Chapter 22

"Taylor must have pushed that sniper off the roof," John stated, as he craned his head to look out the wide window. "That's one less gun to worry about."

"How many more are out there?" I asked.

"Dunno, we got their leader and four guards lying in the back room. I only saw those, but judgin' from the noise of the gun shots, there are at least three more out there with weapons."

"So what are we goin' to do? Wait until Taylor does whatever he comes up with?" Ethan blurted out.

I noticed he was not able to sit still, unlike my frozen reaction to everything. Ethan was moving restlessly from foot to foot and running his hand through his hair over and over again. John was wiggling his fingers as his mind moved to come up with a plan. I remained still like a statue. Ironically, I looked like the calm one but inside I was beyond panic. My mind had started to block the freaking out part, probably due to some inherent survival instinct. The thoughts in my head finally melded into one. We needed to get out of here, and fast.

"I don't think we will have to wait too long." I pointed to the truck that was now reversing.

Shots were fired towards the receding truck from the others that appeared out front. I watched an infected, which had managed to get in, tackle one guy that was too focused on shooting at the truck to see it in time. They fell to the ground in a tangled mass of limbs. The man screamed in agony as the infected tore at his neck with its bare teeth. Blood squirted from the wound and his screams turned to whimpers and then stopped abruptly. The infected continued to tear into the corpse, chewing and ripping at his flesh.

"Move back! He's going to ram it!" A voice bellowed from the front and the remaining men tried to run to the police station doors.

Seeing they were heading this way, we ran over to the doors to hold them closed. John flipped the deadbolt right as they crashed into the doors, which shook from the impact.

"What the hell?" Someone bellowed from the other side.

"Shoot the lock!"

In less time than it took to breathe, John grabbed my shoulder and dove to the side with me in tow. I hit the ground hard as bullets whizzed past us. The breath was ripped from my lungs, but I managed to crawl over further from the barrage of shots. Ethan was on the other side of the doors clutching his arm, blood was leaking down his shirt.

"You ok?" I yelled once I had air in my lungs again.

"Just grazed me."

"It's not working!" The shooters from the other side yelled, when they tried to kick in the door again.

I imagine the front doors to a police station were purposely made to withstand a certain amount of damage, but it wouldn't hold for much longer.

"The ladder out back!" A muffled voice responded and I could hear the footsteps go around the building.

John braved a look out the window, "Ho-ly shit! He's really goin' to ram it, get down!"

I heard the roar of the engine and then the loud clang of Taylor running into the chain-link fence. Something hit the building with substantial impact and the window shattered. Glass rained down all around us and I covered my head, diving underneath the nearest desk. I had once broken a vanity mirror years ago, but it was nothing compared to the size of this.

Once the shards lay still, I moved out from under the desk. The glass crunched under my shoes as I walked over to John, who was crouched right under the window and was currently shaking the glass off of him. Ethan didn't appear to be touched by the shards as he flipped the deadbolt on the front doors with his left hand, his right arm still out of commission. The gate lay in a crumpled heap just outside the set of doors and the truck was half in and half out of the fence. Taylor was behind the wheel signaling for us to get in.

We climbed over the massive gate and ran to the truck. Infected were rattling the fence with renewed vigor and it was beginning to collapse inwards, starting from the edges where Taylor had punctured a hole in it. John shot at the few that had managed to sneak in by the truck. Ethan passed me his gun, knowing he couldn't shoot while injured.

I gulped. Spending a bit more time on aiming than I should have, I started to shoot at the things that were invading the police station, like ants to a picnic. One down, two down, three down. I had taken out three in as many bullets but more were lining up to take their place. We had a small window before the make-shift opening would be overrun.

"We have to go now!" I yelled.

I started towards the truck, shooting at the ones coming up behind it. One tried to squeeze in the opening by the passenger side, so I switched to the knife John had handed me earlier and stuck it into the things left eye socket. It slumped forward, taking the knife with it. I pulled open the passenger door and jumped in, shuffling to the back seat. Ethan followed me in and maneuvered to the back while John came in last, slamming the door behind him.

"Go!"

Taylor hit reverse and floored it. We were catapulted against the front seats and Ethan groaned in pain as his injured right arm was smashed against the seat. Shots were fired from the roof and we ducked to avoid any bullets. The windshield cracked and fissured where the bullets had hit, but Taylor turned the wheel and hit drive, leaving the bullets behind us. We roared off to the side, running down mass amounts of infected. I don't know how much more the truck could take; the grill was becoming a lumpy mess.

Bodies were flying everywhere and one lifted over the grill and smashed into the windshield, shattering the glass, making it almost impossible to see out of. Taylor veered to the left and the body rolled off of the hood.

The back seat was crammed with supplies. It looked like they hadn't got a chance to strip the truck clean. The bag of clothes I had tossed in last night were lying at my feet, reminding me that my backpack was sitting in the van. There went my other gun. I looked down at the piece we had swiped; it was a generic handgun, nowhere near as nice as my Beretta's. But our lost supplies were the least of our concern. We had to get back to the cabin alive.

Once we were clear of the thickest part of the crowd, Taylor slowed down his reckless driving and become a little more defensive. We reached the main street, which previously was empty, now as busy as it would have been before the virus. Infected were shambling across the street, drawn in by the truck alarm. At least, I assumed that's what brought them out. We passed by the cremated remains in the empty lot and then back out to the interstate.

As soon as we hit the main drag Taylor applied the brakes. The truck stood still in the middle of the three lanes, the engine still running.

"Why'd ya stop?" John asked.

Instead of answering, Taylor opened the driver side door and got out. Ethan and I exchanged confused glances. John opened his own door to see what had gotten into Taylor. Not wanting to be left out, I vacated the truck with Ethan in tow. For some reason he followed me out my side instead of opening his own door.

"What is it son?" John asked, concern lacing his voice.

We all stared in horror as Taylor rolled up his left sleeve to reveal a bloody set of teeth marks and some skin missing. John stood frozen in place, the shock too much for him. I heard Ethan swallow loudly beside me.

"I'm gunna turn aren't I?" Taylor asked in a low voice.

It was one thing to be dying; it was another thing all together to be a dead man walking. The irony was not lost on me. I had only witnessed a handful of people turn once infected, but I knew he didn't have long. The ones that turned fastest were the ones who had died while they were attacked, like in the school. The one's that didn't die during the attack turned a little while later, like Mike had.

A tear slipped down John's cheek and I found my own eyes starting to cloud up with salty tears. None of us knew what to do. We had just left the supermarket this morning only to be taken hostage and here we were with more bad luck thrown our way. Only this time death was so much closer.

I turned back to the vehicle in a blur and started rummaging through the pharmacy supplies that were buried underneath the other items in the back of the truck bed. I ran back to Taylor with disinfectant and gauze; my own personal savior.

"That won't do any good," Taylor deadpanned.

"Give me your arm," I demanded, ignoring his words. "What happened?"

"Well first I shoved the sniper off the roof; he hadn't seen me comin' up behind him. Then I jumped off the roof, outside the fence and when I ran to the truck, there was already some of the infected around it. I pulled one off by the collar, but it twisted around on and bit me before I could raise my knife."

He stopped his tale and held out his injured arm for me, so I got to work. Taylor hissed at the stinging disinfectant spray as it bubbled on the wound's surface. John was hovering, still eerily silent. The bite looked beyond painful. It was an angry shade of red and purple; it almost looked like it was pulsing. I wrapped the gauze firmly around his arm, but the blood was soaking through at an alarming rate. Maybe that's why people died so fast when attacked, the wound didn't clot.

"Leave me here."

"Never." John sounded angry.

"You might not turn, Taylor," I admitted.

He gave a humourless laugh, "And what are ya basin' that off of?"

I handed my supplies to Ethan and he took them with his left hand. They all looked at me warily as I began to lift my shirt; Taylor gave me an incredulous look, like he was worried I was about to strip. The nail marks on my skin had healed but they left one hell of a scar, they looked like someone had dragged a hot poker across my skin. They were raised and red.

"That's from an infected?" Taylor asked, life coming into his voice once again.

"Back when everything first broke out. I was at the hotel and an infected woman chased me down and scratched me. Zoe and I had gone to the hospital after but it was too crazy there to get any treatment," I recounted what had happened, purposely leaving out the part about Mike.

"And you didn't turn," Taylor sounded hopeful.

"Obviously not."

John smiled at his son and put his hand on Taylor's shoulder.

"See, there's no need for us to leave you sittin' out here."

Ethan finally spoke up, "Maybe you're just immune."

Way for him to wreck the point of my little story time. I shot Ethan a sideways glance, silently telling him to shut up.

"There's no way of telling. So everybody get back in the truck and we're heading back to the cabin." I used my rarely heard authoritative voice.

Taylor's lips quirked and he trotted off to the passenger's side, John to the drivers. Ethan and I slip back into the cab and I fixed up his arm once we were on the move again. It turns out the bullet had gone through his arm, which was lucky because I was pretty sure I didn't have the stomach to fish a bullet out. I sprayed some of the antiseptic on it then wrapped his upper arm in the remaining gauze. I was getting pretty good at that.

"I think you might need stitches?" It came out more as a question, since I wasn't actually trained to treat wounds.

"I can stitch you boys up once we get to the cabin," John announced from the front seat.

He kept looking over at Taylor, who was staring out the window silently. I threw the unused medical supplies back into the bag and sat back in the seat. None of us wanted to talk; we needed the time to de-compartmentalize. My gaze kept returning to Taylor, looking for any signs that he was going to turn. Mike had lasted at least two hours before he turned, but that was only a guess on my part. He came to Zoe and me after he was bit, so there was no telling how long he was infected before we met him.

I turned in my seat, paranoid that we were being followed. The last thing we needed, on top of everything else, was those psycho's following us back to the cabin. Much to my relief, the road behind us was as empty as the road in front of us. Just a few abandoned cars, the only infected being the dead bodies that occasionally lay by the roadside.

Taylor let out a wet sounding cough and I started to chew at my lips, my emotions fried. Mike had started to make those rattling coughs before he turned.