Escape

Posted: February 13, 2016 in Book 1 TERROR IN TEXAS

Liz kneeled next to Harry and unlaced his boot. Liz pulled an elastic wrap from her bag and began wrapping his ankle. Harry cringed when she tore off the end and jerked his foot.

“Is it too tight?” Liz asked as she slipped his boot back on his foot.

“No. It’s fine.” Harry responded as he leaned down and tucked the laces into the top of the boot. “How are YOU doing? Are you okay? The baby?” He sat up and studied the scratches on her arm.

“We’re fine. Why did they do that?” Liz asked.

John held his side while he gulped water from a plastic bottle. “They probably wanted our supplies. They probably weren’t expecting someone on a bike. If they had been they would have put the cable neck high. That would have been ugly.” He chuckled. “It didn’t do much good with all those glass jars. My bike is useless I heard the fork crack when I hit the barricade.”

He spilled water over a red handkerchief and dabbed at the abrasion on his arm. He wiped at his hands, then dried them on his pants leg.

“It’s a miracle none of us ended up with broken bones.” Harry picked up his bag. “Let’s find a place to hunker down.”

Liz rose and brushed gravel from her pants then pointed at a distant sign mounted on a structure. “There, behind that fence.”

Both men stood and looked to where she pointed. Dozens of luxury campers were parked on a massive parking lot.”

“Happy Holiday Camper Extravaganza?” John asked.

“Why not? We’re at least four miles from the assholes that ambushed us. They have no way of knowing which direction we’ve been going and besides that, it’s late enough they won’t follow us if they’re smart. They’ll clean out what they can and get back to their hidey hole.” Harry answered. “Maybe we’ll find a vehicle with enough gas in the tank to get the fuck outa here.”

“What I was thinking.” Liz answered with a shrug.

Harry got to his feet and picked up his pack. “It’s more of a plan then we had before. Let’s go.”

Harry led John and Liz down an alley, across a blacktop to the gate of the Happy Holiday Camper yard. When John reached for the lock, Harry pulled his hand back. He pointed to a pickup sitting at the side of the hurricane fence.

“We go over the fence. If anyone comes sniffing around the gates will be intact. Hopefully, they won’t figure there’s a reason to come inside.”

Harry climbed into the bed of the truck. He reached down and picked up a rubber mat from the bed of the truck. He threw the mat over the barbed wire strands at the top of the eight foot fencing. Pulling down at the edges, he nodded at John. “You first.”

John climbed to the top of the cab, grabbed at the top of the mat and pulled himself to the top of the fence with a loud grunt. After hovering there for a second, he swung a leg over, found a foothold, and then swung his other leg to the inside of the fence. He dropped to the ground, landing hard. He pulled himself back to his feet groaning.

Harry nudged Liz. “Let’s go. We’re pretty exposed here.”

Liz quickly duplicated John’s maneuver then landed on the ground with a lot more. She turned to John to give a smug nod and noticed moisture glistened on John’s face.

“Are you alright?”

John whispered. “Might have a couple cracked ribs.”

Liz and John reached up and grabbed at the mat and held it in place while Harry duplicated their maneuver. When they all three stood at the base of the fence, Harry pulled the mat off the fence and pulled it behind a camper. He pointed toward the front of the parking lot and a massive building. Three vehicles had been parked near the front door. Each had the name of Happy Holiday Camper Extravaganza stenciled on the sides.

“You think any people are in the building?” Liz whispered.

“I think we have to check it out. We don’t have much in the way of food. We can see if there’s a snack machine inside and try to find keys to the vehicles. We can check them out then get into one of the units at the back of the lot. Watch the lot numbers and let’s get an idea of their numbering system.”

John readied his gun. “We might be able to siphon gas from vehicles.”

Harry limped toward the building with John and Liz following. He got to the building and looked in the glass windows across the front. They could see through the gloom into multiple cubicles. Everything seemed to be in order. No walking corpses, no blood or evidence of struggle.

Harry turned to the others. “Let’s go around the building and find a better place to get in. Breaking glass will let someone know we’re here.”

He led the way to the side of the building. There he walked to a side door and tried the door knob. It was locked. Harry moved on but nodded toward two sets of head-high windows with glass louvers.

“That might be an option.”

He followed the building around to the back where a repair shop was located. Garage doors included glass panels so they got a good look inside. Nothing moved. They completed the circle of the building.

“Looks good.” Harry announced. “Let’s go to the bathroom windows.

“The bathroom?” Liz whispered.

“Louvered windows. Only thing it can be. Head high.” Harry grinned. “Venting.”

They hurried back around the building to the window. Harry reached up and pulled at one of the glass slats. It wiggled but remained in place. He reached for his hand gun, turned it around and tapped gently at the edge. The glass moved. He slid his hand to the opposite side and did the same. A moment later, he slid the glass from the guides. He repeated the process until the glass sat in a stack at his feet.

John nudged Harry. “Give me a hand.” He held up a foot.

“That’s not going to work.” Liz chuckled. “Even if you could get up to the window, you’ll never get through the opening. Give me a boost.”

John looked to Harry. He shrugged after he looked at Liz and then back at the narrow opening.

“You be careful.” He passed Liz a LED light. “Make damned sure the bathroom is empty before you climb in there. No looking around on your own, just get to this door and get it open.  Understood?”

“Yes, worry-wart.” She quipped. “I’ll be careful.”

Liz nodded and John laced his fingers under her boot. She grabbed the sides of the window and flicked the light and shinned the beam around the inside of the bathroom. It was a men’s bathroom and smelled faintly of urine and bathroom cleaner.

“It’s good.” Liz called over her shoulder as she pulled herself onto the window sill.

She pulled her left leg through the opening, eased the rest of herself into the bathroom, where she found footing on the cabinet at the side of the sink. She eased her right foot down from the window and stood on the sink listening. Finally, she stuck her head out the window.

“Going in. Be ready.”

Liz slid to the floor, crossed the room and reached for the door knob. Her heart raced. She pressed her ear to the door. She had to wait until her heart rate slowed before she realized the only sound was the dripping of the faucet behind her.

She took a deep breath and turned the door knob. She looked through the narrow opening and saw a row of empty cubicles to the right. Enough light shown in from the front windows to assure her it was empty. She opened the bathroom door enough to a step through and out into the hall.

It was so quiet she heard only her own breath and the dripping faucet. She crossed the ten feet to the side door and shined the light on the door. She pushed at the bar and the door eased open.

John slid the last glass panel back in the window then followed Harry into the building. They stepped pulled the door closed behind them. “Don’t shine the light toward the front windows. We don’t want anyone catching a flash of light and coming to investigate.”

“Got it.” Liz answered.

Harry moved toward the front of the building. “We clear it, get what we can, find some keys then find a place to hunker down for the night.”

They rounded a corner and saw an infected man standing inside a glass enclosure. The man slammed bloodied hands against the glass of the teller window. John started for the door, but Harry grabbed his arm.

“No. Leave him. We leave it as it is.”

“There’s half a case of water on the counter and a handful of food in there.”

“Not enough there to take a chance on getting hurt.” Harry answered. “Let’s check out the rest of the building, first.”

They cleared the offices then the repair shop. They were alone except for the infected man in the small teller’s office. In the shop they found a hand siphon pump and hoses. They found keys to all three vehicles in one of the offices.

When they were finished, Harry turned to John and winked. “While we decide which vehicle to take, Liz can gather supplies from the break room?”

“Fine, give the woman the stinky job.” Liz complained.

Harry raised an eye brow. “Who us? You think we’re being sexist?”

Liz smirked. “Of course,you are two of the most politically incorrect people I’ve ever met. But since the world has gone to shit and I know nothing about what you might need, I guess I’ll see what I can get out of the break room that’s salvageable.”

John clutched at his side and gave Harry a lopsided smile. “Did she insult us?” He whispered.

“Probably.” Harry laughed and turned back to Liz. “Stack it by the side door. We’ll pull one of the vehicles around to load up.”

“Got it.” She answered.

Liz walked into the snack room and the array of machines. The smell was noxious from the spoiled food. She found four cases of water. When she opened a supply closet, she found boxes of snacks including meat jerky, pasta and soup cups, dried fruits, crackers and cheese, and boxes of candies and chips.

They found keys for campers and a map of parking assignments. On a wall in an office they found a board listing campers scheduled for service and pick-up. Next to each entry on the status board hung a keyring with vehicle and door keys. After an extended debate they chose a camper scheduled for pick-up the day of the attack hoping they would find full tanks of water and gas. Ten minutes later the truck was loaded and the trio drove toward the back of the parking lot.

By the time they got to the camper, John’s breathing had been reduced to shallow puffs with every jolt of the truck.

“There. That one.” Liz announced.

“Good.” Harry commented. “We check it out, if it works, you take John inside and I’ll off load the supplies then take the truck back up front.”

The unit was a class C motor home. The cab-over vehicle on a truck chassis was only eighteen feet in length. The white over tan unit was covered in a thin layer of dust. Harry pulled the pickup next to the camper door.

“Do you think we should be left with only the camper for transportation?” Liz asked.

Harry nodded. “I think it’s worth it to keep anyone from noticing activity here.”

Liz led John to the camper. She pulled the keys from her pocket and opened the camper door.  and to a bench seat. She guided John to a bench seat then walked to the driver’s seat and turned the ignition on. All the gages came to life. Harry sat a case of water on the dinette table and turned to look over Liz’s shoulder to read the gages. He glanced at a second panel and tapped the panel.

“Well?” Liz turned and asked.

“We’re even better than good. It’s great.” Harry announced.

“I’ll help you get the supplies in. Then we need to look at John’s ribs. He looks bad.” Liz answered as she turned the ignition key.

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