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Texas Dead Storm

Posted: May 15, 2021 in Book V Texas Dead Storm

Texas Dead Storm is Book 5 in the Torn Apart Series. All 5 books are available on Amazon and Amazon Unlimited.

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Chapter 1


“Well, honey, if y’all get out there and it’s too much, y’all beat feet right back here,” Bessie advised.

Everyone laughed, and Dan answered. “We’ll keep that in mind. I know we have a lot better chance with the help you and Bennie have given us. Your neighbor’s pickup will give us a better vehicle for the whole group to get there together.”

“Most of you picked up using those guns just fine. Just ‘member, quiet is better. Them dead folks hear a lot better than folks did before,” Bessie added.

Dan glanced around. “We gotta get going, gang, if we’re going to make any time today.”

Britt rushed up to Bessie and hugged her. “I’ll miss you, Bessie. You could come with us.”

“Oh, honey. We can’t leave the farm. My Henry’s buried here, and poor Bennie would be lost.” She patted Britt’s back. “Now y’all load up and move on down the road. God, go with y’all. Me and Bennie will be sayin’ a prayer every night; you have a safe trip.”

Kelly gave Bessie a quick hug and ushered the whole crew toward the F-150 and Dodge Ram pickup.

Dan held out his hand to Bennie. “Thanks, man. You’ve been a lot of help.”

Bennie grinned and pumped Dan’s hand before stepping back and smiling shyly. “I will miss you, Dan.”

Jen hurried up to Bessie and hugged her. “Thank you, Bessie. You’ve helped us so much.”

Bruce, Denise, and Rudy joined the others in the farewell with Bessie, and Bennie then all climbed into the two pickups and waved as they drove through the gate and drove away.

“Are we ready for this?” Britt asked as Bennie closed the gate behind them.

Kelly laughed nervously. “I sure hope so.”

“We’re as ready as we can be, girls. Bessie made sure we each can use a handgun and rifle. We have two trucks, supplies, maps, and we’ve planned out our route. I don’t know what else we can do to be more prepared for this,” Dan answered as he glanced up at the pickup following.

“Bruce is doing better. I was worried when Sarah died,” Kelly said.

“Bessie helped more than any of us could have,” Dan answered.

Kelly spread the folded map out on her lap. “I’m sure glad Bessie helped me plot out a route heading west. She said the best way to go is to head southwest then skirt around Llano. It’ll take us out and around the metro areas of San Antonio and avoid the freeway and interstates, for the most part, then we’ll be on the farm to market roads.”

“This is it, we’re heading west now,” Dan announced as he pulled on the state highway. Dan picked up the two-way radio they had retrieved from the sporting goods store. “This is it, Bruce, we’re turning on 71.”

“10-4, good buddy,” Bruce joked.

Dan groaned. “I’ll shoot him if he does that for very long.”

Kelly and Brittboth laughed. “At least he’s joking,” Kelly answered.

They passed several cars stranded along the highways but saw no one around the vehicles. Britt leaned toward the front seats. “I wonder where the people went?”

“Who knows?” Dan asked as he accelerated and glanced at the rearview mirror to make sure Bruce was doing the same.

They drove in silence for over an hour when Dan slowed the truck as they neared an overpass looking down at the remains of a roadside rest area. Dozens of vehicles surrounded the remains of a large camp that told a story that was hard to witness. The roadside park had bathrooms in a brick structure and a creek along the back of the narrow building, making it a natural place for people to gather together for safety with a water source. They set up a perimeter of cars and trucks for protection. It was hard to tell how many people it had sheltered, but remnants of over two dozen tents remained, plus several tarps flapped from branches in nearby trees. With the slowing of the two pickups and the powerful engines’ rumble, the dead campers began to appear. Mutilated bodies lay scattered on the pavement, and those trapped inside the vehicles started to pound on the windows. Some of the broken bodies on the pavement moved in the harsh morning glare at the sound of the pickups.

The two-way radio crackled to life. “Are you seeing the people at the back of the camp?” Rudy asked.

“Where?” Kelly asked.

“Near the bathrooms. Two kids and an adult. I think they’re infected. One doesn’t have an arm,” Rudy answered. “It’s pitiful.”

“Go! Just go,” Brittcried. “Can’t we just go?”

“They were overrun. We’ve seen enough; we’re getting out of here,” Dan answered as he accelerated. “Tell Bruce to move out.”

Dan glanced at the camp one last time, and more than a dozen infected stumbled toward the rumble of the two pickups. Both trucks accelerated and were out of sight within minutes. When they had driven for an hour, Bruce’s voice called over the two-way radio. “I got a couple of girls needing a bathroom break.”

Dan look from side to side as he slowed, and with no buildings or vehicles around, he answered. “This is as good a place as any.”

“Dan…” Brittwhined. “I hate peeing in the bushes.”

Dan slowed the F-150 and stopped the big pickup. Everyone stepped out of the trucks and were more subdued than when they left Bessie’s ranch. No one seemed willing to go far from the vehicles after seeing the campgrounds, so the guys stayed on one side, and the girls walked to the opposite side to relieve themselves behind bushes at the edge of the road.

“I hate this,” Britt said; she and the other girls did their business while Kelly stood guard over them.

“I know, but we can’t clear buildings just to use a bathroom,” Kelly argued.

“I guess. I just hate baring my butt to the world every time I have to pee,” Britt answered. All four of the girls laughed. Kelly stepped behind a bush for her turn, then quickly reappeared.

When the group had all returned and were standing around drinking water and eating snacks, Jen finally voiced what everyone was thinking. “They were attacked, and all died.”

“It looked like that’s what happened,” Dan answered.

“We’re getting close to Llano,” Bruce announced as he threw away the wrapper from his power bar and opened a second bottle of water. “Are we taking 71 or taking 29 out of town?”

“I’m not sure. We have to see when we get there. It’ll depend on the traffic and if we can work our way through the city,” Dan answered.

“Gotcha,” Bruce answered.

“Everyone needs to be ready for whatever we find. There could be infected, and we might have trouble. You know what Bessie said,” Kelly advised. “If they swarm the trucks, we could be overwhelmed.”

“Stop it!” Denise yelled as she covered her ears with her hands. “I don’t want to hear you talking like that.”

Rudy pulled her hands down and wrapped his arm around Denise’s shoulder. “We have to face the reality of going into a populated area. There can be a lot of infected, and it can be dangerous. We have to get used to it.”

She turned and hid her face against Rudy’s chest. “I can’t shoot people. I’ll never be able to do that.”

Rudy patted her back and whispered. “Now Denise, we’ve been through this. They aren’t people anymore, just dead bodies walking and trying to attack us. They’re monsters now.”

“I keep telling myself that, but I still see people,” Denise whimpered.

Jen made an exasperated sigh. “We need to get past Llano before dark. Shouldn’t we get back on the road?”

Dan slapped Bruce on the back. “You’re right; let’s load up. Everyone good with the seating?”

Jen stepped up and grabbed Britt’s arm. “I think I’ll join y’all for a while.”

Kelly smiled. “No problem. Let’s get in the trucks. Get your bag and come on.”

Jen raced to the second truck and grabbed the bag Bessie had packed for Jen, and shoved it in the back seat ahead of climbing into the pickup. “We got all these supplies; why do we have to have a backpack to drag around?”

“Because if something happens, we each have supplies that will keep us alive, just like Bessie says. It’s why we each have our own gun,” Dan answered. “Something bad happens; we each grab our bag and run.”

“We got guns and knives, so, with the backpacks and the supplies inside, we’d have a real chance of surviving even on foot alone until we find new transportation,” Kelly continued.

Dan started the pickup and accelerated. A glance assured Dan that Bruce was following in the second truck. “That’s why when we leave the trucks, we’re each taking our weapons and packs with us.”

“Got it. Bessie said it enough times. Good grief, Dan,” Jen laughed. “You nag as much as my mother, and my mother sounded a lot like Bessie.” Suddenly Jen grew quiet, and the smile faded from her face.

“Sorry,” Dan apologized. “I just don’t think Denise gets it. She worries me.”

Kelly reached over to lay her hand on Dan’s leg. “She’ll come around. Just give her time. I think the situation with Jason just freaked her out.”

Dan covered Kelly’s hand. “We can’t afford to have someone not carrying their own weight. It’s a long way across the state and lots of dangerous places to pass through. We need everyone willing and able to do their part.”

“Denise will get there,” Kelly answered.

“She needs to be there now,” Dan answered. “We all need to be there.” Both Jen and Britt remained quiet for several minutes, and Dan asked. “Are you two?

Finally, Kelly glanced at both Britt and Jen. They both nodded, and Kelly answered. “Yes, we all want to survive and know what we have to do. We keep the packs with us, and we have to be able to defend ourselves. You guys may not always be around to do it.”

“Now, if you and Rudy can just convince Denise,” Dan sighed.

“I’m sure he is talking to her again,” Kelly announced.

The terrain grew more arid and dry as they traveled west and got closer to Llano. Dan watched the gas gage, and when it slid below the half-tank mark, he picked up the walkie and depressed the button and spoke. “Bruce. Let’s look for gas before we hit Llano if we can. I’m at half a tank.”

“I’m not quite there, but it might be a good idea. We can watch for a station,” Bruce answered.

Kelly glanced down at the map. “Seems we should be coming up on a few crossroads in a few miles. Maybe there will be a gas station up ahead.”

Dan used the walkie. “Kelly says there are a few crossroads in a few miles. We’ll watch for a gas station.”

“Sounds good,” Bruce answered.

They drove in silence for several minutes when Britt leaned forward and pointed to a sign in the distance. “I see something.”

I hope you enjoyed Chapter 1 of Texas Dead Storm. All 5 books are available on Amazon and Amazon Unlimited.

TERROR IN TEXAS and DEAD TEXAS ROADS, 2 books in the “Torn Apart Series” are NOW available on Amazon and Amazon Unlimited. Order and enjoy an undead thrill ride.

Terror in Texas

Chapter 1

The Warning

“Don’t stop, no matter what you see, just keep driving.” Captain Brian Jameson’s voice cracked with emotion. “Get as far from the city as you can, as fast as you can. When you get to your dad’s place, tell the General, they used drones with aerosols to attack the bases. It’s worse than anything we ever imagined.”

“But Brian, I don’t have….” Liz interrupted.

Brian interrupted. “It doesn’t matter what you don’t have, Liz. You and the girls have to leave NOW if you’re going to survive! Remember, I love yo….” The line went dead.

Liz called back twice, but each attempt went straight to voicemail. She tried a third time and got a busy circuit message. She tried texting, but the circuit only produced an error message. Too much cell traffic was not a good sign. She remembered the same issue with the cell phones during the last big storm on the coast.

She pulled her nine-month-old, Claire, from the half-filled shopping cart and walked out of Walmart without looking back. She drove to Fort Sam Houston Elementary School on Nursery Road in San Antonio.

When she looked in the visor mirror, she saw the paleness of her complexion and the panicked look in her eyes. She kept hearing her husband’s voice repeating, NOW, NOW, NOW, over and over again.

When she got to the school, she made her way down the white tile hall to the front desk.

The receptionist looked up from her computer screen. “Hi Mrs. Jameson, what can I do for you today?”

“I need to pick up Amy. We’ve had a family emergency.” Liz answered as she glanced down at her watch. “She’s in Miss Helen’s class.”

“Sure.” The receptionist answered. “Just give me a few minutes to contact her teacher and have her brought to the office.” The woman picked up the phone, spoke to the teacher then smiled back at Liz. “She’ll be here shortly.” She turned back to her computer.

Liz stepped back into the hall. Claire pulled at her mother’s hair and giggled. Liz rocked back and forth nervously. “Ready for a car ride, Claire Bear?” Liz asked as she patted the baby’s back.

While she waited, Liz did a mental inventory of the diaper bag contents: a can of dry formula and a box of plastic baby bottle liners, at least half a dozen diapers, four bottles of water, wafers, a change of clothes, an extra blanket, and three protein bars. If she drove straight through, she could make the ten-hour drive with only stopping for gas and maybe take out from a Micky-D or the gas station.

“Mommy?” Amy smiled questioningly. “Where are we going?”

Liz jumped at the touch of her daughter’s hand against her bare arm. She wrapped her fingers around Amy’s hand.

“Thank you.” Liz made a quick nod at the receptionist, and the teacher’s aid that had brought Amy from class then turned toward the door. She glanced down at Amy and answered. “We have to go see grandpa. We have to hurry.”

When she got to the car, Liz got the baby settled in her car seat with a bottle, Amy belted in her booster seat. She got behind the wheel and pulled out of the parking lot. Liz stopped at the first Shell station she saw, filled up the tank, and grabbed a handful of snack bars and extra bottles of water.

She drove the surface streets to the closest on-ramp and entered the freeway. She turned north on the interchange to out of the city. With each passing minute, traffic slowed and grew more and more congested as more vehicles joined the choked freeway. Sirens screamed in the distance.

Liz studied the traffic. It was a lot more than rush-hour beginning early. They neared the military base and traffic slowed to a standstill. Liz looked around and saw they were stuck behind a row of older retail buildings. The brick structures included half a dozen businesses while the back parking lot was surrounded by an eight-foot hurricane fence. It all looked just a little run down and tired with the dumpsters and trash blowing around the alley and rear parking. From what she could see, the buildings included a bar at the end, a nail salon, retail stores and two buildings that were so non-descript, they could be anything with their overhead doors.

“Mommy, aren’t we going to Grandpa’s house?” Her daughter asked.

“Yes, honey…as fast as we can,” Liz answered. With her foot on the break, Liz looked over her shoulder and studied her daughter. “What are you drawing, Amy?”

Amy held up a sheet of paper. Inside a red heart was written, Claire & Amy. Amy beamed. “See, Claire and Amy love Mommy.” She passed it over the seat to Liz. “I made it for you.”

“Thank you, sweetie. I love it.” Liz smiled and passed it back to her daughter. Put it in the diaper bag so I can keep it.” She gave the sheet of paper to her daughter and turned back at the stalled traffic ahead.

The city streets she saw below the freeway were just as congested as the highway. Now they were at a standstill. She couldn’t get off the freeway, and she would have the same problem on surface streets. She turned on the radio.

The station reported a terrorist attack on two bases in San Antonio and two other Texas cities. Within hours of the attack, unusual assaults and soldiers attacking other soldiers was reported. That had to be what Brian was talking about. Liz waffled between wanting to know what was happening and not wanting to alarm or frighten Amy. Liz finally turned off the radio. She now understood the attack had somehow caused people to violently attack anyone they came in contact with. The base was overrun, and the violence was spilling into the civilian communities surrounding the base. They were barely a mile from Ft Houston. They were in trouble. Nothing could change the fact they were in deep trouble.

Frustrated drivers honked and jockeyed for small gaps in the traffic. Liz looked at her phone. The charge had nearly depleted. She pulled a charger from the glove box and plugged in her cell phone.

Traffic had not moved for the last thirty minutes. Liz glanced over her shoulder at the girls while she drummed her fingers against the steering wheel. The baby was sleeping in her car seat, while Amy was reading since Liz had turned off the radio.

Liz watched the fuel gauge slip below the three-quarters tank mark and turned off the air conditioner. She began to worry if they would even make it to the edge of town before she would need to stop for gas again. When the air in the ten-year-old silver Buick became stifling, Liz worried the girls would get too warm. She lowered both front windows to let in the fresh spring air hoping it would cool the car. After a moment, Liz realized the air smelled wrong. She sniffed and wrinkled her nose. There was an unpleasant scent in the air. Something obnoxious mingled with the odor of exhaust, freshly mowed grass and cooking meat from a nearby Bar-B-Que restaurant. The invading stench was a mixture of a slaughterhouse and an open sewer.

Still considering the nasty odor, she heard shouting and a distant scream and turned to look through the windshield. She leaned toward the window to listen.

A massive four-wheel drive truck with oversized tires roared to life several vehicles ahead of her car. The brake light flashed red, and the driver gunned the engine. It was an angry, demanding sound. The driver leaned out an open window and yelled at a Fiat driver directly in front of him.

“Move it!” He waved in frustration. “Get that piece of shit out of my way.”

The truck driver eased the truck, with its off-road tires, forward to tap the back of the Fiat with the front brush guard. He cursed at the Fiat driver then jammed the truck into reverse and slammed into the minivan behind his truck. He raced his engine and yelled, while both the mini-van and the Fiat drivers made tentative efforts to move out of the truck’s way. But they were trapped by the vehicles in front and behind them as well.

The truck driver jockeyed back and forth again and again. All the while, the driver worked on maneuvering the vehicle toward the grassy decline at the side of the highway, but the vehicles in front and behind had the truck wedged in tight. The truck driver yelled and cursed, but neither blocking vehicle could move enough to free his pickup despite the damage he was doing to the other vehicles. Screams of frustration and anger from all three drivers filled the air.

Liz watched the fiasco, but could only see a limited number of vehicles because of the gradual curve of the highway. There seemed to be a commotion taking place around a UPS truck at the beginning of the turn among the furthest vehicles.

Suddenly two men in khaki uniforms appear from the front of a brown panel truck and stumble toward a car directly behind the truck. Both men walked in an uncoordinated, jerky-stagger that made them appear drunk. Their khaki uniforms sported blotches of dark stains up and down the front. Their lower faces were covered in blood.

The large pickup accelerated and roared forward only to hit the Fiat then backed up while the driver jumped from the car and raged at the driver. Each time he shifted from drive to reverse he rammed into an offending vehicle more violently. Terrified by the vehicular assault, the Fiat driver ran away from his automobile to stand at the side of the roadway screaming a string of profanity at the truck driver. Further ahead, the pair of khaki-clad men made their way to the first vehicle behind the UPS truck and slammed their hands against the sedan’s side window.

Liz could hear yells from the female driver with the thuds of the assault against the glass. Even the truck driver stopped his frantic efforts to escape the traffic jam to watch the exchange. Liz’s heart rate began to quicken. What she was seeing was crazy.

The sedan’s male passenger jumped from the passenger side of the car and raced around the back of the vehicle to confront the two men beating on the driver’s window. The man with bulging arms stretching the fabric of his white t-shirt puffed up his chest to face the two men. He raised a fist and began to yell into at the UPS drivers.

One of the khaki-clad men turned on the passenger and pulled him into an awkward, bear hug. The second delivery driver turned from the car and leaned his head toward a flailing arm of the protesting passenger and grabbed it with both hands. He buried his face against the bare flesh. When he straightened up, his face was covered in bright red blood, and his jaws moved up and down chewing at a hunk of flesh hanging from his mouth.

The screaming defender thrashed his arms and kicked his feet trying to free himself from his captors. The second attacker leaned into the guy’s neck and shook his head back and forth like a dog tearing at raw meat. When he pulled his face away, blood sprayed across both attackers from the ripped flesh of the passenger’s neck. Suddenly the man’s screams stopped, he quit flailing and slumped against his attackers. The captors dropped the lifeless victim to the ground, and the terrified screams of the sedan’s driver intensified with the attackers redirected their attention at the vehicle’s window.

Liz stared ahead unable to believe what she was seeing. Her breath came in quick shallow gasps. Under her breath, she whispered. “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”

“Mommy?” Amy whimpered.

Unable to even respond to her daughter, Liz watched as more people appeared behind the delivery drivers. All were covered in splotches of blood and looked horribly injured. They moved in the same halting, jerky gate as the USP men. They stumbled toward the pair that had renewed their assault of the sedan’s window.

Several of the new arrivals began their attack on the windshield. The window glass suddenly shattered and arms reached through the shattered glass into the car to pull the woman from the vehicle. The driver screamed and slammed her fists against her attackers then disappeared into the cluster of bloodied bodies.

Liz looked on in horror as more and more bloodied and injured people stumbled around the vehicles and made their way toward her car. The wave of horribly wounded people lurched past the sedan to the next vehicle. A young male driver threw open his door to run, but one of the monsters had gotten too close and grabbed him from behind. The attacker fell on the youth’s back to bury his face in his neck. The monster pulled his face away with a red, dripping hunk of flesh hanging from his mouth.

More assailants turned their attention to the screaming kid, each tearing flesh from his writhing body. Blood spurted from his arms and legs. Within seconds he stopped struggling. The captors released the body, and it disappeared under the cluster of attackers assaulting the next vehicle. Several monsters got to their feet and stumbled over the bodies toward the next truck.

Bloodied and gore-covered infected pulled the driver of a small pickup from his vehicle and a man in a blood-drenched white shirt grabbed an arm and raised it to his mouth. His teeth dug into the flesh and pulled away with a glob of bloodied flesh. Several of the monsters joined in the assault. One by one they buried their faces into flesh and tore mouthfuls of bloodied meat from live people.

Attackers that couldn’t reach live prey spilled around the victim being consumed to make their way to the next car where a woman had thrown the car door open and was struggling to free a child from a car seat in the back seat. Within seconds, they both disappeared into the mass of bloodied bodies.

The driver of the large truck doubled his efforts to free his pickup of the two vehicles that wedged him into the traffic jam. The massive Ford slammed into the small Fiat, sifted the truck into reverse and stomped on the gas. The truck hit the minivan, and the bumper jumped up the low-slung hood leaving the vehicle with one wheel off the concrete.

The driver turned the wheel and jammed the truck into drive. The rear wheel on pavement burned rubber and caught enough traction to flip the truck to the side crashing down against the guardrail shattering the window and windshield. The driver escaped the vehicle and vaulted over the guardrail and disappeared down the incline.

Liz watched in the waning afternoon light as two more women were pulled through shattered windows. Terrified screams filled the air. More of the infected headed for the next car while a man struggling to release his seatbelt to escape was surrounded and disappeared under the assault.

People threw vehicle doors open and ran from the wave of blood-covered aggressors working their way from car to car toward Liz. They would get to her car in a matter of minutes. They would come for Liz and her daughters.

Liz’s car was trapped. There was no way to pull off the highway with the guardrail at her right and vehicles blocking her in front, back and to her left. There was a tide of murder and mayhem rolling toward them, and she was powerless to drive away. She looked at her ten-year-old. Amy’s face. It mirrored her own horror at the sounds coming closer by the second.

“Mommy?” Amy whimpered.

“We’re getting out of here!” Liz answered urgently.

“I’m scared,” Amy asked. “What’s happening?”

“Unbuckle the baby, now. Hurry honey. Then get the diaper bag.”

Amy unsnapped the car seat harness on Claire then pulled her sister to her lap. Meanwhile, Liz crawled over the console to the passenger seat. She jerked open the door and crawled out of the vehicle. She opened the back door just as Amy reached for the strap of the diaper bag. Liz took the baby while Amy scrambled out of the car dragging the bag behind her.

Liz dropped three bottles of water in the bag and stuffed the bag of snacks in the baby’s bag. Looking over her shoulder at the advancing attackers, Liz grabbed Amy’s hand and pulled her between two cars. At the edge of the highway, they climbed over the metal guardrail. Clutching Claire to her chest, and still holding Amy’s hand, Liz faltered down the steep incline toward the distant fence stretching across the back parking lot of the row of businesses. When she glanced over her shoulder, she saw some of the infected had noticed the escaping throng of people and were beginning to follow.

The infected weaved between vehicles and headed toward the barrier. Liz looked back and was relieved when the monsters seemed baffled by the thigh-high wall. They stood at the railing reaching out but were stymied by the metal barrier. Suddenly, their outstretched arms and leaning bodies overbalanced and they fell over.

They lined up at the barrier and one by one the infected face-planted into the gravel on the other side. The first creature with a shaved head and biker jacket tumbled over the barricade skinning the flesh from half his face. He stumbled to his feet, got overbalanced and hit the ground again. He fell halfway down the incline stopping folded into a cluster of oleanders. One after another of the infected leaned over the guardrail until they fell. More and more of the tattered and torn monsters pressed against those leaning into the barrier until none could move temporarily.

Three of the monsters were halfway down the incline when a large overweight woman in a bloodied housedress fell over the fence and began to roll. She hit the trio. The monsters ended in a huge pile of limbs trapped under the woman when she landed on her back. With her head downhill and with bodies on either side, she rolled back and forth unable to move.

More and more of the monsters fell over the guardrail, got up and began making their way toward those trying to escape. Dozens of people raced past Liz and the girls, but none offered to help them. Liz knew they were on their own and quickly being left behind to suffer a horrible fate.

Liz grabbed Amy’s hand. “Run! Honey, we have to hide!”

They ran from the roadway toward the eight-foot hurricane fence, Liz looked up and down for an opening. She had to find a place her children would be safe. Desperate, she turned toward the end of the fencing looking for an entrance and saw nothing.

Near panicked, Liz saw a dip in the ground under the woven metal fence behind what appeared to be a bar or eatery of some sort. She could see a neon sign at the front of the alley. Boxes surrounded a dumpster midway from the front of the building, near a side door.

Liz dragged Amy toward the divot in the ground. Shoving the baby into her daughter’s arms, Liz fell to her knees and tore at the weeds in the hole. When the grass was cleared, she dug into the soft, wet earth with her bare hands.

After a full minute, she pulled at the bottom of the woven fencing testing the size of the opening. The wire gave way several inches and the opening was almost big enough for her daughters to get through. She dug frantically ignoring the pain of breaking and tearing nails. She glanced over her shoulder. The infected were less than a hundred yards away.

“They’re coming!” Amy whispered frantically.

As the first of the street lights blinked on, Liz realized she was out of time. She jumped to her feet and pulled at the fencing with all her strength. It was now or never. She ignored the guttural moans growing louder and closer by the minute.

“Put Claire down and crawl through the opening,” Liz ordered.

“Mom?” Amy looked at Liz with a puzzled look on her face.

“Now! Hurry, Amy. Do as I say.”

Amy laid her sister on the grass, and the baby started crying.

“Lay down. Slide through head first. Quick, honey.” Liz whispered.

Amy began to cry but did as told. Liz pulled up on the fencing with all her strength creating an opening just big enough for Amy.

“Now! Slide through.” Liz whispered frantically. “Use your heels. Get through as quick as you can.”

Amy lay down on the grass with her head at the opening. She kicked her heels into the ground while she pulled at the weeds on the other side. When Amy was through, Liz released the fence and fell to her knees.

“I’m sorry, sweetie.” Liz cooed as she picked up Claire. She pushed the bag toward the opening. “Pull the bag through, Amy. Hurry!”

Amy gave a tug and the bag caught in the middle of the opening under the fence. Liz pushed, while Amy pulled on the long strap. Her eyes grew large. “Mommy, they’re coming. Please hurry.” Liz scooted around on her butt then placed her foot against the bag and kicked. The bag burst through, and Amy fell to her bottom.

While Amy got to her feet, Liz pulled the baby to her chest and kissed her forehead. She clutched her close as she covered her daughter with the blanket then guided the infant through the hole.

“Sh…shush now Amy, take your sister. Put the bag over your shoulder. Run and hide.” She could hear the dead coming closer.

“Hurry Mommy! You have to get under the fence!” Amy wailed near panic.

“I can’t. I’m going to run now. Head for the building and hide. Stay safe, and I’ll find you.”

Liz turned and ran. Dozens of the dead followed her while still others leaned against the fence reaching out toward Amy and her sister.

“Mommy!” Amy screamed.

Tears ran down Liz’s face as she ran away.