Authors: Kristen Middleton
Kris checked the mirror. “I… I can’t see anything.”
Kris grabbed her hand and squeezed it. Looking into her eyes she said, “Listen honey, we may need to run. If Carly doesn’t return here in a few minutes, we’ll go back down the alley and look for a safer way out.”
There was a screech of tires. Kris looked back into the mirror and noticed the van had left. Warning bells began to blare loudly in her head. “Okay, what now?”
Before Allie could answer, the back of the ambulance opened up. Apparently thinking it was Carly, Allie dropped her hand and hurried to the back of the ambulance.
“No Allie!” yelled Kris as she rushed to follow her.
Allie shrieked loudly and when she saw the figure holding her daughter, she broke down and cried.
Carly stared angrily at the two men who’d abducted her. They were smoking cigarettes and acting as if it they were some sort of corporate bigwigs on a smoke-break without a care in the world. Both wore expensive suits, had perfectly gelled hair, and sported shiny Italian shoes. They were in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and these guys didn’t seem to realize it.
“Tony’s going to like this broad,” said the heavy set man. He was short and squat, his round stomach reminding her of a meatball.
The taller man leered at her chest and licked his lips. “Yeah, she’s a looker.”
She was furious with herself for being caught off guard, especially by a couple of boneheads. They’d gotten her when she’d stuck her head inside the back of the flower van. The taller man had grabbed her from behind and she’d fought back, almost getting away. It wasn’t until the shorter guy took her gun and fired it as a warning that she knew she was screwed. The only thing good out of it was that they hadn’t bothered to check the ambulance.
“Why have you done this?” she asked them, rubbing her wrists. They’d tied both her wrists and ankles before shoving her into the van. She’d been surprised when they took the restraints off immediately upon entering the hotel. Apparently, they didn’t feel she was a threat anymore.
The taller man smiled, his eyes sparkling. “Because we can.”
“Charming,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Why don’t you just sit here quietly so we don’t have to tape your mouth shut,” said the taller guy.
She ignored him. “Who the hell are you people?”
The meatball guy stepped closer to her and blew a cloud of smoke towards her face. He smiled. “We’re with the Boy Scouts of America, doll.”
Carly snorted. “You look more like someone who swallowed a boy scout.”
The taller man burst out laughing.
Meatball pointed to him. “You, shut the fuck up, Donnie,” he growled and then turned to Carly. “And you, you’re gonna learn real fast not to open that trap of yours unless I say so. Capisce?”
Before Carly could fire back with a snide comment, another group of well-dressed thugs stepped into the lobby.
“Hey, Tony,” said Meatball. “You need this one for tonight’s game?”
A tall guy meticulously dressed with an ample belly of his own stared at Carly and then smiled. “No, we’re good tonight. We’ll save her for the next one. Nice catch, by the way, boys. She’s good looking; almost a shame to waste such a nice piece of tail.”
Carly glared at him. “Seriously? Piece of tail?”
“Lookout everyone,” hollered someone coming through the entrance. “Zombie’s coming.”
“Dead men walking,” snickered Donnie.
Everyone backed up and Carly watched incredulously as five zombies were ushered into the hotel in a metal cage secured onto a long flatbed cart.
“Jesus, those things stink,” mumbled Meatball.
Stink was an understatement. Rotten eggs and horse manure is what the smell reminded Carly of.
“Nice,” smiled Tony, cracking his knuckles. “Now, get those zombies into the pool and bring me my bitches.”
The woman was snoring loudly as the three men left in their pickup truck. He waited, watching her as she slept for a while before he felt satisfied that she was really
. Then he went back into the basement for Luke. The look in his eyes was of sheer terror when he opened the cabinet door.
“It’s just me, you okay?”
Luke nodded but was still visibly shaken.
“Listen, we’ve got to get out of here,” he whispered. “I’m gonna grab some food, load up the truck, and then we’ll find another place to crash.”
He grabbed Luke’s arm before he moved towards the steps. “One more thing; there’s a woman upstairs, sleeping. I want you to watch her as quietly as possible and if she wakes up, come and tell me. I don’t think she will but you never know.”
Luke raised his eyebrows. “She’s sleeping? Where are the others?”
“They left but they’ll be back.”
“Shoot, and I really liked this place,” mumbled Luke.
He nodded. “So did I, kid.”
Luke went upstairs to watch Belinda while he started filling up an empty container he’d found with food from the pantry. When he couldn’t get any more into the container, he lifted it up and started walking out of the kitchen.
“Hey, asshole…where the fuck do you think you’re going with that?”
He sighed and turned around to find Belinda holding a gun towards the back of Luke’s red mop. Luke’s face was as white as her overly bleached straw-like hair.
He put down the box and raised his hands. “Okay, let’s just relax, here. Please, lower your gun. You’re scaring the kid.”
She snorted. “Do I look like I care?”
He paused for a second then said, “You should. He’s your nephew. Walt’s son.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Walter’s?”
He nodded with a straight face. “Yeah. Walt just found out he was a father to this boy before all the zombie shit.”
She lowered the gun slightly and turned Luke around. “You really Walter’s kid?”
Without a beat, Luke nodded. “Yeah, but I never got a chance to get to know him.”
Good job, kid
, he thought, biting back a smile. “Yeah, this kid’s had a rough life. His mother abandoned him and Walt didn’t really want him either.”
Luke’s face fell, as if it really rang true and he was broken hearted.
Belinda bit the side of her lip and then nodded. “He always was a son-of-a-bitch. You don’t do that to family.”
“Poor kid doesn’t have anyone, now,” he said.
She sighed. “Yeah, now that I look at you, I’ll bet you’re Janine’s kid. You look just like that woman. She was always sniffing around Walt’s heels. Got her knocked up, he must’ve.”
“Appears that way,” he said.
Her eyes eyed him appraisingly. “So, who are you?”
“I used to work for your brother until the zombie shit hit the fan.”
She stood up straighter, sucking in her stomach and pushing out her chest. “So…what’s your name, good looking?”
Surprising even himself, he opened his mouth and answered, “Bryce.”
It was after ten o’clock by the time they’d circled back around to the C.D.C. Because it was much too dark to search the city as well as it being the last place anyone had seen Paige, they decided to stay close to the facility.
“My poor baby,” mumbled Kristie, staring absently at the flame of her lighter as she flicked it on and off. “She must just be terrified, wherever she is.”
“Paige is a survivor,” said Tiny. “I mean, obviously I don’t know her that well, but I can certainly see it in her eyes. She’s going to put up a good fight. Hell, she’ll probably escape.”
“It’s…it’s just so hard. I mean what do they want with her? We’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse for Christ’s sake!”
“Maybe they’re just lonely and want company?” asked Kylie.
Henry took off his hat and scratched his head. “That might be true, young lady. Zombie apocalypse’s do crazy things to people, even brings out the loneliness. Maybe they just wanted someone to talk to. Or maybe they thought Paige was alone and in danger, so they took off with her. You know…to save her.”
Kylie smiled. “Yeah. Maybe it was someone who really did think she was in trouble. There
“We’ve got company,” interrupted Tiny as he stared into his rearview mirror.
A pair of headlights moved towards them from out of the darkness. It drew up next to them and stopped.
“Would you look at that…” said Henry.
“Someone put in a call for help?” smiled a familiar face in the driver’s seat of the ambulance.
shitting me!?” hollered Tiny. “We’ve been looking all over for you!”
Dave’s lips curled up. “Well, I ran into a little trouble along the way. Speaking of trouble, here comes some more. Why don’t you follow me for a safer place to catch up?” he asked, rolling up his window.
They’d caught the attention of a small group of zombies.
“Oh, crap,” grumbled Kristie.
Tiny started the engine right as the four zombies stepped into their direct path. “Get out of the way!” he yelled, laying on the horn. “Or I’m going to run your asses over!”
Kristie snorted. “Get out of the way? Like that’s really going to work…”
Incredibly, the zombies did step out of the way and began gravitating towards the C.D.C. as if they had a purpose.
Kristie frowned. “That was odd. I guess whatever’s going on in there is more entertaining than us. I wonder if we should check it out.”
“Come on, there’s nothing happening in those buildings,” said Tiny. “Those zombies are probably familiar with that place and are drawn to it. Shit, maybe they used to work there in their previous life.”
“Actually, mom, I think the zombies really understood Tiny,” said Kylie.
“Honey, I doubt they have any thoughts at all, let alone rational ones,” said Kristie.
“I don’t know,” said Henry. “What do we really understand about these things? Maybe they can understand simple instructions.
Kylie giggled. “I wonder what they’d if you asked them to lie down and play dead?”
Henry smiled and patted her on the head.
Tiny started the engine and they followed Dave as he drove for several blocks until they reached an abandoned furniture warehouse. Dave sounded the horn and within a few minutes, a large garage door opened near the loading area. As they followed him into the building, several people watched their arrival warily from inside.
“At least we know we’re not the only ones in Atlanta,” said Kylie.
When Dave parked the ambulance, they watched as he got out and spoke to a tall thin man with glasses. After several seconds, Dave motioned for them to get out of the van.
The man’s eyes widened when he saw Tiny approach.
“Hey, brother how’s it going?” asked Tiny, holding out his large paw.
“Let me introduce you, Dan, this is Tiny, Kristie, Henry, and Kylie,” said Dave.
“Nice to meet you,” said the man, shaking all of their hands. “I’m Dan Schultzenheimer.”
“Dan’s actually a scientist from the C.D.C. The one that’s been working on a cure for the zombie virus.”
“Is that so? Have you found one yet, Doc?” asked Henry.
He shook his head. “No, unfortunately not quite yet,” said Dan.
“So, Dave, where’s the rest of your gang?” asked Kristie as she glanced around. There were several clusters of people from every shape, size, and nationality camped out around the warehouse, talking quietly or playing cards. They’d set up several sofas, chairs using lanterns to light up the dark building. Almost everyone was armed with some kind of weapon and looked on edge.
His lips thinned. “Well, Cassie’s being held somewhere by the government. Ever since I brought her into the C.D.C for help, they’ve been giving me the runaround. Now they’re refusing to let me see her and I don’t know where they’ve taken her.”
“What happened to your face?” asked Tiny.
Dave touched the bruise on his cheek and smiled humorlessly. “That’s the answer a couple of the soldiers gave me when I put some pressure on them for answers. Cheap bastards.”
Tiny cracked his knuckles. “Looks like I’ll just have to come with you next time.”
“Appreciate it, Tiny. I’d like to see the look on their faces with you standing by my side.”
“So, where’s Bryce?” asked Henry. “That feller who Cassie was moonin’ over?”
Dave sighed. “Bryce is M.I.A., haven’t seen him since yesterday morning after we were shot at by those guys in the truck. They grabbed him and I took off.”
“Oh, no! Did they kill him?” asked Kristie.
He sighed. “I don’t know. I feel lousy for not being able to help, but he was behind my truck and they started shooting right as I got in. I saw them grab Bryce and I took off because I didn’t want any of the kids getting hit by stray bullets.”
“What a nightmare,” said Kristie, shaking her head.
“Well, what about the others? Sara, and the two kids?” asked Henry.
“Bobby’s upstairs with Kris and Allie. Sara got ahold of her brother, who’s in the Air Force and picked her up in a helicopter yesterday. He’s took them both back to Washington where he has some kind of underground shelter.”
“At least they’re safe,” said Kristie.
Kylie’s eyes lit up. “Allie’s here? Can I see her?”
“Yeah, I’ll take you to her.”
“How’s she doing?” asked Kristie.
“She’s pulled through,” he said with a relieved smile. “It’s a miracle.”
“It is,” replied Kristie.
“Wait a minute,” said Dave, looking around. “Where’s Paige?”
Kristie’s eyes became shiny and she couldn’t speak. She turned away and wiped her eyes.
“We don’t know,” replied Tiny. “Someone kidnapped her.”
“Kidnapped her? Are you kidding me?”
“Wish it was a joke. Someone took her in front of the C.D.C. earlier today, actually ran off with her. We have no idea where they took her,” said Tiny.
Dave frowned. “Interesting that you said that. My wife’s friend Carly is also missing. She disappeared earlier today, too. We thought it had to have been zombies but after hearing your story, I’m starting to wonder if foul play was involved there, as well.”