Heavy metal blasted from the car speakers as James, Robbie, and Nate sped down the empty road.
"Good thing your uncle lives in the outskirts," said James. "The highway's probably jammed up from people trying to get out of here."
"Well, he always did want to keep to himself when our family moved here," said Nate. "Never even visited."
"So... what exactly does your uncle have that can be of use to us?" asked Robbie.
"Weapons," said Nate. "Guns and ammunition, mostly."
"Why do I have the feeling he didn't legally acquire any of it?" asked Robbie.
"Because he didn't."
"Figures. So where did he get it all?"
Nate fell silent, continuing to gaze out the window.
"Nate?" asked James, turning down the music. "You alright?"
"I never told you guys where my family is from, did I?" asked Nate.
"No, you just said your dad and uncle were recent immigrants from Africa," said James. "Where exactly?" After a few seconds, Nate said only one word.
Robbie's eyes went wide.
"You don't mean..." he began.
"1994," said Nate. "My uncle was there, helped orchestrate the goddamn thing. My dad got us out as soon as he could."
"Holy shit..." said James. "When did your uncle show up here?"
"Few years after it happened," said Nate. "He didn't talk to us much, and my dad was scared shitless of him, so he didn't call the police or anything."
"So, what are the chances of a warm family greeting?" asked Robbie.
"Slim," said Nate. "I only saw him once, when I was a kid. He threatened my parents, warned them not to say anything."
"Given all the goddamn zombies walking around, isn't he more likely to greet us with a hail of gunfire?" asked Robbie.
"I'd certainly expect that out of him."
James continued driving until he came upon a lone house at the side of the road, surrounded by trees and looking desolate and uninviting.
"This is the place," said Nate, cueing James to pull over. The three exited the car, James holding an empty backpack, and approached the front door of the house. They noticed that the lawn was dotted with about a dozen small signs, each of them imprinted with a skull.
"Landmines," said Nate. The three also noticed a small guard tower that had been constructed on top of the roof of the house.
James took the lead, but when he was a few feet from the door, Nate stopped him. James looked at him, and Nate gestured towards the ground, at a tripwire. James nodded, making sure to step over it.
The three men gathered near the front door. James knocked, and was quickly answered by a gunshot from inside.
"Fuck!" said James, nearly jumping backwards.
"Get out of here!" said a voice from inside. "You won't infect me you bastards!"
"Uncle!" yelled Nate. "It's you nephew, Nathaniel! I'm here with my friends!"
"Nathaniel?" asked the voice. "What are you doing here? Are you infected?!"
"No, we aren't," said Nate. "We're just looking for supplies."
"You look pretty well-equipped to me," said Nate's uncle.
"We just want a water canteen or two, maybe some ammunition. Just open the door for us-"
"Not a chance!" he said. "It's barricaded for a reason!"
A moment of silence went by before Nate spoke up again.
"You're a war criminal," said Nate. "You are a murderer who should have been punished for the sins he committed. We would be completely justified in breaking into this house and killing you."
"Go ahead and try!" Nate's uncle yelled, his voice trailing off, as if he were walking away. They heard footsteps above, and looked up to see Nate's uncle at the top of the wooden tower.
"Looks like you have company!" he yelled, then laughed to himself. The three turned around to see dozens of infected in the distance, some walking and moaning, some screeching and running.
"Fuck!" said James, drawing his rifle. He put down several of the running infected, those that were close. Nate's uncle continued laughing at them, clearly amused by the sight of his nephew and friends in mortal danger.
Robbie turned around to face the watchtower, noticing what a poor job Nate's uncle had done building it. After a second of consideration, he raised his revolvers, shooting several of the ill-arranged wooden beams, causing the tower to creak and shift.
"What the hell are you doing?!" Nate's uncle shouted. Robbie ignored him and shot several more planks, until he heard the splitting of wood and the screaming of Nate's uncle as the tower buckled under its own weight, collapsing onto the roof of the house. James and Nate momentarily turned around to view the spectacle, then turned back to shoot down several more infected.
"On the roof!" James shouted. He gave Robbie a boost up on to the roof of the house, then Nate. He quickly turned around to see an infected, smashing its face with the butt of his rifle, then grabbed Nate's outstretched hand and climbed onto the roof with them. Several explosions could be heard as the infected set off a few of the landmines in the yard.
Standing up straight, the three looked out across the road to see that the horde of infected were fewer in number than they thought. Still, it was a sizable amount, and they had to move quickly. Robbie turned around to see that the roof of the house had been caved in by the weight of the tower.
"Goddamn," said Nate, taking in the sight of the rubble.
"We're in," said James, patting Robbie on the back. "I admire your handiwork." Robbie smiled and nodded, and the three carefully jumped down into the house. It was dark inside, the doors and windows barricaded shut with wooden planks.
"He's probably kept weapons and such in the basement, if there is one," said Nate. The three searched the room and quickly found a door, behind which was a wooden staircase leading to a damp basement. Nate took the lead, and the three started scouring the basement for supplies. Nate quickly found a cabinet, which he pried open with a crowbar. Inside was an AK-47, polished clean and looking as though it was brand-new. He withdrew it from the cabinet, holding it in his hands, examining it. There were no loose parts, as far as he could tell. He opened a small chest inside the cabinet, finding several 7.62mm magazines. Loading one in, he readied the rifle, setting it to semi-automatic, pointed at the ground, and fired. James and Robbie jumped in surprise, nearly falling over. They each looked over at Nate.
"What?" said Nate. "Gotta make sure it works." James and Robbie both flipped him off and went back to searching for supplies. James found a box of grenades, which he carefully placed into his backpack. Robbie found a sheathed machete, picking it up and clipping it to his belt after withdrawing it to make sure it was sharp. Nate found another box of ammunition for his AK, then turned back to James and Robbie.
"Not sure what else we can get out of here," he said.
"Yeah, looks like your uncle doesn't have as much as you thought," said James. "Maybe just a few momentos."
"Either way, they're ours now, and we'll use them for better reasons," said Robbie, handing them each a pistol.
"Well shit, I'd say this isn't too bad of a score," said Nate. "Anyhow, we'd better get out of here." They started back up the staircase, making their way back to the rubble in the middle of the house. James and Robbie climbed up out of it and onto the roof of the house. Nate started after them, but stood still when he saw his uncle crawling away from the rubble, choking and bleeding. Nate slowly walked up to him, firmly planting one foot on his back. His uncle froze on the spot, not looking up as Nate pressed his pistol to the back of his uncle's head, and fired. James and Robbie looked at him as he climbed up on to the roof, dusting himself off.
"You alright?" said James in a concerned tone.
"Fine," said Nate. "Let's just get the hell out of here."
The three looked down to see a dozen zombies gathered at the base of the house, pounding on the doors and walls to try and get in. James quietly drew two grenades from his pack, dropping them down amongst the zombies and standing well back. They went off, sending dust and body parts in all direction, killing every one of them. The three looked out across the distance for a minute, making sure no more infected were on their way, then quickly jumped down to the ground, ran for the car, and drove off.