I gritted my teeth angrily when I saw Rob holding the padded yellow envelope.
"What the fuck is it now?" I asked in a harsh tone, but Rob only chuckled in response.
"We need you to go collect some supplies again." He said calmly.
"...AGAIN?" I demanded loudly, "I went there three days ago!"
Rob shrugged, "Don't blame me, we have ten people here. People need stuff."
Snatching the envelope from his hand, I turned as I reached the door, "This better be worth it."
The Villas, more or less, was completely deserted. Anyone that had survived the past two months had either moved on or was in our makeshift shelter. Originally, we had planned this little get-together to be three people: Rob, Mike, and I. Rob, dubbed the survival guy for his extensive of guns and knives and trail blazing; Mike, the three-hundred and seventy pound, six foot seven half-German took the title of "Enforcer", he was pretty harmless though; then there was me, I was the agile one, the fastest out of everyone, nimble, stealthy and filled with pointless knowledge and trivial facts. We were, essentially, the perfect team.
I slipped through abandoned yards as I moved along; it was never too safe to travel along the main road because if you didn't get spotted by a zombie, or a mutant, or a gang, you might get shot by someone thinking you were one of the former. Frankly, I wasn't afraid, we've lived this long on Death's shoulder, no reason we couldn't push him a little more. I was actually traveling through the yards in search of a working bicycle, I had nearly fifteen miles to travel to the CVS and nightfall was in two and a half hours. If I walked roughly ten minutes a mile, I'd make it there at nightfall. That wouldn't be good enough.
Over time, we gained seven more people as we planned out our last days. To tell the truth, there was supposed to be more, but…you know…stuff happens. Jon was a computer and video game junkie; he had been going through withdrawal for some time now and resorted to playing archaic fast food toy games until we got something else. Sandra was an average girl, not very special, but not bad, she did her fair share of work, but wasn't very good at much. Gary was a sword nut; he refused to leave his house with any less than thirteen of his swords and no less than five of his daggers, at least it meant more weapons for us.
I stumbled upon a bike about halfway through The Villas; there was no real way for me to judge the amount of time I had left except guessing, which I happened to be very good at. Rob had an army manufactured digital clock, which I suppose meant it always worked…and it did. In any case, I shot off down the road on the bike. It wouldn't last past today, it was pretty damn rusted, but Dylan could probably fix it when he got back. That'd be worth this entire ride.
Dylan graduated in my class, went to the same community college as me, he was a bit of a nut like me; tattoos, motorcycles, bicycles, painting, drawing, all kinds of stuff that fell into his area of expertise, but he was basically our mechanic for now. Elana, how could I forget her? She was Rob's girl, didn't do much, but I guess she could be used for breeding later if we had to repopulate the Earth. Hahaha. Juliya was also here, God how I hated that; I tried to date her once, but she was crazy, fucking gorgeous and crazy. The lack of society meant a lack of drugs, and that wasn't good for her, but she was usually half-naked and all drunk anyway. Last was Phil, he was kind of dim-witted, but a fun guy, also someone who lacked fundamentally abilities to aid our quest, oh well.
It was a pretty straight shot through North Cape May to the Cape May Bridge; the roads were a little clogged from the hundreds of people trying to escape. Overturned cars, fires that had yet to burn themselves out, bodies (or at least what looked like bodies) strewn about, and then you had the random trash everywhere. Yep, this place was home. I laughed a bit at the time about it, but there really wasn't any joke, just silly me.
The trees I passed by, traveling adjacent to the "strip mall", were nearly barren now; it hadn't rained in weeks. I assumed it had something to do with the bombs, but Mike tried to explain some extremely complex scientific idea and I just tuned him out. I really didn't care, all that it meant to me was that the scenery would start to change and outside activities would no longer be ruined by rain. Whoop-dee-doo.
The bike treads ripped at the road, flinging the bike forward as I bore into the pedals, the faster the better. That was my motto. Well. I lied. That wasn't my motto. That wasn't ever my motto. I just liked saying silly little things to give myself enthusiasm. It was never the things that I actually did that gave me the push; it was the idea of what would come of it. I would never have taken this little mission if I knew I wasn't going to get anything out of it. No one but Rob, the girls, and myself knew what I was going to get and if that doesn't ignite a few light bulbs, somebody needs to take Health class again.
Yeah, the end-of-the-world is kind of the last place you'd think someone would be going, "You know what would be really embarrassing..." Trust me. There is no more embarrassing things, I'm probably the only who would get embarrassed from stuff nowadays. I'm probably the only person who refuses to change clothes until everyone is at least fifteen feet from where I'm changing. Shit, I saw people running half-naked to get out, people running fully naked (they normally got picked up, unless they were especially fat), Hell, I saw what people would do to get out.
Not like it'll matter anyway.
As I reached the bridge, I hopped off the bike. After everything that had happened, my silly little fear of bridges didn't seem too significant anymore. In-fact, my fear of everything besides Zacks seemed insignificant. How about that? I crossed the top of the bridge, staring into the clogged canal, full of crashed boats, the hundreds of trees ripped down from plane and car crashes, the homes that you could see ripped apart…I shuddered, God forbid anyone was still out here. At least I was fast.
I began pedaling down the bridge, slow and steady, then as I picked up enough speed I just let go and glided. The wind felt good across my face, the cool breeze from the ocean, memories flooded me though I refused and shut it out. I didn't have time for memories, especially since I would have missed the group of Zacks in the distance.
I continued to glide; they were still far off, in a field to my right and didn't seem to pose any immediate threat. They might be a problem on the return trip though, if they spotted me, so I quit the gliding and begun to pedal, striving to make as little noise as possible. I had a gun, I had a short sword, I could have fought them off quite easily; no, ammo was to be conserved and I had a mission.
Mission? Conserve ammo? This wasn't the guy I was. But I sighed, my heart had been pounding since I left Rob's house, how could it not? I was as chickenshit as they came and the only reason I did this...was well…heh, you know. But really, I would be the first one to open fire on a group of Zack, the first to charge…if I had backup. You never knew where they were, you might see one, there could be three, might see five, there could be twenty. Actually, I kind of took it upon myself to preserve the use of the phrase "Two or more Zacks; don't turn your back".
Yeah, laughing riot. But we needed all we could these days.
The road meandered and I rode on, eventually reaching my favorite place to pass (nowadays and before), because there was this church that just drove me nuts every time I passed by. They put out this big sign, and it always had this silly little catchphrase on it, just little religious jokes. When Z-Day hit, they had left out my favorite, "Need a lifeguard? Ours walks on water." I died the first time I saw it.
I wasn't religious by any measure of the word; I wasn't even the kind of person that considered the idea of going to a religion. And by far, this was not brought on because of Z-Day. If anything, Z-Day reinforced the idea, to me, that an omnipresent being was somewhere in the universe. Somewhere out there, anyway. Oh yeah, as I was saying, I wasn't religious in any sense, my parents attempted to raise me as a Catholic, but I couldn't deal with it. I thought wasting an hour every Sunday, where I could have easily been doing something worthwhile couldn't hurt me more.
I don't mean to be a religious bigot, but I hated organized religion. I don't care if people follow religions, if people have faith and can believe in something that has ever directly affected their lives or made it present in the world, than good for them! I can't, however. I tried to be a Wiccan, I tried to be a Buddhist, I attempted to understand the Koran, tried Ancient Greek Mythology, and lastly went for the old Japanese religion, but nothing worked. There was no way to instill the practices of a single religion to me, but I always thought I was a pretty decent person, ya know?
If there turned out to be a god, for any religion that is, I don't think that he would cast me into Hell without another glance.
I shook my head, realizing that I was now on Park Boulevard…my home was only a few blocks away. Would I stop home? I couldn't possibly…if I returned home, it would be likely that my cats would see me, if they hadn't fled already, and I couldn't bear to see them. I would have to take them back with me. My heart would just give out. The day I woke up and heard my phone blaring "Is this almost over now, my longest night, my darkest hour" I knew something was wrong. Not the lyrics, just the idea that Rob never called me that early.
I tried to wake them up. My parents. My sister. They…were out of it. I always said I hated them. I'd prefer them dead. But I did miss them, once they were gone, just like how I always felt lonely at my house with nobody home. But I got over it, my apathy made up for it. Also, killing them myself kind of helped, prepared me for the rest of what we had to do. Beating up people weaker than me while attempting to raid CVS never felt better, especially after I got into the pharmacy.
I shook my head again as I passed my house: I kept my eyes forward. I pried my mind; it was such a pain…memories. Back in the day, back when I was in high school…I was quite the little drama king. But not publicly, I wasn't that kind of Emo. I think I played Kingdom Hearts too much, because I got wrapped up a lot in thinking about my existence, about memories, and I doubted more than a few times about if I
was real, or if my memories were real, or if my parents were even my parents. Then again, how many kids don't imagine if they were adopted?
I pulled into the CVS parking lot; it was here that I realized how little we had accomplished. I don't just mean we as in my friends and I, I meant humanity as a whole. We had a few radios and police scanners, you know, the random junk we could get from the police station (by the time we got to the Coast Guard base it had been wiped clean and the boats were long gone). But we had heard nothing, at all. We hadn't even seen a roaming gang in months and I was beginning to suspect that we had just made up the first one.
Shaking my head, I went back to concentrating on my current task. I had a pension for getting distracted.
The entrance to CVS was littered with glass, debris, and a few discarded candy wrappers. I stepped through, carefully avoiding the large pieces of bloody glass, and noticed the inside of the store wasn't in too much better shape. Most of the displays were knocked over, more glass laid askew across the floor, trash was everywhere, and almost everything was missing in addition to that. With a sigh, I started exploring the aisles, but it led to nothing. The store had been wiped clean, and from the looks of the stockroom, someone might have been using it as a shelter at night.
I realized then, the brown paper envelope in my hands wasn't really what I needed to do. Shuffling it uncomfortably in my hands as I walked out the front door, half-smiling and half-frowning, I knew what I had to do.
The brown envelope is probably still in the dumpster, I knew what was written on it, and it wasn't nothing important. Just a shopping list. But for me? It meant something much more. It was an escape. It was a way out. I would have been dead by now, if I was cooped up in Rob's house without this little traveling bit, and likely they would think I was dead now. But I had an idea, now, a goal, if you will. You could say I was going a little crazy, that much was true, and I smiled, as I mounted my bike, because I knew everything was going to be alright.
After all, I'm immune.