Resurrection – Part 1

Posted: January 3, 2016 in Book 1 TERROR IN TEXAS
Tags: , , , , , ,

Lieutenant Brian Jameson looked through the blood smeared fourth-floor window of the office building to the streets below.  A lot of the infected had followed the last of the army vehicles as they thundered from the base the day before.  He and PFC Walker watched the vehicles pull out unable to do a thing about it.

He had known there were more soldiers on the base, but when he had lost his radio he had no way of contacting them without drawing attention to their hiding place.  Land lines were down and cell service was overloaded and none of the calls connected.  The one time he had gotten his wife’s cell phone to ring, it went to voicemail.  She hadn’t answered. Were Liz and his daughters still alive?

He forced his thoughts from his family.  He could do nothing to help them.  He had people to help here and now. The four story office building was the third structure Brian and the PFC had used to hide from the infected since leaving the Army base.

The day the surviving military left the base had been bad and nearly sent PFC Billy Walker into a panic.

“Son of a bitch!”  Billy gasped.  “We’re so fucked!”

Brian reached out and shoved the kid behind a vehicle then fired a silenced round into the head of an infected woman who had taken notice of his outburst.  “Quiet.”

“If we cut across the base we can head northwest.  Maybe we can catch up.”

They spent the next few hours working their way past the enlisted men’s barracks and office buildings and around groups of infected.  By late in the afternoon they realized most traffic was at a standstill and any vehicles that were still moving were being quickly brought to a stop and surrounded by the infected.  No noise was the key so they were traveling on foot, at least, until the edge of the city.

Even if they found the surviving soldiers, they would be surrounded by the dead.  The loud military vehicles were rolling dinner bells.

As the afternoon sun began to fade they were left at the edge of a strip center.  Only one door seemed intact so Brian used a crowbar to pop the door from the frame and slipped into a building.  He sniffed and signaled Billy inside.

They wedged the door closed and moved through the darkened building.  When they got to the back of a long hall to a small breakroom they found three people huddled in the corner too afraid to even turn on a light.  They had had few supplies to start with and nothing but water since the day before.

The two women and an overweight insurance salesman were so terrified they could barely speak.  Brian and Billy calmed the hysteria caused by their arrival and got enough information to know they needed food.  They shared a few supplies then left the trio to scavenge supplies from other offices in the building.

“What are we going to do with them?”  Billy asked.

Brian used the toe of his boot to ease the door open as he held the silenced handgun in front of him.  The room was a call center filled with thirty-plus waist-high cubicles, arranged in four rows of cubes extending the length of the room. One row was positioned against the wall on either side and the two middle rows were separated by a five-foot soft wall.

“Perfect.  Pay attention, Billy.  It doesn’t look like anyone is here, but stay alert.  We need shoes for the women. Go through drawers and cabinets.  Look for anything we might be able to use, shoes for the women, food, pants, or t-shirts. Even jackets if you can find a couple.”

“Yes sir.” Billy grinned.

Brian moved to the pathway to the right while Billy approached the corridor on the left.  Brian moved past the first cube with an assortment of posted notes bottom of the computer screen and a photo of a dark haired little girl.  Brian laid the picture flat and opened each of the drawers.  He scored two Slim Jims and a Candy bar. He dropped them in a plastic bag and turned to the cubical to the right.

Brian could hear Billy moved down the opposite corridor opening drawers, rattling bags and checking out every cubical.  It took nearly five minutes to search all the cubicles.  At the end, Billy looked around the corner and grinned.  Over his shoulder hung two pair of jogging shoes tied together by the strings, He held a jacket and a sweater and some kind of a shawl.

“Only scored a couple Ramen noodle cups, but not much in the way of food. They had a butt load of rotten salads.”   Billy grinned.  “But I got shoes.”

Brian nodded. “I got food, and a pair of shoes, small though.  Most of my side was used by men. They worried more about food then clothes.”

They cleared the manager’s office and found a bowl of candy but little else of value.  They got back to the trio and settled down for the night.

The two women, Paula and Margo, worked in an office across the street.  When the office was attacked, then ran to the next office door and slipped inside and locked the door.  Dale Witman was a three pack a day smoker and showed it.  He had watched the mayhem from his office and the three of them had decided to hunker down and wait for help.  Help that never came.

Brian tossed the three pairs of shoes on the floor in front of the two women and Dale.  The women tried on shoes and settled on the two smaller pair leaving Dale wear the pink jogging shoes. When he started to protest Brian turned and glared at him.

“Wear ‘em or not.  I don’t care. But I’m telling you right now, you keep up or I will leave you behind.”

Dale slid his feet out of the expensive loafers and jammed his feet into the pink running shoes

They spent the night and moved on at dawn.  They moved down alleys, around building and through parking garaging until they got caught between two drifting herds of infected  in the middle of the afternoon.

“Do something.”  Dale clutched at Brian’s arm.  “We’re going to die!”

Brian jerked his arm away.  “Shut up!”

He glanced up and down the block then turned to a scared door at his side.  He jammed the crowbar between the door and wood facing.  With a crack of wood the door swung open. Billy stepped inside, fanning the light from side to side and sniffing at the stagnant air.

He stopped at the sight of three bodies slumped in a corner booth.  The table was littered with dozens of beer bottles.  The stench of stale beer made him take a step back but Brian pushed him further into the room.   Brian led the others into the bar and eased the door closed then jammed a chair under the doorknob. The three men snorted and groaned then returned to slumbering.

Brian gave them a quick onceover and realized the three bodies were live men, just dead drunk.  They each wore tool belts of construction workers and had obviously been drinking for quite a few days.

Paula with Margo in tow went behind the bar.  She used a rubber band to pull back her long dark hair and dug around behind the polished bar until she found coffee and filters.  Once the smell of coffee filled the air, she began searching for food.  At the smell of food cooking and coffee the drunks began to stir.

Two hours later, most of the group sat together at a large table discussing how they ended up at the bar.  After one last look outside, Brian settled down to eat.  Billy took his place watching through the small peephole in the door.

After brief introductions, Brian asked.  “So Eugene, Juan and Leon, what’s your story?”  He slathered mustard on his burger and stale bun and took a big bite of sandwich.

Eugene, the foreman on the construction project the trio had been working on announced. “We were working on this building on the outskirts of town before the attack.  We took outta there together.  I got hit by a sedan a few blocks from here.  We barely escaped a bunch of those crazy people. Got this far, and couldn’t decide to what to do next.”  He chuckled.  “Besides, I was outta beer at home.

Juan interrupted.  “I knew the bartender that worked here.  We got to the back door it was open.  No one was here when we come in.”

Eugene laughed.  “Been here ever since.”  He belched. “Couldn’t decide what to do and we could lock the place up, so we just had a drink or two to think about what to do next.”

Leon, a muscular black man with a big smile, chuckled. “We weren’t thinking on it too hard.”

“We’re leaving in the morning.  You can come or not.  Up to you.”  Brian answered.

Juan leaned closer.  “Where are you going?”

“Southwest until we can find a place to get a ride then head out of town.”

“We know a place.  It should be empty and we can find a vehicle since there’s a used car lot nearby.”

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