Author: Josh Redel
Oh how lucky I am, right? Wrong, this is not luck but another road-block on the route to…I don't know, safety? What is safe in this world? I've come to the conclusion, that once I reach the boat, I will kill myself regardless. Why? Because that seems like enough prolonging for me.
I mean, at the rate things are going, I'll make it on the boat with little time to spare. But then what? I sit on a floating piece of driftwood until I rot? No, I've always wanted to go scuba-diving. So I'm going to find some gear, air-tanks, and head out into the Atlantic for a little while.
Then, I plan on sky-diving. That seems a bit harder considering I need a pilot, but all I have is time. Hell, why not visit Cedar Point in Ohio? I mean, since the electricity is probably gone, I could head out to a place like Sand Castle, play in the lagoon.
After reading this, I feel I have truly lost it.
The sun began peeking through the clouds early in the morning, parting them like Moses and the waves. They seemed to disperse and dissolve as the sun came up, but the wetness stuck around. It soaked up in the grass, puddled in the roads, and hung from the few leaves still clutching the trees. The temperature plummeted too, causing us to remove out soaked gear and let them hang out to dry. It sucked, to say the least, but the morning looked beautiful regardless.
I loved the fall time, just the pretty colors of the leaves and the gentle breezes that filter through. The sun, it looks different this time of year. It hangs farther in the sky, but oddly enough it tends to shine so bright…
On the road again, a small two lane highway lined with row after row of cornfields. So I'm heading out of town with a new group. What a bunch of misfits we are, even worse than the last group I signed on with. We've got Eddy, the local Scotty who enjoys telling stories from the past. Rob Dasani, the guy who is so paranoid he almost forgets how to breathe. Then there's a young girl with an attitude, who happens to know how to use a gun, and refuses to let me have Tom's pistol back. And last but not least, a dog that eats more food than we do.
Luckily we all seem to get along. Eddy won't shut up, and Rob won't stop listening. Alexis and the dog get along, and I just keep my eyes on the road. We pulled over this morning, collected my previous weapons like the .44, m1911, and 30-06. My thoughts were once again interrupted by Eddy.
"My mom used to get me up every mornin', around 5 o'clock, jus' when the sun was ready to wake up," Eddy droned on, clutching his shotgun between his hands. I slid the window separating the cab of the truck from the bed, effectively tuning him out. Alexis smirked at me, and I shook my head.
"Why don't you like to talk?" she asked suddenly.
I rolled my eyes, "Because, there's nothing to talk about." Good enough answer for me, but I should realize by now that Alexis doesn't accept one-liners. Oh well, I guess talking to her is the least I can do considering she handed me a box of .44 rounds and a 30-06 with a medium-speed scope. Oh how I wish for the day I need to use it.
"Well, what was life like before the outbreak?" she pressed on. By now, she has gotten over the death of her parents. I guess that it was inevitable anyway, so it's almost better now…
I thought for a second, "Well, the economy sucked, the gas-prices sucked, school sucked-"
"Not that!" she cut me off, "I mean, what was life like for you? What was your family like? Did you have a girl-friend?"
Scenes from my past-life flashed by in my head, ripping my concentration from the road. I tried to shake my mind clear to get the images out, without much success. Dammit, don't I think enough about my past? I should think more about my future instead…which also seems pretty bleak at the moment.
I sighed, "My family was normal, my dad worked, my mom stayed home. I was in college," I couldn't help but try and picture my family together. My mom's face wasn't as easy to recall as my father's, but I could only imagine his dying moments.
"What did you do for fun?" she continued
Immediately I thought back to Alex Rendoso, which made me laugh. Oh God, those were some good days. Alex and I would hang out almost every weekend, drinking and heading out on the town…usually in that order. Hell, I wonder what ever happened to him…
I swerved the truck around an abandoned SUV, "I would hang out with some friends…"
"Girlfriends?" she giggled.
I shot her a look, "My girl dumped me before the outbreak, and I never talked to her again. I honestly don't care…"
I could tell by the way Alexis looked away covering a grin that she didn't believe that. The truth was, I really did miss my ex-girlfriend. Brittany Tanish, with her short, light-brown hair and hazel eyes, man she made me melt.
Again I tried to picture what she looked like. There was only one scene I could recall; where I was at her house and the outbreak had just begun. Her blood splattered face, the way she screamed when the infected tore the fingers from her hands.
"Look out!" Alexis cried. I jerked the wheel just in time to avoid another parked car. She stared at me in disbelief, and I had to look away to hide my tears. Brittany died in my arms, like so many of my loved ones. I tried to save her, pulling her from the infected's grasp. I should've died that day, not Brittany.
Then there's Dad, telling me to find mom, who was no better off. Why did God punish me? I figured I was no church-boy but this was just cruel. There wasn't a single loved one alive for me after the outbreak. I have no relatives and no friends left.
"Josh…what is it?" Alexis interrupts my thoughts. I can't look at her, I feel like running off into the woods and sticking the barrel of the .44 into my mouth. What am I thinking?
"What isn't it? Tell me one thing that has gone right so far? When did I ever get a break?" I ask, talking more to myself than her. "I have tried and tried and tried, each time something else comes up!"
My voice cracks at the end, weakening my statement. I don't care, I just continue venting. How come I pretend like this is some kind of game? Why exactly does it feel like a waste of time waking up in the morning?
I slow the car to a stop, pulling off the side of the road. "I can't do this, I need to go home."
"What?" Alexis asks in astonishment, "Are you insane?" she instantly realizes those were the wrong words and she apologizes. Eddy and Ted were starting to become restless, banging on the window and asking what the hold-up was for.
"Stop it! Give us a moment!" Alexis shouted at them, she grabbed my arm and forced me to look at her, "Look Josh, you're going through the same thing I am! My parents are dead, I have no friends, nobody likes me, but I don't plan on giving up!"
She's right about the whole loneliness concept, but the fact of the matter is I believe it's giving in not giving up. Maybe that was what God was waiting for. He wanted me to be the one deciding when my struggle is over.
Suddenly, something jumped out onto the road, ducking behind an empty van. I watched closely as brown fur poked up from behind the hood. My suspicions are confirmed when it raises its head, with big white antlers, black nose, black eyes, and white patch on its neck.
"Look, a deer!" Alexis points out a little too late. It's probably been awhile since she's seen one; I know it has for me. I don't see a graceful animal though, I see food. I take the 30-06 from between the seats and open the car door. Leaving the heated truck, the cold outside air hit my skin.
The deer stares at me, unsure of what I am and whether or not I pose a threat. I slowly chamber a round in the rifle, wrapping the strap around my arm and peering down the scope. The reticle is simple enough, enhancing me with a 6x scope and milled crosshairs.
"Nice buck…" Eddy whispered. Yeah, it's safe to assume he was probably a hunter before this apocalypse.
Most of the deer's body was hidden behind the van, so I had to wait for a little while before he decided to move. I set the rifle on the truck's side-mirror, steadying myself for the shot. I find the spot right behind the shoulder, where the vitals are concealed inside. As I'm squeezing the trigger, the deer looked up back behind the van.
Another deer walked out, smaller and spotted white. It limped, holding its front right leg up. So, we have a family here. Where's mom, I wonder? I don't suppose she made it out of whatever got the fawn's leg. Forget it, I held my spot on the buck and began to focus again. It's only about 40 yards away, but for some reason I can't hold.
"Josh, just shoot the deer. Aim behind the shoulder and squeeze the trigger," my father's voice echoed in my head. This is messed up, I squeeze the trigger.
The high-velocity .308 round exploded out of the rifle, recoiling the stock into my shoulder and vibrating in my chest. The cold temperature enhanced the quality of the smoke, fogging the scope as I worked the action and loaded in another round. The used shell clattered to the ground, and I reacquired my target while the smoke dissolved. The buck dropped down, the blood still pumping from its heart and spraying up into the air.
Turning quickly, I get the crosshairs onto the baby fawn and find its neck. I'm sure that the heart is too small to make a sure hit. Regardless, this type of bullet is enough to tear a hole the size of my fist into its side. I fire the second shot, hitting my mark and spinning the wounded animal to the ground.
"Nice shooting!" Eddy complimented me. It's time to find out where the infected is that killed the mother. They had to have come out of the cornfield on the left-side of the road. I make my way there, ignoring the shouts from the people behind me.
The ground sloshed beneath my boots as I ran across the muddy rows of untamed soil. The sky that was once clearing up seems to be clouding over once more as I find myself halfway across the field. Scanning the area, I locate an infected quite easily. He's sitting perched on the ground, feasting on a corpse. He's the only thing in the field aside from the dead plants and me.
Shooting off-hand is a bit more challenging, especially with a rifle of this size. I take a deep breath, looking through the scope. Slowly, I exhale while letting the crosshairs drop down onto his head. It's a small target at the distance of around 60 yards when using this scope.
Even with that, my shot nails him in the right eye, blowing the grey flesh from the back of his head and dropping him where he sat. I sling the rifle over my shoulder, just as the others caught up to me.
"What are you doing? Are you insane?" Rob asked once he got near.
"No, just stretching my legs," I answer, walking towards the infected. I'm happy with the shots I landed with this new rifle. I can honestly say that I expected to be a bit worse, but I suppose the weight and scope helped me a bit.
Time to see the face of the bastard who killed the mother deer, or so I assume. I shouldn't blame them, but I should blame the infection for taking control. Even though my shot ruptured the right side of the head, I flip the face over with my boot.
I'm shocked to see it looks so familiar. Almost like a celebrity, as if it could be somebody I've seen a few times before. Their head is bald, unlike most of the infected which have the scraggly white and black hairs.
Their clothing isn't so torn up either, meaning this was recent. A black shirt and ragged jeans…
"Not…" I look at the corpse the infected was eating. The clothing is enough to sell my suspicions…a tan police uniform with a holster missing an m1911. A leather cowboy hat was lying a few feet away. I can't help but to look at the sky, because this has to be a sign.
"What is it?" Alexis asked quietly.
I shook my head, "It's Darius and Tom."
***A/N: Yes there are most likely a multitude of errors in this chapter (all of them for that matter), and I apologize for that. I'm working on too many stories at once, and most of them are in different tenses. If I switched tense, just get over it and move on. It's very picky when proofreading on what is past and present because it's so jumbled in my head right now.
On another note, I also realize this chapter is dull and pretty confusing. You may not like it, but I feel this chapter is just as needed as any other.
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 13 coming soon!
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