Survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse:

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, Nation of the Dead.


The Beginning of Humanity's End

California Population 10,109,655+ living civilians, 55,000 national guard – Outskirts of Los Angeles to quarantine city, 25,000 army personnel to secure the whole of California, 258,000 living military personnel and civilians in underground bases awaiting 'Mission Apocalypse' orders. The Infected - 50,000,000+ zombies, 10,000,000+ mutants.

When the so called Apocalypse finally occurred it was hardly a surprise to anyone. We had years of warning. Years of war and years of threats and counter threats. In the end we had expected nuclear missiles to rain down death and destruction on us from our numerous enemies. We had spent the last ten years preparing for such a day.

Trillions of dollars were spent ensuring we were ready for whatever came our way. Taxes had for years been at an exhorbitant level to pay for such preparations. From the hundreds of thousands of neighbourhood bomb shelters that sprang up in every city, town and village to the stockpiling of arms and ammunition in armouries across the country. From the massive stockpiling of food, water and fuel mountains to the impressive array of defensive satellite missile batteries that protected every inch of American and Allied territory. The Nuclear Disaster Distribution Centres built in every major city and town and with at least one in every state were to be the first place many would go for their basic needs. They would supply everything from blankets and tents, to cooking utensils and portable power generators and thousands of other everyday items that could be needed in the event of nuclear war.

Nothing was left to chance. Even the president and the rest of the government had been conducting the running of the country from a top secret underground base. Along with their extended families. The nation's best and brightest teachers, scientists, technicians and engineers, professors and high ranking military leaders along with their extended families were placed in secret underground facilities from where they could work and live as normal a life as possible.

Whole new divisions of the military were trained and recruited outside the normal chain of command as specialist soldiers equipped to deal with a nuclear war. They were housed in underground bunkers ready for the inevitable invasion once the nukes fell. Each state would have at least one such division based on it's territory to halt the advance of any foreign enemies. These troops lived in their underground bases for prolonged periods with no contact with the outside world other than news and the usual methods of communication. But no one from outside ever entered these mysterious bases that had cost so much to build and occupy.

We thought we had done everything to ensure our survival as a nation. But we could never have predicted what would happen next. Like the scene from some late night Horror Movie the first reports of unexplained deaths came in over the news networks. It seemed as though hundreds, perhaps thousands of immigrants, mostly from Muslim nations were dropping dead without any explanation. Fairly soon it seemed as though the hospitals and morgues of every city in America was full of these unexplained deaths. Then just like the films. Or at least that's how it seemed to us. The dead didn't stay dead. And now whatever was killing off these immigrants, was starting to spread to anyone they came into contact with.

All across the world, the reports were the same. America and its allies were suffering from some great outbreak. Within weeks the military had quarantined just about every city in America. The withdrawal of troops from around the world's battlefields began soon after as the troops were needed at home. After several more weeks it was determined that the outbreak was a man made virus. By this time the cities were in a state of panic and the rule of the gun had taken over as the military struggled to keep order and prevent the further spread of the virus.

A month after the first cases was reported America fired its nuclear missiles at every Muslim nation on the planet. All the initial dead had one thing in common, they had all travelled from Muslim nations to the USA within the last ten years and all had acted as carriers of the virus until the Doomsday trigger was activated. They were all willing martyrs in the fight against what they saw as the Great Satan. The initial casualties from around the world numbered in the hundreds of millions from the nuclear blasts alone. Hundreds of millions more would likely die from radiation sickness. The world responded with barely a murmur as it fought it's own battle to contain the spread of the virus.

All across America Muslims were rounded up and placed in hastily built internment camps. Those who remained were often hung or shot as the rule of law began to slip away. The cities were now battle grounds where the dead hunted the living. The army for the most part stood back and let it happen. It was decided early on that the military needed to be kept intact for fear of invasion if they were seen as too weak to defend themselves.

Two months into the crisis and tens of millions had died and risen. The thousands of shelters that had been prepared for protection from nuclear fallout were being used to house the uninfected. News reports stated that sixty percent of people that came into contact with the virus would die within three days and rise between an hour and a day later. A further twenty percent were undergoing strange and horrific mutations as a result of being bitten and infected. It was thought that around twenty percent were immune to the virus but were themselves carriers who could also turn if killed. Less than one percent were thought to be completely immune and had the antibodies in their blood to ensure they were not carriers of the virus. These few hundred thousand people were in great demand as the authorities sought to engineer a vaccine to stop the virus before it completely wiped out humanity.

Jericho Bay founded in 2020 by billionaire Charles Edmond Jericho the billionaire tech entrepeneur and owner of the multinational tech giant Jericho Cybersytems Corporation. The company had only been in existence for the past seven years but had already made a name for itself worldwide as the new designer, manufacturer and distributor of many new age technologies that were revolutionizing the tech industry.

The city of Jericho Bay, population, 2,899,589 was the new place to be for all those bright and accomplished university graduates who wanted to be a part of the fast growing phenomenon that was Jericho Cybersystems. Everyone who lived in the millionaires playground of Jericho Bay was somehow connected to Charles Jericho. There were no working class people in the entire city. Everything was run by robots and robotic systems. The average minimum wage was 500,000 dollars a quarter. The city supplied hundreds of millions with cutting edge technology and brought in money by the hundreds of billions.

When the virus swept across America the city closed its doors with the outside world. A vast army of newly designed android, robotic and cyber soldiers protected the city from the flood of refugees wanting to find somewhere safe to get them through the Apocalypse. The hordes of undead were turned back and swiftly annnihilated within close proximity to the city.

The experimental energy dome shields were used for the first time and proved succesful at keeping everything out of the city that was not invited in. The residents of Jericho Bay went about their business and lived their lives almost without noticing the outside world had gone to Hell. As the last safe city on the countries surface the whole of America seemed to want to get inside but there was no welcome sign waiting for anyone trying to get inside the city. Millions had already been turned away. Many were killed by the cities robotic defenders uncaring and without any human morality to get in the way.

June 2025, 18.33 Friday 13th , Southern California. City of Lost Hope.

Population 32,692 living civilians, 255 (mechanized infantry regiment remnants) army personnel to watch over the entire city, 384,598 zombies, 55,341 mutants.

Frank Briggs brought the hunting rifle up and peered intently through the scope at the sight across the street. A horde of undead were closing in on three young guys who looked as though they were no older than college students. Each carried a pistol and a backpack that seemed to be overflowing with much needed supplies. They were rushing to an old pickup truck that he could see had two young women in the front seats with the engine revved up and they seemed to be shouting desperately for the young men to get back in the truck. The horde numbered over a hundred walking corpses. They were shambling forward and were close to cutting the men off from the truck. There was nothing he could do to help them. At least nothing he was going to risk doing to bring their attention onto himself. The vehicle shot around the edge of the horde and the three men managed just in time to jump into the back of the truck before it sped away down the road and quickly moved out of sight.

The horde were a good three hundred and eighty metres away and seemed to be swarming after the truck with little success. But whatever was in the store the men had just vacated and filled their packs there could be more to loot. He waited for ten minutes until the last of the zombies had disappeared down the road after their next meal.

Frank took a bottle of fresh bottled water and drank down half a pint in several long gulps. He took a half full bag of mints and placed two in his mouth. Immediately the taste was refreshing. When was the last time he had cleaned his teeth. It seemed like a lifetime ago. He let the flavour fill his mouth and crunched down on them with his teeth. He washed the mints down with another sip of water and readied himself for the trip across the street. He slung the rifle over his shoulder and brought out an auto-shotgun.

Checking it was fully loaded he then began moving across the street looking around for anyone or anything that might want to do him harm. Within a minute he was stood in front of three stores. A gun shop called Joe Westwoods Guns and Bullets. It looked like it had been the target of looting several times but its doors and shatter proof glass and metal cage had proved too much for the looters who had probably been in a hurry and disturbed some zombies while trying to get in.

The second store was Rose's Gardens and Groceries which looked as though it had probably been looted early on when the virus first started. But even here he could see several cans of food laying on the floor and the shelves were not fully picked clean.

The third store was Jack Bradley's Outdoor Pursuits. A store that sold everything from tents, sleeping bags, cooking utensils, maps, to outdoor rugged clothing for all weathers. Again the door hung open and the front window had been smashed and the the metal cage ripped open. It looked like something big had caused the damage. Undoubedly one of the larger mutants that led the zombies around like alpha pack leaders.

He would try the gun store last. It was closed up tight and would be harder to get into. The camping store could wait awhile. He would start with the food store. Frank readied the shotgun and stepped inside. He counted ten aisles with shelves on either side of each aisle. He listened for the sounds he had come to recognize so well. Zombies and mutants all had a series of noises they made quite distinctly. He couldn't hear anything. It was completely silent. He walked down the aisles taking anything that looked like food or something he could drink and placed it in his backpack. The looters had left some things behind in their rush to get out of the place. When he was done he counted forty five cans of various types. Eighteen packets of food such as rice, potato chips, pasta, breakfast cereal and other assorted foods. When the aisles and floors were thouroughly checked he used a lockpick to get into the rear storage area.

His immediate thought was Jackpot. The room had remained untouched. But he wasn't going to manage moving boxes of canned food, bottled water and soda bottles on his own. Another thing he found that would be essential for the long term was hundreds of packets of seeds for growing vegetables and fruit. Also garden supplies and tools. This was a good find that had come not nearly soon enough and at the end of a particularly fruitless week of searching for meager scraps.

He took a radio out of his jacket pocket and spoke into it.

"Caleb, come in Caleb."

"That you Frank?"

"Round everyone up and get down to my location. It's clear of zombies and mutants for the moment and i've found a shit load of stuff. If we can get the SUV's loaded up we'll have enough to take back to the Hilltop."

"You certain? Don't want to pull everyone off looting for nothing."

"I'm stood right in front of it, Caleb. There's boxes of stuff everywhere. I've even got a shit ton of seeds for the farmers. There's two other stores that I haven't looked in yet. Might have to come back for those."

"Sounds like you got lucky at last. I'll get everyone over to you within the next ten minutes. Start moving the stuff to the door so we can get started straight away. I thought there was a horde around that area last time we looked."

"Some kids got lucky and filled their bags with stuff. Their truck went speeding out of here with the whole horde following close by. No sightings of mutants yet."

"Ok, Frank. See ya soon. Caleb out."

Frank spent the next ten minutes moving dozens of boxes to the front entrance. By the time they arrived he was almost out of breath. Six black armoured SUV's pulled up outside the store front and he counted twenty four men who got out of the vehicles. That was good it meant no casualties so far on this trip into the city. It took half an hour to clear the food store and the camping store of everything of value. Next was the gun store and that proved a little more troublesome. First they had to leaver open the steel shutters. Once that was done Frank set about the lock with his picks and took several minutes before finally opening the door. Christmas didn't come around much these days but that was what everyone present was thinking.

The display cases and wall racks were full of all kinds of weapons, ammunition and the various accessories. The group of Hilltop residents as they called themselves set about completely emptying the store of its hundreds of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The store room and basement were full of stock. Weapons still boxed and ready for display. Enough ammunition to last them though the coming year.

When Frank found the secret room hidden away in the basement he could only imagine what was inside. The picks nimbly got the door open and Frank was stunned to say the least. It was a whole new section full of illegal weaponry and full stacked crates of ammunition of various types. Fully automatic assault rifles of varying types and many different brands. Silencers to fit many of the weapons. Heavy duty machine guns and rocket launchers with their ammunition boxed and ready to be moved. It was an Aladdin's Cave of firearms. Other items of interest included body armor of various types, stealth suits and some melee weapons such as swords, axes, combat knives and stun batons. When the vehicles were fully loaded it was time to head back to the Hilltop. Eight more SUV's had arrived from the settlement to help move all the weapons and food.

Frank had found a Sniper Rifle hidden away in one of the lockers in the hidden room. He had taken it for himself along with six hundred rounds of .50 caliber ammunition for the sniper rifle. Nothing was left behind. For once they were not disturbed by the dead and their mutant masters. Frank took out his map of the city and marked off where they had fully looted. He took Caleb's map and quickly highlighted the areas on his own map that Caleb and his followers had searched. The vehicles were ready to leave and Frank felt a sense of relief as the last of the vehicles dissapeared into the distance. He felt better when he was out here alone. At least he didn't have to babysit anyone then or watch them die.

The food would keep the community well fed for months. They had enough weaponry to outfit a small army. And even some new tents and sleeping bags as well as other camping gear. All that remained was for Frank to stay in the city and locate a substantial amount of fuel. Caleb's group had spotted a fuel tanker down by the docks. But it had been swarming with undead. If he could get to it and check if it was full it could provide them with fuel for months.

He walked slowly back to his own vehicle. It was a black armoured SUV like the others the Hilltop folk had bought from the military before things went to hell. They had a hundred and sixty five of them left at the settlement on Hilltop. They had lost twenty five to other scavengers and some had been overrun by undead. Ten were stashed in a garage in the city of Lost Hope. His vehicle was one of those and they were used by the settlement's scouts and rangers to scour the city and the rest of the state for valuable goods.

Frank was starting to think it was about time he travelled back to Hilltop and saw his family. He had parents, aunties and uncles, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, sons and daughters and grandchildren even a small pack of dogs but mostly he had a wife he hadn't seen in over a month since he had agreed to Caleb's request for another scout in the city. At forty five years old he was feeling more than a little old. It hadn't slowed him down and he was still in good shape for a man approaching fifty. But it felt like his days were numbered. Like it was inevitable that one day he would get careless and fall victim to the undead.

Hilltop had been a little too busy for him at times. With well over sixteen hundred civilians, three hundred guards and two hundred scouts as well as seventy five marines living there it had become so crowded that he could hardly move without stepping into or over someone. His wife Martha had begged him not to go and his eight kids had done the same. Even his twelve grandchildren couldn't persuade him to stay and look after the family. He wondered if Martha was getting any friendlier with his cousin Leon whose shoulder she had chosen to cry on when Frank wasn't around. He thought they would make a good couple. He liked Leon and treated him like a brother. Frank just wasn't keen on playing happy families when he could be killed at any time. He even carried an extra pistol that he never used. It was fully loaded and he was saving it for himself should he ever be bitten. He didn't want to turn into one of those things. Surely that would be a fate so much worse than death.

He could use the help of Kara his closest contact in the city and a fellow scout. If she could contact one of the others to help. They could lure the horde away and drive off in the fuel tanker. The closest after Kara was Simeon a real bastard of a man who loved the Apocalypse and who delighted in killing zombies and mutants. But he was a tough son of a bitch and knew his job well. Frank had never gotten along with him and didn't particularly trust him. But he had a soft spot for Kara even though she was forty years his junior. Simeon would insist on driving the tanker. He liked the adulation of the folks in Hilltop when the scouts brought stuff back for the community. But Frank wasn't concerned. Before he had the chance to contact her she was on the radio to all fellow scouts in the area.

"This is Kara. Assistance needed immediately. Some bastards have me pinned down on Kingston Road at the Gas Station. They're armed with hunting rifles and I think scopes judging by how close some of their shots came to taking my head off. I've counted six of them so far but there could be more. I can't reach the SUV and I'm trapped behind some old truck. I'm not going to be able to hold them off much longer. Any help would be appreciated."

The radio was alive with activity. He counted at least ten replies including his own from the scouts and rangers of Hilltop. He wondered if Simeon would get the same replies. But Kara was young and pretty and more importantly single now her finace Brad had decided to leave Hilltop and drive across the country to New York. He slammed his foot down on the accelerator and drove towards the Gas Station. He could hear gunfire after several minutes of driving. He noticed immediately the six gunmen closing on Kara's position.

He also noticed Simeon arrive at the scene first and pull up behind a waist high wall. He was armed with a semi automatic scoped rifle and quickly set about turning the streets red with the blood of those bastards. Simeon hadn't counted on the seventh man on the top floor of a parking lot across the street. The man took aim and fired. Simeon cried out as the bullet tore through his shoulder and caused him to drop the rifle. Within minutes eight black SUV's from Hilltop had desended on the scene and taken up positions surrounding the men who had taken cover and now realized their predicamant.

What everyone had seemed to forget was the deafening noise of all these weapons being fired. Frank thought it must be attracting zombies from all over the city. He stepped out of the vehicle and readied his new sniper rifle at the man on the top of the parking lot. He fired a single shot and the man fell face forward into the concrete pavement below. The hunting rifles they were carrying simply didn't have the firepower of the Hilltop scouts and it soon became apparent as they began to take casualties. They were soon begging to surrender. Four of them who remained alive put down their weapons and stepped into the street where they would be easy targets for anyone looking to kill them.

Simeon didn't give them chance to explain and wouldn't listen to the protests of his fellow scouts. He took out a Desert Eagle and went to each of the men put the gun to their head and fired. Kara came running over and insisted on looking and treating his wounded shoulder and all the time thanking those who had risked their lives to help her. Simeon was still fuming and looked like he wanted to continue his killing spree. Frank checked the bodies of the murdered men and took anything of use. He loaded the vehicle up with their weapons and ammuntion and their backpacks.

Moments later the scouts were being approached from every direction by slow moving zombies and a pack of feral ghouls who ran along on all fours their mutant bodies stretched and distorted by the virus so that they were easy to spot among the zombies. The scouts got in their vehicles and agreed to meet up at the garage where they usually stored the SUV's in town and had become something of a temporary safehouse and barracks for the scouts operating in this part of the city. It was well defended and had a months supply of food, fuel, medical supplies and water for long stays in the city for as many as twenty five of the Hilltop scouts.

Frank led the charge through the horde and ploughed into the zombies its front bullbars making quick work of the flesh bags that had blocked the street. The armoured windshield was a godsend when the scouts were forced to drive through such a large number of undead. It took a minute to clear the mass of bodies but the vehicles were soon through the other side and driving across town to the safehouse. Everyone agreed that trying to loot with so many riled up zombies on the loose was pointless so they would stop for the rest of the day and get some sleep at the safehouse.

Fred Wilks had been a police sergeant for over thirty years and was now the safehouse commander for this district of the city. The police were no more in this city so he had plenty of time to run the safehouse for the Hilltop community. He had a permanent staff of of five men who kept the safehouse clear of zombies and any human threats. They opened the garage doors to let the ten vehicles into the safehouse. Frank watched them as they congratulated each other on a job well done. There wasn't even a mention of what Simeon had done. They had all seen and done too much to shed any tears over that scum they had just killed. If Simeon hadn't done it it was likely one of the others would have. Leaving enemies alive was stupid and pointless. There was no law any more. No one would care if they killed those men, murdered those men.

He put it out of his mind and went to sit down and put his feet up. The fuel tanker would have to wait for the roads to clear before they could attempt to move it. Simeon wouldn't be doing the driving afterall with that shoulder wound. The quartermaster for the safehouse was Ernie White. An old navy seal who was fast approaching seventy years old. He was a spritely man of a cheerful nature. The only thing he took seriously was his job of keeping the safehouse fully stocked and getting everything they brought him from around the city into its rightful place in the armoury or storehouse. He searched all the vehicles the scouts had used and emptied the looted contents onto a steel trolley to be moved to its place in the stores.

Frank didn't feel much like talking so wandered upto the barracks above the garage and sprawled out on his bunk. He loosened his boots and let them fall off his feet onto the floor. He lay back and was soon snoring loudly as the scouts downstairs celebrated a good day of looting and killing zombies.

June 2025, 19.56 Friday 13th . 10 miles east of the City of Lost Hope.

Brad had only left Hilltop a day ago to drive to his sister's place in New York to see if they were still alive. But here he was ten miles outside of Lost Hope and already he was regretting leaving. The vehicle had been checked before he set off by Ash Gilbert the resident mechanic at the city safehouse. But for some reason he was pulled up at the side of the road his engine overheating and steam pouring from under the hood.

"I don't need this shit right now." He complained to himself.

"I thought Ash had checked the damn thing before I left."

Is this really what he had broke up with Kara his fiance of two years for. It was a stupid idea anyway. How did he expect to travel all the way across the country to New York. He had no idea what it would be like there. Only the news reports out of the city when the virus first struck had told him of conditions in the city. It was hardly surprising that with so many millions of people packed into the city that this had been the worst affected place in the entire country. There was no hope that his family were still alive but yet he felt he had to make the effort to find out. He owed it to them, that's what he kept telling himself. But he knew what it would be like.

He had been in Los Angeles when the virus hit. He had seen the dead rise and the worst that humanity had to offer. He knew he couldn't make such a trip alone. It suddenly occurred to him. Simeon had been hanging around the garage before he left. That bastard was always trying his luck with Kara even though he knew it pissed Brad off. What did the old bastard want with her anyway. He was too old for any kind of meaningful relationship Brad thought. Besides Kara had said the man gave her the creeps and didn't like to be left alone with him. But that only made Simeon try harder. Brad wondered if Simeon had tampered with his vehicle before he left.

This was not a good place to be with so many zombies and mutants around. But really it was the living humans that scared Brad more than the monsters. They seemed to have no morality at all. Nothing was beneath them and they thrived on misery, pain and death. He had to get back to the city but in this heat it would be a struggle even if it was only ten miles away. He hated to leave the SUV here for anyone to steal but what choice did he have.

Brad was no mechanic. What he knew about cars other than their top speed he could write on the back of his hand. If only he had brought a radio with him like they had wanted him to. Come to think of it, Simeon had argued that they couldn't spare any radios and they were all needed for the scouts. The more Brad thought about it the more he realised he had been set up by the old man. No doubt he was filling Kara's head full of bullshit about him leaving her and how Brad had never been good enough for her. That piece of shit. That dirty disgusting bastard had set him up to die out here. A part of Brad said he should have spotted the signs weeks ago when Simeon started becoming aggressive towards him.

Brad knew the sun would set in about half an hour. He had to make the choice to either leave the vehicle and head back to the city on foot. The other alternative was to stay in the vehicle overnight. He had only seen about ten vehicles on the road since he left the city but this would be like a red rag to a bull for all the raiders and bandits out there. He had to get off the road and find somewhere safer to wait.

He looked in the backseat at all his worldly possessions. Most importantly his AK47 assault rifle. He had taken it off the dead body of a group of raiders a week ago and it had served him well ever since. A katana and scabbard that he had taken off a deranged lunatic who tried to attack his group of scouts. A machete and sheath that he kept around for close encounters with zombie kind. An auto shotgun for getting up close and personal. A Desert Eagle, signature weapon of the Hilltop scouts. He had a crate of various canned food and a crate of bottled water. He would have to leave most of the supplies behind. He had an ammo bag with 550 rounds for the AK47, 250 rounds for the shotgun, and 200 rounds for the handgun. He had a backpack he could fill with his stuff but he didn't want to make it too heavy to carry.

He checked his essentials. A map of California and a map of the local area around Lost Hope. His water canteen. He had a hooded jacket that he could fold up and carry in the backpack for the rare chance that it might rain. He had a compass that Kara had given him as a birthday present when he had got lost one night on his way to meet her and her parents. She had thought it was highly amusing and he had just been embarressed that his first meeting with her parents had started so badly.

A full beam flashlight that would be essential if he was travelling in the dark over rough terrain. A fully stocked medical kit and various medications and tools. He found a bag of batteries for the flashlight which he placed in the pocket in his jeans. Several spare sets of laces for his combat boots. An old Cowboy hat that he insisted on wearing even though Kara had told him he looked ridiculous. He pulled a red and black checkered shirt over his vest and looked at all the camping gear in the back of the vehicle. It would only weigh him down. He couldn't believe the stuff he would have to leave behind. It had taken months of looting to get this gear and now he was going to abandon it thanks to that scum Simeon. Brad wondered what he would do if he got back to the safehouse. Simeon would probably expect him to die out here. But he was going to have a surprise for the old man if he made it back.

His mind was made up. He would travel back to Lost Hope in the dark. He had no illusions about the danger he would face. But staying here for all to see at the edge of the road was an even worse idea. He counted out ten bottles of water and placed them in his backpack along with the rest of his gear. He then counted out ten cans of food and along with a tin opener, a steel plate and a knife, fork and spoon placed them alongside the water in his backpack. The sword he also placed inside the pack along with its scabbard. He couldn't see much use for it in the dark.

The machete he fastened to his belt. He placed the Desert Eagle in its holster and took a box of pistol ammunition from his ammo bag and placed them in his leather jacket for easy access. The assault rifle he swung over his shoulder by the attached strap. He took two full magazines from the ammo bag and placed them in his other pocket of his leather jacket. He would carry the shotgun and took a handful of shotgun shells, enough to fully load the weapon if he had reason to fire and empty its contents into something or someone. He placed the shotgun shells in an inside jacket pocket where he could reach them easily. A set of binoculars he wore around his neck, not that they would be much use in the dark.

Everything else that he didn't immediately need went into the seemingly bottomless backpack. It's not like he could get lost on his way back if he kept the road in sight. But he would have to travel far enough from the road so as not to be seen by anyone in a vehicle. He was lucky the SUV had stopped here and not a hundred miles into his journey. Even though he knew the journey was pointless he wondered if he should try again and perhaps take a mechanic along who was willing to go the whole distance across the country. That was a thought for another time. He gathered up what remained and left the rest in the vehicle. Hopefully it would still be here when they came back to reclaim it. He wound up the windows and locked the doors. The reinforced bulletproof glass would keep most out but there was nothing stopping someone simply torching the vehicle in frustration.

June 2025, 20.44 Friday 13th . 10 miles east of the City of Lost Hope.

Brad set off on his journey home. He carried the shotgun in his right hand and pointed the flashlight ahead of himself with his left hand. Forty minutes into his walk he heard the vehicle in the distance. He crouched down behind a large rock and turned off the flashlight so as not to give away his position. He waited for the vehicle to pass and then noticed a second vehicle's headlights in the distance travelling at high speed in the same direction that the other vehicle had travelled. The second vehicle passed by moments later seemingly in a big hurry. Brad immediately wondered if the second vehicle had been chasing the first. He would have to be careful as he made his way forward.

Fifteen minutes later Brad saw the lights from the two vehicles a hundred metres from his position. Again he turned off his flashlight and crouched down looking in the direction of the cars. One seemed to have crashed and was on its roof. Then he heard the screams in the distance. He tried looking at what was happening through the binoculars but the light was in the wrong place. It sounded like a woman or women screaming for help. He didn't know why but he steadily headed for the sound of the screams. He took off his backpack and laid it down on the ground. He placed his shotgun next to the backpack and readied his assault rifle. He marked his position and set of at speed towards the noise and the light from the vehicles. He hoped he would be able to find his gear again. He still had his flashlight even though it was turned off at the moment. A minute later he was crouched behind a bush and could see what was going on twenty metres away. A group of four men stood over two females who were laying on the floor each with a man sat over them.

It was immediately obvious what was happening. Six men and two females. The men had been in the second car. The women in the first. The second car had been chasing the first and had caught them here driving them off the road. He could tell they had been stripped of their clothing but anything more than that he couldn't make out in the darkness. The screams were haunting and the cheering from the men made his blood boil. As if things weren't bad enough these fuckers were just out to rape and terrorize. Before he even had chance to think about his actions he was running straight for the group of men who all had their backs to him.

He levelled the assault rifle and was firing before he thought of the possible consequences. He stopped ten metres away from the men who had just heard his footsteps running towards them. Brad fired a three round burst and took the first of the men in the chest. T|he man dropped to the ground dead before even noticing what was going on. A second man with a long straggly beard and long receading scruffy hair went for the pistol at his waist. Brad fired another burst and the man's head exploded in a shower of blood, bone and flesh. He fell on top of the man just killed and nocked one of his fellow raiders to the ground where he thrashed around trying to get back up.

The third man looked stunned like an animal in a vehicle's headlights just before it was splattered all over the road. Brad fired a burst at the man's forhead, two went wide but one struck him right above his nose. He fell back silently and died. The fourth man had his pistol out and was firing wildly. Brad let the rifle fall to the floor and took out his machete and Desert Eagle. He was momentarilly shaken as a bullet grazed his left cheek leaving a trail of blood that covered his shirt. He charged forward firing the pistol and scoring a hit in the man's leg and gut. The man cried out in agony and fell to the floor shouting for his momma. Brad finished off with a shot to the mouth that wrecked his already decaying teeth. The bullet exiting out the back of his head. The two men on the floor had managed to get to their feet but their pants were still on the floor along with their weapons. The wild monstrous look in Brad's eyes was enough to have them begging for mercy. Brad was beyond listening. He took a full swing at the first of the two with his machete and took the top of his head clean off exposing brain matter and splattering blood all over the screaming woman on the floor.

The next he simply strode over to, pointed the Desert Eagle in his eye and pulled the trigger. The man fell straight across the woman he had been on top of. Both of the women continued screaming as the blood soaked maniac went about his deadly business. As the last of the men fell a deathly silence came over them as they looked around at the bloody carnage he had wrought. They did their best to cover themselves as Brad went to each one and took any weapons and ammunition they had. He picked up his dropped rifle and slung it over his shoulder.

"Are you alright?" He simply asked them as they fumbled with their clothes trying to cover themselves from this monster.

"You killed them. You killed all of them." The blood soaked blonde kept repeating.

"Don't shed any tears for those scum. They would have taken what they wanted from you and left you out here to die or worse."

"I'm not shedding tears for them. But you just killed six men like they were nothing."

"Wouldn't you have done the same given what they were doing to you?"

The second younger woman walked over to the man who had been on top of her and kicked him in the head repeatedly stamping on his face until it caved in. The blonde tried to console her but couldn't stop the sudden violent outburst. Brad took what looked like the driver's car keys for the old beat up pick up truck and placed them in his pocket. He took out the flashlight and wandered off in the direction he had left his gear.

"Hey you. You can't just leave us here." The blonde complained as Brad disappeared into the darkness.

"You bastard. We'll die out here if you don't help us." She screamed at the seemingly uncaring man. A few minutes later he had returned with his backpack and shotgun.

"You came back. Are you going to help us or what?" The younger woman asked.

"I thought that's what I just had done." He replied mischievously.

"Will you take us to Lost Hope. We have relatives there if they are still alive. We've driven all the way from Dallas."

"I'm going back there. My vehicle broke down a few miles back. I need to get to the city to arrange to have it towed back or fixed. And you need our doctor to take a look at you both. Check there's nothing wrong with you."

"There's plenty wrong with us. You saw what those bastards did to us. We'll get our things out of our car. We can ride in the back of that pickup if you'll drive us."

"Why not it saves me walking the whole way. We should move quick there's no telling how many zombies those shots attracted."

The two women finished dressing and wandered over to their car. They pulled out two backpacks and carried them over to the back of the pick up truck. They placed them in the truck and climbed into the back.

"Hey, thanks for what you did. They would have killed us for certain if you hadn't come along."

"You're welcome. Lets get back to the city before we end up as the next course on a zombie menu."

"I'm Annie, this is my younger sister Ellie." The blone said wiping a handful of gore out of her hair.

Brad couldn't really tell what they looked like. The blood was everywhere and covered what were probably two attractive faces. But they had put up with enough shit tonight and didn't need him leering at them like some derranged pervert.

"I wish we could have met under better circumstances. I'm Brad."

"Did you know your face is bleeding?" Ellie said pointing at his cheek.

"I'll get it fixed up once we reach the city."

"Do you know of a place called Hilltop on the outskirts of Lost Hope? Our family are supposed to be there." Annie questioned.

"That's were I came from. I was driving across country to New York."

"Haven't you heard? The whole east coast is overrun with zombies. If you had people there, they are probably dead. I'm sorry."

"I thought as much. Don't know why I thought I could get to see them. The west coast isn't any better. Hilltop is overrun with survivors and one of the only reasonably safe places in the city. Even the national guard and army units or what little remains of them have fallen back to Hilltop. We've got tanks guarding the damn entrance for fuck's sake. California belongs to the zombies now."

"That's what we had heard. Our family is supposed to be meeting in Hilltop and then driving to Canada once we've got everyone with us."

"Why Canada?"

"Because it's big and empty, unlike here."

I suppose you're right. Anyway sit back and hopefully enjoy a smooth ride. Its only about eight miles away. Shouldn't take us too long at all if the roads are clear of zombies."

June 2025, 21.53 Friday 13th . 8 miles east of the City of Lost Hope.

Brad took it easy on the way back to the city. Thirty miles an hour was more than enough on these roads. He had already had a few close encounters with small hordes of zombies but nothing he hadn't managed to avoid. He wondered if his passengers were alright after their ordeal. They seemed to be doing well considering what had happened to them but he had no way of knowing if they were just putting a brave face on. He considered taking them straight to Hilltop but thought it would be quicker to go straight to the safehouse. He had business to settle with Simeon and he should probably apologize to Kara for breaking up with her for some stupid idea he had got into his head. He had to be careful if he was going to the safe house. He didn't want a horde following the pickup truck back there. If only he had a radio to find out which roads were clear.

Twenty minutes later Brad drove the vehicle upto the outskirts of the city. The familiar sound of gunfire seemed to echo around the city from many directions. Nights were always worse for encountering zombies and mutants than in the daytime when they seemed to be more lethargic in the sun. The idea of risking a visit to the safehouse didn't appeal much. The other option was a small outpost about five minutes drive away from his present location which the Hilltop Scouts used to keep an eye on the numbers of zombies and raiders entering the city from the east. It was manned by at most four or five scouts at any one time and didn't have the resources available for anything more than a passing visit. But it was close and a lot less dangerous to visit at night.

The outpost was an old construction contractors before the virus hit California. It's owners C.J Webber and Sons Construction were one of the first to set up their new home on Hilltop which was one of their current contracts to build five hundred houses for the soon to be community. The construction yard made for a good defensive position on the outskirts of the city. It's fifteen foot high two foot thick surrounding wall and an inner electrified fence would keep most looters out if there was a small number of defenders to man the gates and oversee everything else. Four hastily erected thirty foot high watch towers covered each corner of the large yard and regularly had a guard posted in them during the day.

At present there were five Hilltop scouts led by C.J's youngest daughter Ellaina Webber. She was a truck driver for her father before the virus and well respected among the mostly male workers employed by her father's company. She took care of the security of the outpost and made certain the yard and its building supplies and vehicles were still usable. She could easily contact the Hilltop scouts for assistance if they were being attacked by looters or raiders. Zombies occasionally tried the front entrance but with two eighteen-wheeler trucks backed right upto the gates there was almost nothing that could force it's way through.

The resident medic and temporary cook was a young doctor by the name of Dana Watts who also happened to be Ellaina's closest friend since they were very young. Dana's husband Raymond Tubbs looked after the small armory and weapons and ammunition. Harry Tubbs, Raymond's father looked after the vehicles and mechanical jobs that needed doing. And lastly was Ellaina's older sister Maria Webber who was responsible for keeping the outpost stocked with essentials.

Several minutes later and he pulled up outside the main entrance.