So, the climactic end battle of the 1st act of my latest attempt at a zombie epic. The part I'm posting here was written long after NaNoWriMo 2014, so the majority of my momentum was ancient history at that point. Still, compared to previous zombie novel attempts, this one looks more promising. 4 October updates stand between now and NaNoWriMo 2015; 1 to wrap up act 1, 1 to do my yearly baseball awards sham, 1 to announce my 2015 NaNoWriMo (even if it shouldn't be much of a surprise, and my Halloween update.
[Race for Safe Haven - Mostly Not About the Girl]
The sight inside was one to behold. Brandon laughed with relief while Rhett swore a few times with a giant grin on his face. Weapons were clearly missing, but for the most part there were plenty of guns and ammunition inside. "This is fantastic!" Brandon exclaimed as the men entered and closed the door behind them. "Load up?" Rhett asked with a smile. Brandon nodded with a smile of his own as the two went to work raiding the contents of the room.
In the corner was a duffle bag with a rifle laying on top of it. Rhett opened it to find it filled with rifle cartridges and canned food. In the front he found a map and a set of keys. "Someone was coming back for this stuff," Rhett commented. "Makhew," Brandon said as he picked up the rifle and checked it before discarding his own "Probably not just him, but I guess shit deteriorated here too fast. Damn shame."
"Those zombies that are already inside when we got here," Rhett said "They didn't come from outside, did they?" Brandon sighed. "Some infected person died suddenly. We made sure no one too heavily infected got ignored, but the guy must've had a heart attack or something, we'll never know. We had our inoculation formula, we just needed to contain the deadheads while we set up our exit."
"These keys?" Rhett asked.
"They're tagged, so they go to one of the trucks in the vehicle depot. That must have been Makhew's exit plan."
Brandon opened his mouth but made no sound. He never gave too much thought into it. "I guess," he finally said "We sneak out when it's dark. Figure it out from there. Make for Safe Haven."
"On foot?" Rhett asked "Starting from the wrong end of the country?"
"We have more than enough weapons!" Brandon said "As long as we avoid any large hoards. We'll find a car eventually. Find a group or some shit. We have the drugs that'll save lives, people will fight over us joining their groups!"
"What about our current group?"
"They're dead! I told you!"
"Laura and Jason? And your boy? What about them?"
"Williams is a dead man, he knows it too. He told me not to stress about making it back if it isn't feasible. As for the other idiots you left behind; fuck em!"
"So...We just abandon everybody?"
"You said it yourself, they want to ditch you. Well, now is as sure a shit a time as ever to begin ditching! We got the guns, we got the drugs, we got some food and supplies. We can make it on our own, Rhett."
"We need a car," Rhett said plainly "We don't last ten miles outside this complex day or night without transportation. I'm making a play for the vehicles. And if the rest of my group is dead, at least I'll make sure of it."
"Why are you making such a big deal about those assholes?"
"They want me out, that's whatever. I just can't do the same to others though, not if I can help it. You can either help me, or try to survive alone out there."
Brandon did not respond but instead stood with an angry look on his face. Rhett meanwhile collected handguns and ammo into a bag and slung it over his shoulder. He tracked down every shotgun shell that looked the same as the ones he was already using and loaded them up. There was spare riot gear lying around, but he deemed the stuff he took from the cop car to be sufficient enough and had no room to carry a spare set. He loaded up two assault rifles and slung them opposing to his back while he picked up a third.
"Just tell me," Brandon finally said as he secured the duffle bag of rifle ammo "This isn't about rescuing the girl." Rhett looked to him and smiled. "Mostly not about her," he said as Brandon shook his head. "A lot of pussy out there still alive," Brandon mocked as he prepared his own weapons set "Hell, there's the one chick you left behind."
"No thanks," Rhett said "I saw you eyeing Laura, you can have her." Brandon made a fake vomiting gesture and both men laughed. "Thanks for helping out, "Rhett said as they prepared to leave. "All alone neither of us make it," Brandon said "And your suicidal plan has a sliiiiightly better chance for success."
"Works for me," Rhett said "Let's rock."
"Take point!" Brandon shouted as Rhett stepped outside with Brandon sticking close "And remember to keep those rifles on semi-auto so you don't burn through an entire magazine in seconds without killing anything!"
"Whatever!" Rhett called as he aimed and fired as he inched his way forward. The sun was already setting behind some buildings, sending shadows across the yard. "Stop worrying about my flank and help me carve a path!" Rhett yelled "Or we'll never get through!" Brandon paused to reload while stepping alongside.
Rhett's rifle clipped empty and he simply tossed is aside, reaching for a ready loaded gun from his back, and began shooting again. "There's too many!" Brandon cried as he quickly tried picking off multiple zombies in one sweep but missed half his shots. "Too late to turn back!" Rhett shouted over the near deafening moans.
The second rifle went dry on Rhett and he used it to bash a nearby zombie back before dropping it. He reached behind himself, but instead of pulling out the last rifle, he brought out his shotgun and blasted a small path. Their advance through the mass of zombies had slowed and Rhett questioned how much longer it could take to get to the garage, or if they would have much ammo remaining to even get that far. He lost track of time as all of his senses were focused on his current task of killing anything near him. The shine of the setting sun in the corner of his eye kept him going in the same direction, but he dared not look above the horde to see if they ever ended, lest he lost focus for even a moment on the ones right in his face.
Just as Rhett thought there would be no end to the sea of zombies, he and Brandon shot their way through and emerged in a small clearing near the vehicle depot. The shooting spectacle they provided drew enough zombies away, allowing them easy access. "C'mon!" Rhett called as he smacked Brandon's shoulder, unsure if the man could hear him anymore.
Rhett turned to the front door to see Mike and Tara emerge, guns drawn. Tara wore a look of vindication while Mike seemed like he was trying to decide if he was hallucinating. Rhett quickly slung the last rifle off of his shoulder and tossed Mike the gun. Then he quickly dug into his pocket and pulled out the keys to toss to Tara. "Look at the ID tag! Find that truck and get it out here!" Rhett yelled. Tara looked to the keys, nodded, and raced back inside.
Brandon backed up to the line of garage doors and reloaded as Rhett and Mike joined him to cover. "Which of these doors?" Rhett asked. "No idea!" Brandon said without turning as he kept firing into the crowd. It was an interminable wait as the three men fired at the crowd. "Where are the drugs?" Mike asked as Brandon took off the bag containing the container. "Shit is heavy," Brandon said as he also took the duffle bag off of him to make the rifle ammo more easily available for him and Mike. Rhett continued to shoot his shotgun before he put it back around him and switched to a couple of the handguns he'd obtained earlier, taking carefully aimed shots at the approaching zombies before tossing aside an empty gun and shooting a fresh one.
The sound of an engine roaring to life sent a wave of excitement through Rhett. A nearby garage door was sent upward to reveal Matt with one arm pointing a gun while the other was pulling a chain for the door. Immediately after the door was up, a large truck barreled through into the horde before quickly reversing. "Move!" Mike yelled as he grabbed the inoculants bag and sprinted for the truck. Rhett was right behind him, taking pot shots as he ran.
Brandon hastily tried to get the ammo bag back onto him as he stumbled behind everyone. A zombie reached in and grabbed him by the bag, causing him to fall over. "No! Shit!" he cried as he tried to fight the zombie off of him as more moved in. The zombie on top of him tried to fight through his flailing arms to bite him until it was suddenly shot in the head and fell over. Brandon tried to stumble up as another arm grabbed him and steadied him. "Rhett?" he asked as the man pulled him forward and towards the truck. "You...came back for me?" he asked after they climbed into the back of the truck. "What I tell you earlier?" Rhett responded "I won't ditch anyone, as long as I can help it."
Tara drove the truck through where the horde seemed thinner as she made for the exit, plowing through a hastily made barricade in the process. She came to a stop when things were clear so Brandon could get into the front passenger seat and direct he back to the others, leaving Rhett, Mike and Matt in back. "Thank you," Mike said to Rhett as Rhett shrugged. Matt said nothing but slowly nodded. "You pulled my ass out of a fire once, so I figured..." Rhett finally said.
They rode in silence for a while after that. The cool night air was setting in and blowing passed as the truck drove on. Matt mumbled something about the truck being loud enough to attract the dead to wherever they were heading, but no one seemed to care at this point. "Maybe we were a bit hasty," Mike said after a while "About sending you off alone. Maybe you're not as big an asshole as we first thought." Rhett said nothing, but tilted his head back to laugh.