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For now I m only going to post the main character s storyline. The overall story has three other main characters that it follows who find themselves in very different situations with different skill sets, plus they don t own small arsenal s like Brendon so things don t start out so easy. This is my first attempt at writing but I hope that my experiences as an airborne infantryman in the army will help me write something that is somewhat realistic. I would greatly appreciate any constructive criticism, or even any compliments to help motivate me to write. I can be reached at Jason.C.Papke@gmail.com or by leaving a comment here on scribd. I ll also try to close up some of the gaps so I can post a larger section of the story here soon. I currently have over 100,000 words written out following Brendon s group but have a couple chapters in the middle that I need to finish before I can post the rest of what I have written. Advice on my writing style would be appreciated as well. Having never written anything before I m afraid my writing skills may be lacking, so advice and pointers are appreciated.
Brendon Corbitt's Apartment Saturday March 12 7:05 A.M. Day 1
Brendon woke up to the sound of the apartment's front door slamming abruptly. He rolled over and looked at his alarm clock that read five after seven in the morning in glowing read numbers, far too early for his tastes. His roommate Aidan must have been running even later than usual. He was usually courteous when getting ready for work in the mornings so long as he wasn't cutting it too close. His job allowed him to be up to fifteen minutes late before being penalized and it took about ten minutes to get there with decent traffic. Brendon chuckled a little bit knowing that Aidan would soon be sprinting through his work's parking lot to make sure he got clocked in on time. Brendon rolled over onto his stomach and tried to shade his eyes from the light coming in the window so he could get back to sleep. After a few moments he realized that it was a losing battle and he had woken up too much to get back to sleep. He looked next to him and saw that Rebecca was still out cold. It wasn't surprising to him that she'd still be in a deep sleep. They had gone out to a nearby bar the night before to see off a friend of theirs that had been back in the state for a short visit. Brendon had offered to drive as usual and while Rebecca wasn't a very big drinker she had still had a few drinks while they were with their friends. He felt a little guilty for having his parents watch his daughter Jasmine on one of his nights with her but he figured her mother Leslie wouldn't be too upset since she understood that he had their daughter half of the nights and it had been months since he had last used a babysitter overnight. He and Leslie had experienced their differences in the past but for the most part they managed to avoid having much in the way of disagreements these days.
He rolled out of bed and pulled on a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt before sneaking out into the living room, being careful not to wake Rebecca up. When he stepped into the living room he saw that the light on his saltwater aquarium had kicked on already just like it did every other morning around sunrise. He walked into his kitchen and began to reach for a box of cereal before he stopped himself. He was pretty simple in the mornings and generally just ate a bowl of cereal to tame his stomach. Rebecca wasn't too big into eating cereal since she hated milk and would generally just skip breakfast but he wanted to try making something she would like. He figured he might as well give pancakes a shot. While he was starting to retrieve everything that he would need from the cupboards he heard what sounded like weapons fire coming from outside. If they were indeed gunshots they weren't coming from the immediate area, between his time in the Army and the fact that shooting was one of his main hobbies he had become fairly adept at gauging how far away gunshots were coming from and these were at least a quarter mile away. He lived in a reasonably safe city and the Midwest was a peaceful place to live so he figured there was no immediate danger. He decided he would just flip on the news as soon as he got breakfast started to see what was going on so he started sifting through his cupboards and pulling out everything he would need. He was just pulling a mixing bowl out of a cupboard when he heard a blood curdling scream come from outside. He rushed over to the balcony window of his second story apartment and looked outside to see a bloodied woman limping through the lot in front of the apartment building. He couldn't tell exactly how bad her injuries were but there was a lot of blood running down her left leg and she was limping badly enough that she wasn't moving very quickly. She kept looking over her shoulders with a terrified look on her face at a man who was covered in blood himself and lumbering after her. Brendon had no idea what was going on between the two outside but the lady looked like she needed help. He ran into his room and eyed his pistol lockbox on his end table for a second. He knew he could use the digital keypad to open the box in a flash but he still didn't really know what was going on outside but the man was unarmed so he likely wouldn't be able to shoot the man without getting into serious trouble for excessive force and he didn't need some maniac trying to take his gun from him. He pulled open his closet and grabbed his black KaBar combat knife from its sheath on his shooting vest. He figured that if the guy didn't stand down he'd be able to handle one injured man just fine with just a knife. He hurried out of his apartment cut through the hallway to the nearest stairway that lead to that side of the building. He was down the stairs and out the front door before he realized that he hadn't even bothered to throw on a pair of shoes. As soon as he made it into the parking lot he saw that the man had caught up to the injured woman and had tackled her. She was on her back kicking and screaming while the man attacked her. "Hey! Get the hell off of her!" he yelled in as deep and commanding of a voice as he could muster. As he yelled out the command he realized he hadn't used that voice since he had served in Afghanistan with the Army conducting counter-insurgency missions. The man seemed completely oblivious to Brendon and as he advanced closer he noticed the man was sinking his teeth into the woman's neck and Brendon almost recoiled in horror as he saw the man tear a chunk of flesh out with his teeth as the woman screamed.
"I said get off of her!" he shouted an instant before he planted his heal in the man's side. His kick landed with enough force that the man was knocked onto the ground next to the woman. Brendon didn't have time to check and see if the woman was ok before the man snarled at him and pulled himself back onto his feet. Brendon took a few steps back and brandished his knife in front of him making sure the man could see it. "Don't make me use this," he threatened, "I have no qualms with sliding this between your ribs" The man didn't so much as blink at the threats and Brendon couldn't help but think that something was terribly wrong here. The man completely ignored the woman as he stepped over her and came towards Brendon letting out a horrible moan. Brendon decided to stand his ground wanting to get medical attention for the woman as soon as possible. Once the man was a handful of steps away he raised his arms to grab Brendon. He didn't want this maniac getting a hold of him but he wasn't quite yet ready to take this to the next level. Instead he slashed out at the man's right arm leaving a deep bloody gash then quickly stepped out of his reach. To his surprise the man didn't so much as flinch, it was like he could feel no pain at all. Great I've got a druggie on my hands, Brendon thought to himself. The guy wasn't going to listen to reason and threats would be useless. The man made a quick lunge at him and the image of the man tearing a chunk out of the woman's neck flashed through Brendon's head. He felt the man's hands grip his shoulders firmly and Brendon shot his left hand out in front of him and grasped the man's throat and pushed with all of his might as the man tried to pull his mouth towards Brendon's throat. He knew there was only one way to end this without getting himself killed. The man had a good grip on the top of each of his shoulders but Brendon still had most of the motion in his arms free. He plunged his KaBar between the man's ribs certain that he had hit his left lung. The crazed man didn't even seem to notice the six inch blade sticking into his body and with both of his arms pulling on Brendon's shoulders and only one arm to fight him off Brendon was losing the struggle as the man's head got closer and closer to his neck. He pulled out his knife and rammed it into the man's torso two more times with no results. By now the man's teeth were inches away and Brendon could feel the man's surprisingly cool breath on his neck. More out of desperation than conscious though Brendon pulled his right arm out wide and plunged the tip of his knife into the man's temple sinking it in up to the hilt. He may not have responded to a punctured lung but the man went limp instantly as the knife entered his brain. Brendon used the adrenaline that was still pumping through his body to give the knife a strong tug to pull it out of the dead man's head then released his neck and stepped out from under the man's weight letting him crumple to the ground. He turned in the woman's direction just in time to see her stand up and begin walking towards him. Her limp wasn't as severe as before and she showed no signs of pain with each step, but instead had the same crazed look in her eyes that the man had shown. She let out a moan similar to what Brendon had heard moments earlier from the man. She must have been on whatever the man was and Brendon didn't think he'd have the heart to stab a woman too. It would be better to just go into the safety of his apartment where he could call the police and let them handle her and whatever drugs she was on before he told them what had happened with the man. He backpedaled away from the woman a few steps making sure to put a little bit more distance between them before turning around to head back into his apartment.
His heart nearly skipped a beat when he noticed a bloodied man and young woman were walking out of the broken glass door of the apartment immediately next to the entrance to the building exhibiting the same behavior as the last two people he had encountered. Both let out excited wails as soon as they noticed him and began moving towards him. He didn't know what the hell was going on around here but it made him want to get back into the safety of his apartment that much sooner. These people were slow to so he would just have to make sure he got to the entrance to the building first and got the door unlocked quickly. Fifteen feet away from the door Brendon stopped dead in his tracks and swore to himself as he realized that he hadn't bothered to grab the keys to his apartment when he ran outside. He could hit the buzzer to his apartment and hope that Rebecca heard it and hit the unlock button in the living room but all three of the crazed people would get to him for sure by that time. He knew he didn't have much time to think before they got to him regardless. He took a quick look around the parking lot and noticed a white full sized van from the local cable service was backed into a stall about thirty feet away. Brendon ran as fast as he could ignoring the strange feeling of running barefoot on concrete and leapt into the air just before getting to the front of the van. Without even thinking about it he used the adrenaline in his body to run up the bumper and front end of the van and was on the roof before he even realized it. He took a look around to see if there was anybody else in the area that could help but only noticed a handful of other people in the distance stumbling around in the same manner as the other people he had just encountered. It took a short while for the pair that had came out of the broken patio door to make their way to the front end of the van. As they approached Brendon noticed that they didn't have any obvious leg injuries like the man and woman that he had first encountered. The first woman was still twenty feet away hobbling in his direction. Without any leg injuries the couple nearest him were able to move somewhat faster than the first two. They still weren't very fast but they were able to at least reach an uncoordinated and lumbering jog that really wasn't any faster than a normal person speed walking. Upon reaching the van the couple began crawling up the front of the vehicle. Brendon again brandished his knife but the couple showed no reaction much like the man earlier. The female was the first to make it onto the hood. She stood up and began to walk up the windshield. Brendon stepped to the front of the roof and planted a foot in her chest before she had time to grab his leg with her outstretched arms and she fell backwards off of the hood and onto the pavement. The man paid no attention to her as she fell past him and merely focused on getting up on top of the van. Once he had both feet onto the hood he reached a hand up towards Brendon. Not certain if this man could feel pain either Brendon slashed at his outstretched hand leaving a deep ugly gash between the man's fingers. This man also didn t so much as flinch as the blade sliced through his flesh. Deciding that causing pain to these people was truly useless Brendon waited for the man to rise up into a standing position and kicked him in his upper chest with all of his might and felt one of the man's hands rake across his leg as he fell backwards off the front of the vehicle. By the time the man hit the ground the woman had already regained her footing and didn't look the least bit phased. To make matters worse the woman from earlier had limped her way over to the front of the vehicle as well and was trying to climb up to get to him. Brendon knew he couldn't keep this up forever, both times he had kicked down one of these people they had nearly latched onto his leg and
pulled him down with them, plus he would probably get tired long before the three of them did since they must have had some type of drugs in their system. Brendon heard a car horn honking and looked to his right to see Aidan's black Geo come careening through the parking lot. Brendon didn't realize until the last second what Aidan was doing and barely had time to throw himself down onto his stomach an instant before Aidan swerved his car into the front end of the van. The impact disoriented Brendon but he somehow managed to stay on the roof of the van. He looked down to the front of the van and saw that the younger woman was pinned between Aidan's car and the van. Even with her torso crushed she still kept reaching up in Brendon's direction letting out that terrible moan showing no signs of the pain that she should have been feeling. The woman with the limp had been pushed out to the side but was still standing and the man was nowhere to be seen which likely meant he had been pushed under the car. Brendon saw the driver's side door to his roommate s car open and soon after Aidan stumbled out of the vehicle looking a little dazed with white powder from his deployed airbag covering his front. Brendon jumped off of the side of the van wincing a little as his bare feet hit the pavement. "We have to get inside," he shouted to his roommate noticing that the other people that he had seen in the distance earlier had heard the crash and were now coming in their direction. Aidan nodded back at him and both of them took off towards the entrance of their building. This time luck was with them and there were no people in their path. "Crap, I left my keys in the ignition," Aidan said as they came to a stop at the front glass door to their building. Brendon stopped and thought for a moment, not feeling as rushed as the last time he had tried to get into the building since there weren't crazed people as close to him as last time. "We can get in through here," Brendon said as he ran to the apartment that he had seen the two people come out of earlier. He slowed down as he passed through the broken glass around the patio door not wanting to step on any shards with his bare feet or slice himself with the pieces still sticking out of the frame. Aidan followed behind him and the pair went to the front door of the apartment. From the inside they were able to unlock the door and head out into the hallway. They didn't encounter anyone on the way to the stairs or in the stairwell and Brendon was beginning to think they were home free until they turned the corner into their hallway and noticed two men at the far end of the short hallway and a third man pounding on a door halfway between their location and their apartment door. Before Brendon even had time to act Aidan took off full speed at the closest man. Just before getting to him he bent down low and hit him in the stomach hard with his right shoulder. Aidan had played football when they had been in high school so he knew how to hit a guy. The man was laid out flat on his back and Aidan managed to stay on his feet without tripping over the man. Brendon and Aidan both ran by him avoiding his reaching hands and managed to get to the door to their apartment an instant before the other two crazed men that had been just beyond their apartment. Brendon hadn't locked their door on the way out so Aidan pushed it open and ran through the doorway. Brendon was just behind him and felt fingertips brush across his shoulder as he ran through the door. Aidan threw his weight against the door just as Brendon passed through the doorway but the reaching arm behind him managed to snake its way into the apartment and Aidan couldn't get the door shut all the way. Soon they could hear both men pounding and pushing against the door in an attempt to get in and Brendon could tell that Aidan was having trouble holding them back. "Hold it just a little
bit longer," Brendon shouted as he ran into his bedroom dropping his bloody knife on the kitchen counter as he went by. As he burst into the room he noticed that Rebecca was sitting up in bed with a confused look on her face. "What's going on out there?" she asked. Brendon just ignored her knowing he couldn't spare any time just yet. He again glanced at his pistol box next to the bed but after seeing how these people couldn't feel pain he didn't want to try to take them out with just 9mm rounds. He threw open the doors to his closet and reached up above the door frame to his Remington 870 pump shotgun that was hanging on two hooks near the ceiling. With its short barrel, pistol grip, and folding stock he often referred to it as his riot shotgun. He unfolded the stock as he headed back into the living room. He had always stored his shotgun with the safety off, chamber empty, and eight shells in the tube. The first two were rubber buckshot rounds that he had always figured he would use to give any unarmed intruders a chance but the last six shells were lead buckshot. Remembering how these people didn't feel pain he pumped the shotgun three times causing it to throw the initial two rubber buckshot shells onto the floor and load a shell containing lead buckshot into the chamber. "Open up the door all the way, but be ready to slam it again as soon as I get them out of the way," Brendon said to Aidan. "Got it," Aidan said through gritting teeth. "You ready?" he asked. Brendon nodded back and his roommate swung the door open ninety degrees and the two men outside nearly fell into the room. Brendon pulled the trigger on his shotgun sending nine .33" diameter lead balls into the chest of the man that had initially reached his arm in through the doorway. The force of the blast was enough to push the man back a couple of steps before he lost his balance and fell back into a sitting position with his back against the wall. Brendon pumped the shotgun as fast as he could as he lined up the barrel with the second man who had taken a step into the apartment. Brendon pulled the trigger a second time sending that man back into the hallway as well. It wasn't as dramatic as in the movies when a person was hit with a shotgun but the force of the large lead balls impacting their bodies had definitely been enough to knock them both back. "Close it!" Brendon shouted to Aidan not waiting to see the full extent of the damage done to the two men remembering that there was still the third man in the hallway that Aidan had barreled over. Aidan slammed the door, locked the deadbolt and slid the chain into place as well then walked into the living room visibly shaking. "What the hell is going on out here?" Rebecca said as she peaked out of Brendon's bedroom and into the living room. Brendon was actually surprised at how calm she was considering that she had just heard Brendon fire two shots from inside the apartment and there was a bloody knife laying on the nearby counter, but then again she had always been a tough girl. He had shared with her some of the things he had done in Iraq and Afghanistan and she knew him well enough to know that he would only fire a weapon if it was completely necessary. "I don't have any idea," Brendon admitted. "I saw a lady being attacked outside so I went out to help and everyone I've ran into except for Aidan has attacked us. They all jumped a little when there was a loud bang on the door followed by more pounding. Brendon figured that the man Aidan had knocked over was trying to get in but he went to the door to look through the peep hole anyways. When he did he was shocked to see that all three of the men were on their feet and pounding on the door. The two he had shot both had blood stained tattered shirts but seemed to be moving just fine.
"How the hell are they both alive?" Brendon asked. "I hit them both with buckshot, those spreads had to of hit their hearts and lungs." "The lady is still alive to," Aidan said as he looked out the balcony window. Brendon and Rebecca both walked over to the window and he heard Rebecca gasp as they looked out. Sure enough the lady was still pinned between the bumpers of the vehicles. After a few moments she looked up and noticed them and began reaching in their direction even though they were a good distance away. "It was all over the radio," Aidan said not taking his eyes off of the lady. "They said it s some sort of epidemic. These people go crazy and attack everyone they see and everyone they get a hold of goes crazy as well. They're almost impossible to kill. I didn't make it very far outside of our neighborhood before I decided to turn back but I saw dozens of them just in the short time I was driving." This was a lot worse than Brendon had thought. He had figured it was drug use causing the behavior but that explanation had stopped making sense after running into as many of these people as they had getting back into the apartment. He looked over to their front door that was still visibly shaking from all of the pounding being done on it then down at the shotgun in his hands. It had four shells left in it and he had five shell holders on the left side of the receiver and on the bottom of the stock. He pulled all five shells from the bottom of the stock because, including the space left by shell that was now in the chamber, there was now enough room for five more shells to be loaded giving him a total of nine in the weapon. He handed the shotgun off to Aidan certain that his roommate remembered how to operate the weapon. Aidan had never been military or even owned his own weapon but he had gone shooting with Brendon enough times to know the basic operation of all of his weapons. "Keep an eye on the door, I'm gonna go grab my sidearm," Brendon said just before heading into his room. He went to his closet and grabbed his pistol belt and snapped it around his waist and buckled the thigh straps to his drop-leg holster. He had a sixteen round magazine on the front end of the holster as well as another sixteen and a ten round mag in pouches that ran horizontally on either side of the belt buckle. Once he had the belt and holster on he walked over to his lock box and entered in the four digit code on the keypad. The spring-loaded door popped open revealing is Springfield XD subcompact pistol. The pistol already had a ten round magazine loaded into it with no round in the chamber. He chambered a round then removed the ten round magazine and placed it in the left pocket of his shorts and replaced it with a sixteen rounder. He checked to make sure that the light and laser on the pistol still had battery power then slid the pistol into his holster before walking back into the living room. He was sure he looked strange wearing a pistol belt with gym shorts and a t-shirt but at this point he didn't really care. The others had turned on the television and were watching a news broadcast. The front door was still shaking violently so Brendon walked over to their couch and grabbed an armrest and lifted. "Help me get this to the door," he said to Aidan. His roommate walked over and grabbed the other end of the couch and together they carried it over to the front door. They pushed one of the armrests against the doorway so that even if the locks did break the men outside would have to push against the entire length of the couch to get the door open. It wasn't the best of barricades but it would at least slow them down if the door did come loose.
Brendon and Aidan went back into the living room and both sat down with Rebecca who was fixated on the television as she flipped through the news channels. Nearly every channel was covering what was happening in their city. Apparently the first reports of violent people had been made near a hospital in the northern part of the city around ten the previous night but nobody had realized that it was actually some sort of disease. It wasn't until around midnight that the police department had realized that the behavior was spreading through contact. Over the course of the night the National Guard had been called up to quarantine the city and the President himself had ordered active duty military units to the area to assist with the quarantine but so far no troops had been ordered into the city. In the early morning the police had attempted to set up a perimeter to stop the epidemic from spreading into the southern side of the city but their attempt had failed and the police force had been decimated. With the government refusing to send the military into the city it looked as if the residents were being left to fend for themselves. The news anchors were urging people to stay in their homes and barricade their houses as well as they could manage. Brendon retrieved his cell phone and attempted to call his parents but the lines were busy. He tried calling the numbers of a few other friends and family members in town but every attempt was the same, the phone lines in the area must have been completely tied up. He wasn't too worried about his family quite yet, they lived on a farm about thirty miles south of the city and his father owned a few rifles as well as a shotgun. His daughter Jasmine was staying with his parents and two sisters so she would be safe down there as well. In the meantime it was probably best that the three of them stay put in the apartment where they only had to worry about one door and they had plenty of weapons. He figured they probably had enough food to last them about a month, plus he had three cases of MREs in his closet. The military rations weren't exactly gourmet food but they could last a while off of that. He was sure the government would be able to get enough troops into the area and clear out the city or come up with a cure for these people within a couple of weeks, they just had to survive that long.
Brendon's Apartment Saturday March 12 8:01 A.M. Day 1
Brendon couldn t believe what they were seeing on the television. The three of them had continued watching the news for the last thirty minutes learning as much as they could about what exactly was going on. Apparently a professor at the city s university had managed to lock himself in a lab after being bitten by one and confirmed through tests on his own blood that it was a virus that multiplied at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately he had succumbed to the virus before he could find out anything else. At one point the news anchor put out an update announcing that somebody had reported that headshots were the only certain way to kill these people. It made sense to Aidan and Brendon. Of the people they had encountered Aidan had crushed one with his car and Brendon had
shot two of them to no avail but the man he had stabbed in the temple had died instantly. He made a mental note to fight his Army training and try for head shots instead of aiming center of mass then checked to make sure the other two had caught that news. Brendon tried calling his family one more time to check on things down there but the phone lines were still tied up. It dawned on him that the internet may still be working so he retrieved his laptop from his room and fired it up. Sure enough their internet connection was still working fine. The news feeds on his homepage were filled with headlines about what was going on in his city. He didn't have any new e-mails from his family but there was one message in his inbox from his good friend Jared Wiggins. Jared had sent out the e-mail to a number of their friends and it simply told them to sign into the old messenger they had used back in high school along with his screen name. Brendon had grown out of using the old messenger shortly after graduating high school but he still had the program installed on his computer since he had used it a little to communicate with his family while he was in Iraq. He went ahead and signed in, nobody from his family was online but he saw that Wiggins and their friend Eric Griffin were both signed on. Seconds after signing on he got an invite from Griffin to join a chat room. He hadn't used a chat room in years and he hoped that the version of the messenger he had installed would still be able to support one. He accepted and upon entering the chat saw that both Griffin and Wiggins were already in the room. Griff1865 (8:07:23 AM): Hey man you been watching the news? LRS_Infantry11B (8:07:42 AM): Yeah, Aidan and I ran into a few of them before hearing about what was going on LTWiggins04 (8:07:49 AM): You both ok? LRS_Infantry11B (8:07:59 AM): Little shaken but you should see the other guys Griff1865 (8:08:08 AM): So you actually took some of those people out? LRS_Infantry11B (8:08:26 AM): Well... just one actually, more by accident than anything else. They can take buckshot to the chest but they can't survive a KaBar to the brain. LTWiggins04 (8:08:36 AM): Sounds a little too close LRS_Infantry11B (8:08:45 AM): It was... How are you guys doing? LTWiggins04 (8:08:54 AM): Locked and cocked here, not too many of them on my side of town yet. Griff1865 (8:08:56 AM): Jake and I are both armed at our place, so far we've kept them out but we have a lot of windows to cover.
LRS_Infantry11B (8:09:17 AM): Aidan, Rebecca and I are doing good here, we broke out a couple of the guns just to be safe. They're in our building but can't get into the apartment. Brunkow2004 has just joined the chat (8:09:46 AM) LRS_Infantry11B (8:09:58 AM): Hey Evan, you and Janet doing ok? Brunkow2004 (8:10:15 AM): I'm alright, just locked in my house. Julie is out of town visiting family. LTWiggins04 (8:10:23 AM): You have any guns there? Brunkow2004 (8:10:36 AM): I have my old trap shotgun here but only about fifty trap loads and a box of shells for turkey hunting. LRS_Infantry11B (8:10:42 AM): That should do fine up close, you heard to shoot them in the head right? Brunkow2004 (8:10:51 AM): Yeah I caught that on the news, haven't had to do it yet. Brunkow2004 (8:11:05 AM): I kinda want to get somewhere safer, I'm alone here and my house has a lot of windows and no second floor. Griff1865 (8:11:19 AM): I feel the same way, maybe we could all meet up for safety? LRS_Infantry11B (8:11:31 AM): Sounds good to me, you two's houses don't sound ideal and I have some of those people pounding on my door LTWiggins04 (8:11:44 AM): My place it is, the south side isn't bad yet and my apartment is on the third floor Oshenloger1234 has just joined the chat Oshenloger1234 (8:11:59 AM): Guys I don't know what to do Griff1865 (8:12:13 AM): You have anybody else or any guns with you? Oshenloger1234 (8:12:27 AM): I have my shotgun in my closet but my roommates aren't home. LRS_Infantry11B (8:12:40 AM): Well all of us are going to meet up at Wiggins' apartment, you should grab your shotgun and head there Oshenloger1234 (8:12:56 AM): I can do that, I just hope I can make it there
LTWiggins04 (8:13:10 AM): You will, is there anyone who doesn't remember how to get here? Griff1865 (8:14:03 AM): Guess not, everyone should make sure to bring a pack of food with them, there's no telling how long we'll all have to stay there LRS_Infantry11B (8:14:20 AM): Hey Wiggins, do you still have that rope ladder you bought a while back in case of a fire in the stairwell? LTWiggins04 (8:14:35 AM): Yeah, why? LRS_Infantry11B (8:14:51 AM): Well these guys are pretty persistent, it looks like they'll pound on a door until it breaks down or their arms break. Maybe you should lower the ladder from your balcony and get to barricading your door. LTWiggins04 (8:15:00 AM): Sounds good to me, I'll post out on the balcony with my AR-15 and keep an eye out for you guys. Griff1865 (8:15:19 AM): k, we'll be heading out here in about fifteen minutes, we just have to grab a few things Oshenloger1234 (8:15:27 AM): I want to get out of here so I'm gonna leave right away Brunkow2004 (8:15:34 AM): I'm leaving now to LRS_Infantry11B (8:15:51 AM): It might take us a little while to head out, I'm gonna try to load the three of us up with all of my guns, but we'll make some noise when we get there. LTWiggins04 (8:15:59 AM): Ok, I'll see everyone when you get here. Griff1865 (8:16:18 AM): Good luck everyone Brendon waited a little while to make sure nobody else had anything to say. He decided he would leave the chat room open just in case anyone needed to say anything further before they left. He checked his list of online friends one more time and saw that his daughter's mother Leslie was still not online. She lived farther north than him in an area that had more infected people. He opened his phone back up and tried calling her again but the lines were all still tied up. He was pretty worried about her, he still considered her to be family in a sense. He checked his friends list and saw that Griffin was still logged in, he lived a lot closer to Leslie and the two used to talk while Brendon was overseas.
LRS_Infantry11B (8:17:30 AM): Griff I need to talk to you
Griff1865 (8:17:43 AM): What s up man? LRS_Infantry11B (8:17:23 AM): You remember where Leslie's apartment is right? Griff1865 (8:17:37 AM): Yeah, we only stopped by there once but I think I remember which one it is LRS_Infantry11B (8:17:49 AM): What would I have to do to talk you guys into picking her up? I haven't been able to reach her to know how she is Griff1865 (8:18:41 AM): Jake doesn't sound too thrilled, there are a lot of people we'd like to pick up if we could Griff1865 (8:18:48 AM): I thought things were tense between you two anyways LRS_Infantry11B (8:19:03 AM): I have a kid with her man, I know you can't quite understand that yet, but we've been through a lot and I just want her to be safe even if we can t usually stand the sight of each other. Griff1865 (8:19:52 AM): We'll swing by her place. No promises, you know how things are in that part of town, but we'll try. LRS_Infantry11B (8:20:00 AM): Thanks man, I'll see you at Wiggins' Griff1865 (8:20:14 AM): See you there LRS_Infantry11B (8:20:20 AM): Out here Brendon put the laptop on the ground next to him and let out a big sigh not wanting to set foot outside again even though linking up was a good plan. He noticed that both Aidan and Rebecca were looking at him with confused expressions. He probably should have asked for their input on everything going in on the chat room but he had been a little too fixated on the conversation to think of taking the time to ask them. He took some time to fill them in on everything that had been said and what he thought was the best plan for getting to Wiggins' which was only about a twenty block trip. Rebecca didn't like the idea at all, so far she hadn't been face to face with one of these people and they seemed to be pretty safe here, but she said she would go if they did. Aidan wasn't very thrilled either but he agreed that there was safety in numbers. The three of them agreed that if they were going to make it to Wiggins' they needed to make their move soon before the ratio of infected people to normal people in this part of the city got any worse. Brendon went to his bedroom closet and entered the combination on his gun safe. He thought over his weapons collection and decided that his Bulgarian AKS-74U Krinkov would be the best weapon for Rebecca to use. It was the shortened version of the AK-74 that was chambered for 5.45x39mm
rounds. He had seven thirty round magazines for the weapon and roughly 1,800 rounds. He loaded a magazine into the rifle and grabbed another two then brought the rifle out to Rebecca. She had gone shooting with him a handful of times and she had liked this particular rifle and had been decent with it so he knew she would be helpful if the men outside managed to get in through the door. He brought all three cases of MREs, two military ruck sacks, his three day assault pack, and three military duffel bags out to the living room and instructed them on how to strip down an MRE so that all of the unnecessary packaging was removed to save space in the packs and to put food from the kitchen into the bags as well. His ruck was already packed full of everything that he would normally need to go out into the field so he didn t have to change much. There was plenty of extra space to jam in some extra food and boxes of ammunition. All of his magazines and stripper clips in his room were loaded so he knew any extra boxes of ammunition he came across would have to be loaded into the bags so he went ahead and brought everything he found out to the others to be loaded up. Making sure they knew to divide the ammo up evenly enough that if they lost one of the bags it wouldn't have all of their ammo in it. He also gave quick instructions on how to load the bags economically so the unimportant things were in the bottom and the most important items like ammunition were easiest to get to. The other two looked like they had enough work to keep them busy so he started making trips to his room to decide how to equip each of them for the trip. He had three pistols so that choice would be easy. He planned on leaving his XD on his hip. Between his tactical vest and his pistol belt he had over a hundred rounds worth of loaded magazines. He had about two hundred and fifty spare rounds for the pistol so there was plenty of ammunition to feed the weapon. He pulled out the belt holster that held his CZ52 pistol and threw it into the pile of gear he was going to give to Aidan. It had been his first pistol and it wasn't exactly pretty. He only had three ten round magazines for the weapon but that would have to do. He did a quick count and saw that overall he had roughly 120 rounds for the pistol. He added his old army digital camouflaged tactical vest that he had worn over his armor in the Middle East to the pile of gear for Aidan. The vest housed a dozen thirty round magazines for the AR-15 that he would be giving Aidan. His roommate had proved to be proficient with the rifle in the past and Brendon figured it would give him a little bit more range than the shotgun would while they were on the move. The spare 1,200 rounds he had would sustain the rifle through anything they would face. After setting up Aidan's gear he pulled down the second holster that housed his Walther P22 pistol. The pistol had a small red laser attached to it and at screwed onto the end of the barrel was a .22 caliber suppresser that he had also had to obtain a tax stamp for in order to purchase. Most suppressors didn't make a gun anywhere near as quiet as in the movies but his P22 fired small enough rounds that it made almost no noise with the suppressor mounted. He had five magazines for the pistol that each held ten .22 rimfire rounds as well as a brick of ammunition that had almost five-hundred rounds left in it. Brendon attached that holster to the old woodland camo vest that he had been issued in the days before the army had switched over to their digital camo. The vests had six magazine pouches that would each hold an AK magazine for the Krinkov Rebecca was carrying. Brendon brought both of the vests as well as the AR-15 out to the others and gave them each a quick run through of their gear. He also gave each of them a hydration pack to wear on their backs. He hoped to make it to Wiggins' by vehicle but the news had shown chaos on the streets and many roads
were blocked by accidents. If they had to make it on foot he wanted them all to have water to keep hydrated with. While he was showing them their gear the city's emergency tornado sirens started blaring in the distance. They all looked to the TV and saw that there was nothing new being announced in the coverage and agreed that somebody had probably just set off the tornado sirens to get people to turn on the news. A lot of people paid no attention to the morning news so chances were there were still thousands of people in the city that had no idea anything was wrong. It had taken the officials long enough to think to set off the sirens though, the situation might not be as bad as it currently was had they thought to turn on the sirens in the middle of the night while most of the population had been sleeping. With Aidan and Rebecca's primary gear chosen he decided that it was time to arrange his own equipment. He pulled his AK-47 from the safe having decided that particular rifle would serve him best. He had put a black M-4 stock on the rifle along with a rail system up front that had a holographic red dot sight on top and a green laser and flashlight on either side. Everything on his weapon checked out so he rolled a magazine into the rifle and placed it onto his bed. He changed into a comfortable pair of boots and one of his multicam uniforms then pulled his black ammo vest over it. The vest had six magazine pouches that currently held two AK mags each but could hold three M-4 mags if he needed. Even with all the loaded magazines for his AK he still had a thousand round brick of 7.62 ammo that was unopened along with a newly opened brick that still had well over five-hundred rounds of ammo in it, along with over a dozen fully loaded magazines. He put one of his two radios in the pouch on his left shoulder and gave the other to Aidan. The three of them wouldn't be needing to use radios on the trip to Wiggins' apartment but there was always the chance that they could need them in the future. On the back of his vest he had attached a large pouch that held his hydration pack giving him a three liter supply of water. On the lower back of his vest was the sheath for his KaBar sitting horizontally. The last thing he attached to his vest was a drop leg paddle that had a large pouch that held his 75 round drum for his AK-47 as well as two more pistol magazine pouches and a dump pouch that could be used to quickly drop empty magazines into. Overall between his vest and the magazines already in his pistol and rifle he would be carry over five hundred rounds loaded into magazines. He figured that if he needed to fire more than that he was screwed anyways and wouldn't be making it to Wiggins' place so he decided not to modify his gear any further even though there were still a handful of free molle straps on his vest, especially on the back. He looked into his gun safe and saw that he still had a handful of weapons that they would just have to pack into the rest of their gear. He strapped his old Yugoslavian SKS onto one of the packs and filled a nearby pocket with stripper clips for the rifle. As large as the rifle was he had to admit it would make a far better club than the rest of his weapons and the bayonet that folded underneath the barrel could be useful as well. The last firearm in the safe was his AR-10. The rifle had the look of a M-16 with bipod and large scope on top. He had a trio of twenty round magazines and one ten round magazine for the weapon meaning that he couldn't keep as many rounds loaded for it as his other rifles. He reloaded ammunition for this weapon and currently only had just over two hundred rounds of .308 loaded.
He attached the AR-10 along with the shotgun he had used earlier to remaining spots on the outsides of their packs where they could get to them quickly if needed. With all of the guns and ammo out Brendon went to the kitchen and started boiling a pot of water to disinfect his KaBar in. The only other things he could think of that could be potentially useful would be the rest of his military gear. He had dozens more ammo and equipment pouches that could be attached to the molle straps on the vests and packs. He spent some time attaching more pouches to the rucks and assault pack for extra storage space then threw the rest of the pouches along with other miscellaneous military gear that could come in handy into the pile of gear to be packed. He was now convinced that he had gotten everything that could be of use out of his room. Rebecca was sitting on the living room floor next to the large pile of supplies they had stacked up splitting her attention between watching the news for updates and carefully loading supplies into the packs. Aidan was sifting through the kitchen cupboards bringing armfuls of nonperishable foods over to the pile. Brendon walked over to the kitchen and helped Aidan get more food from the kitchen. Within a few minutes they had gotten the last of the food brought over to the pile of supplies to be loaded up. "Ok, we're gonna take a quick break," Brendon said getting the attention of the other two. "There is a lot of food here that we can't take with us and we don't know how long we'll be stuck at Wiggins' apartment so we might as well get a good meal down while we're here. There is a lot of stuff that'll go bad while we're gone like all of the yogurt, cheese, and frozen foods so spend a little bit eating whatever you want, just be sure not to overdo it." "You won't hear any complaining from me," Aidan said already on his way to the fridge. Just a couple years ago Aidan had been somewhat overweight. Around the time Brendon returned from Afghanistan the last time Aidan had started eating healthier and going to the gym five nights a week to lift and run. It had been a long time since he had allowed himself to eat whatever he wanted, or a large quantity. "Are you going to get anything?" Brendon asked Rebecca when he noticed that she hadn't moved from her spot on the floor and was still loading supplies into the bags. "I'm not really hungry, I'll be fine," she replied. Brendon knew she had to get some food into her. She hadn't ate anything since the night before and her skinny frame didn't have any reserves to feed off of. He wasn't sure if she really just wasn't hungry or if everything going on around them had ruined her appetite. If that was the case he couldn't blame her, he was nervous to the point of nausea at the prospect of going outside again but he knew what they had to do. "You're going to need your strength if we're gonna carry all of this out of here. I just need you to eat as much as you can without getting sick." He grabbed a yogurt from the fridge and brought it over to her along with a spoon from the drawer. "Start out with this then we'll see if you feel up to any more after that." Rebecca let out a small sigh but accepted the yogurt and started slowly eating some. Unlike Rebecca Brendon was starving, his metabolism had always seemed to work in overdrive making him constantly hungry. Once Aidan was done in the fridge Brendon grabbed a yogurt, bowl of applesauce, and made a sandwich to hold him over while he microwaved a plate full of chicken strips. While he waited for the microwave to finish he brought the rest of the food over to his laptop and checked his e-mail one more time. He still had nothing new in his inbox but he knew that his father checked his e-mail routinely so he decided to compose them a quick message before they set out.
Mom and Dad, I've tried to call you but the phones have been down all morning. I don't know if you have seen on the news what is going on in the city but I wanted to tell you I'm ok. Aidan and Rebecca are here with me in the apartment, we got out the guns and are watching the doorway. Things are getting crazy so a group of us is going to get together at Wiggins' apartment for better protection. I'll try to get a hold of you when I can. Keep Jasmine safe for me until I can find a way to get down there. Lock all of the doors and block the windows. It sounds like those things are contained to the city for now but you should be ready just in case. If any of them get into the house go to the second floor. The stairs will make a good choke point and they'll be easy to shoot as they run up, make sure you aim for their heads, it seems to be the only way to kill them. Get Grandma and Grandpa over there to help you if you can talk them into it. Brendon
The e-mail was short but it conveyed everything that he needed it to. At the very least it let his family know that he was ok. He was sure that his mother would be sick with worry, like most any other mother she was always extremely concerned whenever one of her children was in any type of danger. He could only hope that the internet was still working when he got to Wiggins' apartment so he could check for a response. He got off the computer offering to give Aidan and Rebecca a chance to send messages to their families. He wanted to remain somewhat productive so he got the last of his food from the microwave and moved over to the pile of supplies that still needed to be packed away. He divided his attention between packing, eating and watching the news. After watching the news for just a few minutes he could tell that things were still getting worse. Troops still hadn't been sent into the city and they were still under orders to not allow any civilians out of the city regardless of if they showed signs of infection or not. Little was still known about the outbreak but it was speculated that the disease was spread by fluid transfers since anybody that the news helicopters spotted being bitten turned soon after while others who were merely in physical contact but escaped unharmed or only with scratches seemed to be fine. Every person bitten seemed to take a different amount of time to change. The people who were mauled and bitten multiple times seemed to turn the fastest, probably because larger amounts of the virus was transferred into their system. There were reports of others who took hours to change after receiving only small shallow bites that likely only transferred only small amounts of the virus into areas of their body with less blood flow. So far there hadn't been any reports of people whose bodies had fought off the disease, it seemed to affect everyone. At sunrise when the media had first been able to get a good look at the chaos in the city using news helicopters they had estimated that roughly ten percent of the city was infected. The number of infected seemed to be growing exponentially and currently they were guessing that the number was closer to a third of the population and growing rapidly.
The news stations continued to show footage of the chaos and violence on the streets and the more he watched the more nervous Brendon began to feel about going out there. Not wanting the others to know what was going on he stood up and walked through his bedroom to the bathroom in back. He closed the door behind him then stood over the toilet trying to calm his nerves. It turned out to be a losing battle however and after a few minutes he started vomiting into the toilet. He hoped that the others couldn't hear him from the living room, he didn't want them knowing how nervous he was about making the trip to Wiggins'. He was the soldier of the group and the only person trained to fight so they were both counting on him to get them to a safer place. He didn't want them seeing him show any weakness, he needed to present a strong front to help keep them both calm and positive. After a few heaves his stomach calmed down and he was relieved to see that he had mainly just lost liquids and most of his food had stayed down. He went into the kitchen and grabbed a sports drink and a banana to help rehydrate him and replace the little food he had lost. He noticed that the yogurt must have sparked Rebecca's appetite because he she was starting to eat a sandwich and had a bowl of grapes sitting next to her. There wasn't much left to be packed so he told the others they were going to gear up in fortyfive minutes but they were free to do whatever they needed until then provided the last of the supplies got packed. He suggested that they both change into thick pants and long sleeved shirts to help protect themselves. When he was finished talking to the other two he headed over to the window and took another look outside. Sure enough the woman was still pinned between the two vehicles and there were about six other infected people wondering around the parking lot searching for a meal. He was going to have to come up with a plan for the three of them to get out of the building and to Wiggins'. He didn't want it to be an intricate plan since he had learned long ago that no matter how well you prepared for something it never went as planned. He just wanted to come up with a basic idea on how to get there, he could make the small decisions on the fly. One saying he had heard many times in the army was "keep it simple, stupid," and as odd as the phrase sounded it really made sense. The more basic your plan, the fewer things that can go wrong and throw you off. He moved over to the bags and began packing away the last of the gear as he tried to figure out the best way for them to get to their destination.
Trent leaving apartment, stops at gas station, molotov used from vehicle or high place
Brendon's Apartment Saturday March 12 10:03 A.M. Day 1
With everybody geared up and all of the bags sealed it was time for them to go. Brendon picked up his ruck and instructed the other two to follow with more bags as he walked over to the balcony window. He slid open the glass door and stepped outside for the first time in hours. There were a
number of infected people in the parking lot and as soon as they spotted him they all let out excited moans and began lumbering in his direction. The news had stated that head shots consistently killed these people but he wanted to see it in action before they all tried to get to his SUV. He put his ruck on the ground next to him, flipped on his red dot and lined up the reticle with the head of a bloodied middle-aged man that was about forty yards away attempting to jog through the parking lot. He was moving directly towards Brendon so it was an easy shot. As soon as he squeezed down on the trigger he saw a red mist spray from the back of the man's head as he crumpled to the ground and laid there motionless. He had a quick detach suppressor on the end of the rifle but even with it attached to his AK the gunshot made enough noise to get the attention of even more of the crazed people in the immediate area. Brendon bent over and rested the front of his AK on the railing around the balcony and began snapping off shots at the approaching infected. Since they could barely manage a slow jog they made reasonably easy targets at closer ranges and he managed to put most of them down on the first shot. He heard a gunshot to his right and looked over to see that Aidan had rested his AR-15 on the railing and was taking shots as well. Aidan didn't have as much practice with moving targets but it looked like he was doing almost as well as Brendon was. Plus the AR-15 had a ACOG scope on top that would help make distance shots with a small red dot on top of the scope for close range work. Within a couple of minutes they had cleared out the immediate area but Brendon could still spot more people in the distance that were moving in their direction. He knew that there were probably enough infected people in the city that they could keep this up all day without there being an end to them so he decided that they had taken out enough of them for the time being. He had tied lengths of 550 cord to each of the bags with knots in them for better grip earlier not wanting to simply throw the bags down to ground level fearing that the contents may be damaged upon impact. He placed his ruck on the railing and grabbed the 550 cord with both hands as he let the ruck tip over the edge. It slid down a few feet before he was able to get a tight enough grip on the chord to stop the bag's descent. Even through his nomex gloves he felt heat from the friction caused by the sliding cord and was glad that he had remembered to make sure they all had gloves on. He lightened his grip just enough to let the ruck slowly descend to the ground then threw what was left of the cord over the edge once he saw the bag touch the ground. To his left and right Rebecca and Aidan were both doing the same with their bags and neither of them seemed to have any major issues getting the bags down. They each had to lower a second bag in order to get all of their supplies to the ground level. Once everything was down Brendon looked over to his white Explorer that was parked about forty feet away, pulled out his keys and hit the unlock button twice. He heard the distinct noise of his car doors unlocking and decided that there wasn't anything left for them to do before leaving. The three of them went back inside and Aidan and Brendon both put fresh magazines in their rifles. Aidan and Brendon both went over to the front door which was still visibly shaking from all of the pounding on the outside. They pulled the couch back into the living room where it would be out of their way. Aidan went returned to the door and looked out the peep hole for a few moments. "Looks like there are still the same three outside," Aidan said as he backed a couple steps away from the door "Swing it open and get out of the way, I'll get them from here," Brendon responded as he positioned himself ten feet from the door and brought up his rifle. Aidan positioned himself to the side of the door the hinges were on and reached across to disengage all of the locks. Once he was ready he
placed his hand on the lock and looked to Brendon. "Do it," Brendon said. The words were barely out of his mouth when Aidan swung the door open and backpedaled off to the side into the kitchen to get out of Brendon's way. Sure enough the same three men were standing outside, two of them with large wounds in their chests. Brendon lined up his sights with the closest of the wounded two and squeezed down on the trigger before he had made it two steps into the room. He crumpled to the ground and the second injured man stumbled over him as he fell. Brendon shifted his aim over to the uninjured man that had made it past the first ones body and put a round between his eyes before he had time to cover half of the ground between Brendon and the door. There was a third louder gunshot and the third man fell to the ground with the other two and Brendon realized that Rebecca had taken a shot from her position off to his right. "Good work," Brendon said to the other two, "Now let's get out of here." As planned he lead the way into the hall. A quick look to the left and right showed that there weren't any other infected in the hallway. The three of them headed down the hallway to the right towards the stairwell that lead out front. Once they reached the doorway to the stairwell Brendon reached forward and turn the doorknob as quietly as he could. He saw Rebecca had her rifle ready to cover him and Aidan was a few feet behind them facing the direction they had already came to make sure that nobody snuck up on them. Brendon swung open the door and nearly jumped out of his skin when he found himself face to face with young woman with blood smeared clothing. She jumped at him and before he had time to react she was quickly too close for him to be able to raise his rifle. He shot his left hand forward against her neck and pressed as hard as he could to keep her teeth away from him. She dug her hands into his back and attempted to pull herself close enough to bite him. He could tell that he was stronger than she was but he only had one arm competing against her two. She was slowly pulling herself closer and their faces were inches apart. Rebecca must not have had a shot from her angle so he reached down to his right hip and drew his pistol. They still weren't sure exactly how easy it was for the condition to spread and he really didn't want to splatter himself with blood and get infected but he really didn't have a choice. He put the barrel of his pistol up to her temple, closed his eyes and mouth as tightly as he could and pulled the trigger. He felt a little bit of a splatter hit his face but it wasn't as bad as he had expected. The woman went limp and fell to the ground. He jetted past her body into the stairwell pistol still in hand and checked the stairs leading both up and down to make sure there weren't any other surprises close by. Seeing that there were no more immediate threats he took the time to holster his pistol and raise his rifle back up to the low ready while the other two followed him into the stairwell. There was only one flight of stairs that they needed to take down which would lead them straight to the front doors. The right side of the stairway followed the wall but the left side only had a simple railing so anyone in the hallway on the first floor could reach up and grab their feet as they came down the steps. "Rebecca, I need you to watch the hall to the left and make sure nobody reaches up, Aidan you keep watching our six," Brendon told the others. Both of them acknowledged him and he lead the way down the stairs making sure to keep his AK trained on the glass doorway at the bottom of the steps. Somebody had broken out the glass since they had last been outside so the door wouldn't even slow down anyone that came rushing into the building. The three of them made it down the stairs without incident and Brendon and Rebecca stepped foot outside only to see that there were at least a dozen infected in the area. A nearby woman in her
nightwear spotted them first and let out an excited wail as she started in their direction. The wail set off a chain reaction of other wails and moans as more and more of the infected in the area spotted what the first had been so excited about. Brendon raised his rifle and snapped off a shot that hit the woman in her forehead then moved on to acquire the next target. Rebecca opened fire next to him as they both worked to again clear out the immediate area. Within moments Brendon heard gunfire behind them and glanced back to see Aidan firing on more infected that were both coming down the hallway behind them that lead deeper into the first floor. He was glad that his friend had maintained the discipline to keep watch behind them even with all of the action going on in front. They held position for nearly a minute but Brendon saw no end to the infected. No matter how many people they killed there were still more lumbering in their direction in the distance. A man came stumbling out of the patio door of the apartment next to Brendon letting out a snarl as he came out. Brendon barely had time to line up a shot but managed to keep his calm anyways and dropped the man when he was just a few feet away. He was surprised at how calm he suddenly was considering how nervous he had been in the apartment. It was just like when he had been in the Middle East. He had always been extremely nervous just before going out on a patrol but his nervousness always seemed to wash away as soon as they left the gate allowing him to focus on the mission. "We could stand here and kill them all day but they'll just keep coming, we're going to have to try to get everything to the car and clear out," he shouted to the other two as loud as he could figuring their ears were probably ringing as bad as his from the rifle fire. The three of them only had about twenty feet to cover to get to the pile of bags they had lowered from the balcony. As planned they took turns pulling on their packs while the other two covered then headed towards his Explorer. He kept them moving at a slow pace that allowed them to still fire accurately at close ranges or take quick halts to fire on farther targets without worrying about being left behind. Once they reached the explorer he opened up the back hatch and each of them threw in their packs while the others covered. He really didn't want to make the short trip back to the other three bags but he knew that there was a good chance they would need the supplies and extra ammo in those packs later on. He estimated that he had dropped around two dozen infected and was sure that there weren't many rounds left in his magazine. "Reloading, cover me," He said to the others as he pulled the magazine and placed it in his dump pouch before inserting a fresh mag from his vest not bothering to work the bolt since there was already a round in the chamber. He had the others do the same since they had both snapped off enough shots that their magazines were likely running low as well. With fresh magazines in all of their rifles they started to move back towards the remaining bags firing at infected as they went. It was hard to pinpoint the direction that one or two gunshots came from based just off of sound but by now they had fired off dozens of rounds and it was starting to look like every infected person within a few blocks had figured out where the gunfire was coming from. Brendon could see dozens of them all converging on their position, luckily most of them were far enough away that if they hurried they could make back to the Explorer and be driving before they were overwhelmed. A man came sprinting out of the broken front door of the apartment building and Brendon had his red dot lined up with the man's head before his mind registered that this guy was running full sprint.
Up until this point he hadn't seen any infected moving that fast which had been their saving grace, if they had been able to sprint they wouldn't have even lasted this long. He held off on pulling the trigger uncertain as to if the man was infected or not. All doubt left his mind when the man saw him and threw his arms up in front of the face and yelled "Don't shoot!" Brendon lowered his rifle and took a quick look up and down the man. He was wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt and didn't appear to have any visible injuries on him. "Watch your fire the guy coming out of the building isn't infected," he shouted to Aidan and Rebecca not wanting either of them to get trigger happy with the man like he nearly had. He waved the man over to them wanting to keep him in the middle of the trio where he would be safest. "You've got to get me out of here," the man yelled in a panicked voice. His breathing was heavily with sweat dripping down his face and he was visibly shaking. "Get a handle on yourself and calm down," Brendon said to him between taking shots at more of the infected. We just need to get these bags to our vehicle and we'll get out of here." Seconds later the four of them arrived at the bags and they took a few moments to eliminate the closest of the infected before Brendon altered the plan. "You grab two of those bags and help us carry them to that white explorer over there," Brendon said motioning to their unnamed addition. "Rebecca you're gonna grab the last of the bags." The man eagerly grabbed two of the duffels seemingly happy to do whatever it took to get them to take him along. Brendon felt bad making Rebecca grab one of the heavy duffels since she was smaller than the other two but they both had rifles with significantly longer barrels making them more accurate so he wanted himself and Aidan to keep shooting considering he could now see dozens of infected in the distance. As they made the short trip back to his Explorer he noticed that Rebecca was still doing a decent job of taking out infected even with the huge military duffel bag on her back weighing her down. There were enough infected in the area now that both he and Aidan had to reload their rifles before making it halfway back to the Explorer. Once they got to his vehicle Rebecca and the man that had joined them both threw the duffels in the back and Rebecca slammed the hatch shut. "Aidan you're driving," Brendon shouted as he pulled his keys from his pocket and tossed them to his friend, "Rebecca you take shotgun." Up until recently Aidan had drove almost exclusively small cars in his lifetime. Brendon had let him borrow his Explorer a few months earlier when his car was broke down. He had been nervous taking corners in a taller vehicle but had grown to really like driving Brendon's SUV. Brendon and the other man both got into the back seat of the Explorer and as soon as all four of them were inside he saw Rebecca hit the lock button for all of the doors while Aidan started up the vehicle. Brendon leaned forward and reached his left hand up to hit the button the opened up his moonroof. "Head to Wiggins' place and try not to throw me out," he said to Aidan as he climbed up and stuck his upper half out of the top of the vehicle. He got into position just in time to see an infected man slam up against the passenger window. Both Rebecca and the man sitting behind her let out small yells of surprise but the window held up against the infected man's pounding. Brendon drew his XD, looked down the pistol's sights and squeezed the trigger. The man slumped down to the ground as the full metal jacket round blew through his skull and hit the car parked next to them leaving a blood splatter across its grey door.
Brendon just nearly had the wind knocked out of him as his torso hit the edge of the moonroof when Aidan put the vehicle in reverse and slammed down on the accelerator. Once they were out of the parking stall Aidan shifted the car into drive and the four of them were off. Brendon felt a hand grasp his pant leg but with all of the wind rushing by his head he could only vaguely hear the man in the back seat thanking them for taking him. They were on a main street now and Brendon couldn't see any major obstructions on the road in front of them so he leaned down inside of the vehicles so he could hear the others better figuring that he wouldn't need to do any shooting for a little while. "So what's your name?" he asked the man who was still visibly shaking. "I'm Tom," he replied. "I live on the third floor of our apartment building. I've seen you guys come in and out of the apartment building with guns and gear quite a few times before." Brendon couldn't ever remember seeing Tom before but he was sure that by now everybody in the apartment building had noticed him with weapons at one point or another. Most of his weapons fit into gun cases but a handful of them like his AK-47 and AR-10 didn't fit any of his cases quite right so he'd just have to walk in and out of the building with them slung. Plus he usually just wore his tactical vest home after going shooting at his parent s farm which had gotten him quite a few strange looks. Brendon reached down and shook Tom's hand. "I'm Brendon and that's Aidan and Rebecca up front," Brendon said motioning to the other two as he spoke. "So can I have a gun?" Tom asked after they had all exchanged brief hellos. "You have much experience with guns?" Brendon asked back wanting to figure out if Tom would be very useful or not. He didn't want to just hand a loaded weapon to someone who wasn't experienced unless he absolutely had to. "No, I've never shot a gun," Tom said after a moment s hesitation. "But I have gone paintballing before." "Well that's at least mildly helpful but until we get you trained up on how to use a gun properly you'd be more of a liability than anything else." Brendon explained. "We're just heading to a friend's place on the edge of town while we figure out what to do since the military has the place quarantined. You help carry the bags inside then we'll show you how to use one of the guns." Tom didn't look very happy with his answer but he nodded and didn't push the topic any further. When nothing else was said Brendon stood back up so he could get a better look at what was going on around them. He spotted quite a few infected running around, some of them tried to chase after their vehicle as they went by but they were easily dodged and quickly outdistanced. What was mildly unsettling was the people they saw being chased by infected. Some of them would wave their arms and yell to get the attention of Brendon's group for help but Brendon knew they couldn't stop and help all of them. He wished he could go around trying to save more people but knew that if they tried to be heroes they would either end up getting themselves killed or end up with a large group of people but nowhere to keep them safe and fed. The others in the car must have been thinking the same thing because nobody argued when Aidan just kept driving whenever they saw a survivor. Brendon knew he was going to feel guilty about it later but right now their priority was to just keep each other alive. Tom had lucked out because they hadn't put themselves in any additional danger to rescue him, he had been in the right place at the right time.
Brendon heard gunshots to their 3 o'clock and without thinking raised his rifle in that direction and began scanning. After a moment he started to feel somewhat foolish. When he had been overseas that had been a proper reaction to the sudden sound of gunfire but as far as he knew infected people wouldn't be doing any shooting so any gunfire likely wouldn't be a danger to them. He never was able to spot the source of the gunfire so he continued scanning the all around them as they drove. Even though the news had said the south part of the city that they were in was the calmest it was still a mess. Brendon spotted dozens of crashed cars both on and off the road. After a few blocks he started to realize that a good number of them still had people inside. Aidan had to slow down to weave between a pair of crashed vehicles giving Brendon a chance to take a good look inside. A young girl, probably high school aged, was sitting in the driver s seat of a teal car. She was still buckled in and looked normal until she spotted them and a hungry look crossed her face as she reached towards them only to have her fingers hit the window. Once her arms were raised Brendon was able to spot an ugly bit mark on her left arm. A number of the crashed vehicles must have contained people that had been bitten and managed to get away from their assailants before the disease had killed then turned them. Brendon had known that the infected weren't very intelligent but it looked like these people couldn't even figure out how to unbuckle their seatbelts and open up their car doors. There were even some who had broken out windows but still couldn't escape their vehicles simply because of their seatbelts. To his surprise they managed to make it to Wiggins' apartment complex without any problems other than having to jump the median and curb a few times to bypass accidents. There still seemed to be more living people than infected on this side of town so most of the infected they saw were already preoccupied with other survivors. Once they were within a few hundred yards of the apartments Brendon pointed his AK-47 up into the air and cranked off four shots in rapid succession hoping Wiggins and Griffin would recognize the rapid fire as belonging to his weapon. He leaned down into the vehicle and quickly shouted out some last minute instructions. "Tom, there is going to be a rope ladder hanging down when we get there, I want you to get two of the big duffel bags on your back, lay the third one at the bottom of the ladder and climb up it while we cover you, everyone else grab one of the packs and we'll head up one by one." As they pulled up to the apartment building Brendon saw that the parking lot was riddled with bodies, all of which appearing to have bullet holes in their heads. Brendon looked up and saw Wiggins, Griffin, and Griffin's roommate Jake were all on the balcony firing on infected down below. They had done a good job of keeping the infected away from the area directly below the balcony but there looked to be dozens of other infected coming from all directions, attracted by the noise of the sporadic gunfire. As they pulled up Brendon saw Wiggins toss the rope ladder over the edge of the balcony then yell something back into the open balcony door. The moment the Explorer came to a halt Brendon let his rifle hang by its sling and used both of his arms to lift himself onto the roof. He ran to the back of the Explorer, jumped off, and had the rear hatch open before the other three made it to the rear. A quick scan showed him that the nearest infected were over a hundred feet away so he had a little bit of time to work with. He had heard somewhere that the average walking speed of humans was between four and five feet per second so he guessed that the infected moved at about seven or eight feet per second. He threw the three duffel bags on the ground for Tom to grab then pulled out his own ruck and pulled it over his head and let it
fall down is arms onto his shoulders. Brendon heard gunfire behind him and turned around in time to see an infected man slump to the ground twenty feet away from them as Rebecca shifted her aim to the next closest infected. Brendon raised his rifle and started laying down fire on the approaching people as the other two grabbed their own rucks. Once everyone had their bags Aidan shut the hatch to the Explorer and the four of them rushed to the nearby rope ladder while their friends on the balcony covered them. Brendon heard a "Heads up," yelled from above and looked up just in time to dodge a falling carabineer tied to a strand of 550 cord. "Hook up your bags," Brendon heard Wiggins yell from above. He looked and saw that there were three cords that had been lowered and that more people had stepped onto the balcony to help pull the bags up. Brendon had to admit that it was a pretty good idea pulling the bags up and in the end would save them a lot of trouble. "Looks like you lucked out Tom," Brendon shouted over the gunfire. "Hook up two of the bags then carry the third up. While Tom snapped carabineers over the handles on two of the duffels then headed up the ladder Brendon instructed Aidan to cover their left side and Rebecca to cover their right while Brendon dealt with any threats to their front. The glass patio door to their backs looked to be intact and he hoped that the three of them would be able to hear any infected breaking the glass over the gunfire. Once he saw that Tom was up the ladder he had Rebecca hook up her pack and head up while he and Aidan covered. By the time Rebecca had gotten up the ladder both of the duffels had been pulled up and the first two cords were dropped down a second time. Brendon dropped his ruck and shouted over to Aidan, "Hook both of our bags to the cords then get up there." Brendon took over covering in all directions hoping that the additional fire from the others on the balcony would be enough to keep the infected back. They had probably killed a few dozen of them in the minutes since they had shown up but there seemed to be even more of them than before. Brendon aimed at a grossly overweight man that was about forty feet away and pulled the trigger. His shot hit low tearing through the side of the man's jaw but missed the brain and spinal cord. The force of the impact barely even slowed the man down but before Brendon could line up a second shot a round from above took the man in the top of the head dropping him instantly. There were still a large number of infected rushing towards Brendon and he knew that he would have a hard time keeping them all back even with all of the help from above. He glanced up and decided that Aidan was close enough to the top of the ladder. He jumped up and grabbed one of the metal bars that had been placed over the ropes to make the rope rungs more sturdy and began climbing up as quickly as he could as visions of hands reaching up and grabbing his ankles ran through his mind. It was awkward climbing up the rope ladder with all of his gear on but he climbed to the third story balcony in no time. Once he reached the top his good friend Jared Wiggins met him and helped him over the railing. He and Wiggins had been friends since high school. Wiggins was slightly taller than Brendon at six feet two inches and had been a football player in high school giving him a larger physique. After high school the two were roommates at the local university for a short while. The two had enlisted together in the army and had gone to Cavalry Scout training at Fort Knox, Kentucky at the same time. Brendon had spent three years in the Middle East between his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan while Wiggins got his commission as a lieutenant through the ROTC program at the
University. Ever since high school the two had shared their interest in guns and had spent countless afternoons killing paper targets and wildlife. At the moment Wiggins was wearing one of his uniforms as well along with a load bearing vest. Each pouch on his LBV was filled with magazines for the AR-15 that was hanging on his chest. On the belt attached to the bottom of his vest was a holster that housed his subcompact Springfield XD chambered for .40 S&W. Welcome to the party, Wiggins said as he pulled the length of the rope ladder up onto the balcony. You kids have any trouble getting here? Surprisingly enough things actually went pretty smooth, Murphy s Law didn t strike for once in my life, Brendon replied making reference to the law that stated anything that can go wrong will go wrong. We picked up Tom over there by our apartments and there seem to be enough uninfected people left all over the place to keep the infected occupied. But as many of those things as we did see I d guess by this time tomorrow normal humans are going to be pretty scarce and it s gonna be almost impossible to move between locations. Yeah, whatever it is seems to be spreading pretty quick. Just a couple hours ago this area was pretty quiet, now there seem to be hundreds of zombies in the area, Wiggins replied Zombies? Brendon asked raising an eyebrow. Sounds pretty fitting doesn t it? Wiggins said. From what the news has been saying for the last half hour it sounds like whatever this disease is it actually kills people before making them rise back up as one of those things. That s why hitting their organs won t kill them. Which means we ve actually been fighting undead and not real people, which makes it a little easier for me, Eric Griffin chimed in speaking for the first time. Griffin was a little shorter than Brendon at about five feet ten inches. He had a little bit more weight to him than Brendon and Wiggins but was far from overweight and still in good shape. He wore his hair closely cropped similar to Brendon and Wiggins. They had met Griffin when the three of them were attending the local university. Griffin and Brendon had initially been in the ROTC program along with Wiggins but Griffin had decided to pursue a career in law enforcement and Brendon had decided to leave the program so that he could deploy and have some fun in the Middle East. Griffin was the only one of the three not in some sort of military uniform. Instead he wore a pair a khaki pants similar to what Brendon had seen civilian contractors wearing in Iraq when on missions and a tight fitting black shirt. For a tactical rig he wore a plate carrier that looked to still have both the front and back SAPI plates in it. The rig had molle straps on the front and back and Griffin had enough pouches to house more than a full combat load of mags for the AR-15 hanging by its single point sling on his right side. There were also three more pouches on his left chest that housed magazines for his full sized 9mm Springfield XD. These things can t even figure out how to use a doorknob, are you expecting to get shot by one, Brendon said poking at the SAPI plate on Griffin s chest. Yeah yeah, laugh all you want, Griffin grumbled when both Brendon and Wiggins started laughing at his expense. We ll see who is laughing when you get shot by some trigger happy civilian or nervous cop and you don t have any armor. Brendon was about to give Griffin more crap when he heard a somewhat panicky female voice come from the balcony door. Brendon, where is our daughter? He looked up to see Leslie standing in the doorway with a worried look on her face.
Don t worry she s fine, Brendon said trying to sound as reassuring as possible. She spent the night at my parent s house so she s nowhere near the city, she's in good hands." "You're sure she's fine?" Leslie asked looking skeptical. Brendon nodded back and Leslie seemed to calm down some. "Thanks for sending them to get me," she said after a small pause, "I didn't think anybody was going to be coming for me." "No problem," he replied. "I couldn't just leave you to get hurt by these people now could I?" Leslie nodded looking a little happier and headed back into the apartment. Brendon didn't want to ask her about her family, the fact that he hadn't seen them here either meant something bad had happened or more likely she hadn't been able to get a hold of them. Reminding her of it would probably only depress her, the same as it would any of the rest of them. He was at least hopeful since his immediate family lived outside of the city but he still had aunts and uncles, cousins and his grandparents from his mother s side of the family living in the city and he had no idea what had happened to any of them. As far as he could tell nobody else at Wiggins' apartment had been able to get a hold of their families either so everybody had loved ones they were worrying about and it would do no good to remind them of it. "Thanks Griff," Brendon said putting a hand on his friends shoulder. "It means a lot to me, did you guys run into any trouble getting her?" "No problem man," Griffin said. We met some resistance getting to her, there are a lot of them up north. We found her alone in her apartment with zombie trying to get inside, she seemed pretty shaken up but was otherwise ok. Jake, Megan and I got her out of there without too much trouble." Jake had been another of the people laying down fire to cover them while they came up the ladder. Brendon turned over to him and shook his hand, "Thanks to you too." Jake was the tallest of the group, Brendon guessed that he had to of been around six feet three inches. He was wearing just a simple set of blue jeans and a jacket and t-shirt. On his chest was a woodland camo chest rig that Brendon had seen before and knew belonged to Griffin. The rig housed a number of magazines for the AK-47 that Jake had slung across his chest. Brendon recognized the rifle and knew it was the one that Wiggins had purchased at a gun show they had gone to together their freshman year of college. It was a Romanian model and had not undergone any modifications so it looked just like the millions of other AK47s across the globe with its wooden stock and handguards. Wiggins had a good assortment of both thirty and forty round magazines and Brendon could see that Jake had found space in the chest rig to fit all of the magazines. "So who is this Megan girl you mentioned?" Brendon asked turning back to Griffin. "Oh just some girl that has been staying with me," Griffin responded letting a little bit of a grin creep onto his face. "Oh come on man," Brendon said. "You get a new lady friend and you don't even tell me? Well at least being cooped up here won't be so bad for you." "No it should actually be a pretty good time so long as we manage to get a little bit of privacy every now and then," Griffin said with an even bigger grin on his face. They heard a ghastly moan nearby and for the first time since setting foot on the balcony Brendon noticed the group of undead that was building up below them. Most of the zombies seemed to have no idea how to get up to them about a couple had started pounding on the doors of ground level apartments trying to get inside.
"We probably should get inside before we attract too big of a crowd down there," Wiggins said to the others. Everyone voiced their agreement and everyone on the balcony headed inside. Once in the apartment Brendon saw that the other three that had traveled here with him had stacked all of their bags up in the corner of the living room. Once inside the apartment he noticed Evan and Brandon sitting on the couch both cradling shotguns and was glad to see that his two friends had made it here. Evan had a pump action Remington 870 shotgun that Brendon had seen countless times before at trap competitions. The two had on more than one occasion competed using each other s shotguns since Evan's 870 and the one Brendon's father had allowed him to use in high school to shoot trap were completely identical. The two had eventually ended up memorizing the serial numbers on their shotguns to keep them straight. The shotgun had a long barrel intended for hunting which would make it somewhat less efficient in close quarters situations but would give it a little extra range. State law only allowed three shells in a shotgun when bird hunting but assuming Evan had thought to remove the plug the shotgun should have been able to hold four shells in the tube and one in the chamber. Brandon had a Benelli M2 semiautomatic shotgun that Brendon had seen him use before for trap shooting as well. The shotgun had a 5+1 capacity and was a hunting model with its long barrel and wooden stock. Brendon went and sat with his two friends and asked them both about their trips over. Brandon had gotten to his vehicle and made it here without having to fire a shot but Evan had been forced to deal with a woman that had made it into his garage. Brendon asked to see Evan's box of shells and saw that they were steel 4 shot shells sometimes used for hunting larger birds. Evan said that the first shot had dropped the woman from about fifteen feet away so Brendon made a mental note that 4 shot was sufficient to take them down. He had a good supply of 00 buckshot in the bags they had brought so he took some time to retrieve most of the shells and divided them up between the two. The barricade in front of the door looked sturdy enough. Wiggins had pushed a full dresser in front of the doorway and piled some other furniture in front of the dresser to keep it from being pushed out of the way. On top of the dresser was a hammer along with some nails and boards that Brendon asked Wiggins about. It turned out Wiggins had decided to postpone boarding the door shut until everyone they had spoken to online had made it to the apartment just in case there was a problem with the ladder. Since everyone had arrived Brendon and Wiggins decided that it would be alright to go ahead and seal up the door so the two set to work nailing boards over the upper few feet of the door that the dresser didn't reach. With the barricade completed there wasn't much left to do other than wait. There were currently eleven of them in the apartment and most of them were still carrying their weapons so even if any infected managed to make it inside they would be able to deal with them without much of a problem. Brendon logged into his e-mail on Wiggins' computer but he still didn't have a response from his family. He didn't say anything to Leslie about it not wanting to make her worry and decided that he would just check again later. Everybody wanted to watch the news in hopes that new of help being sent into the city would be coming soon and Wiggins only had one television in his apartment so everybody was packed into the living room making things somewhat cramped. Brendon wanted to give the others a chance to use the computer and all of the seats were taken so he went ahead and sat on the ground in a spot that still allowed him to see the television leaning up against a spot on the wall, the full hydration pouch on his back serving as a cool backrest. He could only
hope that news of help being sent would come soon, he really didn't want to stay cooped up in the apartment long.
Trent arrives at sporting goods store and meets Michael
Wiggins' Apartment Saturday March 12 12:53 P.M. Day 1
Brendon had to get up and stretch his legs. They had all been glued to the TV in Wiggins' living room for the last two hours and things in the city were only getting worse. The epidemic had spread to nearly every part of the city and the police force had been decimated after their failed attempt to stop the spread. With the military refusing to send troops into the city it looked as if the population was left to fend for its own. The military had enacted a no fly zone around the city after a news helicopter had flown near the military perimeter. Live footage had shown thousands of cars parked bumper to bumper at the northern edge of the city. The military had set up four foot tall concrete barriers on the roads to prevent civilians from escaping the city by the main roads and strands of concertina wire had been stretched along the perimeter to stop any runners. Mobs of civilians were standing at the barricades screaming for help but the military was refusing to let anyone out. At one point a group of civilians threw a large wood board over a strand of concertina wire and had rushed towards the soldiers unarmed. After a moment s hesitation a number of the soldiers opened fire and put down all of the civilians. Brendon had heard gasps of disbelief from a number of the other people in the room but couldn't say he himself was surprised. The government seemed to have realized just how serious of a threat this was and decided to contain it at all costs. That combined with the fact that no troops had been sent into the city was enough to convince him that no help would be coming anytime soon. After the shooting news footage had shown military Blackhawks chasing the news helicopter back into the city the news flashed back over to clips of zombies pulling people out of cars, chasing people until they succumbed to exhaustion, and using sheer numbers to bash down doors and barricades. The more he watched the more he was convinced that their current situation was hopeless. They had a degree of security being on the third floor of the building, but the glass doors on the first floor wouldn't hold long and while the barricade they had built at the front door of the apartment looked strong they wouldn't be able to live in this apartment forever with eleven people. From the chaos on the streets though he was certain that they would be swarmed as soon as they set foot outside of the building. Brendon walked over to the balcony door and stepped outside. From here he could hear countless screams and gunshots in the distance. He could see a handful of zombies in the parking lot and beyond, as well as a male and female zombie pounding on the front door of the building down and to his left.
He was still wearing his tactical gear and had his AK slung across his chest. He pulled his suppresser from its pouch on his vest and rotated it into place on the quick detach mount at the end of his barrel. He flipped off the safety and lined up his red dot with the head of the taller of the two zombies pounding on the door and squeezed down on the trigger. His shot entered the top of the man's head and blood splattered all over the wall beyond him as he crumpled to the ground. The female zombie next to him didn't even show any signs that anything had happened at all. She merely kept pounding on the door oblivious to his presence. He put a round through her head as well then shifted his attention to the others that were farther out. He rested the fore end of his rifle on the railing around the balcony to steady his aim and slowly squeezed off five more shots. After the seventh zombie had fell Brendon heard a sound behind him and looked back to see Wiggins and Griffin stepping out onto the balcony. Wiggins closed the door behind them and the three stood there for a moment in silence. "So are you gonna keep that up until there aren't any left in the city?" Griffin said jokingly trying to break the ice. To be honest Brendon didn't know why he had come out here, he obviously wasn t doing any good by taking out stragglers with thousands of these things all over the city. I just felt like I needed to do something, Brendon finally said. I don t want to just sit in there and wait to die. Who said anything about dying? Wiggins asked. We have the door blocked off, they can t get to us here. Will that door still hold when there are hundreds of them packed into the hallway and stairs all pushing to get in? Brendon asked. Even if it does how long do you think eleven of us can survive on the food we have here? We were all able to bring quite a bit, but with eleven mouths to feed is it even enough to last us a full month? What happens when the power goes out, when the water stops running? I ve been thinking a lot of the same things, Griffin said. This place is safe for the short term, but pretty soon we re going to have to find somewhere that is safer to stay. Well where could we go? Jared asked, The military is shooting up anybody that tries to leave the city, and chances are we ll get ripped to shreds by those things as soon as we hit the streets if we don t find a defensible place quick. It d have to be a place with more than one floor to it, stairwells would make nice choke points and we wouldn t have to be as worried about boarding up windows and hoping they don t break through. Brendon said. We need something that can sustain this many people to, Griffin chimed in. Not just a good food supply, but everyday items like changes of clothes would be good for morale. The three of them stood there in silence for a while. Brendon began thinking of all the different buildings in the city that could fit that criteria. Finally an idea sparked in his mind. What about the dorms we lived in back in college? he asked. There are only two stairways leading to the upper floors, they would be pretty easy to cover. Plus it would be pretty easy for us to disable the elevators. But what about food? Wiggins asked. I don t think there could be all that much food in a place like that, and the dining facility next door is all windows, we couldn t seal that up. Think about it, Brendon said. There are three dormitory buildings connected by tunnels underneath the courtyard. Each building has nine floors worth of dorm rooms that are above ground level and each building houses about five hundred students. If each student there even had just two
days worth of food in their room on average that would feed eleven of us for... Brendon paused for a moment to think, A little over nine months assuming it was food that wouldn t go bad. We d even have day to day items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, clean clothes, razors, and anything else you d need to live a halfway comfortable existence. That actually sounds like a pretty good idea, Griffin said. Once we get the place cleared we could hold that forever, and if we could sneak into the cafeteria through the tunnels we could get our hands on even more food. The Military and Naval Sciences building is pretty close to there to, Wiggins said starting to sound convinced. I still work as cadre there so I know where they keep all the keys to everything at. We had a field training exercise coming up soon so our supply room is filled with MREs and gear. There was a loud crash behind them and all three looked to the north and saw that a car had crashed into a light pole a few hundred yards away. Zombies could be seen swarming over the vehicle and even from this far away they could hear the screams coming from inside. It s pretty chaotic out there right now, people are driving recklessly trying to escape these things and people are getting trigger happy whenever they see something moving, it might be too dangerous to travel right now, said Griffin. I don t know that I really agree, Brendon said. There are still quite a few living breathing people left in the city right now so there are lots of distractions for the zombies. If we wait a few days to leave we ll have an entire city of zombies coming after just us. I think we need to make our move today. I m with Brendon on this, Wiggins said. I don t know if the others are ready to go out there again, but if the three of us all agree to leave I think the others will follow. The three again stood there thinking things over for a short while, but one by one they all nodded their agreement. Wiggins opened the door back up and they stepped back inside to tell the others. Wiggins turned down the television while Brendon and Griffin checked to make sure everyone was in the same room. The three of them took turns explaining how they felt that help wouldn't be coming anytime soon and they were going to need to get to a safer location with a larger collection of supplies. A good portion of the group seemed to be against the idea from the start with only a couple of exceptions. Jake agreed with their reasoning and said that he was with them if they decided to go through with it, while Aidan and Rebecca both didn't like the idea of trying to travel across town and felt they were safe enough in the apartment they both said that they would go with the others if they left. Leslie was obviously pretty scared at the thought of going out there again. When Griffin had picked her up they didn't have a spare weapon for her to use and Brendon could only image the terror someone would feel having to travel through the city with no weapon to defend themselves with. After some convincing Leslie said that even though she wanted to stay here she would go wherever Brendon went so long as he promised that eventually they would try to get to their daughter. Brandon, Evan and Megan were harder to convince. The three of them all saw no reason in going outside again and just wanted to wait in the apartment for help, but with the majority of the group saying that they were going to leave the three of them in the end agreed to come along. Tom was by far the hardest to convince, it quickly became obvious that the man didn't have a brave bone in his body. At first he refused to go along at all stating that he would just stay here in the
apartment and wait for rescue. In the end he only agreed to come along when Wiggins let him know that they would be taking all of the food they could carry and every one of the weapons with them and that he would be left here all alone that he finally caved and agreed to come along with the others. Brendon could only hope that he could get them all there, if he convinced them all to leave and they got killed he probably wouldn't ever be able to forgive himself. Most of them were already armed and proficient with their weapons but there were a few that were going to need some work. Griffin and Brendon pulled Leslie, Tom and Megan aside while Wiggins took everyone else and had them start organizing all of the ammunition, food and other supplies into eleven different packs. They were going to have a lot of distance to travel since the dorms were in the northwest corner of the city so they wouldn't be able to bring any extra bags along limiting them to one pack per person. Griffin had brought a pair of military ruck sacks and Wiggins had a pair of rucks as well as more duffels and an assault pack so there were plenty of bags to go around. Griffin and Brendon had a short conversation as to what weapons would best suit who and in the end decided that since Megan had gotten a little practice with Griffin's CX4 on their trip to Wiggins' it would be best for her to keep that. The CX4 was a 9mm carbine designed to take the same 17 round magazines used in the Beretta 92. Griffin and Brendon both had good supplies of 9mm ammunition with them and Griffin had five magazines for the carbine which would allow he to fire off almost a hundred shots before having to take the time to reload magazines. Tom didn't have any real weapons experience so they wanted to get him an easy to operate weapon. He was a good sized man so they agreed he would be able to manage Brendon's shotgun just fine. The lightweight folding stock made the shotgun kick like a mule but it was somewhat more forgiving accuracy wise since there wasn't time to train Tom to be proficient with a rifle. Shotguns didn't make as big of a spread as a lot of people thought based off of watching movies and television but it would still be a lot easier for Tom to make a head shot with than one of the rifles. Griffin took Tom and Megan out onto the balcony so that Griffin could show Tom how to operate the shotgun and Megan could get a little bit more practice in. Brendon pulled Leslie aside so showed her Wiggins' Ruger 10/22 rifle. She had never been fond of guns and the few times he had tried to get her to shoot one she had gotten scared and decided not to shoot at the last minute. She agreed that she was going to have to learn how to shoot one in order to help get everyone safely to the dorms. Brendon had chosen the 10/22 for her since it only fired .22 rimfire rounds which would barely kick and weren't terribly loud. So far he hadn't tested if .22 rounds could penetrate the skull firsthand but he had always read that a .22 round could penetrate one side of the skull and enter the brain but didn't have enough energy to break out the other side of the skull causing it to bounce around in cranial cavity. He was always skeptical about anything that he read until he experienced it firsthand but that very rifle had been used years earlier to drop a deer with a head shot so if it could break through a deer skull it could probably break through a human's. The semi-automatic rifle was a basic model with iron sights and a synthetic stock. Brendon gave Leslie a quick speech about muzzle control then showed her where the safety was and how to load the magazines. Wiggins had four ten round magazines, three twenty rounders, a pair of thirty round magazines and a fifty round magazine for the rifle. All of the magazines were already loaded so Brendon took Leslie out onto the balcony with the other three and had her load one of the ten round mags. He helped her position the rifle on her shoulder and had her take some shots at a zombie that was a little
over a hundred feet away moving through the parking lot towards them. Her first three shots missed but her fourth round took the man in the head and he went limp and fell to the ground instantly. That was proof enough for Brendon that .22 rounds worked just fine against them. He had Leslie keep practicing on any undead that came within range and her accuracy improved significantly after putting a few magazines through the weapon. By her fourth magazine she was hitting almost anyone within a hundred feet in the head with almost half of her shots. Brendon had to admit that she was learning quickly though he knew that shooting from a safe position was one thing but once they hit the ground and their adrenaline was pumping everyone s accuracy would likely suffer. He left Leslie on the balcony to practice more knowing that Griffin would be able to help her out if she need anything while he went inside to look at their spare weapons. Jake had brought an SKS similar to Brendon's that they had decided not to use on the trip to the dorms. Wiggins had an antiquated 12 gauge shotgun of a model Brendon didn't recognize, whatever manufacturer marking had once been on the side was now worn off with age. The shotgun had a similar operation to the Remingtons that Brendon and Evan had brought but its long barrel combined with its age had convinced them to leave it strapped to one of the rucks. There were four bolt-action rifles that the group had decided to bring along with them but not use along the way. The first was Griffin's aged 7mm Winchester hunting rifle. He had less than a hundred rounds for the rifle and they wanted to save those rounds in case they ever needed to do any distance shooting. Wiggins had a pair of old Russian Mosin Nagant bolt-action rifles that were chambered for 7.62x54R. The rifles both had bayonets and old wooden stocks making them potentially useful for melee combat but they couldn't keep up with the weapons that everyone in the group was currently carrying. Wiggins had roughly two hundred rounds for the rifles that would likely last a while with their slow rate of fire. The last bolt-action rifle was Wiggins' Remington hunting rifle chambered in .243. It had a synthetic stock and scope and had been used over the years to kill well over a dozen deer. He only had about forty rounds for the rifle so they decided to save those as well leaving it packed on the outside of one of the rucks. Brendon wanted them to have a decent backup weapon in case anybodies primary weapons ran out of ammunition or had a catastrophic malfunction. The only spare weapon left was Brendon's AR-10 and its large scope would make using it for head shots at close ranges difficult. He remembered that Jake had opted to remove the red dot from Wiggins' AK-47 preferring its iron sights and went to ask Wiggins what had happened to the optic. Wiggins pulled it out of one of the bags and let Brendon know that the battery was fresh. He didn't have any backup iron sights to put on the AR-10 but this model of red dot was supposed to have a battery life of hundreds of hours and fed off of AA batteries. Brendon took some time removing the scope from his AR-10 being careful to remember exactly which spot on the rails it had been sitting on so he could replace it later without losing its zero. Once the scope was off he put the red dot on and headed out to the balcony with a ten round magazine loaded. He hated to waste ammunition but he wasn't going to be able to zero the rifle against moving targets so he chose a spot on a tree across the parking lot that was at about the same elevation as him. Wanting to save ammo he would only take two shots at a time before making adjustments on the optic. After eight rounds it looked like he had the sight pretty close so he used his last two rounds on infected
in the parking lot. He waited until they were twenty yards away before taking his shots figuring that most of the shooting would be done at about that range. Both shots hit their targets so Brendon was satisfied that if they needed to use the rifle it would serve its purpose. Before long the three they had brought out onto the balcony seemed to be at least moderately comfortable with their weapons so Brendon and Griffin brought them all back inside. They had drawn quite a bit of attention so Griffin suggested that they close the blinds and stay off of the balcony until they were ready to leave in hopes that the infected outside would be distracted by other survivors and leave. Inside the apartment all of the bags were almost packed and Wiggins was checking to make sure that everyone s magazines were topped off and the people with shotguns had good supplies of spare shells. Wiggins, Griffin and Brendon got together and had a short conversation about how to proceed and decided to tell everyone else to take a break and eat whatever they wanted from Wiggins' fridge since they would be leaving all of that food behind. The three of them used that time to formulate a quick plan on how to get out of the apartment and the best route to the dorms and how to clear them once they got there. Once everybody was back from the kitchen the three of them took some time explaining the plan and breaking everyone into three teams mixing experienced people in with inexperience people. Once everybody seemed to have a grasp on the plan to get to the dorms Wiggins, Griffin, and Brendon took time explaining how everybody would be responsible for covering assigned directions if the group had to dismount on the way and travel on foot. After nearly half an hour of talking things over it seemed like everybody had a pretty good handle on the plan. They gave everybody half an hour to make their final preparations. Brendon had his two radios and Griffin had another two that worked on the same channels. Brendon, Wiggins and Griffin each took one of the radios since they were the three team leaders and Aidan took the fourth since they figured he was the most capable of the other members of their group. Brendon already had refilled all of his magazines and still had his ruck packed so he decided to check his e-mail one more time while he waited on the others and was relieved to see that his father had responded to his e-mail.
Brendon, We got your e-mail and did what you said. We've been watching the news since this morning and can't believe what it s saying. Are those people walking around really dead? Your mother has been panicking since we got your e-mail, she thinks you should stay in your apartment and not go outside. I understand that you want to get together with your friends though, between you, Wiggins and those other guys you probably have enough guns to wipe out most of the city's population. The news said that some of those things have been slipping through the military quarantine since they don't have enough troops in the area yet. We did what you said though. Your grandparents were stubborn at first and said they would be just fine at their place but caved when I told them that Jasmine needed more adults here to keep her safe. Your Uncle Clark called to and is going to bring his family to the house as well. It s going to be a little crowded but we should be safe together. Keep sending us updates through
e-mail, we want to know if you make it to Wiggins'. We'll be sure to try your cell from time to time to, hopefully the phones will start working again soon. Your little girl says she loves you. Dad
Brendon was glad to hear that his daughter and the rest of his family was ok. It sounded like they were getting organized and he was happy to hear that his uncle Clark was there as well. Clark was even more into guns than Brendon was, the main difference was that the collected older model weapons since he had a curio and relics firearms license which allowed him to have many World War II era weapons mailed directly to his house. Brendon called Leslie over and had her read the e-mail and could see the relief on her face as she read it over. After Leslie was done reading Brendon hit the reply button wanting to let his family know what was going on.
Dad, It s good to hear you're all getting together, you should be safer that way. Get as many supplies into the house as you can and lock the place up. We made it to Wiggins' just fine and there are close to a dozen of us here all watching out for each other. Griffin picked up Leslie on the way so she's safely with us now. From watching the news it doesn't sound like rescue will be coming anytime soon. We don't think the apartment will be safe in the long run so we're going to all try to make it to the dormitory complex Wiggins, Griffin and I lived in when we went to the University. We think those buildings would be able to sustain us for quite a while and will be easy to secure. I'm sure mom is going to be thrilled about that news but we think it gives us the best chance for survival. Keep safe down there and let Jasmine know that mommy and daddy love her. Brendon
After sending his response Brendon went and sat by Rebecca to help her check over her gear. To his surprise she didn't seem as shaken by the day's events as some of the others. She was a little more quiet than usual but so was everyone else in the apartment. Once they got to the dorms they were going to need to split into smaller groups to secure the stairs and clear the building which meant that Wiggins, Griffin and himself wouldn't be there to babysit their inexperienced companions. They were going to need to count on other members of the group to step up and help lead the others otherwise things were going to fall apart once they got to the dorms and their three experienced members left the others to start clearing rooms. He knew he could count on Aidan to step up and help out, but next to Aidan Brendon figured that Rebecca had the most potential for helping to lead the others. She could keep a level head in tense situations and wouldn't crack under pressure and at the same time was smart, tough and could handle her weapon well. Her biggest weakness was that while she was a good shot she didn't have any tactical experience so she probably wouldn't be quite as quick at making those on the spot decisions she would need to if leading a part of the group. Brendon knew
that she was going to play an important role once they go to the dorms so he decided to spend their remaining time before heading out giving her as much advice as possible.
Wiggins' Apartment Saturday March 12 2:17 P.M. Day 1
Brendon peaked out of the blinds and saw that the number of undead outside had thinned significantly since they had last showed themselves. There was still a fair amount of gunfire and other noises coming from the surrounding neighborhood so there must have been enough other living people in the area to draw attention away from his group. Things are looking alright out there, last chance to speak up if any of you have any questions on anything. He looked back at the rest of the group but was met only by silence. Looks like we re all good, go ahead and head out guys, Griffin said from farther back in the room. Brendon pulled open the blinds and slid open the balcony door allowing Wiggins, Jake and Aidan to head out onto the balcony before he followed them out. As soon as they set foot outside a chorus of wails and moans filled the air as the ghouls in the area spotted them and started coming towards the building. Weapons fire erupted from the balcony as the first four of them out set up firing sectors and began firing on any zombies in their assigned directions. The plan to get out of the apartment called for a number of them to lay down fire from the balcony to keep the undead at bay while one by one the rest climbed down the rope ladder and set up firing positions by the vehicles below. The members of the group with shotguns had been instructed not to fire from the balcony and would be some of the first to go down to ground level. Megan, Leslie and Rebecca all either had rifles with shorter range or weren t quite as good of shots as the others with rifles so they had been instructed to pick up any slack made by the four assigned riflemen on the balcony if any of them had too many zeds in their sector to deal with and they started to get close. Griffin had volunteered to be the first to go down the ladder and Brendon hadn t argued knowing that his friend was more than capable of handling himself down there and was the best candidate for the job. There were too many people in the group that Brendon didn t think were ready for a combat situation. Most of the group had absolutely no combat training and a couple of them had little experience with guns making Brendon secretly wish that he had armor like Griffin since the chances of friendly fire were high. Brendon had set up next to the ladder firing straight out from the building across the parking lot and open space across the street. Griffin patted him on the shoulder as he came by and Brendon shouted a Good luck over the gunfire as Griffin started down the ladder. As he continued to fire on advancing zombies Brendon was able to see Griffin descend the ladder at the edge of his vision. When
Griffin was halfway down the ladder he stopped and drew his pistol. There had been a number of zombies that had seen them earlier in the day and had been standing directly beneath the balcony reaching straight up and snarling, unable to figure out how to get to the meal above. The zeds noticed Griffin climbing down the ladder and had moved directly below him, grabbing onto the ladder trying to pull him down to them. The ladder held strong but Griffin was shaken around a bit. He had clear shots at all of the zombies with his pistol though but Brendon saw that he was only able to fire one handed while his left hand held onto the ladder. Brendon heard nine shots ring out and glanced down to see four bodies laying motionless at the bottom of the ladder. Brendon kept an eye on Griffin as he climbed the rest of the way down to the ground wanting to be able to offer his friend quick support of the situation warranted. Once Griffin hit the ground he rushed to his nearby black Grand Cherokee and climbed up the hood and onto the roof. Evan go, Brendon yelled as Griffin took a knee on the top of his vehicle and started laying down fire. Evan didn t have any combat training but he was an experienced hunter and had shot trap with Brendon for years in junior high and highs school. Brendon knew that Evan would have no trouble hitting zombies in the head since he had ample experience firing on small moving targets with his shotgun. Evan set up on the roof of Wiggins red Tacoma pickup after throwing his pack in the box of the truck. Brendon sent down Brandon and Tom next wanting to get their shotguns down to ground level. Brandon had shot trap with Brendon as well and was doing pretty good down there even though Brendon could tell he was extremely nervous. Tom however was a mess. He was jumping at the sound of every gunshot and Brendon would have been surprised if even a quarter of his shots were hitting their mark. None of them were perfect but at Brendon was at least dropping two zeds for every three shots at this point. Brendon wanted to get another rifle down there so he sent Rebecca down next. She had proved on the trip here that she could keep a level head and she was a pretty good shot with her krink even though it was such a short rifle. She headed over to Tom s location and offered him some help since he wasn t doing a very good job holding his area. Megan and Leslie were the next to head down the ladder. They both had almost no weapons experience and weren t very good shots but they were still helpful at shorter ranges. With seven people the ground team was doing a good job of keeping the zombies at bay on their own. They were going to have to move fast though since there looked to be almost twice as many drawn to the noise of the gunfire than there had been when they fought their way into the apartment hours earlier. Jake reloaded his AK-47 and was the next to head down followed shortly by Aidan and Wiggins. Before long Brendon was the only person left on the balcony. It had only been about five minutes since they had left the apartment but he had already finished off almost two thirty round magazines of ammunition. He fired off the last few rounds and dropped the empty mag in his dump pouch before rocking a new magazine into place and chambering the first round. Great, here s the part where I break a leg. Brendon thought to himself. They had decided that since they planned on sealing up the stairwells leading to the upper levels of the dorms, assuming they could even get there, they were going to need the rope ladder if they ever wanted to escape. Brendon unhooked the rope ladder from the balcony and began rolling the ladder up. Once he had the entire ladder rolled into surprisingly compact coil he strapped it to the outside of his ruck. Getting to the ground level was going to prove to
be busy. For as long as he had lived in apartments he had always joked that if he ever needed to make a getaway he would be able to climb down to ground level using the balconies below. Now it was time to test that theory, although he had never thought about trying it with a slung weapon, vest, and heavy ruck. He pushed any thoughts of falling aside and carefully swung his legs over the railing. Once he had the tips of his feet securely on the outer edge of the balcony he gripped the vertical bars on the railing as hard as he could and brought himself into a crouching position so his hands slid down as close to his feet as he could get them. He let his feet slip off of the edge of the balcony and his hands slipped down the rest of the way catching at the bottom of the rails. He could feel the strain on his shoulders from holding up both his body weight and the weight of all of his gear. He swung his legs forward and was relieved when his feet hit the railing of the next balcony down. He had been concerned that he wouldn't be tall enough to reach the railing below which would have made getting down to ground level a lot more difficult. With his feet securely on the railing below he moved his hands to the underside of Wiggins' balcony. All of the weight on his back caused him to fall more than step onto the balcony below. He ended up on his hands and knees but aside from a throbbing knee was fine. He was about to start climbing over this level's balcony when a pounding noise from inside the apartment made him turn around. On the other side of the glass door was a middle aged woman and a young girl that couldn't have been more than eight years old, they were both pounding on the glass door but he could tell that they were both already dead. The woman threw herself against the door and a huge crack appeared on the glass letting Brendon know that the door wouldn't be holding them in for much longer. He would have preferred just climb off of the balcony and leave them there, especially since he wasn't sure if he would have the heart to shoot a child, even if she was already dead but he couldn't afford to have them break through while he was vulnerable climbing over the balcony. He lined his rifle up with the woman's head first since she was probably the faster and stronger of the two and squeezed the trigger. The round had no trouble passing through the window leaving only a small hole and spider webbing the rest of the window before striking the woman just above her left eye. Brendon had expected the window to shatter allowing the little girl to get through and had his AK aimed at her before he noticed that the window was still standing. He hesitated for a moment as the little girl continued to pound on the door and throw herself against the weakened glass. She was the first child zombie that he had seen, shooting adults hadn't phased him at all but even in death a child seemed so innocent. He heard pieces of glass falling out of place and landing on the balcony as the window started to give way and he realized that he had to deal with the girl immediately. It took a lot more will power than usual but he worked up the courage to pull the trigger. It was a clean hit and the impact of the bullet caused the window to finally shatter and fall out of place. The interior of the apartment was dark so Brendon squeezed the pressure pad on the rifle's fore grip and a beam of light shot into the apartment. He took a quick look around to make sure there were no other threats that were going to come rushing out at him but only saw bloodstains on the walls and carpet. Once he was satisfied that no more zeds would be coming out of the apartment he turned around and started climbing over the railing not wanting to waste any more time. The longer he took to
get down the more rounds the rest of his group would have to expend and every second more and more undead were appearing in the distance and moving towards them. He lowered himself from the balcony in the same manner as before but this time there was no lower railing for him to get a foothold on once he was hanging down from the ledge. He guessed that his feet were only about four feet above the ground so he let go of the balcony. This landing was somewhat more dignified than before since he only stumbled a little from the weight of his gear and managed to stay on his feet. Around him the other ten members of his group were doing a good job of keeping the undead back, so far they were only approaching in small groups and there had been no signs of the large hordes of dozens of zombies like they had seen on the news in other parts of the city. "Everybody mount up," Brendon shouted as loudly as he could knowing that by this point everybody s ears were probably ringing as badly as his from all of the gunfire. A few people in the group didn't hear him but taps on the shoulders from other group members let them know it was time to get into the vehicles. Brendon hadn't closed the moonroof to his Explorer when they had arrived at the apartment earlier so instead of crawling through the vehicle he ran up the front of the vehicle and lowered himself into the vehicle. He didn't bother to take off his ruck since he would just have to put it back on once they arrived at the dorms, in the meantime he would be able to crouch down and rest the ruck on the roof of the vehicle to take the strain off of his shoulders. Once he was set up on top he resumed firing at the closest zeds in hopes that he would be able to keep them back long enough for everyone to get into the vehicles. The others three members of his team threw their bags into the back seat and below him he heard Aidan hop into the driver's seat and turn on the vehicle while Rebecca got into the front passenger seat and Leslie got in back. It was a little awkward having both his ex and current girlfriend in the same vehicle but he decided it was the least of his current worries and probably wouldn't be an issue. Next to his vehicle Griffin's team was loading into the Grand Cherokee, Jake had volunteered to drive while Megan rode shotgun and Tom sat in back. Brendon saw the moonroof on the vehicle slide open as somebody inside of the vehicle hit the switch and Griffin slid through the top leaving his ruck on as well and taking up a firing position similar to Brendon's. "We're ready to move out back here," Brendon said speaking into the mic for his radio as he held the transmit button. "Rolling up front," came Wiggins' response over the ear piece that Brendon had linked to his radio as the Tacoma took the lead. Brendon could see that Evan was behind the wheel while Brandon sat in the passenger seat and Wiggins stood behind the cab in the box of the truck with his left hand gripping the cab's open rear window. Brendon wasn't particularly happy that his friend had opted to ride in the back of the truck, granted it made it a lot easier for him to fire in every direction but with the number of wrecked cars on the streets combined with roaming zombies they were bound to be doing a lot of swerving and Wiggins had nothing to hold him in place, plus it wouldn't be difficult for the zeds to climb into the box and drag him out if they came to a stop. Brendon's vehicle pulled in behind the Tacoma while Griffin's vehicle took up the rear of their three vehicle convoy. The university campus was about eight miles directly to the north just past the state capitol which would take them directly through downtown. Just outside of the apartment complex was a four lane street that took them north through a business district. The roads were even more congested with car accidents and abandoned vehicles and there were a lot fewer moving vehicles with breathing people to be found. There were sporadic pileups that often forced the convoy to either jump
the median to the clear lanes on the other side, on a few occasions they were forced to drive down the median since there were times that both the north and southbound lanes were blocked off. The area didn't have a terribly large concentration of undead yet, likely since the nearest residential areas were about a half mile away and most people hadn't made it to work in the morning. After about a mile the state penitentiary came up on their left hand side. Most of the perimeter was surrounded by thirty foot tall stone walls with enclosed guard towers overlooking the courtyard. Brendon spotted a number of the prison guards posted on the walls and in the towers all armed with rifles and shotguns but today they were all facing outwards away from the prison instead of inwards. As they passed the northern part of the penitentiary the stone walls were replaced by multiple chain link fences with rows of razor wire in between, the fences didn't look as impressive as the stone walls but they were sturdy and he was sure it would take hundreds of ghouls to take down the fence. There were a handful of bodies laying near the outside of the fence that Brendon assumed had been taken down by the guards on the walls. There were no signs of the inmates in the courtyard which made sense, if the inmates were kept locked up in their cells it would free up more guards to keep an eye on the perimeter. Brendon had to contain his laughter when he realized that ironically the safest people in the entire city were probably the inmates at the penitentiary. After passing the pen they turned off on a highway that moved to the west but quickly looped back to the north and turned into a three lane one-way street leading through a residential area. The street was well traveled since it lead directly to downtown, the university campus, the interstate, and a highway that traveled out of the city to the northwest. A number of people must have thought to use the street to get out of the city because it was littered with accidents that slowed their progress. The area was thick with undead and on numerous occasions Brendon and the others on top of the vehicles were forced to fire on zeds that swarmed them when they had to slow to navigate through crashed and abandoned vehicles. There were a handful of times that some of the zombies managed to get close enough to pound on the windows of the Explorer but they didn't seem to have the strength to break the windows in small numbers. Eventually they hit an open spot on the road and were able to pick up enough speed that they didn't have to worry about the zombies that were pouring out of the neighborhoods on either side of the road. Brendon looked down into the cab and saw that both Rebecca and Leslie were loading more rounds into the magazines they had emptied during their escape from the apartment. Aidan and Brendon didn't have to worry about reloading mags during the trip since they both had over a dozen magazines for their rifles but the other two didn't have near as many magazines so he had instructed them to top them off during the trip. "Looks like we may have a problem up front," came Wiggins' voice over the radio. Brendon looked up and saw a large accident had clogged the entire road preventing them from getting through. There had to be close to ten vehicles piled up, some were abandoned but others had ghouls inside clawing at the windows trying to get out. The accident was still about a hundred yards away but he could tell already they weren't going to be able to make it through. He hit the transmit button on his radio and spoke into the mic that was hanging down from the earpiece to the side of his mouth. "Pull off onto one of the side streets and see if you can find us a route through the residential area, try not to slow down too much I don't want to get swarmed." He saw Wiggins lean down and shout into the cab and the Tacoma pulled off onto one of the
side streets. Brendon had always hated traveling through residential areas, their curved streets and dead ends made navigating through unfamiliar neighborhoods similar to going through a maze. "Hey guys, looks like we have a tail back here," Griffin's voice said over the radio. "There is a car that was traveling behind us on the main street that turned off where we did, they're staying about fifty yards behind us and it looks like there are two people in front, can't tell if there are more in the back." "Do any of them look like they might be sick or infected?" Wiggins responded. "From here they all look healthy," Griffin said. "I could put out some warning shots to let them know to stop following us or I could leave them alone, what do you guys think?" "Just let them follow us," Brendon chimed in. "If they still don't show any signs of infection by the time we get to the dorms we'll let them in with us and check them for bites there. Just keep an eye on them." "Sounds good to me, I'll let you guys know if anything changes back here," Griffin said. The small convoy continued on through the neighborhood without any significant problems. Evan turned out to be rather proficient at navigating the lead vehicle through the confusing streets and before long they broke out of the residential area and returned to the street they had been following north. Brendon took a look around and saw that they were by the county court house. As they passed the building he saw a number of bodies laying near the entrance and bullet holes in the few glass doors that were still intact. Other glass doors had been shattered and Brendon guessed that the reason that there weren't any zeds to be seen outside of the building was because the police and security officers inside hadn't been able to keep them out. They continued to follow the street to the north taking them through the edge of the downtown area. The first few blocks looked to be relatively clear and only had a handful of crashed and abandoned vehicles since like the business district most people probably hadn't made it to work in the morning. It was when they approached the city's main street that the chaos became apparent. This section of the city had a particularly thick concentration of bars where of-age college students and other people in their early twenties often went to bar hop on weekends. The previous night had been the beginning of spring break of the University which was only a handful of blocks to the north and there had likely been hundreds if not thousands of college students filling the downtown bars. As they started passing the bars he could see hundreds of undead men and women wondering about the area, almost all of them dressed for a late night at the bars. The news had said that the outbreak had started in the northern part of the city around ten the previous night which meant the undead had probably swept through the downtown area sometime before last call while everyone was crammed into the crowded bars and dance clubs. The area was littered with crashed vehicles and blood stained streets and Brendon could still hear loud music coming from inside one of bars since nobody was left alive to turn it off. The loud music was probably the reason so many zeds were still lingering in the area since they seemed to be attracted to sounds. There was always a heavy police presence in the downtown area, especially on weekends like this one. Squad cars sat idle with their light bars still flashing and shell casings and spent shotgun shells could be seen on the ground. At least one if not more of the cops must have figured out that headshots worked since there were a number of bodies on the ground. What concerned him most was the number of moving bodies in the area, he hadn't seen this many in one place before and he was afraid that if they were able to swarm the vehicles their sheer numbers would be enough to prevent the vehicles from pushing through. "Wiggins, try to keep us
moving through here as quick as you guys can, I don't think it would be a good idea to let this many of them swarm us." The Tacoma picked up speed ahead of them opening up the gap between the two vehicles. The Explorer had just started to pick up speed when Brendon noticed two faces peaking over the top of a delivery truck that belonged to a company that made fruit bouquets. He didn't think that these things would have any reason to lay flat on top of a truck and there weren't many of them near the truck so he decided to take a chance. He told Aidan to pull up as close as he could to the side of the truck then waved Griffin's vehicle and the car tailing them on. He saw the confused look on Griffin's face as they passed so he gave him a shout letting him know that they would catch up. Brendon raised his rifle and dropped the zeds closest to the truck hoping they wouldn't be there long enough for more to catch up. As they parked next to the truck both people stood up and sure enough they were both still alive. From the way they were dressed they both looked like they had been at the bars the night before. The first was a man wearing a leather coat that looked to be in his mid twenties. The second was a young woman who looked like she was barely in her early twenties, she had long brown hair and wore a tight fitting black dress that didn't leave much to the imagination giving Brendon the impression that she either worked at one of the bars as a server or was trying a little too hard to impress the guys. "Jump down and we'll get you out of here," he shouted up to the two. The man jumped immediately and landed on the roof of the explorer with no problem since it was only five feet lower than the roof of the truck. The woman hesitated and Brendon had to resume shooting at the approaching zeds to prevent the vehicle from getting swarmed. "Jump or we're leaving you behind," he shouted at the woman fully intending on following through with the threat. She must have believed him because she clenched her fists and jumped from the truck. She was wearing high heels and landed awkwardly on the roof quickly losing her balance and stumbling forward. The man was quick though and was able to grab her left arm and prevent her from falling from the roof. "Hold on," he said to the two of them just before letting Aidan know that they were good to go. The two of them grabbed the luggage rack and Aidan gradually accelerated until they started to close the gap with the other vehicles that were a few hundred yards ahead of them by now. Brendon wasn't really sure why he had decided to help the two, maybe it was because so far he had convinced himself that everyone else they had seen was too far away from the streets to be helped, or maybe the guilt of not helping so many other people was finally getting to him. He looked back at the two happy to see that even though both of them looked scared to death neither of them showed any signs of bite marks. His attention was drawn back in front of them when he heard a loud crash. He looked forward and saw that the other three vehicles had been navigating through a gap in a large pile up of vehicles that was blocking off an intersection. Wiggins' truck had made it through the entanglement but a white Pontiac had come flying through the intersection and t-boned Griffin s vehicle. They were still far enough away that he couldn't tell for certain but it looked like the crash had completely blocked off the only gap left open in the intersection. "Get us up there," he yelled down to Aidan wanting to get to the crash site before it was swarmed by undead. "Either of you ever shoot a gun before?" he asked turning towards the other two. The woman shook her head no but the man nodded saying he had. Brendon wasn't very fond of giving weapons to anyone that he didn't know anything about but things were about
to get very bad very fast. He ducked down into the Explorer and had Leslie unhook his SKS from one of the packs and hand it up to him. "There should be some stripper clips with bullets attached to them in the left pocket of my pack, get those out," he told the man. He felt him rummaging through his ruck and soon the man had retrieved half a dozen ten-round stripper clips and placed them in the pocket of his leather jacket. Brendon flipped off the safety on the SKS and pulled the bolt open since the weapon didn't have a round in the chamber. "When its empty put a stripper clip in this notch and push all of the bullets in to reload it," Brendon said indicating where the clips were inserted. "Aim for the head and make sure you're not shooting at any of our people," Brendon said as he handed the man the rifle hoping that his quick instructions were enough for him to figure it out. When they pulled up to the crash Brendon saw that Griffin was still sticking out of the top of the vehicle trying to keep back the zombies that seemed to be coming out of every building in the area. Jake had gotten out of the driver's seat and was laying down fire as well but Megan and Tom were both still in the back of the vehicle. Sure enough the crash had completely blocked off the road and there was no way for them to get through. Have these two help you carry the bags and hurry up to the crash, we re going to have to continue on foot, Brendon shouted to the others in the cab as they pulled up to Griffin s vehicle. With the road blocked off they really didn t have much of a choice. They could have tried to find another route but Brendon didn t want to split up the group, plus the only other path to the dorms would have lead them directly through the center of the downtown area and from what Brendon was able to see as they had skirted the area, it was packed with hundreds of undead. He doubted they would survive if they tried to travel directly through the crowded downtown streets so they were going to have to continue on with just the truck that had made it beyond the blocked intersection. Brendon jumped out of the moonroof and ran down the front of the vehicle as fast as he could wanting to see if anyone was seriously injured. Jake and Griffin were both obviously a little dazed but looked to be fine otherwise. He could hear screaming and looked over to see that the woman in the driver s seat of the Pontiac was frantically trying to fend off whoever was in the passenger seat. He saw Griffin shift his aim to the vehicle and snap off a round from his AR-15 and the man went limp. Brendon ran over to the driver s side door of the Pontiac and saw that the woman was try to force her door open but wasn t having any luck. He was about to try to help her get the door open when she started pounding on the window with both fists and he saw the ugly bite mark on her arm. He couldn t understand her screams but he was able to read the words Help me, on her mouth. He couldn t help her though, she was already dead and had probably killed the rest of them as well when she crashed into one of their vehicles. Without really taking any time to think about it Brendon lifted up his rifle and put a round through the woman's forehead. It wasn't until after he had taken the shot that he realized he had just shot a living unarmed human. He knew he hadn't done it out of anger, he had always been a calm person, but he honestly didn't know what had made him kill her with such little thought. He did his best to rationalize his actions, telling himself that she would have become a threat soon and if he had left her alive somebody else from his group probably would have gone to help her potentially becoming infected themselves. He pushed any thoughts on the woman from his mind as he realized that the others from his vehicle had caught up. Aidan had his ruck on and the pair they had picked up had put on Rebecca and
Leslie's bags. They all had to join in on the firing to help keep the wrecked vehicles from getting swarmed. Brendon heard Griffin yelling something down into his vehicle and soon Megan came crawling out of the driver's side door and Tom stumbled came stumbling out of the rear door on the same side. Megan already had a large knot forming on her head and looked pretty dazed while Tom looked to have some form of leg injury, there was already blood soaking through his pant leg and Brendon hoped he wasn't injured bad enough that it would slow him down. The people that had been tailing them in the car must have realized that they were going to be continuing on foot because the four of them had gotten out of the car and were huddled close to Griffin's vehicle. There was an older man that looked to be in his sixties that was standing in front of the others in a protective manner. He was tall with grey hair but even in his old age the man looked to be in good shape. His look also gave the impression that he may have served in the military at some point in his life, the Colt 1911 in his right hand only adding to the image. Behind the man was a middle aged couple that Brendon assumed were married from the way they held each other along with a teenage boy that couldn't have been any older than sixteen. Before long Brendon's rifle ran dry. They were about to do a lot of shooting so he threw the empty mag in his dump pouch and grabbed the drum from his left thigh rolling it into the bottom of the rifle and chambering a fresh round. He heard Griffin yelling behind him and glanced back to see that his friend had gotten down from his vehicle and was yelling for everyone to head towards Wiggins' truck. Brendon helped to make sure they had everyone and the group made their way up to the truck where Wiggins, Brandon and Evan were waiting. "Get your bags and anyone that's injured into the back of the truck and let's get out of here," Wiggins yelled between gunshots as soon as everyone was within earshot. Brendon ran up to the side of the truck and got his friend's attention as everyone else started throwing their bags into the box of the truck. "Why don't you cram as many people as you can into your truck and head to the dorms, I can take everyone else on foot and meet you there." "No can do," Wiggins responded. "If we get there first and close ourselves in there'll be a hundred zombies pounding on the door by the time you guys make it there and you'll be screwed. Everybody has to get there at the same time. It s only about four or five blocks from here, we can make it." Brendon knew Wiggins was right, he would have preferred Wiggins save as many people as he could and let Brendon worry about the others who had to be left behind with him but he wasn't about to argue that he be left behind if the others were willing to wait for the people on foot. They were already on the northern edge of the downtown area and just had to follow the right lanes that curved away from the main street and looped around the Universities huge football stadium. "Start rolling," Griffin yelled into the cab as more and more zombies poured out of the buildings in the area hungry for flesh. Evan was still behind the wheel of the Tacoma and started the vehicle rolling down the street at about jogging pace. "Anyone who is hurt or doesn't have a weapon into the back of the truck, if you see a weapon you know how to use grab it and help out." Griffin commanded obviously wanting to get the vulnerable people to the center of the group where they would be safest. Everyone on the ground started working to keep the oncoming zombies at bay while the truck crept towards the dorms at what Brendon guessed to be around six or seven miles an hour. Brendon looked behind them and saw that a horde of at least a couple hundred zombies was following them out
of the downtown area. The truck was moving fast enough that the horde wasn't gaining any ground on them but they weren't losing much either, once they got to the dorms there wasn't going to have much time to get the doors secured before the weight of hundreds of undead started pressing against them. They would have to worry about that when they got there though, at the moment their main threat was to their front and sides. The only buildings between them and the dorms were the football stadium and scattered buildings belonging to the university including a large recreation center and two parking garages. Since spring break had begun for the university the buildings had been vacant during the initial outbreak so the only zombies between their location and the dorms were the ones that had wondered into the area since the night before. Luckily that number was small since there hadn't been any living humans in the buildings to draw them into the area. They did still however have stragglers appearing on the road in front of them and coming off of the side streets that were going to need to be dealt with. Before leaving Wiggins' apartment they had come up with a plan for how to move if they had to leave the vehicles. Each team would be in charge of a direction to cover and Aidan and one other would be in charge of watching their rear to make sure no zombies caught up with them. After a couple of adjustments made by Griffin, Wiggins and Brendon everybody was in place. Brendon had Aidan and Rebecca with him covering their left side while Griffin covered the right with the help of Megan and Tom. They had sent Jake and Leslie up to the box of the truck and they had their rifles rested on the roof of the cab and were helping Wiggins clear out the front. Brandon was still riding in the passenger seat of the truck but he had the right side of his body out of the window and was using the side mirror to brace his shotgun while he took shots. It was difficult taking shots while jogging so the people on the ground had to let the zombies get a little too close for comfort before taking shots. After about a block Brendon heard a loud gunshot and turned around to see that the old man had placed the 1911 in a leather holster on his belt and was showing the middle aged man that had been in the car with him how to shoot one of the Nagant rifles. Brendon went back to focusing on taking down ghouls on his side of the vehicle but before long a string of curses from Griffin brought his attention back to the far side of the vehicle. When he turned around he saw that a group of at least thirty zeds had come stumbling around the corner of the rec building in front of them on Griffin's side and were heading in their direction. "You two keep an eye on things over here," Brendon shouted to Aidan and Rebecca knowing that the others were going to need more help. He rushed around the backside of the truck as it slowly continued on. The man in the leather coat that they had saved from the truck was jogging behind the vehicle keeping an eye on their backs with the SKS as he had been told. Brendon told him to follow him since they were going slightly faster than the horde trailing them. The gap between them and their pursuers wasn't as wide as he would have liked though, the fastest of the zeds following them were less than two hundred feet behind them and were probably moving at about five miles an hour. Once he got to the right side of the truck he saw that they were going to be in trouble if they didn't deal with the group in front of them quickly. He raised his rifle and started pumping out head shots as fast as he could without rushing himself to the point that he got too sloppy with it. The trio firing over the cab of the truck had all started taking shots at the approaching group and the people that had been riding in the box had to jump out since there wasn't room to fire between the group over the cab. The old man must have had time to at least briefly show the rest how to fire each weapon since
almost everyone was armed. The teenage boy was carrying Wiggins' old 12 gauge shotgun, the middle aged woman was trying to wield the second Nagant which considering its strong kick and large size probably wasn't a wise choice for her. The older man still had his 1911 holstered and had opted to use Wiggins' .243 hunting rifle. The only person not armed was the scantily clad woman they had picked up from the top of the truck, he took a quick glance over at the truck and saw that she was curled up on top of the bags with tears streaming down her face. It was obvious she was going to be useless so Brendon didn't waste any time trying to get her to help out and instead went back to shooting at the undead. Even with their combined fire they weren't able to take out the entire group of zeds before they were on them. As the remaining zombies closed the last few feet the middle aged woman finally worked up the courage to fire a shot through the Nagant. To Brendon's surprise her shot was true and the zed in front of her fell to the ground but the kick of the rifle made her let out a scream of pain and surprise. The rifle fell from her hands and hung loose in front of her by its sling. She must not of had the butt of the rifle in the notch of her shoulder because she was clutching her right bicep. The zombie that had been next to the one she had just killed lunged at her and the pair fell to the ground. The middle aged man let out a yell of "Heather" and fired off a shot from his Nagant as he ran up to her that made the zombie go limp on top of her before it had a chance to sink its teeth into her. More zombies were swarming the pair and in his panic the man must have short stroked the bolt of his rifle because when he raised it up at the zombie just a few feet away from him and pulled the trigger nothing happened. The zombie pounced on him as the woman ran screaming back to the truck. The others weren't able to lay down enough fire to keep the zombies off and soon he was screaming from the bottom of a pile of four zombies. The older man slung his rifle and tried to pull the man out from beneath the zeds but only received a bite on his arm for his efforts. There was a flurry of gunfire and blood sprayed from the pile as Griffin advanced pumping rounds through his AR-15. When he was done the pile of bodies including the man at the bottom were all still. None of the survivors on the ground had time to ponder the man's death, there were still half a dozen zombies that were among them and some members of the group were being forced to resort to using their guns as melee weapons. Brendon was lucky enough that none of the surviving zeds had gotten close to him. He saw Griffin pull a knife from his vest and drive it through the eye of one zombie that was almost on top of him and another zombie was killed when the man in the leather coat slammed the butt of his SKS into its temple. Brendon heard a scream and looked over to see that Tom was on his back on the ground being mauled by a zed. Brendon put a round through the thing's head and rushed over to see that it had taken a chunk out of Tom's neck and blood was spraying out at an alarming rate. "I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do," Brendon whispered as Tom thrashed on the ground clutching his neck. Brendon had only known the man for a handful of hours but he still didn't think he deserved to suffer only to turn into one of those things. Brendon drew his pistol from its holster and put a 9mm round into Tom's forehead finally making him lay still. After reholstering his pistol he looked around and saw that the last of the undead that had swarmed them were truly dead. He took a moment to pick up his shotgun from the ground next to Tom's body and tossed it into the back of the truck and saw that somebody else must have picked up
the dead man's Nagant when he wasn't looking because the blood soaked rifle was laying on top of the pile of bags. With the immediate threat gone the group resumed their previous pace but the horde behind them was a lot closer now since they had been forced to slow down and deal with the smaller group. They had just lost two people and had another become infected in a manner of seconds and he was starting to feel a little bit of doubt, he could only hope that he could get the rest of the group the last few blocks to the dormitory complex without taking any more losses.
HSS Dormitory Complex Saturday March 12 2:59 P.M. Day 1
It had seemed like an eternity but they had finally reached the doors to his old dormitory building. It was a ten story tall complex that had a ring of windows around the entire first floor. He had known that the first floor would never be secure, but the buildings saving grace was that there were only two elevators and two stairwells with access to the upper floors. The horde was hot on their heels but they had managed to put enough of a gap between them and their pursuers that they had just enough time to grab all of the bags from the back of the truck before heading to the building. Brendon directed Griffin to take his team along with Aidan and Rebecca to cover their six while the rest of them got into the building. The first set of glass doors swung open as Brendon and Wiggins led the rest of the group in. Brendon grabbed the handle to the next set of doors but they wouldn't budge. Dammit, he had forgotten that the inside doors required a student ID to be held in front of the reader before they would unlock. There were dozens if not hundreds of zombies closing on them from the rear so he had no time to mess around. "Everyone get back," he yelled to the others in the small room then fired six rounds into different areas of the glass door. A few kicks were enough to knock out enough glass to make room for them to squeeze through the opening without cutting themselves. Brendon was the first through and spotted three zombies in the immediate area headed for him. He squeezed the trigger on his AK-47 twice and two of them fell. He was just taking aim at the third when he heard a shot from Wiggins' AR-15 and the zombie slumped to the ground. In no time the first half of the group made it into the lobby and had fanned out to cover the area while the last of the survivors came through the doors. Griffin was the last one into the building, laying down a stream of steady fire at a group of zombies that had almost been on top of them as he backpedaled through the doors. Both of the elevators were at upper levels which was good since Brendon had no plans of using elevators, everyone moved together to the side of the lobby that had the stairwell door. Brendon grabbed a hold of the door knob and Wiggins readied himself next to the door. "Clear up to the second level doorway but don't go any higher than that, we don't want to get too
spread out. If you think you have the manpower to make a beachhead in the second floor hallway immediately by the stairwell floor go for it." "Got it," Wiggins said. Brendon tore open the door as fast as he could and Wiggins burst into the stairwell as the others in the lobby followed one at a time. Brendon heard glass shatter as someone s shot missed a zombie in the lobby and broke one of the exterior windows. That was just great, now the zombies had more ways into the building. Brendon raised his AK back up and began firing on zombies that were coming through the opening. Even with a number of them still firing on this floor there were still at least over a dozen zombies that had made it into the building and were still moving. One by one everyone moved into the stairwell until it was just Griffin and Brendon on the first floor. "You head up first," Griffin yelled to Brendon, "I got this." Brendon turned and headed through the doorway, heard five more shots from Griffin's AR-15, then saw his friend dart through the doorway behind him. They slammed the door shut and he breathed a sigh of relief when they heard it latch. The door didn't have any type of lock but these things were too dumb to turn a knob and the door opened out into the lobby so the zombies would just be pressing the sturdy metal door against the doorframe. The door was reasonably secure but with the entire horde of them out there they may just have enough weight to bring the door down. In the stairwell Brendon saw that Wiggins already had the guy in the leather coat in position to cover the stairs that lead down to the basement. He left him there agreeing that it was a good idea to make sure no zombies came up from the tunnels that lead between the different buildings in the complex. He called the woman that had been referred to as Heather by the dead man and the girl they had picked up from the truck over and pointed to the door leading to the lobby. "You two hold that door closed, it doesn't have a lock and I don't know how strong it is, but you damn well better make sure that it holds and nothing gets through." The two of them both looked scared and had tears rolling down their cheeks but they both moved off and leaned up against the door and Brendon lead everyone else up the stairs and to the second floor. He signaled Brandon and Leslie over to him and positioned them one more flight of stairs up from the second floor doorway. "You two are going to make sure nothing comes down the stairwell from up above. If you see any zombies coming down those steps I want you to take them out, if there are too many for you to handle I want you to call for help from down below." He looked over who was left in the group and tried to think of which ones probably wouldn't be suited for room clearing. "You two are going to stay here as well," he said pointing to Megan and Rebecca, "If anybody needs assistance give them help. In the meantime I want Megan going into dorm rooms and finding things we can use to barricade the doors. Rebecca you're in charge down here while the rest of us are clearing the second floor." He heard gunfire coming from the second floor and peaked through the doorway and saw that Wiggins had gone into the second floor with Jake and Aidan. The stairwell led from the center of the building into a long hallway that ran the length of the building. The hallway itself made a large rectangle with two person rooms lining the outside of the hallways and the restroom, laundry room, and study rooms on the inside of the rectangle. Wiggins had set up Jake and Aidan on either side of the doorway facing down the hallway. Each had taken a knee and was firing on zombies that were coming around the corners and walking out of the rooms lining the hallway. Wiggins was standing between the two
directing their fire, when Brendon stepped into the hallway Wiggins nodded to him and stopped firing. "There don't seem to be too many of them on this floor, my guess is that there were enough students that had left for spring break that this place wasn't very full." He pointed to the room 205 straight across from the stairwell, "that room is clear, I suggest we use it as a rally point, send any other survivors we find to this location since it s so close to our people in the stairs. The three of us already dropped our packs and anything that doesn't go boom in there, suggest you all do the same." "Good plan," Brendon replied, "We'll need to get to the other stairwell and make sure the ground level door there gets barricaded as well." To get to the other stairwell they had to head left all the way down the hallway then take another left down a shorter hall to get to the door to other stairwell at the end. He looked over who they had left with them and pointed to the teenage boy they had picked up. "You looked like you were decent with the shotgun you picked up, I'm gonna need you to watch the hallway to the right while everyone heads the other way to get to the stairs." There were seven people left including Brendon without assigned areas and all of them were people that Brendon trusted to pull their weight and keep their cool fighting zeds room to room. He told Griffin and Wiggins to each grab two of the remaining people and start clearing rooms until they got to the stairwell. They didn't have the manpower to cover all of the halls so they needed to make sure every room between the two stairwells was cleared out so they didn't have any surprises come lunging out at them. Everyone that still had packs on dropped them in the room across from the stairwell and the two teams headed out. Griffin took Jake and the old man with him while Wiggins took Evan and Aidan. The teams started leapfrogging down the hall with each team sending two people into a room to clear it while the third stayed out in the hall and dealt with any zombies that came out of the uncleared rooms. As the groups headed down the halls clearing bedrooms one by one Brendon went into the room that Wiggins had cleared and looked around for something to barricade the first floor doorway with. The closets and cabinets in the room were built into the wall so those couldn't be moved. With a bit of effort he was able to pull the closet doors off of their tracks and threw those out into the hallway. He heard gunfire coming from somewhere else on the floor but didn't go to check since he trusted Griffin and Wiggins could handle things. The only other large things in the room that could be moved were the two loft beds. Brendon tipped them over and pulled them apart. He left the mattresses in the room but the legs and frames of the beds were made of thick sturdy wood. He carried the frames into the stairwell and was happy to see that they were almost the same width as the wall that the door was on. With the help of the others he stood the bed frame up against the wall so that it was pressed against the door and ran lengthwise between the two walls. He figured that if they could get enough bed frames down here they could get them all wedged in there to form a solid block. He brought Megan and Heather back onto the second floor with him and had them start carrying bed frames, closet doors, and other sturdy items he could find back into the stairwell while he searched each cleared room and threw anything that could be used into the hallway. A few minutes later while throwing a bed frame into the hallway Brendon saw movement out of the corner of his eye and looked down the hall to see a girl that looked to be around nineteen or twenty running down the hall towards him. She looked scared to death and she was shaking almost uncontrollably but didn't show any signs of torn clothing or bloodstains that would indicate a bite. "They told me to come this way," she said in a frantic voice.
"This area here is safe," he said to her, "You'll be ok so long as you stay around here. There are two other girls carrying things into the stairway to keep more of those things from getting into the building, help them out." He brought the girl to Megan and Heather and let them know she wasn't one of the infected then went back to searching rooms. After another fifteen minutes they had a barricade set up in the stairwell that Brendon thought was pretty sturdy, and would also block anything that wanted to get up from the basement. With the stairwell secure enough to prevent any zeds from coming up from the first floor and basement Brendon decided to send the man in the leather coat up to help Brandon and Leslie watch the stairs above them and pulled everyone else into the room the others had dropped their bags in. By this point everyone was exhausted, they had ran a good distance to get to the dorms and some of them, Brendon included, hadn't taken the time to drop their bags in the back of the truck. The military had taught Brendon that running around shooting took more out of a person than one would think. Brendon instructed Rebecca to make sure they had people in the hall to make sure no zombies got close to the room they were in or the stairwell and to cycle out the people guarding the hall and stairs so everyone could get a little bit of rest. He hadn't heard any gunshots from the other groups for a few minutes so he took off down the hall in the direction they had gone. Shell casings and bodies with bullet holes in the heads were the only signs of the others until he arrived at the second stairwell. The door to the stairs was in a corner and the older man was kneeling in the corner so he could see down both hallways as he clutched Wiggins' hunting rifle in his hands. "The others are finding stuff to block off the stairs," the man said as Brendon stopped next to him and looked around. "How are things going with the others?" "We've got the other stairwell blocked off from below," Brendon replied. "The others are catching their breath in the room we dropped our bags in, the woman and boy you were with are both fine, did you know them before all of this." "Heather is my daughter and Matt is my grandson, the other man with us was my son-in-law, damn good man..." the man said choking on his last few words. "I went over to their house as soon as I heard what was going on to try to protect them. Some of those things broke into their house from the living room window so we jumped in my car and just started driving. We didn't know what to do or where to go until we saw you guys drive by. You had the look of people with a plan the way you were organized so we decided to follow and I'm glad we did. It may be my old age but a couple of you look you may be military." "Two of us are army and the third has enough training he's gotten from various places that he might as well be. How about you? You have the look of a man that's been in the service." Brendon said. "I was drafted into the army back in Vietnam and decided to just stay in for about ten more years after everything was said and done over there," the man said. "Glad to meet another soldier on a day like this," he said offering Brendon his hand. "The name is James." "Well I'm Brendon," he said taking James' hand. As they shook hands Brendon saw the bite on James' arm and was reminded of what had happened on the way to the building. James must have noticed Brendon eyeing the bite because he pulled back his arm and tugged his sleeve down over the bite. "I know what this bite means, it s a small one though so maybe I'll have a
few hours before I turn. On the news it looked like it was only the people that got bit over and over that turned right away. I just want to do what I can to help make sure my daughter and grandson are safe before I do what I have to do." "As far as I can tell the virus has to actually kill a person before they turn into one of them so I'm willing to chance it for a little bit while we get part of the building cleared out, but we're going to have to deal with this before long," Brendon said. It didn't matter that the bite on the man's arm was small, he was still infected, it was only a matter of time before he succumbed to the virus and turned. At least they would have a few moments warning when his body died and in the meantime they needed the help. The man looked a little pale and sweat was beading up on his forehead but Brendon didn't know if it was from the run to the building or the effects of the virus. While they had been talking Brendon had seen some of the others walking past carrying large items into the stairwell. He peaked in and saw that Jake was covering the stairs above them while everyone else worked on building up the barricade. This stairwell only led as far down as the first floor so there were no stairs down to the basement and tunnels that they needed to worry about. All they had to do was stack enough sturdy objects in the stairwell to prevent the door from opening and the door to the first floor would be secure. It took about half an hour but they finally had enough things thrown in front of the door that it completely filled the stairwell all the way up to the door to the second story. Everyone was confident that the barricade would hold so they left Jake in the stairwell to make sure nothing came down from above while the rest of them moved out to clear the rest of the second floor. Brendon figured everyone that had been left with Rebecca had been given ample time to rest and he wanted to try to get the building clear before the sun set. With the help of the others he got them organized into three room clearing pairs, a pair of people that would keep watch in the stairwells moving up a floor each time they got one cleared and a handful of others to keep watch in the halls while the others cleared the rooms. A number of the rooms on the floor were locked but a handful of full metal jacket rounds from a rifle was enough to break the locks. It took about fifteen minutes to completely clear the rest of the floor but when it was all over Brendon was confident that there hadn't been any areas they could have missed. Everyone seemed to have the hang of things after clearing the second floor so everything started to go a little more smoothly as they moved up to the third. As they cleared rooms the experienced members kept an eye out for anyone that seemed likely to crack or freak out going into the rooms and pulled them back to watch things out in the halls while the people with cooler heads did the harder work. Clearing the floors of zombies was a lot simpler than room to room combat with human opponents so even the members that had never gone through any type of urban combat training were able to do well. Whenever they entered a new floor they were sure to make a lot of noise which would bring the zombies into the halls allowing them to take shots from farther away than they would be going into the rooms. Once the zombies stopped coming they would move out and start checking each room. The rooms with open doors were usually clear since any zombies inside would have been drawn out by the noise the survivors were making and usually if a door was closed they would be able to tell if there was a zombie inside if they heard someone pounding on the door trying to get out. Before long the third and fourth floors had been cleared of any undead as well and they agreed there was enough time to give everyone a ten minute break before moving on up. They had only been
encountering around twenty or so zombies on each floor so their guess that most of the students would be gone for spring break had been somewhat accurate. They had only found two more survivors, a boy named Seth and a girl named Brittany had both been found hiding in a locked room on the fourth floor. Nobody had responded when Aidan and Griffin had yelled out asking if anyone was inside but Brittany's screams when Aidan fired three rounds through the lock had tipped them off that there were people inside. Her screams had been so loud that apparently Aidan was convinced that he had just killed a girl but when they went inside they saw that the rounds had missed the people inside. All things considered after spending all day fighting for their lives things were starting to look up. With their success on the last three floors Brendon was starting to feel more positive about their chances. So long as they could get the top six floors of the building cleared without incident and the barricades in the stairwells held they would finally have a sanctuary where they were safe from the undead.
HSS Dormitory Complex Sunday March 13 1:27 A.M. Day 2
Even though he hadn't been awake much longer than a typical day Brendon felt as if he'd been awake for days. He was exhausted and felt as if he didn't have any more left in him but knew he couldn't rest yet. It was dark now and most of the survivors had been divided between a pair of the three person corner bedrooms while about ten volunteers worked on various tasks around the building. Brendon had posted guards in the rooms that were to stay awake in shifts to protect the others while they tried to sleep, he still didn't fully trust the barricade they had set up, or that the building was completely clear. He knew he wouldn't be able to get any sleep himself, his mind was still racing, trying to think of how to get the building as secure as possible. The top six floors of the building had been cleared without any major incidents. They had found five more survivors as they cleared the building bringing them up to twenty-two now that James was no longer with them. Two of the survivors they had found, a male and female, had really caught Brendon's attention and he had made a mental note to talk to them later to see if they were willing to help clear out the other two dormitory buildings in the complex. The first was a guy named Jacob that had been found on the seventh floor. There was a glass case in the hallway on every floor that contained a fire axe for emergencies. When the clearing teams had entered that floor they had made plenty of noise but after five minutes of waiting they still hadn't spotted any zombies coming for them. They split off into their teams to start clearing the floor and Brendon had noticed that the glass case had been smashed open and the fire axe was missing. As they moved throughout the floor they noticed a handful of bodies laying on the ground with their heads split open. When Brendon's team reached the large
corner room on the northwest side of the building they had discovered a gruesome scene. Standing in the center of the room with an axe in his hands was a blood soaked student that they had later learned was named Jacob. Strewn about the room where the lifeless bodies of close to a dozen zombies all with axe wounds to their skulls. When he had first spotted them Jacob had raised the axe up to defend himself and let out a snarl but a look down the barrel of Brendon's AK-47 had kept him back. After talking to him for a little bit they convinced him they weren't going to try to kill him like everyone else on the floor had been trying to do all day and he calmed down. Between the bodies in the room and the others strewn about the floor they counted thirteen zombies that Jacob had managed to kill with the axe. Wiggins had joked that he wouldn't ever want to run into Jacob in a dark alley and the guy had actually blown off the compliment saying that he had survived more through pure luck than anything else. When the infection had first hit the floor Jacob had grabbed the axe and fought his way to the corner room where he had made his stand. At that point there were still enough living people on the floor that the handful of zombies had been distracted. One by one the other students had been turned and the zombies slowly began searching the floor for more prey. Most of the zombies had discovered him one at a time so he only had one zombie to fight at any given point. On more than one occasion his axe had been lodged in the head of a zombie he had just dispatched but luckily each time that happened he managed to get the axe torn out before another zed showed up. The only time he had really been in trouble was when a pair of zombies both stumbled into the room he was hiding at the same time after hearing the moan another had made just before being dealt with. He had swung his axe into the side of the closest zombies head dropping it to the ground but had been forced to leave his weapon behind when the other lunged at him, not giving him a chance to pull the axe from the other s skull. Luckily he was faster than the zombie so he had lead it away then doubled back and tugged the axe out of the other's head before the zombie caught up with him. By the time Jacob was done telling his tale most of the color had returned to his face and his hands weren't shaking as badly. It was obvious that the guy was pretty shaken up and Brendon had noticed a couple of pools of vomit in the room they had found him. Brendon couldn't blame the guy for being a little high strung after all he had been through that day and was convinced that Jacob would be a valuable addition to their group if they ever had to do any more fighting. The other person that had shown potential was a girl named Alicia they had found locked in a room on the tenth floor. Everyone else they had found with the exception of Jacob had been scared to death and often in a panic making them virtually useless when they were first rescued. Alicia on the other hand had merely asked if any of them were bit when they knocked. After peaking out the door and seeing they were armed she had chosen to follow them as they cleared out the rest of the top floor instead of meeting up with the others they had sent to room 205. Once the floor had been cleared they sent people down to start hauling all of the bags up to the top floor where they would be living and Aidan had called Brendon into one of the dorm rooms to take a look at something. When he arrived Aidan pointed out the window and Brendon saw that there were two people yelling and waving from separate windows of the building directly across the courtyard and another on the third floor of the dormitory building to their left. The people must have figured out where the gunfire they had been hearing over the previous hours had come from and were calling for help. Brendon had known they weren't going to be able to help the people until the next day at the very soonest. When they had finished clearing the building the power was still on but with the city in a
state of chaos there was no way of knowing how much longer the power was going to stay on and they didn't need the lights going out while they were fighting zombies in the other two dormitory buildings. Brendon had remembered seeing a marker board in one of the dorm rooms and had ran back to get it and wrote the word "Tomorrow" in big block letters that hopefully the other people would be able to see. He hoped the people would be able to last that long, there was no way of knowing how many zombies were in the buildings with them. The group noticed a zombie that had spotted them from an open window on the far building that was pounding on the screen letting out an excited wail that they could all hear. Alicia had muttered something about not being able to stand their wails, snatched the .22 rifle out of Leslie's hands and effortlessly put a round between the ghouls eyes from almost a hundred yards away. While it wasn't exactly a long range shot it was obvious to everyone that the girl knew how to shoot. When asked she told them that she had been on the University's rifle team for the last three years shooting .22 rifles competitively. That combined with how she seemed to be keeping a level head was enough to convince Brendon that she deserved to keep a weapon. Leslie had been able to take out close to twenty zombies over the course of the day but most of them had taken multiple shots and she was far from a trained fighter and had only been given the rifle out of necessity and not because of skill or merit. Since they were reasonably safe for the time being Brendon decided she didn't really need to carry a weapon anymore and had agreed to let Alicia keep the rifle. By the time they had everything moved up to the tenth floor James was starting to look pretty bad. He was white as a ghost and his shirt was soaked with sweat, Griffin had told Brendon that he had heard him duck into the restroom to vomit more than once. When Brendon approached him James had let him know he was almost ready, he just wanted a chance to say goodbye to his daughter and grandson. The three of them had gone into one of the dorm rooms to say their goodbyes and Brendon had taken the suppressed P22 pistol from Rebecca and followed to make sure he didn't change while he was alone with the other two. They cried together for about ten minutes before James told them that they needed to leave. Once they were alone Brendon offered him the pistol but James said it was against his beliefs to take his own life and said he wanted to die by a fellow soldier's hand. Brendon had agreed and together the two opened up the window to the room and James sat on the windowsill facing outwards towards the setting sun. When Brendon had pulled the trigger James' body fell out the window towards the mass of undead below leaving Brendon alone in the room. The suppressor on the pistol made it so that his family wouldn't have to hear the gunshot but it didn't save Brendon from the guilt he felt afterwards. He had to spend almost fifteen minutes in the room before he stopped his hands from shaking and could go back out to the others. In the short time since they had met up James had seemed like a genuinely good man to Brendon, doing everything he could to help his family and the others even though he knew he was doomed. There had been plenty of work to be done over the following hours that had helped take Brendon's mind off of the guilt however. Without anyone having to say a word Wiggins, Griffin and himself had already been adopted as the group s leaders and everyone seemed to be listening to them. They had agreed to keep two people posted in the bottom of the main stairwell at all times working on four hour shifts to keep an eye on the barricaded door to the ground level as well as make sure nothing tried to break through the barricades from the tunnels below. They weren't very concerned about the secondary stairwell since it was filled with about fifteen feet worth of tightly packed junk from the dorm
rooms. They decided to have a runner assigned to bring messages back and forth between the stairwell guards and the people on the tenth floor and also to check on the other stairwell from time to time just to be safe. Currently Aidan and Matt were in the stairwell watching the barricades they had set up with Alicia down there serving as the runner. They were short on people that knew enough about weapons to be able to take guard shifts so they were keeping one experienced person with someone less experienced on each shift. He'd have to make sure to start giving weapons training to people that seemed level headed first thing in the morning. Both of the elevators had been brought up to the ninth floor and bed frames had been thrown in the doors so that the sensors wouldn't allow the doors to close and elevators to go down in case a zombie bumped the button on the ground level. It was going to take a few days to get an inventory on all of the useful supplies in the building but from what they could tell their estimate that there would be a decent supply of food had been accurate. With all of the extra people that had picked up along the way and inside the building there were a lot more mouths to feed but they guessed that they still had over a month's worth of food. Most of the dorm rooms had refrigerators in them and since they didn't know how long the power was going to last they had put out that everyone was to only eat refrigerated and frozen foods until they had either used it all up or the power finally went out. Their biggest concern was the water supply. A good portion on the dorm rooms had bottled water or other drinks that would last for a while such as sports drinks and some soda. The water system was a lot more reliable than the power system but once the pipes lost water pressure things were going to get bad. They had decided to send out a work detail of people that would be in charge of finding every possible item in the building that could be used as a water container and filling them all up. There were others that were in charge of finding things like saran wrap or plastic garbage bags that could be used to seal up the containers to help keep bugs out and the water drinkable. One person had suggested that once the water went out and they started to have empty containers again they could set up ponchos and garbage bags with holes cut in the middle on the roof in the shape of large funnels to collect rain water to refill the containers. Brendon thought it was a pretty good idea so long as they didn't have a strong wind to push everything off of the roof. Between the flashlights they had brought and what they had found in the dorms there were enough lights that everybody had one just in case the power did go out during the night. They had dragged enough mattresses into two of the corner rooms on the tenth floor that everyone had a spot to sleep even though it was a little cramped. Once they became more confident in their security they would spread out more over the top floor but for now they thought it best to keep everyone together. They had even put out a rule saying that anyone leaving the tenth floor had to move in pairs with at least one gun just in case there were any zeds they had missed. At the moment he was breaking his own rule and wondering the building alone checking on the work details that were still awake while his mind raced on all of the potential problems they could face. He had been keeping an eye on everyone wanting to make sure that nobody was hiding any bites or anything of that nature but so far nobody had shown any signs of infection. They didn't know much about the virus so there was always the possibility that if any of them had gotten any blood splatter in their eyes or mouth while killing a zed that they could become infected.
There were so many other possibilities that had Brendon concerned. So far the virus hadn't shown any signs of being airborne but viruses had a tendency to mutate and if it did they wouldn't stand a chance. Since the zombies collecting outside were all dead they might also start rotting, if they did the stench would become unbearable and it might cause disease that would make more problems in the building. They had found small amounts of antibiotics and other medicines in some of the dorm rooms to make a small first-aid kit but nothing substantial. They also didn't know if animals could become infected by the virus or if it could be carried into the building by vectors such as flies. He made a mental note to make sure that all of the windows were sealed shut if they started to notice a lot of flies building up in the area. He started to think he was letting his paranoia get the best of him so he tried to tone down the worrying a little bit so he didn't drive himself crazy. He wasn't used to being responsible for this many people and it had him nervous, although he knew Wiggins and Griffin were both there to help ease that strain. He still believed the military was going to be able to get a handle on the outbreak and would hopefully move into the city to rescue any survivors within the next few weeks. He hoped they wouldn't be stuck in the dormitory building for long but he wanted to prepare them for the worst which meant scrounging up every last bit of supplies they could get their hands on. He didn't know if they would be able to secure the other two dormitory buildings, the zeds very well could have broken down the doors into those buildings stairwells by now. He wanted to at least take a look at the buildings and if they couldn't be secured they could still grab as much food as they could. He still didn't think a raid of the cafeteria would be practical since the entire first floor was windows but he was still spending a lot of his time brainstorming trying to come up with a way to get to the food, he'd have to ask the others later if anyone had any good ideas for a raid there. In the morning they would have to start training up everyone else on how to use the guns. They had enough that they could probably arm everyone although he hoped a lot of the people they had found in the building wouldn't ever have to use them since a lot of them had never touched a weapon before. Jacob had never shot a weapon before but was already looking to be a quick learner and had been asking quite a few questions about the weapons everyone was carrying so Brendon was thinking about teaching him to shoot the riot shotgun. A guy named Stephen that they had found on one of the upper floors had mentioned that he had shot his father's pistol a number of times when he was younger so he was probably going to get the .45 James had carried. The other male found on the upper floors was named Peter. He had never fired an actual gun but they had discovered fatigues and a shooting vest with pouches for magazines and other items along with a closet full of other gear. It turned out Peter had been playing airsoft competitively for years and while running around shooting plastic BBs out of fake guns was a lot different than being in a real life and death situation it at least meant Peter would know the ergonomics of operating a gun in combat and would think tactically. Peter said he had always used an airsoft rifle modeled after the M-4 so Brendon was guessed it wouldn't take much to get him trained up on the AR-10. There had been another female they had found on the upper floor as well but apparently when the infection had made it into the building she had screamed until she had completely lost her voice and she currently couldn't produce so much as a squeak. She had managed to let them know that her name
was Stephanie when she had shown them her student I.D. but otherwise they hadn't learned much about her yet. They were going to have a long day ahead of them once the sun rose and Brendon knew he was going to need to get some rest so he did one last circuit to check on everyone that was awake and working then headed up to one of the rooms that the others were sleeping in. Jake was on guard in the room with his AK-47 sitting across his lap. After the traumatizing day they had all experienced some of the people had expressed that they would be more comfortable sleeping with a little bit of light. It had given Jake an excuse to turn on the TV in the room to keep himself entertained during his guard shift. The local stations were all down as well as the cable in the building so Jake had put in a DVD and had the subtitles on since the volume was at a whisper to keep from disturbing the people that were actually able to sleep. The girl they had found on the second floor was sitting next to Jake watching the movie with him likely not able to sleep either. Brendon had talked with her earlier and found out that her name was Ashlie. She was a third year nursing student and although she seemed a little unsure of her medical skills Brendon was willing to bet that she knew more than anyone else in the building about healthcare. She also had a pretty good sized collection of medical books in her room that they would be able to consult if they ran into any health problems. The pair that they had saved from the truck downtown was also sitting awake together in the corner of the room talking quietly. The guy that had been wearing the leather coat was named Chris and the girl was Alexis. It turned out they hadn't known each other until the night before but they had seemed pretty close ever since they had been rescued. Alexis was a server at one of the nicer bars downtown and had been bringing Chris a drink when the first of the infected had entered the building. In the cramped bar there was no room to run and the virus had spread quickly. The two had managed to make it to an emergency fire exit but when they went outside there were already almost as many zeds as humans on the crowded streets. In the chaos they had managed to climb on top of the truck and the undead that had seen them climb up were soon distracted by the gunshots from the police and screams of the hundreds of other bar crawlers in the area. The two had laid there from just after midnight until Brendon had spotted them the following day. The entire time they had been too afraid to peak over the side of the truck fearing that the undead they could hear shuffling around in the area would spot them. Rebecca was passed out on a mattress in the corner and Brendon couldn't help but smile at the fact that even with the world falling apart she still had no trouble sleeping. She had propped up the Krinkov against the wall next to her and had removed the ammo vest and changed into a fresh set of clothes she had taken from one of the dorm rooms. There hadn't been much in the way of blood splatter on Brendon's clothing but he had swapped it out for a fresh set of clothes as well not wanting to chance any infection. He removed his shooting vest and laid his rifle on the ground next to the mattress then climbed under the blanket with Rebecca. No matter how deep of a sleep she was in she always seemed to notice when he was near. She rolled over and put an arm around him as she rested hear head on his shoulder and fell back asleep. He had so many loved ones out there and with the phones still not working and the internet down he had no idea if any of them were safe. He'd managed to stay busy all day which helped keep his mind off of everyone. He was probably going to be stuck in the dorms for a while and there likely wasn't
going to be any way to find out what had happened to the rest of his family. No matter how busy he kept he hadn't been able to stop wondering if his daughter was ok and he knew it was going to eat away at him until he found out if she was safe. But he had Rebecca and a number of his friends here with him and keeping them safe would give him the motivation to keep himself together and drive on until he could think of a way to find out the fate of his family.
HSS Dormitory Complex Sunday March 13 10:07 A.M. Day 2
He didn't want to admit it to the others but Brendon had a really bad feeling about going into the tunnels beneath the complex. He'd been fine in the upper levels of the building, there were always different hallways to take, central rooms to cut through, outer rooms to take a stand in with doors for choke points. He couldn't recall there being any side rooms in the tunnels, they would be in an enclosed space without any escape paths if they found zombies on both sides of them. Shortly after sunrise they had made sure that everyone was up and had started preparing for the day ahead of them. A lot of the people had griped about not getting enough sleep but they needed to realize their old comfortable lives were gone. He really wished he had more soldiers with him, there would be a lot less griping and he wouldn't feel like he was babysitting all the time. They had chosen twelve people to go into the tunnels first and secure them based off of how they did in the fighting the previous day or the potential they showed. The ten others had been told to stay back in the dorms until the tunnels were secured. They were all the people that the others felt shouldn't really be put in a fight unless absolutely necessary. Brendon had also left Rebecca with the group that was staying in the dorms so that there was at least one competent person there to be in charge. There were enough guns to arm everyone so they had divided up the weapons and had given everyone a load of ammunition. There had been a handful of people that didn't want a weapon but they needed to learn how to use one if they were going to survive this so they weren't given a choice. Brendon and Griffin had spent all morning with the people that weren't trained or comfortable with their weapons and had shown them how to use them properly. While they took care of the training Wiggins was downstairs with everyone that was already used to operating a weapon working on the barricade. When they had come into the building they had used one large barricade to block off the ground level door and the stairs leading up from the basement. They needed to make sure that the door stayed sealed but they needed to get down below and still have a degree of security from that direction as well. They had collected up all of the fire axes from the different the different floors along with hammers and a ladder they had found in a maintenance closet and had spent all morning cutting up
doors, desks and chairs into smaller pieces to fill any gaps that had been left in the barricade. They had also pulled all the nails they could find out of furniture and door frames in the lower floors and used them to strengthen the barricade further so nothing would shift out of place. After the modifications to the barricade had been finished Wiggins had brought everyone that was with him minus two guards onto the second floor to meet up with the group Brendon and Griffin were training and together everyone took a quick break before moving out. Brendon had decided that he wanted to be the first person into the basement. Once he stepped into the stairwell he saw that even after the modifications the barricade took up almost all of the stairwell and the pathway they had cleared to the lower level was far from convenient. The flight of stairs leading up from the ground level door was still filled with parts of the barricade to make sure it was strong and to get down to the lower levels Brendon had to climb over the railing towards the top of that flight of stairs and crawl over the barricade. They would have to do some more work on the top of the barricade later when they got the chance, there were a lot of jagged edges sticking up but somebody had thought to throw a couple rugs over the top to keep people from getting cut up too bad. At the back of the stairwell the barricade dropped off and a short ladder they had found in the maintenance closet had been set up so he was able to climb down without any trouble. Once he hit the ground he raised up his AK-47 but just like the others had told him there were no zeds to be seen on the far side of the barricade. Slowly the other eleven members of the team made their way over the barricade and down the ladder until everybody was ready to move on. Rebecca, Matt and Stephen were all posted in the stairwell to watch their backs and make sure that the building stayed secure while they were out. Overall they had the four handheld radios that Brendon and Griffin had brought to the dorms along with a similar radio Peter had kept in his airsoft gear. They had left one with Rebecca in the stairwell in hopes that the signal would be able to make it through the tunnels and back to her position, Brendon wasn't going to count on it though. They had left Megan by one of the second story windows facing the courtyard with another of the radios so they could try to reach her if they made it into the other dormitory buildings. Brendon and Griffin had the other two more of the radios in pouches on their vests. Each had attached a cord that lead to an ear piece and mic so if anyone tried to reach them the radio would sound quietly in their ear instead of the speaker blaring and alerting every zombie in the area. Wiggins had the last radio turned down to a low volume and hooked on one of the molle straps on his vest. Everybody fanned out and began clearing the handful of rooms in the basement. There were a series of small storage and maintenance rooms along with a large old laundry room that had been used before the dorms had been remodeled and smaller laundry rooms had been put on every floor. They secured the basement with no problems and soon had everyone gathered near the entrance to the tunnel system. He tested his radio and was able to reach Rebecca to let her know the basement was safe. Their plan was to have the group Rebecca was in charge of haul items that could be used to build barricades down into the basement of their building while everyone with Brendon cleared the tunnels. Brendon lead the way into the tunnels with his pistol raised. He had given his 9mm to Seth and had instead opted to carry the P22 with its suppressor attached. After the events of the previous day he was convinced that the .22 pistol preformed just as well as the other weapons with headshots and its
near silence when fired would make it so he could dispatch any small groups of zeds they encountered without alerting the entire area to their presence. Aidan was a step behind Brendon and off to his right with his AR-15 raised. With so many undead on the surface they wanted to make as little noise as possible so Brendon had given Aidan his rifle suppressor to mount on his AR. The first stretch of the tunnel was clear but as they rounded the corner Brendon noticed something on the floor in the intersection ahead of them. As they neared the four-way intersection that split between the different buildings of the courtyard. As they got closer to the intersection Brendon was able to tell it was a trail of dried blood running left and right. He wasn't able to tell which way the trail was leading but he could tell the hall ahead of them was clear. When they reached the intersection Brendon pied to the left while Aidan pied the corner to the right. Brendon saw his hallway was clear and turned around to see that Aidan had cleared his as well. The blood streak went all the way down both hallways and around the corners at the end so they still couldn't tell which way the trail was leading. Whoever had left all that blood behind though couldn't still be breathing with that much smeared all over the floor. With the hall behind them completely secure it was time for them to break off into different groups. As planned Wiggins, Griffin and Brendon would each take four person groups to the basements of the other buildings in the complex to ensure the tunnels were clear then attempt to seal off each building from their basements. Later on they would try to make their way into each building one by one and try to seal them off from the outside like they had the first dormitory building. Wiggins led his group straight towards Smith while Griffin and his group followed the blood trail to the right towards the cafeteria. Brendon took Aidan, Brandon and Seth to the left towards Schramm following the other end of the blood trail. The hall in front of them was long since the intersection was closer to the cafeteria than Schramm across the courtyard. Straight ahead of them where the hall turned to the left was a maintenance room Brendon had never been in before. The door was hanging open and there were no lights inside. He didn't have a light mounted on his P22 so he holstered the pistol and raised his AK-47 making sure he could feel the pressure pad to the rifles light under his left ring finger. He signaled Aidan to check the hall to their right not wanting any undead to jump out at him from around the corner while he moved into the room. As the two were edging towards the end of the hall Brendon jumped a little in surprise when he heard Griffins voice blare in his earpiece. "Guys, we found a couple of bodies over here. Looks like they were infected, their heads are bashed in." Brendon noticed Aidan was giving him a weird look. It took him a moment to realize that with his earpiece in Aidan had no idea anybody was talking to Brendon. He decided he's fill him in later and took a look behind them. He could see Evan standing at the far end of the hall and guessed that the rest of Griffins group was just around the corner. Even though it was only a short distance Griffins voice was already pretty badly distorted and staticky. Brendon was sure they were going to lose contact before going much farther. "Everybody be careful," Brendon said keying his mic. "If they all have bashed in heads that means there had to be somebody else around to do it. There is no telling how many there are or if they got infected in the fight or not." The other two acknowledged him and he raised his rifle back up letting Aidan know he was ready. The fact that no zeds had come running at them from the room or around the corner when he
had spoken was encouraging, these things didn't seem smart enough to lay in wait for someone they knew was there. As Aidan moved forward and hooked to their right Brendon burst forward and switched on his rifles light illuminating the room. His first sweep from the doorway didn't reveal any zombies so he cautiously advanced into the room. He saw another beam of light enter the room and realized that Seth had come in behind him and flicked on the light to the XD Brendon was letting him use. He was glad to see Seth was taking the initiative to help out without being told. He hadn't really stood out initially but he was looking like he might just be reliable whenever they needed to do anything dangerous. The two cleared the room without any trouble. It turned out the room housed a moderate sized generator that appeared to be gas powered. It didn't look like there was all that large of a supply of fuel for the generator but Brendon was sure to make a mental note that this was down here if they ever had a dire need for power since his guess was that it was large enough to power the entire dormitory complex. He and Seth stepped back into the hall and the four moved off again. The next corner led to the left and Brendon redrew his P22 before moving around it. When he checked the next stretch of hallway he discovered the source of the blood trail. A zombie was in the hall ahead of them pulling itself along the floor with its one good arm. It looked like it had been horribly beaten with a blunt object and the way it didn't move his legs led Brendon to believe its back was broken. Whoever had beat the thing must not have realized that the brain was what they needed to destroy. It was barely inching along and didn't seem to notice them. He didn't want it to see them and let out a moan in case there were any other zombies ahead of them in better shape. Brendon slowly snuck up on it until he was close enough to be sure of his shot and sent one subsonic round through his suppressed P22 and into the back of the things head. It slumped to the ground and didn't so much as twitch. Even in the enclosed tunnel the suppressor did its work and barely made any noise. The group started to move on and were almost to the doors leading into Schramm's basement when without warning the lights cut out and the tunnels plunged into total darkness. Beams of light shot out from both Aidan and Seth's weapons and as soon as they pass over the doorway in front of them and into the first room of Schramm's basement they heard a snarl. "Don't shoot," Brendon whispered to the others hoping that it was only a single zed. He raised his pistol and they all waited there in silence for what seemed like forever before a young man came shuffling through the doorway in sweat pants and one flip flop. There was a huge chunk of flesh missing from his chest and in the dim light Brendon thought he might be able to even see part of an exposed rib. Certain the boy was dead Brendon lined up his sights which turned out to be rather difficult in the dim light. The zombie must have been blinded by the light because it just kept shuffling towards them to investigate instead of breaking into a jog like most zombies did when they spotted prey. The first shot Brendon squeezed off in the dim light cut directly over its left shoulder but the zed didn't even seem to notice which gave Brendon time to line up a good follow up shot that dropped it to the ground. They four of them waited a few moments longer to see if any more zeds would come out of the room but none did. Brendon was debating on if he wanted them to proceed with just flashlights when he heard gunfire erupt from behind them in the tunnels. "What's going on back there," he barked into the radio but he only got static as a response.
A series of moans and snarls erupted from the basement in front of them and before long infected began rushing towards them. Weapons fire erupted from all around him as all four of them opened up at the advancing zeds. It was difficult firing his pistol the dark but with the help of its red laser he was able to land most of his shots before making a quick transition to his rifle. When the undead didn t stop coming through the door he began to worry that the horde in the courtyard had found their way into the tunnels. With his AK up he was laying down much more effective fire and the rifles tactical light was helping illuminate but they were still slowly losing ground. The coward is running, Aidan shouted from behind him shortly after Brendon s first reload. He took a look behind them and saw Seth sprinting down the hall away from them. Get back here, Brendon shouted trying not to sound too panicked. He didn t want the other two to crack on him. Seth paid no attention to Brendon s command and just continued running. With the group short one man they began to lose ground to the zeds at an alarming rate and Brendon knew that attempting to hold their ground was futile. Fall back to the intersection and try to link up with the others, he commanded the other two with him. After firing a few more shots at the advancing undead he noticed the other two hadn t ran yet, probably waiting for his lead. Go now, he yelled at them, I ll be right behind you. Aidan and Brandon both took off running and Brendon held his ground just long enough to empty his magazine before turning to follow them, reloading as he went. As they arrived at the corner that hooked to their left back towards the central intersection Brendon found Seth standing there with a panicked look on his face tugging on his hair with one hand. There are more of them down that hall, we re trapped, Seth screamed at them hysterically. Brendon rounded the corner and shined his rifle s light down the hall to see for himself. Sure enough there were zeds stumbling towards them from the direction they had initially came. He could hear sporadic gunfire coming from down the hall and could see dark clumsy forms moving through the four-way intersection heading towards Harper. They had been hard pressed to fight off undead coming at them from one direction, it would be hopeless attempting to fight them off from two sides. Brendon noticed that the generator room was behind them and while he hated the thought of his team cornering themselves he knew they didn t have any other options. Everybody get as far back into the generator room as you can. The four of them hurried into the room and Brandon and Seth set up in the corner to the left of the generator while Brendon and Aidan set up to its right. From here the two of them could see all the way down the hall in front of them allowing them to thin out their numbers before they got close. Brandon and Seth however could only see a short distance outside of the room from their position but they both had short range weapons and would be able to deal with any zeds that came upon the door from the hallway to their left. While the others held off the zeds Brendon quickly pulled half a dozen chem lights from his vest and snapped them all bathing the room in an eerie green light. He threw two of them as far into the hall ahead of them as he could, two more a little closer to the doorway, another just inside the room, then dropped the last between Aidan and himself. He wasn t sure how long they would be stuck here or how much longer the batteries would last on their weapon s lights but the chem lights would keep the area lit for hours.
The next minutes were a blur of firing and reloading as the unrelenting undead continued to try to reach them. Brendon noticed they were quickly losing ground and noticed he was only hearing Brandon s shotgun firing in the other corner. He glanced over and discovered Seth was curled up in the corner with his pistol sitting on the ground next to him and looked as if he may be crying. Get the hell up and help us or we re all dead, Brendon yelled but Seth didn t even acknowledge him. Brendon didn t have time to waste on Seth, the undead kept getting closer and closer. Magazines were piling up on the ground near Aidan and Brendon since they couldn t even afford to take the time to put the empty mags in dump pouches. Every reload caused them to lose ground and soon many of the undead were making it into the room before finally being gunned down. A particularly large surge of zombies pushed into the room and it took everything Brendon had to not panic and fire blindly into the mass. The only thing that saved Aidan and himself were the numerous bodies littering the floor just inside of the room . Many of the undead stumbled and tripped over them giving the pair the time they needed to pump lead into their brains. He noticed some of the zombies in the group didn t come straight towards him as the others had but instead broke off to his left and come around the generator as they entered the room. They were headed towards Brandon but Brendon was unable to help him fend them off. Other zeds were so close to he and Aidan s position that if he let up on them they would be overwhelmed. He heard a flurry of shotgun fire from Brandon followed by a short silence then screams. They were finally able to push the zeds coming for them back far enough that Brendon was able to swing his rifle around and check the other two. His light illuminated Brandon underneath a writhing pile of bodies. Brandon s body was covered in bites and blood as he continued to scream as the zombies tore out chunks of his flesh over and over again. Brendon knew that even though he was still screaming his friend was dead regardless. He lined up his barrel with Brandon s head and pulled the trigger bringing the screaming to an end. Seven more rounds and all of the reanimated corpses on top of his friend stopped moving as well. Brendon placed one more round into his friend s head to make sure that he didn t rise from the grave on their flank then brought his attention back to the door where Aidan was struggling to keep the undead at bay. After a few more minutes the onslaught on undead finally began to slow and Brendon realized that the walking dead were only coming from the hallway ahead of them and were no longer coming from Schraam on their left. He wasn t sure if this was only a temporary reprieve or not but he know they had to act quickly. Get ready to move out, he shouted more to Aidan than Seth. They aren t coming from the left anymore, if we move fast we only have to worry about covering out front. We go after your next reload. Brendon rocked a fresh mag into his AK and scooped up as many of the empty mags as he could and threw them into his dump pouch. Most of the zeds had been coming from the hall to their left, the remaining number advancing from the hall in front of them were scattered enough for Aidan to hold them back temporarily. As soon as he heard Aidan shout that he was empty Brendon picked up firing on the advancing ghouls and rose to his feet. When he heard Aidan chamber a round from his fresh magazine Brendon began advancing forward. When the two passed through the door out of the
maintenance room Brendon shined his light down the hall to their left and confirmed that there were no undead moving through the darkness. Together the two moved down the hallway to their front back towards where the teams had split up. They kept their movement to slow hunched over combat glide that allowed them to form a stable shooting platform while still advancing at a good speed. Halfway down the hall he heard a noise behind them and looked back to see that Seth had managed to pick himself up off the ground and was following with Brendon s 9mm XD in hand. As they were advancing Brendon noticed a beam of light shining around the far corner ahead of them letting him know that somebody from Griffin s team that had gone to the cafeteria was still alive. When they reached the intersection Brendon brought his rifle around to cover the hall leading to Smith and not only saw no signs of Wiggins team but was also greeted by the sight of over thirty snarling ghouls rushing towards him. He began to fire as quickly as he could but began to quickly lose ground. He shouted for Aidan s help but was answered by gunfire erupting behind him letting him know that Aidan was occupied with more ghouls in the hall leading to Harper. As usual Seth was useless and soon the advancing undead were less than ten feet away and still gaining ground as more of them sprang up behind any that he managed to put down. He was about to give the command for the others to run back towards the maintenance room when he noticed more beams of light focus down the hall followed by a hail of gunfire. Dark forms took up firing positions all around him as the group eliminated the advancing undead immediately in front of them and held back the others further down the hall. Brendon snapped another chem light bathing the area in blue light and saw that all of Wiggins team was there along with Rebecca and a handful of the others that they had left in Harper. To his right towards the cafeteria he saw more movement as Griffin and the rest of his team ran up to the intersection. Things are clear behind us, we got chased down that way but Rebecca and some of the others came down to help us fight them off, they just kept coming, Wiggins shouted over the continuing gunfire. It s clear our way too, Griffin chimed in. We ran into a small group but were able to deal with them. The entrances to the cafeteria is closed. By now there were over a dozen people packed into the intersection since Rebecca had brought a couple of the others they had left behind to help out. Brendon took a quick moment to make sure they had people watching to their left and right just in case there were any more coming from either direction they had missed while the others focused on the zombies rushing at them from Smith. There were enough people watching their front now that Wiggins, Griffin and Brendon were able to take a moment to work up a plan. Well the door to Smith is obviously open. We need to get that closed before every zed from up in the courtyard manages to find its way down here. We have to of killed over a hundred of them already but there are a thousand of those things up top, said Wiggins. We weren t able to get eyes in the door to the stairs up to the rest of Smith but the zeds stopped coming so there is a chance that it is closed up, Brendon said. If we send everyone to Smith they could come in from Schramm and get behind us. Griffin, you still have your whole team so take them and make sure everything is sealed up that way, I ll help Wiggins seal up Smith. Still has his whole team? Wiggins asked looking around.
We lost Brandon in the generator room down there, Brendon said trying not to choke up. He saw a look of shock pass across Wiggins face that he quickly covered up. Aidan and Evan also seemed to have heard the news and looked to be distracted. The four of them had known Brandon since they were young. Seth is staying here as well, he s a worthless coward. Got it, we re moving, Griffin shouted as he grabbed Jake, Peter and Evan and headed to their left. Brendon Pulled Rebecca aside as Wiggins stepped back up onto their mock firing line and started getting his guys ready to assault forward. Keep your people here and make sure it s safe for us to come back this way, he told her. But don t do anything stupid, you re the only one in your group that knows how to fight and has a decent weapon, if things start to go bad you run and get back into the dorm. Don t you go thinking you can go and do something stupid either, she said to him before pulling him in for a quick kiss. Come back to me or I ll kick your ass. Well then you better make it worth my while, he said glad that she was able to joke around a little even with everything going wrong. Matt and Stephen you re coming with us, he shouted to the two of them as he slapped them on the shoulders and moved past them and out towards the front of the line. My group on the left side of the hall, Wiggins group right side of the hall, he yelled over the gun fire. One group moves at a time, leap frog about ten feet up. If somebody kneels in front of you pull them up when you move so they don t stand up into your fire. They didn t have time to waste, he still had hundreds of rounds in the magazines on his vest but many of the others didn t have vests and had been limited to cramming shells and ammunition in their pockets and didn t have near as much ammunition. The more time they wasted the sooner people would start running out of ammo. He gave everybody a moment to process his quick instructions then told the right side to move forward. He kept the groups moving rapidly. As soon as one group was set the other would rush forward without wasting any time. The undead were still pouring down the hallway but everyone was able to keep enough pressure on them that they were able to continue advancing. Within a few minutes they were able to push all the way to the basement of Smith. Wiggins took Alicia and Chris to clear out all of the side rooms in the basement while Brendon took everyone else and pushed on up to the stairwell. Zombies seemed to almost be pouring in from the first floor but the group was able to push them back just long enough to get the door that lead from the stairwell to the first floor closed. Even though the door opened out into the lobby and the zeds outside were just pushing it against the door frame it felt as if the door was going give way to their weight. As soon as Wiggins and the two with him finished clearing the basement and met up with them Brendon send Wiggins and everybody else that was currently with him up to the second floor to get items to make a barricade just like they had the previous day in Harper. While he was watching the door he was able to successfully reach Rebecca on the radio and had her send some of her people to barricade the door to the cafeteria. He also had her relay a message to Griffin instructing him to barricade up the door to Schramm.
After thirty minutes they had successfully erected hasty barricades strong enough to seal all of the buildings from the outside world and while they still couldn t safely get into the cafeteria they now had access to Schramm and Smith. He knew everybody was exhausted but there were still people trapped in both of the buildings that needed help. Until they cleared out both of those buildings there was still a chance the undead inside could make their way down into the tunnels and become a threat. It was still over an hour until noon and even though the power would cause major complications with luck they would have enough sunlight to clear out the last two buildings by sunset.
HSS Dormitory Complex Sunday April 3 1:27 A.M. Day 23
It took everything Griffin had not to slug Seth in the face. He, Wiggins and Brendon had divided everybody into three different eight hour shifts and Griffin had been lucky enough to get Seth. The smug bastard had been giving them nothing but trouble ever since they had came to the dorms. After the incident in the tunnels Seth had denied cracking and had even gone so far as to portray himself as a hero that had saved Brendon and Aidan when they had become trapped. He had blamed Brandon s death on Brendon and had convinced some of the others that they had rushed everybody into clearing the tunnels and other two buildings and because of it they had wasted ammunition. After all of the buildings had been cleared and they had found an additional six survivors, Wiggins and Griffin had pulled Brendon aside to talk to him. They let him know they had his full support and had let him know that the group needed a clear leader to follow and they thought it should be him. Brendon had suggested the three of them just lead together since he thought they were all equally qualified but they pointed out how he had undergone more combat training than anyone else there and had years of real world experience in combat zones. Seth had instantly fought Brendon s leadership and Griffin was convinced that it was because Seth knew that Brendon didn t like or trust him after the morning in the tunnels. Seth had challenged Brendon s leadership at every chance. After they had been stranded in the dorms for a week Brendon had devised a plan to raid the cafeteria where they had sent all of the survivors that weren t on the raiding team to the second floor windows of Schramm to draw the mob of hundreds of undead across the courtyard and away from the cafeteria. While the zeds were distracted a team of eighteen survivors had snuck up into the cafeteria from the tunnels lead by Brendon with his suppressed pistol and Aidan with the suppressor on his AR-15 to clear out the building quietly. They hadn t met much resistance inside and were able to get to the food storage on the second floor without drawing the attention of the horde outside. Every member of the group had worn a backpack or one of the large military duffels that had been brought to the dorms and were able to fill up all of the packs without being rushed by advancing undead. Seth had insisted on
coming along to prove to everyone that he was as brave as he claimed and that Brendon had told lies about him. Brendon had obliged him by assigning him to carry one of the large duffels so he could be loaded down with as many canned goods as possible and had only given him a hatchet for a weapon. Luckily for Seth they had only ran into small groups and hadn t been forced to do any serious fighting until the very end when a zed in the courtyard had caught sight of one of them through a window and had alerted the others with its excited moans. Brendon had sent most of the group to include Seth towards the stairs to the tunnel while he and some of the other more experienced members had made a fighting retreat to buy the others more time. The moment Brendon, Griffin and the others who had stayed to fight made it into the tunnels the others sealed the doors behind them and began rebuilding the barricade. They had discovered Seth lying on the ground with blood streaming out of his nose and discovered that he had tried to convince the others to seal the door to the cafeteria while the others were still inside fighting off the advancing undead. Rebecca consequently called him a coward and planted her small fist in his face when he had tried to barricade her lover outside to die. In the days following Seth had continued to make their lives difficult. At the moment Seth was refusing to pull his guard shift in the building s stairwell. After they had cleared the dorms they had set up a four hour guard shift rotation where two people where always posted at the bottom of the stairwell to keep an eye on the barricade. Seth had picked today to refuse to go down for his shift arguing that the barricade was built well enough that there was no need for them to post guards anymore. The thing that amazed Griffin was that some of the people they had rescued that first day were supporting Seth and wanted him to be in charge. None of the people they had rescued had ever been in the military or done any similar work and many of them didn t seem to grasp the importance embracing the suck and doing jobs they didn t like in support of the larger effort. Apparently it was too much for people to pull a four hour guard shift every couple of days on top of their other responsibilities. He understood that it sucked, the sounds of hundreds of zombies pounding on the door could get to anyone but those shifts had to be pulled for the safety of everyone. Griffin wanted nothing more than to slap the fool around until he agreed to pull his shift but he knew that Seth already had enough people foolish enough to listen to him. If he laid a hand on him he would only tell people that Griffin and the others were using force to make them work which would probably just cause more people to follow Seth. The sound of gunshots coming from below gave Griffin an excuse to drop his current argument with Seth. Peter, Evan, what do you guys have going on down there? he radioed to the pair that were currently standing guard in the stairwell. It s not coming from us, Peter said, Brendon came through here a few minutes ago and told us to ignore any weapons fire, I think he s on the third floor. Griffin hurried down to the third floor and found Brendon looking down into the courtyard through his AR-10. He had positioned a table inside the room so that he could rest his rifle on it without poking the barrel out the window and making himself obvious to the zeds below. You never could go very long without putting rounds through one of your weapons, Griffin said as he walked into the room, curious as to what his friend was doing. The room was dark and Brendon was back in the shadows but the zombies in the courtyard were still in an excited state, excitedly walking around in different directions looking for the source of the noise.
At least this time I have an excuse for wasting the ammo, Brendon said while intently watching something through his scope. I hope it s a better excuse than last time when you told me you were bored and needed a weapon to clean, Griffin joked. I d say it s at least a little bit more productive than that time, come look at this, Brendon said motioning Griffin to the binoculars on the table next to him. Take a look at the guy in the orange shirt over by Smith. It didn t take Griffin long to find the individual in the orange shirt. It was a dark haired man that looked young enough to have been a student, maybe even somebody who had lived in these dorms. There were multiple holes in his shirt but only a small amount of blood had oozed out. What are you up to? Griffin asked, You haven t even killed the thing with all the shots you ve been taking. That s the problem, it s not dead, none of them are, Brendon replied. When we came here we only planned to hold out here temporarily in hopes that either rescue would come or these things would starve to death. In the three weeks we ve been here we have seen no sign of rescue and these things are still going strong outside. We haven t seen any of them drink anything, yet none of them have died of thirst. We haven t seen them eat but they aren t even wasting away. You must watch these things more than I do, Griffin said as he scanned the crowd with his binoculars. He hadn t taken a close look at the horde of undead laying siege to their new home for weeks. Personally I do my best to ignore the fact that we have a thousand zombies hanging out outside of our home. I m just worried what we have here may not be enough, Brendon said without taking his eye off of the scope. I put so many holes in that guys torso that I can guarantee I hit both of his lungs and his heart along with a few other vital organs but he still hasn t gone down. They don t need water, air, or a pumping heart, so there is no reason to think that they re going to starve. Griffin had to agree with what Brendon was saying, he d been worried about the same thing. They had picked up so many additional people on their trip to the dorms and upon their arrival that even with their cafeteria raid there was only enough food left over to last them maybe another month if they stretched things thin. We re gonna have to go out there again aren t we? Griffin asked already knowing he was going to dread the answer. I don t see any other choice, Brendon answered. I d love to get everyone out of the city but most of these people wouldn t last two minutes out there, we have little in the way of traveling supplies and half of our weapons are almost out of ammo. We re going to have to take a group and hit somewhere that has food, ammo and other supplies. The only place I can think of like that is Wal-Mart. That s just the place half the people in this city probably thought to go to when the outbreak hit, Griffin said not liking where this was going. That place could have thousands of them inside of it. I m sure it was that way the first week but unless there is someone that managed to hole up there I m sure all of the zeds have wondered away from there by now looking for prey, Brendon said. I think with a decent plan we could pull it off. Well regardless I m with you, Griffin said. Seth however is going to throw a fit. Let him, Brendon said immediately sounding annoyed. Let him know that if he or any of his little followers don t work with us on this they aren t getting any of the supplies we get on this outing.
The threat was ironic considering the argument Griffin had just had with Seth the previous day. Seth had ran his mouth about how he felt they weren t being rationed enough food and had tried to convince everyone that Brendon was sneaking extra food to the people he had known before the outbreak. The accusations were false but Seth had a way of convincing others that his lies were truth which just caused problems for Brendon as he tried to run the place. It seemed like Seth just spent his time looking for ways to undermine Brendon. Griffin was surprised that Seth hadn t found a way to complain about the water. That was one place they absolutely couldn t afford to bend either. The makeshift funnels they had set up on the roofs of all three buildings to collect rain water had kept their water supply at a steady level and prevented them from having to dip very far into their emergency supply of countless water containers they had filled in the first few days while they still had water pressure. Just promise me you ll let me be there when you tell Seth what we re planning on doing, I want to see his reaction, Griffin said. Deal, Brendon replied letting out a small chuckle. Let s meet up in two hours and try to scrap together a plan. Make sure Wiggins and Aidan are there, I ll let Rebecca know. We have to make sure this goes perfectly or we might not have enough backing to keep Seth in his place.
North Wal-Mart Parking Lot Thursday April 14 8:34 A.M. Day 34
Brendon thought that things looked promising as their three vehicle convoy pulled into the WalMart parking lot. There were probably around a dozen zombies wondering around within eyesight of the front of the store, but no large hordes as they had feared. They parked the Explorer and Suburban to the front side of the store but at the far end of the parking lot to draw the zombies in the parking lot away from the building while Wiggins' trio drove the truck around the building to check out the back. As they waited Brendon dismounted from the passenger seat of the Suburban while everyone else stayed in the vehicles. So far the morning had been going well but Brendon knew the day was just beginning. After almost two weeks of prep they had finally taken a group of thirteen survivors in an attempt to get much needed supplies from the cities nearest Wal-Mart. There was an access door in the tunnel system near the cafeteria that lead to the campus network of heating tunnels. Brendon had learned from some of the students in the group that all of the buildings on campus had originally been heated by one central heater that had utilized the tunnel system to pump warm air into all of the buildings. While none of the other buildings on campus had proved to have much in the way of useful supplies the newfound tunnels did allow them to come to ground in another building blocks away from the horde of zombies laying siege to the dorms.
In the previous weeks they had collected all of the vehicle keys they had found in the dorms and had used the car alarms on the remotes to identify what cars belonged to what keys. They had chosen to bring along the keys to a Suburban, Explorer and a Chevy pickup that were all parked in a lot a few hundred meters away from the building along with a few other sets of keys incase any of those vehicles would not start after weeks of sitting idle. All thirteen of the survivors they had chosen to go on the raid came up through the tunnels into one of the educational halls that was three blocks south of the dormitory complex just as the sun began to shine over the horizon. Brendon had kept everyone in a tight formation while he led with his suppressed pistol while some of the others covered their flanks with their guns slung and melee weapons drawn in an effort to keep anyone from firing a weapon that would alert the horde to their presence. With everyone they had left in the dorms making noise from the windows of the furthest building to draw away the attention of the zombies outside the group with Brendon was able to successfully sneak to the chosen vehicles. They crammed all twelve of them into the three which proved to be a little tight since everyone had some sort of backpack, ruck, or A bag on their back to stuff with supplies. The drivers of the vehicles turned the keys in their ignitions simultaneously. The Explorer and Chevy started right away but the engine of the Suburban that Brendon was sitting in sputtered and died. Part of the horde heard the vehicles start and immediately began rushing towards them. Brendon had began to fire his AK out of the window and was about to tell everyone to try to cram into the other two vehicles when the engine had roared to life and the three vehicles had sped away together. The roads had been clogged with countless abandoned cars but the small convoy had managed to find enough clear roads to make their way to their destination. Now Brendon found himself standing in the open parking almost feeling as if it wasn t real. He had been cooped up in those dorms for so long the simple change of scenery was almost shocking. He snapped out of his thoughts and silently dispatched three zombies that got too close with his P22 while they waited for Wiggins truck to come back around. As soon as it pulled up Brendon ran over to the rolled down passenger window to talk to Wiggins. "The loading doors in back are all closed and everything looks secure back there," Wiggins yelled to Brendon, trying to be loud enough for the occupants of the other vehicles to hear as well. "I say we go in." That was good enough for Brendon, he gave them a thumbs up and jumped back into his seat in the Suburban and all three vehicles took off. The other two vehicles stopped at the southern entrance while Jacob drove past them and parked the Suburban just short of the glass doors of the northern entrance. All four passengers jumped out and Griffin and Rebecca both turned away from the store and watched for any zombies with their rifles at the low ready while Brendon and Aidan went to the doors. With the power out the sliding doors didn t open when they walked up just as expected. Brendon peered through the glass and saw no movement immediately on the other side. He and Aidan both grabbed onto a door and pulled at the same time. It took a little bit of effort but as soon as they had the doors pulled open Brendon raised his Walther and rounded the corner. He saw one zombie about fifteen feet into the store but no sign of the horde of undead that Griffin had feared would be inside of the store. He quietly dispatched the corpse not yet wanting to draw more zombies to the front of the store then motioned Aidan forward. Aidan stepped in and took a knee just inside the doors AR-15
raised and ready as Brendon stepped back outside and waved Jacob forward. Jacob parked the Suburban lengthwise against the doors blocking them off from the outside and slid out the passenger seat leaving the vehicle off but the keys in the ignition. Brendon moved over to Griffin s position and surveyed the outside area and saw what he estimated to be about seven zombies headed in their direction within weapons range. He also saw the other two vehicles had been parked against the other entrance and only Wiggins and Alicia were left outside. He heard gunfire coming from the members of the other group that had gone inside and Alicia and Wiggins were also firing on zombies that were outside of the store. Brendon motioned for Rebecca to head inside with the others while he and Griffin got to work taking out any zombies that they could see that were within range. After thirty seconds they had taken them all out and slid through the back seat of the suburban to get inside the store where Aidan and Jacob were waiting. They knew the gunfire would attract more zombies, but hoped that by taking out any zombies that saw them go inside any others that were attracted by the gunfire wouldn't know exactly where to go since it was hard to pinpoint the exact location of gunfire, especially in an urban area where the sound would bounce off of buildings. They would find out soon enough when they tried to get back to the vehicles if that plan had worked or not. Once they were inside Brendon saw that Jacob and Rebecca had both taken a knee close to Aidan with their weapons raised but Brendon saw no zombies headed their direction from inside of the store, the gunfire from the members of the other group that was already inside must have drawn their attention. Brendon waved the others forward and led the group into the store with his P22 raised. Since his group was half the size of the group at the other entrance they planned to be as quiet as possible to draw minimal attention so Brendon would be the only one firing unless the threat was too imminent. He was glad to see that the store was well lit inside because of the skylights scattered around the ceiling. The trip to the other group was only about a hundred yards but would have been difficult to survive in the dark. Brendon finished off his first magazine for his Walther and used two rounds from the next clearing out zombies in their path, but otherwise encountered no problems. He flashed his laser at the other group once he spotted the first of them to make sure they didn t mistake them for zeds. Once the two groups had consolidated they moved out towards the hunting section with Brendon in the lead. They were unsure of how many zombies would be in the store, and how many others would be able to figure out a way to get past the parked vehicles in front of the doors and they had decided that it would be best to get to the gun department where there were spare weapons and ammunition if they started to get overwhelmed with too large of numbers. Brendon stuck to the main aisles taking shots at any zombies that were in their way or immediately down any aisles that they passed. To his left and right were Aidan and Alicia, the two helped him cover the aisles since most of his attention was to the front. Griffin covered the group s rear while Wiggins stuck towards the middle and made sure everyone was covering their area as they moved. They killed just over a dozen zombies getting to the hunting department, but otherwise had no major incidents. The area was tucked into a corner caused by the tire department that had walls jutting out of the main store wall. The only ways for zombies to approach them while in this section was through the aisle that ran along the outside wall, or from the two aisles that intersected at the corner of the tire department. Griffin took Aidan, Rebecca and Jacob to cover the aisle that ran along the outside
wall while Wiggins took Jake, Doug, Alicia, Chris and Peter to cover the area where the other two aisles intersected. Brendon knew more about weapons than the rest of the group so he took Evan and Matt to the gun counter and had them place all three of their bags next to the counter as he ran a round it to get to the large display case that held most of the firearms. He pointed the other two to the 12 gauge ammo and told them to grab anything that was 4 shot or larger, making sure they knew that smaller numbers meant larger shot, and bring it over to the counter for him to sort through. He heard gunfire erupting from Wiggins' group and decided that he needed to hurry and put three shots through each lock on the sides of the display case allowing him to slide the glass doors out of the way. He grabbed three Ruger 10/22 semi auto rifles and magazines and laid them all on the counter along with two lightweight US Survival .22 rifles. He saw that Matt and Evan had collected all of the worthwhile 12 gauge ammo. Most of it was in boxes of 25 shells, but there were some 5 packs of slugs and 15 shell boxes of buckshot as well. Brendon set aside fifty shells and instructed Matt to divide the rest of the shells up between their bags. He estimated that they had probably grabbed close to five-hundred shotgun shells. He and Evan headed over to the .22 ammo and began grabbing five-hundred round cans. They put four of them in the packs and opened a fifth on the counter. Brendon had Evan begin loading the magazines for the .22 rifles while he moved on to the shotgun display case. He carefully lined up his rifle with where the lock attached to the case that would both miss the rifles inside and should be safe for everyone around. He nervously snapped off a point blank shot then looked around and saw that the bullet hadn't ricocheted into anything important. He opened up the case and started picking out shotguns. He grabbed a pair of semi-auto 12 gauge shotguns and three Mossberg 12 gauge pump shotguns and placed them on the counter, letting Matt know to load them with the shells they set aside when he was done loading the packs. Brendon wanted to be sure that they had loaded weapons ready at their location in case there were too many zombies in the store and one of the shooters in Griffin or Wiggins groups ran low on ammunition and needed a quick replacement. He let Evan and Matt continue to load weapons while he went back to the rifle case to see what else could be of use. He spotted a handful of Remington semiauto rifles. Their magazines only held four rounds each, but they looked as if they would be accurate and were capable of mounting scopes. He grabbed two of the rifles, one in .30-06 and one in .270 and put them in the bags along with about a hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition for both and a number of scopes that should fit the two rifles and the Ruger .22 rifles they had grabbed. He could hear steady gunfire coming from the groups on either side of him and started to wonder just how many zombies had still been in the store. From his position he couldn't see down the aisle Griffin's group was covering, but they were firing off a lot fewer shots and didn't look too nervous. Wiggins' group looked to be a little worse off. He could see at least two dozen zeds lying on the ground in their direction and more were coming in the distance. He couldn t see any zombies within twenty feet of any of the survivors though so he figured they had things under control for the time being. Having grabbed all of the weapons they would need to boost their supply Brendon decided to scrounge through the ammunition. He found a healthy supply of 9mm ammunition that could feed the Springfield pistols Griffin and Aidan carried as well as the CX4. There were two 250 round boxes and a number of fifty and one-hundred round boxes. He figured there was easily over a thousand rounds of 9mm ammunition that he was able to grab. There was also a good supply of.40 S & W and .45 ACP that
he grabbed to supply some of their pistols. He was surprised when he saw that Wal-Mart carried twenty and forty round boxes of 7.62x39mmthat would fit in the AK-47s. There wasn't much, but he grabbed a little over two-hundred rounds. He also found about five-hundred rounds of .223 ammunition for the AR-15 rifles and almost two-hundred rounds of .243 for Wiggins' bolt action rifle that had been left at the dorms. After grabbing some slings, earplugs and cleaning kits he decided that they had grabbed everything of use from the gun department. Together Brendon, Matt and Evan made sure every single spare weapon they had grabbed was loaded without any rounds in the chambers, then were placed barrel down in the duffels that the other two would be carrying on their backs. That way if somebody ran out of ammo as they were moving the two could take a knee and others would be able to grab loaded weapons from their packs. He could tell that both of them were rather weighed down by the ammunition in their packs, but he had chosen them both to carry the bags because they were both pretty big guys. He had quite a bit of ammo that he had thrown in his ruck as well but he was used to carrying a lot of weight could handle it. With everything they needed. He motioned for Matt to follow him and headed over to Wiggins location. There was a growing number of zombies coming towards them and Brendon fired off a dozen shots to help thin out their numbers then turned to Wiggins. "If any of you run out of ammo everything in Matt's pack is on amber status and he has a lot of spare ammo. I'm going to take Evan and Doug with me, you take your half of the group and head back to grocery as planned." "Roger that, Wiggins yelled over the gunfire. "We're gonna stick to the back walls to make sure they can only come at us from three sides, we ll rendezvous back in the gardening center after we've filled up on canned foods." Brendon nodded back at him then tapped Doug on the shoulder and motioned for him to follow. Doug was one of the students they had found holed up in Smith on the second day. Doug was an electrical engineering major and had kept a soldering kit and other random wiring supplies in his dorm room. The guy was pretty knowledgeable and they hoped that he would be able to come up with different methods to supply them with power. He brought, Evan and Doug over to Griffins location and took a look down the aisle they were covering. There were six zombies headed their way, but most of them were over a hundred feet away. He snapped off a shot and dropped the second one back just a moment before one of the others took down the nearest zed. The six members of Wiggins' group had headed off which left seven people including himself at their current location. He knew Griffin was more than capable of handling himself so he put Griffin in charge of watching their rear as they moved and assigned Evan to help him. He decided that he would take point himself and have Aidan upfront to help him out while Jacob, Rebecca and Doug stayed in the center and helped out whichever side needed it. Their first stop was the camping department which started just one aisle down from the gun department. There were still a fair number of zombies coming to this part of the store but they were coming sporadically in ones and twos so they didn't have a hard time putting them down. They had decided that there would likely be a number of useful items in the camping department so they went through aisle by aisle. Every time they stopped two members would face each entrance to the aisle while Brendon and Doug grabbed everything that looked to be of use and placed items in the packs of the others. The first aisle had a number of knives, hatchets and machetes that they grabbed. The
machetes looked strong, but likely wouldn't holdup in an extended fight, the hatchets however would be useful, but somewhat short weapons that could double as tools. The group passed by the compound bows deciding that they wouldn't be of use with all of the firearms they already had. There was however a good supply of water purifying tablets that would likely prove useful once their initial water supply ran out or if the jugs they left out to collect rain started to get dirty from lack of washing. There were also meal kits in this aisle that were vacuum packed and looked similar to military rations. Brendon took a few of the meal kits but left most of them there not wanting to take up too much space that could be used for gear since Wiggins group was responsible for grabbing food. The next aisle was filled with potentially useful items. He grabbed nearly twenty LED flashlights of various brands that had cranks on the outside to power the internal batteries, these would make it so they could finally have light at night in the dorms without using up batteries, candles, or lighter fluid. There were also half a dozen of the shake flashlights that somehow charged themselves whenever you shook them vigorously. Hoping that they would be able to set up a way to recharge batteries he also decided to grab all of the head lamps on the rack. If the zombies ever broke into the dorms at night those would make it easier to fight for the people that didn't have lights mounted on their weapons. He also figured that a rechargeable LED spotlight would also prove useful for lighting up an entire hallway in an emergency. The last lights he found that would be of use were four crank charged LED lanterns that could keep entire rooms lit up at night. Also in the aisle was a number of different radios that could prove useful in finding out what was going on in the outside world. There was a 2500 channel radio scanner that would likely be able to pick up any transmissions being sent out in the area. Another useful item as an emergency crank AM/FM radio that had a built in LED flashlight and cell phone charger. Brendon decided to grab two of them because of the flashlight and phone charging capabilities. The phone network had gone down but they could still use phones to supply at least some light from their display screens and to be used as alarms since the outlets didn t have power to keep normal alarm clocks going. Also he hoped that they would be able to hook chargers for rechargeable batteries up to the charger and trickle power into them with the crank to extend their battery supply. They wanted to make sure they were also able to transmit if they heard anyone, not just listen. There were 2-way radios that were advertised to have a 22 mile range, could scan a handful of channels, and took AA batteries. They grabbed ten of these radios both for use in the dorms and for trying to contact survivors on the outside. There were also some hand cranked two way radios that would give them the ability to still transmit even when their battery supply was exhausted. At the end of the aisle was a CB radio that Brendon quickly snatched up knowing that with the antennae at the top of the dorms they would be able to reach people a fair distance away so long as they found a way to power it. This whole time they had all been wondering what was going on in the world outside of the city. The last they had heard the virus and undead had been spreading to surrounding areas, but they didn't know if the military was able to stop the spread. For all they knew the entire world was filled with these things by now. The last thing he grabbed in the camping section was a pair of small propane stoves made for camping. He wouldn t let anyone use them simply for heating up food, but they could be used to boil water that they weren't sure was safe to drink. He threw as many spare miniature propane tanks as he
could into various packs without taking up too much space and the group headed off to the electronics department. They ran into almost two dozen zombies on the way to the electronics department but were able to prevent them from getting dangerously close. Brendon couldn't believe that there had been this many of them in the store. As far as they could tell the entire place was secure so more shouldn't be coming into the store, but so far between the ones they had put down while moving, and the bodies he had seen piled up around the gun department when they left he was sure they had killed at least a hundred of the things. Plus the gunfire coming from the other group across the store was still steady. He hoped the cars had actually kept the front doors blocked off like they had planned, if not hundreds of them could be swarming into the front of the store at this very moment. Their stop at the electronics department was a brief one. Their main goal was to get a healthy supply of batteries. They loaded up on well over a hundred rechargeable batteries with chargers, but also grabbed hundreds of single use batteries just in case they couldn't find a way to get the others charged. The only other things he grabbed in electronics was a GPS with built in two way radio and a handheld satellite radio in hopes that there would still be news programs broadcasting from the satellites. They had grabbed everything they needed so the next step was to head to the gardening center, top off their packs, and wait for the other group to get there. They had to backtrack through the store and ran into a number of zombies that must have been following them, but didn't run into any groups larger than six, and even those were put down relatively quickly. Brendon did have one scare when he led them around a corner and there was a zombie just a couple away, but he was able to draw his pistol quickly enough to put it down before it was able to grab him. The hardware section caught his eye and he had them make a quick pit stop to grab a hammer, a small handsaw, and a good sized bag of nails. He figured they could use all of these supplies to reinforce the barricades at the dorms and build other useful things out of all of the spare wooden bed frames in the place. A few minutes later the seven of them arrived in the gardening center. There was a thirty foot opening leading into the gardening center and Brendon left Griffin, Aidan, Evan, and Jacob to hold that area while he took Rebecca and Doug to check out the rest of the gardening center. He wasn t sure how many rounds he had left in his drum but he guessed he likely still had a dozen or so. They only found three zombies in the gardening center, the rest must have made their way out towards all of the sound they were making earlier. These three must have been confused by all of the echoes off of the walls making them unsure of where to go. The door leading out of the gardening center was still intact and there was only one zed on the far side pounding on it, Brendon wasn t too concerned and figured that it would hold long enough. He led his trio back to Griffin's half of the group and together all six of them took turns making sure that their ammo levels were topped off while the others gave covering fire. Brendon finally emptied out his drum and replaced it with a fresh 30 round magazine but otherwise was set. The shotguns that Jacob, Evan and Doug carried were easy to top off considering all of the spare shells that Stephen had in his duffel and after reloading them they each made sure they had spare shells in their pockets. Matt had two and a half 30 round mags left for the AK-74 so Brendon told him to conserve ammo and only fire on zeds that got close. Griffin had 3 mags and change left over for his AR15 along with four mags for his sidearm. Brendon still had all six of his thirty round mags and another twenty plus rounds for his sidearm so he was doing the best on ammunition.
They held position for ten minutes before Wiggins' group made it to them. Brendon was relieved to see that all six of them were still in one piece. He noticed that Chris had swapped out the SKS for one of the pump shotguns, but he likely had just used up all of the stripper clips for the rifle. All six members of the other group looked extremely weighed down and were all sweating, their packs filled to the brim with non-perishable foods. Wiggins' group took charge of covering the entrance to the gardening center while Brendon's group went back to top off their packs. The first thing Brendon found was a fluorescent light with a cable that led back to a solar panel. They wanted to try to set up gardens on top of the dormitory buildings but had been afraid that there wouldn't be enough space for a large enough garden to feed all of them. They took two of these solar powered growing lights so they could set them up in rooms inside the dorms for extra growing space. He also grabbed another solar panel that was linked to four floodlights that were meant to illuminate lawn landscaping at night. He figured at the very least these could give them constant light at night, but maybe they could even rig up the solar panel to feed energy to the battery chargers with some modifications. Since they had the extra space in their packs they also grabbed a dozen small 12 inch tall solar powered walkway lights that each had their own miniature solar panel built in for extra lighting at night. The last light they took was a motion activated solar powered light. Brendon thought it would be a nice addition to the bottom of the stairwell in the main building. That way if there was any movement at the bottom of the stairs the guards would be alerted, plus they could set off the light themselves if they needed to see something. Brendon heard Doug call his name so he hurried over and saw that Doug had found a portable generator. The only problem was that it was somewhat bulky and from reading the box he saw that it weighed 70 pounds and was ran with fuel. "Do you think you can use this?" Brendon asked Evan. "It won't be worth much the way it s set up now, but I might be able to take it apart and hook it up to the bike in a manner that makes it so when you peddle the chain rotates the piece the engine normally would and it gets a charge." Doug replied. "Sounds like something worth trying to me," Brendon said. He remembered seeing a cart a few aisles away and ran and grabbed it. He and Doug lifted the generators box into the cart and Brendon grabbed a big bag of fertilizer as well for good measure. Every last member of the thirteen person team was carrying an extremely heavy load by this point and everyone was exhausted from the moving and fighting so Brendon let everyone know they were going to head out. The gardening center was closest to the entrance that the Truck and Explorer had been parked by. When they got back to the entrance they saw that there were about two dozen zombies on the far side of the vehicles trying to get past. Luckily none of them had realized that they may be been able to squeeze under the vehicles if they dropped to the ground. There was one on that had managed to climb up onto the hood that Aidan took out with a shot from his AR-15, but otherwise the entrance was clear so long as they didn't open any of the far doors on the vehicles. They split off into the groups that they rode to the Wal-Mart in and Wiggins' group started loading their gear into the vehicles including the generator while Brendon and the other four that had rode in the Suburban headed back towards the other entrance. As soon as they set off Brendon noticed that there were a number of zombies between the front wall and the registers coming in their direction. He could count at least a dozen but the closest of those were at least thirty yards away. Brendon took a knee and out of the corner of his eye saw that Griffin
had already done the same. Jacob, watch our backs, Brendon yelled as he lined up his red dot with the closest of the zombies. After about thirty seconds of combined fire from Griffin, Brendon Rebecca and Aidan the majority of the path to their vehicle was clear but they could still see zombies rounding the corner that lead to the entrance that the suburban was parked at. Brendon feared that the zombies had broken through the suburban or pushed it partially out of the entrance in order to squeeze through, but the only way to know for certain was to make it there. If worse came to worse they could break contact and move back to the other team but their vehicles were so full that bags of supplies would have to be sacrificed in order to fit everyone inside. On me, Brendon yelled out and the group set off again. Brendon, Griffin and Aidan all set into a good combat glide providing them a little bit of shooting stability as they moved. Before long Rebecca and Jacob both caught on and began doing the same. The team reached the corner and Brendon swore under his breath as he saw that the zombies had managed to break through the small garage door to the cart storage area and at least twenty zombies were crawling along the rows of carts to get to them. They had to move fast if they were going to get out of there. Their situation looked bad with the zeds inside being so close to them and there were even more piling up on the far side of the vehicle. It didn t look like many of the undead were close to making it past the Suburban just yet and the zombies crawling over the carts were sluggish. Jacob, Rebecca, get our packs in the vehicle, we have to get out of here now! Brendon shouted as they all opened fire to and hurried to the passenger side of the vehicle that was pressed against the open doors of the store. Brendon dropped his pack and continued to fire as quickly as he could. Faced with so many undead so nearby Jacob and Rebecca moved like lightning and the bags were in the Suburban almost immediately. Brendon continued shooting as Aidan climbed over the passenger seat and into the driver s seat. As soon as he heard the Suburban s engine roar to life he jumped into the front passenger seat as undead rushed towards him from close quarters. He had been the last person to enter the vehicle and as soon as he slammed the door Aidan hit the gas just as hungry hands began clawing at his window. Once they cleared the crowd that had gathered around the Suburban Brendon was able to see that the other two vehicles had escaped from the other entrance and were navigating through the hundreds of undead that had been attracted by the sound of weapons fire and were now shambling through the parking lot. Brendon could tell that the other group had managed to somehow pull the sliding doors closed at the southern entrance before they had taken off. He wished they would have been able to close the doors at their entrance to cut down on the amount of zombies that would get back into the store if they ever came back but he wasn t about to risk anyone s lives to go back and try. He still had good radio contact with the other two vehicles and informed them to let the Suburban take lead. They had made good time inside of Wal-Mart and with no major incidents or injuries he felt the group was still combat effective and he had one more hasty raid in mind that could benefit the entire group in the long run.
Shoot me an e-mail at Jason.C.Papke@gmail.com to let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!
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