The little group of survivors left the sporting goods store early the next morning without incident. The two trucks rolled cautiously down the street, yet fast enough to avoid any infected who might try and throw themselves at the rigs.
Tamelle was exhausted, she hadn’t been sleeping well. Too much fear and adrenaline were making what little sleep she got less than restful. She looked over at Vince, he was busy dodging abandoned cars in the road. Twice already they had to backtrack to keep moving toward their destination.
“Vince, do you think we’re going to make it to the Marina?”
He cranked the wheel to avoid a wrecked Taxi, “I’ve no doubt we’ll make it.”
“How can you be sure? Even if we do get there how do we know we can steal a boat? They might all be gone.”
“True. We might not find anything, but starving in Victor’s Sporting Goods is not how I plan on dying. Better to get killed doing something than to sit and waste away.”
Fenrir put his head between the seats Tamelle scratched him behind the ears. “I guess you’re right, but I just hoped to get rescued by a helicopter or something.”
The radio crackled, it was Steve in the pickup behind them, “Rover this is Truck, we’ve got a flat.”
Tamelle tensed, this wasn’t good. “How flat is it? Can you drive much farther?”
“Negative, we’ll be shooting sparks soon.”
Vince looked down the empty street; they needed somewhere to hole up quick. Up ahead he saw a basketball court surrounded by chain link. “Tamelle grab the bolt cutters!”
The streets were devoid of Mogs as far as he could tell, he stopped the Land Rover and opened the door wielding his 1911. “Cut the chain I’ll cover you.”
She nodded and went to work on the gate. Vince looked up and down the street, nothing moved. Across the basketball court a few Infected shuffled along oblivious to their presence. He hoped they would stay that way.
“Got it!” Tamelle yelled as she jerked the chain out of the gate.
Moments later both trucks were parked on the basketball court and Vince re secured the gate with a spare padlock.
Pete got out of the pickup jack in hand. “Steve help me with the tire, Vince make sure they don’t climb over the fence.” He said pointing to the gray skinned fiends in the park.
Vince retrieved his M14 and let Fenrir out of the car. He grabbed hold of the dog’s leash, who growled at the diseased on the other side of the fence.
“Pfui! No.” Vince said as he watched the shuffling former men.
“Vince!” Tamelle whispered, “There’s a break in the fence over there.”
A man passable opening during better times allowed kids to enter to play basketball today it would let zombies pour through.
“Cover that opening I’ll watch the fence line.” He turned to look at the boys working on lowering the spare tire, “I don’t mean to rush you guys but we might have some company real quick.”
As if on queue one of the zombies turned and stared at Vince, their eyes locked. Its eyes were blood shot, full of anger, and animalistic fervor. The businessman blinked and raised his rifle, the infected man’s face was covered in oozing blisters, infection must be painful he thought as he centered the front sight on the former humans chest.
The blistered beast grunted and screamed, the sound it made could not have come from a human. Nearby infected with their heads hung low snapped up, looking for the Mog who had sounded the alarm.
Vince squeezed the trigger silencing the monster, too late the sound of hands shaking the chain link echoed through the court. Tamelle screamed as the horde pushed its way through the opening in the fence, she fired the carbine hastily trying to plug the gap with their bodies.
The fence rattled off to the left, Fenrir barked, the M14 pushed against his shoulder as he squeezed the trigger. For every Mog they dropped three more appeared.
“Hurry!” Tamelle yelled to the men working on the tire, a fast moving gray skinned beast wearing fatigues closed the gap. She pulled the trigger. Nothing happened, she looked down at the action the bolt was locked back, empty. She hit the magazine release dropping it free from the rifle; she had a fresh mag in hand when the zombie struck her. It skittered across the blacktop as it punched her in the face.
Fenrir heard the dark female scream; he pulled free of the leash and charged the Other. He bared his teeth biting hard on the Other’s arm. He growled and pulled but the thing wouldn’t let her go. He knew he wasn’t supposed to but Fenrir knew he had to save the female, she was in pain.
His teeth found jugular, the warm blood tasted horrible but he bit harder, the Other struck his head but Fenrir wouldn’t quit. He couldn’t stop until she was safe. He jerked the fiend’s throat pulling flesh from its neck. It thrashed for a few moments until falling limp smothering his female.
Taking a bite of its collar he pulled the dead Other off her.
“Good… good, boy.”
Shots rang out, more of the things were running their way. Fenrir put himself between the female and the bad humans. The new male came up behind them helping the female back up on her feet. They said a few things in angry voices that he didn’t understand.
Old male yelled, “In Vagen!”
Fenrir scrambled toward the vagen, leapt into it and they were off again. The female cried, the tires squealed and things bounced off the front with a terrible crash.
“Tamelle, you alright?” Vince asked as he ran down another ‘pedestrian.’
Blood dripped from her nose. “I… I think so.” She petted Fenrir on the head. “If it weren’t for him I’d probably be dead.”
“Bravy, good boy.”
In the other truck Pete swerved dodging a zombie, “Steve do you think Fenrir is going to become infected?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well he got a mouthful of that infected National Guardsman; he probably swallowed some of its blood.”
“Damn, I love that dog. What do we do?”
Pete hit the brakes to keep from slamming into the back of the Land Rover, “I don’t know, we can’t shoot him right now, we’ll just need to keep an eye on him for erratic behavior.”
“Should we tell them?”
“Wait until we get to the marina, we should get there in another twenty minutes or so if the roads are clear.”
“Could that be too long?”
“I don’t know, but I doubt the infection works that fast.”
“I hope you’re right.”
After a few more detours Lake Union marina was in sight. Pete thought perhaps they might make it out of this after all. He had been lucky to find these other survivors, having someone else to watch your back, or in a pinch take the hit for you was indispensible. He would have died trying to change that tire himself. They would’ve overrun him before he’d have the truck jacked up.
The Land Rover stopped, Pete pulled up alongside. “What’s the plan Vince.”
“Find a boat.”
Steve rolled his eyes, “WOW that’s a GREAT plan! I’m glad you’re the fearless leader!”
Tamelle grit her teeth, “Steve you’re not helping.”
Pete began to second guess joining up with these people, “Look why don’t we drive out onto the dock toss our gear on a boat and take off?”
The matter settled the little crew of survivors drove down the docks past hundreds of boats, of all shapes and sizes. Vince stopped the car at the end of the dock in front of a large yacht.
“Why this one?” Steve asked as he got out of the pickup.
“I’ve been on it before; this is Jim McMillan’s personal play toy. Plus I know the combination to the key lock box.”
“Who’s this McMillan guy?”
“My boss, the owner of the company.”
“Won’t he come looking for it?”
Vince shook his head, “No, he’s stuck in Europe. Come on let’s get our gear aboard.”
Fenrir and Pete stood watching for infected who might come running down the dock, while the rest of the crew unloaded the contents of the two vehicles up the ramp and into the hundred foot long ship.
As the last box of ammo and bag of food was loaded Vince fired up the twin Rolls Royce diesel engines and pulled out of the dock and headed toward the canal.
“We’re going to make it!” Steve said standing behind Vince at the wheel on the top deck.
“Don’t get too carried away kid, there’s a lot between us and the ocean.” It was true, miles of narrow canals that could be full of wrecked boats, bridges that could allow zombies no, infected to jump down on top of them. And they still had to navigate through the lock at the end of the mess. “I want you up on the foredeck keeping an eye out for hazards.”
“Aye aye captain.”
Vince almost wanted the kid to get infected so he could shoot him himself.
Mary-Te, drove toward the University bridge, she didn’t know where she was going, but anywhere would be better than the professors apartment. She wondered if he really had turned into a freakish nightmare or if he ended up as some other beast’s lunch.
She tried to push that thought out of her mind as she concentrated on avoiding the many abandoned vehicles in the road. She drove up over the sidewalk past a blood streaked white car with smashed windows.
She reached the bridge in the dim light of the overcast afternoon, the sky threatened rain again. The bridge was choked with abandoned vehicles; she weaved in and out threading the Toyota pickup through. A fat zombie snarled at her as she passed a crashed Hummer. She hit the gas and ran it down, the truck bucked wildly as the tires bounced over the infected.
“Keep it together Mary.” She told herself as she broke the side mirror off on a bus. By the time she made it to the middle of the bridge she reached the end of the road. A delivery truck lay on its side blocking both lanes. Passenger cars were smashed into both sides of the box truck, creating a massive pile of twisted metal.
“Madre de Dios!” she cursed as she hit the brakes too late. The professors truck smashed into the back of another pickup. The airbag deployed, she sat there stunned for a while listening to a strange hissing. When she recovered Mary-Te grabbed the Galil from the passenger’s seat and climbed out. The tow ball on the other truck had punched a nice hole in her radiator dropping all the fluid out onto the bridge.
Something snarled behind her, infected dogs. Her hands shook as she flipped the safety off and jerked the trigger.