No Replacement

Posted: April 30, 2016 in Book 1 TERROR IN TEXAS
Tags: , , , , , ,

Harry stepped through the front window of the sales offices. Glass crunched underfoot. He could hear excited whispers toward the back hall of the sales office part of the building. He glanced at the teller’s window and immediately saw the infected man was no longer trapped behind the glass.

“Shit!” Harry whispered. “John?”

“Back here. We got a problem. Come on back.” John answered.

Harry followed the sound of John’s voice into the dark recesses of the dealership building. When he got to the breakroom, he saw John standing over two bodies. One was the decaying man from the teller’s booth. The other was a stranger still moaning and writhing in pain. Squatting next to the dying man were two children. The man and both kids were malnourished and covered in grime. The taller of the two soon-to-be orphans looked to be a boy around fifteen while the younger was definitely preteen but too dirty to tell if it was a girl or boy.

“What the fuck is going on, here?” Harry demanded.

“They came in looking for food. When they didn’t find anything they tried to get the stuff in the booth. I got here in time to kill the infected, but not before he took a chunk outta the guy laying there.” John answered.

“Fuck!” Harry cursed.

The man on the floor waved his arm to move the children from his side. He pushed himself up and looked at both John and Harry. “Please, don’t hurt my kids.”

“No intentions of hurting your kids. What are you folks doing here?” Harry asked.

“Looking for food. What do you think, asshole?” The boy answered with a snarl.

The man grabbed his son’s leg. “Hush boy. Ain’t these men’s fault I got bit. It was mine.” He looked to Harry. “I’m Ben Green, this is by kids, Cody and Grace.”

“I’m Harry Walters, and this ugly old coot is John Tilman. I wish I could say it was nice meeting you, but like this. Well….”

“I know what’s gonna happen.” Jack answered. “Please. You gotta take the kids and get outta here. We’ve been running from a gang that found us two days ago. If they come here, they’ll kill you all.”

“Then we move out.” Harry responded.

“Take my kids.” Ben pleaded. “Please. Just leave me and take my kids. You’ve gotta hurry.”

“We’ll go, but we’re taking all of you. Come on John.” Harry stepped to Ben’s side and grabbed under Ben’s arm. John followed suite. “Let’s move out.

Ben tried to pull away, but Harry and John only pulled him forward.

“I’m gonna turn.”  Ben protested.

Harry whispered at him. “Might be, but I won’t have your kids fighting us to stay with you.  We need to move out and be quiet about it.”

Ben relented and allowed himself to be carried through the hall toward the broken window. They stepped out into the dawning light to the sound of motors in the distance.

Harry turned around and called back when the kids hesitated. “Let’s go, you two. We have to get outta here.”

Ben called back. “Listen to what they say, from now on.”

Both Cody and Trace picked up the pace and followed close behind. The sound of the vehicles approaching grew louder.

“They’re coming!” Ben warned. “Leave me. Run!”

Harry waved an arm and suddenly the camper at the back of the lot roared to life. “Keep moving!”

Liz cranked the engine and slammed the camper in gear at the sight of Harry’s wave. He and John were carrying a man while two children were following close behind. She pulled out of the parking spaced turning toward the fence, slammed on the breaks then slipped the gear shift into reverse. She stepped on the gas and the camper began rolling backwards toward the Harry and John. She accelerated until the camper began weaving, she slowed enough to guide the vehicle toward the men.

The two men pulled Ben to the side of the drive and called the kids to them. Liz stopped in front of the group, slammed the shift into park. John jerked open the door. He let Harry step inside then pushed Ben and the kids in behind him.

“Hit the gas and go through the fence. Take the ditch at an angle. Wait ten minute down the road half a mile. If I don’t make it by then, leave without me.”

Liz opened her mouth to protest, but John scowled. “Got it. Don’t be late old man!”

John ran to a blue camper, used a key to open a door and climb inside. He cranked the engine and revved the engine, waiting.

Liz stepped on the gas and aimed the camper between the posts where the fence sagged. Harry dropped Ben at the table and pointed the kids toward the opposite side. He threw a towel at Ben. “Stop the bleeding, sit down, and shut up until we get outa this mess you brought to our door step.” He growled.

Harry flopped into the passenger seat and belted in. He pointed toward the back of the property. “Ease up on the gas right before you hit the fence. It’ll knock the support off the top of the post. Angle to the left crossing the easement and hopefully, there won’t be water in the ditch and we get stuck. When you get up on the road, go left.”

Liz hit the fence with the front bumper and the zip ties split.  The front windshield frame hit the pipe at the top was thrown to the side while a crack raced across the glass. The front end of the camper dipped then bounced up the incline to the asphalt. The back tilted and bucked then bounced on the roadway. Liz pushed her foot down on the accelerator and looked back toward the parking lot just in time to see the blue camper pull out and accelerate toward the fence.

John opened both side windows and pulled the seat belt tight. He jammed his foot into the accelerator. The engine revved and the machine accelerated as it raced toward the open fence. He waited until the very last moment and then spun the steering wheel hard to the left just as he got twenty feet from the open fence.

The blue camper skidded and tilted while John held the wheel. The top heavy vehicle hung at a forty-five degree angle for a heartbeat then faltered and tumbled to its side. The vehicle slid the last ten feet into the gaping hole in the fence.

John struggled to fight the blackness that threatened to envelope him.  Finally it faded and he opened his eyes.  Still was held in the seat.  He groaned at the pain the seat belt was causing to his damaged ribs. He turned off the engine and released the seatbelt.  He slid off the seat and fell to the side window. He pocketed the key and stood up. He grunted in pain as he twisted his body to reach toward the open window overhead.

“That wasn’t such a good idea. John mumbled to himself.

He stepped on the console between the front seats and pulled himself up toward the window. When he got his hands on the window sill, he pulled himself up and through the opening. He looked back to the gate at the opposite end of the lot and saw the first vehicle, a massive truck with cobbled together grill across the front, slamming through the chained gate.

John climbed down the underside of the camper and fell into the dry ditch with a gasp of pain. He clutched at his ribs and crawled to the road. He got to his feet and hurried away from the camper.

John heard the first gunshot and turned to see two men standing at the side of the fence with guns pointed in his direction.  They fired two more shots.  Both danced off the asphalt at his feet.  He cursed and pushed himself into an ungainly lope.

He rounded the bend in the road to the sound of cursing and screams of frustration.

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