Quiet Night – Part 1

Posted: October 25, 2015 in Book I Terror in Texas
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The riders had been on the narrow country road for four hours before they stopped on a rise overlooking a small rural community. They stepped off the bikes to walk to a trio of roadside tables under a massive live oak tree. The small park overlooked a narrow creek behind developed neighborhood. The water spilling over the rocks in the creek bed was clear and fast moving.

The tranquil scene was a brief respite from the horrors of the open road while they looked across the water toward back yards with swing sets and sandboxes until the infected appeared. One by one men, women, and children, all horribly maimed and injured focused on the trio and stumbled toward the small park.

“I guess we wore out our welcome.” John sighed as they got back on the bikes.

Harry moaned. “My ass is too old to be riding this hard.” His machine roared to life and he motioned for Liz to climb back on the bike.

Liz climbed up behind Harry. “I don’t know how much longer I can sit on this bike. I’m so tired.”

They tried to stay relatively close to the Interstate, but they were continuously being forced to detour down narrow blacktop roads to avoid large groups of the infected. It was nearly one in the afternoon when they stopped to rest and hydrate under an overpass.

The silence of a world without speeding cars and SUVs or the roar of massive eighteen wheelers climbing the hills of the Hill Country was eerie.  Even the buzz of a mosquito seemed lurid so when they heard the rumbling of engines, it seemed an assault on the hearing.

The trio stood still listening for a moment until John pointed toward a dilapidated shed in the distance. “Let’s get off the road.”

They mounted the bikes and John led the way as they turned off the road and followed a narrow trail to the building. They pushed the bikes through the tall grass to the gloom of the shed.

“You think it’s Ryder?” Liz asked.

Harry answered with a shrug. “It’s hard to know for sure, so for now we avoid contact. Maybe there are friendly survivors, but after Ryder’s gang we’re playing it safe.

While they waited in the shadows of the crumbling shed, John opened a cloth bag and pulled dried beef strips from inside. Liz bit off a piece with a great deal of trepidation. She was never a fan of jerky and the thought of chewing on beef until it was moist enough to swallow was not something she looked forward to eating.

Hazel and Benny had given them dried beef, dry deer sausage, dried apples, bottles of water and a bag of hard flat bread that looked a little like fat tortillas.

John opened a second bag and pulled flat bread from inside. He looked at it somewhat dubiously as he passed one to both Harry and Liz. He settled on a bale of hay with his own.

John spoke around a huge bite of the dried beef. “We ain’t making much headway.”

Harry bit off the end of the bread. “No, but nothing we can do about it.”

“Why haven’t we seen survivors?” Liz asked.

“Cause most of the dumb shits did the same thing they did when that hurricane was predicted to hit the Gulf Coast. In Houston, everyone lined up on the freeways and Interstates…” Harry took a deep breath then continued. “They probably did the same and were overrun by the infected. Now they’re all part of the problem. They wonder off the highway and overrun community after community. Now the countryside is full of dead fucks. All because stupid people headed out of town and when they ran outa gas just sat there waiting for someone to help them.”

John added. “Most of them couldn’t even read a road map much less plan a trip without GPS.” John continued. “All we can do is head northwest and eventually we’ll end up where we want to be.”

Liz complained. “We’re a long ways from Pine Creek.”

Harry shrugged. “We’re thirty miles closer than we were yesterday.”

When the angry growl of the engines disappeared, they left their sanctuary and continued their journey. An hour later, they looked out in the distance at lettering on a roof. It advertised the Hill Top Café. They stopped to watch the parking lot and saw half a dozen infected men and women stumbled around a dozen vehicles in the parking lot and in front of the building.

“I’m getting low on gas,” John announced.

“Same here.” Harry responded.

“The lights are on. Does that mean the pumps are still working?” Liz asked.

“Should be,” John answered. “But the walking corpses are going to be a problem. I doubt they’ll stand back and let us do what we need to do.”

“We have to take ‘em out,” Harry answered.

“Look how many vehicles,” John commented. “Could be more behind the building.”

“Look, we don’t have a choice. We’re almost out of gas. It’s either doing it, or we walk.”

Liz studied the scene below. “We could take one of the vehicles.”

“No way!” John answered. “I’m not leaving my bike.”

Liz chuckled. “Just a thought.” She pulled the handgun from the back of her jeans. “Well, we’re not getting any younger.”

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