for your enjoyment 4 chapters in one post!
Chapter 5: No Rest for the Wicked
“Vaya con Dios, mothafu-”
*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG*
“Ahh David! Just the Coke? That’ll be a dollar-fifty. How’s the family?”
*BANG BANG BANG*
David woke up in a cold sweat. He sat upright on the couch, unsure of where he was and what time it was. He raised his pistol and shakingly pointed it at the door, then spun around and took aim at the closet, then the window. “Where are you?” He said to no one in particular. “Where are you motherf*ckers?” He was panting heavily and the sweat dripped from his chin onto the blanket. After about a minute he realized he was all alone and lowered the gun. He flashed a look at the clock on the wall. 6:36. What time did I fall asleep? He thought to himself. He still felt weary. He wiped off the sweat with his right jacket sleeve, then pushed the blanket aside. He got up from the couch, straightened himself out, and reached into the shopping basket for a packet of Pop Tarts and a bottle of Aquafina. He chewed slowly. He wasn’t hungry.
After his silent breakfast David flicked the radio on again. Might as well try again, he thought to himself. The radio crackled to life.
“-And lastly, the city of Yonkers is a declared safe zone protected by the National Guard and the NYPD. All survivors should evacuate to a declared safe zone, no matter how safely protected they think they are in the city.”
The automated transmission looped again. David switched off the radio and got up from the couch. He looked around the room. It was a sanitary office, one previously occupied by a well paid physician, perhaps. The mahogany desk had a computer, several pens and a notepad. David checked the computer, but grimaced when he realized it was password protected. He pulled the notepad and pen over instead and began to write
*List of things to do*
-Get more food and water
-Get medical supplies
-Get to Yonkers
David then looked at the shiny pistol that he had placed momentarily on the desk. Along with the .38 that sat in front of his belt, it was the only means of protection he had against those things out there. He wrote again
-Get a better gun
-Get to Yonkers
David then placed the pen and notepad on the desk and picked up the pistol. He walked towards the door, turned the knob, and then hesitated. Whatever it is out there, I gotta be prepared for it, he thought to himself. He pressed against the door and walked out.
The hall was the same as he had left it yesterday, the lights still flickering on and off. Looking to his left at the emergency exit and it’s large, transparent door, he saw that the sun was just barely up for an hour now. He hadn’t seen a sunrise in ages, and it was a welcome change that lifted his spirits, if only temporarily.
Suddenly, from outside the door, a man walked into view from the left. David was startled backwards. The man was of African American descent, wearing a white collared shirt and tie like everyone else on Wall Street wore. But what startled David was the man’s jaw was held by barely a thread of skin on both cheeks.
The man turned right and for a second made full eye contact with David. His eyes were milky white, just like the man on the elevator’s. The man stumbled over to the door and began pounding slowly, but powerfully. The glass door began to crack.
David inched backward, pistol in hand. Then, from the outermost region of his ear, he heard a scream. A woman’s scream. But it came from outside.
The man at the door stopped pounding and turned around. He began walking away.
David walked ever slowly closer to the door. From a sharp angle he saw a young woman, Asian Descent, running away from a group of about four bloodied and shambling men and women. She turned to look behind her as she ran and tripped on the sidewalk curb. Just 20 feet away from where David stood.
Oh my God. David thought. Should I help her? If I run, they might forget about me. As he thought all of this the crowd stumbled ever closer to the girl. She got to her knees and then up on her feet, but fell again, clutching her ankle. She was going to die.
David pushed on the door and it swung out to the fresh, morning air. All rational thought had left his head. He only thought about this young woman’s life.
The first one he shot dead center in the spine with the .38 revolver. It crumpled as David heard its spine snap. It let out a moan and continued to crawl with its hands. He slowly took aim, this time using the sights, and shot it in the face.
The second one, a woman in a bloodied up white blouse with her arm chewed to the ligaments, he walked closer and shot her through the eye socket.
David was now breathing distance away from the two of them. In desperation, he charged into them, knocking one of them down on his back. He felt the man's grimy and dirty hands reach out for his shoulder and the man even managed to even tear a hole in his jacket sleeve. David turned around in time to face the last one, the man from before, the one pounding at the door. He descended upon the girl and opened his jaws. He bit down on her neck, hard, and she screamed.
David stood dumbfounded at what happened in front of him. He took aim at the man, just five feet away from him, and shot him in the side of the head. David then turned around and saw the other one that he lunged into earlier. He was still on his back and David walked forward, shooting him in the head at point blank range before he could get up. He spun around to face the girl.
She was in tears, clutching her bleeding neck. David was hesitant to approach her. He knew from watching the news religiously that infection spread through the bites. And he knew the only cure.
“Please… help me!” She begged.
“I will.” David said. He raised his revolver.
Chapter 6: Trust
David walked back into the hospital through the emergency side door. He continued for a few steps and then stumbled, falling against the hallway wall. He pounded hard on the wall with his right hand as his left covered his eyes, fighting back the tears that threatened to tear his very being apart. Why? Why why why?? He thought to himself, each word punctuated by a slam with his fist against the wall. He laid like that for what seemed like an eternity. The only thing that broke the silence was the sound of blood dripping from his fist onto the ground. Then, he steadied himself up and got back on his feet. He walked back to the office where he slept, shut and locked the door behind him, and fell onto the couch, shivering.
When he awoke, the sun was already on the verge of setting. He got up once again, ate more Pop Tarts and drank more Aquafina, and then headed out the door like he did that very morning.
Outside, he remembered the revolver. He fished it out of his belt and fumbled around with it, finding the cylinder latch. He pushed it down and the cylinder swung out. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the loose .38 cartridges and stuck them in each chamber. Slamming the cylinder home, he realized he was getting good at this. Good at killing people. He shook his head and walked over to the stairwell.
By the stairwell there was a map of the hospital. Not like he needed it, as he’d been a volunteer there for a year and a half now, supplementing his job as data entry at the office a few blocks away. He checked it just to make sure. One floor down was the cafeteria. He would have to stay away from any places where people congregated, he thought to himself. Another floor below that was storage. Bingo. That’s where the non perishable food was kept, he remembered. The place was built like a fallout shelter, complete with a solid steel 2 inch thick door and no windows. If he wanted a secure place to stay forever, that would be it. But this wasn’t for forever. No, if everything worked according to plan, he’d be out of here by the end of the week and on to Yonkers. To safety. With living people.
David opened the door to the stairwell. As expected, no one would choose a stairwell to die in. It was empty and the walk down to the basement was silent except for the echoes of his own footsteps against the hollow walls. He reached the bottom floor and the two double doors that led to the basement. Cautiously, he peeked through the door windows to see through to the other side.
The hallway seemed empty and devoid of life. Along the message board on the wall David could see old memos for the janitors and managerial staff, belated Happy Birthdays and Merry Christmases and Happy New Years. Nothing out of the ordinary.
He pushed through the doors and looked left, then right. No one. Above him, the lights flickered on and off periodically. The sound of the boiler room was a low roar in the background. He walked along the tile floor towards the sign that said “STORAGE”
After a minute of walking or so David made it to the storage room. The sturdy, solid stainless steel door would have been a hefty barrier against whatever lay out there, but for now it was only a barrier between him and what he needed. David turned the latch and heard the click. He opened the door and walked into solid darkness.
The only light that permeated into the room was the light from the hall. David left the door open and prayed it didn’t lock him in here. He would go crazy if he were stuck alone in here for the rest of his life. But immediately upon opening the door, David noticed something. A sound. Something wet.
He pulled out the .38 from his belt and aimed at the darkness ahead of him. He could have sworn he heard heavy breathing as well, but after listening carefully he realized it was his own. David stepped ever closer to the sound, his eyes readjusted to fit the darkness. And there he saw it.
The Storage room was a slaughterhouse. Five bodies lay on the ground, two women, three men. He inched closer and found that four of them were torn apart, bite wounds everywhere and laying in puddles of their own blood. One of the men lay against the wall. Blood dripped from a neck wound down his arm to a puddle on the ground. The wet noise.
Suddenly David realized something. They were bleeding. The blood hadn’t thickened yet. They were killed recently. And as his eyes adjusted further, he noticed something even more chilling. Each of the bodies had a neatly placed hole in it’s forehead.
“I’ll be taking that gun.”
The voice came from behind David. He hesitated to turn around. He felt something pressed against the back of his head, and he had an idea what.
David held his arm out slowly, letting the revolver dangle from the trigger guard.
“Thank you. Now against that wall, hands behind your head.”
David complied, fearing for his life.
“I’m just looking for food. I’m not infected. I’ll be out of your hair in-“
“You ain’t gonna get sh-t from here. See these guys? They looked healthy too. One of them wasn’t. Woke up in the middle of the night and killed them, all of them. I barely woke up in time before he started on me. Well, more food for me I guess.”
The man was patting David down. He was doing a sloppy job of it though. He missed the jacket pocket…
David slowly shifted his gaze from the wall he was pressed against. The storage room was huge, easily the size of a small gymnasium. There were aisles upon aisles of cans of food, every kind imaginable. And this man wasn’t willing to share.
“Please, you can spare a few cans of food can’t you? We can even work together, I’m going to Yonkers.”
“I don’t give a damn where you’re headed, I’m staying right here. And for even trying to bust into my home, I should kill you. Like I killed all of them. All of them.”
David listened to the man’s trembling voice. He had snapped. It was clear. And David was going to die.
David swung his arm back and caught the man’s right arm with his armpit. He grabbed with both hands, trying desperately to remove the man’s hand from the pistol it was securely attached to. The man gave a feral growl and pushed David back. The pistol fired twice, hitting the concrete wall twice.
David launched his left elbow back once, twice, three times into the man’s gut. The man finally released hold on his pistol and fell back onto the ground.
David spun around and saw the man’s eyes. They were human, not milky like the others. But they had the look of an animal’s. The man was wearing the uniform of a security guard. David had seen him before, the pudgy guard named Alan who guarded the front entrance.
But now he was someone else. Something else.
Alan gazed wild eyed at David. He spat at David, the phlegm hitting him on the right jeans leg. David took aim with the pistol and fired.
A bright flash followed that blinded David temporarily in the dark room. When his eyes readjusted again he saw Alan wheezing and blood seeping out of his mouth and a bullet hole in his chest. Alan gurgled and his head went limp on the ground.
David approached Alan and took a good look at him. He spat back hitting the dead man in the face, then he leaned down and searched the man, finding a spare magazine for the Glock 22 he now held in his hand. He took his revolver and stuck it into the small of his back. The Glock went behind his belt buckle.
David stood up once again, looking around at the Storage room. Besides for the food aisles, there was a desk near the storage room entrance. On the desk was a green satchel bag. David took the bag and walked down the aisles, throwing in cans of spam, chili and fruit. With the bag filled, he walked towards the door. Taking a quick look at the bodies in the room and the body of the man he killed, he closed his eyes and shut the door behind him.
Trust no one.
Chapter 7: A View to Kill For
Hours had passed by and David had set down the heavy desk in front of the double doors by the ER. The doors opened outward only so whatever was on the opposite side couldn’t get through by pressing the electronic door button. The heavy mahogany desk from the office made sure of that. As for the glass emergency exit door David decided that he might need an evacuation route one day so he would leave that door easily accessible. He covered the glass up with some holiday wrapping paper that he found in one of the offices and prayed that whatever was outside didn’t see him putting it up. That would only add to his troubles.
David sat down by the hall, wiping the sweat off his brow. He wasn’t by any means a buff guy, and it took quite an effort to move that desk. He pulled out his carton of cigarettes and patted the back of the box. Huh. Two cigs left, he thought. I’ll have to get more at the snack shop later. He stuck the crinkled stick in his mouth and lit it with his Zippo, snapping it shut on his leg.
David pulled out a pen and the sheet of paper he kept folded up in his pocket. He unfolded the list and checked off what was already done.
*List of things to do*
-Barricade ER V
-Get more food and water V
-Get medical supplies
David thought about this one and ruled it to be superfluous. After all, if he was bitten he was a goner any way he looked at it. And if he was shot, well those things would hear the gunshot soon enough and he’d be just as dead in no time. Check.
-Get a better gun V
-Get to Yonkers
He focused on that last line and all it represented to him. Hope. Salvation. Family. They would be there. Mom, Dad and Jen. They had to be.
David looked around at his surroundings. He’d only been here for twp days and already it felt like his permanent home. But he would have to leave soon. They would find him here eventually. And Lord knows how he would hold them off then.
Back when he used to work at the hospital David used to catch a breather and a smoke up on the rooftop with his buddies. Wonder if they’re still around, he thought to himself. He then shook his head. That was a depressing thought, and he didn’t want to sadden himself any further. He’d had enough of that recently.
He stood up and brushed off the cigarette ash from his jeans and jacket. He walked to the stairwell and climbed it to the very top, to the roof where he spent so many hours wasting time and enjoying the summer air.
Now it was winter, and the sun was setting early. He walked to the edge of the roof, stepped over and let his legs hang out over the edge. He tossed the stub of what was left of his cigarette and took in the view of the city that once was his home.
They were all dead. All of them. What used to be, what could have been, none of that matters anymore. He looked down at the streets, packed with abandoned cars that glimmered in the sunset. It would be the last time he ever saw the city like this, and he knew that well. He pulled out his last cigarette and smoked ‘til darkness overtook the skies.
He would gone by the next morning.
Chapter 8: Dawn
David slept early now, having little to entertain himself with when the sun came down. Similarly, he woke almost on cue for the second day in a row right when the sun came up. He reached into the shopping basket and pulled out a packet of Toaster Strudel and a bottle of Mountain Dew. He was getting tired of Pop Tarts fast.
He ate to his fill and decided to leave the basket behind. It would be dead weight. Plus, the food it contained wasn’t very nutritious or filling. He swung the satchel over his shoulder, checked his pistols, and decided on carrying the Glock. He exited the office and walked towards the emergency exit down the hall.
Cautiously, David peeled off the wrapping paper that he taped over the glass door. He stole a peek through the tear.
Looking off into the distance David could see the streets were mostly clear of them. Only a few here and there shambling around, but the closest ones were at least 30 yards away. In the dark morning he might be able to sneak past them. All he had to worry about was transportation.
And then he saw it. A shiny red Mongoose mountain bicycle, scuffed up here and there with a scratched paint job but otherwise pristine. It would be perfect. If it weren’t locked to the parking meter across the street.
David opened the emergency exit and looked to his sides. Nothing close by. He dashed as quickly as he could across the street.
As he dashed past the 2 lanes of immobile cars that separated the sidewalks, he noticed something eerie. His footsteps resounded throughout the area. Stopping at the bike, David looked around and saw to his horror the thing he judged to be 30 yards away. He miscalculated the distance. It was more like 15. And ever more disconcerting was that fact that it had heard David's footsteps and was giving it’s full attention to him.
The thing resembled a woman, wearing a bloodsoaked light blue blouse and with her upper lip and pieces of once beautiful hair torn off. She saw David but he merely ignored her and pulled out his Swiss Army knife. He hurriedly tried to saw the thick plastic chain off of the bike. But it would not yield.
The woman seemed to inhale. David wasn’t even sure if her lungs functioned or not. But then suddenly it let out a shriek, loud, that echoed through the canyon of buildings and throughout the entire city.
David became rattled, but doubled his efforts to cut the chain. He was about a quarter through when he heard something. Voices. Groans. Coming from what sounded like every direction. He looked up from the chain and saw them. From every alley, car, and crevice the city possessed, they came in droves. Dozens of them. Thirty of them, maybe more. And David began to panic.
“No. No. Not like this.”
They were maybe 20 feet away now, and closing in a circle around him.
David thought of dying. It wouldn’t be a bad conclusion to this mess. With the things he’d seen, he could think of a worse fate.
“No. Not like this!”
He drew the Glock from his belt and pointed it at the chain. He fired, and the crack of the .40 slug tearing through the plastic resonated on every surface the city had. But the chain broke and the bicycle was free!
David then turned, looking for a hole to pass through the crowd. He searched frantically, but could not find one. He’d have to make one.
He aimed the pistol at the largest man in the crowd, a fat CEO, and fired. But he aimed too low and the hollow point bullet hit the man square in the chest. The man stumbled back some, but otherwise was unaffected. David concentrated and fired again, this time striking the man in the nose, shattering the brain stem. The man stumbled backward and fell upon several other people, knocking them back. David fired several more rounds rapid fire, tearing into the crowd, knocking down the skinnier freaks flat on their backs. He then mounted the bicycle and pedaled as hard as he could, gaining momentum. As he reached the fat man’s corpse he pedaled harder with all of his might and the bike climbed over, just barely enough to clear the still writhing bodies that covered the floor. The sickening crunch of bones permeated the droning groans of the dead but after a few bumpy feet of pedaling, David made it past the crowd.
Woohoo! He could barely stifle his own excitement as the adrenaline coursed through his veins. He pedaled up Gold Street full force, running on pure sugar high and his endorphins. I might make it! He thought to himself.
I just might make it.