The Red Prius

An explosion rung through the early morning air.  Blood from the infected clung to Erik’s face.   The infected lay on the broken concrete and the hood of the old, red Mustang.  The hood is bowed downward and covered in gore. The windshield is broken and bloody.

“God, that’s going to bring down my resale value,” he said with a smile.  Outside the car, to the right he noticed a group of infected fighting their way through the tall grass toward Michigan avenue.  Behind Erik was a simular group struggling to fit through a small space between cars.  Erik remembered the duffle bag and grabbed it along with the bat.  He tossed it over his shoulder and stepped forward toward the others.

The red Prius was fifty feet ahead of him when he heard the scream.  He leapt forward and around another car.  He walked up to the Prius slowly as another scream erupted from the car.  The windows of the Prius were grime-filled like everything else.  He could make out the figure of the young lady in the back seat.  She was swinging her arms and struggling with something.  Sitting near the passenger-side rear door Erik walked around the Prius.  The doors on the passenger-side were closed and locked.  He could see Rebecca fighting with an infected woman.  The woman had turned around but was still restrained by the seatbelt.  Erik banged on the passenger-side window but this only frightened Rebecca and sent her scrambling to the driver’s side.  He banged again and flattened his face against the glass.

“Rebecca, it’s me.  Unlock the doors.  I need to get in.”

Rebecca looked toward Erik.  He wasn’t even sure she recognized him.  She pushed herself against the rear driver’s door.  Erik shouted again.

Rebecca blinked, paused then attempted to crawl toward the rear passenger door but the infected creature grabbed her hair and pulled.  Rebecca freed herself and crawled back to the driver’s side of the small car.  Erik pointed to door behind her and attempted to walk toward her but a tall, infected man stood in front of him.

Erik dropped the duffle and stepped back.  He squatted and pulled the wooden bat from the bag.  Three more infected were very near this one and would be on him in less then a minute.  Erik knelt and swung at the tall creatures legs, connecting and blowing it’s knee sideways.  The creature fell to the left and leaned against another car.  Erik ran around the front of the to the driver’s side rear door.  He pulled the door handle and it opened.  Rebecca fell backward, into his arms.  Erik helped her to her feet and stepped away from the Prius.

She stood silent, staring up at him.  Erik searched for meaning, for a reason she was not moving.  After a long minute he grabbed her by the waist, lifted her and placed her over his shoulder.  He then walked away from the scene.  Rebecca struggled but Erik held on to the young lady till they were far enough.  Jean Claude, stood watching as Erik stepped past him.

“Thanks for you help,” Erik snapped.

“Looked like you had it,” Jean replied.

“Damn it, I forgot the shotgun.”

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New Day

Darkness took over as Erik finished the bottle of wine.  Guilt racked thoughts persisted within his head as he looked out a grime covered window.

His wife,  her face painted in fear, stared at him.  The memory of her death haunted him.  The wine, warm and ineffective was now gone.  Erik stared forward out the window and watched as the memories paraded by.  His daughter, a beautiful, talented young woman stepped forward.  Her face fallen and her eyes hollow.  The beauty that once encircled her was now gone, replaced by the infection.

“The Deadwood infection…” he began.  “A bacteria trigger by research into effector proteins that caused anomalies in plants.  Plants!  Not children or wives of researcher but plants.”
“It’s not your fault.”

“It is,” Eric replied to his doppleganger.  “It’s all my fault.  This whole zombie, lockdown, take over the world, new world order, mess is my fault.”

Eric began to fall asleep.  His head switching off and his eyelids falling over his world.  His leather, seat shaped bed, jerked.  Eric looked to the right, cleared the sleep from his eyes and saw an animal grazing near the passenger side door.

“Is that a deer?  A four-legged hunted creature within the walls of the city?  That’s not possible.  This city is surrounded by walls.”

The deer, fawn colored and oblivious to anything around it, chewed on the long grasses beneath it.  There was a long knife within the duffelbag, along with a heavy steel chain.  To the right of the chain was a small shotgun, it’s wooden stock cut short in a hurry.

Erik opened the chamber and found a round buried within the weapon.  He smiled and attempted to open the driver’s door when the deer bolted and disappeared from view.  Seconds later the hood of the old Mustang collapsed under the weight of the creature.  The windshield cracked.  From the left, an infected monster stepped past his window.  Erik froze and waited for it to clear the door.  That monster grabbed a hold of anything it could and bit down.  Blood covered the windshield as Erik watched.

Erik cleared the grim from the Mustang’s driver’s side window and searched for other infected.  Seeing none, he slowly stepped from the driver’s door.  The noise from the door alerted the infected woman, closest to him but she was distracted by the meal they had fought so hard for.  A young and disfigured infected man bolted for Erik as he placed his left foot outside the door.  Erik noticed him and attempted to close the door.  He screamed in pain as he realized his mistake and allowed the door to open to free his foot.  The infected man pounced on the opportunity and pushed open the door.

Erik struggled to close the door but the creature easily beat out any strength he had.  The infected man stepped forward and shoved it’s gruesome face into the Mustang.  Erik fell backward leaving his legs vulnerable.  The creature grabbed a handful of Erik’s thigh just before the shotgun fired a mess of steel bearings from the end of the barrel.  The noise echoed through the steel trap Erik sat within.  The bearings, that didn’t hit the infected man, shot through the car.  Erik hid, as best he could, within the seats. He kicked the monster out and on it’s back.  After the ringing in his ears stopped Erik stepped out into the early morning sun to face a new day.

Do Zombies have Friends?

“Look at you, guiding all the innocence to safety,”  Erik’s doppleganger taunted as the group passed another nest.  “You know they are not innocent, don’t you?  You are not innocent either.”

“Shut up!” Erik shouted out loud as Steve rambled on about accounting to the tall Haitian man named Jean Claude.

“Look at the ragtag group you got here.  Remember the group you came in with…”

“Enough,” Erik looked away and noticed all four of the others were staring at him.

“Yea, what of it.  I have imaginary friends.”

With that said the others walked a little faster heeding corrections Erik made to their forward momentum.

Michigan Avenue, a grass covered throughway of old, split the large grass fields of the city in half.  Nature tried it’s best to erase what it could but what it struggled to remove left a large patch to walk upon.

“This road should help us,” Erik said then added.  “Has anyone seen those other two gentlemen?”

The others nodded then began the long trip toward the worn and overgrown buildings downtown.

The walking infected populated the road ahead, hanging out near the cars like teenagers parked on a Friday night.

“I wonder what they talk about,” Rebecca said.

“Who, the infected?  There’s no conversation going on?”  Erik replied noticing he was left alone with the young girl.

“Look at them, they stand next to each other.  I bet they hang out with their friends.”

“Your dreaming little girl.  The infected have no friends.”

Erica looked back.  Noticed the young lady talking to Erik and called to her.  Rebecca smiled politely and sped up to catch up with her mother.

“It’s getting a bit dark,” Erik said after about an hour.  “We should really hide out for the night.  The cars are not the safest, but it’s all we really have.”

Steve, Erica and Rebecca settled for a Red Prius.  They locked the doors and settled in as much as they could.  Steve and Erica were in the front seat and Rebecca the back.

Erik found an old red Mustang, surprised to see such a prize within the walls of this infected city.  Inside, the vehicle Erik found a black duffel bag, a wooden bat and half a bottle of wine.

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Creepers

“What do you know of these creepers,” Jean Claude asked as they exited the back of the Corner Store.

“They are some sort of mutation from the original bacterium that made up the infection.  I’m not sure how that happened.”

Jean Claude walked silent, listening.  Erik’s doppleganger began to appear ahead of him in several locations.

“The are small tells within the tall grass.  The creepers make a nest-like circle so the first thing would be to notice an unusual space.”  Erik noticed his doppleganger stood within several of these nests.  He stopped, picked up a small stone from the ground and threw it.  It struck the old man in the back forcing him to stop and turn around.  The young lady, his granddaughter, was closest to nest.

“Are you insane,” shouted the old man.  “What the hell was that for?”

The sudden noise triggered the Creeper and it leaped for the young lady as her mother screamed.  Erik bolted forward, followed by Jean Claude.

“Follow me, closely.”

Erik used his doppleganger as a guide and ran around the nests, within the grass.  He stopped and stood behind the old man and the girls mother.

“Jean, we have to wrestle with the Creeper.  Let’s get behind it.

The Creeper was entangled in the grass forcing both men to grab and pull the tall grasses at the roots.  The young lady struggled and kicked, successfully delaying the creature.  Erik found the creatures legs, broken and useless, and pulled.  The skin and muscle weak stretched.  The Creeper ignored Erik’s attempt to pull it away and tightened it’s grip on the girls legs.

Jean stepped within the nest and stood over the Creeper.  He grabbed the creatures chest and lifted it up.  The Creeper released his grip on the young girl and turned it’s attention to Jean.  Erik dropped the creatures legs and stepped up beside the tall man.  The Creeper struggled but it wasn’t trying to free itself.  It was trying to grab Jean.  It twisted it’s chest and spine.  It swung it’s dirt-covered hands, grabbing at Jean’s head.  It connected at times but never able to hold on.  “Your lucky you have little hair,” Erik commented and searched for anything to end the life of this creature.

A sudden thump did the job as Erik looked up.  The old man had struck the creature with the remains of a wooden plank.  Jean dropped the creature, stepped back then watched as the old man crushed the creatures skull.

“How’s your granddaughter,” Erik asked after the group collectively swallowed an anxious breath.

“Rebecca’s fine,” He said.  His voice shaking.  “Thank you for the help.  I wish you would of hit me with that rock a little sooner.”

Erik smiled.  “So do I.  My name it Erik.”

The old man shook Erik’s hand and introduced himself as Steve.  His eldest daughter as Erica and the young lady as Rebecca.

“Very nice to meet you.  This is Jean Claude.”

“We met,” Steve says.

“Of course,” Erik replied.  “Follow me, I can lead you past all these Creepers.”

Prom Queen

“You didn’t close the door,” Erik shouted as he watched the infected woman step forward.

Sean and Andrew stepped up to the woman and stabbed a knife into the side of her rotten head.  The prom queen dropped to the floor.  “We need to get out of here.  Crazy man, you’ve been here longer.  Is there a place to go?”

The door behind Erik clubbed him and pushed him into the wall.  A human-like, bi-pedal creature stepped forward, it’s face stretched.  Large teeth hanging over it’s thin lips.  The creature’s eyes were red, even in the darkness of the back room.  Large wings unfurled as it cleared the door.

“I know you two,” it shouted and pointed at the two black men.

“You don’t know jack… razor face.”  Andrew and Sean turned and bolted for the door.  A second zombie appeared, only to be shoved to the side.  Eric stood behind the creature staring at the dark, feathered protrusions jutting from it’s back.  The creature jerked forward toward the old man but stopped.  Erik held unto the thick, dark wings.  The creature growled and turned but Erik stepped along with it.  He stayed behind the creature as it fought to remove Eric from it’s back.  The old man and the others left through the back door.  The large Haitian man, named Jean Claude, followed slowly watching as Erik fought with the creature and tried to negotiate his way toward the exit.

Erik pulled on the creatures left wing and forced it to the ground but he would still have to rush past it to get to the door.  He spotted Jean Claude at the door.

“Are you going to stand there or help me?”

Jean Claude stepped forward, grabbed a steel pole and struck the creature in the side of the head.  Erik fell backward as momentum shifted unexpectedly.

“Dude, I didn’t think you would kill it,” Erik said after a moment.

“What did you expect me to do?”  Jean Claude replied with a heavy accent.

“That’s a very good point.”

Outside the back door, the two men watched as the remaining survivors stepped through the tall grass and headed for the tall buildings that used to be Ransom.

“They don’t want to be stepping through the tall grass like that,” Erik said.  “There are these creepers that crawl through the grasses.”

“Should you care, man?”  Jean Claude replied.

“Name is Eric, I’m a drunk.  I’m not a monster.  I’ve seen more death then the average person plus they have a child.  Have you ever seen a child die?”

” Eric, what would you like to do.”

“I would like to get a drink, but since I can’t we need to get them out of the grass.  There is a road, old Michigan Avenue about five hundred meters from here.  It will be relatively safe to travel.”

The Back Door

“Did you close the back door?” Erik asks again with force.

“I don’t know man, settle down.” Sean replied.  “I wasn’t the last one in.”

Erik slid the revolver into his pocket and pushed through the crowd mumbling to himself.  He headed toward the back of the store, past all the dust covered shelves and groceries lying on the dirt covered floor.  The older gentlemen followed him and peppered him with questions.

“I don’t know how long I’ve been here, did you say your name was Peter?  It’s been an eternity.  I just want to make sure the back door is closed.”  Erik replied as he pushed through the doors and into the darkness of the back of the store.  Light slide through a crack in the back door.  Erik began to react when the sound of breaking glass erupted from somewhere behind him.  A scream told them that somehow the infected had breached the front of the store.  Erik turned back to the door only to be overwhelmed by the others heading toward him and the back of the store.

For seconds he could see that they had broken the large picture window and the infected had begun flooding into the store.  Sean and his brother pushed past and stood in the darkness.  They were followed by, a child and two adults.  Last to enter the back room was the tall Haitian.

“Is that it?”  Erik asked.  “The rest were eaten by something.  It wasn’t the infected.”  Jean Paul replied.

Erik pushed the door open to reveal five large, winged, human-like creatures feasting on the captured.  A pair stood, guarding the others.  Fighting the infected as they attempted to climb into the window.  The creatures didn’t seem to care much for the infected, nor did they fear them.

“I told you they would follow us,” Sean said loudly then stopped.

Erik closed the door and spun around.  “What do you mean, they followed you?  You were being followed by vampire!”  Erik stepped toward them.  “How are you even still alive?”

“It’s complicated.”  Sean’s brother Andrew replied.

“Uhm.. this is complicated,” Erik replied as he spotted the back door open.

Within the door stood a prom queen, in a torn red dress.  Her face was mangled but her jaws still worked.  She spotted the others within moment and stepped forward.

 

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