Archive for the ‘04 Free to Follow – Part 1’ Category

Della stepped out of the farm manager’s office and glanced at her watch.  She had been gone nearly three hours and needed to get back to the cabin. Steve was in bad shape and she had to get the antibiotics back to him as soon as possible.  If not, well, she knew his chances of surviving the infection raging through his body diminished with each hour he was without antibiotics. She only hoped what she found would be strong enough.

Since Della had been inside the building, the infected had lost interest in the carcasses of the horses in the paddock.  Now they pressed against the wooden fence surrounding the outbuildings of the horse ranch, anxious to get the remaining horses.

She sighed.  Her releasing the horses from the paddock provided temporary respite for the remaining animals from the infected, but now they were as trapped as she was in the barn. She could climb over the fencing at the side of barn lot but the horses would still be trapped with the monsters. She studied the white fencing and realized the concentration of infected against the boards would soon pull the nails from the post.  The black mare and the other horses were doomed.

Della pulled the shoulder bag close, turned and ran toward the barn and the side fence beyond.  She heard galloping hooves and turned to see the black mare racing after her.  Della stopped and the mare slowed to stroll up to nuzzled against her arm.

“Shit!”  Della looked toward the barn then the mare.  “What am I supposed to do?” She asked as she continued toward the fence until the black whinnied. Della took a deep breath and headed into the stable.

“I’m not making any promises.” She called over her shoulder as the black mare followed.

She ran to stable and down the passageway to the tack room.  She stepped into the room.  Rays of sunlight streamed through the window illuminating the rows of bridles and tack on the side wall.  A work bench under the window included a number of small hammers, pliers and scraps of leather.  Nothing large enough to pull the boards from the post.  Two handmade saddles rested on saw horses. A nearby can of saddle soap and several clothes hinted at the reason for their presence.

“Damn-it…damn-it…damn-it!” Della cursed.  She stepped out of the tack room and glanced around frustrated.  Suddenly she noticed a box at the front of barn entrance.  She hurried to it and swung open the lid.

“Bingo!”

She reached inside and pulled out two farrier hammers.  Both were pretty light weight but she hoped they would do the trick.  As an afterthought, she grabbed a rag and heavy file nearly two feet long. With tools in hand, she jogged to the fence and began walking from the front toward the back, hoping to find a loose board or two. After a full minute, she noticed one pulled away from the post a quarter of an inch.

She dropped her shoulder satchel, the medical bag and tools.  She glanced at the gathering infected at the fence.  Some of the infected had noticed her and the black and followed them to the side of the paddock.  They pressed against the boards with the front most bodies spilling blood and gore over the pristine white in dark rivulets.