jason was reluctant  to join, prompting Tara to instead join. "What a waste of a anti-virus," Laura said as she walked away in a mood.

August 9, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Albany

[Posted by Ted H]

I don't know who I think I am, but I actually busted out a nice short story ahead of time for my Halloween post this year...Gives me extra time to prepare for NaNoWriMo this year...go figure...


[Race for Safe Haven - Albany]

            The next morning the group assembled in the living room. Steve easily carried Jenny in his arms. "I'm not riding in the infected mobile," Laura demanded. "But what if you're infected already from being in the car all day with her?" Jason said "You're asking someone else get infected? You were right next to her. Either you can't get infected so easily, or you're already sick and should just suck it up."
            "People!" Mike called with his arms raised "Jenny's going back into the station wagon and I'm still there too. "I'll drive it this time," Steve announced "Everyone else can ride in with Rhett for now." Mike nodded as he opened the door and checked. "Clear," he said as he moved forward. Rhett, Matt and Jason trailed with the bags and loaded up the cars while Steve laid Jenny into the backseats of the station wagon.
            "Shotgun!" Laura called. "No," Rhett said as he blocked her and let Tara walk freely to the front seat. "Why not?" Laura protested. "Because I don't need you eating next to me," Rhett said as he walked to the other side and got in. "Asshole," Laura said as she got into the back with Matt and Jason.
            With a little struggling, Steve was able to drive the station wagon off of the grass and back onto the road with Rhett easy following in his SUV. The final leg of the trip to Albany was underway. There were no more games nor much happening in the way of conversations. Every plan, major or minor, hinged on what happened when they arrived at Albany, and whether or not anyone living were there for them.
            As they neared the capital, more and more abandoned cars began to accumulate on the sides of the road, at first leading towards Albany, but they noticed there were now abandoned cars heading away as well. "No help coming," was written on one car headed away from the city, giving Rhett an uneasy feeling about the city.
            "We should go now," Matt said in the back "While we still can.
            "And go where?" Jason asked.
            "We could try Buffalo," Rhett said, keeping an eye on the abandoned cars that were now sitting in the middle of the road. The density in the streets was growing.
            "No," Matt said "We head to Atlanta."
            "After we pick someone up," Rhett said.
            "I thought we were just gonna head for Safe Haven?" Laura asked.
            "Nah," Tara said "First Rhett has to get his BFF."
            "Who cares about that," Laura said "We're in Albany. Mike says this is where we cut the psycho loose."
            "Let's find the National Guard first," Jason said, irritated at Laura.
            They passed a sign welcoming them to Albany. All eyes not concentrated on driving were immediately looking off in every direction, seeking any sign of refuge or indication of where to go. All anyone could see were blood and dead bodies. "What happened here?" Tara asked as Rhett drove around the piles of dead. "Looks like a battle," Jason said, noting the bullet casings and empty guns on the ground.
            "Mike knows where to go, right?" Rhett asked as Tara shrugged. "I suppose," she said as Matt sat forward. "He's got it marked on a map," he said as everyone flinched at the sound of a gunshot. "What was that?" Jason asked. "I don't know," Rhett said. "Where did it come from?" Tara asked. "I don't know," Rhett said. "Is it coming? Are we safe here?" Laura asked. "I. Don't. Know," Rhett shouted as he drove up and pulled even with the station wagon ahead and rolled down his window.
            "Was that your National Guard?" Rhett called out.
            "I don't know," Mike responded "But it might be worth checking out."
            They sat in the middle of the street and listened for another gunshot. When it sounded, it was followed with several more shots. "Follow me!" Rhett yelled and without waiting, he drove off in the direction of the shots. A few blocks later, Rhett didn't need to listen anymore as several zombie were now zeroing in on the direction as well.
            Around the next corner, they noticed a large gathering of zombies chasing two people running together. One man was shouldering the other as they stumbled frantically down the street. "We gotta do something," Tara said. Rhett looked at the mass of zombies and tried to figure a plan to get in and out of there with the survivors.
            "Tara, drive," Rhett said as he exited the car.
            "Where the fuck are you going?" Tara shouted as Rhett ran to the rear of the car and opened the window to the trunk. Next he opened the trunk door and climbed in before closing the trunk. He readied his shotgun and held it out the back window as he turned to look for Tara who was finishing her climb into the driver's seat.
            "Get ahead of them, then stop," he yelled "We're no good to them from behind." Tara nodded and hit the gas just as Steve driving the station wagon caught up. Rhett motioned for him to keep up as they drove away. Tara honked on the horn as she drove, getting the attention of as many zombies as possible as the group slowly began to cut the distance between the two running men.
            "Keep it steady!" Rhett shouted as he one handed a handgun and began firing into the crowd as he passed. He noticed the puzzled looks on the two men's faces as he went passed and Tara stopped the car. "Move it!" he yelled as he dropped the handgun and aimed the shotgun. Rhett waved Steve to drive passed the SUV, allowing him clear aim to cover the two men. "They're coming from the front, too!" Tara yelled but Rhett ignored her as he waved for the men to come in through the back.
            The one man getting shouldered reached the trunk and handed Rhett a heavy messenger bag. He then tried jumping in beside Rhett through the opening but only got halfway. The other man, shouldering an assault rifle, rushed to the passenger side door and got in while Rhett fired off a few rounds into the hoard to keep them at bay. With one arm he pulled the man hanging out before shouting "Go!"
            Tara floored the gas pedal to catch up to Steve, who was slowly making his way up the street to avoid the zombies making their way over from the opposite direction. The man in the back with Rhett laid on some supply bags while he repeated "Holy shit," and tried to catch his breath. "Williams!" the man in the front with Tara shouted "You still with me, Williams?"
            "Yeah," Williams said between gasps of breaths "I am." He then searched around momentarily with his eyes until he saw his messenger bag and threw his arms around it. "Are you hurt?" Rhett asked, eyeing the wet bloodstains on the man's clothing. "Just...Just give us a moment," he said. "We get to the safe spot first," the man up front said. "Do you know the way?" Tara asked as the man nodded and said "First we just need to lose the deadheads." Tara drove passed the station wagon as Rhett motioned for Steve to follow.
            Some time later, no longer trailed by the dead, the group drove up to the rear of a warehouse. The man climbed out of the front of Rhett's car and ran over to the shipping entrance with a set of keys and unlocked the padlock and chain. He threw open the door and allowed both cars to drive in before entering and pulling the door closed behind him. Using flashlights and car lights, the group lit up the dark room and grabbed as much equipment as they could before heading for a stairwell and headed up a floor to where there were windows and natural light.
            "No one else is here," the one man said. "The last I saw Kristie, she was bit and heading towards a dead end with a dozen of those things tailing," Williams said "There's no way she'd make it. Maybe Clyde made it. You said you gave him a key?" The man shook his head. "We went in the entirely wrong direction at first," he said "If Clyde was still alive..."
            "Uh," Mike interrupted "Hi?" The two men looked at Mike, with Steve, Jason, Laura and Matt behind him. Rhett was still downstairs with a flashlight making sure the warehouse perimeter was safe while Tara was with Jenny, trying to at least get her out of the station wagon. Williams waved to everyone in front of him. "You have my sincerest thanks," he said "I'm Dr. Erik Williams. This is Brandon. Thank you for saving us."
            Williams was dressed in a dark gray t-shirt with the left sleeve ripped off to accommodate some bandages. He had bandaging around his right forearm and wrist, but it didn't seem as bad as the bandaging on his left shoulder that had blood leaking through and oozing into his shirt. The fact that he couldn't easily walk on his right foot raised a few eyebrows as well. He wore thin, round glasses on his face and his light brown hair was messy and had a patch clumpy with blood.
            Brandon stood nearby him in a white jacket stained all over with blood, none of it seemed to be his own. He wore black cargo pants that were filled to capacity with various ammo clips. Under his jacket he wore a holster with a revolver inside and single bullets strapped. Around his body he wore an assault rifle that he kept his hands on at all times, just in case.
            Mike walked over and shook Williams' hand. After introducing everyone, Mike asked "How big was your group? Maybe those people are still out there. It wouldn't be too much trouble to help try and find them." Williams put his hand up with a warm smile. "Appreciated," he said "But not necessary. The fact that Brandon and myself remain is quite the miracle.
            Mike nodded along, only half caring about the answers coming from Williams. It wasn't that he wasn't interested, but rather he was looking for an easy segway. There was only one reason anyone would still be in Albany, and Mike was itching to get to the important information, maybe even add the two of them to his group, which would make survival all the more likely. "Where you heading for the National Guard outpost as well?" Mike asked, already envisioning how useful a doctor and a guy with an assault rifle could be.
            "The outpost to Safe Haven?" Williams asked, elating Mike. "Yes!" he said enthusiastically "The lot of us have each come a long ass way, believe me. We can help you get there as well. There's more than enough room." Brandon and Williams exchanged looks before Williams looked back to Mike. "Uh oh," Matt said "Should we be sitting down for this?"

August 2, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Sleepover

Short story in the works*.....and if my habits are any indication, that means NaNoWriMo is coming...coming soon...

*more info as it develops...

[Race for Safe Haven - Sleepover]

            There were three bedrooms in the house. Jason and Laura split sides on the king size bed in the master bedroom while Mike and Matt each took the remaining beds. Jenny was eventually moved to a small couch in an add on room in the back and after tossing and turning in pain for a comfortable position, she was finally asleep. The only room in the house with light was the kitchen where Matt was trying to scratch something together in candlelight. In the front of the house, Tara sat in a chair on lookout, watching the rain fall outside while wiping away the occasional tear, an empty vodka bottle from the house's liquor cabinet lying nearby.
            Rhett was in the back of the room, looking down on his phone. On the screen was a message from Jake; "Are U dead yet?" Rhett smiled to himself as he texted his friend back. He informed Jake that he would be in Albany tomorrow and would know then what the situation would be. Jake meanwhile was nowhere near Buffalo yet, but he insisted he was making progress. Content, Rhett put his phone away and focused on the scene Tara was providing.
            "You're taking this pretty hard for someone who didn't know her before all this went down," Rhett said as he walked over, beer in hand, and leaned next to the window. "I should have known," Tara said while not breaking her gaze from the window. "I'm more hung up about how we're probably all infected and just aren't showing it yet," Rhett said as he took a drink "Like one by one we're all gonna start dying. By time we get to Safe Haven it won't even matter."
            Tara shrugged. "It might be better that way," she said as she leaned back and played with something at the end of her necklace. "Alright," Rhett said "I'll bite. What's really going on?" Tara looked up at Rhett as he noticed it was a wedding ring she was playing with. "I was married," she said. "Rhett waited silently for her to continue.
            "Her name was Danielle," she said. "I'm not gay," she quickly added "She was though, I was bi. We were in love though, so we were going to make it work. We were happy..." she trailed off, Rhett unsure if she was trying to convince herself of that last sentence. "There was this guy, AJ, I used to see," she continued "In and out of jail, always lying, we always fought. I was bad for him and he was terrible for me, but we always found a way back to each other. I met Danielle during one of our "breaks" and we fell in love.
            "AJ didn't like it. He would try to muscle back into my life but Danielle would help me reject him. I loved them both, and it was Danielle I wanted to be with, but I still found my way back to AJ from time to time. One time she found out I was seeing him and threatened to leave. She didn't, and I cut AJ back out of my life. This time though..." she stopped to compose herself as she tried to avoid crying "AJ came back and I...I don't know what I was thinking. I just wanted to get with him one more time.
            "One more time. I always told myself that. One more time and he's gone forever. One more time, then I'd tell him to leave. One more time and then Danielle and I can finally move on. Well, this one more time, Danielle caught us again and she flipped. I didn't even know it until I came home to find her gone, a note left on the kitchen counter.
            "She said she needed to get away from me. She was going to her sisters until she figured out what she wanted to do next. She left the ring. Of course the first thing my dumb ass does is run to AJ about it. Even with her gone and AJ going on about how the two of us can now live the life he imagined, all I could think of was her. Still, it took me two weeks to work up the balls to go to her sisters."
            Tara stopped and closed her eyes, like she was struggling with a painful memory she was uncovering. "What happened then?" Rhett asked after a moment, snapping Tara back to the present. "She wasn't there," Tara said "She was in the hospital. Her and her sister were both sick with the epidemic and were taken away. The neighbors didn't know which hospital and I wasn't able to figure out the right one until the world was already in chaos. I needed help to get there, to find Danielle, but everyone I knew was gone or heading for the shelters. AJ refused to help and left on his own, abandoning me after I lost everyone else in my life because I refused to abandon him first.
            "I don't know how she got infected. Maybe her sister was sick first, and Danielle was able to catch it because I drove her away, pretty much to her death. Or maybe she was always sick, and her sister got the infection that was meant for me. Neither one is a very comforting thought. But the worst feeling of all is the fact that I wasn't there for Danielle at the end. She died all alone and I never got to say goodbye."
            Tara bowed her head down for a moment, streams of tears beginning to cascade down her face. "I ran into Jenny not long after, and she seemed so much like Danielle it was eerie. I thought this was a chance to be there for Danielle when I should have been. And now she's dead too and there is nothing I can do about it."
            "What could you have done?" Rhett asked "It could have happened to anyone."
            "But it happened to her," Tara said "She was my redemption for Danielle and the universe is snatching her away and taking another shit on me."
            "You're not mad because she got sick," Rhett said "You're mad because she died without you having a chance to atone. If she really loved you, I don't think she would have cared at the end."
            "If I really loved her," Tara said "She wouldn't have felt the need to leave." Tara dropped her head back and closed her eyes. Rhett tried to talk to her some more before he realized she was passed out. "We're all terrible people," he said to the sleeping girl "Doesn't mean we can't redeem ourselves, even if the people we're redeeming ourselves for are gone." Rhett looked about in the darkness for the liquor cabinet and rummaged through it to find something harder to drink. Whiskey in hand, he made his way to the kitchen and found Matt sitting at the table with a bowl.
            "How's Tara?" Matt asked as Rhett looked for a glass and went to sit down across the table. "Sleeping," Rhett said as he poured.
            "Who's on lookout then?" Matt asked.
            "We're locked in a house out in the sticks, we're fine tonight."
            "Mike won't like it."
            "Mike is asleep. I'll wake Steve up in a bit if you're so worried."
            "I think someone should play lookout with Jenny."
            "Where's she going?"
            "Well when she does die..."
            "Damn," Rhett said as he sipped his drink "How long you think she has?"
            "She doesn't look too good," Matt said "Anything she eats, comes right back up. We have no ice or anything cold to help with the fever. I'd say maybe a couple of days. As long as she doesn't start coughing up blood, she'll last the night."
            "That's pretty informed."
            "Jenny taught me the signs. I think she used to be a nurse or something."
            "It just seems one day is too fast to deteriorate."
            "We've been scraping by on uncooked food and anything in a can. Not to mention us always being on the move. Jenny was a little bit of a thing, malnourished to begin with. I wouldn't be surprised if we all got sick by this time next week."
            "The dead are carriers, and they're everywhere now. More than one way to kill us."
            "We don't last long enough to get to Safe Haven unless we fly," Matt said "Like you said, the infected are everywhere which means this infection is everywhere. Even if we're perfectly healthy and 100%, we'd be guaranteed to get sick long before we get to California. We just can't last long under constant exposure."
            "So what if Albany is a bust?" Rhett asked.
            "I've been thinking about it. If Albany fails, we should head for Georgia. The CDC is right outside of Atlanta. If anyone has a cure, the CDC would know. They were working on one before all this happened."
            "What makes you think we can make that trip?"
            "It just seems like a better idea than trying to get somewhere twice as far away."
            "I was thinking that if everyone's dead, maybe there's an unused helicopter we can borrow."
            "Can you fly one?"
            "No. Can you?"
            " How hard could it be to learn?"
            "You want to try and learn on the fly?" Both men laughed.
            "I got it," Rhett said "Make you a deal. I fly the chopper, you figure out how to navigate to Atlanta."
            "What about Mike?"
            "We can let him lead his road trip to California."