Saving Drunks

Posted: April 20, 2015 in Book 1 TERROR IN TEXAS
Tags: , , , , , ,

Matt Monroe slumped on the tattered barstool in front of a battered bar. He knew the cheap booze was clouding his mind, but that was the point. He drank because he wanted to forget. He’d been drinking on a regular basis since he’d returned from Iraq.

It was a country with a hopeless population. Add all the radical jihadists and as far as Matt was concerned the United States government was pissing down a dry hole in the Sand Box, many of the soldier’s term for Iraq. Nothing was ever going to change. People, poverty, and religious extremists made it impossible to live together. They would be killing each other until the end of time. Now the world had terrorists using religion as justification to kill people they didn’t even know.

He pushed away the thought of shattered lives and dead children. His actions were slow and deliberate when he reached for the next glass. He could barely hold his head steady on the fisted hand at his temple. There were nearly a dozen shot glasses lined up in front of him when he reached for the full shot glass.

This particular bar was a shithole frequented by serious drinkers and Matt considered himself a serious drinker. He didn’t care about the decor. Getting drunk could be accomplished in a high-class bar alongside a bunch of suits and cost a lot, or in a dive like the current one with enough money to do it over and over again. Matt chose the latter, hands down.

Since he was six foot four and weighed close to two hundred pounds, it took a lot of alcohol to get him drunk. He ignored the amber liquid splashing his fingers as he drew the glass closer to his lips.

“Hey, buddy.” A voice behind him interrupted as an arm snaked around his shoulder and grabbed the glass from his hand. “You’ve had enough.”

“Fuck off, Larry!” Matt slurred as he reached for the drink Larry had set on the bar to his left.

Before Matt could reach the glass, Larry gave it a shove down the bar. A grizzled old man, four stools down, reached out and snagged the glass and downed its contents in one fluid movement.

“Hey!” Matt protested. “My fuckin’ drink.”

Without responding, the two men behind Matt each grabbed an arm and pulled him off the backless stool.

“Time to get out of here, man!” Larry declared. “Shit’s fixing to hit the fan.”

Matt’s head spun and images swirled around him, ebbing and flowing until finally engulfing him in an opaque haze. His final coherent thought was that the cheap whiskey was finally doing its job.

Oblivion was preferable to the distant screams from his past he could still hear. Those screams even intruded into his thoughts as he slipped into the void, he could hear them again. He could hear the terror and pain filled screams of women and children.

Larry Benson’s companion, Jake Curtis, pulled at Matt’s arm. “How in the fuck are we going to get him out of here? He’s passed out cold. It would serve him right to get eaten by those freaks,” Jake complained as he supported most of Matt’s dead weight.

“Come on, Jake. I got an idea. Back door. Now!” Larry slid under Matt’s arm.

He had been a frequenter of this particular dump and knew the back parking lot was fenced off. That left only the front of the alley to worry about.

“There’s a fence behind this place. I figure we can cut it, escape through the hole and then zip tie it back together.” He began pulling Matt toward the back door.

When the bartender saw them head toward the store room door, he grabbed a bat from under the bar and followed the trio. “Hey! You dick-heads can’t go back there!”

Jake held up a hand, palm out. “It’s okay man, we’re just leaving.”

The bartender raised his bat and ordered. “Use the front door!” He made a move to stop them when a commotion at the front of the club halted his steps. He turned and hurried toward the front door and a fight breaking out.

The trio hit the back door just as the front door burst open and several blood-splattered people stumbled into the bar. The horribly injured people staggered into the darkened recesses of the bar. They stood swaying in place until they noticed two women closest to the door. Together, the bloodied abominations fell on one of the women. Screams and curses erupted as the bartender jumped into the fray. Pandemonium ensued.

Curtis pushed open the store room door with a grunt. He pulled Matt through as Larry glanced over his shoulder to see the infected spilling into the bar in mass. People with blood splattered clothes were stumbling into the bar intent on following the trio.

Larry pushed Matt through the back door then closed it. He leaned against the egress with his backside and dropped a hand to turn a small lock in the doorknob. Across the room, a red sign announced the exit. Jake started pulling Matt toward the metal door.

“Wait! That lock is not going to hold long.” Larry whispered. “We don’t know what’s outside yet.”

He dropped Matt’s arm then slid a full case of liquor in front of the door. Without a word, Jake eased Matt to the floor and slid stacks boxes toward the door where Larry stacked them into an impressive barricade of liquor cases.

With only empty cases left, they retrieved Matt’s arms and carried him to the metal door below the exit sign. Again, Larry stopped and let Jake bear Matt’s full weight.

Larry eased the door open a few inches and looked toward the back of the alley. When he saw no one, he opened the door a bit wider and stuck his head out.

“Good for now.” He commented over his shoulder.

They stepped into the darkened alley with Matt held between them and began heard moans at the back fence.

“We’re fucked,” Jake whispered as he jerked his head toward the front of the alley. Shadows stumbled into the alley entrance.

Both men looked from the front of the alley to the back.  Escape was blocked by a fence with dozens of the dead staring back at them. When they saw the trio, they began pounding on the fence and moaning even louder. The undead at the front of the alley turned and began shambling toward them. More and more joined the crowd at the alley entrance.

“Fuck! Back inside!” Larry whispered.

“No! We’d be trapped.” Jake answered. “We climb to the roof.”

“What about Matt? He’s been a dumb-ass lately, but we can’t leave him.” Larry argued.

“No! Hell no! We put him in the dumpster. We can’t get him up the ladder and the bar is full of those bastards. If we go back inside, we’re trapped.” Jake pulled Matt toward the dumpster. “We’ll seal it and then head up the fire escape. We’ll draw those fucks out of here, and then find a way to get back for him.”

In the waning light and hidden from the front of the alley by the dumpster Jake held the lid open while he helped ease Matt over the edge of the rim. Larry pushed on his backside while Jake guided him over into a pile of cardboard. With a thud and groan, all went quiet. Jake dropped the lid and secured it with heavy zip ties.

“Time to go!” Jake jumped to the ground and tossed the stack of boxes at the side of the dumpster to the opposite side of the alley. “Fuck! Let’s move!”

Larry tossed two more boxes aside. “I’ll give you a leg up!” He bent over and laced his fingers together in front of him.

Jake tapped on the dumpster. “Man, I’m sorry about this, but we have to get outta here.”

Without saying more, Jake stepped into Larry’s laced fingers and vaulted to the lid of the dumpster. He turned on his heels and reached down to Larry’s outstretched hand. Jake pulled Larry up in a single smooth movement while he slipped from the dead fingers reaching for him.

Larry kicked out and his boot heel jerked from the grasp of a bloodied hand.

“That was close,” Larry commented with a wry chuckle as he walked across the dumpster. “You sure Matt will be okay?”

Jake looked concerned. “No, but I don’t know what else we could have done.” The sounds of the dead made speaking almost impossible with their cacophony of moans. The stench was near overpowering.

Jake followed Larry toward the fire escape. “We have to lead them away from here and make sure he survives his own stupidity tonight.”

The two men scampered up the fire escape. “Hey! Assholes! Lunch is this way.” Larry shouted at the crowd below as they made their way toward the front of the building.

Slowly, the crowd looked up and watched Larry and Jake make their way back across the roof toward the lights of the distant street all the while waving their arms and shouting at them. The infected turned to follow the two toward the street reaching toward the men unable to comprehend their prey was out of reach.

As they walked toward the front of the building, Larry glanced over his shoulder. “You know if we don’t make it back he is really going to be pissed.” He leaned over and yelled at the dead stumbling after them. “Hey! Dinner bell is ringing.” Larry yelled as he vaulted up the wall to the next building.

“At least he’ll be alive to be pissed,” Jake answered. “Besides, I slid a multi-tool in his back pocket. He can get out if we don’t make it back.”

Matt’s thoughts drifted to how dead kids were his fault and nothing could change it. He could still hear their moans of pain. The nightmares never went away. He saw their broken and torn bodies even when he closed his eyes. He was lost in their shrieks of terror and moan of anguish when he heard a baby whimper.

Somewhere in the darkness, a small voice whispered. “Shuuuuush. It’ll be alright. Go back to sleep, baby girl. Mommy and Daddy will find us.”

The voice calmed his troubled mind and blackness followed. Matt turned to his side, pulled his arms close and curled his legs in the cramped confines. He fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

Hours later, despite the fact the darkness of night had not yet faded completely, Matt drifted on the edge of wakefulness. An acute hangover pounded inside his skull, he thought he could hear the sound of a baby whimpering and the shushing of a voice trying to quiet the child.

He could smell a thick heavy aroma, not adult stench, but the mix of baby formula and a dirty diaper. It was a baby smell, heavy, warm, laced with talcum powder and it filled his nostrils.

Matt pushed himself up and his thumb broke through a thin film of plastic. He felt something cold and squishy. When he used his hand to extract his thumb, he felt a round bundle of a balled up diaper. No wonder he smelled shit.

He struggled to sit up and looked around in the dark but saw nothing in the blackness. He reached out his arms and realized he was in a metal box. His elbow rammed into the side and the sound echoed inside his skull. As the fog cleared, he remembered his buddies, Jake Curtis and Larry Benson dragging him off the bar stool. It had to have been them. His head throbbed and ached as if he had a metal drum over his head and someone was beating on the sides. Slowly he realized his buddies had thrown him in a dumpster.

“Fucking jerks!” Matt cursed as he reached up to open the lid.

“Sh sh sh.” A voice whispered. “Please. We have to be quiet.” The small voice begged.

“Who’s there?” Matt growled. The only answer was a timid whimper. “Damn it! Answer me!” He barked.

“Just me and my sister.” The voice answered. “Please be quiet. The bad people will hear you.”

“Where are we?” Matt asked a little less gruffly.

“In a dumpster. You fell in last night.” Amy answered. “We’re hiding from the sick people.”

“They threw me in a dumpster?” Matt asked.

He reached above his head to test his theory when he heard the snap of wire-cutters cutting zip ties. Before he could respond, the lid of the dumpster swung open and sunlight invaded the dark recesses.

Matt blinked at the glaring light and saw a small brown-haired girl sitting in the dumpster with him less than six feet away. She couldn’t be older than ten and held a squirming tow-head, that he assumed was a sibling. She stared at him, more than a little frightened.

Matt looked down and saw three neatly bundled diapers inches from where he sat.

A deep voice called over the edge. “Okay, buddy. We gotta go. The world has gone to shit and if we don’t hurry up we’re getting flushed.”

Jake’s black face peeked over the edge with a big grin. “Fuck! He’s got company.”

Amy had had just enough time to see a black man wearing military clothes peak over the edge of the dumpster. Tears welled up in her eyes as she imagined being alone in the dumpster again.

“Ah, Jake. Don’t tell me they got him?” A second voice that Matt recognized as Larry answered. “Oh, fuck.”

“No!” Jake answered. “A couple kids. Just sitting there with him.”

Matt struggled to make sense of being in a dumpster with shit on his hand. He tossed the offending diaper across the ally as he looked from the two men to the little girl holding a fidgeting baby in pink.

“What the fuck is going on?” Matt demanded as he glared at his friends.

“We ain’t got time to explain,” Jake said. “Come on sweetie. We need to get out of here.” He turned to Matt. “Get your ass outta there or you’ll end up like those dead fucks we came across during the last mission.”

That got Matt moving. He stumbled to his feet and reached out to the girl. “Come on, kid. When Jake says we gotta go, it’s time to go.”

“But my mommy?” Amy protested as she slowly got to her feet still clutching Claire to her chest.

“We’ll try to find her, but right now we have to go. Give me the bag.” Matt wiped the brown goo from his hand to his pants leg and passed the bag to Larry. He motioned for the girl to stand up. When she got to her feet, he grabbed her under the arms still clutching her sister and lifted her over the edge of the dumpster.

Jake caught the child and set her on her feet, careful not to disturb the squirming bundle in her arms. “Go with him, sweetie.” He whispered as he pointed toward Larry as he hurried toward them. Jake turned back to help Matt stumble over the edge to the ground.

Matt stood staring at the alley entrance, his face mirrored his horror. “Thought it was a dream….”

“In the Humvee now!” Jake called out as several shambling forms had taken notice of the activity and turned into the entrance of the alleyway. The infected shambled steadily closer as they headed for the Humvee in front of the dumpster.

Larry grabbed the bag and the child’s hand to hurry her to the vehicle, but she dug in her heels and balked.

“My mom will be coming for us. We can’t leave. She won’t know where to find us.”

Larry grabbed her arm and pulled her toward the vehicle. “Kid, you don’t have a choice.”

He opened the door, set her inside and pulled a seat belt over her lap, careful to avoid the baby in her arms. He dropped the bag at her feet. “Don’t move kid.”

Amy gave a quick nod then looked around searching for a glimpse of her mother. She didn’t want to leave. “My mommy is coming. She’ll be worried.”

She knew the soldiers would protect her and Claire but how would her mother find them? How would they find her daddy? Tears filled her eyes and quietly slid down her cheeks as she resigned herself to staying with the soldiers.

Larry jumped behind the wheel of the Humvee and the machine roared to life. Matt stumbled into the back seat next to Amy scarcely able to control the bile at the back of his throat. Jake slammed the door then jerked the passenger door opened.

Jake slid into the front seat and pulled at the door, but an infected had wrapped its fingers over the top of the door and was pulling at the door. The blood-covered soldier’s vice-like grip forced the door back open. The barrier became the prize in a tug of war with Jake wrestled against the infected soldier’s steely grip.

“Drive, damn it!” Jake yelled.

Larry jammed the vehicle in gear and stomped the gas despite the open door. A blossom of black appeared on the infected soldier’s forehead. The soldier’s grip relaxed, his body pressed against the door leaving his fingers still hooked over the door. A black hole appeared in the infected soldier’s head. He was shot.

“What the fuck?” Jake looked at Larry and saw he had both hands wrapped around the steering wheel, no gun in hand. He glanced over his shoulder at Matt who was barely sitting upright. “Who fired?”

“Fuck if I know!” Larry answered. “Close the fucking door!”

Jake pulled the door shut severing of two fingers of the soldier still clinging to the door. The infected fell down the side of the vehicle just as another shot echoed in the distance.

Larry slammed his foot into the accelerator and raced over a fallen infected toward the entrance of the alley. They rolled over three more newly felled bodies as they spilled into the morning glare.

“We had help but beats me who in the hell they are.” Matt looked out the window just in time to see a rifle barrel disappear from a nearby roof top.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s