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]
"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?"