Word Count: 1051
There had been so many infected in the compound. David was still reeling that all it had taken just one infected to bring the camps to their knees. Civilians, soldiers and figures of authority died just as easily as each other. He could’ve sworn in his last moments in the White House that he had seen the president sprinting through the halls, undead hot on his heels. Whether the president had made it or not was something he didn’t know. He’d had to escape just moments after that, breaking a window to free himself from what was almost certain death.
The camps had been so close to something like normality. People worked where they could, children were taught in a makeshift school block. They had all fooled themselves into thinking they were untouchable where they were.
He had found Eloise and made a break for it with her. They were both in the army together, and had known each other for their few years in the service together. Hurriedly, they stocked up on fuel and drove away from the mess in an army truck.
Mostly they were heading for another unit they knew was in Idaho, picking up a handful of survivors on the way. Perhaps Idaho would be somewhere they could rebuild from instead, safer somehow.
A few miles over the state border into Washington – after the inevitable joke about having just come from another place called Washington – David let out a soft curse under his breath. Even in times like these, he couldn’t bring himself to let a kid hear bad language.
Eloise looked over at her dismayed friend as the truck rolled to a stop in the middle of a road.
“We’re out of petrol,” he announced grimly. He’d been fearing this since the day they’d set off. Every time they’d looked for fuel, they’d found less and less as they went. It had felt inevitable that this might happen, but he had hoped that they would at least come to a stop in a town, or somewhere safe. It was a naïve hope, and one that had gone ignored by fate. The truck had come to a halt in the middle of nowhere, on a freeway that passed through fields as far as the eye could see.
“Gas,” Carol said; Carol was a woman in her late fifties who had travelled from Virginia to the safety she’d heard about at the White House. “It’s called gas, stupid English boy.” David gritted his teeth. He didn’t like her much, but what could he do? Kick her out? He’d never forgive himself, even if he found himself wanting to punch her every time she opened her mouth.
Eloise just rolled her eyes. “Stop calling him stupid,” she interjected. “Either way, we’re stuck.”
“Where are we?” a chubby girl called Tammy they’d picked up in Ohio asked.
“You were supposed to be reading the map,” Carol bristled.
“Give me that,” David reached back and snatched up the map, “just as well I was paying attention to the road signs, wasn’t it?” he sniped, trying to figure out where they were. There hadn’t been any signs for miles, but he was fairly sure they were on the twenty seven. He pointed it out to Eloise, who leaned in, following the road with her finger.
“There’s that little town there – Tekoa? That has to be within walking distance by now.”
“How far?” Tammy asked dubiously.
“A few miles, I’d guess,” Eloise shrugged. Tammy’s face fell. If the empty box of Twinkies at her feet weren’t enough of a hint, she was not a fan of exercising. Eloise was a little surprised she’d managed to make it so long given that she couldn’t run more than twenty feet without getting breathless.
“I thought towns were a bad idea,” a small, mousy looking man piped up. His name was Richard. He was holding his five year old daughter, Alicia, on his lap, arms tight and protective around her. “We agreed we’d stay away from towns.”
“We’re in the middle of nowhere here. There’s nothing to protect us, and there’s nowhere to go for supply runs. It’s dangerous, but I think the town is our best bet,” David said like he was making a decision as he folded up the map. “Unless you fancy camping out in a truck in the middle of nowhere. You be my guest. I’m going to the town.”
For the first time in the two weeks they’d been travelling, Carol nodded in agreement. “We’re vulnerable here,” she said. For a moment the others around her stared in shock that she had agreed with him.
They walked for a good hour or so before they found a car, abandoned at the side of the road. A people carrier, of all things. Tammy looked up, hopeful. Carol rolled her eyes as the others noticed what Tammy was looking at.
"It might have gas," Tammy suggested brightly, "just enough to get us into the town?"
David shrugged. Cars were useful, even if finding gas for them was getting harder and harder. They wandered over, checked it out and, finding it empty, unloaded their meager supplies into it.
It had been depressing to realize how little they had while they were packing for the walk – they were incredibly low on food and medical supplies and while they walked, the last bottle of water was shared out between them all.
Seeing the signs that directed them to a small town called Tekoa spurred them on, hope crackling around the car.
The first building that came into sight fully was a hospital. They might have discussed it more thoroughly, but zombies were beginning to notice them. They parked up outside the building and piled out as quickly as they could, searching for an entrance.
“Runner!” Eloise shrieked, opening fire on the first to break into a sprint towards them. Suddenly the air was full of bullets flying in every direction as they reluctantly edged towards the hospital. The gun fire attracted as many zombies as it was killing.
The two soldiers directed everyone around to a side entrance that’d be easier to defend once they were inside and covered the others as they worked on breaking it down. He barricades barring their entrance made David wonder if there were others inside already. He half hoped there weren’t – not all survivors were friendly, and if they were friendly, their arrival had just drawn all the zombies from the area to their front door.
All six of them rushed inside as soon as the door swung open, pushing their way inside desperately. Zombies followed them in before they could bar the door again and they ran for it, racing through the eerily empty corridors away from the undead.