Last Stop – Part 1

Posted: October 23, 2016 in Book I Terror in Texas

Randy led the caravan of two pickup trucks and the camper rumbled toward the opposite end of town.  The veterinary office had made a good haul but as Randy argued when it came to medications, they needed as much as they could lay their hands on.

“Damn, that dog stinks.”  John echoed what all the adults were thinking.

“Make sure everything is battened down.  I don’t like the looks of the school ahead.  Something is wrong.” Harry groused.

“We’re good.” Liz turned to Cody and Trace. “You two stay put and hang on to the dog.  If something happens, we don’t want to be tripping over him.”

The closer the camper got the school the slower Randy got.  He tapped the breaks twice and Harry slowed the camper.

Harry’s head swiveled from left to right as he growled. “Something is wrong. There’s a body trapped at the front of that truck.  Is that a body moving inside the cab?”

John leaned out the window to get a better look and quickly pulled his head back inside. “Smells really bad around here. I think this is a mistake.”

Randy stopped the truck at the front of the drug store and slammed it into part.  He jerked open his door and hurried to the side of the camper.

“Park here and stay inside. There’s dead in that damned in the truck driven in the side of the school.  I think it’s blocked the entrance and if I had to guess, it’s full of infected. I’m getting Pablo to pull up and protect our flank while Miquel and I check out the pharmacy.”

“Are you sure it’s worth it?” Harry asked.  “We can just move on.  We got drugs.”

“We have folks that need specific drugs.”  Randy argued. “We’re just going to sweep the drugs into bags. Ten minutes, in and out.”

“Then I’m coming. Be that much faster” John added from the passenger seat.

“Fine, I’ll tell Pablo and then we’ll be right there.” Randy answered as he hurried toward the second truck.  A moment later

John rose and called out. “Lizzy, hand me the box of trash bags.”  Liz did as she was asked and John opened the door and stepped outside.

Pablo pulled the second truck up to cover the three men going into the drug store.  Both men raised guns and watch the street ahead and the school.

“I’m going to watch the back.”  Liz announced. “You kids sit tight.” She disappeared down the hall with a rifle in hand and climbed on the bed to watch out the back window.

Randy led John and Miguel to the pharmacy door.  He cupped his hand at the side of his face to peer inside.  Without lights, the store was a collage of shadows and worrisome dark shapes. Randy jammed the crowbar between the door and the doorframe. He leaned into the rounded end and the lock snapped. The door popped open.

The strong smell of death wafted from the depths of the store.  Randy stumbled back into Miguel and cursed.

“Dead inside.”

“Sure as I can be.”  Randy righted himself and reached for the door.  “I take left, Miguel right. John, come down the center aisle. Pharmacy looks to be at the back of the store.”

John started to protest, but then just shrugged. “You’re running the show, soldier.  I got some trash bags. Lead the way.”  He clutched his machete tighter.

Randy pulled the door open.  He and with Miguel each stepped into the building.  The stench wafted out assaulting the three men.  John’s breath caught and he grimaced but followed Randy and Miguel into the shadows. Light filtered through three narrow windows along the sides of the building.

John got to the front of the aisle and saw Randy disappear down the left passageway.  He looked to the right and saw Miguel’s head moving down the corridor. John moved forward one step at a time.  The center aisle was shrouded in shadows with the floor cluttered with a display ten feet ahead.

John squinted, trying to see into the gloom ahead of him.  Was that movement? He stepped forward two steps and paused to take a LED flashlight from his pocket.  A dark shadow grew from behind the display. He flicked the light on.

“Hey, bring the bags.  Pharmacy is empty.  Let’s get this cleared out and get outta here.”  Randy called out.

John answered. “I think I know where that smell came from.”

“Do you need some help?” Randy asked.

“I got this.”  He tossed the roll of plastic bags toward the back of the aisle.

John raised the machete and stepped toward a little man with a bloodied bandage hanging from his arm. John moved the light from the waving strip of gauze up the arm to the face gray with death.  The eyes sockets were dark and sunken while the eyes had lost all natural color and were clouded with a white film. The mouth opened in an angry snarl.

The infected man stumbled into the display and tumbled to the floor.  As he struggled to get to his feet, John crossed the last few feet and raised the machete over his head.  He slammed it down with a violet crack.  The blade hit bone at the front of the man’s upturned head and reverberated up Johns arm.

The body slid back to the floor taking the blade with it.  John shook his arm then grasped the handle of the blade. He stepped on the side of the man’s head and pulled the machete free. With a final sweep of the flashlight, John headed for the pharmacy at the back of the store.

Randy and Miquel had both entered the pharmacy and were clearing shelves.  Randy glanced up and commented.  “If you’re done playing around old man, we could use your help.”

“Someone had to take care of the infected before he bit you two in the ass.”  John groused.

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